Summary of “This Man Helped Peter Thiel Demolish Gawker”

Peter Thiel’s campaign to ruin Gawker Media was conceived and orchestrated by a previously unknown associate who served as a middleman, allowing the billionaire to conceal his involvement in the bankrolling of lawsuits that eventually drove the New York media outlet into bankruptcy.
Since 2016, Thiel has sparingly discussed his role in destroying Gawker, sitting for just three public interviews and writing a single New York Times opinion piece.
The Gawker reporter who wrote that story, Owen Thomas, previously wrote that a Thiel representative “Assured me that he had no issue with the post,” while Nick Denton, Gawker’s founder, said that following the post, the tech investor went “On a broader media charm offensive.”
D’Souza’s online résumé fails to mention his work with Thiel to covertly attack Gawker.
Forbes previously reported that Harder never had any direct contact with Thiel prior to Hogan’s 2016 trial against Gawker in Florida, and a source close to founding partner Doug Mirell told BuzzFeed News that the attorney was unaware that the billionaire was paying Hogan’s legal bills until it was reported in May 2016.
Thiel celebrated his momentous victory anonymously, at least until Forbes revealed him as Hogan’s benefactor in May, while Harder used his newfound fame to attract inbound interest for further lawsuits against Gawker and other news outlets.
To head that off, Thiel bid for the remaining Gawker assets – including the flagship domain Gawker.com, its archive, and outstanding legal claims, like those against himself – though Holden has made it known that he may block any sale to Thiel, no matter how much the venture capitalist is willing to bid.
In the case of Gawker Media, Mirell helped Harder, Thiel, and D’Souza destroy one.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Oklahoma City Thunder star Carmelo Anthony is learning to accept a new role”

Through training camp and the first six weeks of the season, that was the unofficial mantra of the Oklahoma City Thunder, or at least its three headliners, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Anthony.
After the Thunder lost to the Cavs on Feb. 13, amid the forced quiet of the locker room, Anthony walked from the shower to his locker carrying his phone.
“I’ve been on teams with bad guys,” says Thunder backup point guard Raymond Felton, who played with Anthony in New York.
Sept. 22, three days before the start of training camp, Anthony got a call asking if he would be willing to add the Thunder to his list of approved teams if a deal could get done.
Hundreds of them showed up at the airport to greet Anthony when he arrived from New York after the trade.
“In New York, there was so much going on with the organization and the city,” Anthony says.
Never in his career – not in his eight years in Denver nor his seven in New York – had Anthony been open to the idea of reducing or even altering his role.
Without saying the words, he said he would make every effort to bring Olympic Melo to OKC. The next day, Anthony called Westbrook and George together and told them the new plan.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Millennials are not ruining sex”

Those complaints are still around, of course, but baby boomers have also come to believe that millennials are sexless, humorless ascetics who want to destroy office holiday parties and wring the life out of the one-night stand with blockchain-powered consent apps.
Millennials, who have killed nearly every industry from golf to family dining in the last ten years, have evidently moved on to ruining sex and fun, and for this they must be chided.
This mindset was encapsulated last week by Christina Hoff Sommers, the libertarian American Enterprise Institute shill whose support of the 2014 controversy known as “Gamergate” earned her the embarrassing nickname “Based Mom.” On Wednesday, Hoff Sommers fired off a tweet that became widely mocked: “Dear kids: I’m a Baby Boomer. We are getting old. But at least we had sex, drugs and rock & roll. Seems like millennials have moral panics, workshops, and grievance circles. Time to rebel!”.
Seems like millennials have moral panics, workshops, and grievance circles.
The rates of premarital sex, use of contraceptives and divorce rose sharply as the average boomer reached adulthood.
Millennials, who have killed nearly every industry from golf to family dining in the last ten years, have evidently moved on to ruining sex and fun.
Last month the French actress Catherine Deneuve, who continues to defend Roman Polanski, signed an open letter with 100 other French women calling the #MeToo movement a “Witch hunt.” From that letter: “Instead of helping women, this frenzy to send these ‘pigs’ to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty – religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries.” Again, any attempt to create new sexual taboos, even when justified, is viewed as an attempt to reinstate the old ones.
With the avatar of sexual depravity in the White House, enabled by the “Moral majority” which once seemed like it could reverse the innovations of the 1960s, fears that a new millennial puritanism is just around the corner are wholly unfounded.

The orginal article.

