Friday, May 17th, 2019


We Built This City

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. In other words, welcome to San Francisco, a town that's "becoming a paradoxical urban space: a homogenous corporate campus run through with threads of public pain. People struggling with addiction and mental illness sleep on the streets outside unicorn startups and shoot up in front of City Hall." Everyone in San Francisco is worried about San Francisco. Can a city that emerged during the gold rush survive the tech gold rush? Anna Wiener in The New Yorker: In San Francisco, Tech Money Doesn't Buy Happiness.

+ Rudyard Kipling once said, "San Francisco has only one drawback: 'tis hard to leave." These days, 'tis even harder to afford. SF Chronicle: "Despite creating hundreds of new shelter beds and spending more than $300 million annually on homelessness, San Francisco has seen the number of homeless people in the city rise by 17% since 2017."


Teenage Wasteland

"The rate of suicide decreased from the early 1990s until 2007, but has increased in years since for both genders. While boys die by suicide at a higher overall rate than girls, female youth suicides have surged most in recent years." Bloomberg: Surging suicide rate among young girls raises questions about role of social media.

+ CNN: Suicide rates in girls are rising, study finds, especially in those age 10 to 14.

+ No one has better data on the social ills challenging today's teens than Nancy Lublin, founder of Crisis Text Line. Here she is chatting with DJ Patil about using data for social good.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: "How could Robert possibly have gotten that good, that fast?" I started watching Devil at the Crossroads wondering whether I'd make it through the first few minutes. By the time it was over, I wanted to know everything I could about bluesman Robert Johnson.

+ What to Watch: OK, you'll probably be busy watching Game of Thrones for an hour or two this weekend (and rehashing and debating it for a few hours more), but leave some time to get started on Phoebe Waller-Bridge's second season of Fleabag on Amazon Prime.

+ What to Read: "Authorities will finally tear down the distinctive sail-shaped tower blocks. Unusually, the effort to demolish the buildings has been led by the residents themselves." The Guardian: Goodbye to Gomorrah: the end of Italy's most notorious housing estate.


He Said, Xi Said

"Having apparently made that decision, it is clear that Mr. Xi misjudged Mr. Trump's eagerness for a deal and how far he could push the American negotiators, according to more than a dozen people, including current and former officials, researchers, lawyers, and trade experts familiar with the deal and how it fell apart. Now Mr. Xi risks being backed into a corner, unable to compromise between his own positions and Mr. Trump's." The NYT with an interesting look at How Xi's Last-Minute Switch on U.S.-China Trade Deal Upended It.

+ WaPo: US reaches deal with Canada, Mexico to lift steel, aluminum tariffs.


Post Docs

"Fear is changing tactics among aid staffers, who set out to convince communities that Ebola is real and they were there to help end it. Now some downplay their mission in public, swapping white coats for street clothes and ­attention-grabbing SUVs for motorbikes that blend into traffic." WaPo: With more than 1,100 dead, Congo's Ebola outbreak is only getting worse. Now doctors are forced to go undercover.


Watching the Detectives

"Government power was used to spy on American citizens ... I can't imagine any world where we wouldn't take a look and make sure that was done properly." CBS News: Attorney General William Barr doubles down on spying claims, questions origins of Russia probe.


Unleash the Shower Within

"To the extent that he may have been unclothed at various times in his home or in hotels when working while either dressing or showering, and whether a personal assistant may have been present for some reason at that time, Mr. Robbins has no recollection." Buzzfeed: Leaked Records Reveal Tony Robbins Berated Abuse Victims, And Former Followers Accuse Him Of Sexual Advances.


Pea Test

"Companies are racing to secure supplies. 'You need to lock up your supply chain,' says Chris Kerr, founder of Good Catch and chief investment officer at private venture fund New Crop Capital. 'It's not a crisis, but you definitely want to plan ahead.'" With the rise of fake meat, it's a good time to be in the pea business. Bloomberg: The Mighty Pea Is Everybody's New Favorite Plant-Based Protein. "It's become a hot commodity, but is there enough of it to meet demand?"


Winter Break

"According to the survey ... the conclusion of Game of Thrones could be as disastrous to America's workplaces on Monday morning as it will likely be to some of your favorite characters." Mental Floss: The Game of Thrones Finale Could Kill Workplace Productivity on Monday. (Workplace productivity? On a Monday?)


Feel Good Friday

Earlier this week, I launched a new program with my friends over at the excellent Donors Choose. Any donation you make to any classroom(s) will be doubled by a matching donor. We've already funded thousands of dollars worth of classroom projects. And the dollar-matching program remains in place (just remember to enter the promo code nextdraft). Let's use NextDraft to create a little good news. Support teachers and students today, and double your money.

+ We froze the salaries of 20 executives – and it improved the lives of 500 employees.

+ How does a rural Colorado county with three people per square mile send 30 students to an Ivy League institution?

+ "We were very interested to hear your suggestions about psychics and dragons, but unfortunately we are not currently doing any work in either of these areas. I am therefore returning your bribe money, and I wish you all the very best in your quest for telekinesis, telepathy and dragons." New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has rejected a bribe from an 11-year-old girl who wrote asking her government to conduct dragon research. (At least the girl has a good grasp of how government works...)

+ He couldn't speak as a child. Now this autistic student is giving a commencement address.

+ Five ducklings were rescued from a storm drain while their mom paced nearby, and ducks caught on traffic camera waddling over Brisbane motorway got a police escort to safety.