Tuesday, November 5th, 2019


Punch the Clock

What's the best way to become more productive at work? Work less. At least that seems to be the finding of a recent pilot project. "Workers at Microsoft Japan enjoyed an enviable perk this summer: working four days a week, enjoying a three-day weekend — and getting their normal, five-day paycheck. The result, the company says, was a productivity boost of 40%." (So why stop there. If my math is right, the company could achieve a 200% productivity boost if workers took all five days off.)


Sky Docket

"An otherwise peaceful suburban neighborhood in Washington Township, Pa., began experiencing a series of explosions this past spring and summer. Homemade bombs were blowing up in front yards. Nails were raining down from the sky. Windows were left riddled with marks, as if they had been shot at. For a while, the police were mystified." Then they looked up. The NYT on a growing problem. Drones Used in Crime Fly Under the Law's Radar.

+ The Guardian: Drone registration made compulsory as UK scheme launches.


Au Revoir des Imbéciles

"The US approach incorporates the reality of the global energy mix and uses all energy sources and technologies cleanly and efficiently, including fossils fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy." So said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as America "formally notified the United Nations on Monday that it would withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change."

+ The Paris pullout shouldn't be viewed as a sign that the Trump administration isn't doing anything when it comes climate change. It's making it worse. EPA announces plan to relax coal power plant waste rules.

+ In other news... 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering.' (It's been told, just not listened to.)


Carte(l) Blanche

"The three cars packed with kids and babies were heading to the Mexican state of Chihuahua when they came under heavy gunfire that left the vehicles burned out and riddled with bullets. Three women and six children, including 8-month-old twins, died in the horrific attack." The Daily Beast: American Moms and Kids Massacred in Mexican Ambush That Killed at Least 9. (The tragedy brings Mexican cartel violence to the headlines in the US and around the world. But in Mexico, it's just one more sad example of the relentless violence that has only gotten worse in the post El Chapo hellscape.)


Gordon Gecko

"Sondland's attorney sent the committee a letter and a three-page addition to his testimony, which said he had remembered a conversation on Sept. 1 with Andriy Yermak, an aide to the Ukrainian president, linking the aid to the investigations." Something seemed to jar Gordon Sondland's memory and he remembered that, oh yeah, there was a quid pro quo. Meanwhile, more transcripts are being released, the Dems want to depose Mulvaney, Lev (of Lev and Igor fame) is willing to talk, and the GOP wants to get Jim Jordan on the House Intelligence Committee to make the public hearings more absurd than they're already expected to be. Here's the latest from the impeach pit from CNN and WaPo.

+ "After the president crosses that red line, Republican elites—whether lawmakers, current or former government officials, or conservative media figures—invent a whole new line and devote all their energy to explaining why Trump's crossing of the previous boundary is perfectly acceptable, even admirable." Adam Serwer in The Atlantic: The Trump Infallibility Doctrine.


A Long Ass Commute

"Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, shook the hands of the women as they left Eddie Warrior Monday afternoon. Many of the women are mothers, hoping to return home to help raise their children and grandchildren. Donnie Sue Crow, 36, had a baby and a toddler at home when she got locked up, after she failed to make payments and show up for court dates while on probation for marijuana possession. Her mistakes meant she was sent to prison to serve 10 years for having less than half a gram of marijuana on her during a 2017 arrest." The Marshall Project: How More Than 50 Women Walked Out of a Prison in Oklahoma.

+ "Across Oklahoma on Monday, 462 inmates doing time for drug possession or similar nonviolent crimes had their sentences commuted as the first step in an effort by state officials to shed the title of the nation's incarceration capital."


This is Not a (Tested) Pipe

"New Orleans has failed over the last decade to do urgently needed lead testing — claiming the water was safe even after losing track of where the city's many lead pipes are — and then buried a 2017 report that would have alerted the public to the lapse." (Other than that, you can totally count on them...) Buzzfeed: Poison in the Pipes.


What Lies Ahead

"There's no easy solution for Facebook, except one. We believe that there is one thing the most powerful platform in the history of advertising can do in a critical election year: Stop the spread of lies." Jeff Berman and Raina Kumra with an open letter to Facebook (which I signed): Why Facebook needs to drop Political Ads, for now. Don't do it at all, if you can't do it right.


Sister Act

"When anyone asked Miché and Cassidy if they were sisters they would joke, 'We don't know - maybe in another life!'" Then that other life came crashing in. An amazing story from BBC: The selfie that revealed I was a stolen baby.


Bottom of the News

"Sweat starts to form on your brow—although that's because your Nest thermostat isn't working. Your smart TV is on the fritz. Your connected refrigerator's display monitor won't work. And when you frantically dart across the street to ask the neighbors if they can get online, the series of anomalies that have characterized your morning suddenly don't seem so anomalous. The internet isn't just down. It's gone. Stopped. Kaput. No more. May God have mercy on our Instagram influencers." Andrew Zaleski in Popular Mechanics: What Would Happen If the Internet Went Down ... Forever? (I got a taste of this when the power went out in California last week. About fifteen minutes after their iPads went dead, my kids went full Lord of the Flies and started sizing me up me as a potential meal.)

+ Helsinki has a library to learn about the world, the city, and each other. (Looks like a nice spot for a NextDraft offsite. Who's in?)

+ A Cat Ran Onto The Field During The Cowboys/Giants Game. Kevin Harlan has the call.