Summary of “‘A different dimension of loss’: inside the great insect die-off”

Taxonomists do not just name individual species; they also have to figure out how species are related to each other.
Based on their collective work, he named 7,700 species of plants and 4,400 species of animals.
The first part indicates the genus to which a species belongs, and the second part is the species name.
Erwin wanted to figure out how many species of insect lived on an average acre of rainforest in Panama, where he was working.
Scaling this result up, Erwin estimated that there are 41,000 different species in every hectare of rainforest, and 30m species worldwide.
According to Wendy Moore, a professor of entomology at the University of Arizona, who specialises in ant nest beetles, “There is a sense of running out of time. Everyone in the field who is paying attention feels that.” Because many insects depend on a single plant species for their survival, the devastation caused by deforestation is almost unimaginably huge.
While we still don’t have a clear idea of what’s happening to insects at the species level, we are in the midst of a crisis at the population level.
Conserving individual insect species piecemeal, as is done with most endangered mammals, is extremely difficult.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Last Jedi: our spoiler-free review”

The Last Jedi does feature sequences that directly recall The Empire Strikes Back, though Johnson’s script uses their familiarity to play against expectations and subvert viewers’ nostalgia, instead of paying it off.
There’s been some fan concern that Last Jedi might mimic Empire Strikes Back too closely, down to the dark tone and open ending.
Last Jedi is often a painful, mournful film about loss: as the bleak story unfolds, the characters lose allies and friends and family, agency and options, treasured illusions and ideals.
It’s surprising how neatly and succinctly Last Jedi wraps up the open-ended stories – there are still plenty of details left to address about the new characters’ pasts, but the film answers the trilogy’s biggest questions to date with a directness that feels blunt and pointed: “You need to move on, and you can’t until you have your answers. So here are those answers.” If Last Jedi is fundamentally meant as a rebirth for the Star Wars series, the way Johnson addresses fan questions is the sharp smack on the ass that’s meant to prompt a baby’s first wailing breath.
The Last Jedi sprawls out over a 152-minute runtime that introduces new characters, including visually soft but emotionally steely Resistance leader Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, sweet but not very useful Resistance techie Rose Tico, and drawling scoundrel hacker DJ. It separates the primary characters from Force Awakens, and gives them each their own separate story threads, spread across the galaxy.
Johnson crams The Last Jedi with incident and sidelines, including new developments that radically shift the supposed direction of the franchise.
The Last Jedi feels like a deliberate, thought-through corrective.
Audiences will likely come away from The Last Jedi with a lot of complaints and questions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “AI isn’t giving us more choices-it’s limiting them instead”

In our quest for convenience, we are trading away our free choice.
Our lives become more and more subtly influenced and molded by the companies we let make decisions for us.
In this way, the salient tradeoff in the AI age is not privacy, but choice itself.
Shopping online gives us the convenience of searching a catalog of billions of products from our couch-but more often only shows us our recent searches, purchases, and similar products based off them.
Not only are our choices narrowed by monetary incentives-they are narrowed by the use of algorithms that put us into what statistics calls “Clusters,” which are groups with similar behavior profiles.
As AI narrows our choices, will it keep our careers on a single track? Will it guide our lives so that we meet only like-minded people, with whom we get along, and thus deprive us of the encounters and frictions that compel us to evolve into different, perhaps better human beings?
If we trade more and more choice for convenience, we shut out other people’s divergent points of view and rest in the comfort of our cluster.
Choice and free agency deserve a top spot in the AI age.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘He began to eat Hermione’s family’: bot tries to write Harry Potter book”

JK Rowling must be thanking Dumbledore that she has her Cormoran Strike series to fall back on, after a predictive keyboard wrote a new Harry Potter story using her books and it became the funniest thing on the internet.
After the team at Botnik fed the seven Harry Potter novels through their predictive text keyboard, it came up with a chapter from a new Harry Potter story: Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash.
“Magic: it was something that Harry Potter thought was very good.” Well, that’s not wrong.
The following sounds plausibly Pottery: “Leathery sheets of rain lashed at Harry’s ghost as he walked across the grounds towards the castle. Ron was standing there and doing a kind of frenzied tap dance.”
“He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione’s family. Ron’s Ron shirt was just as bad as Ron himself.”
It continues in this vein: almost making sense, but mostly just gloriously bonkers, like: “To Harry, Ron was a loud, slow, and soft bird. Harry did not like to think about birds.” And my favourite: “They looked at the door, screaming about how closed it was and asking it to be replaced with a small orb. The password was ‘BEEF WOMEN,’ Hermione cried.”
Botnik describes itself as “a human-machine entertainment studio and writing community”, with members including former Clickhole head writer Jamie Brew, and former New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff.
As well as the Potter chapter, Botnik has also created incredible TV scripts for Scrubs and Seinfeld.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Lauer’s “Double Life”: Inside NBC, the Network Is Trying to Expunge the Lauer Era”

