Thursday, May 21st, 2015


Leave Them Kids Alone

A recent report suggests that the rate of mental illness among kids has dropped dramatically in recent years. Results of studies in this area can vary wildly, but as the NYT's Benedict Carey reports, they all point to an increasingly heated dispute: "Critics argue that modern psychiatry is over-diagnosing and treating an increasing number of the worried well or merely quirky. Child psychiatrists insist that ... the larger problem is that youngsters who could benefit from treatment too often do not get it." On one hand, I've seen kids with serious issues benefit from modern psychopharmacology. On the other hand, we now symptomize too many personality traits; and every time a kid opens his mouth, there's someone ready to toss in a pill. (One undisputed positive trend is that we're finally talking more openly about issues related to mental health.)

+ NPR: How a machine learned to spot depression.


The Acorn That Becomes the Oak

"On arrival at the vault, the seeds were plunged to a temperature of -18C, frozen in time against drought, pestilence, war, disease, and the slow-moving disaster of climate change." The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg pays a visit to the doomsday vault; home of the seeds that could save a post-apocalyptic world.


It’s On Me

"Look, 20 years from now, I'm still going to be around, God willing. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it's my name on this. I think it's fair to say that in addition to our profound national-security interests, I have a personal interest in locking this down." The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg talks to Obama about the nuclear deal with Iran and the state of ISIS.

+ "I think that I have to leave them." A few months before the U.S. raid, Osama bin Laden was making plans to move from his compound. (Procrastination is a bitch.)


BSA Without the BS?

Robert Gates, the national president of the Boy Scouts of America, tried to explain to the troops that the ban on gay adults is no longer sustainable. "We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be." (That strategy would pretty much kill social media.)



"Letterman's name might have been on the marquee, but in his final moments on air, he took time to tip his hat to the multitude of talented individuals who aided his trip up the show business ladder. The modesty was almost anachronistic, but it's Letterman through and through. And nobody cried. Dave wasn't really much for tears." Grantland's Dave Schilling on Dave Letterman's final show, including the last top ten list.

+ "Our long national nightmare is over." WaPo's Hank Stuever on the last show: Sap Free and Just Right. (I agree, though I would have traded all the presidential appearances for one last exchange with Chris Elliot.)

+ The show had its highest ratings in a decade.

+ And nothing sums up the reality of modern life quite like the fact that a demolition crew began taking apart the set within hours of the show going off the air. The second I send out my last issue of NextDraft, I'm having my fingertips sent to the Smithsonian. (Thankfully I only type with two fingers.)


Good and Plenty

Can you have a company that is determined to do good and that also makes a ton of dough? The answer, at least in the case of Patagonia, appears to be yes. The New Yorker's J.B. Mackinnon on Patagonia's Anti-Growth Strategy.


Virtually Real

Patrick Nepomuceno and Michael Stinger stole a variety of weapons and armor from several people and then turned around and sold the goods for thousands of dollars. Then the FBI showed up. It all sounds like a classic story of cops and robbers. Only in this case, the robbers were stealing things inside the game Diablo III, and the things they stole were part of a virtual world ...where things are getting awfully real.


Take Me Out of the Ballgame

Lacrosse is getting more popular. And more kids are focusing on a single sport all year around. Those are two of the factors that have led to the dramatic drop in the number of young kids who want to play baseball. From the WSJ: Why Children Are Abandoning Baseball. (It might have something to do with their unwillingness to abandon a screen for a couple hours...)


WeWork (For Equity)

"There's a place where the age-old divide can seem irrelevant, where toil and fun blend together beneath neon signs that say things such as 'Embrace the Hustle.' Where there's always a free keg of beer at the self-serve bar, with a tap that says: WeWork." Bloomberg on the open air workspaces that more indie-workers and small companies are calling home: Is This the Office of the Future or a $5 Billion Waste of Space?


Bottom of the News

CNN reports on the latest career move made by the Linkin Park band members. They "disrupted the music industry and emerged as one of the most popular rock bands on the planet. Now [they're] plotting to rock the tech world -- as venture capitalists." (Well, that makes everybody.)

+ Lotsa, Newb, and RIdic. Introducing the new words added to the Scrabble dictionary.

+ Portland Airport's wildly popular carpet is now getting its own sneaker.