Summary of “Former Facebook Employees Say The Company’s Prioritization Of Privacy Is About Optics”

Facebook’s communications around privacy have historically been opportunistic and protectionist, deployed to cover up for the last transgression from its “Move fast and break things” ideology – from the 2007 Beacon program, which allowed companies to track purchases by Facebook users without their consent, to the 2010 loophole that allowed advertisers to access people’s personal Facebook information without permission.
In its 2018 annual report, the company outlined not only the risks associated with changing privacy laws including GDPR and the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act, which the company lobbied against, but also the danger of becoming the media’s punching bag if news outlets dug into Facebook’s practices around data use and sharing.
“It is evident that Facebook intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws,” the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee wrote in what is perhaps the strongest rebuke of the company by a governing body to date.
Three former employees who spoke to BuzzFeed News said that there are people at Facebook who do want to put the the social network’s users first.
They said some insiders among leadership and the rank and file could not understand how Facebook had become the focus of so much public ire and floated the idea that news publications, who had seen their business models decimated by Facebook and Google, had been directed to cover the company in a harsher light.
“After the privacy beating Facebook’s taken over the last year, I was skeptical too,” Cardozo, who once called the company’s business model “Creepy,” wrote in a Facebook post announcing his new position.
Former insiders were also concerned about how much Facebook would emphasize or promote Clear History after launch, noting that past privacy features have sometimes been introduced with minimum functionality and high amounts of friction to possibly discourage users.
The company’s track record speaks for itself, said Gennie Gebhart, a consumer privacy researcher at EFF. Gebhart, who’s been in discussions with Facebook about Clear History, noted that she maintains a certain skepticism that the company is capable of deeper change, and compared its past privacy promises to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Don’t feed the monster!’ The people who have stopped buying new clothes”

Cowdery is one of a growing number of people who love clothes but try their hardest to resist buying them for reasons of sustainability.
Curious about a post she saw on Facebook, one weekend Cowdery dropped into the Leeds Community Clothes Exchange, a local swap shop.
She doesn’t totally eschew new clothes for her own wardobe; they make up about 10%. She buys gymwear new, for instance.
“But people are always going to want to buy clothes. Buying secondhand is probably the best way they can do it.”
Each year 430,000 tonnes of clothing are disposed of and not recycled in the UK. Meanwhile, the number of new clothes sold is rising: 1.13m tonnes in 2016, an increase of 200,000 tonnes on 2012.
“It’s a slow, gradual mindset change,” says Zoe Edwards, a sewing teacher and blogger who 11 years ago pledged never to buy new clothes.
So how difficult is it to stop buying clothes? Tania Arrayales, a self-described “Fashion disruptor”, has founded an organisation in New York called Fashion of Tomorrow to advocate a more sustainable approach to the clothing industry.
So what can a person who loves new clothes but wants to live more sustainably do? As Edwards says, if you are spending time on fashion sites, it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination or will to switch your browser to eBay, Depop, thredUP, HEWI London or any of the raft of “Resale disruptors”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China’s CRISPR twins might have had their brains inadvertently enhanced”

The brains of two genetically edited girls born in China last year may have been changed in ways that enhance cognition and memory, scientists say.
The twins, called Lulu and Nana, reportedly had their genes modified before birth by a Chinese scientific team using the new editing tool CRISPR. The goal was to make the girls immune to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Now, new research shows that the same alteration introduced into the girls’ DNA, to a gene called CCR5, not only makes mice smarter but also improves human brain recovery after stroke, and could be linked to greater success in school.
“The answer is likely yes, it did affect their brains,” says Alcino J. Silva, a neurobiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose lab uncovered a major new role for the CCR5 gene in memory and the brain’s ability to form new connections.
The Chinese team, led by He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, claimed it used CRISPR to delete CCR5 from human embryos, some of which were later used to create pregnancies.
Whatever He’s true aims, evidence continues to build that CCR5 plays a major role in the brain.
According to their new report, appearing in the journal Cell, people who naturally lack CCR5 recover more quickly from strokes.
“We are the first to report a function of CCR5 in the human brain, and the first to report a higher level of education,” says UCLA biologist S. Thomas Carmichael, who led the new study.
Silva says the genetic manipulations used to make “Smart mice” show not only that it is possible, but that changing CCR5 has particularly big effects.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Blindspots of Mostly White, Mostly Male Restaurant Critics”

