Summary of “The world’s first “high-tech eco village” will reinvent suburbs”

A half-hour commute from Amsterdam, a piece of farmland is slated to become a new kind of neighborhood.
A “Village OS” tech platform will use AI to simultaneously manage systems for renewable energy, food production, water supply, and waste.
The 50-acre neighborhood, which will be nearly self-sufficient as it collects and stores water and energy, grows food, and processes much of its own waste, was initially planned for construction in 2017.
“We can connect a neighborhood the way it’s supposed to be connected, which is around natural resources,” says James Ehrlich, founder of ReGen Villages.
Electric cars, for example, which will be parked on the perimeter of the neighborhood to keep streets walkable, can store some of the extra power from the neighborhood’s solar panels and other renewable energy.
Because of the expected arrival of self-driving cars in coming years, and to encourage walking and biking, the houses aren’t designed with parking; a new bus line along the edge of the neighborhood, with a dedicated bus lane, can take residents to the town of Almere or into Amsterdam.
A “Living machine,” a system that uses plants and trees to filter sewage, and a separate anaerobic digester, can handle the neighborhood’s sewage and provide irrigation or water reused in energy systems.
The company has plans to build future developments near cities like Lund, Sweden, and Lejre-Hvalso, Denmark, and it ultimately hopes to bring a low-cost version of the neighborhoods to developing countries.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to introduce yourself so you’ll be unforgettable |”

If you can move beyond the boring basics when you’re asked “What do you do?”, you’ll set yourself up for new relationships, opportunities and revelations, says introduction expert Joanna Bloor.
As Bloor puts it, “When you get your introduction right, the opportunity is not only to genuinely connect with people, but you’ll also be allowed to do the work you really want to do.”
Bloor asks her clients, “What is it you would like to be known for?” It’s an uncomfortable question, but she finds it jolts people out of their comfort zones.
My typical response to “What do you do?” is “I’m a journalist and playwright.” But after she asked me what I loved about these professions and what I hoped to accomplish through them, she helped me craft a much deeper and more compelling response: “The world can be an overwhelming place, so I help people connect to each other by telling stories as a journalist as a playwright.”
If you’re having a difficult time identifying your talents, she suggests you turn to the people who know you well and ask them “What is it you see that I do well and that I’m unaware is really special?” You’ll generally find common themes or language in their responses, says Bloor, even if they’re people from different parts of your life.
What were you great at during that age? According to Bloor, that special skill can often apply to your present and future selves and help you see how you’re different from everyone else.
“After you’ve crafted your opener, practice it on five people you know well. Then, a few days later, ask them ‘What do you remember most about my intro?” Their few-days-later response will tell you what is most memorable about your opener, what you could alter, and what you might try to lean into when meeting new people.
Bloor suggests prefacing it with, “I’ve just learned a new way of introducing myself and I’m experimenting with it. Can I try it out on you?” People love to be asked for their advice or input.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Did the Climate Apocalypse Become Old News?”

The New York Times has done admirable work on global warming over the last year, launching a new climate desk and devoting tremendous resources to high-production-value special climate “Features.” But even their original story on the wildfires in Greece made no mention of climate change – after some criticism on Twitter, they added a reference.
Over the last few days, there has been a flurry of chatter among climate writers and climate scientists, and the climate-curious who follow them, about this failure.
In perhaps the most widely parsed and debated Twitter exchange, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes – whose show, All In, has distinguished itself with the seriousness of its climate coverage – described the dilemma facing every well-intentioned person in his spot: the transformation of the planet and the degradation may be the biggest and most important story of our time, indeed of all time, but on television, at least, it has nevertheless proven, so far, a “Palpable ratings killer.” All of which raises a very dispiriting possibility, considering the scale of the climate crisis: Has the end of the world as we know it become, already, old news?
The news about what more to expect, coming out of new research, only darkens our picture of what to expect: Just over the past few weeks, new studies have suggested heat in many major Indian cities would be literally lethal by century’s end, if current warming trends continue, and that, by that time, global economic output could fall, thanks to climate effects, by 30 percent or more.
When you think about it, this would be a very strange choice for a producer or an editor concerned about boring or losing his or her audience – it would mean leaving aside the far more dramatic story of the total transformation of the planet’s climate system, and the immediate and all-encompassing threat posed by climate change to the way we live on Earth, to tell the pretty mundane story of some really hot days in the region.
As NPR’s science editor Geoff Brumfiel told Atkin, “You don’t just want to be throwing around, ‘This is due to climate change, that is due to climate change.'”.
Wildfires are “Not caused by climate change” only in the same way that hurricanes are not caused by climate change – which is to say they are made more likely by it, which is to say the distinction is semantic.
They won’t be, and the longer-view story is much more harrowing: not just more months like July, but an unfolding century when a month like this July has become a happy memory of a placid climate.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The tech investment wave has reached Latin America – TechCrunch”