Summary of “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2018”

Every year since 2001 we’ve picked what we call the 10 Breakthrough Technologies.
What we’re really looking for is a technology, or perhaps even a collection of technologies, that will have a profound effect on our lives.
A new project in Toronto, called Quayside, is hoping to change that pattern of failures by rethinking an urban neighborhood from the ground up and rebuilding it around the latest digital technologies.
Sectors such as medicine, manufacturing, and energy could also be transformed if they were able to implement the technology more fully, with a huge boost to economic productivity.
A pilot power plant just outside Houston, in the heart of the US petroleum and refining industry, is testing a technology that could make clean energy from natural gas a reality.
Net Power is a collaboration between technology development firm 8 Rivers Capital, Exelon Generation, and energy construction firm CB&I. The company is in the process of commissioning the plant and has begun initial testing.
Net Power’s technology won’t solve all the problems with natural gas, particularly on the extraction side.
Of all the clean-energy technologies in development, Net Power’s is one of the furthest along to promise more than a marginal advance in cutting carbon emissions.

The orginal article.

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A new report authored by over two-dozen experts on the implications of emerging technologies is sounding the alarm bells on the ways artificial intelligence could enable new forms of cybercrime, physical attacks, and political disruption over the next five to ten years.
“As AI capabilities become more powerful and widespread, we expect the growing use of AI systems to lead to the expansion of existing threats, the introduction of new threats, and a change to the typical character of threats,” write the authors in the new report.
New threats may emerge through the use of systems that will complete tasks normally too impractical or onerous for humans.
In terms of specifics, the authors warn of cyber attacks involving automated hacking, spear phishing, speech synthesis to impersonate targets, and “Data poisoning.” The advent of drones and semi- and fully-autonomous systems introduces an entirely new class of risks; the nightmarish scenarios include the deliberate crashing of multiple self-driving vehicles, coordinated attacks using thousands of micro-drones, converting commercial drones into face-recognizing assassins, and holding critical infrastructures for ransom.
In some respects, the new report has a “Tell us something we didn’t already know” aspect to it.
Seán hÉigeartaigh, Executive Director of Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and a co-author of the new study, says hype used to outstrip fact when it came to our appreciation of AI and machine learning-but those days are now long gone.
Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of web security company High-Tech Bridge, believes the authors of the new report are overstating the risks, and that it’ll be business as usual over the next decade.
Sadly, the warnings presented in the new report will likely fall on deaf ears until people start to feel the ill effects of AI at a personal level.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Fake news is an existential crisis for social media”

By failing to be pro-active about the existential threat posed by digitally accelerated disinformation, social media platforms have unwittingly made the case for external regulation of their global information-shaping and distribution platforms louder and more compelling than ever.
The other problem is the lack of incentive for social media companies to robustly investigate fake news.
Publishers have their own biases too, of course, but those biases tend to be writ large – vs social media platforms’ faux claims of neutrality when in fact their profit-seeking algorithms have been repeatedly caught preferring dis- and misinformation over and above truthful but less clickable content.
So it’s interesting to see Goldman’s suggested answer to social media’s existential fake news problem attempting, even now, to deflect blame – by arguing that the US education system should take on the burden of arming citizens to deconstruct all the dubious nonsense that social media platforms are piping into people’s eyeballs.
Fake news is also insidious because of the lack of civic restrains on disinformation agents, which makes maliciously minded fake news so much more potent and problematic than plain old digital advertising.
Social media firms spent a very long time indeed trying to sell the ludicrous fallacy that content about slippers and maliciously crafted political propaganda, mass-targeted tracelessly and inexpensively via their digital ad platforms, was essentially the same stuff.
Look back over the last few years’ news about fake news, and social media platforms have demonstrably sought to play down the idea that the content distributed via their platforms might have had any sort of quantifiable impact on the democratic process at all.
All of this is why fake news is an existential problem for social media.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook’s plan to unite AR, VR and News Feed with 3D posts”

Now Facebook 3D posts support the industry standard glTF 2.0 file format, allowing for textures, lighting and realistic rendering of rough or shiny objects.
New Graph API endpoints let developers build 3D modeling apps or even 3D cameras that directly share to the News Feed and make websites that show up as 3D posts.
Users can take 3D posts and bring them into Facebook Spaces, its social VR hangout rooms.
You could make a metallic personalized chess piece in a 3D modeling app, share it straight to News Feed and then bring it into Facebook Spaces, where you could play with it as part of the playground’s native chess board.
“We’re trying to make 3D a native part of the Facebook ecosystem. Stage 3 is getting these 3D objects into AR,” says Facebook’s creative director for social VR, Ocean Quigley.
“We’re trying to lay the foundational steps so Facebook can go with users into their 3D worlds of VR and AR.”.
If you have a 3D object in another format, Facebook is open sourcing converters on GitHub so you can port them to Facebook’s preferred file type.
“In the future, we envision a seamless digital world where people can share immersive experiences and objects like these across VR, AR and Facebook News Feed,” Facebook product manager Aykud Gönen writes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Free Speech and the Necessity of Discomfort”