“If one were offered dinner for two at any price, to be eaten in any restaurant anywhere in the world, what would the choice be? And in these days of ever‐higher prices, what would the cost be?” the critic Craig Claiborne once asked in a restaurant review for the New York Times.
The critical success of the Grill speaks to the origins of modern restaurant criticism – of which Claiborne himself is the patriarch, even devising the Times’s star system – which was largely to tell upper and middle class, implicitly white New Yorkers where to spend their money on their next night out.
As a student of food criticism and restaurant goer, I’ve often thought about how being a black woman impacts my dining experience, and wished that more critics understood that experience.
From being asked for a drink by white patrons to being told a different wait time for a table, restaurant dining rooms too often act in accordance with the same racial hierarchy as the rest of the world.
“On many nights brown faces and white faces, topknots and braids, headscarves and headbands, sit side by side, giving Henry more the appearance of a restaurant in Harlem than of one just off Herald Square,” he wrote in the one-star review.
For Philadelphia, Ernest Owens recounted how, in a city where black people are a plurality, the food scene is trapped in “a self-perpetuating cycle” where “White writers write for mostly white audiences and cover mostly white-owned restaurants that cater mostly to white people,” driven in part by increasing gentrification.
With some notable exceptions, women have historically been few and far between: In a 2014 article, then-LA Weekly restaurant critic Besha Rodell wondered why there are so few female food critics, noting that there were twice as many male critics at the time.
Restaurant criticism is fundamentally cultural criticism and just as our society isn’t a monoculture, our restaurant critics shouldn’t reflect one.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How sexist will the media’s treatment of female candidates be? Rule out ‘not at all.'”

If you think the media treatment of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was not seriously marred by sexism, please proceed directly to social media, Fox News, my email or wherever trolls gather.
“There is a narrow universe of acceptable behavior for women,” explained Heidi Moore, a media consultant who is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and former business editor of the Guardian U.S. In politics – as in so many other spheres – women get bashed far more than their male counterparts for personality quirks, vulnerabilities and actions of all sorts.
Think of how far a female candidate would get if she came off like the rumpled and ranting Bernie Sanders.
New York Times politics editor Patrick Healy wrote this month that he regrets once describing Clinton’s laugh as a “Cackle,” and the Times published an enlightening story by Maggie Astor about how female candidates start off at a disadvantage.
Yes, we’re a sexist society, and the media reflect and amplify this.
In some cases, female voters aren’t immune – 39 percent of them preferred Trump to 54 percent for Clinton, according to Pew Research.
Still, some see hope: The sheer number of women running for president will make it easier for female candidates to succeed.
For voters of any age, it’s harder – theoretically, at least – to say, “Sure, I’d love to vote for a woman, just not THAT woman,” when there are a half dozen female candidates to choose from.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Where Movies Get Their Vintage Electronics”

Have you ever watched a show like Mad Men and wondered where they found those early Xerox machines? Or where The Americans got their hands on all the Reagan-era IBMs that you thought would be piled in a landfill? Well, there’s a good chance these historically-accurate gadgets came from a massive warehouse in Brooklyn with a specific mission: to preserve some of the world’s oldest, most cherished electronics.
Since early 2012, the E-Waste Warehouse has been helping New Yorkers get rid of their unwanted electronics in an eco-friendly fashion.
Some of the best finds however, make it into the warehouse’s very own prop library, where they are made available for film and television productions to rent and use.
The E-Waste Warehouse is where you can take that old VCR or your grandfather’s console TV so that their e-waste and the toxic chemicals it contains stay away from landfills at all costs.
At the warehouse, huge piles of electronics are sorted through, dismantled, and shipped out for recycling on a daily basis, while others are are chosen to be refurbished for reuse.
“We give these electronics a second life, a second home, where they can be reused and make somebody else happy.”
In addition to passing older electronics on to new users, the Lower East Side Ecology Center also repurposes some of the rarer finds for a museum-like collection of over 2,000 vintage items.
These include beepers, Royal typewriters, personal computers, CRT monitors, news cameras, vintage Macs, slots machines, and countless more items, all preserved in order to display the development of technology over the last eight decades.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Use the KonMari Method to Tidy Your Mind”

A recent DePaul University study found that physical clutter is linked with procrastination and, in turn, lower life satisfaction.
“We have taken our wants and been told they are needs,” Joseph Ferrari, the lead author in the DePaul study, recently told The New York Times.
As the best marathoner of all time, Kipchoge has countless opportunities to make media appearances and live the life of a celebrity.
“In life, the idea is to be happy,” Kipchoge says in the documentary Breaking2.
“So I believe in calm, simple, low-profile life. You live simple, you train hard, and live an honest life. Then you are free.”
Decluttering your life doesn’t just improve happiness; it improves performance, too.
Decluttering your life may be effective, but that doesn’t make it easy, especially in a world characterized by hyperconnectivity and endless opportunities to do more.
What percentage of your time and energy is spent on activities that align with your core values? Which of the activities that do not align with your core values can you reasonably cut?

