Detroit, Rocked City
Facing around $20 billion in debt (it’s telling that no one seems to know the exact amount), Detroit has become the largest American city to file for bankruptcy. At one point, Detroit was the country’s fourth most populous city. From the NYT: “For Detroit, the filing came as a painful reminder of a city’s rise and fall.”
Some Disassembly Required: In recent years, Detroit has been emptied of a huge percentage of its residents, leaving thousands of abandoned buildings behind. For a city that was built on building things, it’s strange that one of their key goals is to demolish things quickly enough to save the city. Here’s an interesting 2011 article from GQ’s Howie Kahn: Destroying Detroit (in Order to Save It).
+ Nate Silver spotted a 2200 square foot home in Detroit that is selling for a buck.
+ From photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, here’s a look at the ruins of Detroit.
+ And from The New Republic: The Decline of Detroit in Five Maps.
When He Was Barry
I once told a Harvard professor that one of my favorite things about New York City is being able to walk and walk in any direction, and then being able to just hail a cab and head back to my starting point. His response stuck with me. He explained that as an African-American, getting a taxi to pull over and pick him up was far from a sure thing. It was a stark reminder of the differences in the way we experienced even the most mundane daily activities.
Today, President Obama provided us all with another such reminder as he addressed the reaction to the Trayvon Martin case: “There are, frankly, very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often. And I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida.”
“The past can be seductive for Tom, who spends most waking moments considering rods he will never hold, designed for streams he will never walk. The thin membrane keeping him from the abyss is his own determination to keep living. ‘I choose to be happy,’ he says.” From ESPN Magazine’s Wright Thompson, here’s an inspiring (and incredibly well-designed) piece about a paralyzed man who — with the help of his wife — designs fly rods and searches for the secret of life.
+ “He’s got a set of balls.” That’s Michael Bloomberg on Joe Biden. Here’s more on the Veep from GQ’s Jeanne Marie Laskas: Have You Heard the One About President Joe Biden?
“At least 15 studies have now shown that vitamin C doesn’t treat the common cold.” Yet, many of us start popping C the second we have a sniffle. From The Atlantic: The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements. I believe these articles when I read them. Then when I feel sick, I head for the pharmacy.
Searching for Criminals
Given the economic landscape across most of globe, you’d expect this to be an era marked by a significant increase in crime. But in many major cities, crime is down. And no one seems to know exactly why the numbers have decreased. From The Economist: Where have all the burglars gone?
+ Getting Away With Murder: Here’s an amazing stat. In Mexico, 98% of the murder cases in 2012 are unsolved.
Photographing His Bad Side
Sgt. Sean Murphy, a tactical photographer with the Massachusetts State Police, was so upset with Rolling Stone’s cover shot of suspected Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that he risked his career by releasing some photos of his own: “Photography is very simple, it’s very basic. It brings us back to the cave. An image like this on the cover of Rolling Stone, we see it instantly as being wrong. What Rolling Stone did was wrong. This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”
Do you ever feel like you’ve seen a movie before even when it’s the first time you’ve watched it? That could be because a lot of today’s movies follow an incredibly similar formula. And many screenwriters got that formula from one screenwriting book that’s taken over Hollywood. It’s called Save the Cat. With that title, it might take over Internet as well.
— Speaking of taking over the Internet, I’d really appreciate it if you took 3 seconds to share NextDraft on Facebook or perform a quick Tweet.
Chew With Your Mouth Closed
“When we’d been talking for about ten minutes, I scraped my knife against the plate trying to cut the dry chicken. Tabachneck whipped his head around to look at me, his eyes suddenly cold. ‘Did you have to do that?’ he snapped.” What if small, everyday noises ruined your life? From The New Republic’s Charles Bethea: The Chewing Sound and the Fury. If you’re going to click on that link, please do so softly.
A father filmed his baby every day for a year. Undoubtedly, that baby will grow into an adolescent who will tell his dad how goofy it was that he did that. But for now, it makes for a pretty nice movie. It’s also a reminder of how quickly those childhood moments go by.
The Bottom of the News
Quartz takes a stand against seedless watermelons: They have seeds.
+ Syndicated from Kottke: This is the perfect Friday thing: a man is tricked into thinking he’s bungee jumping at his bachelor party while actually standing in front of a kiddie pool. And … Changing a tire on a car while driving on two wheels is apparently a bit of a thing in Saudi Arabia. Here are a couple of examples.
+ There’s a good chance you’re hot right now. Here’s a look back at Arthur Miller’s New Yorker piece: Before Air-Conditioning.
+ Ever get the feeling CNN doesn’t respect the definition of breaking news?
Detroit Files for Bankruptcy: A City’s Painful Rise and Fall
The most fascinating news from around the web on July 19, 2013