NEXT DRAFT

Amazon Key, surging water rates, and eight other stories you might have missed

1. Lock, stock, and peril

Because digital security solutions have been so effective in protecting our online information, we’ve decided to use them to protect our homes as well. At least that’s one way to read the news about a new Amazon service that lets couriers unlock your front door to deliver packages to the safety of your foyer. “The service is called Amazon Key, and it relies on a Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock….When a courier arrives with a package for in-home delivery, they scan the barcode, sending a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, the cloud grants permission by sending a message back to the camera, which starts recording. The courier then gets a prompt on their app, swipes the screen, and voilà, your door unlocks.” Here’s my alternate proposal: Amazon buys AirBNB and WeWork, and Prime members are given the option to live and work among their packages inside of an Amazon warehouse. (If a delivery person opens my door, even a crack, they better be prepared to drive away with three cats, a couple dogs, and most likely, an extra kid or two.)

2. Water colors

“In this tangled network that delivers water to the vast majority of the region’s residents, the Tribune found an upside-down world, one where people in the poorest communities pay more for a basic life necessity than those in the wealthiest.” An investigation from the Chicago Tribune: Same lake, unequal rates: Why our water rates are surging—and why black and poor suburbs pay more. “Consider Ford Heights, a cash-strapped, predominantly African-American suburb south of Chicago. People there pay nearly six times more for the same amount of water than residents of Highland Park, a wealthy, predominantly white town on the North Shore.”

3. Strapped

“‘What are you going to do with yours?’ she asked the 12-year-old girl next to her, who was also wearing a bomb. ‘I’m going to go off by myself and blow myself up,’ the girl responded hopelessly.” The NYT interviewed 18 girls who were captured by militants in Nigeria and sent into crowds to blow themselves up. Here are their stories. (The only thing more amazing than the evil of some human beings is the resilience of others.)

4. Dossier do-si-do

On Tuesday, WaPo broke the news that the Clinton camp and DNC funded the team working on what became the famous Trump dossier. The dossier was funded by GOP Trump opponents during the primary and those payments were picked up by democrats during the general election. Thus, the main takeaway: It’s good to be in the dossier business.

+ The Atlantic: “In the final hours of Tuesday night, the Senate voted to nullify a rule that would’ve allowed customers of banks, credit-card companies, and other financial institutions to join together in class-action lawsuits if they felt they’d been wronged.” (I must have missed this chapter in the book on populism.)

+ “Ultimately, he determined that any good such a martyrdom might yield would be outweighed by the grim realities of waging a doomed-to-fail campaign.” McKay Coppins on The tragedy of Jeff Flake.

+ Trump brushed off the historic same party attacks he received on Tuesday: “The meeting with Republican Senators yesterday, outside of Flake and Corker, was a love fest with standing ovations.” (Unless any of those Republican Senators stands up and says otherwise, this is one case where you have to believe the president.)

+ CBC “The new U.S. ambassador to Canada says that when it comes to climate change she believes in ‘both sides of the science.'” (Canada, consider this appointment payback for Bieber…)

5. Apartheid in plain sight

“More than two decades later, Ms. Sikade, 69, lives on the garbage-strewn dirt of Crossroads township, where thousands of black families have used splintered boards and metal sheets to construct airless hovels for lack of anywhere else to live. ‘I’ve gone from a shack to a shack,’ Ms. Sikade says. ‘I’m fighting for everything I have. You still are living in apartheid.'” NYT: End of Apartheid in South Africa? Not in economic terms.

+ Quartz: For black South African students, the odds of graduating were better during apartheid.

6. White noise

“If you apply for a job, they seem to give the blacks the first crack at it, and, basically, you know, if you want any help from the government, if you’re white, you don’t get it. If you’re black, you get it.” Here’s a stat for you: A majority of white Americans say they believe whites face discrimination.

7. Dios mio

“The airport serving Cabo San Lucas and its lesser-known sister city, San Jose del Cabo, is looking emptier these days. And hotel guests have canceled 35,000 nights of bookings over the next year—collectively a century’s worth of visits for a single traveler.” From Bloomberg: American tourists have been scared away from Mexico’s beaches.

8. Francis Scott Keys to success

“The playing of the anthem multiple times in the 1918 World Series—better remembered here for producing the third Red Sox championship in four years, before a sudden 86-year drought—generated national headlines and helped cement the relationship between the song and spectator sports.” With the song in the headlines these days, let’s look back at the murky origins of the anthem’s marriage with sports.

+ This commentary makes sense: People would respect the anthem more if we stopped putting it where it doesn’t belong.

9. Ain’t that a shame

“Whatever goes up gotta come down some kinda way.” That’s how Fats Domino reacted a month after losing his house to Hurricane Katrina. So it is for homes. And so it is for rock and roll legends. Nola’s Fats Domino, piano-playing prodigy and rock and roll legend, has died at 89.

10. Bottom of the news

“As machine learning algorithms become more accurate and accessible than ever, dating companies will be able to learn more precisely who we are and who we “should” go on dates with. How we date online is about to change. The future is brutal and we’re halfway there.” From Gizmodo: The future of online dating is unsexy and brutally effective. (I’m just glad I came of age during an era when one could still marry up.)

+ How carnival games scam you, According to science.

+ Scientific American: Small-minded strategy: The common shrew shrinks its head to survive winter. (I use the same strategy to survive internet news…)

Quartz now syndicates NextDraft, a daily roundup for the day’s most fascinating news curated by Dave Pell. Read the archive here. Sign up to get the newsletter or download the app here.

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