Thursday, September 8th, 2016


Genius is as Genius Does

Due to my travel schedule, NextDraft will not be published on Friday.

"Such results contradict long-established ideas suggesting that expert performance is built mainly through practice -- that anyone can get to the top with enough focused effort of the right kind. SMPY, by contrast, suggests that early cognitive ability has more effect on achievement than either deliberate practice or environmental factors such as socio-economic status." Before you steal the lunch money from a precociously gifted young person, consider the strong likelihood that they will one day be running the world. Sergey Brin was one. So was Mark Zuckerberg. So was Lady Gaga. From Nature (and not nurture), lessons from a 45-year study of super-smart children: How to raise a genius. Step one, start with a genius.

+ "A baby giraffe can stand within an hour of birth, and can even potentially flee predators on its first day of life. A monkey can grasp its mother and hang on for protection and nourishment. A human infant can't even hold up its own head." From The New Yorker's Maria Konnikova: Why are babies so dumb if humans are so smart?


Spinning Records

During presidential elections, we hear regular calls for candidates to release their medical records. But your medical records aren't something you release. They're something you'd have to collect. And even a couple decades into the information age, that collection is going to be complicated and it will likely include a lot of old fashioned paper. From NYT Upshot: The notion of a single file, containing medical records, is a fiction.


New Kid in Town

"Johnny Christensen, a stout and silver-whiskered retired bank employee, always thought of himself as sympathetic to people fleeing war and welcoming to immigrants. But after more than 36,000 mostly Muslim asylum seekers poured into Denmark over the past two years, Mr. Christensen, 65, said, 'I've become a racist.'" Denmark's reputation and self-perception are being tested by an influx of refugees from Syria.

+ WaPo: A Danish school now separates children by ethnicity.


Nine Eleven at Fifteen

"The symptoms these patients have are terrifying. They will suddenly wake up and find they cannot breathe." As we approach the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, Newsweek looks at its second wave: Cancer and other diseases linked to the 2001 attacks are surging.


Let’s Redirect Some of That Energy

"Let's take these individuals who are vulnerable to ISIS' recruitment messaging and instead show them information that refutes it." Can Google change the intentions of would-be Jihadis by creating an anti-ISIS search advertising campaign? Andy Greenberg on Google's clever plan to redirect aspiring ISIS recruits.


Party of One

"He is not fat, but the job stands between him and leanness: he can't turn down food. 'My body is not my own.'" The New Yorker's Ian Parker on the unique job of making or breaking restaurants as the NYT food critic. Pete Wells Has His Knives Out.

+ "Bear with me. This isn't some smug tirade against a widely beloved populist icon. Nor is it about to become some semi-precious ode to the important myth status of mass consumer goods. I don't have a horse in this race. I'm just setting up how I lived twenty-four years without ever trying Coke, or any cola for that matter." From Eater: The 24-Year-Old Coca-Cola Virgin.


Lego My Aleppo

"Johnson's inability to locate Aleppo, where men, women, and children are being eradicated every day, most recently by chlorine-gas attacks, was pathetic, the equivalent of a candidate for President in 1964 being unable to summon the location of Hanoi or Saigon." David Remnick on Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson who asked this question during an interview: "And what is Aleppo?" (In fairness, most Americans don't know what a Gary Johnson is either.)

+ InFocus has a photo essay for those who need a refresher: What is Aleppo? This is Aleppo.

+ Gary Johnson's spotlight-grabbing lack of knowledge was good news for Matt Lauer who was taking a ton of heat for what many of his colleagues saw as a poor performance during an NBC forum with Clinton and Trump. (You expected Matt Lauer to get tough with Donald Trump? He couldn't even get the truth out of Ryan Lochte.)


Here Kitty, Kitty

"Because they're so cute and beloved, we have little conception of -- and little incentive to find out -- how much damage cats are doing to our environment. When researcher Scott Loss tallied up the number of animals killed by North American housecats in a single year, the results were absolutely staggering: between 6.3 and 22.3 billion mammals, between 1.3 and 4 billion birds, between 95 and 299 million amphibians, and between 258 and 822 million reptiles." The LA Review of Books with The Case Against Cats. (I've slept with one eye open for the last couple decades.)


Hole-y War

Buzzfeed's John Paczkowski on why Apple killed the headphone jack. (Don't complain or they'll take away the screen next.)

+ Quartz: By scrapping your antiquated headphones, Apple is doing something extraordinary for music. Or at least doing something audiophiles have been doing for years. (I heard that If you push the EarPods a little further into your ear, you can use Apple Pay without a device.)


Bottom of the News

Students at Virginia Tech are about to be guinea pigs in a study of how humans will adapt to life in the future. Yes, Alphabet and Chipotle are bringing burrito delivery drones to campus. I assume at some point they'll test the system with real burritos.

+ As football season approaches, here's a look at the origins of all 32 NFL team names.

+ I'll be out on Friday, so we'll miss Weekend Whats this week. But last week's really should be enough to keep you going for a while.