Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017


Beauty and the Beast

Ariana Grande sings the title track from Beauty and the Beast, and that's an apt headline for the miserable news of a suicide bombing that killed at least 22 people who were attending Grande's concert in Manchester. The beauty of young people gathering to enjoy music and community was squelched by the all-too familiar, beastly sound of an explosion. ISIS claimed responsibility and the bomber, a British man, has been named. Here's the latest from BBC and more from The Guardian.

+ "Like the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, it's something so horrific in intent and execution that it boggles the mind." From The Atlantic: The Horror of an Attack Targeting Young Women.

+ Manchester, United: From Buzzfeed: People of Manchester are responding to the concert attack with acts of kindness.

+ Some people complained about the security at the venue, but the bomber exploited a common vulnerability.

+ From President Trump: "I won't call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that's what they are. They're losers. And we'll have more of them. But they're losers—just remember that."

+ According to Variety, Ariana Grande hasn't decided whether or not to cancel her tour. Here's my message to Ariana: Don't cancel the rest of the tour. Pick up your mic and keep singing, louder than ever. Beastly acts must be met with more beauty, more community, and more music; not less.


Liberty From Statue

Earlier this week in New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a speech to address his city's much-debated decision to take down several statues that were seen by many as Confederate monuments. The speech itself is a monument to unity and diversity. "These statues are not just stone and metal. They are not just innocent remembrances of a benign history. These monuments purposefully celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy; ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, and the terror that it actually stood for ... Can you look into that young girl's eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?"


China Grove

People in China are starting to eat more like Americans. And there are a lot of them. That means China is in a race to avoid a food crisis. And the country's "efforts to buy or lease agricultural land in developing nations show that building farms and ranches abroad won't be enough. Ballooning populations in Asia, Africa and South America will add another 2 billion people within a generation and they too will need more food."


Cache Register

Advertisers target you online. Later, you make a related purchase at a terrestrial store. Connecting those two things has long been "described as the 'holy grail' of digital advertising." Now, with the help of some powerful algorithms and the data from billions of credit card transactions, Google is trying to successfully make the link. "Google executives say they are using complex, patent-pending mathematical formulas to protect the privacy of consumers when they match a Google user with a shopper who makes a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. The mathematical formulas convert people's names and other personal information into anonymous strings of numbers." (And besides, when has a giant tech company ever infringed on your privacy?) From WaPo: Google now knows when its users go to the store and buy stuff.


Collude Conduct

Another day, and another damaging story about President Trump's interactions with intelligence agencies. On Monday, WaPo broke the news that "Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election."

+ Former CIA Director John Brennan testifying before the House Intelligence Committee: "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals."

+ WaPo on the White House budget proposal: Trump proposes dramatic changes to federal government, slashing safety net programs that affect up to a fifth of Americans.


Bear Calls Bull

"The environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico went to San Francisco last month to sign a global pact -- drafted largely by California -- to lower planet-warming greenhouse pollution. Gov. Jerry Brown flies to China next month to meet with climate leaders there on a campaign to curb global warming." As the Trump administration looks to dismantle the Obama environmental record, California has emerged as a key counterbalance, with Gov Jerry Brown maintaining a environmentally-focused course for state: "Erasing climate change may take place in Donald Trump's mind, but nowhere else." From the NYT: California Engages World, and Fights Washington, on Climate Change.


Happen Stance

"Still, she couldn't shake the gap between what she had been told her entire life, and what she felt -- that perhaps the story wasn't true. She and Matt weren't especially close, but he seemed like the only person she could ask. When Katie was twelve and Matt sixteen, she cornered him. 'It's so weird,' she said to her brother. 'I don't remember any of the things they say he did to us.' 'You don't remember,' Matt said, 'because it didn't happen.'" From Maurice Chammah at The Marshall Project: The Accusation.


What the Struck

"My whole body was just stopped -- I couldn't move any more. The pain was… I can't explain the pain except to say if you've ever put your finger in a light socket as a kid, multiply that feeling by a gazillion throughout your entire body. And I saw a white light surrounding my body –- it was like I was in a bubble. Everything was slow motion. I felt like I was in a bubble for ever." From Mosaic: This is what it's like to be struck by lightning. (These days, it's also what it feels like to open a bunch of news tabs.)


Knowledge Font

"Typography can silently influence: It can signify dangerous ideas, normalize dictatorships, and sever broken nations. In some cases it may be a matter of life and death. And it can do this as powerfully as the words it depicts." Ben Hersch on how fonts are fueling the culture wars.


Bottom of the News

"The brainchild of CEO Jeff Bezos, there are now two stands on its corporate campus staffed with 'banistas' led by 'bananagers' who give out bananas to anyone and everyone nearby, whether that's one banana for breakfast or a dozen." Amazon has disrupted a lot of industries and markets. And it turns out, that includes bananas.

+ Butter has been making a comeback. And now it's getting hip. The Atlantic explores "the science behind butter's subtle variations, as well as its long history as a vehicle for both ritual worship and female entrepreneurship around the world."

+ President Trump briefly visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum during his visit to Israel. And he left behind a note that is so, well, Trump.

+ Spread the word about NextDraft.