Summary of “Facebook killing news is the best thing that ever happened to news”

On January 12, Facebook announced that it would begin to de-prioritize news publishers and their stories in users’ News Feed over highly engaged-with content shared between friends and family.
The message is clear: in the messy news landscape of a post-Trump world, Facebook would like to distance itself from the ugly stuff.
Facebook, despite all its best intentions, is still just a dumb pipe – a thing that delivers, not the thing itself.
For Facebook, it’s bad if you read or watch content without reacting to it on Facebook.
There’s the opportunity for outlets willing to rely less on social networks to set their fate, publishers who have diversified their traffic sources, who have pushed back on Facebook’s News Feed carrots, who have built brands that resonate with audiences beyond what can be bought or given.
Value not gifted by Facebook could be a very good thing for publishers.
Maybe this time, when Facebook tells news organizations to fire 40 writers and hire 40 video producers, everyone will realize that the experiment isn’t always worth it just because people better at the internet than us tell us so.
Facebook, and its lack of understanding about what news is and how it works, made much of the mess we’re in – and profited off of it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “People love Google’s new feature that matches your selfie to a famous painting”

Do you look like the Mona Lisa? Or maybe more of an American Gothic?
Social media is being flooded with Google’s opinions, at least, as part of a new feature that compares a user’s selfie with the company’s catalog of historical artworks, looking for the just-perfect doppelganger.
The update to the Google Arts & Culture App has catapulted it to the most-downloaded free app on the App Store.
It claimed the No. 1 spot in the U.S. on Saturday, according to the app metrics site AppAnnie.
How does Google do it? The app uses computer-vision tech to examine what is similar about your face to the thousands of pieces of art that are shared with Google by museums and other institutions.
Google says this new feature is merely experimental – the app has been around since 2016.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Technology Is Changing Our Reading Habits”

How is technology affecting the publishing industry?
About a decade ago, when Amazon introduced its first e-reader, publishers panicked that digital books would take over the industry, the way digital transformed the music industry.
It has definitely become a new way for readers to connect with authors and discover books, but it has probably also cut into the time that people spend reading.
Many new authors are skipping traditional publishers and use tech tools to go straight to self-publishing their own e-books or print books.
There have been a handful of massively successful self-published authors who have started their own publishing companies, and they’ve started to publish other “Self-published” authors.
In many parts of the country, Barnes & Noble is the only place people can buy books, and it’s still a beloved brand.
The store even looks like a 3-D version of the website, with book covers facing out and curated sections that reflect what’s popular with Amazon’s customers.
I’ll be curious to see how Indigo Books, the Canadian chain, will do here next year when it expands into the United States.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Future of Human Work Is Imagination, Creativity, and Strategy”

Their findings so far seem to conclude that the more technical the work, the more technology can accomplish it.
It’s only natural for them to ask, “Am I next? How many more days will I be employed here?” Venture capitalist Bruce Gibney explains it this way: “Jobs may not seem like ‘existential’ problems, but they are: When people cannot support themselves with work at all – let alone with work they find meaningful – they clamor for sharp changes. Not every revolution is a good revolution, as Europe has discovered several times. Jobs provide both material comfort and psychological gratification, and when these goods disappear, people understandably become very upset.”
The wise corporate leader will realize that post-technology trauma falls along two lines: how to integrate the new technology into the work flow, and how to cope with feelings that the new technology is somehow “The enemy.” Without dealing with both, even the most automated workplace could easily have undercurrents of anxiety, if not anger.
Rethink What Your Workforce Can Do. Technology will replace some work, but it doesn’t have to replace the people who have done that work.
Economist James Bessen notes, “The problem is people are losing jobs and we’re not doing a good job of getting them the skills and knowledge they need to work for the new jobs.”
A study in Australia found a silver lining in the automation of bank tellers’ work: “While ATMs took over a lot of the tasks these tellers were doing, it gave existing workers the opportunity to upskill and sell a wider ranges of financial services.”
Such new thinking will generate a whole new human resource development agenda, one quite probably emphasizing those innate human capacities that can provide a renewed strategy for success that is both technological and human.
We can choose to use AI and other emerging technologies to replace human work, or we can choose to use them to augment it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “From Nazi Germany to Australia: The Incredible True Story of Oskar Speck and History’s Longest Kayak Journey”

