Summary of “Senator Ron Wyden reckons with the internet he helped shape”

In his more than two decades as a senator since then, Wyden has continued to be a staunch defender of internet freedoms, introducing net neutrality legislation as far back as 2006 and spearheading the congressional fight over SOPA/PIPA, a legislative battle that ignited the internet and helped set the modern playbook for digital activism.
I think there was an awareness of the fact that there might be significant privacy issues, but I don’t think anybody was talking about an Exxon-Valdez of privacy the way people talk about it today,” Wyden says.
I think historians are completely in agreement that this is the law that made the internet what it is today.
I’ve already made it clear: I think the public has a right to control their own data.
If Facebook is allowed to get through this with glorified business as usual, and cozy, gauzy ads on TV about how this is not going to be Facebook anymore, I think we will see more of what we’ve seen the last few years: the milking of peoples’ data for private profit.
One thing we hear a lot from Facebook is, “We messed up, but we’re trying to improve.” When you hear that, do you think that’s sincere?
As you know, we think we’re in a pretty strong position in terms of the legal system.
We can always look at good ideas from elsewhere, but I think the steps that I outlined – three or four, in particular – and then having a federal agency – my gut tells me the Federal Trade Commission – riding point on it, constitute the best steps for us today.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Veterans Speak Out Against The Militarization Of Sports”

Bill Astore is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who writes about the increased militarization of sports – and its perils – on Bracing Views, his personal blog, as well as the website Tom Dispatch.
“I’m like all the other fans: a big plane goes overhead – ‘Wow!’ That’s kind of awe inspiring. But at the same time, to me, it’s not something that I see should be flying over a sports stadium before a baseball game or a football game. You know, these are weapons of death. They may be required, but they certainly shouldn’t be celebrated and applauded.”
“And the only time we see it, sometimes, is when they bring out a wounded soldier, for example. And maybe he or she has lost two or three limbs, but they’re brought out into an NFL stadium or an MLB baseball game. And the impression that you get is, ‘Everything’s OK, see?’ But we don’t see this person struggling to get around at home. And maybe being depressed because they’ve suffered this horrible wound in war.”
“A friend of mine that I played travel baseball with, he had enlisted after high school and was an infantry marine. And he was in Iraq during my freshman year in college. And it used to keep me up at night. And it would bother me a lot where I would kind of sit there and be, like, ‘Man, I’m playing a lot of online poker, going to econ classes and going out to bars and, like, we have a war going on.’ I felt like I was missing out and not contributing or not doing my part.”
“They had wanted me to throw out the first pitch at Fenway during one of the games. It would’ve been a good story of having the manager’s son being a Marine and throwing out a first pitch at Fenway. But I was horribly uncomfortable with that and didn’t think I had done anything to deserve that and gave them a firm pass on that one.”
“Like, if your goal was to hire as few veterans as possible, that’s pretty impressive.
They’ve really gone out of their way to avoid being able to even identify the veterans.
Where do sports go from here? I asked one baseball executive, who told me his sport promotes the military not out of patriotism but out of fear – the fear of being called unpatriotic.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Does Facebook Need a Constitution?”

Even Facebook itself seems afraid of that power: “I don’t think that we should be in the business of having people at Facebook who are deciding what is true and what isn’t,” Zuckerberg told Swisher.
It’s the kind of power that until recently we only associated with states, but that increasingly also lies in the hands of other, non-state institutions – suprastate entities like the E.U., but also the global megaplatforms that own the internet: Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
Zuckerberg correctly insists that Facebook is a “Company,” not a nation state, but it’s become something that resembles a state when you squint at it – it holds near-supreme power over media and civic attention.
Rather than the liberal, rights-based sorta-state we all seem conditioned to expect – and that Facebook implicitly encourages, with its invocation of free speech and its reliance on legalish mechanisms like “Community standards,” which can be “Violated” – the platform is a dictatorship, with none of the transparency, accountability, or checks on power we associate with liberal states.
For Rahman, the way to ward off the “Arbitrary, dominating power” of “Quasi-sovereigns” like Facebook is through constitutionalism – that is, the design of institutions to ensure accountability, transparency, and clear limits on power structures.
If we believe that the problem with Facebook is that it has sovereign power without accountability, there are at least three paths to “Constitutionalizing” it.
Facebook now has a choice: It can fight to retain its unchecked power and dominion, or it can actualize some of its gestures toward transparency and accountability, becoming the great liberal-democratic platform it pretends to be.
Would a Facebook constitution “Solve” the Infowars problem? A good one that balanced the competing needs of the public sphere, individual freedom, and civic health, and that gave people a voice in and an understanding of the decisions being made by the platform, might at least get us as close as it’s possible to come.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Selfie: new book explores how we became so self-obsessed”

