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In the News 05.01.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

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In the News 05.01.15 : Today’s Articles of Interest from around the Internets

1. The Virologist

“Last year, Spartz, Inc., raised eight million dollars in venture-capital funding and made several million more in advertising revenue. As new-media companies like BuzzFeed and Upworthy become established brands, Spartz hopes to disrupt the disrupters. He employs three dozen people full time, in addition to several freelancers. The company operates thirty sites, which have no unifying aesthetic. Their home pages, which can be chaotic and full of old links, don’t always feature a Spartz logo; traffic is generated almost entirely through Facebook, so brand recognition is relatively unimportant. Most of the company’s innovations concern not the content itself but how it is promoted and packaged: placing unusually large share buttons at the top and the bottom of posts; experimenting with which headlines and photographs would be more seductive; devising strategies for making posts show up prominently in Facebook’s news feed. “I keep hearing people around town talking about this young man as a Steve Jobs kind of guy,” Gary Holdren, one of Spartz’s chief investors, told me. “I think his stuff is indicative of where digital media is headed.”

 
Read the rest of this article at The New Yorker

 


 

2. To whom does San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood belong?

“Over eight months interviewing residents and merchants whose lives revolve around the block, The Chronicle observed a situation more nuanced than the pat narrative of rich newcomers forcing out longtime residents.”

 
Read the rest of this article at San Francisco Chronicle

 


 

3. Get Ready for a ‘Quantitative Approach’ to Reading

This is part of the mission of the Common Core, which seeks to “lay out a vision of what it means to be a literate person in the twenty-first century,” to provide “the critical reading necessary to pick carefully through the staggering amount of information available today in print and digitally.” The result is a mixed curriculum: The Standards demand students digest both literary and informational pieces—a spoonful of National Geographic with their Northanger Abbey, a little Wired with their Winter’s Tale.

 
Read the rest of this article at First Things

 


 

4. How My Mom Got Hacked

“MY mother received the ransomnote on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It popped up on her computer screen soon after she’d discovered that all of her files had been locked. “Your files are encrypted,” it announced. “To get the key to decrypt files you have to pay 500 USD.” If my mother failed to pay within a week, the price would go up to $1,000. After that, her decryption key would be destroyed and any chance of accessing the 5,726 files on her PC — all of her data — would be lost forever. Sincerely, CryptoWall.”

 
Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

 


 

5. Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory

“Nothing consumes the lives of Chinese families more than the ever-­looming prospect of the gaokao. The exam — there are two versions, one focused on science, the other on humanities — is the modern incarnation of the imperial keju, generally regarded as the world’s first standardized test. For more than 1,300 years, into the early 20th century, the keju funneled young men into China’s civil service. Today, more than nine million students take the gaokao each year (fewer than 3.5 million, combined, take the SAT and the ACT). But the pressure to start memorizing and regurgitating facts weighs on Chinese students from the moment they enter elementary school. Even at the liberal bilingual kindergarten my sons attended in Beijing, Chinese parents pushed their 5-year-olds to learn multiplication tables and proper Chinese and English syntax, lest their children fall behind their peers in first grade. “To be honest,” one of my Chinese friends, a new mother, told me, “the gaokao race really begins at birth.”

 
Read the rest of this article at The New York Times

 


P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

 

 

[images : 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6]

 
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2 Notes
  • Jasmine said...

    Love the photos with this post. Do you happen to know what kid of car is in the photo with the peonies?
    Thanks!!

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