November 1st – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Porch Pirates in the age of NextDoor, what a hockey puck does to you mouth, Weekend Whats, and Feel Good Friday.

“Nextdoor is an online ticker tape of homeowner and tenant concerns, and the grievances can be particularly telling in a city of Dickensian extremes like San Francisco, whose influx of tech wealth is increasingly pitting suburban expectations against urban realities. The city’s property crime rate is among the highest in the United States. Nextdoor posts about dogs slurping from a public drinking fountain and Whole Foods overcharging again (‘Be on guard’) show up alongside reports of smash-and-grab car break-ins, slashed tires, and an entire crime subgenre of “porch pirates,” the Artful Dodgers of the Amazon age.” The Atlantic’s Lauren Smiley with an interesting look at how a few stolen packages serve as a metaphor for the growing urban economic divide in San Francisco (and beyond) during an era where everything is caught on camera and even antisocial behavior is fodder for social media. The Porch Pirate of Potrero Hill Can’t Believe It Came to This.

+ Quartz: Are neighborhood watch apps making us safer? (I’m old enough to remember when the whole promise of the internet was staying inside and having less interaction with your neighbors…)


Dereliction of Guard Duty

“Documents show the company’s American subsidiaries have hired or retained at least 300 employees with questionable records, including criminal convictions, allegations of violence and prior law enforcement careers that ended in disgrace. Some went on to rape, assault, or shoot people – including while on duty.” USA Today: A security empire deployed guards with violent pasts across the U.S.. (The most infamous hire: Omar Mateen, who gunned down 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.)


Weekend Whats

What to Book: “In a dramatic account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.” Ronan Farrow’s latest is fast-paced, timely, and endlessly interesting. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. (Farrow’s past experiences involving his sister Dylan and Woody Allen make the story behind the story as interesting as the story itself…)

+ What to Hear: I’ve been waiting for Michael Kiwanuka’s new album for a long time and it was released today. The Guardian is already calling it one of the greatest albums of the decade. Even higher praise? It’s this week’s NextDraft must listen pick! (As good as Kiwanuka’s recordings are, he’s even better live. So get out and see him…)

+ What to Read: “At the psychosocial center, Kizilhan was meeting with Midya, an 8-year-old Yazidi girl who used to faint some 20 times a day. Kizilhan said he frequently received calls from doctors in Canada and Europe wondering what to do about fainting among Yazidis, especially among the women who had been raped. ‘The women are always having dissociations,’ he told me. ‘Usually because of a trigger, a smell, or they might see something in the paper. To avoid the rape in their minds, they might faint and fall down. They live with a feeling of unreality and detachment from the world.'” Amazing journalism from Jennifer Percy in the NYT Magazine: How Does the Human Soul Survive Atrocity? “After the horror of ISIS captivity, tens of thousands of Iraqis — many of them children — are caught up in a mental-health crisis unlike any in the world.”


Hill Figure

“The Hill scandal has an uncanny feeling. It is both very familiar—the political sex scandal is quite literally a phenomenon as old as this country—and yet placed in a context that makes it appear strange and dreadful … This is the first instance of which I am aware when a politically aligned publication has published an explicit photo of an opposition politician for apparent political gain. It’s both a sign of how ugly the political landscape could become and a reminder of how ugly, for the many ordinary people who have suffered this kind of abuse, the world already is.” LA Times: The Humiliation of Katie Hill Offers a Warning.

+ LA Times: “Her sudden downfall is due in part to the relationship she acknowledged having with the campaign staffer and an allegation that she had an affair with a congressional aide, which she has denied. But it’s also the product of what she and her allies see as a plot by her estranged husband and former Knight operatives to use naked pictures to destroy her.”


Pucked Up Beyond All Repair

“When the puck finally came to rest, it was almost entirely inside Craig MacDonald’s mouth. It was Dec. 21, 2007, and with 1:51 left to play, the Tampa Bay Lightning winger, working in his own zone, stepped in front of an errant, elevated slap shot that instantly cleaved a grisly, bloody and impossibly wide swath of carnage through MacDonald’s lips, gums and tongue before reducing nine of his teeth to dust. He spat out the 6 ounces of vulcanized frozen black rubber like it was a rotten MoonPie to reveal a fractured lower gum line and his half-cleaved tongue, hanging by a thread.” (And you thought you hated going to the dentist…) ESPN’s David Fleming: The ugly, gory, bloody secret life of NHL dentists.