The orginal article.

Summary of “An AI that writes convincing prose risks mass-producing fake news”

The researchers set out to develop a general-purpose language algorithm, trained on a vast amount of text from the web, that would be capable of translating text, answering questions, and performing other useful tasks.
“We started testing it, and quickly discovered it’s possible to generate malicious-esque content quite easily,” says Jack Clark, policy director at OpenAI. Clark says the program hints at how AI might be used to automate the generation of convincing fake news, social-media posts, or other text content.
Fake news is already a problem, but if it were automated, it might be harder to tune out.
Clark says it may not be long before AI can reliably produce fake stories, bogus tweets, or duplicitous comments that are even more convincing.
OpenAI does fundamental AI research but also plays an active role in highlighting the potential risks of artificial intelligence.
The OpenAI algorithm is not always convincing to the discerning reader.
A lot of the time, when given a prompt, it produces superficially coherent gibberish or text that clearly seems to have been cribbed from online news sources.
“You don’t need AI to create fake news,” he says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “AI is reinventing the way we invent”

What if our pipeline of new ideas is drying up? Economists Nicholas Bloom and Chad Jones at Stanford, Michael Webb, a graduate student at the university, and John Van Reenen at MIT looked at the problem in a recent paper called “Are ideas getting harder to find?” Looking at drug discovery, semiconductor research, medical innovation, and efforts to improve crop yields, the economists found a common story: investments in research are climbing sharply, but the payoffs are staying constant.
The numbers look bad. Research productivity-the number of researchers it takes to produce a given result-is declining by around 6.8% annually for the task of extending Moore’s Law, which requires that we find ways to pack ever more and smaller components on a semiconductor chip in order to keep making computers faster and more powerful.
Might an AlphaGo-like breakthrough help the growing armies of researchers poring over ever-expanding scientific data? Could AI make basic research faster and more productive, reviving areas that have become too expensive for businesses to pursue?
So while we continue to increase the number of researchers overall and to turn incremental advances into commercial opportunities, areas that require long-term research and a grounding in basic science have taken a hit.
“A 10x acceleration is not only possible, it is necessary,” says Buonassisi, who runs a photovoltaic research lab at MIT. His goal, and that of a loosely connected network of fellow scientists, is to use AI and machine learning to get that 15-to-20-year time frame down to around two to five years by attacking the various bottlenecks in the lab, automating as much of the process as possible.
The idea is to infuse artificial intelligence and automation into all the steps of materials research: the initial design and synthesis of a material, its testing and analysis, and finally the multiple refinements that optimize its performance.
To really change materials research, you need to attack the entire process: “What are the bottlenecks? You want AI in every piece of the lab.” Once you have a proposed structure, for example, you still need to figure out how to make it.
The Vector Institute, Toronto’s magnet for AI research, sits less than a mile away.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon Cancels New York’s HQ2-And That’s a Good Thing”

Executives were reportedly livid at the nomination of the Queens state Senator Michael N. Gianaris, an outspoken opponent of the deal, to a Public Authorities Control Board that would give him power to “Effectively kill the project.” Amazon leaders were grilled at a February city council meeting about the company’s resistance toward unions and the working conditions of its fulfillment centers.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that the retailer was having second thoughts about its New York campus, given the level of opposition from local politicians, advocacy groups, and the media.
Annie Lowrey: Amazon was never going to choose Detroit.
It is not clear that either New York City or Amazon will suffer with this announcement.
New York City doesn’t need an Amazon headquarters to be the global capital of advertising and retail, and Amazon doesn’t need New York subsidies to expand its footprint in the city.
New York City doesn’t have an employment problem; it has a housing-affordability problem.
The original language of the Amazon deal used tax breaks that might have gone to infrastructure or low-income housing investment in the Long Island City region.
The New York City subway is a disaster, and tuition is rising at the City University of New York system.

The orginal article.