Monday, May 4th, 2015


This Isn’t Working

If you're like most Americans, you've probably popped some prescription pills today. And if you're like most pill poppers, those drugs did not have the desired effect. A popularly prescribed medication is a wild success if it helps a quarter of those who take it. When it comes to treating high cholesterol or heartburn, the drug-effectiveness numbers are much worse. How close are we to more personalized medicine? Nature's Nicholas J. Schork on the time for one-person trials.

+ When we're not swallowing ineffective pills, we're being over-tested and over-diagnosed. From The New Yorker's always interesting Atul Gawande, Overkill: how an avalanche of unnecessary medical care is harming patients physically and financially.

+ The Economist: The effectiveness of a placebo may depend on someone's DNA. (Yeah sure, like I'd believe that...)


Location, Location, Location

A new study shows the connection between geography and upward mobility. "Based on the earnings records of millions of families that moved with children, it finds that poor children who grow up in some cities and towns have sharply better odds of escaping poverty than similar poor children elsewhere." The Upshot on the importance of place. And guess which large city gives kids the worst odds of escaping poverty? Baltimore.

+ "Kids living in violent neighborhoods don't want fewer police and less protection, they want more of both." I just wrote Five Thoughts About Baltimore Organized Into a List (because the last thing anyone needs is another think piece about Baltimore.)

+ "To recreate Gray's 45-minute ride in a police van, plainclothes officers rolled a $250,000 laser imaging system on a tripod down potholed roads and cracked sidewalks, ready to tell residents who questioned them that they were city surveyors." The Baltimore Sun with an exclusive look inside the Freddie Gray investigation.


Looney Tunes

Police have identified two roommates from Phoenix as the shooters at an event that celebrated cartoons depicting Muhammad. Both were killed at the scene, and the FBI was aware of least one of them long before the shooting.

+ When Muslims "pray five times a day … they're cursing Christians and Jews five times a day." That and other incendiary statements mark the vocal career of the organizer of weekend's event, political blogger Pamela Geller.


Code Academy

Something happens to us out here in startup land. People who know how to code a site or launch a photo-sharing app become quite certain they can also solve all of society's most intractable problems. One thing is for sure. They can bring a lot of money to the table. From Wired: Inside the school Silicon Valley thinks will save education.


Donde Esta?

"More than seven months later, the country is haunted by questions. What really happened that night? Where were the students taken and what was their fate?" Following dozens of interviews, The Intercept's Ryan Devereaux presents a two part investigation on Mexico's Ghosts of Iguala: how 43 students disappeared in the night.


Heavyweight Contender?

"And the winner is... Periscope." That was Twitter CEO Dick Costolo during the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight on Saturday night. And he could be right. There was an endless stream of Periscope users endlessly streaming live video of their own television screens. That could set up a fight that actually lives up to the hype -- the one between Twitter, the second screen partner of TV, and Twitter, the first screen app trying to kill TV. (Down goes Frasier, Down goes Frasier.)

+ Fortune: The very big fight for the small screen.

+ Tim Wu: The dreaded bundle comes to Internet TV


NextDraft T-Shirts

At long last, you can get your very own Internet Superhero Shirt. I've partnered with the folks at Cotton Bureau (my favorite t-shirt site) to make these shirts available for a very limited time. We've got different colors and sizes. So get your NextDraft Internet Superhero shirt today.


Six Feet Under the Boardwalk

If you're looking to gamble away some cash in the greater tri-state area, I'd recommend a trip to a casino in Atlantic City. And if you're looking to ensure that you live to be at least 100, I'd recommend you go to the same place. Bloomberg's Robert Kolker on Craps and Cryogenics: "Gambling downstairs, blood transfusions upstairs. The new owner of the Revel believes his casino can make you live to 100." (This all seems like a plot to make sure you live long enough to pay off your tab.)


Regretting to the Oldies

According to a study of Spotify users, people stop listening to new music at the age of 33. This was a very limited study which was originally featured on someone's blog, but you probably don't care about details like that unless you're at least 45.


The Bottom of the News

"Several of the beards that were tested contained a lot of normal bacteria, but some were comparable to toilets." A couple of TV reporters decided to swab and test many beards only to discover that they shared bacterial qualities associated with fecal matter. (But at least it was artisanal fecal matter.)

+ In honor of Star Wars Day, here are 37 facts about the movie.

+ Surprise! Cinco de Mayo was built up by beer companies.