“At some point, this increasing bunker mentality of walling off users and their data will inevitably begin to impede real progress—the kind of exciting advancements that have made the web such a fascinating, growing and, yes, profitable space over the last decade. The question we have to ask ourselves is, are we sabotaging the real potential of the web in the name of short-term profits and a better user experience?”
“They were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked…”
Michele Catalano, a writer for Death and Taxes, was searching Google to compare pressure cookers to buy. Then, as she writes for Medium, six men in plainclothes came to her house in a SUV.
Google Project Loon is currently filling one of its stratosphere-wandering balloons, preparing it for launch. Tune in!
Internet recommendations from Sarah Kessler, Fast Company's Associate Editor:
1. The “Can Men Wear Shorts?” debate
The Pacific Standard was the only publication I saw bring an academic into this debate, which is exactly what it needed.
3. The Pixar Theory
John Lasseter, Disney’s chief creative officer, recently told me
while I was reporting an upcoming story that mixing characters from different Pixar movies has always been taboo. And after reading Jon Negroni’s “Pixar Theory,” I finally understand why: Putting Pixar characters together would make it far too obvious that all the studio’s movies are actually part of the same story—beginning with the witch in Brave experimenting with giving animals the ability to speak. I can’t believe we didn’t see this before.
Here, a few more staff recommendations for you!
[Image: Flickr user JD Hancock]
"The afternoon lazed along, and when I checked my phone at 5 p.m., I was shocked to find its battery life at a historical high-for-that-time-of-day 50%. My detox was saving battery life (!) which was saving energy (!) which was saving the earth!"
Thurston took a 25 day break from the Internet. You should, too. Here’s a printable guide to unplugging, which you can refer to when you feel the urge to reach for your phone.
Upworthy.com, dedicated to sharing “stuff that matters,” drives 20% of interactions around media online. You read that right.
Here are 3 rules for going viral from the most viral site on the web:
1. Spend half your time on the headline.
2. But make it sound like you’re talking to your bff.
3. Know what strong feeling you want to evoke. There’d better be one.
[Rainbow: MountainHardcore via Shutterstock]
“I am here” day is a time to “set aside our technology and to-do lists, choose a quarter of the city we wanted to know better, and explore it for a full day… . [It is] a kind of antimodern communal experiment: giving our gadgets a secular Sabbath; reveling in friendship and conversation of a kind that Facebook doesn’t do; being thickly in one place, not thinly everywhere.”
“At the bar, my recently rediscovered heads-up
display—aka my eyes—revealed a person next to me, and for several hours I found myself in a fascinating conversation with one of the dancers from the Broadway musical Spider-Man.”
As part of our #Unplug series we asked, “What do you miss (if anything) about life before the digital age?” Here are some of our favorite responses:
- "The art of conversation, mystique and actually getting to know a person at a natural rate than via online presence… and of course privacy…” —Bree Williams
- "Peacefulness and serenity." —Henry Johns
- "The happy ignorance of not knowing how genuinely crazy some of my friends and family are.” —Todd Wilson
- "People actually having to work to stalk you." —Daisuke Iwamura
- "Wonder. Before the Internet you would wonder about everything. Now you can just look it up." —Matthew Green
Here, a few more things we miss about life before the digital age
“I considered fleeing to a remote island for a few weeks, but I realized I wasn’t craving physical escape. I didn’t actually want to be alone. I just wanted to be mentally free of obligations, most of which asserted themselves in some digital fashion.”
1. I had become obsessed with The Information.
2. I shared too much.
3. I was addicted to myself.
4. I forsook the benefits of the Industrial Age.
"The greatest gift I gave myself was a restored appreciation for disengagement, silence, and emptiness. I don’t need to fill every time slot with an appointment, and I don’t need to fill every mental opening with stimulus."
Why do we keep responding to the beep and buzz of our phones? Because we’re addicted to success explains Harvard Business School prof Leslie Perlow.
Daily Fast Feed Roundup
Happy Hump Day! Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know today:
- Cool experiments on the International Space Station are teaching us more about fire.
- High levels of toxic and radio substances were found in the groundwater near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
- There are now 1 million active advertisers on Facebook, reports the social media giant.
- From our NSA secret surveillance tracker: Google is challenging the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court (FISA), saying it has the right to talk about any government requests for data.
- Google Play is now offering streaming content apps from the History Channel, Lifetime, and A&E.
- Tesla, which is demo-ing its swap-able electric car battery this week, is recalling some of its Model S electric cars due to a seat safety defect.
- TripAdvisor just bought GateGuru, an app that offers travelers airport info in real-time.
- On the run from the law? Well then you need a pair of these goggles specially designed to block facial recognition patterns.
- The Brazilian government is sending military aid to five major cities in response to massive protests.