North Korea’s missile, Twitter habits, and eight other stories you might have missed

Today’s launch revealed several important things on the technical and diplomatic fronts.
Today’s launch revealed several important things on the technical and diplomatic fronts.
Image: Reuters/ Toru Hanai
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

1. Trump’s extreme tweets

“While most Americans probably haven’t heard of Britain First and are unfamiliar with European radical nationalist movements, there are white supremacist groups in the US that follow the actions of these overseas operations quite closely. The president on Wednesday signaled that he watches them too.” President Trump’s insane Twitter habit entered new territory on Wednesday when he retweeted a far-right fringe group’s anti-Muslim videos (well, they were fringe until today). “Brendan Cox, whose wife, British MP Jo Cox, was murdered by a right-wing extremist who shouted Britain First before committing the act,” summed up the moment: “Trump has legitimised the far right in his own country, now he’s trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences and the President should be ashamed of himself.” (Editor’s note: He won’t be.) Trump’s latest social media affront was so offensive that UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s office was compelled to issue a statement indicating it was “wrong for the president to have done this.” (The leader of America’s staunchest ally had to rebuke our president because of his tweeting. The pit has no bottom.)

+ Yes, Trump’s behavior has always been bad. But it’s getting worse. The Atlantic provides a partial rundown of just the last 24 hours: “He retweeted inflammatory and misleading anti-Islam videos from a bigoted far-right British politician. He joked about presenting a ‘Fake News Trophy’ to media networks. He called attention to Matt Lauer, the NBC host fired on Wednesday for sexual misconduct, despite Trump’s own past admissions of sexual assault. He baselessly implied that NBC host Joe Scarborough, a one-time informal adviser, might have been involved in the death of an intern years ago in Florida. And several outlets reported that the president privately continues to claim preposterous things, including that it wasn’t him on the Access Hollywood tape and that Barack Obama really wasn’t born in the United States.” In other words, It’s Not an Act.

+ Joe Scarborough: “Looks like I picked a good day to stop responding to Trump’s bizarre tweets. He is not well.” (Looks like the rest of us picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.)

2. Lauer outage

“While it is the first complaint about his behavior in the over 20 years he’s been at NBC News, we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” So said NBC News president Andy Lack as he announced the firing of Matt Lauer over a sexual misconduct allegation. (Will we have enough journalists still in their jobs to report on sexual harassers in other industries?)

+ Variety is reporting many incidents described by Lauer’s accusers.

+ “Garrison Keillor, the former host of A Prairie Home Companion, said Wednesday he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of what the network called improper behavior.”

+ USA Today: New Conyers accuser: He stripped in D.C. hotel room.

+ Leigh Corfman, one of Roy Moore’s several accusers, has had enough of him calling her a liar: “But when you personally denounced me last night and called me slanderous names, I decided that I am done being silent. What you did to me when I was 14-years old should be revolting to every person of good morals. But now you are attacking my honesty and integrity. Where does your immorality end?”

3. Bitter pill pusher

“The missile logged a longer flight time than any of its predecessors and went farther into the atmosphere than ever before, reaching a height of 2,800 miles. The International Space Station, by comparison, is 240 miles above the Earth.” North Korea’s latest missile launch appears to put US capital in range.

+ “The launch revealed several important things” on the technical and diplomatic fronts. None of those things are good. From The New Yorker: The “Bitter Pill” in North Korea’s Most Powerful Missile.

4. Poll tax

“Indeed, major tax cut plans are usually more popular than unpopular. Heck, even some tax hikes have been more popular than the current GOP bill.” FiveThirtyEight on the lack of public support for a tax plan that looks to have a very good chance of passing before the end of the week.

+ Vox: The Senate’s tax bill is a sweeping change to every part of federal health care.

5. Fire of my coins

A couple months ago, Bitcoin crossed the $5,000 threshold. Yesterday, it crossed $10,000. And today, it’s up over $11,000. Apparently, investors in the Bitcoin market aren’t overly worried about the constant warnings that this is a bubble. (If this bubble doesn’t burst soon, you may actually have to sit down and figure out what the hell Bitcoin is…)

6. Flavor flav

“Many of these chemicals have never been tested on whether they’re safe to breathe in. And that makes vaping’s already unclear effects on health even murkier, because different flavors could be more or less dangerous.” From The Atlantic: Some E-Cigarette Flavors May Be More Harmful Than Others. “It’s difficult for researchers to uncover what even goes into different vape juices.” (What’s easier to uncover is the effort by e-cigarette makers to use many fruity flavors to target kids in an effort to create a new generation of smokers…)

7. Alexa, sell my soul

“They have offered their own employees’ income taxes, free land, and even a partial surrender of community control.” Amazon is looking for a home for its second headquarters. And cities aren’t being too shy to beg. CityLab: The Extreme Amazon Bidder Just Got Real.

8. The defense rests

“Seconds after a U.N. judge confirmed his 20-year war crimes sentence on Wednesday, former Bosnian Croat military commander Slobodan Praljak shouted, ‘I am not a war criminal!’ threw back his head, drank liquid from a small bottle and told the court he had taken poison. A flustered judge halted the hearing and Praljak was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died.” A Croat war criminal’s shocking death stuns UN tribunal.

9. Born identity

The New Yorker talks to the philosopher who makes the case for not being born: “David Benatar may be the world’s most pessimistic philosopher. An “anti-natalist,” he believes that life is so bad, so painful, that human beings should stop having children for reasons of compassion. ‘While good people go to great lengths to spare their children from suffering, few of them seem to notice that the one (and only) guaranteed way to prevent all the suffering of their children is not to bring those children into existence in the first place.'”

10. Bottom of the news

Men’s Health takes you inside the orgasm lab, where Dr. Nicole Prause is hoping to prove that having them can be a means to and end. “Her focus: sex as a way to promote general health—as a treatment for depression, chronic pain, sleep disorders, even arthritis. Someday, Prause says, doctors could prescribe masturbation.”

+ Two wingsuit flyers BASE jump into a plane in mid-air.

+ This is the last week to order NextDraft T-shirts (and they’re half the price they were last time around…)

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.

Editor’s note (Nov. 30): We updated the title of this story’s first section, which was previously called “The British are bumming,” after a reader pointed out that “bumming” means something entirely different in the UK than it does in the US. Not that there’s anything wrong with bumming.