Summary of “How to Grant Your Child an Inner Life”

So many of the worst nightmares of parenting start with a phone call: a child out of arm’s reach, not in the house, not in her bed.
There probably are teen-agers out there who could face an existential fear without a single Internet search, without texting or posting or sharing, who could cover their tracks sufficiently to prevent a determined parent from snooping, but I haven’t met any.
A motivated parent can give their young driver a car that shuts off the radio, won’t go above a certain speed, and sends text alerts home if the car goes outside a pre-approved area.
A movement for “Free-range parenting” has pushed back against this culture of obsessive supervision, which also criminalizes the dilemmas faced by single parents, two-career parents, and parents who don’t earn enough to pay for constant childcare.
Its leaders point out, among other things, that U.S. crime rates have fallen dramatically over the last twenty years, and it’s safer for children to be alone now than it was in the nineteen-seventies and eighties, when today’s parents were young.
Kids her age seem to accept, reluctantly, that the price of having a social life is having their parents one step away from everything they do, sharing the same accounts, playlists, search histories.
Anxious parenting is an optimization economy with no upper limit, which turns every second of a child’s life, in and out of school, into a commodity: from nanny-cams to high-impact strollers to Kumon to internship consultants to college-essay tutors, and it privileges those who have the least to worry about.
That kind of laissez-faire parenting, bordering on neglect, seems diametrically opposed to the hyperattentive parenting of my generation, but these approaches share one instructive point: they’re primarily concerned with how to succeed and how not to die.

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 “New AI fake text generator may be too dangerous to release, say creators”

The creators of a revolutionary AI system that can write news stories and works of fiction – dubbed “Deepfakes for text” – have taken the unusual step of not releasing their research publicly, for fear of potential misuse.
OpenAI, an nonprofit research company backed by Elon Musk, says its new AI model, called GPT2 is so good and the risk of malicious use so high that it is breaking from its normal practice of releasing the full research to the public in order to allow more time to discuss the ramifications of the technological breakthrough.
The AI system is fed text, anything from a few words to a whole page, and asked to write the next few sentences based on its predictions of what should come next.
When used to simply generate new text, GPT2 is capable of writing plausible passages that match what it is given in both style and subject.
The vast collection of text weighed in at 40 GB, enough to store about 35,000 copies of Moby Dick.
The amount of data GPT2 was trained on directly affected its quality, giving it more knowledge of how to understand written text.
GPT2 is far more general purpose than previous text models.
By structuring the text that is input, it can perform tasks including translation and summarisation, and pass simple reading comprehension tests, often performing as well or better than other AIs that have been built specifically for those tasks.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Read the Good Books”

When we enter into sacred texts as readers, rather than as worshippers-treating them, the way we might the Odyssey or “Beowulf,” as ancient vessels of meaning crafted by people who, like all writers, had their good moments and their misses-we gain much, but we lose much, too.
By searching around for the good bits, we read past the point, and past their point of view: intending to honor the texts by humanizing them, we insult them by aestheticizing them.
Curiosity about what the sacred texts say, and about how we ought to read them even if we don’t think them sacred, is a persistent preoccupation of our era, and has produced not a few robust publishing projects.
The experience is of going back to school, where a superb professor is paraphrasing the text from the original as he comments on it: “You might say that it says … but that doesn’t quite capture it, so perhaps the best equivalent would be …” The K.J.V. rose to meet a moment when growing literacy and Protestant feeling made the individual connection with the text matter: it was for men reading on their own or preachers seeking a passage to elucidate.
This Bible is aware of how much awareness reading a sacred text demands.
Showing outsiders to Islamic traditions how to navigate this text, as a literary and historical document, is an intimidating challenge, and no more splendidly intimidating book has appeared in the past year than “The Qur’ān and the Bible”, by Gabriel Said Reynolds, a professor of Islamic studies and theology at Notre Dame.
It can seem mysterious that Quranic references to the Biblical texts are nonetheless so frequent and so deft, until you stop to think about just how much can be transmitted by shared storytelling, even in a hyperliterate culture like ours, let alone in a bardic oral culture like that of seventh-century Arabia.
The nonbelieving reader of sacred texts has the advantage of being undisturbed by the countless alienating passages that they contain: why be distressed, such a reader might ask, by the relentlessly patriarchal tone of either the Bible or the Quran-or by their tolerance of slavery, or, for that matter, by the tribal genocide regularly urged in Exodus? If one is taking the texts not as divine rule, or even as contemporary moral discourse rather, as inspired ancient poetry, episodes in the history of civilization, one can be serenely unsurprised that they share the values of their time and place.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The key to cracking long-dead languages?”