Intelligent coverage requires intelligent readers, viewers and listeners.
In sum, we cannot be the keepers of what you might call liberal civilization – I’m using the word liberal in its broad, philosophical sense, not the narrowly American ideological one – if our readers have illiberal instincts, incurious minds, short attention spans and even shorter fuses.
Nate Silver, the Times’s former polling guru, said the article did “More to normalize neo-Nazism than anything I’ve read in long time.” An editor at The Washington Post accused us of producing “Long, glowing profiles of Nazis” when we should have focused on the “Victims of their ideologies.” The Times followed up with an explanatory, and somewhat apologetic, note from the national editor.
Just what do these readers think a newspaper is supposed to do?
How can we get our readers to understand that the purpose of The Times is not to be a tacit partner in the so-called Resistance, which would only validate the administration’s charge that the paper is engaged in veiled partisanship rather than straight-up fact-finding and truth telling?
Again, do these readers comprehend that we are in the business of news, not public relations? And does it not also occur to them that perhaps the real problem was coverage that was not aggressive enough, allowing Mrs. Clinton to dominate the Democratic field in 2016 despite her serious, and only belatedly apparent, shortcomings as a candidate?
The word “Modest” might have been a tip-off to modestly educated readers that I was not proposing to ban Jews at all.
How many people bother to read before they condemn? Are people genuinely offended, or are they looking for a pretext to be offended – because taking offense is now the shortest route to political empowerment? Am I, as a columnist, no longer allowed to use irony as a rhetorical device because there’s always a risk that bigots and dimwits might take it the wrong way? Can I rely on context to make my point clear, or must I write in fear that any sentence can be ripped out of context and pasted on Twitter to be used against me? Is a plodding, Pravda-like earnestness of tone and substance the only safe way going forward?

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Rise of Virtual Citizenship”

Citizenship and its varying legal definition has become one of the key battlegrounds of the 21st century, as nations attempt to stake out their power in a G-Zero, globalized world, one increasingly defined by transnational, borderless trade and liquid, virtual finance.
Hannah Arendt called citizenship “The right to have rights.” Like any other right, it can be bestowed and withheld by those in power, but in its newer forms it can also be bought, traded, and rewritten.
Virtual citizenship is a commodity that can be acquired through the purchase of real estate or financial investments, subscribed to via an online service, or assembled by peer-to-peer digital networks.
This is the new era of virtual citizenship, where your papers and your identity-and all the rights that flow from them-owe more to legal frameworks and investment vehicles than any particular patch of ground where you might live.
The legal frameworks of virtual citizenship invert and globalize the logic of the special economic zone-a geographical space of exception, where the usual rules of state and finance don’t apply.
It amounts to a virtual middle ground between citizenship and global residency.
Today’s virtual citizenship caters mostly to the wealthy, or the poor.
Blockchain governance could allow for the creation of virtual citizenship and autonomous communities distinct from territorial nation-states.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The media exaggerates negative news. This distortion has consequences”

News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen.
Bad things can happen quickly, but good things aren’t built in a day, and as they unfold, they will be out of sync with the news cycle.
The nature of news is likely to distort people’s view of the world because of a mental bug that the psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman called the Availability heuristic: people estimate the probability of an event or the frequency of a kind of thing by the ease with which instances come to mind.
Putting aside the wiggles and waves that reflect the crises of the day, we see that the impression that the news has become more negative over time is real.
The New York Times got steadily more morose from the early 1960s to the early 1970s, lightened up a bit in the 1980s and 1990s, and then sank into a progressively worse mood in the first decade of the new century.
The consequences of negative news are themselves negative.
Consumers of negative news, not surprisingly, become glum: a recent literature review cited “Misperception of risk, anxiety, lower mood levels, learned helplessness, contempt and hostility towards others, desensitization, and in some cases, … complete avoidance of the news.” And they become fatalistic, saying things like “Why should I vote? It’s not gonna help,” or “I could donate money, but there’s just gonna be another kid who’s starving next week.”
Media scholars who tally news stories of different kinds, or present editors with a menu of possible stories and see which they pick and how they display them, have confirmed that the gatekeepers prefer negative to positive coverage, holding the events constant.

The orginal article.