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In the News 11.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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In the News 11.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@lornaluxe
In the News 11.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@ritzparis
In the News 11.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@by_krog

How Mark Zuckerberg
Became Too Big To Fail

A few weeks ago, after Facebook revealed that tens of millions of its users’ accounts had been exposed in a security breach, I began asking people in and around the tech industry a simple question: Should Mark Zuckerberg still be running Facebook?

I’ll spare you the suspense. Just about everyone thought Mr. Zuckerberg was still the right man for the job, if not the only man for the job. This included people who currently work at Facebook, people who used to work at Facebook, financial analysts, venture capitalists, tech-skeptic activists, ardent critics of the company and its giddiest supporters.

The consensus went like this: Even if Mr. Zuckerberg — as Facebook’s founder, chief executive, chairman and most powerful shareholder — bore most of the responsibility for the company’s cataclysmic recent history, he alone possessed the stature to fix it.

More than one of his supporters told me it was bad faith to even broach the subject — that Mr. Zuckerberg’s indispensability was so plain that the only reason I might have to ask whether he should still run the company was the clicks I would get on this article. But even critics were not that excited about the idea of Mr. Zuckerberg’s removal. Barry Lynn, executive director of the Open Markets Institute, an organization that fights monopoly power, argued that Facebook’s problems grew out of its business model and the legal and regulatory vacuum in which it has operated — not the man who runs it.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

In the News 11.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Privacy Battle To Save
Google From Itself

OVER TWO DAYS during the summer of 2009, experts from inside and outside Google met to forge a roadmap for how the company would approach user privacy. At the time, Google was under fire for its data collection practices and user tracking. The summit was designed to codify ways that users could feel more in control.

Engineer Amanda Walker, then in her third year at Google and now the company’s software engineering manager of privacy infrastructure, jotted down notes on a paper worksheet during one of the summit’s sessions. “HMW: Mitigate Impact of bad Gov’t + 3rd party requests,” she wrote, using shorthand for “how might we.” A few suggestions followed: “Discourage abusive requests. Make privacy measurable/surface rising threats. Industry wide.” It was the seed of what would eventually become Google’s suite of transparency reports that, among other things, disclose government requests for data.

It also was just one of several features the group brainstormed that summer that became a reality. An idea called “persona management” became Chrome and Android profiles. “Universal preferences” became My Account and My Activity. And “private search” turned into controls to be able to see, pause, and delete search queries and other activity.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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My Grandfather Thought He Solved A Cosmic Mystery

When my grandfather died last fall, it fell to my sisters and me to sort through the books and papers in his home in East Tennessee. My grandfather was a nuclear physicist, my grandmother a mathematician, and among their novels and magazines were reams of scientific publications. In the wood-paneled study, we passed around great sheaves of papers for sorting, filling the air with dust.

My youngest sister put a pile of yellowing papers in front of me, and I started to leaf through the typewritten letters and scholarly articles. Then my eyes fell on the words fundamental breakthrough, spectacular, and revolutionary. Letters from some of the biggest names in physics fell out of the folders, in correspondence going back to 1979.

In this stack, I found, was evidence of a mystery. My grandfather had a theory, one that he believed to be among the most important work of his career. And it had never been published.

My grandparents had arrived in the low green hills of East Tennessee with their young daughter, my mother, in 1960. The town of Oak Ridge had been rebuilt from the ground up for military research, like Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. Together these secret cities became key sites in the Manhattan Project, the push to develop the first atomic bomb. But by the time Francis and Claire Perey came to town, peace had turned the facility into the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. There they rammed neutrons into the centers of atoms for a living.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

In the News 11.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Worth Their Wait

In the News 11.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Imagine, if you can, or remember, if you’re old enough, a long-ago time when music fans had to wait. Wait for news about music. Wait for reviews that were really previews of music you’d wait even longer to hear. (No teasing tasters, sanctioned streams, or illicit leaks in those days.) Anticipation and delay structured the daily experience of music fandom in the pre-internet era. All music and most information were things you literally got your hands on: they came only in analog form, as tangible objects like records or magazines.

In Britain, where I grew up, the primary source of news, commentary, and critique was the weekly music press: New Musical Express, Melody Maker, Sounds, and Record Mirror. The weeklies were stubbornly solid, slightly grubby things. Nicknamed “inkies” because their pages stained your fingers, they were printed on paper and shipped physically across the country, and also, in smaller quantities and at a more expensive price, to far-flung territories of the globe. How’s this for anticipation and delay? In those days NME and the other papers reached Australia and New Zealand by surface mail and thus arrived several months after they came out in the UK, by which time the British scene would have moved forward a considerable distance.

At a time when pop coverage in mainstream newspapers was sporadic and detached-sounding, and TV even more intermittent, NME, MM, Sounds, and RM were the music fan’s mainline to the rock world. People growing up in America in the 1970s got a similarly electric feeling of connection through magazines like Creem, a monthly, or Rolling Stone, published every two weeks. But because they came out 51 times a year (the Christmas issue was a double that lasted for a fortnight) rather than 12 or 26 times, the UK music papers created a far more immersive feeling, as if there was a rock reality running parallel to the official world of current affairs and mainstream entertainment. The momentousness and urgency transmitted by the inkies in their prime was totally involving.

Read the rest of this article at: Pitchfork

My Father Says He’s A ‘Targeted Individual.’ Maybe We All Are

In the News 11.02.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I was 11 when my father destroyed the condominium where he was living. Searching for hidden transistors or other devices that might be beaming voices into his skull, he took a hammer to the walls, shoved his fists into the holes, and pulled off chunks of plaster. He shut off the power generator and cut the electrical wires in the walls. He put his ear to the floor. He ripped up the carpet. He called 9-1-1.

A Mexican immigrant who perfected his English by reading books he sneaked into the San Diego shipyard where he helped build oil tankers, Marco Guerrero had always been an uncanny mechanic. He could see through to the machinery of everything as if he had x-ray vision: He could adjust brakes, fix broken pipes, tap telephone lines.

After mass layoffs at the shipyard, he stayed at home, documenting my first words on his camcorder and taking me to coastal tide pools to catch cobitos. But then he fell into a depression. My parents separated. He started smoking crack cocaine. After tearing his place apart, he vanished on a years-long, cross-border quest to escape alleged CIA persecutors.

My mother took me and my sister to assess the damage to the condominium, which she owned but had let our father stay in after they separated. The carpet lay in heaps against the punctured walls. A layer of cigarette ash coated the rooms. It looked apocalyptic. Our mother, a physician specializing in internal medicine, offered a psychiatric diagnosis. Your father, she said, has paranoid schizophrenia.

In college, I minored in neuroscience while majoring in journalism, searching for my absent father in fMRI brain scans and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Though he had returned from his transcontinental odyssey a couple of years earlier and moved in with his mother in San Diego, I rarely saw him; when I visited, we exchanged few words.

But on my 20th birthday, I made a trip to my paternal grandmother’s house, and my father, sober now for several years, dragged a chair next to me and started talking. It was the first lengthy conversation we’d had since I was a child.

The story he told sounded unlikely: that he was one of thousands of “targeted individuals,” who had been covertly spied on and manipulated by the CIA in the early 2000s. (So-called TIs have begun banding together around the country and across the internet.) But he didn’t sound agitated or disturbed the way I had imagined a paranoid schizophrenic might. He was articulate. He cited patents, research, and the central role of something he called MKUltra, a real CIA mind-control program that ran from 1953 to 1973 that targeted drug addicts, prisoners, and other vulnerable people.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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

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