April 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

If you're a self-made success, does that mean you did it all without a little (or a lot of) luck? Plus, driving while texting is the new DUI.

So you hit it big. A self-made success. Are you the result of skill and hard work? Or was it just luck? Or maybe, just maybe, both of those factors played a role. That’s the most likely reality — for example, imagine you happened to be in the tech business during a time when it was possible to make a few billion in a few years. But luck is a factor that’s often hard for successful people to credit. “Psychologists use the term hindsight bias to describe our tendency to think, after the fact, that an event was predictable even when it wasn’t. This bias operates with particular force for unusually successful outcomes.” From The Atlantic’s Robert H. Frank: Why Luck Matters More Than You Might Think. Let me say, for the record, that my life has been a revolving door of lottery wins. (We’ll see if I still feel that way if I achieve something…)


Meet Your Autocorrections Officer

“Under the first-of-its-kind legislation proposed in New York, drivers involved in accidents would have to submit their phone to roadside testing.” Police have methods for determining whether you were driving under the influence of alcohol. Soon, they may also be able to check whether you were texting while you drove. And from what I see on the roads, that includes a whole lot of people.


Drones, Groans, Sticks and Stones

Here are a few angles on terrorism and our efforts to stop it. First, a very compelling piece from The Independent: I’m on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones.

+ Two years after their abduction, some of the Nigerian girls are shown alive in a video released by Boko Haram.

+ “After an act of terror is committed, the murderer is usually dead. But this is merely the start of his program. His purpose requires that the horror of his deed be magnified a thousand times to engineer his political goal.” Simon Jenkins explains how our politicians –- and media –- are helping terrorists win.


You See Davis?

The Sacramento Bee has the story of how the U.C. Davis tried to rid the Internet of results related to the pepper spraying incident of 2011 (or at least push them out of the top few links). It’s actually a pretty common practice and it definitely makes sense that they’d try it in this case. But, alas, they may have only re-viralized the meme.

+ “Their stories reveal how the boundaries of free speech were drawn during a period of explosive growth for a high-stakes public domain, one that did not exist for most of human history. As law professor Jeffrey Rosen first said many years ago of Facebook, these platforms have ‘more power in determining who can speak and who can be heard around the globe than any Supreme Court justice, any king or any president.'” The Verge with an excellent report on the murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech.


In a Word, Three

I don’t want to be critical at a moment like this, but last year’s Steph Curry sort of got embarrassed by this year’s Steph Curry. The best got that much better. He finished the season averaging over 30 points a game and hit more than 400 three-pointers while leading the Warriors to the most wins in NBA regular season history. As ESPN’s excellent Ethan Strauss points out: This wasn’t supposed to happen. (If you add up the distance of all Steph’s three-pointers this season, it would be almost as wide as the smile on the average Warriors fan’s face.)

+ I wrote up a quick (and wildly accurate) Oral History of the Warriors Record Season.

+ The Warriors are the greatest NBA team, and the most likable.

+ And I’m pretty sure this is the most effective Aeron Chair ad ever

+ In equally amazing NBA news (well, almost), Kobe Bryant ended his career by dropping in sixty points.


No Farm, No Foul

“This is a story we are all being fed. A story about overalls, rich soil and John Deere tractors scattering broods of busy chickens. A story about healthy animals living happy lives, heirloom tomatoes hanging heavy and earnest artisans rolling wheels of cheese into aging caves nearby. More often than not, those things are fairy tales.” Laura Reiley of the Tampa Bay Times looks beyond the beards and the mason jars to discover that farm to table is often farm to fable. (Next, you’re gonna tell me that free-rage chickens are not acting of their own volition.)

+ And if that wasn’t bad enough, the notion of a “list price” really doesn’t mean anything. So as the NYT reports, some online bargains may only look like one.


I Think I Can

“I know firsthand what was taken away from me after my injury, {so} the first time when I was able to open and close my hand, it really gave me that sense of hope for the future.” Technology is about more than waiting in line for the next iPhone. Consider this: A paralyzed man’s brain implant let him move his fingers.

+ Sean Parker just donated a lot of money to a revolutionary project that aims ‘solve’ cancer. The key: Get researchers across the world to work together.


Being There

“For the first time in history, it might be possible to locate on a mountain top and to maintain intimate, real-time, and realistic contact with business or other associates.” But yet, we still congregate in the same place at the same time. From HBR: If Work Is Digital, Why Do We Still Go to the Office? (Answer: To get away from our kids asking to use our devices all day long. Next question…)


For Horace and Pete’s Sake

From the episodes I’ve seen, Horace and Pete is a really interesting and good show. It’s also left Louis C.K. millions in debt. Does this tell us something about the future of the indie TV model? I’m not too sure about that. But it’s worth watching … the show and the broader industry storyline.


Bottom of the News

“Inky had said see ya to his tank-mate, slipped through a gap left by maintenance workers at the top of his enclosure and, as evidenced by the tracks, made his way across the floor to a six-inch-wide drain.” WaPo with the story of the octopus that escaped its tank and made it all the way to the ocean. (Prediction: He’ll be back. And he’ll bring his friends.)

+ You want hipster. I’ll give you hipster. How about a store in the Lower East Side that sells artisanal pencils.

+ FiveThirtyEight on the researchers doing the hard work of making sure you don’t waste a good digital photo on a boring sunset. (You could save them a lot of work by just stopping already…)

+ I’m coming at you from my hotel lobby in Kyoto. We’ll be heading for the airport soon. Today at lunch, my son tried to eat one of those plastic dessert displays. I think our work here in Japan is done. NextDraft will return to its normal schedule on Monday.

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