Friday, October 22nd, 2021


The Disquiet Place

Hush. Shush. Give it a rest. Put a cork in it. Dummy up. Don't speak. Shut your trap. Pipe down. Can it. Hold your tongue. Keep mum. Put a sock in it. Button your lip. Stop speaking. Take the fifth. Cut the chatter. In short, STFU. Listen ... and don't take this the wrong way ... but your constant talking is imperiling democracy, ruining the world, and pretty much driving everyone crazy. Ian Bogost in The Atlantic: People Aren't Meant to Talk This Much. "A lot is wrong with the internet, but much of it boils down to this one problem: We are all constantly talking to one another. Take that in every sense. Before online tools, we talked less frequently, and with fewer people. The average person had a handful of conversations a day, and the biggest group she spoke in front of was maybe a wedding reception or a company meeting, a few hundred people at most. Maybe her statement would be recorded, but there were few mechanisms for it to be amplified and spread around the world, far beyond its original context ... It's long past time to question a fundamental premise of online life: What if people shouldn't be able to say so much, and to so many, so often?" (No comment.)

+ Ironically, Ian Bogost had more to say this week. And this one is also worth a read: The Metaverse Is Bad. "CEOs in tech know that billions of people still live much of their life beyond computer screens. Those people buy automobiles and grow herb gardens. They copulate and blow autumn leaves ... If only the public could be persuaded to abandon atoms for bits, the material for the symbolic, then people would have to lease virtualized renditions of all the things that haven't yet been pulled online." (Once my wife reads this excerpt, she'll know why I was so open to the idea of clearing the backyard this weekend...)


Hey Bleacher, Leave Them Kids Alone

Pfizer says its vaccine is more than 90% effective in kids 5-11, and it's only a matter of weeks before kids start rolling up their sleeves. That means it's only a matter of time before the crazy antivax scenes at school board meeting get a whole lot crazier. Parents were fine with sweeping school vaccination mandates five decades ago – but COVID-19 may be a different story. (I have a feeling that this story is not entirely unrelated to the one above.)


Weekend Whats

What to Drink: There are so many flavored sparkling water choices today. So why not skip the paradox of choice and just drink the best one? This is it.

+ What to Support: Along with several friends, I am a major backer of a remarkably cool program being run by children's book author/ illustrator, husband/wife duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr, and their kickass kids (even Jasper). Their family will spend the 2022-2023 school year living and traveling in a tiny home school bus, visiting Title 1 elementary schools in all 50 states, giving presentations about creativity and collaboration, and handing out 25,000 free books to students and teachers who otherwise wouldn't have access to them. It's going to be the greatest thing and we'll be following along with their adventures on NextDraft. Please join me and come along for this great ride by giving a few bucks to buy some books and keep the wheels on the bus going round and round. Trust me. You want to be part of this.

+ What to Book: Now, of course, I hope that Matthew and Robbi (and even Jasper) plan to give every little child in America their very own copy of my mesmerizing, hilarious, and insightful book. But until that mass order comes in, we need to move some orders. Get your damn copy of Please Scream Inside Your Heart: Breaking News and Nervous Breakdowns in the Year That Wouldn't End at Amazon , IndieBound, or Green Apple (signed copies). Don't do it for me. Do it for the kids.


Mission Not Aborted

The Supreme Court won't halt the Texas abortion ban, but it did agree to hear the case on Nov 1 "on the question of whether the Justice Department and abortion providers can sue Texas and whether a lower court can enter an order that blocks state court judges and clerks, private individuals, and any other state actors from taking steps to enforce the law."

+ While Texas is getting all the coverage, an even bigger abortion case is coming up. And like many of these cases, it will be argued by Julie Rikelman of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Time: The Fate of Roe v. Wade May Rest on This Woman's Shoulders. Full (and proud) disclosure: My wife is on the board of the Center for Reproductive Rights.


Make or Break Moment

"The vaccine needs of poorer countries were supposed to be met through Covax, a multinational body meant to facilitate global vaccine distribution — but donations have been slow and limited. Wealthier countries have locked up supply. Just 4 percent of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated." NYT: Here's Why Developing Countries Can Make the Top Covid Vaccines. (The above stat is why they must.)


Tragic Scene

Since the story is everywhere, you've almost certainly heard about the shocking death Halyna Hutchins, a director of photography who was killed on the set by a prop gun fired by Alex Baldwin. Here's the latest on the story from CNN.


Get Into the Groove

"There are worrying signs that the vinyl bonanza has exceeded the industrial capacity needed to sustain it. Production logjams and a reliance on balky, decades-old pressing machines have led to what executives say are unprecedented delays. A couple of years ago, a new record could be turned around in a few months; now it can take up to a year, wreaking havoc on artists' release plans." NYT (Gift Article for NextDraft readers): Vinyl Is Selling So Well That It's Getting Hard to Sell Vinyl.


Rain Supreme

There is an atmospheric river headed my way. And there could be one headed your way soon. So let's try to understand what an atmospheric river is with this handy explainer. (TLDR: Pack an umbrella.)


Football is (Early) Life

"He is the youngest-ever recruit to the Arsenal pre-academy after his skills had him running rings round players twice his age." Meet the latest player being recruited by Arsenal. He's four years old.

+ In a Lasso-esque move, the Portland Thorns wore tape on their jerseys to cover up the logo of a former sponsor embroiled in controversy.


Feel Good Friday

"Bryce Jones has seen it all trying to fly his drones: equipment hiccups, execution mishaps, the time he miscalculated the takeoff angle and flew a vehicle right into a tree.
Jones isn't a hobbyist messing with backflips at the local park — he's head of Flash Forest, a start-up with the unusual idea of deploying drones to bombard the landscape with seedpods for trees. A billion trees, to be exact." WaPo (Gift Article for ND Readers): A few idealistic Canadians are trying to replant the world's forests with flying machines.

+ How Pickleball Won Over Everyone From Leonardo DiCaprio to Your Grandparents.

+ Climate change in India: The young inventor's solar-powered ironing cart.

+ "Each tiny home comes at an estimated cost of $65,000 per unit, making it the least expensive source of homeless housing available in Los Angeles County, and every home in the village has been hand-painted by renowned YouTube artist Zach Hsieh, alongside a crew of other artists he recruited to beautify the village." Check out LA's Tiny Home Village.

+ The Taliban will allow a national polio vaccination campaign in Afghanistan, says WHO. (So now the Taliban is more sane about vaccinations than many Americans?)

+ 750,000-panel solar farm will power Colorado steel mill.

+ "You've got some toys for me?" Says the operator. "Yep. Come over and see them," the boy says." Boy, 4, dials emergency number, invites police to see his toys.