Take the Power Back

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You may have heard that the best way to deal with the “information overload” is to switch off your devices. To take a break from the Internet. Go for a run. Roll out the Yoga mat. Read a book. Talk to your friends. Switching off is good advice. But eventually, you’ll be back. How about changing? Changing from passive, to active. From scroll to search, from react to rethink, from like and retweet to write and link.

Preach!

[Source: Take the Power Back ]

The #1 reason Facebook won’t ever change

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Facebook’s DNA is that of a social platform addicted to growth and engagement. At its very core, every policy, every decision, every strategy is based on growth (at any cost) and engagement (at any cost). More growth and more engagement means more data — which means the company can make more advertising dollars, which gives it a nosebleed valuation on the stock market, which in turn allows it to remain competitive and stay ahead of its rivals.

[Source: The #1 reason Facebook won’t ever change – Om Malik]

Google’s new AI algorithm predicts heart disease by looking at your eyes

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Scientists from Google and its health-tech subsidiary Verily have discovered a new way to assess a person’s risk of heart disease using machine learning. By analyzing scans of the back of a patient’s eye, the company’s software is able to accurately deduce data, including an individual’s age, blood pressure, and whether or not they smoke. This can then be used to predict their risk of suffering a major cardiac event — such as a heart attack — with roughly the same accuracy as current leading methods.

Just like the first two technological revolutions (steam, electricity), the third one (software) we are experiencing now has just begun. 

[Source: Google’s new AI algorithm predicts heart disease by looking at your eyes]

A list of 25 Principles of Adult Behavior by John Perry Barlow

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February 7th marked the death of John Perry Barlow. He founded the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) and wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead (occasionally). He was a remarkable man who fought for the freedom of the Internet. Here is a list of principles that adults should follow. I’m 25 now and trying my best to make him proud: 

1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21. Remember that love forgives everything.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

[Source: A list of 25 Principles of Adult Behavior by John Perry Barlow]

Why Google Maps is years ahead of the competition

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Justin O’Beirne, former head of cartography at Apple, explains why Google Maps has a multiple year advantage on the competition.

Basically, it’s about the structures/building footprints Google can display thanks to their satellite imagery and Street View efforts. Nobody else has this level of precision.

Bye Apple Maps!

1 1+ +Childhood+Neighborhood

Here’s another example:

[Source: Google Maps’s Moat]

Stop reading what Facebook tells you to read

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Foster Kramer wrote a hell of a piece explaining why we ought not to trust Facebook with the stories we see appearing on the newsfeed. Here are two tidbits but please read the whole thing:

And as smart as you think the people who run Facebook are, trust us when we tell you that they are far, far, far smarter than you could imagine (and if not the people, then definitelythose algorithms). 

They understand human psychology to a stunning degree, which is how they’ve been able to capitalize on it for the last few years. It’s why Facebook is filled, mostly, with the things you agree with, or are seemingly helpless against clicking on. But because you’re a human being, something about it probably rubs you the wrong way. As it should! You’re a human, and not a hamster doing a stupid pet trick, which is what Facebook has turned both readers and publishers into. Credit where it’s due: They’re that good. And yeah, fake news is a problem—but before we learned about it being a problem, where Facebook was concerned, it was a feature.

And

So! Facebook created the newsfeed, and then turned to publishers/media outlets, and said: Guess what? Everyone’s on Facebook. You want a piece of the action? You’re gonna play ball with us. You’ll put share buttons on all of your stories. You’ll participate in our Facebook Instant Articles program. You’ll advertise with us! When we tell you that we’re going to start promoting video over articles, you’re going to start making video. And then when we tell you what kind of video, you’ll make that video too! And if you don’t want to play ball, fine. Your competition will.

[Source: The 2018 internet resolution everyone should have: Bring back your browser bar]

The Hardest Workers Don’t Do the Best Work

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At the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil, the U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley put up a statistic that wowed folks back home: He ran further than anyone else. Through three games, Bradley had covered a total of 23.4 miles, according to a micro-transmitter embedded in his cleat, while his team finished tops among nations in “work rate,” a simple measure of movement per minute otherwise known as running around.

Left unmentioned was the fact that the lowest work rate of the tournament by a non-defender was recorded by its most valuable player, Argentine goal machine Lionel Messi.

Yup, work smart, not hard. 

[Source: The Hardest Workers Don’t Do the Best Work – Bloomberg]

No, tailgating doesn’t get you where you need to go faster

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A study published on Thursday (Dec. 14) in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems uses mathematical simulations to show that tightly following a car in front of you will only worsen traffic jams. Instead it proposes that drivers adjust their position based on both the car in front and behind to keep traffic flow smooth. This small behavioral tweak could as much as halve commute time on certain roads.

[Source: MIT researchers have developed a new algorithm for cars that could halve congestion — Quartz]

New Iranian Video Game, Engare, Explores the Elegant Geometry of Islamic Art

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The intersection of mathematics and art holds out great potential for not just endless discoveries but deeply memorable creations. The 20th-century visionary M.C. Escher understood that, but so did the Islamic artists of centuries before that inspired him. They’ve also inspired the Iranian game developer Mahdi Bahrami, whose newest effort Engare stands at the cross of mathematics, art, and technology, a puzzle video game that challenges its players to complete the kind of brilliantly colorful, mathematically rigorous, and at once both strikingly simple and strikingly complex patterns seen in traditional Islamic art and design.

“The leap from the bare bones prototype to it becoming a game about creating art was a small one, given that Islamic art is steeped in mathematical knowledge,” writes Kill Screen’s Chris Priestman.

[Source: New Iranian Video Game, Engare, Explores the Elegant Geometry of Islamic Art | Open Culture]

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

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Project Cassandra members say administration officials also blocked or undermined their efforts to go after other top Hezbollah operatives including one nicknamed the ‘Ghost The Ghost One of the most mysterious alleged associates of Safieddine, secretly indicted by the U.S., linked to multi-ton U.S.-bound cocaine loads and weapons shipments to Middle East.,” allowing them to remain active despite being under sealed U.S. indictment for years. People familiar with his case say the Ghost has been one of the world’s biggest cocaine traffickers, including to the U.S., as well as a major supplier of conventional and chemical weapons for use by Syrian President Bashar Assad against his people.

A fascinating read by Josh Meyer for Politico. 

[Source: The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook]

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

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In case you wondered how Facebook knows who to recommend on their People You May Know feature: 

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.

Source: How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

Supermarket sells a range of foods past sell by-dates for just 10p

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Thomas Colson for Business Insider

“The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving on some of their favourite products,” he told the East Anglian Daily Times.

“This is not a money-making exercise, but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain.”

A Salute to Every Frame a Painting: Watch All 28 Episodes of the Finely-Crafted (and Now Concluded) Video Essay Series on Cinema

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Every Frame a Painting was a YouTube channel publishing video essays about cinema. Always with a twist, always interesting. Unfortunately, they closed shop. 

Here’s a playlist to all their videos:

And here’s what Open Culture’s Colin Marshall has to say about them: 

Whatever the origins of Zhou and Ramos’ rigorous process, it has ended up producing a series greatly appreciated by filmgoers and filmmakers alike. Binge-watch all 28 of Every Frame a Painting’s episodes — which will explain to you dramatic struggle as seen in The Silence of the Lambs, how the movies have depicted texting, the cinematic possibilities of the chair, and much more besides — and you’ll end up with, at the very least, an equivalent of a few semesters of film-school education. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll come away with the idea for a cinema video essay series of your own.