Education As The Bridge Between Eras

from Reimagining The Future In the mid-1800s, when operating steam-driven machines required a skilled workforce, education helped the working class emerge from a period of stagnation. Later, high school helped ease the transition from the farm to the factory and office. We find ourselves straddling two eras again. The world economic forum estimates that sixty-five percent of children today will end up in careers that do not exist yet. So here we are again. Education must emerge as the bridge between eras. It must ensure that those educated embody the qualities and competencies essential to life in a society different […]

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Google Is Getting Caught In The Antitrust Net

from ars technica Being a global company has its perks. There’s a lot of money to be made overseas. But the biggest US tech companies are finding out that there’s also a downside: every country where you make money is a country that could try to regulate you. It’s hard to keep track of all the tech-related antitrust action happening around the world, in part because it doesn’t always seem to be worth paying close attention to. In Europe, which has long been home to the world’s most aggressive regulators, Google alone was hit with a $2.7 billion fine in 2017, […]

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Silicon Valley Loves Nootropics. But The ‘Brain Boosters’ Aren’t Always What They Claim.

from Mashable It turns out that neurohacking your brain is not quite the same as hacking a machine. Search for ways to improve focus or memory on Google, and you might run into powders and tablets with names like “Alpha Brain” or “Alpha Brain.” These products are known as nootropics, a broad class of supplements that claim to boost cognition. The substances have been popular in Silicon Valley for years among tech workers trying to “optimize” their performance as human beings, or simply get an edge in the grind of the coding world. Students burning the midnight oil, or elderly […]

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Breakout ‘Crispr Platform’ Company Mammoth Biosciences Is Officially A Unicorn

from TechCrunch The CRISPR-based biotech startup Mammoth Biosciences is officially a unicorn, the company says.  The billion-dollar valuation comes on the back of a $150 million Series D round led by Redmile Group, with participation from Foresite Capital, Senator Investment Group, Sixth Street, Greenspring Associates, Mayfield, Decheng Capital, Plum Alley and NFX. Combined with a late 2020 Series C round of $45 million (which included participation from Amazon), this brings the company’s total financing to $195 million.  Mammoth Biosciences has been a major player in the CRISPR space since its founding in 2017. CRISPR, put simply, is a pair of […]

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Beware State Surveillance Of Your Lives – Governments Can Change For The Worse

from The Guardian In the summer of 2013, shortly after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the surveillance capabilities of the American National Security Agency (NSA) began to appear, I had a private conversation with a former cabinet minister about the implications of the leaks. At one stage, I mentioned to him a remark attributed to a prime architect of some of the NSA systems – that they had taken the US to “a keystroke away from totalitarianism”. The MP scoffed at the idea. What I needed to remember, he told me, in that superior tone that toffs adopt when speaking to […]

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How Will the Coronavirus Evolve?

from The New Yorker In 1988, Richard Lenski, a thirty-one-year-old biologist at UC Irvine, started an experiment. He divided a population of a common bacterium, E. coli, into twelve flasks. Each flask was kept at thirty-seven degrees Celsius, and contained an identical cocktail of water, glucose, and other nutrients. Each day, as the bacteria replicated, Lenski transferred several drops of each cocktail to a new flask, and every so often he stored samples away in a freezer. His goal was to understand the mechanics of evolution. How quickly, effectively, creatively, and consistently do microorganisms improve their reproductive fitness? Lenski’s flasks […]

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You Anon

from NYTs In early July, when England’s soccer team lost the European Championship final to Italy on its home turf, the crushing defeat was followed by a torrent of racist abuse on social media directed at the team’s Black players. The messages — part of an ongoing pattern of social media bigotry — were condemned by politicians, platforms, teammates and fans. They were also blamed, in part, on a familiar figure: the masked troll. He’s been popping up a lot lately. Depending who you are, he may be the source of all political disinformation; one of an army of bots; […]

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The Final Demographic

from Docs Searls Weblog I worked in retailing, wholesaling, journalism and radio when I was 18-24. I co-founded an advertising agency when I was 25-34. Among the things I studied while working in that age bracket were Nielsen and Arbitron ratings for radio and TV. Everything those companies had to say was fractioned into age brackets. The radio station I did most of that work for was WQDR in Raleigh, one of the world’s first album rock stations. Its target demographic was 18-34. It’s a country station now, aimed at 25-54. Other “desirable” demographics for commercial media are 18-49 and […]

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Covid Is Now a Crisis for the Unvaccinated

from NYTs Case counts are rising, some hospitals are filling up, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is again recommending universal masking in areas where cases are surging. But to suggest that Covid-19 is an escalating emergency in the United States is not quite right. The truth is that the vaccinated and the unvaccinated are experiencing two very different pandemics right now. If we don’t confront that, the nation can’t address either appropriately. The C.D.C.’s announcement will lead many to believe that the pandemic is getting worse. But if you and most of the people in your area […]

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Time To Clip The Wings Of NSO And Its Pegasus Spyware

from The Observer What’s the most problematic tech company in the world? Facebook? Google? Palantir? Nope. It’s a small, privately held Israeli company called NSO that most people have never heard of. On its website, it describes itself as “a world leader in precision cyberintelligence solutions”. Its software, sold only to “licensed government intelligence and law-enforcement agencies”, naturally, helps them to “lawfully address the most dangerous issues in today’s world. NSO’s technology has helped prevent terrorism, break up criminal operations, find missing people and assist search and rescue teams.” So what is this magical stuff? It’s called Pegasus and it […]

