How Airlines Really Make Money, and the Weeks Other Insights

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The Truth About Fake News

Trump has called journalists the enemy of the American people, and has repeatedly referred to CNN as fake news (more often than not, deploying all-caps). But if CNN and Trump are at war, it’s the most symbiotic war ever waged. CNN thrives when there’s one story to cover all day every day. Trump thrives when he is that story (as he has been on CNN since the early days of his campaign). From the NYT Magazine: CNN Had a Problem. Donald Trump Solved It. “It’s hard to imagine that either Trump or Zucker would be where he is today without the other. Trump’s foray into reality TV gave Zucker a prime-time hit when he badly needed one; now, Trump’s foray into politics has given Zucker a big story when he badly needed one. It’s a symbiotic relationship that could only thrive in the world of television, where the borders between news and entertainment, and even fantasy and reality, have grown increasingly murky.”

+ And it’s not just CNN. As Mathew Ingram reports, “last year, adults over 18-years-old watched over 27 billion minutes of national cable television news programming per week. That’s almost 45% more than they watched in 2015.” Trump said we’d get tired of all the winning. And for chief revenue officers at media companies, that might very well be true.

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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, scienceyou name it, and its here.

(Original story reprinted with permission from NextDraft.)


Cold War Kids

“By now, it is widely recognized that Russia is waging a campaign of covert political manipulation across the United States, Europe and the Middle East, fueling fears of a second Cold War. But it’s less understood that in international airspace and waters, Russia and the U.S. are brushing up against each other in perilous ways with alarming frequency.” HuffPo Highline: This Is How The Next World War Starts: “With one miscalculation, by one startled pilot, at 400 miles an hour. And now that Russia is determined to destabilize the West, this scenario is keeping the military establishment up at night.” (Somewhat hyperbolic title, very interesting article.)

On a Wing and a Payer

“There’s the traditional activity — the one with jets — which involves pricing seats for as much as possible, collecting a bag fee, and selling some food and drinks while keeping a close eye on costs. The other business is the sale of miles — mostly to the big banks, but also to companies that range from car rental firms to hotels to magazine peddlers. The latter has expanded so much that it accounts for more than half of all profits for some airlines.” (And unlike the miles, those profits have no blackout dates…) From Bloomberg: Airlines Make More Money Selling Miles Than Seats.

This Is What Drives Us

“Employing hundreds of social scientists and data scientists, Uber has experimented with video game techniques, graphics and noncash rewards of little value that can prod drivers into working longer and harder — and sometimes at hours and locations that are less lucrative for them.” The NYT’s Noam Scheiber provides a very interesting look at how Uber uses psychological tricks to push its drivers’ buttons. If these methods seem familiar, it’s because many of them are used on all of us as we interact with our favorite sites and apps. Technology might not take your job. But it will almost certainly be your boss.

+ AP on the employees getting implanted with microchips so they can “open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.” (Sounds like a fair trade-off. My employer gets to turn me into a remote control cyborg, and I get my frozen drink like two seconds sooner.)

It’s the Principal of the Thing

“They were at a loss that something that was so easy for them to see was waiting to be noticed by adults.” From WaPo: These high school journalists investigated a new principal’s credentials. Days later, she resigned. (If these kids keep it up, they may grow up to be enemies of the American people.)

+ The Omidyar network is donating $100 million across several organizations to boost journalism and fight hate speech.

A Custodial Account

“He was clearly bright, as evidenced by his class rank and teachers’ praise. He had a supportive recommendation from his college counselor and an impressive list of extracurriculars. Even with these qualifications, he might not have stood out. But one letter of recommendation caught my eye. It was from a school custodian.” A former admissions director at Dartmouth on the most memorable letter of recommendation she’s ever read.

+ “Honestly, to have one child from a family be accepted to a school like this is amazing. But for all four to be accepted — I just don’t, I don’t know how it happened.” WaPo on the Ohio quadruplets who all earned spots at Yale and Harvard.

+ Bloomberg: Video gaming becomes a scholarship sport at University of Utah. (This is why I keep telling my kids to put down the damn books and grab a joystick.)

Me, Myself, and Identity

“Who was this woman who had slipped on the sheath of my identity, who had assumed my birthday, and even my middle name, I often wondered? How did she get it, and what did she want with it?” Lisa Selin Davis in The Guardian: For 18 years, I thought she was stealing my identity. Until I found her.

Bottom of the News

+ How Trader Joe’s wine became cheaper than bottled water.

+ Scientific American: We Deceive Ourselves to Better Deceive Others.

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.)

Read more: https://www.wired.com/2017/04/airlines-really-make-money-weeks-insights/