Tuesday, January 11th, 2022


Repu Man

So your reputation has been damaged online. Maybe you're an individual who has been falsely attacked. Maybe you own a business that has been hammered with terrible reviews by a nefarious competitor. The good news is that, for a price, you can rebuild your online reputation (or at least partially "erase" the bad parts). The bad news is that, in some cases, the people you have to pay own the sites and services that allowed you to be maligned in the first place. Paul Gallant in The Walrus: The Dirty Work of Cleaning Online Reputations. "The help that reputation fixers provide the shamed and the bullied—and the profits they extract from them—may also be incentivizing the shamers and the bullies. This is the dark side of online reputation management: websites can make money by removing the hurtful material they encouraged others to post in the first place."

As I point out in my book, when it comes to the internet, in many ways we built the exact opposite of we set out to build. We underestimated, or wholly ignored, the extent to which the bad guys would be using the same tools we were creating for ourselves. As we now embark on what creators, coders, and investors are calling Web3, it's vital that we consider the downsides and vulnerabilities of the tools we're building. I'm not optimistic.

+ Related: NFTs were hyped as a way to make sure artists get paid for their work. Now, many creators are struggling to stop a wave of piracy.


Mad Props

"Overall, the U.S. disaster cost for 2021 exceeded $145 billion, which is the third-highest cost on record." The loss of life and personal property associated with climate related disasters is a slow motion tragedy that plays out with increasing frequency. Insurance and re-insurance companies are getting hit hard. Let's hope that factor causes them to sink a ton of lobbying money into getting politicians (even Joe Manchin and a few Republicans, at some point) to take climate change seriously. I guarantee there isn't a single climate change denier among the analysts and bean counters at property insurance corporations.

+ And hurry... Hottest ocean temperatures in history recorded last year.


Filibust a Move

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are in Georgia to make a push for what is clearly their most important agenda item (and by their, I mean our): Voting Rights. The rubber won't hit the road until they get back to DC and see if they can convince their party to deploy the nuclear option and change the filibuster rules to get something done. The voting suppression efforts across the country are extensions of the Big Lie. Put aside all of our minor differences. This is the fight. Here's the latest.



Is the glass half full or half empty? It might depended on which half you're in: The halfs or the half-nots. The World Health Organization has warned that half of Europe will have been infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19 within six to eight weeks.

+ Of course, with Omicron, the key stat is really how many of the cases lead to hospitalization. And the U.S. COVID hospitalizations just hit new record high.


Extra, Extra

WaPo: Four reasons you're seeing empty grocery store shelves. (Biggies are omicron-related work shortages and weather, and that a lot of people are staying home for dinner because of omicron and weather.)

+ It's Official: Gun Deaths Hit an All-Time High in 2020. "CDC data shows that more than 45,000 Americans died by gunfire, driven by a spike in homicides."

+ A gene-edited pig's heart has been transplanted into a human for the first time. From BBC: Three ethical issues around pig heart transplants (oddly, they don't mention the irony that you may need a new heart from eating too much bacon).

+ Georgia won the NCAA Football National Championship over rival Alabama. There are a lot of stories, but the best one is walk-on, written-off, now legendary Georgia QB Stetson Bennett. (He's not Jewish, but he looks like a guy named Auren from everyone's temple confirmation class.)

+ And Jimmy Kimmel Salutes Bob Saget in Tearful Opening Monologue. (Saget seems and sounds like one of the world's truly nice people.)


Bottom of the News

"In a five-year career, the rodent sniffed out over 100 landmines and other explosives in Cambodia." Pour one out for Magawa, the landmine-sniffing hero rat who passed away peacefully at the age of 8 (after accomplishing 1000x that of most humans).

+ "My only sibling, an older brother, is facing kidney issues and may need a donor. I dread receiving a call asking me to fill that role." NYT (Gift Article): Must I Donate a Kidney to My Awful Brother?

+ Israeli scientists have trained goldfish to drive. (Great, so a decade from now, people will be in autonomous vehicles and goldfish will be driving themselves...)

+ First-dose vaccinations quadruple in Quebec ahead of restrictions at liquor and cannabis stores. (There's something people love more than freedom...)

+ As I mentioned yesterday, I'm trying some different formats and lengths for NextDraft this week. Let me know what you think. Other ideas welcome.