Wednesday, November 4th, 2015


Connecting the Dot Coms

"You basically just always feel like you're doing a horrible job at everything." In the NYT Upshot, Claire Cain Miller provides a portrait of the modern family: Stressed, Tired, Rushed. Whether it's just a feeling or a harsh reality, this generation of parents seems a whole lot busier than their predecessors. Why? It's more common for both parents to work. Parents seem, for better or worse, a little more involved in their children's lives. Those are factors, but you know the real answer. You're looking at it. While, in some ways, the Internet has improved and empowered our lives, in other ways, connectivity is a bitch.


Was It a Bomb?

"While the investigation is still ongoing we cannot say categorically why the Russian jet crashed. But as more information has come to light we have become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device." From The Guardian: Egypt flights on hold as UK says bomb may have caused Russian plane crash.


Receding Storyline

"After 14 years of war, of training the Afghan Army and the police, it has become too dangerous to drive the mile and a half from the airport to the embassy." The NYT's Alissa J. Rubin takes a look at life in Kabul as the troops recede, and the boots on the ground have been reduced to footprints.


You Beta You Beta, You Bet

I'm pleased (and grateful) to announce that NextDraft has a new sponsor. The fine folks at Betabrand have stepped up to keep my news tabs open. Betabrand is an online clothing community known for their excellent products such as Dress Pant Sweat Pants, Executive Hoodies, and Cordarounds (yes, the corduroy grooves are horizontal). The sponsorship is a perfect match in terms of their product line-up and corporate vibe. And it means this one-man news operation will continue to make your devices vibrate with delight at no cost and without giant banner ads. Help me celebrate (and display my traffic-driving prowess) by checking out Betabrand. (And, as a gift from Betabrand, if you've never purchased from them before, you get 20% off today.) -- Note: app users may have to hold down and copy that link and open it in Safari or Chrome for the discount. And yes, "open in Safari" will be in the new version of the app which is about a week away.


Not The Way We Roll

In one of the most-watched races during Tuesday's election, Ohio voters rejected a bill that would have legalized medical and recreational marijuana. But the results had less to do with maintaining the prohibition and more to do with a potential monopoly. The defeat was described as good news for people on both sides of the pot debate. Here's WaPo on what Ohio's vote means for the future of pot.

+ AirBNB came out a big winner in San Francisco, where efforts to dramatically curb short term rentals lost by a significant margin.

+ A fierce and often brutal campaign in Houston resulted in the defeat of a "city ordinance protecting residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity." And the election may have come down to bathroom fears.

+ Salt Lake City voters elected Jackie Biskupski, Utah's first openly gay mayor.


Cuts Like a Knife

"Her nearest co-workers were upstairs, out of sight. They didn't see what a security camera captured -- a patient holding a radio antenna fashioned to a jagged point." A team of investigative reporters at The Tampa Bay Times uncover the ways budget cuts and years of neglect have turned Florida's mental hospitals into killing grounds: Insane. Invisible. In Danger.


Lock, Rorschach, and Two Smoking Barrels

Two cops stop a black professor who is exercising in her neighborhood. Is it a friendly reminder to use caution around traffic. Or is it an example of racist cops stopping someone from "walking while black?" To answer that for yourself, you can watch yet another police video making its Internet rounds. Some are calling this one a racial Rorschach test.

+ Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz died while supposedly in pursuit of three suspects. The case caused schools to close and the manhunt included more than 150 investigators. But it turns out that the whole thing was an elaborately staged suicide.


Can People Change?

It's been a couple years since Edward Snowden clued you in on some of the ways you're being tracked by the government. Did that news change your browsing behavior? Yes and no. You're a lot less likely to perform a search that includes words like dirty bomb or nerve agent. But you're holding onto the more freaky, personal stuff. (Fight the power!) Priceonomics on Internet life after Snowden.


It’s All a Blur

"I just want younger girls to know this isn't candid life, or cool or inspirational. It's contrived perfection made to get attention." Instagrammer Essena O'Neill quits the service because social media is not real life. (Full disclosure: In real life, my avatar is slightly less charming...)


Bottom of the News

If you've been itching to visit the Gum Wall at Pike Place Market, you better do it quick. They're about to steam-blast all the sticky chunks of chewing gum to smithereens.

+ Congrats to residents of Hamilton, Ohio. Your city has the tastiest tap water.

+ For those nights when your kids bargain for just one more show, Netflix is introducing five minute videos. (This trick will be less effective if your kids have a general awareness of the passage of time.)

+ Guiness is tweaking a 256 year-old recipe to make its pints vegan friendly. (One expects some pushback from those who prefer to keep the tiny specks of fish bladder in the brew.)