Monday, November 30th, 2015


Great Ball of Fire

"I believe, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that there is such a thing as being too late. And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us." So said President Obama as leaders from nearly two hundred countries gathered for the much-anticipated COP21 climate summit in Paris. (Everyone who has kids has heard the refrain, "You're the worst parent ever..." -- some of us as recently as this morning at the bus stop. If we don't get moving on climate change, our kids will be right.)

+ "The heat accumulating in the Earth because of human emissions is roughly equal to the heat that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs exploding across the planet every day." The NYT with short answers to hard questions about climate change.

+ What exactly do scientists measure and what are they worried about? WaPo has a bunch of gauges and descriptions to explain how things like burning coal and clearing forests lead to glaciers melting, seas rising and oceans overheating.

+ "By mid-century, which, in the scheme of things, is not very long from now, the Syrian-refugee crisis is likely to seem routine." The New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert on how unstable temperatures can lead to an unstable world.


Emissionary Position

"While existing technologies can start us down the path, they can't get us to our goal." Ken Caldeira in the MIT Tech Review on why it should no longer be acceptable to dump carbon emissions into the sky.

+ If existing technologies aren't enough, then what do we do? Enter a group of tech billionaires who are teaming up to help accelerate our efforts. It's a long way from photo-sharing to saving the planet. But it's worth a shot...


Rhetorical Question

"The loudness of the slurs against the organization is in telling contrast to the cautious silence that descended when it became a target of gun violence." Amy Davidson on the connection between rhetoric and the Planned Parenthood shooting. (Violent lunatics don't necessarily understand that aggressive and hateful political rhetoric is only rhetoric. So it's not.)

+ The shooting could have an impact on the heated Congressional debate on Planned Parenthood.



First you pay your debt to society. Then you pay your debt for paying that debt. That's the situation some former prisoners are finding themselves in as the State of Illinois is suing prisoners to make them pay for their room and board.


Let’s Get Ripped

"I am a fat f*ck. A frail, pale, jellied, six-foot-one, 222-pound, forty-inch-waisted, Barney-shaped 36-year-old with great braidable hanks of back hair and unholy places—folds and hollows other than the navel that ought not collect lint, but do." Several years ago, the excellent Andrew Corsello set out to see if he could achieve a ripped, beach-body in just three months. He found a trainer who said it could be done. GQ has finally put this excellent story online: How I Got My Beach Body. This is a funny and insightful piece that I hope to forget by dinner.

+ NYT: When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to CrossFit. (Insert Soul Cycle joke.)


The Full Monticello

From Slate: Students at Princeton have been arguing that their campus should be rid of plaques and statues celebrating Woodrow Wilson "who, as president of the United States, had federal government agencies segregated, reversing progress toward civil rights for black people. Many observers have wondered which historical figure honored on American campuses would next capture critical attention ... The answer appears to be Thomas Jefferson." Let's face it, pretty much everyone from Christopher Columbus through Donald Trump has been sort of a douche.

+ In the NYT, Randall Kennedy with an interesting take on the black tape at Harvard Law.



"Their only encounter was brief, about five minutes in a grocery store on Nov. 10. But what happened in those moments, and the tragedy that followed, put the Carlsbad woman on a quest to honor the 28-year-old whose kindness left a deep impression." A sad but touching story on a guy who did something nice for a complete stranger.


Cable News Numbskulls

"It's our fault. We in the media have spent decades turning the news into a consumer business that's basically indistinguishable from selling cheeseburgers or video games. You want bigger margins, you just cram the product full of more fat and sugar and violence and wait for your obese, over-stimulated customer to come waddling forth." Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi explains why Americans are too dumb for TV news.


Manic Monday

It's Cyber Monday (Uggh). So it's seems like the perfect time to look back at the first time anyone officially sold something on the Internet. The Internet could fairly be described as an ever-evolving batch of technologies designed to more efficiently separate you from your money.


Bottom of the News

A few years ago, the percentage of companies throwing holiday parties was way down because the economy was struggling. The economy came back. The parties didn't. Bloomberg on the decline of the office party. (Since NextDraft only has one person, my holiday party -- consisting of a menorah and a vaporizer -- will continue as scheduled.)

+ BBC: "Brazilians who post racist abuse online may see their words blown up and pasted onto billboards near their houses." (Sadly, that might prove to be a further incentive for some...)