Friday, February 1st, 2019


The Skipping Breakfast Club

During our frenzied drives to school my kids often reflect on what it might be like to have decent, "normal" parents who actually feed their kids breakfast in the morning. If they had stopped the hangry yelling long enough, I would have informed them that they've been hoodwinked. "It turns out the research on eating breakfast has been far, far less conclusive than either your mother or Tony the Tiger would have you believe." Cereal companies have spent years trying to convince you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But scientists not on their payroll keep confirming that it's all just a myth. (I'd love to see the look on my kids' faces when they read today's lead story. But they'll probably be too hungry to focus on it because I also forgot to pack them a lunch.)


Pullout Methodology

"The United States announced Friday that it is pulling out of a landmark nuclear arms treaty with Russia, arguing that it should not be constrained by a deal Moscow is violating with 'impunity' by deploying banned missiles." AP: US pulls out of Cold War-era nuclear treaty, blaming Russia.

+ "Lewis and other experts say these new weapons have the potential to be used in the sort of nuclear war America hasn't prepared for in years. Rather than a global conflagration, this would be a tactical nuclear conflict, where weapons would be deployed on the battlefield." NPR: The U.S. And Russia Are Stocking Up On Missiles And Nukes For A Different Kind Of War. (Relax, it's just gonna be a little nuclear war.)

+ Boston Globe: Trump has pulled out of international agreements before. Here's a list.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: I've long considered HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel to be one of the best shows on television. And amazingly, year after year, it just stays great. (And you don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy it.) The latest episode is particularly interesting (and well-timed) with features on football's shifting demographics in towns across America, a profile of NFL scoopmaster Adam Schefter (that ends up being a piece about loss, love and 9/11), and some background on scientist Hugh Herr, who designs computer powered prosthetics — not only for himself but for a new generation of athletes. And if you have access to on demand episodes, watch the one with Ram's coach Sean McVay. Or at least watch this outtake. McVay remembers every play he's coached.
What to Hear: NextDraft-approved band Twenty One Pilots did a SiriusXM Session this week. And three sitting at the piano versions of their songs are available on YouTube. Excellent stuff. My Blood, Cut My Lip, and Holding on to You. Also worth a listen: NPR's early access to the album Music Inspired by the Film Roma, and Metallica: Helping Hands … Live & Acoustic At The Masonic.

+ What to Queue: NY Mag has a list of The 50 Best Sports Movies of All Time. (We need to bump Breaking Away up several spots.)


Photo Shop Talk

"Among some computer engineers, Lena is a mythic figure, a mononym on par with Woz or Zuck. Whether or not you know her face, you've used the technology it helped create; practically every photo you've ever taken, every website you've ever visited, every meme you've ever shared owes some small debt to Lena." Linda Kinstler in Wired: Finding Lena, the Patron Saint of JPEGs. (The patron saint of GIFs went into hiding after learning that people were pronouncing it using the soft G sound...)


Plastic Bag Pipe Dream

"I'm talking about the clear ziplock or branded plastic bags that all your online orders come in, from meal kits to fashion and all the little components for toys and electronics. Although they are made from the exact same material as plastic grocery shopping bags, polybags used in shipping haven't yet come under the same widespread public scrutiny, nor have they been subject to bans or taxes. But they are definitely a problem." Vox: No online shopping company can figure out how to quit this one plastic bag.


Pregame Warmup

"Traditionally, in sports broadcasting, a color commentator's job is to explain to viewers what they just saw. But, during the past few weeks of N.F.L. playoff games, Tony Romo, a former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, who will call the Super Bowl on Sunday as an analyst for CBS, has delighted football fans by doing something else: telling them what they're about to see." The New Yorker: Why Tony Romo Is a Genius at Football Commentary. Plus, Romomania Hits the Super Bowl.

+ "The game faces two broad threats: a declining audience and a new advertising culture." Derek Thompson: The Super Bowl's Base Is Eroding Rapidly. But it has a lot of room to erode. "Of the 10 most watched broadcasts in U.S. history, nine of them are Super Bowls from the past decade (the other is the 1983 M*A*S*H finale)."

+ Is Cal a college football superpower with no close rivals? When it comes to getting QBs into the Superbowl it is. Jared Goff is fifth Cal quarterback to start in a Super Bowl. (As a Cal grad, I'll limit my response to these two words: Go Bears.) Goff also grew up in Marin (I'm from Marin.) More of a Patriots fan? Tom Brady is from the Bay Area too.

+ Many internet sites try to benefit from the fact that many people will enter the search query: What Time Is the Super Bowl? Sports Illustrated decided to put that question to theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli.


New York Giants

"While no final decision [on running for president] has been made, his aides have been working on a fallback that only a man worth $40 billion can afford. Bloomberg is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a data-centric political operation designed to ensure one goal: crush Donald Trump." Michael Bloomberg's Secret Plans to Take Down Trump.

+ "If there is anybody who has changed this city, it is Donald Trump. He really has done an amazing thing, and this is another part of it." ... "You have been a great mayor. You really have. I mean, this guy is fantastic." That was then. This is now. WaPo: How the relationship between Trump and Bloomberg went into a tailspin.


Sext Post Facto

NextDraft is not a gossip column or a celebrity tabloid. So I'm sure as hell not going to waste any pixels covering how Jeff Bezos' text messages to his mistress ended up in the pages of the National Enquirer. But did you know that the brother of the mistress has close ties Roger Stone? Wait, what?


Puppet String Theory

"Carias is the exact opposite of his alter ego in demeanor. 'I'm always stoned, I'm always happy, so I wanted to create something that I'm not.'" FastCo on The saddest puppet in L.A.


Feel Good Friday

"A new campaign introduced by the country's president, has called on people to get out on the streets and clean in order to improve everyone's hygiene." Sierra Leone has a national cleaning day once a month.

+ Now that's it's warming up a bit, we can feel good looking back at these amazing photos: Scenes from a frozen world.

+ "Good Samaritans who moved more than 100 people from tents to a hotel are 'just regular people trying to help.'"

+ Pharmacists deliver prescriptions on a snowmobile.

+ Rams WR Brandin Cooks arranged for team custodian, son to attend Super Bowl.

+ Middle school students surprise their chorus teacher during his wedding rehearsal.

+ 911 dispatcher helps child who called for math homework help.

+ This woman ran 19 miles of a marathon carrying a lost puppy. (Either that, or the puppy's owner couldn't keep up after about 7 or 8 miles...)