June 15th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Our collective IQ is dropping, the rich get richer, Manafort goes to jail, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

It could be the screen you’re staring at right now. It could be some mysterious environmental factor. Maybe there’s been a change to the nutrients you’re getting (or not getting) from the food you eat. Maybe you’ve been watching a lot of cable news lately? Whatever it is, our pretty decent streak of increasing IQ scores has come to a screeching halt over the past couple of decades. We better figure out the cause soon — if current trends continue, this may be as smart as we’re gonna be. From CNN: IQ scores have been steadily falling for the past few decades, and environmental factors are to blame.

+ Inc compared the average IQ scores in all 50 states. My home state of California is near the bottom of the list. (I never said collecting the day’s most fascinating news was rocket science…)


Bootie Haul

According to the latest numbers, millionaires and billionaires now hold almost half of global personal wealth, up from slightly less than 45 percent in 2012. Does the rich getting richer mean the poor are getting poorer? Not exactly. According to the report’s author: “What it means is that everyone is getting richer. Specifically, we believe that the rich are getting richer faster.” Where are the most millionaires being minted? “China will continue to experience similar growth as in the past and this will mean that over the next five years, there will be more wealth created in China than in the US.”


Weekend Whats

What to Read: “Whether the Western way of life, and our liberal democratic systems, can survive this dramatic shift of global power is the question of this book. The answer is not entirely in our hands. But our response so far has been to accelerate the shift. Donald Trump’s victory crystallises the West’s failure to come to terms with the reality it faces.” One book can’t explain the world. But this one provides a solid overview of what’s going on right here, right now. The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce. (I nodded so much while reading this I almost threw my neck out…)

+ What to Pod: “It was perhaps the most shocking crime the small town had ever seen. Investigators charged a man named Curtis Flowers with the murders. What followed was a two-decade legal odyssey in which Flowers was tried six times for the same crime. He remains on death row, though some people believe he’s innocent.” Yes, you read that right. Six times. And each time, the same prosecutor brought the case. For a riveting look at a bizarre case, check out APM’s latest podcast: In the Dark.

+ What to Wear: We’ve got shirts, we’ve got hats, we’ve got stickers. Check out the new NextDraft Store.


Phone Case

“I cannot turn a blind eye to this. This isn’t middle school, I can’t take your phone.” And with that, a judge ruled that Paul Manafort tampered with witnesses and must go directly to jail where he’ll remain until his trial in September.

+ The move puts more pressure on Manafort to cop a plea. Meanwhile, Michael Cohen has signalled an openness to cooperating with federal investigators.


Friends, Romans, Feckless Countrymen

“There are two dominant places in American history when Romans 13 is invoked. One is during the American Revolution [when] it was invoked by loyalists, those who opposed the American Revolution. [The other] is in the 1840s and 1850s, when Romans 13 is invoked by defenders of the South or defenders of slavery to ward off abolitionists who believed that slavery is wrong.” And now we have a third example. From WaPo: Sessions cites Bible passage used to defend slavery in defense of separating immigrant families. (We need a separation of church and hate…)

+ Meanwhile, President Trump indicated that he hates to see the children separated from their parents (he doesn’t), that it’s the law (it’s not), and that “the Democrats forced that law upon our nation.” (They didn’t.)


Rx Marks the Spot

“The recent suicides of celebrities Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade have prompted many of us to look more closely at what may drive people to depression or to end their own lives. One risk factor has gotten little attention in this discussion: the medications people take.” From Vox: More than a third of American adults use medications that list depression as a risk, and a quarter use drugs that increase the risk of suicide.

+ Economist: How heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness.

+ Teen Survey Shows Fewer Are Having Sex, But More Are Feeling Despair.


Pregnant Pause

“When she got pregnant, Erin Murphy, a senior employee at the financial giant Glencore, was belittled on the trading floor. After returning from maternity leave, she was told to pump milk in a supply closet cluttered with recycling bins.” From the NYT: Pregnancy Discrimination Is Rampant Inside America’s Biggest Companies.


Menage a Blah

From The Cut: My Boyfriend, My Husband, and Me. “We were also primed for it by watching Big Love. It’s definitely melodramatic, but we loved the idea of sharing parents, and sitting down at a table with your partners with a calendar and making a schedule for the domestic labor. Scheduling is as much a part of non-monogamy as sex, though sex is what monogamous people tend to focus on when they hear about non-monogamy.” (I would have considered a shared calendar, but to each their own…)


Selfie Stick Ups

“Hotels evaluate influencers on several criteria, trying to sift through an enormous amount of BS. ‘We have quite a strict process. We look at engagement more than anything else … We have to filter out influencers who have basically bought bots. There’s a lot of those these days.'” The Atlantic: Instagram’s Wannabe-Stars Are Driving Luxury Hotels Crazy.


Feel Good Friday

A friend recently turned me on to Watsi, a site that lets you directly fund life-changing surgeries for people around the world. I funded a few. And it made me feel good. See if it works for you.

+ “You have Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. James Corden has Carpool Karaoke. What’s next in lazy car based non-comedy?” Jerry Seinfeld & Cardi B: Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis.

+ “As the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia, with matches held in massive modern arenas, here is a look at the beautiful game in action in some smaller and more unusual venues around the world.”

+ “Met with a boom of cheers from a nearby crowd, Mandy Horvath collapsed at 14,115 feet above sea-level. She had accomplished the unthinkable – summiting one of Colorado’s famed fourteeners, Pikes Peak … as a double leg amputee.”

+ Paraguay is the first country in Americas to eliminate malaria in 45 years.

+ McDonald’s to switch to paper straws in UK after customer campaign.

+ It’s definitely not feel good news, but there is something oddly beautiful about flying port a potties.

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