That’s not quite right, or at least that’s the argument that Will Storr makes in his book Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us. Western culture has always been this way, Storr argues, and over time we’ve built up a culture that conditions us to overstate our role in our own successes and failures.
It’s not merely a snapshot of internet culture; it’s really a survey of the history of individualism in the Western world, and how it contrasts with the more community-minded cultures in the East.
Sean Illing Your book is really a history of the idea of individualism in the West, so how did we get this way? What is it about our culture and our history that produced this self-obsession epidemic?
Nisbett put Western people and people from East Asia in a lab and had them look at a cartoon of a fish tank, in which there was a big individualistic flashy fish at the front and lots of smaller fish around it.
Sean Illing You talked to a lot of people over the course of this book – psychologists, philosophers, neuroscientists.
We think we have free will and decide who we are and what we believe, but it’s very hard to square this with the reality of what we know about how culture shapes our minds.
Culture gives us our mental models, and we internalize those models and they color how we think about ourselves and the world.
For me, it was humbling to realize just how much I’m a puppet of the culture in which I grew up, how my attitudes were shaped by forces over which I had no control.

The orginal article.

Summary of “34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America”

We don’t know his endgame and neither do we know how much of his KGB training he still employs, but in light of current events, there may be a way for us to get a deeper understanding by studying the words of Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov, a former KGB agent who defected to Canada in 1970.
In 1984, Bezmenov gave an interview to G. Edward Griffin from which much can be learned today.
Bezmenov made the point that the work of the KGB mainly does not involve espionage, despite what our popular culture may tell us.
According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
Bezmenov actually thought that the process of demoralizing America was already completed.
This will happen to America unless it gets rid of people who will bring it to a crisis, warned Bezmenov.
In another, somewhat terrifying excerpt, here’s what Bezmenov had to say about what is really happening in the United States.
Whether you think that is true may depend on your politics, but the reality of Russian active measures, as has been outlined in the recent indictments by the special counselor Robert Mueller, give Bezmenov’s words new urgency.

The orginal article.

Summary of “James Bridle on why technology is creating a new dark age”

There’s a couple of things I talk about regarding climate in the book, and one of them is to be really, really super direct about the actual threat of it, which is horrific, and it’s kind of so horrific that it’s difficult for us to think about.
Simply the act of articulating that – making it really, really clear, exploring some of the implications of it – that kind of realism is a super necessary act.
Which, again, we kind of don’t often do, particularly in the context of technology – where we see this stuff as a kind of ongoing, always upward unstoppable march.
Technology always walks this kind of weird knife edge.
At the same time, if you do manage to crack them open just a little bit, if you get some kind of understanding, everything suddenly becomes really quite starkly clear in ways that it wasn’t before.
I’m kind of insisting on that moment being the moment of possibility – not some kind of weird imaginary future point where it all becomes clear, but just these moments of doubt and uncertainty and retelling of different stories.
The really interesting science fiction to me now happens kind of in the next week or the next year at most because it’s so obvious to us how little we can predict about long-term futures, which really, for me, is more of a reflection of reality than reality is a reflection of science fiction.
There’s a whole genre of design fiction as well that posits these political things as design objects as a way to kind of pull those futures into being.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Aaron Rodgers Isn’t Scared: Of Aging, New Contracts or Sharks – ProFootballTalk”