Sheets of monsoon rains, pushed by southeasterlies running to 25 knots, forced Oskar Speck and his 18-foot folding kayak off the open water into the protection of the mangrove forests of New Guinea.
Oskar Walter Speck died in 1995 at 88, never able to get his full story told.
Born near Hamburg in 1907, Oskar Walter Speck was seven years old when the kaiser plunged Europe into World War I. By the time he turned 11, in 1918, the war had been lost, the kaiser had fled, and Germany was saddled with a peace treaty so punitive it left the country chaotic, bitter, and broke.
At the mouth of the gulf, Speck pulled into the sandy port city of Bandar Abbas, on the Strait of Hormuz, and found it to be “About the most desolate place in the Persian Gulf, hot, dirty, empty.” The desert’s sandpaper winds also left his first kayak in tatters, and he ordered a replacement from Germany.
Still smarting over the family criticism, he wrote Grete about a story in Sketch: “We take our hats off to Herr Oskar Speck for his colossal enterprise in his little craft.” Then he added sourly, “In Germany they see things differently.”
The two embarked on a brief flirtation, Trautmann clearly looking for his “Pure Aryan man.” He set up the fees and the speeches and, at one of them, presented Speck with a Nazi pennant to fly from his kayak.
Later, he sent Speck a note signed with typical Nazi froth: “Remain what you are: an agent of the New Germany with all its ideals, tough will and keen Viking spirit. With German Greeting and Heil Hitler!”.
After more than seven years and the longest kayak journey before or since, Speck had less than $5 worth of Australian currency in his pocket.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook Couldn’t Handle News. Maybe It Never Wanted To.”

It’s not about time spent, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the New York Times, but “That time spent on Facebook is time well spent.” For Zuckerberg well spent means not just more rewarding interactions with friends and family, but less misinformation and fake news – and presumably less congressional scrutiny as well.
“Facebook has research showing that if the percentage of friend/family content gets too low then people don’t find Facebook valuable anymore.” It’s worth noting that this former employee is dubious of Facebook’s spin.
“Facebook has become an essential piece of infrastructure for public content, and we should be wary of anything that undermines the platform’s utility here. The media is on the frontlines of helping our society navigate the present challenges, and Facebook has an obligation to help its community connect with information as readily as with friends.”
With Facebook’s centrality in our lives and the greater culture, the company’s retreat feels less like a selfless act than an abdication of a civic responsibility that Facebook perhaps never truly wanted.
“News on Facebook has actually hurt, not helped, them,” another former senior Facebook employee told BuzzFeed.
To hear Facebook insiders tell it, it’s unclear how much the company truly wanted to be in the media game.
It’s hardly surprising that the Great News Feed Shift of 2018 has made fewer waves inside Facebook HQ. Multiple former employees told BuzzFeed News they believe the move will be popular among Facebook employees.
Still, after years of grand claims from Facebook and its top executives, it’s hard not to view the changes the company is making to its News Feed as an admission that the company overreached and ultimately failed to deliver a new way forward for news.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble”

To see how enormous but also invisible the benefits of such protocols have been, imagine that one of those key standards had not been developed: for instance, the open standard we use for defining our geographic location, GPS. Originally developed by the United States military, the Global Positioning System was first made available for civilian use during the Reagan administration.
Protocol Labs is Benet’s attempt to take up that baton, and its first project is a radical overhaul of the internet’s file system, including the basic scheme we use to address the location of pages on the web.
To support the protocol, Benet is also creating a system called Filecoin that will allow users to effectively rent out unused hard-drive space.
“So you can bring online a massive amount of supply, which will bring down the costs of storage.” But as its name suggests, Protocol Labs has an ambition that extends beyond these projects; Benet’s larger mission is to support many new open-source protocols in the years to come.
Juan Benet’s Filecoin system will rely on Ethereum technology and reward users and developers who adopt its IPFS protocol or help maintain the shared database it requires.
In the early days, a developer who built an iPhone app that uses Transit might see a windfall of tokens; Uber drivers who started using Transit as a second option for finding passengers could collect tokens as a reward for embracing the system; adventurous consumers would be rewarded with tokens for using Transit in its early days, when there are fewer drivers available compared with the existing proprietary networks like Uber or Lyft.As Transit began to take off, it would attract speculators, who would put a monetary price on the token and drive even more interest in the protocol by inflating its value, which in turn would attract more developers, drivers and customers.
Token economies introduce a strange new set of elements that do not fit the traditional models: instead of creating value by owning something, as in the shareholder equity model, people create value by improving the underlying protocol, either by helping to maintain the ledger, or by writing apps atop it, or simply by using the service.
Additional security would come from the decentralized nature of these new identity protocols.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Damn I missed’: the incredible story of the day the Queen was nearly shot”

