Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015


Come Together Right Now

I'll be taking next week off. Have a great holiday season and see you in '16.

As the festive season swings into high gear, millions of Americans are packing their bags and loading into planes, trains and automobiles (and maybe a sleigh) to head home for the holidays. And according to the numbers from NYT Upshot, most of them aren't going to be traveling very far. It turns out that the typical American lives only 18 miles from mom. That number represents a few key trends. More families are leaning on each other for financial support. Baby boomers have reached an age when they often require additional care. And for many Millennials, visiting one's parents amounts to little more than walking upstairs from the basement. And if my personal experiences are any indicator, there's one more key factor keeping families in close proximity. Tech support.


Altitude Sickness

"Basic service, without fees, must be sufficiently degraded in order to make people want to pay to escape it. And that's where the suffering begins." If you are flying this holiday season, it might at some point occur to you that doing so is a miserable experience. And that's by design. The New Yorker's Tim Wu on why airlines want to make you suffer. (I'll be traveling with my kids, so at least we'll make them suffer right back.)


Punish the Victims?

"But we're going to keep doing those the same way we have done. We will not willy-nilly go after a target because it's right there, right now." So far, at least publicly, the Pentagon has resisted calls to get more aggressive when it comes to airstrikes in Syria. Will increased pressure to target ISIS and to develop a new set of rules of engagement lead to more civilians deaths?

+ MoJo: The Pentagon says it has killed 20,000 isis fighters -- and just 6 civilians.

+ According to Amnesty, at least 200 civilians were killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria over a two month period.


Outside Shot

On Christmas day, many NBA stars will lead the league from the basketball court to the court of public opinion as they speak out about guns. Here's the NYT on an unusual move that faced little internal opposition: "In a move with little precedent in professional sports, the N.B.A. is putting the weight of its multibillion-dollar brand and the prestige of its star athletes behind a series of television commercials calling for an end to gun violence."

+ Here's a look at one of the ads.


Been There, Gun That

This was a year when on-duty police shootings were at the top of the news. But for many of the officers involved, the issue was anything but new. WaPo reporters found that "more than 50 police officers involved in fatal shootings this year had previously fired their guns in deadly on-duty shootings ... For a handful of officers, it was their third fatal shooting. For one officer, it was his fourth."

+ The Atlantic: Why police need to start second-guessing their decisions.


Hateful Fate

The arrest of Pharma Bro greatly pleased much of the social media world where it seems like we find a new person to hate almost every day. Caitlin Dewey looks back at what happened to the 15 people the Internet hated most in 2015.

+ And NY Mag sets up the brackets to figure out who won 2015.


Your Holiday Reads

You need a good guide of excellent long reads from 2015 to fill your queue for the holiday season. And we've got one right here. The Sunday Long Read provides a look back at some of the best longform pieces of the year.

+ Medium: Ideas that moved us in 2015.

+ The Year in Digg.

+ Hoping for a to-do list that's a little less daunting? Here's The New Yorker's look at 2015 in Daily Cartoons.


Your Holiday Listens

The editors at The Atlantic have put together a list of the 50 best podcast episodes of 2015. There are currently about 300,000 podcasts out there. And 2015 was the year that this medium was just getting warmed up.


Too Much

In holidays past, people may have been wildly underwhelmed as they searched for some content to enjoy during their downtime. Today, we have the opposite problem. There is too much content. How do we know that's the case? The reviews are getting better, but the viewership is not going up. From Slate: For proof that viewers are struggling to keep up with all this new content, just look at the ratings.


Bottom of the News

Like it or not, 2015 was the year that media -- mainstream and social -- was dominated by Donald Trump. So it's only fitting that the year ends with The Donald forcing us all to come to terms with what has become a hotly debated topic: The definition of the word Schlong.

+ Feeling overwhelmed by all the year-end lists of things to watch, listen to, and read? You might feel more relaxed in the Tokyo bookstore that only stocks one book at a time.

+ If you're traveling this holiday season, now would be a good time to brush up on 14 behind-the-scenes secrets of TSA Agents.

+ It's not too late to score one of the limited edition NextDraft t-shirts.

+ Thanks making some room in your inbox for NextDraft during 2015. From all of us (OK, all of me) at NextDraft, have a great holiday and a happy new year.