Fully rehabbed quarterback Aaron Rodgers-smiling, relaxed, and walking a Tahoe fairway holding hands with Danica Patrick-dishing to me about his offseason audience with the Dalai Lama, about conquering one of his two biggest fears in life, and about how much longer he wants to play.
Me on T.O. In Nevada, I ask Doug Pederson: “If you walked into a sportsbook right now and had to put down $5 on Carson Wentz playing or not playing opening day, which way are you betting?”.
“I’ve played football since I was 13 years old and I’ve taken two shots where I couldn’t wiggle free, and broke my collarbone twice. I feel pretty good about the way I play, avoiding some major stuff. I’ve had a couple muscle pulls. But other than that, as a starter I’ve been pretty healthy. Two hits. First time I didn’t see the guy. Second time I did. I didn’t think he was gonna hit me maybe as hard as he did. But he did and that was what happened.”
At 34, playing for $22 million annually on average, lesser quarterbacks have wizzed by Rodgers this off-season: Kirk Cousins at $28 million per, Matt Ryan at $30 million per.
He’s seen the sick contracts handed to players who’ve accomplished less than a man who out-dueled Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and played great in big moments, to win a Super Bowl.
Foles said: “As I watched the film, something immediately stuck out to me: I was moving in the pocket, scrambling outside it, and throwing the ball with different arm angles It was a joy to behold. The seeds of a new beginning began to take root. I began to rediscover who I truly was as a quarterback.” Great coaching can bring out great playing.
“The ref turnover is exacerbated by the two huge rules changes. Here’s the exact definition of the new helmet rule, from Riveron:”If a player lowers his head to initiate contact with an opponent, and you make contact, it’s a foul.
Gut feeling: The NFL will use the preseason to throw a flurry of flags to get players in tune with the new rule.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Oral History of Travel’s Greatest Acquisition Booking.com”

Priceline.com acquired Active Hotels for $161 million in September 2004, and soon turned its attention to further expansion in Europe, and Bookings B.V. Glenn Fogel.
Booking.com, on the other hand, had a lot more hotels on the continent – the Netherlands, France, Spain – and they were very heavily oriented towards using SEM. Arthur Kosten.
Should Priceline be going and buying another retail hotel offering that’s growing well in Europe and really double down on hotels or should it be widening out its travel offering? So it was a brave decision from both Glenn and Bob Mylod actually to go through with it and buy Bookings.
I mean, but the great metrics, including the size of the hotel industry and the margin involved, made hotels an obvious place to focus if you’re an online travel agent.
Active Hotels had exited to Priceline and then raised the same opportunity to Priceline like, “Hey, we think we’re an excellent fit with Bookings. Could you acquire them too and then merge us together?” Essentially, that’s what happened; then so Glenn came over.
To his great credit, he continued to stay very close to the market and ultimately identified Active Hotels in Cambridge as an agency model hotel business.
Active Hotels was very successful in the UK, which was the biggest online travel market in Europe at the time, but not very successful in continental Europe.
Not just the big chain hotels, the Accors, Marriotts, and the Hiltons in London, but ultimately to find demand for and service hotels all over the country, small towns, small hotels.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Read This If You’re Going Through Adversity”

In the midst of challenging times, we often think we’re going through the worst time ever.
So how can we get over that? How can we stay motivated during tough times? After going through a lot of adversity myself, I’ve learned a few things about staying motivated.
That’s the last thing you need during adversity.
To go through adversity successfully, we all need a support system.
I’ll tell you this: No one on earth is strong enough to go through all adversity alone.
Well, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Will those things kill you? Probably not.
My second favorite question when dealing with adversity is this: What are you going to do about it?
Keep reminding yourself of where you’re going and more importantly, WHY you’re going there.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Madeleine Albright: ‘The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad'”

In America, people welcomed immigrants by saying: “We’re so sorry your country has been taken over by a terrible system. You’re welcome here. What can we do to help you and when will you become a citizen?” She pauses for a beat, then adds: “And that was different about America at that time.”
Trump is actually really smart – evil smart, is what I think.
“Trump is different, she insists. Look at his attacks on the institutions of liberal society as he Twitter-lashes the judiciary and the media.”Outrageous,” says Albright.
“He uses rallies in a strange way. We all, most of us that are public people, have somebody interrupting our speeches. There’s always somebody yelling something. And the question is: what do you do about it? Sometimes people are just escorted out or you don’t pay any attention to it. What is fascinating in watching Trump is he loves the people yelling and he uses them so that it looks as though he is having conversations with the people on TV. Trump is, I think he’s actually really smart – evil smart, is what I think.”
Trump “does have a point” when he complains that Americans pay a lot more to sustain Nato than do the European countries, which rely on the defence pact for their security.
Had Albright had her way, the world would not be riding the wild rollercoaster that is Trump.
“Democracy is not the easiest form of government. It does require attention and participation and carrying out the social contract. And it doesn’t deliver immediately. What we have to learn is how to get democracy to deliver because people want to vote and eat. But it just took me 10 minutes to explain it and that’s the problem.”
“The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad. Some of them are really bad. They’re not to do with Trump; it is the evolution of a number of different trends. All the various problems that we have, they can’t be solved by simple slogans. But it’s easier to listen to some simple slogan.”

The orginal article.