October 2nd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Vegas death toll rises, Tom Petty dies at 66.

The latest, and deadliest, chapter in America’s longest-running storyline occurred on Sunday night as what happens in America happened in Las Vegas. A lone shooter armed with several weapons went on a shooting spree, targeting thousands of attendees of a country music festival from behind a blown out window in a room on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay. At least 58 people were killed and several hundred injured. The shooter turned a gun on himself after police were led to his location by a fire alarm set off by gun smoke. Here’s the latest from The Guardian, along with some photos from the perspective of survivors and first responders.

+ WaPo: Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock was a high-stakes gambler who kept to himself before massacre. So far, there are very few clues about what motivated Paddock. In an odd twist, Paddock’s father was once on the FBI’s most wanted list.

+ Adam Gopnik: “So far, all signs are that it was just a guy — just one more American killer who got his hands on some collection of weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing people, and who then killed people.”

+ James Fallows: Two Dark American Truths From Las Vegas.

+ From a guitarist in band that played before the shooting started: “I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was.”

+ Almost immediately following the shootings, the online hoaxes began. At one point, Facebook’s trending topic page for the Las Vegas shooting featured two posts from a Russian propaganda outlet.

+ Two women described a stranger who shielded them, was shot, and then bled out. “They said they don’t know the man’s name and are still too much in shock to even remember what he looked like.”

+ And yet again, The Onion serves up what sadly has to be the site’s most reused headline ever: ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.


Heartbreaking News

Ugh. Don’t do us like that. The great Tom Petty, one of the most prolific hit makers in rock history, has suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 66. There’s been some confusion in the media regarding his status. The previous link should provide updates. He and the Heartbreakers had just wrapped up their latest tour at the Hollywood Bowl. Petty had suggested this might be his band’s last big tour. “We’re all on the backside of our sixties. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road. This tour will take me away for four months. With a little kid, that’s a lot of time.” (I feel like I should be able to come up with a perfect, memorable line. But Tom Petty already wrote all of those.)

+ For a retrospective on Petty’s amazing rise as one of the greatest songwriters and performers of his generation, check out the documentary Running Down a Dream.


Hurricane Donald

“As the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico continues, Donald Trump has spent the weekend using his favorite medium, his Twitter account, not to soothe emotions or offer succor to the people of the island but to pick an increasingly acrimonious fight with the mayor of San Juan, its largest city, and to tell Puerto Ricans that the lack of water, food, and electricity they are experiencing is not reality but a fabrication by the news media.” That’s probably understating how bad the presidential tweetstorm was. A summary: Trump: “Puerto Rico, don’t believe fake news about damage or my lack of empathy.” Puerto Rico: “Dude, you know we don’t have Internet, right?”

+ NYT: One Day in the Life of Battered Puerto Rico.


Rex Post Facto

While Trump’s tweets about Puerto Rico got the most attention over the weekend, his comments on North Korea might have a more significant impact: “Tweeting from his golf resort in New Jersey on Sunday morning, the President of the United States disparaged the effort to find a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with North Korea. “‘I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man … Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!'” From Evan Osnos in The New Yorker: “Trump‘s personalization of the conflict has introduced a new playbook that seems almost perfectly engineered to trigger Kim’s paranoia and animosity.”

+ Peter Beinart: Why Trump Humiliated His Own Secretary of State. And Eliot Cohen: Rex Tillerson Must Go.

+ “The move strengthens North Korea’s cybersecurity capabilities at a time of heightened tensions with the U.S. — and also reduces its reliance on China.” CNN: Russia just gave North Korea’s internet a big boost.


Cat’s Out of the Bag

“The European commission must encourage international mediation. It cannot look the other way any longer.” After a weekend of tension and violence, the Catalan leader calls for mediation with Spain over independence. Hundreds of people were injured by police while trying to vote on a Catalan referendum calling for independence.

+ Photos from Catalonia’s independence vote.


What the Zuck?

“What is Facebook? We can talk about its scale: Population-wise, it’s larger than any single country; in fact, it’s bigger than any continent besides Asia. At 2 billion members, ‘monthly active Facebook users’ is the single largest non-biologically sorted group of people on the planet after ‘Christians’ — and, growing consistently at around 17 percent year after year, it could surpass that group before the end of 2017 and encompass one-third of the world’s population by this time next year. Outside China, where Facebook has been banned since 2009, one in every five minutes on the internet is spent on Facebook; in countries with only recently high rates of internet connectivity, like Myanmar and Kenya, Facebook is, for all intents and purposes, the whole internet.” NY Mag’s Max Read with a very interesting overview of the size, scope, and power of Facebook. Does Even Mark Zuckerberg Know What Facebook Is?

+ How powerful is tech these days? If the Vanity Fair new establishment list is any indication, very powerful. It’s a clean sweep at the top.

+ NYT: Facebook’s Russia-Linked Ads Came in Many Disguises. And from Recode: Facebook is hiring another 1,000 people to review and remove ads.


America’s Top Finger-Licking Export

“Public health officials see fried chicken, french fries and pizza as spurring and intensifying a global obesity epidemic that has hit hard in Ghana — one of 73 countries where obesity has at least doubled since 1980.” From the NYT: Obesity Was Rising as Ghana Embraced Fast Food. Then Came KFC.


Can’t Sleep? Read This…

“Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young are the joint winners of the 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, winning for their discoveries about how internal clocks and biological rhythms govern human life.” From NPR: Nobel Prize In Medicine is Awarded to 3 Americans for Work on Circadian Rhythm.


Gov and Marriage

When looking at the marital happiness index, a few key stats stand out. First, people with more money tend to be happier in their marriages. And, as Bloomberg reports: Rich Men with Extreme Politics Have the Happiest Marriages. (Or maybe they’re so busy screaming at cable news and flaming people on Twitter, they don’t realize their spouse is gone…)


Bottom of the News

“What initially seemed like a temporary gig turned into a viable, even unexpectedly stable, way to make a living while also learning the nuts and bolts of a fascinating industry.” Danielle Sepulveres on the curious life of an extra.

+ SNL returned over the weekend and featured two solid video pieces. One on the font used for the titles in Avatar (our NextDraft lead designer described this as “the most culturally relevant (to me) sketch SNL ever made.”) And one on a new pair of pants for everyone: Levi’s Wokes.

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