December 14th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Net neutrality goes in reverse, Disney builds a bigger mousetrap, and the big damage done by small hands.

It’s the end of the URL as we know it. These days, nothing on the Internet is neutral. So maybe it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the FCC has decided that the Internet itself won’t be either. By a 3-2 vote (because why shouldn’t the future of human communication come down to one person?), US telecom regulators voted to repeal net neutrality: “The rules, put in place in 2015, banned cable and telecom companies from blocking or slowing down any websites or apps. They also prohibited broadband providers from striking special deals that would give some websites or apps ‘priority’ over others.” The decision is bad news for consumers, small businesses, startups, and indie publishers (at least my publication is all text). Now that net neutrality is over, maybe I can get my broadband provider to throttle Trump’s Tweets.

+ Due to a security scare, the FCC hearing room had to be evacuated immediately before the vote. (The powerful left via the nearest exit. The less powerful took the slower path.)

+ Here’s how an end to net neutrality will affect you. (Most Americans don’t understand how net neutrality rules can impact them directly. When their free p-rn buffers, they’ll get it.)

+ The vote will set off a legal battle. Here’s what happens next.

+ The Wired guide to the net neutrality fight.


Vape of You

Teens are smoking fewer cigarettes, drinking less alcohol, and abusing drugs at the lowest rate since the 90s. But they are heavy into vaping (“last year, 1 out of every 3 high school seniors used a vape or e-cigarette”) and they’re smoking lot of pot (though, not as much as their parents).


Building a Bigger Mousetrap

Bob Iger has been on a buying spree since he took the reins at Disney, and he just made his biggest purchase yet with a $52.4-billion deal to buy much of Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment empire. Quartz has a good overview of what Disney is buying and what it means.

+ Go a little deeper with some analysis from the always interesting Ben Thompson.


Small Hands, Big Damage

Trump’s first year in office hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. But it’s been much worse than most Americans realize. There’s not room on the internet to create an exhaustive list of damage done, so in the spirit of the holiday season, here’s my look at The Twelve Oy Veys of Christmas.

+ “As aides persisted, Trump became agitated. He railed that the intelligence couldn’t be trusted and scoffed at the suggestion that his candidacy had been propelled by forces other than his own strategy, message and charisma.” WaPo: Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked.


You’re Not Dreaming

You might not expect to see Tim Cook and Charles Koch share a byline. But it happened in today’s Washington Post: “If ever there were an occasion to come together to help people improve their lives, this is it. By acting now to ensure that Dreamers can realize their potential by continuing to contribute to our country, Congress can reaffirm this essential American ideal.”


Getting Down to the Brass Tax

The Senate and House Republicans are close to striking a final deal on tax reform, and a bill could be passed as soon as next week. From Vox, here’s an explanation of what’s in the bill as of right now.

+ Bloomberg: “Two Republican senators have criticized tax cuts for the highest earners: Susan Collins of Maine and Marco Rubio of Florida. Together, their opposition could kill the bill — though it’s by no means clear that either would withhold support over the latest plan for high-end rate relief.”


Craft (Denial of) Services

“The most dramatic cybersecurity story of 2016 came to a quiet conclusion Friday in an Anchorage courtroom, as three young American computer savants pleaded guilty to masterminding an unprecedented botnet … that unleashed sweeping attacks on key internet services around the globe last fall. What drove them wasn’t anarchist politics or shadowy ties to a nation-state. It was Minecraft.” Garrett Graff in Wired: How a dorm room Minecraft scam brought down the internet.


Mall Drats

Yes, online sales are surging. And yes, the malls are feeling the pain. But as Barry Ritholtz explains, it’s not just that the ecommerce players are changing everything. It’s that the offline retailers aren’t changing anything at all: Retailers Still Haven’t Caught Up to Millennials.


Coat of Arms

“This past August, Miguel Caballero shot his wife, Carolina Ballesteros, for the second time in nine years.” He wasn’t trying to hurt her. He was just trying to show people that the clothes he sells can stop bullets. Talk about the right product line at the right time. Racked takes you Inside America’s Growing Bulletproof Clothing Industry. (Maybe they should make Christmas sweaters out of this stuff.)


Bottom of the News

“Back in February 1997, Barry Appelman, an AOL engineer, was granted a patent for something opaquely called ‘User definable on-line co-user lists.'” The rest is history. And that history ends tomorrow as the AIM service is officially shut down. (Everyone leaves me in the end…)

+ Reminder: Tomorrow is the final Feel Good Friday of the year. So if you find positive, uplifting news stories, hit reply and send me a link.

+ NYT: Can smiling while exercising improve performance? (If you’re smiling, you’re probably in good enough shape already.)

+ Here’s a year-end list I didn’t see coming: The Year in Volcanic Activity.

+ Scheduling Note: NextDraft will be off for a couple weeks, from Dec 18th thru the new year.

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