Two days earlier, after all, NBC News had shocked the broadcasting business by abruptly firing Matt Lauer, the $25-million man at the center of its half-billion dollar Today show franchise, some 36 hours after a former employee accused him of sexual misconduct.
While Lauer issued a statement expressing “Sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused,” NBC News went into crisis mode in the hope of containing the incident.
NBC insisted that its top managers were unaware of Lauer’s alleged transgressions; the network also announced a thorough review of its workplace culture and promised, in the words of network chairman Andy Lack, to “Share what we’ve learned, no matter how painful, and act on it.” For employees of NBC News and MSNBC, it was all a lot to process, and by Friday night, they were surely ready to blow off some steam.
A week after Lauer’s termination, NBC’s efforts to stabilize the situation appear to have worked-at least thus far.
In the main these caucuses have served to reinforce executives’ hopes that employees will report any sort of improper workplace behavior in the wake of the Lauer affair.
Some inside 30 Rock felt at least a little “Spooked,” as an NBC journalist put it, by Donald Trump’s tweet last week encouraging his 44.2 million followers to “Check out Andy Lack’s past!” But the dozen or so NBC sources we spoke with for this article agreed the initial speculation about whether the Lauer scandal might metastasize into a situation that could cost Lack or Oppenheim their jobs-similar to how things played out in the wake of the allegations and internal investigation at Fox News, after which co-president Bill Shine left the network and longtime Fox News legal counsel Dianne Brandi, several months later, took a voluntary leave of absence-has since tempered.
People saw how quickly NBC News acted, at a great cost to the network, and insiders seem to be taking leadership at its word that the transgressions leading to Lauer’s defenestration were previously unknown at the highest levels of the organization.
Those kinds of numbers won’t continue forever and talk has naturally started shifting to who could fill the role that Lauer left behind.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here’s Why.”

One of the earliest predictions among Bitcoin skeptics and boosters alike was that Bitcoin itself would be just a predecessor technology to the real, lasting innovation: the blockchain – the peer-to-peer ledger system that records cryptocurrency transactions and allows them to operate without a central authority.
The potential applicability of blockchain technology to all kinds of different industries, from auto manufacturing to insurance to groceries, has inspired lots of non-techies to learn about cryptocurrencies, and served as an intellectual on-ramp for new Bitcoin investors.
In the frontier days of cryptocurrency, it seemed that every other story was about how criminals and tax-evaders were using Bitcoin to buy and sell illegal goods and services.
The I.R.S. didn’t issue official guidance on the tax treatment of Bitcoin and other digital currencies until 2014, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has just recently started to look at whether initial coin offerings, a kind of public auction of new cryptocurrencies, should be more closely regulated.
Back in 2013, when I began asking Wall Street bankers about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, their reactions ranged from polite dismissal to outright mockery.
Now, in the same way that the rise of junk bonds created an entirely new lucrative finance niche in the 1980s, Bitcoin’s rapid ascent has pulled even the most traditional financial institutions into the fray.
The arrival of institutional investors into the cryptocurrency market has begun to make Bitcoin look less like a fringe technology project, and more like any other securities market.
Real Bitcoin enthusiasts, of course, will say that I’m still missing the point, and that today’s trading mania is just a prelude to an even bigger, more transformational era of cryptocurrency.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Review: ‘The New Testament: A Translation,’ by David Bentley Hart”

