Wednesday, April 5th, 2017


A Case of the Human Condition

Anyone who's had experience with depression knows that finding the appropriate treatment or medication is a trial and error process. We're often unable to identify the psychological or biological drivers behind the affliction, and different drugs affect different people in different ways (and, sadly, those drug interactions can often prove to be paradoxical). The research is still at its early stages, but some psychiatrists who are deploying technologies like brain scans and machine learning think they're beginning to crack the code.


Rice Capades

"I think it's going to be the biggest story. It's such an important story for our country and the world. It is one of the big stories of our time." That was President Trump on Susan Rice. "I think he shouldn't have settled; personally I think he shouldn't have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don't think Bill did anything wrong." That was the president on Bill O'Reilly. Here's more from his interview with the NYT.

+ "The realignment increases the influence of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, whose public stances were sometimes at odds with those of Bannon." Steve Bannon has been removed from Trump's national security council. What does the shift (along with other recent organizational moves) tell us about the Trump White House? While Bannon is out, Rick Perry is in.


Chemical Reactions

"One young boy was filmed slowly suffocating on the ground, his chest heaving and his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. Photographs show dead children lined up in rows on the floor or piled in heaps in the back of a vehicle, their clothes ripped from them by rescuers who used hoses to try to wash the chemicals from their bodies. Other images show victims foaming from their mouths or writhing on the ground as they struggle for air. Hours after the attack began, witnesses say regime warplanes circled back over the area and dropped bombs on a clinic treating survivors." The Economist on the chemical attack in Syria: A dictator defies the world.

+ "As Trump and his advisers go through the options for a potential military strike, they will no doubt be thinking the same thing: If Assad falls, what comes after?" Dexter Filkins on Trump's Moment Of Terrible Truth In Syria.

+ "That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact. My attitude towards Syria and Assad has changed very much ... I'm not saying I'm doing anything one way or another, but I'm certainly not going to be telling you." Trump says the chemical attack crossed many, many lines.


It’s the Principal of the Thing

"They were at a loss that something that was so easy for them to see was waiting to be noticed by adults." From WaPo: These high school journalists investigated a new principal's credentials. Days later, she resigned. (If these kids keep it up, they may grow up to be enemies of the American people.)

+ The Omidyar network is donating $100 million across several organizations to boost journalism and fight hate speech.


A Custodial Account

"He was clearly bright, as evidenced by his class rank and teachers' praise. He had a supportive recommendation from his college counselor and an impressive list of extracurriculars. Even with these qualifications, he might not have stood out. But one letter of recommendation caught my eye. It was from a school custodian." A former admissions director at Dartmouth on the most memorable letter of recommendation she's ever read.

+ "Honestly, to have one child from a family be accepted to a school like this is amazing. But for all four to be accepted -- I just don't, I don't know how it happened." WaPo on the Ohio quadruplets who all earned spots at Yale and Harvard.

+ Bloomberg: Video gaming becomes a scholarship sport at University of Utah. (This is why I keep telling my kids to put down the damn books and grab a joystick.)


Trending on a Low Note

"Would be nice to get Susan Rice trending,' he tweeted at 8:16. And then he made exactly that happen." From Buzzfeed's Joseph Bernstein: Never Mind The Russians, Meet The Bot King Who Helps Trump Win Twitter.


Me, Myself, and Identity

"Who was this woman who had slipped on the sheath of my identity, who had assumed my birthday, and even my middle name, I often wondered? How did she get it, and what did she want with it?" Lisa Selin Davis in The Guardian: For 18 years, I thought she was stealing my identity. Until I found her.


Bok Choys in the Hood

"Weaving through that kitchen, with only a week to go, Patterson found a pot of rice burning on the stove. His angular and sensitive face twitched with fury before he remembered the cardinal kitchen rule that Choi, who happened to appear just then, made for Patterson and other outsiders. To wit: 'You cannot yell at people in Watts.'" California Sunday Magazine: Disillusioned with fine dining, one of the world's great chefs took on fast food. It has been harder than he ever imagined.

+ "Trying to get enough bones is really hard. You have to remember, [bones] were waste products that were going to dog food. Farmers were ecstatic if they could get anything for them." From NPR: Broth-Loving Hipsters Are Pushing Up The Price Of Bones.


Skit Gets Real

"Seventy-eight of these women have left the show, either because Andy Cohen, the show's executive producer, fired them, they quit, their series was canceled, or some combination of the above. Most of them have struggled to move beyond the Housewives realm, which has branded their identities, financial prospects, and world views -- and not in a good way." From Vice: What Happens After You Leave the Real Housewives? (Apparently, riding a reality TV gig to the highest office in the land is no easy task...)


Bottom of the News

After twenty-four hours of nonstop criticism (and memes), Pepsi has pulled its Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad saying that they "missed the mark."(To me, the bigger controversy about that ad is that no one who drinks Pepsi could possibly be that thin). Where I live in Northern California, the cop would have turned down the Pepsi and asked Kendall Jenner if she had any Kombucha.

+ When my wife Gina Pell wrote about the idea of Perennials, the article went wildly viral and got translated into several different languages. This week, she talked to CNN's Laurie Segall about the movement: Forget Millennials! Perennial is the new ageless label.

+ Hey, NextDraft got nominated for a Webby for best newsletter, and there's a people's choice category as well. So, what do you say we completely bury the competition?