Friday, May 5th, 2017


Race Against Time

Legend has it that a Greek messenger named Philippides ran the entire distance from a battlefield in Marathon to Athens in order to report that the Persians had been defeated. According to Wikipedia, "it is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming ... 'we have won!' ... before collapsing and dying." (This, we now know, was the 490 BC version of getting tired of all the winning.) Compared to some modern-day marathon runners, Philippides may have gotten off easy. At least he didn't have to get up and train again the next morning. The marathon's origin story may seem hard to believe. But it's not nearly as fantastical as the idea that a human being could actually complete the 26.2 mile race in under two hours. But that's just what Nike and a few handpicked runners are trying to do. From Runner's World: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Nike is Trying to Break the 2-Hour Marathon Barrier.

+ Wired has an excellent, short video that helps puts a top marathoner's running pace into perspective. Basically, start sprinting and see how long you can keep it up. Even pretty experienced daily runners and weekend warriors have a hard time keeping up the required pace for more than a minute.

+ These runners may want to drop a few F-bombs along the route. According to a recent study, swearing makes you stronger.


Second Opinion

From WaPo: "House Republicans journeyed to the White House on Thursday for a health-care victory lap in the Rose Garden, but Senate Republicans were in no mood for celebration. Instead, they sent an unmistakable message: When it comes to health care, we're going to do our own thing."

+ The New Yorker's John Cassidy calls the bill "one of the most regressive pieces of legislation in living memory."

+ The NYT: "It is a rare unifying moment. Hospitals, doctors, health insurers and some consumer groups, with few exceptions, are speaking with one voice and urging significant changes to the Republican health care legislation that passed the House on Thursday."

+ Consumer Reports: How the Affordable Care Act Drove Down Personal Bankruptcy.

+ In a bizarre (by historical, if not current standards) statement, President Trump told Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that his country has "better health care than we do." (They have universal health care.)


Weekend Whats

What to Scale: "You know those binders that you put baseball cards in? We put credit cards in them. At this point, I have $25,000 of credit card debt. Joe has tens of thousand of dollars of credit card debt. So this is like make or break. We need a lifeline." Whether you're an entrepreneur or just someone who loves a great story, you'll appreciate Reid Hoffman's new podcast, Masters of Scale. In the first installment, Reid and Brian Chesky take us back to the earliest days of AirBNB.

+ What to Watch: This week, Prince Philip announced that he is standing down from many of his royal duties. That makes this as good a time as any to get started with The Crown on Netflix.

+ What to Read: "By any normal accounting, the chance of a Presidency ending ahead of schedule is remote. In two hundred and twenty-eight years, only one President has resigned; two have been impeached, though neither was ultimately removed from office; eight have died. But nothing about Trump is normal." Evan Osnos piece in The New Yorker focuses on President Trump, but more broadly, it's an interesting look at what recourse people have when they think their president is unfit. How Trump Could Get Fired. If you're more in the mood for a listen than a read, Osnos was on Fresh Air with Terry Gross earlier this week.


Un Believable?

"The allegations made by North Korea are detailed. They gave names of people supposedly involved in the plot, dates on which key characters communicated with each other and the amounts of money that allegedly changed hands. But that is not proof that there is any truth to the accusations." From BBC: North Korea claims CIA plotted to kill Kim Jong-un.

+ Time: Otto Warmbier Has Been a Prisoner of North Korea Since the Start of 2016. Has America Forgotten Him?


Skin Deep

"He quickly realized that he was going to be the source of cash, not labor. His brother-in-law, working with three of his friends, tied up Mr. João with a rope and took him to the side of a main road, where they planned to sell him for his body parts ... Superstition in Mozambique and nearby countries like Malawi and Tanzania holds that if you have a piece of albinism on you -- in the form of a bone or piece of skin -- you'll have luck and money. In Mozambique a person with albinism can be worth $4,000 to $75,000." From the NYT's Daniel Rodrigues: The Hunted.


Plastic Rap

"By 2050, plastic will outweigh fish in the oceans, according to a study presented at this year's World Economic Forum by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation." A well-backed UK startup hopes to reverse the trend with a machine that can turn plastic into oil. The "machine, about the size of a tennis court, churns all sorts of petroleum-based products -- cling wrap, polyester clothing, carpets, electronics -- back into oil. It takes less than a second and the resulting fuel, called Plaxx, can be used to make plastic again or power ship engines."

+ The Economist: Plastic-eating caterpillars could save the planet. (Instead of butterflies, these caterpillars turn into frisbees.)


Don’t Get High on Your Own Supply

"In extraordinary court filings, he details a miserable -- and increasingly fruitless -- odyssey to get pain relief from these opioids following a debilitating car accident. The pain subsided only when he stopped using opioids and turned to marijuana." That excerpt alone hardly sounds unique enough to make for a fascinating news story. That perspective changes when you learn the person being described was a top sales executive for opioid maker.


London Calling

"Movies, always the realm of fantasy, are now further removed from reality than ever. Actors do their acting in spandex suits on blank stages, delivering their lines to position markers and balls on sticks. Then an army of VFX artists transports them back in time, adds dragon companions or blows up their car. Audiences love it." But in an interesting twist, the move to CGI-powered movies has moved the movie business away from Hollywood. And, unlike other industries, special effects studios aren't moving to places known for their low costs. Think London and Vancouver. Here's the NYT Magazine on Why Hollywood's Most Thrilling Scenes Are Now Orchestrated Thousands of Miles Away. (If someone is saving money in London, you know special effects have to be involved.)


Doc My Pay

I'd like to officially welcome NextDraft's newest sponsor, Quip by Salesforce. Quip offers what they call living documents. And with chat, checklists, and other elegant collaboration tools, Quip provides a really cool and effective way to work together on docs, projects, and more. I'm famous for throwing tantrums every time someone suggests even the smallest edit to my work, and even I like collaborating on Quip.


Bottom of the News

"Unlike in other trivia competitions, teams here are free to leverage any resource they want -- including Google. As a result, in recent years the competition has turned into a showcase for some of the world's most skilled internet users." The Outline on a trivia contest that seems tailor made for me. In Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the questions are trivial. But the pursuit is not.

+ Two words: Caffeinated Bagels. (If I wanted my bagels with more pep, I'd have ordered a donut.)

+ At long last, Amazon's video app may finally be coming to Apple TV.

+ I can't explain this video that features Steph Curry. But, really, you have to watch it.