Thursday, May 7th, 2015


Jihad Me At Hello

"She was a redheaded rebel, the singer in the family, a trash-talking, tattooed 21-year-old wrapped up in a hip-hop dream of becoming Holland's Eminem. Then Betsy found Allah." WaPo's Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhennet share a very interesting piece on one of the unique (and pretty shocking) aspects to the rise of ISIS. Many of the young people who are leaving their homes to join the Islamic State come from non-Muslim homes. Consider these stats: "1 in 6 Europeans joining the self-styled caliphate are converts to Islam from non-Muslim faiths including Christianity, as well as nonreligious backgrounds. In some countries, such as France, the ratio of converts among those leaving is significantly higher: about 1 in 4."


You NSA the Darndest Things

"We agree with appellants that such an expansive concept of 'relevance' is unprecedented and unwarranted." With that, a federal appeals court ruled that the NSA's collection of millions of phone records violates the Patriot Act.


If This is Brit, I Wanna Know

Millions are heading to the polls in the UK general election. This line of BBC's overview caught my attention: "After six weeks of campaigning and debate, people have been casting their vote at around 50,000 polling stations." Six weeks? We spent six weeks on Hilary's email server. The election results are unusually unpredictable. You can follow along live with the BBC's election page.

+ If you've got some catching up to do, here's Buzzfeed's guide to everything you need to know about the UK's general election.

+ While we're over in that neck of the woods, let's check in with a London plan to use DNA testing to sniff out owners who don't properly pick up after their pets.



"I know I was dead, my existing now is just a mere shadow of life as nothing moves me. But now that I am here, I confirm that I am a living being." The complicated and horrifying stories of the girls rescued from Boko Haram.

+ PRI: "Most of those former hostages are traumatized. And many are carrying an added burden: They're pregnant with the children of the extremists." Imagine being freed from that terror only to be shunned by your own community.


The Vex Files

Some examples of abuse are a world away, while others are sitting right in front of us. The NYT's Sarah Maslin Nir examined the world of New York manicurists and found "a vast majority of workers are paid below minimum wage; sometimes they are not even paid. Workers endure all manner of humiliation, including having their tips docked as punishment for minor transgressions, constant video monitoring by owners, even physical abuse." The Price of Nails.


Cracks or Better

"Too little reward and the animal becomes frustrated and stops trying; too much and it won't push the lever as often." In The Verge, Andrew Thompson looks at how the makers of slot and video poker machines managed to turn gaming into crack (and how the tech industry is learning their tricks): The Engineers of Addiction. I wouldn't necessarily qualify myself as an addict, but the last time I played video poker, my FitBit thought I walked to Nairobi.


Whole Emit

Whole Foods has announced plans to launch a new line-up of stores that executives promise will be less expensive. We're all pretty clueless about the benefits of organics, non-GMOs, and whatever the hell kombucha is. The high prices were the one thing we could trust.

+ I suppose if Whole Foods can be cheap, then McDonald's can sell kale. And they're bringing back the Hamburglar.


Road Rage

"The Uberpeople forum exists in a state of quivering rage I usually associate with cable-news talk shows. Drivers are furious about everything. Spoiled passengers. Fare cuts. Living in fear of arbitrary ratings. The dumb Spotify thing streaming over the driver's data plan rather than the passenger's." Emily Guendelsberger: I was an undercover Uber driver. (It's nice to know that there's still at least one person who isn't an actual Uber driver.)



Tom Brady is in serious danger of irreparably harming his legacy (as an equipment manager). I don't take Deflategate seriously. And I'm certainly not going to link to a story about it here. OK, maybe just one. These texts sent by Patriots employees are pretty good.


The Bottom of the News

Out of "respect" for David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel has announced that he won't air a new show on the night of Letterman's final episode. (Jay Leno will probably decide to come out of retirement for the night.)

+ Headline of the day (with a video that lives up to it): Daughter loved tooth extraction by javelin.

+ "You can be effing anything that moves and gettin' paid half a million dollars a week, you effin' idiot. You want to be a normal 22-year-old?" Noel Gallagher reflects on Zayn Malik and other topics in his latest Rolling Stone interview.

+ There are only 8 days left to get your NextDraft Internet Superhero T-Shirt.