Tuesday, May 10th, 2016


Saving Howard Stern

Imagine a large number of American soldiers landing in enemy territory only to realize that they are in the wrong place, can't find their way out, have no clue where their original target is, and have been left with little or no ability to communicate with their superiors back home. That's not a completely unlikely scenario in a case where the Pentagon's satellites have been destroyed, jammed, or otherwise tampered with. As one expert explains: "Every military operation that takes place in the world today is critically dependent on space in one way or another." And if that doesn't scare you, imagine not being able to get Howard Stern on SiriusXM, or your DirecTV going on the blink during Game of Thrones. WaPo's Christian Davenport on the fight to protect the most valuable real estate in space.


Hedge Clippers

"If you wanted financial reform to radically downsize the financial sector, or thought it was going to make a major dent in income inequality, you're bound to be disappointed." On the other hand, if you think that banks haven't been affected by new regulations, you'd be somewhat misinformed. James Surowiecki on banking's new normal.

+ What exactly do investment bankers do, and how do they earn all that money? It doesn't matter much when you ask that question. But it really matters when merging corporations ask it. From the WSJ: An Investment Banker's Worst Nightmare.

+ The current market conditions have been described as a "hedge fund killing field." But managers have still found a way to make a killing. The top 25 hedge fund managers earned $13 billion in 2015.


Dropping the Balm

There will be no apologies and "he will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II." But President Obama will be the first sitting president to visit Hiroshima.

+ "They still wonder why they lived when so many others died. Each of them counts many small items of chance or volition -- a step taken in time, a decision to go indoors, catching one streetcar instead of the next -- that spared him. And now each knows that in the act of survival he lived a dozen lives and saw more death than he ever thought he would see. At the time, none of them knew anything." The New Yorker's John Hersey, reporting in 1946: Hiroshima.


A Golden State

While we were worrying about an algorithm taking over humanity, one already took over the NBA. Steph Curry was just named the league's MVP; his second win in a row and the first time any player has been a unanimous selection. That news came the morning after he returned from a knee injury and a shaky start to set a new standard for playoff excellence that left Portland fans shaking their artisanal beards in disbelief.

+ This really has been a season for the ages. Let's infographic, shall we?


Village Idiots

"Her crime? Being too scared to tell anyone her father raped her." WaPo's Annie Gowen with one example of the brutal and crazy punishments handed down by the aging men who run India's village councils. The Internet and other forms of progress are shrinking the world. But not nearly fast enough for the girl described in this story.


Telling Stories

OK, we're gonna go a little inside baseball on a media topic, but I think it's worthwhile. Last week, the NYT published a lengthy profile of Ben Rhodes, the aspiring novelist who became Obama's foreign-policy guru. The piece -- which focused on the selling of the Iran deal -- by David Samuels had some amazing quotes and was widely read. But to really get a full understanding of the article, you have to know a little more about Rhodes, a little more about his position in the White House, and a little (or a lot) more about David Samuels. First from Slate's Fred Kaplan: Ben Rhodes Needs Some Fresh Air. And from one of the journalists maligned in the piece, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg: Here's what the New York Times Magazine's story gets wrong. This is a really interesting back and forth and sheds some additional light on an important topic. But that's not why I'm linking to it. I just want you to consider all the backstory and additional information you don't have when reading most major news features.


Betabrand’s Beta

I'm so lucky that you take the time to read my twist on the daily news. And we're both lucky that I have a generous sponsor like Betabrand that underwrites my writing habit without taking up a lot of our space. This week, Betabrand launched a more community feature-friendly version of their already cool site and they'd love to have NextDraft readers check it out. And they're also giving you twenty percent off their lineup of Internet-chic clothes and accessories (just use the code TESTER20). Support them (and me) and check out the all new Betabrand.


Live and Let Viv

"Dag Kittlaus, a 48-year-old engineer from Norway, built the AI personal assistant Siri and sold it to Apple for more than $200 million. Now he wants to eat the internet.
More specifically, he wants to build you a smart personal assistant that you can really, actually talk to, that understands you, that will become the connective tissue of your entire digital life. To do that, he'll have to beat, among others, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft." Buzzfeed's Charlie Warzel introduces you to Viv. (It would be considerate of you to read this article out of the earshot of Siri, Cortana, and Alexa.)


PG 13.1094928

"Children can be tough negotiators, as parents know. And the stakes are high: the outcome of negotiations between parents and their children can affect a family's happiness and the children's futures." From Aeon: How game theory can help you do a better job of parenting. (I think I'll stick with using iPads and Ativan.)


Bottom of the News

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You've heard that a thousand times. Ever wonder where the saying came from? It's from "a 1944 marketing campaign launched by Grape Nuts manufacturer General Foods to sell more cereal." Pricenomics on how breakfast became a thing. (I'm working on a somewhat similar personal reflection piece called How French Toast Became a Problem.)

+ Vox: Vikings never wore horned helmets. Here's why people thought they did.

+ According to a recent study, half of your friends don't consider you their friend. (And the other half just don't like participating in studies.)