Noteworthy Information

Business & Government Intermediate read

Certified B Corporation

Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Individuals Intermediate read

Big Brother: A critique of the 4th Industrial Revolution

Investment in transportation, agriculture, healthcare, and education should take priority over investment in surveillance technologies.

Individuals Simple read

Afghans are forced to choose between staying safe and staying online

Under Taliban rule, citizens worry that digital connections to Western organizations could be used against them.

Individuals Simple read

Blockchain Technology: The Path to Utopia or Dystopia?

Blockchain technology, like many tech developments, was born out of a utopian ideal. It came from a vision for a cashless society that maximized individual autonomy with freedom from oversight and taxation. However, the potential for blockchain to fetter us to a system using our records is innate to a tamper-resistant, extremely durable, and verifiable record. Here, we adopt a contrarian viewpoint and discuss the drawbacks of blockchain technology that come from its strengths rather than its weaknesses. The concern with the scenarios we outline is not that it will come true but that it can.

[Advanced] Socializing Data Value

Interesting report on data stewardship, tells me that stewardship concepts should be part of a (not just technology-focused) data literacy approach.

[Simple] Everyone should decide how their digital data are used — not just tech companies

Smartphones, sensors and consumer habits reveal much about society. Too few people have a say in how these data are created and used.

[Simple] The Internet Is Rotting

It turns out that link rot and content drift are endemic to the web, which is both unsurprising and shockingly risky for a library that has "billions of books and no central filing system." Imagine if libraries didn't exist and there was only a "sharing economy" for physical books: People could register what books they happened to have at home, and then others who wanted them could visit and peruse them. It's no surprise that such a system could fall out of date, with books no longer where they were advertised to be -- especially if someone reported a book being in someone else's home in 2015, and then an interested reader saw that 2015 report in 2021 and tried to visit the original home mentioned as holding it. That's what we have right now on the web.

Questions Asked

Individuals Intermediate read

Because of Social Media, Are We Reading Fewer Books?

A user wrote:

"Twitter did something that I would not have thought possible: It stole reading from me," argues a former New Yorker writer (who was once nominated for the Pulitzer Prize). In a new piece in the Atlantic this week, they argue that Twitter "hacked itself so deep into my circuitry that it interrupted the very formation of my thoughts..."

I'm still haunted by a free 37-minute documentary I saw two years ago on YouTube called Bookstores: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content. It followed Max Joseph, the former host of the TV show Catfish (and the documentary's director) as he spoke to several reading experts (including a speed reader) about how he could form better habits. But at one point he calculates he was spending 20 minutes a day just on news, plus another 30 minutes a day on social media — which adds up to 304 hours a year that could've been spent reading books. (Enough time to read 30 books a year.)

Are we reading fewer books because of social media?