It may be the closest anyone has ever come to assassinating Queen Elizabeth II. In 1981, Christopher John Lewis, a disturbed New Zealand teenager aimed his.22 rifle at the British monarch during her tour of the country, lining up her jade outfit in his scope.
On Wednesday 14 October 1981, Lewis pulled on gloves and loaded his rifle inside a deserted toilet cubicle in New Zealand’s oldest city, Dunedin, aiming his scope at the Queen’s motorcade five storeys below.
According to Tom Lewis, the then prime minister Robert Muldoon feared if word got out about how close the teenager had come to killing the Queen, the royals would never again visit New Zealand.
Police interviewed the teenager eight times, during which he claimed he had been instructed to kill the Queen by an Englishman known to him as “The Snowman”, of whom Lewis was frightened.
The Snowman allegedly told Lewis about the pro-Nazi, rightwing National Front in England, and said Lewis could be part of similar groups that were popping up in New Zealand.
Tom Lewis, who worked on the 1981 case, said police were eager to keep the troubled man out of the spotlight during the second tour and downplay how close he had come to the Queen on her earlier visit.
When Lewis faced court, his potshot at the Queen was downgraded to possession of a firearm in a public place and discharging it.
Shortly before his death Lewis told his partner about his infamous attempt to assassinate the Queen of England.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook’s startling new ambition is to shrink”

In theory, Facebook will make less money off us – or, at least, the rate at which it makes more and more money off us will slow.
Yet as of today, it’s the company’s stated ambition: Facebook wants to shrink.
The change may sound relatively small, but it’s likely to have significant consequences for the broad subset of Facebook users that aren’t individual people: media companies, small businesses, big brands, and everyone else who has come to see Facebook’s News Feed as an essential way to reach audiences and customers.
Facebook has announced similar changes in the past, and the News Feed is still full of news and video from big publishers.
He told The New York Times he is determined to make sure his daughters think Facebook “Was good for the world.” His statement represented an acknowledgement, however oblique, that the opposite might be true.
Facebook is a company that has always been defined by ruthless ambition.
Reading the company’s blog posts, you can feel executives longing for a time when Facebook felt smaller, and less consequential.
Even if Facebook succeeds at phasing the news media out of the News Feed, it’s not clear it will make Facebook a happier place.

The orginal article.

Summary of “After Brexit, England will have to rethink its identity”

England’s national identity is undergoing a fast and furious overhaul.
Today’s England feels like a country that has fallen out of love with itself – mistrusting its elites, scornful of its media, and famously impatient with experts.
The only unique things about England, the qualities that are irrevocably its own, concern its landscape and history.
In 1941 George Orwell argued, in The Lion and the Unicorn, that even if England were to be conquered and overrun it would somehow remain England, an expression of its green hills and valleys, fields and hedgerows, squalls and rainbows.
“The Stock Exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children’s holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten, but England will still be England, an everlasting animal.”
It is possible that England will remain the driving force of a new golden age for a new global Britain, but it is equally possible that England will awake from the Brexit fever, gape in amazement, and wonder how such folly came to pass.
In the meantime we should note that England is by no means one thing.
We had better hope so, because one thing is certain: the imperious workshop of the world, the nation that seized those far pavilions, the England of Nelson and Florence Nightingale that place is no more.

The orginal article.