Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015


Mad Max

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan celebrated the birth of their daughter Max with an open letter to her and a pledge to give away, donate, or invest 99% of their Facebook shares. (This is one of the rare times when an adult knows exactly why a newborn is crying.) I'm not jealous Zuck can afford to give away $45 billion. But I am pissed his first kid photo post beat my best by more than 1.28 million likes.

+ It shouldn't surprise anyone that some on social media have greeted the pledge with cynicism and disdain (which, along with email, make up the Internet's killer app hat trick). I found the move mostly inspiring, but also a little troubling. I explain why in my post: How Mark Zuckerberg just explained his generation.

+ WaPo: Zuckerberg, Gates, Buffett and the triumph of competitive philanthropy.


Shooting Story Goes Here

Sadly, the above headline is a placeholder I regularly need to use while composing NextDraft. Today, a mass shooting at a social services office in San Bernardino injured up to 20 people and there are reports of fatalities. Police were searching for a black SUV with up to three suspected shooters.

+ Here's are the latest updates from the LA Times.


Fraternal Disorder

"Iraqi fighters say they have all seen the videos purportedly showing U.S. helicopters airdropping weapons to the militants, and many claim they have friends and relatives who have witnessed similar instances of collusion." Want to understand the role of misinformation in modern day warfare? Consider this: Many Iraqis think the U.S. is in cahoots with the Islamic State.

+ NPR on a factor that connects many recent terrorist attacks. The participants are siblings.

+ The Guardian: Man held at Guantánamo for 13 years a case of mistaken identity. (Uh, sorry...)


Visitation Wrongs

In The Nation, Sylvia Harvey explains how kids with parents in prison are gradually losing their visitation rights. And those changes impact a whole lot of kids: "Over 2.7 million children in the United States had an incarcerated parent. That's one in 28 kids, compared with one in 125 about 30 years ago. For black children, the odds were much worse: While one out of every 57 white children had an incarcerated parent, one out of every nine black children had a parent behind bars."


The Unrecorded

"I'm feeling that there are more cases. I'm wondering, Why did they rule mine as a justifiable shooting?" Alex Kotlowitz looks at the handling of a Chicago police shooting when there was no video.

+ Kotlowitz is one of the great chroniclers of the impact of street violence on Chicago's families. If you haven't read There are No Children Here, it's a good place to start.


Spare Parts and Broken Hearts

Even if you're not giving away billions, participating in the season of giving can be a tricky business. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is suing a couple of those car donation services that constantly advertise on the radio and elsewhere. It turns out that when you donate a car, your charity of choice doesn't even end up with enough cash to fill a glove compartment. (Every part of the car buying and selling process is a nightmare. You even get ripped off when you're trying to give one away.)


Post Viral Syndrome

"Most embraced the experience, seeing where it would take them. Some ended up in dark places. A couple have made it their living and found themselves with new careers." NY Mag talks to ten former viral sensations about life after Internet fame.



Remember the story of the CEO who decided to raise every employee's salary to at least $70K? Well, the story got a bit weird. And it's almost certain to get even weirder. From Bloomberg, The CEO paying everyone $70,000 salaries has something to hide. (We know so little backstory about the stuff we read in the news.)



Spotify is out with its list of the most streamed music of the year. Most of it is pretty predictable. But consider Rihanna. She was the most streamed female artist of the year. And she hasn't released an album since 2013. Here's a look at what you listened to. My two most listened-to bands of the year were Twenty-One Pilots and Royal Blood.


Bottom of the News

In the global economy, it's almost impossible to choose a brand name that doesn't make someone, somewhere, laugh at you.

+ There were what sounded like a woman's cries. There were screamed threats like, "I will kill you." So you can understand why some folks in an Australian neighborhood called the police. It turned out to be a guy trying to kill a spider.

+ Apparently, Christmas lights can slow your WiFi. This is the first holiday story to ever make my kids happy to be Jewish during the Christmas season.

+ And finally, please stop naming your kids after Instagram filters.