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  • The End of The American Chinatown
    LOS ANGELES—As a new immigrant to the United States, Li Zhong Huang knew there was only one place he wanted to live: the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he could be surrounded by language, food, and people from his home province of Guangdong. In 2001, he found an apartment with a shared bathroom and kitchen for $390, and moved in, relishing the sunny weather and ample transportation options of his new neighborhood.A decade after he arrived, though, the neighborhood started changing. Construction started on two new luxury apartment condos. One, Blossom Plaza, now offers two-bedroom apartments with amenities like a pool, a shuffleboard court, and a fitness center for $2,600 a month. The other, Jia Apartments, features a pool, spa, and black granite countertops, with two-bedrooms starting at $2,500.At first, Huang liked these developments. These new complexes were clean and attractive, replacing buildings that were old and rundown. But… ..... Read More.
    THE ATLANTIC – Technology | Internet & TechnologyMon, February 4, 2019
    3 weeks ago
  • Facebook: Where Friendships Go to Never Quite Die
    In the world of Harry Potter, drinking the blood of a unicorn will keep anyone alive, “even if you are an inch from death.” But survival comes at a terrible price: “You will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips,” the centaur Firenze explains to Harry.Facebook is unicorn blood, and it has touched the metaphorical lips of billions of relationships. Of late, the social network has been attempting to absorb every facet of existence formerly untouched by its grasping fingers: dating, commerce, etc. But its central feature remains what it has always been—a digital Rolodex of everyone you know and everything those people have ever shared on their page. Your “friends.” Some of these people are actually your friends, of course. And some of them are old Little League teammates, or people you took one class with in college, or fourth cousins… ..... Read More.
    THE ATLANTIC – Technology | Internet & TechnologyMon, February 4, 2019
    3 weeks ago
  • What We Wrote About Facebook 12 Years Ago
    The year was 2007, and Myspace was king. With more than 300 million registered users, it was the world’s largest social-networking platform by a mile and, since overtaking Google the previous year, the most visited website in the United States. Friendster had been thoroughly eclipsed. Google’s first attempt at a social network, Orkut, was a domestic flop. Twitter, founded in 2006, still hosted only a fraction of a percent of Myspace’s user base. Snapchat and Instagram weren’t even a twinkle in Silicon Valley’s eye.Facebook, though, was on the upswing. For nearly three years, it had slowly spread through schools and businesses. In September 2006, it opened fully to the public for the first time. By October 2007, it had 50 million active users around the world. By July 2008, it would have 90 million. In 2009, it would overtake Myspace for good.Facebook first appeared in the pages of The Atlantic… ..... Read More.
    THE ATLANTIC – Technology | Internet & TechnologySat, February 2, 2019
    3 weeks ago
  • This Is How Much Fact-Checking Is Worth to Facebook
    Snopes has pulled out of its fact-checking partnership with Facebook. The storied myth-debunking site was one of dozens of groups the social network enlisted to help combat misinformation after the 2016 election. According to Snopes, Facebook paid it $100,000 in 2017 for this work.Snopes is not the only factchecking group to pull out, either. An AP spokesperson confirmed to The Atlantic that the “AP is not currently doing fact-checking work for Facebook,” although they remain in “ongoing conversations with Facebook.”Facebook includes 51 fact-checking organizations (including Snopes) in what must be an outdated list on its website. The contracts are signed on an annual basis, however, and a Facebook spokesperson told me there are now 34 organizations doing this work.The note the Snopes team posted announcing the end of the partnership was circumspect about why the organization had pulled out, explicitly leaving open the possibility of working with Facebook again: “At… ..... Read More.
    THE ATLANTIC – Technology | Internet & TechnologyFri, February 1, 2019
    3 weeks ago
  • Setting Fire on Train Tracks Is a Time-Tested Technique
    As if the horrors of the polar vortex were not already enough—temperatures that look like typos, Canada Goose robbers, and something called frost quakes—the nation’s railroad system took a turn for the apocalyptic this week, too. Rails broke in three different places between Baltimore and Washington on Thursday, causing  “severe” delays. Amtrak canceled dozens of trains passing through Chicago, and viral videos appeared to show commuter tracks in the city on fire.Of course, the tracks themselves were not burning—they are made out of steel, prized for its tendency to rarely go up in flames. But the sight is still dramatic. The videos of the fires in Chicago this week show flames smoldering in patches of melted snow around the tracks. Another clip, from 2017, shows a commuter train trundling through flames, like a deleted scene from a lesser Nicolas Cage action flick. Either way, it looks dangerous and certainly backwards.In… ..... Read More.
    THE ATLANTIC – Technology | Internet & TechnologyFri, February 1, 2019
    3 weeks ago
  • The Quiet Heroism of Mail Delivery
    On Wednesday, a polar vortex brought bitter cold to the Midwest. Overnight, Chicago reached a low of 21 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, making it slightly colder than Antarctica, Alaska, and the North Pole. Wind chills were 64 degrees below zero in Park Rapids, Minnesota, and 45 degrees below zero in Buffalo, North Dakota, according to the National Weather Service. Schools, restaurants, and businesses closed and more than a thousand flights have been canceled.Even the United States Postal Service stalled mail delivery, temporarily. “Due to this arctic outbreak and concerns for the safety of USPS employees,” the USPS announced Wednesday morning, “the Postal Service is suspending delivery Jan. 30 in the following 3-digit ZIP Code locations.” Twelve regions were listed as unsafe on Wednesday; on Thursday, eight remained.As global surface temperatures increase, so does the likelihood of extreme weather. In 2018 alone, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, mudslides, and other natural disasters… ..... Read More.
    THE ATLANTIC – Technology | Internet & TechnologyFri, February 1, 2019
    3 weeks ago
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