September 20, 2019

Tech

"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."

"Is there a backlash toward the technology industry in the culture? I tend to think so, having written about its various twists and turns most weekdays for the past couple years now. But sometimes an obsession with a beat can lead to myopia, and..."

"Virtual reality management training is the latest development in the modern history of feeling better about capitalism. Barry exists to be fired. Over and over again, Barry pops into simulated existence with one purpose: Teach management...

"It’s humiliating to consider the things we know instead of the things we should know. I can’t tell you exactly how the Michigan Republicans are trying to illegally gerrymander their state, but I know why Lana Del Rey is angry on Twitter. So it..."

"It’s fun, and increasingly fashionable, to complain about technology. Our own devices distract us, others’ devices spy on us, social media companies poison public discourse, new wired objects violate our privacy, and all of this contributes to a..."

"Major corporations get caught behaving badly … a lot. And so far, the main solution we’ve come up with is fining them — the Federal Trade Commission hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine this summer, an amount that, while large, will barely make a..."

"On my phone, Instagram is a series of squares and rectangles with pictures of babies, clogs, books, lakes and buildings, buildings and more buildings. But when I read or hear about Instagram, none of these — except for babies — seem to exist on..."

"The federal government has levied a record-setting fine against a giant internet platform for abusing its users’ privacy. Critics say the government hasn’t done nearly enough. Yes, that was also the takeaway in July, when the US laid out a..."

"Wallops island—a remote, marshy spit of land along the eastern shore of Virginia, near a famed national refuge for horses—is mostly known as a launch site for government and private rockets. But it also makes for a perfect, quiet spot to test a..."

"No matter how well-intentioned their creators were, tech products can encourage and amplify existing racial biases. And Stanford University psychology professor Jennifer Eberhardt says companies can take meaningful steps to reduce that effect..."

"There are lots of reasons to patent something. The most obvious one is that you’ve come up with a brilliant invention, and you want to protect your idea so that nobody can steal it from you. But that’s just the tip of the patent strategy iceberg..."

"On August 12, a man named Umar Baig was driving illegally in Brooklyn — speeding his Dodge Charger down Coney Island Avenue far, far above the speed limit of 25 miles per hour. At the intersection with Avenue L, he ran a red light, and smashed..."

"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."

"The new medium would spread half-truths, propaganda and lies. It would encourage self-absorption and solipsism, thereby fragmenting communities. It would allow any amateur to become an author and degrade public discourse. Sound familiar? Such..."

"Easter eggs in tech products have largely disappeared (except in video games). Like any other software, Easter eggs, so named for the hunt to find them, cost time and money to design, build and debug. Why would a tech company develop features it..."

"Last year, I had a strange dream. My father and I were wading in an industrial canal, reminiscent of a subway, as thousands of hatchery-raised fish were being released into it. The fish crowded, slimy, around our legs, and I knew (in the way..."

"Social media platforms are the equivalent of the public square of yore. Politicians on Twitter can talk to the people directly and they can reply, issue statements, and take jabs at each other. However, these words that win politicians their..."

"Mathematical Twitter is normally a quiet, well-ordered place, a refuge from the aggravations of the internet. But on July 28, someone who must have been a troll off-duty decided to upset the stillness, and did so with a surefire provocation..."

"Here is one of the great paradoxes of our time. The world is dominated by a few corporations that are among the most profitable companies in the history of capitalism. In the US (the home of these giants) and in the UK (an enthusiastic vassal..."

"In a recent post on Courtney Perkins’s Instagram account, two gray-haired women stand with their arms around each other, their gazes purposeful, their mouths unsmiling. It’s not clear who they are or what they’re doing, but the two have planned..."

"When Elon Musk speaks, people listen, even when it's not too clear if he has any idea what he's talking about. Musk's every word is scrutinized, and each of his ideas is heralded as a breakthrough in human discovery. For example: the CEO of...

"It happens to the best of us: You're walking down the street and idly pull out your phone, only to helplessly watch it slip from your fingers and land on the sidewalk with a sickening crack. The screen is busted. What is the next step? Given how..."

"What disturbs while watching the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees question Robert Mueller is the lonely but certain knowledge that the community of spectators to which you belong should theoretically be lofty and vast—encompassing the..."

"Our bodies are a big part of the way we communicate. If someone stamps into a room with a furrowed brow, slams the door, and proclaims, “I’M NOT ANGRY,” you believe their body, not their words. If a good friend looks you in the eye, grins, and..."

"Web browsers have become the equivalent of safe deposit boxes, digital spaces where we stuff our personal information and expect it to be kept safe. While the websites that harbor sensitive data generally swear that this information is private..."

"Call it the Internet of Pee. Pampers is the latest company to jump into trendy, wearable devices with a new “connected care system” called Lumi that tracks babies’ activity through a sensor that attaches to diapers. The sensor alerts parents..."

"FaceApp only shows the older version of ourselves we want to see. Viral smartphone application FaceApp is everywhere this week in its second big splash since its 2017 debut. Back then, the AI-powered program offered users different “ethnicity..."

"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."

"The economic summit in Bahrain organized by the Trump administration last month was the latest example of how Israel’s hi-tech industry created new diplomatic opportunities for a country with no apparent natural resources. While Israel had no..."

"Amazon Echo, released in 2014, introduced voice software into the home, quickly followed by Google Home, Apples’s HomePod and other generic smart speakers. In fact, the researcher Canalys, suggests 78 million smart speakers were sold last year...."

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JJ Editor's Picks

"Blackface. I’ve been writing about, and researching – and opposing – racism for more than thirty years. And make no mistake: blackface isn’t funny. It’s racist. Ask Megyn Kelly. A year ago, the former Fox News star was filming a segment about..."

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “selfie line” may be a “political phenomenon,” according to CNN, but it’s also a misnomer, twice over: The photos that supporters end up with aren’t technically selfies—campaign aides snap them—and no one waits in a line..."

"In the archives of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, there is an old postcard from the city aquarium of a large sea turtle with four boys straddling its back. The turtle lies flattened upon a pathway in front of a fence. At the feet..."

"As we celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday this summer, I made the following rough calculation: I’d trekked from my home in New Jersey to her Brooklyn apartment roughly 150 times to provide once-a-week day care, plus other times as needed."

"That seems to be the emerging bipartisan consensus. “On the evidence we have, the meritocratic ideal ends up being just as undemocratic as the old emphasis on inheritance and tradition,” writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Our..."

"It was the 2019 Pet Sematary that finally broke me. Was this really necessary? I seethed in a theater earlier this year, at a loss for why anyone would green light a self-serious update to a 30-year-old so-bad-it's-good movie. "Update," even, was.."

"Tuesday was election day in Israel. But no winner has yet been declared. As of this writing, it appears that the parties committed to supporting Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister will not win a majority in Knesset. At the same time, the..."

"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."