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The best tech writing of the week, December 18th

The best tech writing of the week, December 18th


The best writing in tech this week.

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We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.

On Timeline

As Facebook Timeline moves your profile from a daily diary to editable biography, users face the time consuming and intensely self-reflective task of editing thousands of status updates, events, and photos. It's worth considering just how bland and empty Zuckerberg's profile is — and how Facebook expects its 800 million users to use the new tools — in light of the fact that Timeline is a mandatory change.

The New Inquiry: Giovanni Tiso - You and Mark Aren’t Friends

There is another Mark Zuckerberg out there who must be quite a remarkable person, with quirks and oddities and a personality that is likely to match his consuming ambition and his fabulous wealth. With darknesses, too, with secrets beyond the amount for which his lawsuits were settled.On "Think Different"

TBWA/Chiat/Day creative director and managing partner Rob Siltanen writes in Forbes that Steve Jobs wasn't the mastermind behind the legendary "Here's to the Crazy Ones" ad that helped kick-start the rebirth of Apple.

Forbes: Rob Siltanen - The Real Story Behind Apple's 'Think Different' Campaign

While several people played prominent parts in making it happen, the famous "Think Different" line and the brilliant concept of putting the line together with black and white photographs of time-honored visionaries was invented by an exceptionally creative person, and dear friend, by the name of Craig Tanimoto, a TBWA/Chiat/Day art director at the time.On reading later

While it's comforting to think apps like Read It Later are driving a rebirth in long-form reading, data from Read It Later suggests that the apps are more often being used for time-shifting than grinding through piles of 8,000-word investigative pieces. Those unread New Yorkers and Economists piling up on your coffee table are being reborn in the form of digital queues of unread items.

Nieman Journalism Lab: Joshua Benton - Is it just 8,000-word epics that make people hit "Read Later"?

But the evidence seems to be that people find time-shifting useful regardless of length, and that using these tools for really long work is more of an edge case than common usage. It appears the user’s thought process is closer to "Let me read this later" than "Let me read this later because it’s really long and worthy."On drone ethics

Moving beyond Asimov's well-known Three Laws of Robotics as robots are increasingly present on the battlefield, Philosopher Patrick Lin considers the ethical questions brought about by military robots, cyborgs, and genetic engineering.

The Atlantic: Patrick Lin - Drone-Ethics Briefing: What a Leading Robot Expert Told the CIA

If a soldier could resist pain through robotics or genetic engineering or drugs, are we still prohibited from torturing that person?On resistance

Jenna Wortham looks at a growing number of young people leaving or simply avoiding Facebook in light of privacy concerns and a social-networking induced loneliness.

The New York Times: Jenna Wortham - The Facebook Resistors

"I wasn’t calling my friends anymore," said Ashleigh Elser, 24, who is in graduate school in Charlottesville, Va. "I was just seeing their pictures and updates and felt like that was really connecting to them."Need more? Check out past editions here. Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.