Tuesday, September 6th, 2022


Not Going Anywhere For a While?

NextDraft will off on Wednesday. Back Thurs!

The life expectancy in many countries has been going down over the past couple of years, but that hasn't stopped some people from having great expectations about their life expectancy. And when you want to extend your life, getting up into the 120s or so, you call a tailor. Or at least a former tailor who felt he was well-suited to run a place known as Longevity House. Courtney Shea takes you inside the world of cryotherapy, biocharging, and fecal transplants—all wrapped up in a setting that is to die for. The Death Cheaters. "The price tag, $100,000 for a lifetime membership, was staggering. The promise, even more so: a chance to live longer, possibly to 120 years old. And not just longer but better, free from chronic illness and cognitive decline, by which standard six figures starts to sound like a bargain. In the weeks that followed, word spread about the upstart's hefty entry fee and astonishing 120-year claim, prompting mean tweets and guffaws at the elitism. All of it was predictable, according to Michael Nguyen, the man behind the venture. 'There's always going to be a certain amount of resistance when you're leading the charge,' he says. Nguyen is not a doctor or health professional. He has no certifications in the wellness field, which he says is a good thing: 'I come at all of this with a different lens. I can ask the right questions.'" (Like, "Where's your checkbook?")

+ Life extension is quite popular among tech billionaires. But many of them see natural death as a secondary concern. The primary threat is the collapse of the society they helped create. This has created a bunker mentality which, when paired with enough dough, can lead to a pretty sweet bunker. Douglas Rushkoff on the super-rich ‘preppers' planning to save themselves from the apocalypse. "These people once showered the world with madly optimistic business plans for how technology might benefit human society. Now they've reduced technological progress to a video game that one of them wins by finding the escape hatch ... More than anything, they have succumbed to a mindset where 'winning' means earning enough money to insulate themselves from the damage they are creating by earning money in that way. It's as if they want to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust."


Lunatics Running Asylum

Immigration is often positioned as one of America's most divisive issues. But it's actually pretty bipartisan. Both sides have done little or nothing to improve the system. So you get headlines like this one from the NYT (Gift Article): Biden Administration Has Admitted One Million Migrants to Await Hearings. But you find a little more nuance in the copy. "Republicans have rallied around the message that the Biden administration is to blame for the record number of border crossers — although more than a million were similarly allowed into the country on a temporary basis over a two-year stretch of the Trump administration." The bottom line is that we have asylum-seekers who will now wait for "seven years on average before a decision on their case is reached because of the nation's clogged immigration system."


Adding Consult to Injury

So your town suffered from an increasingly common natural disaster. Luckily, the federal government is here to assist. But there's no way you're going to be able to figure out how to get that assistance on your own. Meet The Disaster Consultants. "FEMA is, in theory, complicated for a reason. Its labyrinth of rules is there to curb fraud and to make sure that local governments are using taxpayer money appropriately. But a laser focus on fraud prevention sometimes leads to the agency spending as much or more on documentation and reviews as the project itself should cost. 'FEMA will spend thousands of dollars writing a project worksheet for $250 of eligible costs,' says Ben Rose, recovery and mitigation section chief at Vermont Emergency Management. 'It's not seeing the forest for the trees.' And it also makes the process nearly impossible to navigate alone, particularly for cities and small towns that have never dealt with disasters before."


Humanity’s Collapse

"As a rule, those who studied STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — are much more likely to believe they made the right choice, while those in social sciences or vocational courses second-guess themselves ... as you may have guessed, our analysis of Fed data shows that the higher your income is today, the less you regret the major you chose back in college." WaPo (Gift Article): The most-regretted (and lowest-paying) college majors. "Almost half of humanities and arts majors regret their choice — and enrollment in those disciplines is shrinking rapidly." (If I had it to do all over again, I'd still major in puns.)


Extra, Extra

Please Hold: "I had come from a country where the bonds of trust have been worn down to nothing, where earnest declarations about building a new country while winning a war can't be swallowed without a heavy dose of irony, and where cynicism is a protective reflex against these losses. So, as an American, I had begun to question Olesya's cheerful optimism. Yet almost every Ukrainian I met shared it: 'We will win.' And also: 'No compromise.'" George Packer in The Atlantic: Ukrainians Are Defending the Values Americans Claim to Hold.

+ With Friends Like These: You can tell a lot about someone from where they shop. Russia to buy rockets, artillery shells from North Korea. You can tell a lot about someone from the company they keep. Myanmar junta chief makes another visit to Russia.

+ Out With the Muss, In With the Truss: "Liz Truss has become the UK's new prime minister after meeting the Queen at Balmoral, where she was asked to form a government after the resignation of Boris Johnson. Truss, 47, is the UK's 56th prime minister and its third female leader." Here's what you need to know about Liz Truss.

+ Manhunt: "Canadian police hunted for the remaining suspect in the stabbing deaths of 10 people in an Indigenous community and nearby town in the province of Saskatchewan after finding the body of his brother amid a massive manhunt for the pair."

+ Cannon Fodder: "Cannon, a Trump appointee who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, also blocked federal prosecutors from further examining the seized materials for the investigation until the special master had completed a review." 'Deeply Problematic': Experts Question Judge's Intervention in Trump Inquiry.

+ Tiafoe Finish: "What meant the most to Tiafoe about his 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 2 seed Nadal in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows, though, was looking up in his Arthur Ashe Stadium guest box and knowing his parents, Constant and Alphina, were there. 'To see them experience me beat Rafa Nadal -- they've seen me have big wins, but to beat those Mount Rushmore guys? For them, I can't imagine what was going through their heads. I mean, they're going to remember today for the rest of their lives." To understand where Frances Tiafoe got to over the weekend, you have to understand where the son of immigrants from the West African nation of Sierra Leone came from. Let's look back at this 2014 piece from WaPo: An improbable tennis prodigy. "Frances Tiafoe grew up at College Park's Junior Tennis Champions Center, where his immigrant dad was the maintenance man."


Bottom of the News

"From a luxury item created by a blend of Polynesian cultures, to a global phenomenon sported by the likes of Elvis Presley, to a mass-manufactured "Dad shirt," the Aloha shirt, with its bright colors and bold patterns, has enraptured, awed and raised the eyebrows of designers, fashionistas and everyday people looking for a piece of paradise since the shirts first hit the scene in the 1920s." The Aloha shirt is being reclaimed by Polynesian designers.

+ Sometimes only The Onion can get at how ridiculous something is. Ohio 5th Graders Annoyed That Friend Forced To Give Birth Only Talks About Baby Stuff Now.