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Why There Is No Solution To Our Age Of Crisis Without China

from The New Statesman In the summer of 2021 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is marking its centenary. It has much to celebrate. The most powerful communist party and by far the most powerful political organisation in the world, it has presided over the largest surge of economic growth ever witnessed. For both the West and China’s immediate neighbours, this unsettling and unexpected fact defines the early 21st century. China’s rise has undone any assumption that social and economic progress naturally leads to liberalism. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty in 40 years by an authoritarian […]

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The White House Responded to the Chinese Hacks of the Microsoft Exchange Servers This Week. Is It Enough?

from Lawfare The Biden administration formally accused the Chinese government this week of carrying out the hacks of the Microsoft Exchange email server software, the details of which came to light in early March. In a joint statement with the European Union, NATO and several other U.S. allies, the White House placed blame for the hacks squarely on the shoulders of the contractors of China’s civilian intelligence agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), and accused the Chinese government of supporting “irresponsible and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace.” In conjunction with the White House’s statement, the Justice Department on July 19 […]

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Venmo Gets More Private—but It’s Still Not Fully Safe

from Wired VENMO, THE POPULAR mobile payment service, has redesigned its app. That’s normally news you could safely ignore, but this announcement is worth a closer look. In addition to making some navigational tweaks and adding new purchase protections, the PayPal-owned platform is finally shutting down its global social feed, where the app published transactions from people around the world. It’s an important step toward resolving one of the most prominent privacy issues in the world of apps, but the work isn’t finished yet. Venmo’s global feed has for years been a font of voyeuristic insights into the financial habits […]

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How Ai Translation Could Unseat English As The Lingua Franca Of The Business World

from Fast Company Anyone who has traveled to a country where the language spoken is not their native one knows that not conversing fluently (or at all) can turn even a VIP into a second-class citizen. Einstein himself would have struggled to express his intelligence in, say, Farsi. In one of my favorite episodes of Modern Family, Sofia Vergara’s character Gloria says in frustration, “You don’t know how smart I am in Spanish!” Even fluent speakers can face bias if they have an accent because of certain underlying perceptions that your language skills are correlated with your intelligence. No one […]

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Coexisting with the Coronavirus

from The New Yorker In the spring of 1846, a Dutch physician named Peter Ludwig Panum arrived on the Faroe Islands, a volcanic chain about two hundred miles northwest of Scotland. He found the Faroes to be a harsh and unforgiving place. The islands’ eight thousand inhabitants, who were Danish subjects at that time, spent their days outdoors, buffeted by sea winds, fishing and tending sheep. The conditions, Panum wrote, were unlikely “to prolong the lives of the inhabitants.” And yet, despite the scarcity of medical care and a diet of wind-dried, sometimes rancid meat, the average Faroese life span […]

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The Carbon Removal Industry Needs To Grow To Be The Size Of The Oil And Gas Industry

from Fast Company Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have spewed an extra 2.4 trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, pushing the average global temperature up more than 1.2 degrees Celsius. The world adds another 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. We’re already seeing what that means, from catastrophic flooding to heat waves that scientists thought were statistically impossible. As emissions shrink, the world will also need a way to pull the CO2 we’ve already emitted out of the air, both to cover the continued emissions of industries that are hard to decarbonize and […]

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Building Infrastructure To Stop Sea Level Rise Can Have An Unfortunate Consequence

from Fast Company As the world heats up and sea levels rise, communities in the U.S. could spend more than $400 billion on seawalls to try to hold the ocean back over the next couple of decades. But there’s a catch: Building a seawall in one area can often mean that flooding gets even worse in another neighborhood or city nearby. “Basically, the water has to flow somewhere,” says Anne Guerry, chief strategy officer and lead scientist at Stanford University’s Natural Capital Project. Guerry is also coauthor of a new paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of […]

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Is Our Machine Learning? Ars Takes A Dip Into Artificial Intelligence

from ars technica Every day, some little piece of logic constructed by very specific bits of artificial intelligence technology makes decisions that affect how you experience the world. It could be the ads that get served up to you on social media or shopping sites, or the facial recognition that unlocks your phone, or the directions you take to get to wherever you’re going. These discreet, unseen decisions are being made largely by algorithms created by machine learning (ML), a segment of artificial intelligence technology that is trained to identify correlation between sets of data and their outcomes. We’ve been […]

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Leadership Is an Activity, Not a Position

from Three Minute Leadership The great leaders can emerge from any part of any organization, whether they have a position of authority or not.  As Dan Ebener and Borna Jalsenjak write in their new book, Leadership for the Greater Good, “Using the word ‘leader’ to include everyone who makes it to the top is a disservice to the whole idea of leadership”, which they define as “a voluntary, interactive process that intends adaptive change”. Ebener and Jalsenjak state that leadership is an activity not a position.  It is voluntarybecause coercive measures are never leadership.  It is interactive because it requires […]

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The Perverse Consequences of the NCAA Ruling

from The Atlantic The Supreme Court has changed college admissions forever. The justices’ decision late last month allowing NCAA Division I football and men’s basketball programs to provide new educational incentives to student athletes created an overdue avenue for compensating student athletes in commercially lucrative sports, many of whom come from low-income backgrounds. And new rules the NCAA rolled out last week in response to a series of state laws allow student athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness without violating college sports’ amateurism rules. So far, the changes have been celebrated as a step toward greater equity. […]

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