Plants Are Magic, and the Week’s Other Essential Non-Political Stories

Editor’s note: We’re proud to bring NextDraft—the most righteous, most essential newsletter on the web—to WIRED.com. Every Friday you’ll get a roundup of the week’s most popular must-read stories from around the internet, courtesy of mastermind Dave Pell. So dig in and geek out.

You Don’t Have to Read This

If you’re stressed out and feeling overwhelmed by political news, then just skip today’s political news. I’m a news addict. During a week like this, the stream of news can consume your life. You’re allowed to take a break. Are the issues of the day important? Of course. But so are other things. Yesterday, I got remarkably uplifting reports from my kids’ incredibly supportive and caring teachers. Yet, I still found myself unable to loosen the vise that has gripped my head for the last few days. I’ve often allowed myself to be absorbed by the news as a means to avoid the stresses presented by real life. After getting into that habit, I’m finding it hard to do the opposite—to free myself of the all these open browser tabs and get back where I belong. So, while some hopefully see me as an insightful or entertaining guide to the daily news, please also see me as a canary in the coal mine. Especially now that coal is set to be a growth industry again. And if you really want to read just one more thing about the election, then read my mom’s advice. This Too Won’t Pass.

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About

The NextDraft newsletter is now on WIRED.com. Every Friday, mastermind Dave Pell visits the far reaches of the web to bring the news you missed. Politics, tech, science—you name it, and it’s here.

(Original story reprinted with permission from NextDraft.)


Denying Climate Change

Humans may not be doing their part to beat back the threat of climate change. But while we’re arguing, plants are getting busy: “Every year, you see, humans pump many billion tons of the stuff into the atmosphere, but not all of it stays there to warm the planet. A very significant fraction ends up getting absorbed by the ocean. Another large fraction gets pulled in by land-based plants which use it for photosynthesis.” And the plants seem to have gone into overdrive.

Lifting the Smokescreen?

“Physicians have commented for more than a century on the potential for cannabis to substitute for opioid drugs, and several recent studies seem to bolster this hypothesis.” After years of delays (during which the opioid crisis became increasingly dire), researchers will finally be able to study the effectiveness of pot when it comes to treating pain.

+ NYT: A study tests the safety of women using abortion pills sent by mail.

+ WaPo: Immunotherapy moves to the front lines in fight against lung cancer.

Murder, She Deleted

“Denton remains convinced that Thiel came after Gawker not because it outed him but because he resented Gawker’s coverage of Silicon Valley generally. Still, he admires Thiel — or, at least, says he does, having learned that flattering Thiel makes more sense than pissing him off. Denton sees in him those traits, notably ruthlessness, that Denton and other successful gay men of their generation needed to survive.” Peter Thiel’s Gawker-destroying lawsuit could have big implications for the media. But like many stories with big implications, this one is personal. From Vanity Fair: Nick Denton, Peter Thiel, And The Plot To Murder Gawker.

To Air Is Human

“Take a deep breath, expanding your belly. Pause. Exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat four times. Congratulations. You’ve just calmed your nervous system.” (This can work even better in states where pot is legal.) The NYT with an important reminder: Breathe.

Nature’s Loop

“After two sleepless nights and several hamburgers in and around a Bell Labs facility in Murray Hill, New Jersey, Teibel and Gerstman had not only matched the sound in Teibel’s head, but improved it: the perfect ocean.” Pitchfork with the story of the new age hustler who brought the sounds of waves, rain and thunder to your stereo, one relaxed customer at a time. (After this election season, the sound of a tsunami would be relaxing.)

Buzz, Kill

“The successful tests of the devices pave the way for servicemen and women to be wired up at critical times of duty, so that electrical pulses can be beamed into their brains to improve their effectiveness in high pressure situations.” Popping pills to stay focused while you’re on duty is so last week. These days, it’s all about zapping your brain with electrical currents. (Everything always comes back to Bill Murray.)

That Sucking Sound

One of the key arguments made by the pro-vaping crowd may have just gone up in smoke. According to a study done in LA, teens who vape are more likely to become teens who smoke — and smoke more often.

What’s Next, a TED Talk?

“All of the inmates who responded said they would knock on the front door before breaking in.” Here’s some advice from burglars. (Please use it for defensive purposes.)

Bottom of the News

In the spirit of unity, I’ve been looking for a story that celebrates the color orange. And I finally found one. Junk Food’s Happiest Accident: The Discovery of Cheese Curls.

+ I’m not sure exactly what it means, but this definitely seems like a metaphor for changing times in the tech industry: The Voice of AOL’s ‘You’ve Got Mail’ Is Driving an Uber in Ohio. (This is why I always tell Alexa and Siri to enjoy their moment in the limelight.)

+ “This guy photoshops himself into Kendall Jenner’s Instagram and improves them a thousand percent.” (That’s actually an understatement.)

+ Cottage Cheese wants to be the next Greek yogurt. (Don’t we all…)

+ Apple fans are really mad at the new MacBook Pros.

This is a weekly best-of version of the NextDraft newsletter. For daily updates and to get the NextDraft app, go here. (Original story reprinted with permission from NextDraft.)

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