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- Innovation is harming us in ways we have yet to understandIs the world becoming a better place? Some indicators of the human condition are improving. We have rising life expectancy, fewer homicides, eradication of polio and smallpox, and fewer people in extreme poverty. But our world is deteriorating according to other indicators, such as air pollution, plastic waste, destruction of coral reefs, mass extinctions and ecosystem collapse. Many of these problems are linked to industrial innovation. Innovation requires the continual invention and commercialization of products and processes that are increasingly artificial. As the simpler and more obvious innovations are found earlier, prolonged efforts at industrial innovation lead to the discovery and mass production of increasingly un-natural chemicals and materials. Their long-term properties, such as their side effects on public health or their ability to be broken down and assimilated into the environment at the end of the product’s life, are mostly unknown. Our modern lifestyles are making us sick.… ..... Read More.2 weeks ago
- How an Anti-Shutdown Celebrity Is MadeMy hometown—Hillsborough, New Jersey, population 38,000—is not often in the national spotlight. Throughout its history, which dates back to 1771, it has mostly been a farming town. A population boom after World War II set it on a path to becoming an idyllic American suburb, with acre plots backing onto fields, woods, and brooks. Not much happened there; when I was in elementary school and my writing was published in a children’s magazine, The Hillsborough Beacon ran a picture of me in the fort I built in the woods near our house. The town gathered for high-school football games and musicals and the annual Memorial Day parade, which featured the Hillsborough High School Marching Band and a never-ending, ragtag stream of children’s recreational sports teams. When an Applebee’s opened while I was in middle school, it became the center of my social life.Today, the Beacon is a shell of its… ..... Read More.2 weeks ago
- It turns out 26% of US adults get their news from YouTubeAccording to a new study from Pew Research Center, 26% of US adults say they get their news from watching YouTube. Overall, 72% of YouTube respondents said that YouTube is an important part of their news consumption, with 59% stating that YouTube is “an important way, but not the most important way,” while 13% stated that YouTube is “the most important way” that they get their news. When it comes to established media outlets vs. independent creators, YouTube viewers seem pretty evenly split. While 23% of respondents “often” get their news from established news and media outlets, it was revealed that 23% “often” get their news from independent channels. Out of the 377 most popular YouTube channels, 49% were established news organisations, and 42% were independent. And it turns out that as many as 70% of these independent news channels are centred around a specific personality. YouTube is… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Reddit Squashed QAnon by AccidentTwo years ago, most Americans knew nothing about QAnon, the ever-growing, diffuse, and violent movement devoted to a loosely connected set of conspiracy theories, most of which tie back to the idea that Donald Trump is leading a holy war against a high-powered cabal of child traffickers, some of whom drink blood. But at the time, it was a massive problem on Reddit, where conspiracy-minded members of the Trump-themed subreddit r/The_Donald had long stoked theories such as Pizzagate, and where a QAnon subreddit called r/TheGreatAwakening had racked up 70,000 subscribers, some of whom posted hundreds of times..Last week, new polling showed that nearly half of Americans have now heard of QAnon. But on Reddit, the movement no longer has any meaningful presence.Reddit is where QAnon first went to attract a mass audience when it left the dark, unnavigable threads of 4chan, and Reddit is where it found a new group… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago
- The Pandemic Has Remade FriendshipMy friend Adam Nemett and I became close friends in college, when I basically lived in the house he shared with my then-boyfriend. We saw each other constantly—at home, on campus, over dinner. We got drunk together; took the train to New York City to go clubbing together; emailed during our summer vacations. The last night of college, the three of us wrapped our arms around one another, feeling the weight of this intimacy’s end. This proximity, we knew, would be lost to time and adulthood.But almost 20 years later, after children (for him) and a divorce (for me), Adam and I have rediscovered a new intimacy. The pandemic has deepened our bond, even though we have abandoned proximity entirely. We keep an almost weekly FaceTime appointment to watch TV together. During those video calls, I see his house and his wife, and he sees my apartment—or, more recently, my… ..... Read More.4 weeks ago