Friday, February 17th, 2017


The Zuck Stops Here

Note: Nextdraft will be off on Monday and delivery will be sporadic next week.

Earlier this year, as he set out to visit all fifty states, speculation swirled that Mark Zuckerberg might be considering a future run for president. Of course, that theory brings up an obvious question: Why would he want the demotion? He already runs a virtual nation with a population that's headed towards the two billion mark. But like the physical country in which he resides, there is a growing divide in Zuckerberg's online community about the role of globalization. "Facebook stands for bringing us closer together and building a global community. When we began, this idea was not controversial." It is now. And the Internet that was designed to bring us all together may in fact be driving us further apart. As I've mentioned before, the open communication network we thought we were building turned into a hunting ground for trolls and spammers; unavoidable because of our ferocious addiction to our mobile screens. Social media evolved into a confirmation bias-riddled cesspool of lies, hate, and totally unrealistic versions of our lives; which would gradually amount to little more than weightless collections of Retweets and Likes. And somehow -- with more tools to connect than ever before — we made our lives less diverse; racially, politically, and culturally; each of us left to sink in the quicksand that lines the thickening walls of our silos of homogeneity. So we're left with a question. Can Zuck fix it? From Mike Isaac in the NYT: Facebook's Zuckerberg, Bucking Tide, Takes Public Stand Against Isolationism.

+ Cade Metz in Wired: Mark Zuckerberg's answer to a world divided by Facebook is more Facebook. (That's always the technologist's solution to the damage done by technology.)

+ Here's Zuck's 5800-word treatise on Facebook's mission to build global community. (Which might be 5660 words longer than the modern attention span can take.)


Speak No Evil

"What were then fringe issues, such as equality for women and racial minorities, are now social norms in most rich countries. And even in places where they are not, young people espouse such values. However, as a new survey reveals, there is one area where young people's views are not so progressive." The Economist on a shifting trend among young people: They're not all that fired up about free speech. "Fewer than half of those polled agreed that people should be allowed to express non-violent opinions even if they offend minorities."


Weekend Whats

What to Read: "Those working on immortality are long-term thinkers and fall, broadly, into two camps: those who want to free the human from the body, and those who aim to keep the body in a healthy condition for as long as possible." From Anna Weiner in The New Republic: Meet the hackers trying to solve the problem of death. (Believe it or not, this really is a regular topic of discussion among techies. My theory is that they just want their stock options to keep vesting forever.)

+ What to Binge: This pick is from my kids. They weren't big fans of the Lemony Snicket movie, but they locked in and burned right through the Netflix series, A Series of Unfortunate Events.

+ What to Groove: Lately I've been listening to a lot of British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka. I think you'll dig it. Start with these two songs: One More Night and Love and Hate.


Up on Mainstreet

"I think the biggest thing that has changed here is the attitude about what's possible. I think there's really a can-do spirit and we're going to do it ourselves. If you wait for someone to help you, it will never happen." FastCo on how a small, rural Mississippi town revitalized a decaying main street, and turned boarded-up buildings into a brewery, a cafe, and even a coding school.


Fire Extinguisher

Yesterday, I referred to the president's wild press conference as a Trumpster Fire. And many people agreed (including several conservative news outlets). But it's worth a reminder that we don't all see things the same way. From Newshour: Trump supporters cheer his combative stance with the media. From The Atlantic: One Press Conference, Two Audiences. And from Chris Cillizza:
Why yesterday was Donald Trump's favorite day as president.

+ "The trouble with these views, and what makes them cheery but false at best -- or sinister or opportunistic at worst -- is that they are deliberately blind to both the real nature of the man and the real nature of the threats he makes and the lies he tells." Adam Gopnik: Trying (And Failing) Not To Fear So Much About Trump.


EP Eh?

Fire Department Hires Serial Arsonist as New Chief... That headline might seem unlikely. But it's not all that much more unbelievable than this one: Scott Pruitt, longtime adversary of EPA, confirmed to lead the agency.


Dream Catcher

The AP reports that the Department of Homeland Security "considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border."

+ Slate: "The White House promptly denied the AP story, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer told an AP reporter, "I wish you guys asked before you tweeted." (Um, likewise...)

+ LA Times: The White House has found ways to end protection for 'Dreamers' while shielding Trump from blowback.

+ "They love Trump's straight-up, no-nonsense talk. It's how the guys want to talk. Anything Trump does, they're going to defend him at all costs." The New Yorker: The Border Patrol Was Primed For President Trump.


Food Fight

Kraft Heinz Co. just offered $143 billion to take over Unilever. So far, Unilever is resisting the overture. But the deal would mark the biggest takeover in food and beverage history.

+ WSJ: Five Things to Know About Potential Kraft Heinz-Unilever Marriage.

+ Quartz: All the brands that would feature in the largest food conglomerate merger in history (Prepare to scroll...)


I’ll Stick With the Bachelor

"Such an action was done three or four times and they were given a few dollars for it, and with the last target, Kim Jong-nam, allegedly there were dangerous materials in the sprayer. She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents." According to Malaysian authorities, one of the women arrested in the murder of Kim Jong-un's half-brother was duped into believing she was part of a reality show. (I hear that's going around...)


Bottom of the News

"Memo to job-seekers: You've probably got more of a chance walking dogs for a living than teaching kids in the coming decade's labor market." Bloomberg on how demographics are going to drive changes in spending patterns.

+ The Coffee Shaman: "Meet the man responsible for third-wave coffee -- and the Frappuccino."

+ This news is for those in a pretty small cultural bubble, with a lot of spending power: A new bill might make your Kombucha addiction a little less expensive.

+ And from a slightly largely bubble: Pro-Marijuana Lawmakers Form First Ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus. (Maybe the behavior of Congress can be written-off as being the result of a really bad contact high?)