Friday, May 6th, 2016


The Pills That Kill

Let's take a look at the drug war. No, not that one. The other one. The one we're not really fighting. The one against all those pain killers that seem to be killing more people than pain. The LA Times investigates the rise of Oxycontin to better understand how painkillers became the true gateway drug: "OxyContin's stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people ... OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn't last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug." The danger of prescription drugs is one of America's undertold stories, and Oxy could be the most dangerous of them all. You want a description of hell? Oxycontin's 12-hour problem.


Boots Grounded

If you want to understand how difficult it is to turn dollars into desired military outcomes in places like Afghanistan, you can follow the money. Or you can follow the shoddy boots. From WaPo: "The sad state of soldiers' boots highlights something that U.S. military officials have known for about two years: Despite more than $68 billion in U.S. funding for Afghan security forces over the past 14 years, they still can't even clothe themselves."


Weekend Reads

"Would I like to live in a world where no one has to do sex work? Absolutely. But that's not the case. So I want to live in a world where women do it largely voluntarily, in a way that is safe. If they're raped by a police officer or a client, they can lay a charge and know it will be investigated. Their kid won't be expelled from school, and their landlord won't kick them out." In the NYT Magazine, Emily Bazelon takes on a contentious question: Should Prostitution Be a Crime?

+ "In recent months, hundreds of Canadian Indigenous people have tried to kill themselves, with 11 people attempting suicide in a single night in April." What's going on? Buzzfeed's Zehra Rehman: Lingering.

+ "A trial looms that will reveal the tawdry twilight years of Sumner Redstone, filled with scheming that conjures nothing so much as Game of Thrones -- and it may trigger a corporate fight befitting that bloody epic." Fortune on The Disturbing Decline Of Sumner Redstone.

+ Boston Mag: "One ocean liner. Seven hundred die-hard Patriots fans. Sixty-five hours of boozing at sea. Welcome aboard the maiden voyage of the SS Gronkowski." (Ball deflating not included.)


Barbary Cost

There have been endless articles and think-pieces about San Francisco's changing demographics and culture (which are representative of trends we're seeing in other major cities). But do the numbers really back up the feeling we all have? Oh yeah. Pricenomics takes an interesting look at who's moving in, who's moving out, and what's becoming of the city at the heart of the digital economy. "The basic trends are what any San Francisco resident might expect. The people moving in are more likely to have higher levels of formal education, and they tend to be younger, White and Asian. The people moving out are less likely to have completed college, and they tend be older, African American and Hispanic."

+ FiveThirtyEight: This Year's College Grads Are The Luckiest In A Decade. (I'm assuming this isn't an article about presidential politics...)


Flame Canada

A perfect storm of wildfire conditions have contributed to a massive blaze, tens of thousands of evacuations, and one of Canada's most costly disasters ever. Digg has a round-up of what's going on: The Fort McMurray Wildfire Continues To Burn.

+ The Big Picture has photos from the Alberta wildfires.

+ "Though it's tough to pin any particular disaster on climate change, in the case of Fort McMurray the link is pretty compelling." Elizabeth Kolbert on Fort McMurray and the Fires of Climate Change.


The Pyongyang Show

"Dressed in a black pinstripe suit with his hair slicked back, Kim entered the April 25 House of Culture in the capital, Pyongyang, to thunderous applause and cheers from 3,467 delegates and an additional 1,387 observers, some of whom appeared to be weeping." Kim Jung Un describes a path to "final victory" during North Korea's first ruling Workers' Party Congress in 36 years. At the time of the speech, foreign reporters were being given a tour of a wire factory.

+ What it's like to report from North Korea, by a journalist who's there right now


A Dry Wine

California is still suffering from drought conditions. And a massive amount of our water is used by agriculture. Is it time that more farmers considered the potential of dry farming? "The hardest part about dry farming is actually convincing people it works."


Unlevel Playing Field

"Female coaches used to dominate women's college sports. In 1972, women coached 90 percent of women's college teams." That number has basically been cut in half since then. And when female coaches point out incidents of discrimination, they often find themselves without a job. From Reveal: Inside the inequality that plagues women's college sports.


There Goes the Neighborhood

We should really try to go to Cuba. There's only so much time until Cuba will be ruined by American tourism and culture. I wonder how long we have until Cuba gets spoiled. And, finally, the Kardashians just arrived in Cuba.


Bottom of the News

Your time is valuable and you've got the Instagram selfies to prove it. That's why, after so many months operating in stealth, I'm excited to announce the launch of our new startup: Schmux.

+ Quartz: You can soon have a (tiny) office in one of Britain's red phone boxes.

+ BBC: China bans erotic banana-eating live streams. Great, now where am I going to get my potassium?