Pulling Up NY Stakes

NPR: President Trump Is A New Yorker No Longer. (Trump’s NY times are over and now he’s a Florida Man…) The move is a reminder of a part of the Trump saga that doesn’t get much attention. This is a guy who spent his whole life trying to be loved by the liberal elite in New York, whose career was focused branding NYC, who planned to be president from Trump Tower, and who, now shunned by all those he hoped to impress, can never go home again.

+ I’m sure the lower taxes were a factor as well (and should make the kids happy). But it’s not so simple to avoid NY’s tax collectors (although, he’s done a pretty good job so far…)


Sci Fi Fantasy

“As thousands of Sonoma County residents drove south Saturday, away from the Kincade fire, a team of researchers headed north toward the flames. About a mile from the inferno, they stopped to set up their equipment.” Bloomberg: It’s Boom Times for These Daring Firefighter-Scientists.

+ “California’s on fire, unplugged and out of easy answers. So why don’t we…?” After a crazy week in California, an excellent Cal Matters feature provides answers to many questions that arose over candlelit (for illumination, not mood) dinners.


Finger Tips

“It doesn’t matter whether you turn on “private browsing” mode, clear tracker cookies or use a virtual private network. Some even use the fact you’ve flagged ‘do not track’ in your browser as a way to fingerprint you.” Geoffrey Fowler in WaPo: Think you’re anonymous online? A third of popular websites are fingerprinting you. (Luckily, when I’m visiting the worst sites, my fingers aren’t on my computer…)


Taint Nothing to It

“Ken was not merely dickless by default; the bulge was the result of careful strategizing to which his inventors, businessmen, a psychologist, and Japanese manufacturers all contributed. Despite all this planning, Ken still came to represent things his parent company never intended, as icons tend to do. The story of Ken’s crotch is not merely one of PR, manufacturing, and/or branding—it’s about which realities our culture deems acceptable, and which that it seeks to keep hidden. This goes not just for the doll, but for the man he was named after, Ken Handler, who died in 1994 with major parts of his life airbrushed out of public view.” Rich Juzwiak in Jezebel: The Strange, Sad Story of the Ken Doll’s Crotch.


Feel Good Friday

“Since 2005, and especially over the last year, Kaplan has been making this simple improvement on courts in New York City and around the world.” An Artist Is Installing Hundreds of Golden Nets on Community Basketball Courts.

+ Engineers have figured out how to charge electric car batteries in 10 minutes.

+ WaPo: Long-awaited cystic fibrosis drug could turn deadly disease into a manageable condition.

+ Missing woman saved after spelling SOS in rocks in Sequoia National Park.

+ Video shows horse going back towards California wildfires to retrieve two other horses. (I’m not getting verklempt, I’m just a little hoarse…)

+ 100-year-old Chiefs superfan all smiles on her first trip to Arrowhead.

+ A popular pub regular has thanked a town that rallied to give his ‘appalling’ home a makeover. (I’ll drink to that.)

+ NYC lawmakers pass bill banning sale of foie gras.

+ ICU nurse adopts man with autism so he can get life-saving heart transplant.

+ Man wins lottery prize on way to last chemo treatment.

+ WaPo: Why 1,000 people offered to crowd-stitch the quilt of a dead woman none of them knew.

+ A top Michigan quarterback commit was forced to retire on Wednesday due to an issue with his heart. Jim Harbaugh is still honoring his scholarship. (Feel Good Friday is so powerful, even a Harbaugh brother can get into the spirit!)

+ Bill Murray applied to work at P.F. Chang’s and the company just offered him a job.

+ And finally, if you didn’t get enough sugar last night, my Halloween overview of the impeachment news including more than 25 pieces of candy.

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