Its texts are mainly written in Sumerian and Akkadian, languages that relatively few scholars can read. Pagé-Perron is coordinating a project to machine translate 69,000 Mesopotamian administrative records from the 21st Century BC. One of the aims is to open up the past to new research.
Originally impressed into the clay with a reed stylus, the texts have already been transliterated into our alphabet by modern scholars.
The wording in these administrative texts is simple: “11 nanny goats for the kitchen on the 15th day”, for example.
Once these algorithms have learned to translate the sample texts into English, they will then automatically translate the other transliterated tablets.
“The texts we’re working on are not very interesting individually, but they’re extremely interesting if you take them as groups of texts,” says Pagé-Perron, who expects the English versions to be online within the next year.
“Sumerian is probably the last member of what must have been a large family of languages that goes back thousands and thousands of years,” says Irving Finkel, the curator in charge of the 130,000 cuneiform tablets stored at the British Museum.
Early cuneiform signs, for example, were not even arranged in a linear text, but simply placed together with a box drawn around them.
Perhaps one day, we will be able to read all of our earliest texts in translation – though many of Mesopotamia’s riddles are likely to outlive us, not least because many missing cuneiform fragments are still in the ground, waiting to be excavated.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It’s Complicated: Dating Without Texting Is the Best”

I’d meet someone, and next thing I knew, we were texting more frequently than I text my best friends.
The difference, of course, is that texting your best friends is a fun diversion, whereas texting someone you’re interested in can feel exhilarating but also exhausting.
We would keep texting to logistics, like if one of us was running late, or if we needed the other to pick something up a key ingredient, like limes for the gin and tonics or American cheese for the burgers, on the way over.
Thank god for that; the truth is, texting had already derailed our relationship once.
Not wanting to leave him hanging, but also not wanting to share the details of my family’s situation, I texted back, “Running around text you in a bit 😘.”.
So we found ourselves sitting on his living room floor, with chicken thighs, wine, and later homemade chocolate chip cookies, discussing the possibility of continuing to see each other but ending our texting relationship.
Unlike a friendship, where not responding to a text for two hours is acceptable, in dating, both the act of texting and not texting communicate something.
With texting off the table, I found I could live my own life much more easily.

The orginal article.

Summary of “25 incredibly useful Google Docs tips and tricks”

While Google Docs may seem simple on the surface, it’s practically overflowing with out-of-sight options that can help you get more done with less effort.
Docs can automatically organize your documents to make them easier to get around: Open up the View menu and select “Show document outline”-or just hit Ctrl-Alt-H-and the app will create a complete outline in the left area of the screen, with every line of header text representing a section.
Attention, Google Photos users: Docs makes it easy as can be to add images from your Photos collection directly into your documents.
Docs has its own tool to let you crop or edit images: Just click on an image within your document, then click the Format menu and select “Image.” There, you’ll find the command for cropping as well as a broader “Image Options” selection that contains functions for recoloring and adjusting the image’s transparency, brightness, and contrast.
Docs has a native system that can translate entire documents into other languages: Click the Tools menu, then select “Translate document.” You’ll then be able to select the language you want and provide a new name for your translated file.
You’d never know it, but Google Docs allows you to tag other users to get their attention while collaborating.
Docs will start offering options from your Google Contacts list.
Google Docs can give you a helping hand with design by way of its built-in template gallery: Open up the gallery to browse through the available options-ranging from résumés to project proposals and even some advanced business and legal document formats-and then select any item to open it in Docs and use it as a starting point.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Give Your Kid a Secret Code to Help Them Get Out of Sticky Situations”

