Skip to navigationSkip to content
Reuters/ Arnd Wiegmann
Doctors want to insert electrodes into brains so humans can communicate directly with computers and each other.
NEXT DRAFT

Connecting brains to the internet, GOP tax plan, and eight other stories you might have missed

1. Intel inside

“At the pace at which technology changes, it’s not inconceivable to think that in a 20-year time frame everything in a cell phone could be put into a grain of rice. That could be put into your head in a minimally invasive way, and would be able to perform the computations necessary to be a really effective brain-computer interface.” MIT Tech Review describes the possible future of a more technological you with some help from a neurosurgeon who wants to connect you to the internet with a brain implant (which would give a whole new meaning to brain freeze). That might seem far-fetched. But consider that your mind (with a little help from social media and phone notifications) is basically already connected to the internet. At least having something the size of grain of rice inserted into your brain is an improvement on the future envisioned by my old NextDraft logo

+ Gizmodo: Genetically engineering yourself sounds like a horrible idea—but this guy is doing it anyway.

2. Rex post facto

“The White House has developed a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with President Trump has been strained, and replace him with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, within the next several weeks.”

3. Taxing nostalgic

With John McCain indicating his support, the GOP tax bill (with hints of trickle-down theories from tax plans past) has moved one big step closer to passing. The legislation is about a lot more than tax cuts. It’s about religion, politics, healthcare, and more. It Started as a Tax Cut. Now It Could Change American Life.

+ Will gains from corporate tax breaks go to employees? According to many CEOs, they’ll go to investors.

+ President Trump pitched the tax plan as you’d imagine he would: He lied about it.

4. One and done

“A single-minded focus on economic growth, followed by painful economic stagnation over the past generation, had frayed families and communities, leaving them trapped in a demographic crucible of increasing age and declining births. The extreme isolation of elderly Japanese is so common that an entire industry has emerged around it, specializing in cleaning out apartments where decomposing remains are found.” Norimitsu Onishi in the NYT: A Lonely Death.

5. Pain the swamp

It’s one of America’s most ferociously complex and deadly problems and it’s wreaking havoc in communities across huge swaths of the country. But relax: Kellyanne Conway is the new Opioid Czar. What’s my prediction for the fight? I’ll let Clubber Lang take that question.

+ Quartz: Three things we know about how Kellyanne Conway will handle being opioid czar.

+ The DEA is opening its first new field office in nearly two decades in Louisville, Kentucky.

+ “As an admiral I helped run the most powerful military on Earth, but I couldn’t save my son from the scourge of opioid addiction.” The Atlantic: No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic.

6. Trouble clef

Jimmy Iovine shared some thoughts about challenges in the streaming music business. And in doing so, I’d argue he pretty well describes the entire landscape when it comes to the consumer web. From here on out, the mega players hold all the cards. “The streaming services have a bad situation, there’s no margins, they’re not making any money. Amazon sells Prime; Apple sells telephones and iPads; Spotify, they’re going to have to figure out a way to get that audience to buy something else. If tomorrow morning Jeff Bezos wakes up and says, ‘You know what? I heard the word ‘$7.99’ I don’t know what it means, and someone says, ‘Why don’t we try $7.99 for music?’ Woah, guess what happens?” (If history is any indicator, other companies lose value and Amazon’s stock goes up.)

+ How Chinese demand for Rosewood furniture is changing the music business and presenting challenges to companies like the one that makes Martin Guitars. The Tree That Rocked The Music Industry.

7. Today in sexual harassment

“The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday are serious, disappointing and very credible.” Nancy Pelosi calls on John Conyers to resign. And there has been another groping claim against Al Franken.

+ Russell Simmons has stepped down from his businesses after a new sexual misconduct allegation. (Here’s Jenny Lumet’s column: Russell Simmons Sexually Violated Me.)

+ The New Yorker: Why Has R. Kelly’s Career Thrived Despite Sexual-Misconduct Allegations? (One could ask the same question about an even higher-ranking American citizen…)

+ Roy Moore called out his accusers in a speech at an Alabama church: “They’re liberals. They don’t hold conservative values. They are the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender who want to change our culture.” (In fairness, if that culture includes calling high schools looking for dates with teenagers, it probably needs some changing…)

8. Theresa May not like this

“Surely there can be no question of a state visit until at least he has expressed some remorse about this.” That was about the nicest thing said during a discussion of Donald Trump’s recent tweets in Britain’s Parliament. “Fascist, Evil, Racist”: UK Parliament Unloads on Trump’s Twitter Outburst. Meanwhile, Trump added insult to injury by attacking Theresa May on Twitter: “Theresa, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” (Editor’s Note: We’re not doing just fine. Please, send help.)

9. Happy spending

“South Korea is to write-off the debts of as many as 1.6 million people in a move designed to ease the financial burden on low-income individuals.” BBC: Happiness Fund to help pay debts.

10. Bottom of the news

A graduate student sequenced rats all over Manhattan, and discovered how the city affects their genetic diversity. “Manhattan has two genetically distinguishable groups of rats: the uptown rats and the downtown rats, separated by the geographic barrier that is midtown.” (Brooklyn rats, better known as artisanal free-range hamsters, mostly resemble little bearded rodent hipsters. And I’m not exaggerating. They even like avocados…)

+ Do you need a subscription to your underwear?

+ How the US Military Helped Invent Cheetos.

+ 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.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.