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This May Cause Nausea

So here’s how one expects a marketplace to work. You offer a product at a certain price. If it’s successful, other players enter the market, and the ensuing competition forces the price of the products to trend downward. Here’s how the prescription drug marketplace works. Someone overcharges for a prescription drug. Then others enter the marketplace and the competitors race to see who can charge an even more exorbitant price for an item now more widely available. Feeling disoriented, nauseated, anxious, itchy, dizzy, and generally confused? Allow a pharmacist to explain: “Why are these companies raising their prices? Because they can. Patients paid $40 for their prescription one month and $400 the next. Nobody can believe this is happening.” Luckily, they’re working on a drug that will help you believe. From the LA Times: Here’s why drug prices rise even when there’s plenty of competition.



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.)

Gun Crazy

“There is no national database of guns. We have no centralized record of who owns all the firearms we so vigorously debate, no hard data regarding how many people own them, how many of them are bought or sold, or how many even exist. What we have instead is Charlie.” GQ’s Jeanne Marie Laskas takes you inside the bureau of way too many guns, where “computers are illegal and detective work is absurdly antiquated. On purpose.”

The End Is Nigh

“The Bradways fled California, a state they said is run by ‘leftists and non-Constitutionalists and anti-freedom people,’ and settled on several wooded acres of north Idaho five years ago. They live among like-minded conservative neighbors, host Monday night Bible study around their fire pit, hike in the mountains and fish from their boat. They melt lead to make their own bullets for sport shooting and hunting — or to defend themselves against marauders in a world-ending cataclysm.” WaPo’s Kevin Sullivan heads to a place known as American Redoubt to visit with a group of (“not paranoid”) survivalists who are among the nation’s most extreme Preppers, living in a perpetual state of readiness for the day it inevitably hits the fan. One member of the group explains the location: “Imagine a societal collapse and trying to buy a loaf of bread in Los Angeles or New York and stores are closed down.” (Apparently, these folks unaware of the anti-carb movement. The lines in LA and NY will be for chia seeds, Kombucha, and bone broth.)

Punching the Golden Ticket

Oompa Loompa Doopity Doo, I’ve got another edition for you. But today’s news won’t be quite the same, since Gene Wilder has stepped out of the frame. Gene Wilder made many of us smile and feel good a whole lot of times. But there was something more to his magic. He was one of those people you felt you knew through his movies, and you could tell he was a good guy. Gene Wilder was the diametric opposite of an Internet troll. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and likely forgot many of the performances the rest of us never will. Gene Wilder has died. (Strike that. Reverse it.)

+ Wilder kept his Alzheimer’s a secret so kids wouldn’t know that Willy Wonka was sick.

+ He came up with the idea of giving Willy Wonka a limp. Here’s why.

+ Go home and hug your sheep tonight.

International Orange

Donald Trump made a quick visit to Mexico where he gave a relatively tame and subdued press conference, said there was no discussion about who would pay for the wall (which is true, unless you count the moment when Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Mexico would not pay for the wall), called Mexicans “tremendous people,” and described the Mexican president as his friend. He then flew to Arizona where he insisted Mexico would pay for the wall and proceded to give his most aggressive immigration speech yet. Politico on Trump’s immigration rope-a-dope. Those in the media who like to create false equivalencies really have their work cut out for them.

+ It sort of makes sense that this meeting ended with a Twitter war. For those who are not bilingual, I tried to sum up the discussion here.

+ Meanwhile, the Arizona Supreme Court cleared the way for legalized marijuana to be on the state’s ballot. After last night’s performance, they’ll need it.

+ If the goal was to appear with a foreign leader and absolutely dominate media coverage for an entire day, Trump succeeded in a big way. And although the trip seemed to be a spur of the moment thing, it was “the result of a couple of weeks of closely guarded work.”

The More Things Change

The channels and technological means through which you can consume content have increased. But our reading habits have remained pretty static. About three-quarters of us read at least one book a year. “And when people reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product.”

Little Big Man

Anthony Weiner has finally forced his wife Huma Abedin to overcome her separation anxiety. Weiner once again humiliated Abedin (a top Hillary Clinton aide) with his inability to stop sexting photos of his abs and below. One of the latest photos includes their child in the background. To get a better understanding of how long this has been going on (and what kind of people our current political system attracts) watch the documentary Weiner. You’ll understand why Huma should have done a cover version of “Lemonade” a long time ago.

+ WaPo: Anthony Weiner just blew his second chance at a second chance.

Taking Offense?

When Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, his actions were immediately decried as being offensive to the military. Well, at least some members of the military are taking to social media to stand up for Kaepernick’s right to sit down. (Maybe Colin Kaepernick actually can read a defense…)

+ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: “Sam Kendricks was sprinting intently in the middle of his pole vaulting attempt when he heard the national anthem playing. He immediately dropped his pole and stood at attention, a spontaneous expression of heartfelt patriotism that elicited more praise than his eventual bronze medal. Last Thursday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose not to stand with his teammates during the national anthem … both men, in their own ways, behaved in a highly patriotic manner that should make all Americans proud.”

+ The Atlantic on the complexities of patriotism, from honoring the troops to playing professional sports. I have a slightly contrarian view of all this. I have a feeling no one really cares all that much about what Kaepernick does during the National Anthem, but we’re addicted to stories that can help us make conversation and take our minds off our own problems. It’s a big deal precisely because it’s no big deal.

Special Orders Now Upset Us

Most musicians wouldn’t dare sell out and allow their music to be used for a commercial. A couple decades ago, that statement would have been received as undeniably true. Times have changed. These days, getting a song into a commercial is often seen as a break or a badge of honor. And with this shift has come the demise of a pretty awesome art form: The commercial jingle. From The Atlantic: This is what advertising music means today: Instead of jingles, we have singles.

Bottom of the News

“My goats are all very social and friendly so they graze and sit and lie down next to everyone.” Which makes them the perfect companions for Goat Yoga. (Is this really any more ridiculous than any other exercise or nutrition trend?)

+ Today’s reason why there’s nothing you can believe in: Bob Ross’s Hair Was Actually Straight.

+ GQ: An Oral History of ‘We Built This City,’ the Worst Song of All Time. Warning: This page has autoplay enabled and I can’t see a way to make it stop. (Full disclosure: I don’t really mind the song.)

+ A nice story about a small gesture by a college athlete that made a big difference for an autistic boy.

+ NPR: Dogs understand the tone and meaning of words. (But they probably don’t understand why researchers keep sliding them into brain-scanning machines.)

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.)


Goat Yoga. I Repeat: Goat Yoga. Oh and Other Things You Missed This Week