Kids, no matter how you’ve raised them, will find themselves in tough situations.
You know these moments-the ones where they don’t want to be there, but they also don’t want to look uncool by ducking out.
It’s Freshman Orientation Week at Lifehacker! This week, we’re covering ways to snap out of your summer haze and into an autumnal blitz of activity, whether you’re actually heading to campus for the first time, getting your own kids ready for school, or looking for ways to just be more productive in the classroom of life.
“Danny, something’s come up and I have to come get you right now.”
You can use an “X,” like Fulks’ family, or another secret code.
The new notOK app, developed by a 15-year-old named Hannah Lucas, might be a helpful tool here, too-when teens are feeling vulnerable, they can open the app, tap the red button and a text will be sent to up to five pre-selected contacts that reads: “Hey, I’m not OK. Please call me, text me, or come find me,” along with a link to their GPS location.
Fulks writes that there is a big condition to using this system: “The X-plan comes with the agreement that we will pass no judgments and ask no questions.” This means that even if you pick up your kid and she smells like Jägermeister and cigarette smoke, even if she’s 10 miles from the place she’s supposed to be, even if she dragged you out of bed at 3 AM and your first instinct is to demand a full explanation immediately, you must stay quiet and allow your child to tell you as much or as little as she wants.
“A kid in fear of punishment is a lot less likely to reach out for help when the world comes at them.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why we hate using email but love sending texts”

As short message service and other forms of text messaging have grown to become such a core part of the way we interact with each other, they have done so at the expense of the form of digital communication that preceded it email.
Our love affair with email was short-lived and many of us now have a genuine dislike of our inbox, preferring to tap out text messages until our thumbs ache.
So why have we come to loathe email so much? Why is it such a source of anxiety, tedium, guilt? Why do we hate emails, but love texts?
“You had to memorise other people’s also dumb email addresses – and you had like, five people that had email, and you all felt really cool. That’s how it used to be – it was not very widely known.”
The ratio of people using email for fun versus those using it for work has flipped since the 1990s, according to Morrison.
Generation Z won’t kill email dead – some estimates show that 85% of Gen Z view email as an essential form of communication, compared to 89% of millennials and 92% of Gen X. But those under the age of 22 definitely use email differently.
“We are losing one thing as email declines – and that’s no one really owns email,” says Ivory.
In reality text messages are only likely be doomed if they become tied to work in the way email has.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A New History of Arabia, Written in Stone”

A few years ago, Ahmad Al-Jallad, a professor of Arabic and Semitic linguistics at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, opened his e-mail and was excited to see that he had received several photographs of rocks.
Macdonald pointed Al-Jallad’s attention to one in particular: a small rock covered with runelike marks in a style of writing called boustrophedon, named for lines that wrap back and forth, “Like an ox turning in a field.” It was Safaitic, an alphabet that flourished in northern Arabia two millennia ago, and Al-Jallad and Macdonald are among a very small number of people who can read it.
“The only connection I had to the Middle East was through books about ancient civilizations.” When Al-Jallad was a teen-ager, one of his favorite books was “Noah’s Flood,” a study arguing that the flood narratives of the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and other ancient texts were inspired by the flooding of the Black Sea, around 5600 B.C. “The mix of archeology, geology, and ancient languages blew my mind,” Al-Jallad said.
The study of early Islam has traditionally depended not on rock inscriptions but on chronicles and literary sources composed a few centuries after Muhammad’s death-a method of research that Al-Jallad likens to reading the history of North America entirely from the perspective of the first European settlers.
According to Fred Donner, a historian at the University of Chicago, “The Islamic account of the Jahiliyya is a saga of unrelieved paganism, which emphasizes the difference between the darkness of unbelief and the light that Islam brought to Arabia.” Scholars like Al-Jallad and Donner see this still prevalent view as a product of medieval Muslim thinkers, who wrote history through the prism of orthodox beliefs.
Al-Jallad’s research coincides with a revival of regional interest in early history.
To Al-Jallad, the Safaitic inscriptions indicate that various ancient forms of Arabic were present many centuries before the rise of classical Arabic, in places such as Syria and Jordan.
For three days, the members of Al-Jallad’s expedition walked across hilltops, logging a thousand new Safaitic inscriptions.

The orginal article.