Latin America faces a unique opportunity to develop the next generation of tech startup stars.
In 2017, VC tech investment in the region had an all time high of $1.1 billion.
Others have raised large rounds, such as Selina and Movile, with $90 million-plus, or Auth0, with $50 million rounds in 2018.
Together they created a fertile ecosystem that gave birth to a new class of Latin American startups.
Maturity signs are observed in Latin America for the first time.
Public tech companies are catching up to old incumbents: Mercadolibre, Despegar, Globant and B2W doubled their combined market cap in 2017 to US$34 billion.
New rising tech startup stars such as 99 and Nubank are born.
Latin America is poised for a new wave of tech companies to become market leaders.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Big tech warns of ‘Japan’s millennium bug’ ahead of Akihito’s abdication”

The Japanese calendar counts up from the coronation of a new emperor, using not the name of the emperor, but the name of the era they herald.
Akihito’s coronation in January 1989 marked the beginning of the Heisei era, and the end of the Sh?wa era that preceded him; and Naruhito’s coronation will itself mark another new era.
For one, Akihito has been on the throne for almost the entirety of the information age, meaning that many systems have never had to deal with a switchover in era.
For another, the official name of Naruhito’s era has yet to be announced, causing concern for diary publishers, calendar printers and international standards bodies.
Steele warned coders of what to look out for: “Some algorithms attempting to count the years during a transition year may not consider the possibility of two partial Japanese Calendar years, in two different Calendars Eras, within the same Gregorian year,” for instance.
Since Japanese computers use one character to represent the entire era name, Unicode needs to set the standard for that new character.
The era system doesn’t only pose problems during an imperial transition.
Many older computers, with aspects dating back to before the end of the Sh?wa era in 1989, have never been updated to reflect the new era, and still think the year is Sh?wa 93.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Brain Gain: A Person Can Instantly Blossom into a Savant-and No One Knows Why”

In congenital savant syndrome the extraordinary savant ability surfaces in early childhood.
In acquired savant syndrome astonishing new abilities, typically in music, art or mathematics, appear unexpectedly in ordinary persons after a head injury, stroke or other central nervous system incident where no such abilities or interests were present pre-incident.
In sudden savant syndrome an ordinary person with no such prior interest or ability and no precipitating injury or other CNS incident has an unanticipated, spontaneous epiphanylike moment where the rules and intricacies of music, art or mathematics, for example, are experienced and revealed, producing almost instantaneous giftedness and ability in the affected area of skill sets.
Because there is no underlying disability such as that which occurs in congenital or acquired savant syndromes, technically sudden savant syndrome would be better termed sudden genius.
The Case of M. F. This 43-year-old woman woke up one night in December 2016 with what she called “The urgent need to draw a multitude of triangles, which quickly evolved to a web of complex abstract designs. I stayed up into the morning with a compulsive need to draw, which continued over the next three days at an intense level.” She had no prior interest or training in art.
The new skill is automatically coupled with a detailed, epiphany-type knowledge of the underlying rules of music, art or math, for example-none of which the person has studied.
In a documentary filmed at the Milwaukee Art Museum he states: “The line between profound talent and profound disability seems to be really a surprisingly thin one. Who knows there may be abilities hidden within everyone that can be tapped in some way.”
The acquired savant particularly, and now the sudden savant, reinforce the idea that not only is the line between savant and genius a very narrow one but also underscores the possibility such savant abilities may be dormant, to one degree or another, in all of us.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘The discourse is unhinged’: how the media gets AI alarmingly wrong”

In June of last year, five researchers at Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research unit published an article showing how bots can simulate negotiation-like conversations.
Should We Stop It? The story focused almost entirely on how the bots occasionally diverged from standard English – which was not the main finding of the paper – and reported that after the researchers “Realized their bots were chattering in a new language” they decided to pull the plug on the whole experiment, as if the bots were in some way out of control.
While the giddy hype around AI helped generate funding for researchers at universities and in the military, by the end of the 1960s it was becoming increasingly obvious to many AI pioneers that they had grossly underestimated the difficulty of simulating the human brain in machines.
As reports of deep learning’s “Unreasonable effectiveness” circulated among researchers, enrollments at universities in machine-learning classes surged, corporations started to invest billions of dollars to find talent familiar with the newest techniques, and countless startups attempting to apply AI to transport or medicine or finance were founded.
Lipton, a jazz saxophonist who decided to undertake a PhD in machine learning to challenge himself intellectually, says that as these hyped-up stories proliferate, so too does frustration among researchers with how their work is being reported on by journalists and writers who have a shallow understanding of the technology.
“If you compare a journalist’s income to an AI researcher’s income,” she says, “It becomes pretty clear pretty quickly why it is impossible for journalists to produce the type of carefully thought through writing that researchers want done about their work.” She adds that while many researchers stand to benefit from hype, as a writer who wants to critically examine these technologies, she only suffers from it.
While closer interaction between journalists and researchers would be a step in the right direction, Genevieve Bell, a professor of engineering and computer science at the Australian National University, says that stamping out hype in AI journalism is not possible.
“Experts can be really quick to dismiss how their research makes people feel, but these utopian hopes and dystopian fears have to be part of the conversations. Hype is ultimately a cultural expression that has its own important place in the discourse.”

