Every now and then I share an edition of the NextDraft newsletter and app on Medium because I’m a needy fuck and every read is like another drop of self-esteem squeezed into my veins. And also because every now and then, the Internet really brings it. Today was one of those days.
BAUD IS WATCHING
If you’re in Baltimore right now, there’s a good chance you’re being watched. Look side to side and you might miss it. The eyes are above you. Since January, Baltimore law enforcement officials have been testing a new system in which planes fly over the city and record everything. Although these officials neglected to tell the public about this new operation, it’s something Baltimore residents — and the rest of us — could have assumed. Better cameras, smarter algorithms, data piping in from hovering planes (and soon low orbiting satellites) … Big Brother has officially joined the mile high club, and your privacy is getting screwed. From Bloomberg: It’s not spying if they’re always watching.
+ Watch this surveillance master dissect a murder from the sky.
“Individually, these pages have meaningful audiences, but cumulatively, their audience is gigantic: tens of millions of people. On Facebook, they rival the reach of their better-funded counterparts in the political media … Such news exists primarily within users’ feeds, its authorship obscured, its provenance unclear, its veracity questionable. It exists so far outside the normal channels of news production and distribution that its claims will go unchallenged.” In the NYT, John Herrman provides an insightful look into the way Facebook is changing news, elections, and our minds. Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine.
FOR BETTER OR WORSE
“The United States has benefited from being the most engaged and adaptable economy in this global system — selling goods in other countries and buying goods (cars, smartphones, clothing) that have dramatically improved the daily lives of nearly every American. But rapid economic change has also laid waste to whole industries and the communities sustained by them, resulting in toxic stress and terrible suffering.” Yes, technology and globalism has improved the lives of millions. And yes, it requires some hard work at home to make sure millions of Americans don’t get left in the dust of the exploding economic divide. From WaPo’s Michael Gerson: The high cost of America’s cheap populism
OF KINGS AND PROFITS
“At its peak last summer, a daily fantasy get-rich-now commercial aired every 90 seconds on television. Combined, industry leaders FanDuel and DraftKings plunged more than $750 million into TV commercials, radio spots, digital ads and other promotions. In the weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL season, the two startup companies spent more on advertising than the entire American beer industry.” And then, the fantasy ended (or at least, it stalled a bit). From the always excellent Don Van Natta Jr: The implosion of the daily fantasy industry is a bro-classic tale of hubris, recklessness, political naïveté and a kill-or-be-killed culture. (Luckily I bet the under.)
DON DRAPER’S TRIGGER FINGER
It took us a few days to figure out what happened at the Rio gas station now made famous by Ryan Lochte’s creative imagination. But what happened next was almost instant. Speedo, Ralph Lauren, and several other sponsors ran for their lives. It wasn’t always like this. Back in the day — before social media — you had to work really hard to lose a sponsor. The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki on the new impatience of corporate sponsors.
+ “Many people were outraged by the video, which Sarah filmed, saying it showed an inhumane way to kill a bear. The Alberta government responded by outlawing spear hunting, and it is now considering filing charges against Josh.” After she shared a video of her husband spearing a bear, Under Armour dropped hunter Sarah Bowmar from their payroll. Some hunters were pretty unhappy with the move.
“The idea behind private behavior modification facilities — boarding schools, military-style boot camps, wilderness programs — dates back at least 50 years. For a price, they have promised to treat teens with substance abuse and behavioral or emotional issues, while also letting them take classes to satisfy state requirements for a high school education. But there’s little evidence that ‘tough love’ techniques such as isolation and humiliation actually work.” Sebastian Murdock in HuffPo: The troubled-teen industry has been a disaster for decades. And it’s still not fixed. I’m glad my parents stuck with their Jewish teen bootcamp (Hebrew School, Xanax).
TWENTY, TWENTY ONE, WHATEVER IT TAKES
“The arena was full of people who had been waiting for this, and there was, in the air, a sense of adulation and tearful communion that I associate with acts at the level of Beyoncé — a feeling that is particular to a handful of arena-filling musicians each year.” The slippery appeal of the biggest new band in America. Music journalists are catching onto Twenty One Pilots (although this piece underestimates their talent). NextDraft readers, of course, were already tuned in.
BOTTOM OF THE NEWS
You better check your zipper. No, it’s not down. But it probably has the letters YKK on it. Here’s a quick video that explains what those letters mean.
+ Congrats to DMX on his 15th child. It’s true what they say. 15 is actually easier than 14.
+ Lake George in New York is now home to the last Howard Johnson restaurant.
+ NPR: Voice recognition software finally beats humans at typing.