Tuesday, November 20th, 2018



NextDraft will be off over the long holiday weekend. Have a great Thanksgiving.

"The conviction that demons exist—and that they exist to harass, derange, and smite human beings—stretches back as far as religion itself ... But far from being confined to a past of Demiurges and evil eyes, belief in demonic possession is widespread in the United States today. Polls conducted in recent decades by Gallup and the data firm YouGov suggest that roughly half of Americans believe demonic possession is real. The percentage who believe in the devil is even higher, and in fact has been growing: Gallup polls show that the number rose from 55 percent in 1990 to 70 percent in 2007." Even with robots taking over our jobs, there are a few industries where you'll still see help wanted signs hanging in the window. For example, if you've ever considered going into the exorcism business, this is your moment. In The Atlantic, Mike Mariani shares a story that, oddly enough, seems perfectly timed for holiday-season family get togethers and Black Friday shopping sprees. American Exorcism. "Priests are fielding more requests than ever for help with demonic possession, and a centuries-old practice is finding new footing in the modern world."


Debbie Dow-ner

"Much of the fall has been driven by troubles at the so-called Faang companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) whose phenomenal growth had driven stock markets to record highs." The Guardian: US stock markets continue to fall, erasing 2018 gains.


Lunatic, Asylum

"Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden." AP: US judge stalls enforcement of Trump asylum restrictions.

+ "The 5,800 troops who were rushed to the southwest border amid President Donald Trump's pre-election warnings about a refugee caravan will start coming home as early as this week — just as some of those migrants are beginning to arrive." Politico: Troops at U.S.-Mexican border to start coming home. (It must be nice when your enablers are so craven that you don't even have to bother hiding your sick deceptions...)

+ After a week during which Trump failed to attend a WWI memorial because it was sprinkling and attacked "a war hero for not capturing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden sooner," President Trump is now discussing a possible troop visit in Afghanistan or Iraq. According to one official: "He's never been interested in going ... He's afraid of those situations. He's afraid people want to kill him."

+ Meanwhile, Trump continues to question the CIA conclusion that Saudi crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi's death.


Where There’s Smoke

"It feels like a ratcheting up of calamitous forces already well underway. Yes, the Camp fire is the most destructive in California's history. But the largest fire in California's history, the Mendocino Complex fire, was also in 2018. The second-largest fire? It was in 2017. The second most destructive? Also in 2017. And the fires now burn nearly all year round; there is no more 'fire season.'" Mat Honan: There's No Looking Away From This Year's California Fires.

+ California wildfire smoke has now made it all the way to New York City.

+ After nearly two weeks of burning, the rains are finally going to come to Northern California. That's great news, right? Not exactly.

+ Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on who's at fault: "I will lay this on the foot of the environmental radicals that have prevented us from managing the forests for years, and you know what, this is on them." (Rake News!)


Mail Pattern Balderdash

"The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter's practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. He attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her 'Crooked Hillary' for using a personal email account as secretary of state." Can a story be both surprising and unsurprising at the same time? WaPo: Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business last year. (Next, we're gonna find out that Jared was really born in Kenya...)

+ The best/worst part of the story: Ivanka claims she was unaware that sending government-related emails from one's personal account was frowned upon.


True Confession?

"So far we don't have any false information coming from him." That comment from the Ector County district attorney is extremely ominous. It's in reference to the claim by Samuel Little that in addition to the three murders he's been convicted of, he's committed 87 more. WaPo: He claims he's America's deadliest serial killer. Police believe him.


Your Chair Has Legs

"Research, however, suggests that warnings about sitting at work are overblown, and that standing desks are overrated as a way to improve health." NYT Upshot: Why Standing Desks Are Overrated. (This is further evidence that if you just sit around long enough, every health fad will trend back in your direction.)


Dough Boys

"I think it's funny that people would think they'd disrupt something that has this 6,000-year history to it. It's not that easy to step into the river and change its course." Techies are increasingly taking a break from making dough to bake it. Eater: How the Silicon Valley set fell in love with sourdough and decided to disrupt craft of making bread.


Wing Nuts

"But maybe the weirdest thing about the turkey-pardon tradition — and there are a lot of weird things about it — is its origin. It can be traced directly back to, of all things, the Iran-Contra scandal." NPR: The Presidential Turkey Pardon's Weird Roots. (Trump continued the tradition, but only pardoned the white meat.)


Bottom of the News

"A 1982 paper reported that cat papillae had the shape of a hollow cone, but newer technology used by the Georgia Tech researchers revealed that the spines actually curved backwards towards the throat." This story makes me feel nostaligic for the kind of content the internet was designed to distribute: How cat tongues work—and can inspire human tech.

+ "The real reason to read Amazon reviews — specifically that trail of reviews left by one person, product after product — is to get a glimpse into a life utterly unlike your own." Just in time for your holiday shopping, here's a look at what Amazon reviews reveal about humanity.

+ In case you missed it, last night the Rams and Chiefs participated in the greatest regular season NFL game ever.

+ Looking for an excuse to get out of hand-washing dishes on Thanksgiving? It's bad for the environment.

+ Need some holiday weekend reading? The NYT is out with its list of 100 Notable Books of 2018. Have a great holiday weekend.