Wednesday, July 6th, 2016


Five Ring Circus

I've been obsessively tracking news trends for most of my adult life and I can report that the start of every Olympics is preceded by a series of articles explaining why the whole thing will be a disaster. Then the Olympics happen, and everyone has a nice time. But this is 2016, the year of Trump, Brexit, and Icelandic soccer victories. And this is Rio, where we've got Zika, super bacteria, a police strike, body parts washing up on a beach, and a dead mascot. So yes, I still cling to the belief that all pre-Olympics disaster pieces are little more than hype. But this is definitely the year we test that theory. From PRI: Seven very bad omens for the Rio Olympics.


Reading Between the Lines in the Sand

"We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort." It took several years, but a British inquiry into the Iraq war has finally been released. Digg has a roundup of the coverage of the findings.

+ One of the more interesting documents released following the inquiry is this memo from Tony Blair to George W. Bush. For those children who read NextDraft, this is not the best first line to use as an opening to a debate: "I will be with you, whatever. But this is the moment to assess bluntly the difficulties. The planning on this and the strategy are the toughest yet. This is not Kosovo. This is not Afghanistan. It is not even the Gulf War." Yeah, like, not even.

+ More than a decade later, Iraq is the world capital of terrorism.


Shooting a Shooting

The Justice Department has announced plans to investigate another police shooting. Once again, a black man was fatally shot. And once again, the shooting is news and the investigation is happening because of one key factor: Video. From WaPo: Outrage after video captures white Baton Rouge police officer fatally shooting a black man.

+ Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards: "Based on the footage of the video, I have very serious concerns. The video is disturbing to say the least."


Mouse That Roars

"The richest 1 percent in America have almost 40 percent of our country's wealth, while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of the debt. This is largely the result of technology. And just wait until our work force is truly affected by the rise of robots and automation ... Technology is also likely to be at the center of the next major geopolitical battle." Technology is shrinking the world and widening the wealth gap. It also may provide the front lines for the next world war. From Nick Bilton in Vanity Fair: Are we at the start of a tech world war? Man, all I wanted to do was to be able to stream a movie once in a while.


Snapchat, Crackle, Pop

Snapchat's original appeal was that you could send images to people that would disappear shortly after they were viewed. Maybe it's the size of the social network or the fact that no one really cares about having their naked selfies disappear anyway. Whatever it is, Snapchat is moving further and further away from disappearing messages with a new product call Memories. These days, the only thing that disappears is our privacy.

+ In introducing the new feature, Snapchat may have come up with the most "tech" headline ever.

+ "These are status bars, maybe a few update messages, to construct a facade of slow, hard, thoughtful work, even though the computer is done calculating your query." FastCo on the UX secret that will ruin apps for you.


What Ailes You

"I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you'd be good and better and I'd be good and better ... sometimes problems are easier to solve' that way." Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit Roger Ailes.


Little Steven

"You are exquisitely uncomfortable with yourself. You are pimpled, wimpy, and Jewish, and you are bullied for all of it. Nickname: the Retard. One day your class has to run a mile, and eventually only you and one other boy are left slogging around the track. This other kid actually is intellectually disabled. But now he's gaining on you, and the entire class is cheering, yelling, 'C'mon, beat Spielberg!'" From Wired's Jon Mooallem: Inside The Mind Of Steven Spielberg, Hollywood's Big, Friendly Giant.


I Want My Baby Back

"When an American city spills into the great in-between, the way it usually works is first there's an office park, then there's a housing tract, and eventually there's a Chili's." GQ's Daniel Riley takes you Inside the Church of Chili's. (I don't want to push my religious views on anyone, but I've always been a bigger follower of the Synagogue of Sizzler.)


Daddy Knows Quest

"Canadian adventurer Bruce Kirkby decided that his family was in a technology-driven rut, so he set up a grueling journey from British Columbia to Zanskar, a remote region in northern India. The dream was exploration and growth. The reality involved unexpected risks that made him wonder if the whole thing was an epic mistake." Outside's Bruce Kirkby with the pretty amazing story of a 13,000-mile experiment in extreme parenting. My kids complain when I ask them to clean their rooms.


Bottom of the News

Forgot possessions. Peak experiences are everything. For happiness, spend your money on travel and living, not on stuff. Pack your bags, head for the airport, and ... oh wait, it turns buying new stuff can also make you happy.

+ Our homes are getting bigger. Our lawns are getting smaller. The shrinking of the American lawn.

+ "Catholics in Philadelphia who are divorced and civilly remarried will be welcome to accept Holy Communion -- as long as they abstain from sex and live out their relationships like "brother and sister." Wait, what?

+ Is the FDA exaggerating the risks of eating raw cookie dough? Related question: Is life worth living without it?