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Summary of “Darwin comes to town: how cities are creating new species”

Cities are like mad scientists, creating their own crazy ecological concoctions by throwing all kinds of native and foreign elements into the urban melting pot, then spicing it up with artificial light, pollution, impervious surfaces and a host of other challenges.
In tune with their human population, cities have been assembled from immigrants from around the globe.
In the Japanese city of Sendai, the local carrion crows famously discovered how to use passing traffic as a nutcracker, dropping nuts among the wheels of slow-driving cars and picking up the flesh after the car had passed.
The impact of cities is not just evident in the behaviour of animals – urbanisation has also changed the course of animal evolution.
Cities have even begun to form new species, and for evidence we need look no further than the blackbird.
Cities have even begun to form new species, and for evidence we need look no further than Turdus merula, the blackbird – one of the world’s oldest and best studied urban animals.
The chances are that Turdus urbanicus will be the first in an ever-growing compendium of new species to have evolved in that new, expanding environment: the city.
As things stand, cities are still a new phenomenon on Earth, and most urban animals and plants have only begun adapting to them for the past few centuries, millennia at the most.

The orginal article.

Summary of “American Conservatives Played A Secret Role In The Macedonian Fake News Boom Ahead Of 2016”

An investigation reveals that the fake news sites that flourished in Macedonia in 2016 weren’t just the work of local teens – and that security agencies are probing possible connections to Russia.
A joint investigation by BuzzFeed News and partners has uncovered new information that rewrites the story of the fake news boom in the Macedonian town of Veles.
After reviewing social media posts, government records, domain registry information, and archived versions of fake news sites, as well as interviewing key players, BuzzFeed News, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and the Investigative Reporting Lab Macedonia can now reveal that Veles’ political news industry was not started spontaneously by apolitical teens.
Wade eventually wrote more than 40 articles for Arsov’s Macedonian site, USA Politics Today, between the summer of 2016 and January 2017.
One American who worked for Arsov is Johnny Roberts.
Another American who worked for Arsov is Alicia Powe, who says she applied for a job and was able to “Write as many articles as I want.” She did not reply to subsequent questions sent via Facebook Messenger.
As the 2016 election approached, Arsov and his partners at Liberty Writers continued pumping out a torrent of viral, often misleading, pro-Trump news via multiple websites and Facebook pages.
Facebook pages linked to Arsov’s sites, with their more than 2 million fans, survived longer than his American partners’ page.

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Summary of “The Fact-Checkers Who Want to Save the World”

As more fact-checking groups have begun policing media outlets, viral stories, and public officials, the world of fact-checking has ballooned to include more than just stump speeches and campaign ads; the Mexican fact-checking project Verificado 2018, for example, has attempted to debunk false information spread through WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook.
While fact-checking organizations originally sprang up as attempted antidotes to political misinformation and hoaxes, their role has ballooned into ad hoc and woefully incomplete corrections departments for the digital world.
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker also launched in 2007, identifying untrue statements from politicians; although it operated within the Post, it was separate from the newspaper’s internal fact-checking department, instead focusing on assessing the truth of statements made in the political realm.
According to the Duke Reporters’ Lab, the number of fact-checking groups around the world has tripled since 2014, with new entries like The Nevada Independent and Univision’s Detector de Mentiras, the first Spanish-language fact-checking vertical in the United States.
The relatively explosive growth of the fact-checking world is closely linked to the growth of these platforms, as they guarantee that the organizations will never run out of bad information to debunk.
Even if antitrust crusaders radically transformed the tech industry, the world of fact-checking would still be messy and tense.
The National Review’s Jonah Goldberg once memorably described PolitiFact as “The hackiest and most biased of the fact-checking outfits, which bends over like a Bangkok hooker to defend Democrats.” During the 2016 campaign, Breitbart ran its own fact-check on other fact-checking outlets during the first presidential debate in order to correct what it saw as pervasive bias in the fact-checking world.
It’s a far-fetched-sounding project in the contentious world of fact-checking, but one that also digs into how essential trust is to fact-checking.

The orginal article.