Blog

Facebook is worried about users sharing less – but it only has itself to blame

Anna Lauren Hoffmann in the Guardian:

For years, Facebook’s strategy has caused regular controversies around user privacy and ethics – blunders that got people exposed, outed and emotionally manipulated along the way. Users seem to have combated the problem by taking Facebook’s own advice, as shared by Facebook’s president of communications and public policy, Elliot Schrage, in 2010: “If you’re not comfortable sharing, don’t.”

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Clinton’s wonky policies of fine-grained complexity contrast with rivals’ grandiose ideas

David A. Fahrenthold in Washington Post:

To her, complexity is realism.

Clinton says she simply can’t make the simple, grand promises of her rivals — free college tuition, a big, beautiful, free wall. Instead, she skips ahead to what policy looks like the way it’s actually been done: complicated, ugly and in small steps.

. . .

Clinton’s solutions would add complexity to complexity.

That, in a way, requires its own kind of faith: that bureaucrats can make the kind of fine-grained decisions necessary to keep such a detailed enterprise running. Her campaign’s argument is that, in today’s Washington, that’s the only way to do it.

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Singapore Is Taking the ‘Smart City’ to a Whole New Level

Jake Maxwell Watts and Newley Purnell in the Wall Street Journal:

Now Singapore may soon be known for something else: the most extensive effort to collect data on daily living ever attempted in a city.

As part of its Smart Nation program, launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in late 2014, Singapore is deploying an undetermined number of sensors and cameras across the island city-state that will allow the government to monitor everything from the cleanliness of public spaces to the density of crowds and the precise movement of every locally registered vehicle.

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The unique mosquito that lives in the London Underground

Katie Silver in BBC.com:

Katharine Byrne collected mosquitoes from seven sites across the 180km (110 mile) network. She found they were fundamentally different from their surface-dwelling relatives. While the above-ground Culex pipiens bit only birds, the Culex pipiens molestus – named for their tendency to molest – had a taste for human blood.

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I went to a Bibliotherapist and this is what happened

Bronwyn Averett in Book Riot:

I went to the office of the wonderful Katy Roy, who founded La Bibliothèque Apothicaire (The Apothecary Library) in 2009 and continues to practice in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. She is trained in literature and in psychotherapy, and our time together felt like something halfway between a “session” and a good book chat.

After initial greetings, she asked me if I was interested in exploring any particular problems or emotions. “Well, I am finding motherhood un peu difficile.” (You know, as compared to the grand and glorious fête I was expecting from life with a newborn.) She listened and jotted down some quick notes. But what happened next is what makes bibliotherapy so terribly cool

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Lessons from RuPaul

RuPaul Charles’ 2009 lecture titled “Observations from the Inside” at Claremont McKenna, where I was a student in the audience , chronicled his journey as a young man, his identity, and, conscious of the college-age audience, ended with a glass-half-full ode to self-construction. During the question-and-answer round, he took on the issue of whether “things are getting better.”Charles said he couldn’t be sure because cultures open and close. They go through periods where anything seems possible, buoyed by boundless optimism. And immediately afterward come periods of constriction and retreat to traditional value systems. We seem to be doing well now, he said and overall things are better. But then he pointed out that there had been periods like this before in the eighties and the nineties which were followed by what seemed to be like cultural droughts. Recent years have been replete with watershed moments–Laverne Cox appearing on the cover of Time, Aziz Ansari launching a successful show on Netflix, Chris Rock calling the Oscars “White People’s Choice Awards,” #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #ReadWomenWriters movements, just to name a few. And then, on the other hand, there are the shootings, the videos, the riots, the young men dropping dead. The cultural atmosphere hasn’t necessarily reflected the political landscape. With the rise of Trumpism, I wonder if we are culturally entering into another drought–admittedly socioeconomic issues are driving the movement but politics will manifest in the mainstream too. There could be another long night ahead before the sun breaks.