For David Bentley Hart whose mind-bending translation of the New Testament was published in October, the Word-as a word-does not suffice: He finds it to be “a curiously bland and impenetrable designation” for the heady concept expressed in the original Greek of the Gospels as Logos.
The Chinese word Tao might get at it, Hart tells us, but English has nothing with quite the metaphysical flavor of Logos, the particular sense of a formative moral energy diffusing itself, without diminution, through space and time.
It’s significant, this act of lexical surrender, because if you’d bet on anyone to come up with a fancy English word for Logos, it’d be David Bentley Hart.
So what has he done to the New Testament, this bristling one-man band of a Christian literatus? The surprising aim, Hart tells us in his introduction, was to be as bare-bones and-where appropriate-unsqueamishly prosaic as he can.
In Hart we can hear more clearly both the leper’s challenge-heal me!-and the quickness and intimacy of Jesus’s response.
“Dearly beloved,” runs the King James Version of 1 Peter 2:11, “I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims” Hart is more immigration-conscious: “Beloved ones, I exhort you as sojourners and resident aliens”.
“The sole literary claim I make for my version,” writes Hart, “Is that my mulish stubbornness regarding the idiosyncrasies of the text allowed me to ‘do the police in different voices,’ so to speak.” That’s no small claim, actually, and it takes a little unpacking.
Hart opted for blissful over the traditional blessed, he writes, because the original Greek, makarios, “Suggested a special intensity of delight and freedom from care that the more shopworn renderings no longer quite capture.” So now we hear it, and are shocked by it: not the ambiguous benediction of blessed, but the actual bliss, right now, of destitution, the emancipation of everything being stripped away.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Private War: Erik Prince Has His Eye On Afghanistan’s Rare Metals”

Prince briefed top Trump administration officials directly, talked up his plan publicly on the DC circuit, and published op-eds about it.
One surprising element is the commercial promise Prince envisions: that the US will get access to Afghanistan’s rich deposits of minerals such as lithium, used in batteries; uranium; magnesite; and “Rare earth elements,” critical metals used in high technology from defense to electronics.
The presentation makes it plain that Prince intends to fund the effort through these rich deposits.
“What is laid out in the slides is a model of an affordable way for the US to stabilize a failed state where we are presently wasting American youth and tens of billions of dollars annually,” a Prince spokesperson emailed BuzzFeed News Thursday.
Defense Secretary James Mattis “Did meet with Mr. Prince earlier this year,” a Defense Department spokesperson said.
Prince currently runs a Chinese security and logistics company, as BuzzFeed News has previously reported.
Ironically, the statement from Prince’s spokesman that said Prince’s Chinese company, Frontier Services Group, would participate in the Afghanistan plan, and “Would provide logistics support to the extractive firms with secure transportation and camp support.”
One source who was briefed by Prince says, “His heart’s in the right place. The problem is that his head is up his ass.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “How To Read Financial News ยท Collaborative Fund”

The advent of financial news TV mastered the art of saying a tremendous amount of something when nothing needs to be said.
Read stuff you disagree with, written by people you respect.
An email he sent to his readers a few years ago began: “Consistent with my belief that it is more productive to read around one’s field than in one’s field, there are no investing books on this list.”
Old news is the best guide of how to treat current news.
The historian of old news teaches a few things: That forecasting markets and economies is nearly impossible; that people will never stop believing in forecasts; and that the biggest news stories in hindsight are the ones no one was talking about with foresight.
It’s an important framework to remember when reading today’s news.
Every piece of financial news you read should be filtered by asking the question, “Will I still care about this in a year? Five years? Ten years?” The goal of information should be to help you make better decisions between now and the end of your ultimate goals.
Why read something if it doesn’t lead to an actionable takeaway? I’ll tell you why: Because the person writing the article has no idea who you are, what your goals are, what your situation is, or how it will affect you.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Patriots May Have Fixed Their Fatal Flaw”

A 16-0 season was always going to be a long shot-the NFL season is long and a lot of wild things can happen-but the dream of the Patriots running the table died an early death when they lost their opener to the Chiefs in Foxborough.
Fast-forward nine weeks and the early-season concern that an uncharacteristic, historically bad Patriots defense would foil New England’s shot at its sixth championship has been quashed.
The Patriots have won eight in a row, and, in that stretch, the defense has given up just 11.8 points per game-best of any team in the league.
The Patriots have made their money over the past nine weeks in that area, and in that stretch they’ve been the third-best defensive red zone in the NFL. On the year, New England’s given up a touchdown on just 45 percent of its opponents’ red zone trips-seventh best leaguewide.
The Patriots defense benefits from playing with one of the league’s top offenses and a very good special teams group.
With Brady at the helm, an average defense could be good enough to make the Patriots the clear AFC favorites.
There’s a two-week overlap here, but consider this: The Patriots have transformed from the first team in NFL history to allow a 300-yard passer in six straight games to the first group in Belichick’s tenure in New England to hold eight straight opponents to under 20 points.
Early in the year, it seemed that for the Patriots and their league-worst defense to make any postseason noise, they’d need a 40-year-old Brady to drag them along, scoring 35 points a game-with little margin for error.

The orginal article.