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.
Grab the entire list as a Readlist.
Megan Twohey's 18-month long investigation at Reuters reveals how parents are abandoning adopted children overaseas.
Reuters: Megan Twohey - Americans use the Internet to abandon children adopted from overseas and Part 2
Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America.
In this week's New York Times Magazine education issue, Carlo Rotella profiles education company Amplify and the nation-wide race for technology-based solutions in the classroom.
The New York Times: Carlo Rotella - No Child Left Untableted
In a few years, according to Leites, advances like “gaze tracking” and measurement of pupil dilation “will revolutionize” the gauging of cognitive response by making it possible to determine exactly what students are reacting to on the screen.
David Kushner highlights the US government's efforts to attract hackers from the private sector to boost the nation's cybersecurity.
Rolling Stone: David Kushner - The Geeks on the Front Lines
A Minnesota casino hired Accuvant to try to break into its computer room and access its most sensitive data. Not only did the team succeed – convincing workers they were tech-support staff – they walked out the door carrying the casino’s computer servers. They then posed with their bounty by the slot machines, flipping off the camera for a picture they sent to the casino’s boss. Another time, they hacked a Department of Defense contractor by parking a rental car outside a warehouse and scanning the wireless network with laptops and antennas. “It’s sad, honestly, how vulnerable they are,” Bonvillain says.
Brent Cox writes about how we watch — and how we argue about watching — at the movies now.
The Awl: Brent Cox - Twitter And The Death Of Quiet Enjoyment
It’s like that "joke" that everyone old enough to remember rotary phones thought up simultaneously, the first time they encountered a person in a public place—walking down the sidewalk, in line at an ATM—having a conversation via a mobile phone: “Why, without close inspection, it’s impossible to distinguish that person from an escaped lunatic talking to himself." People communicate everywhere, because they can. The future is here, a future in which everyone talks to everyone else near-constantly.
On the cassette
David Anthony looks at the curious, continued existence of the cassette.
Onion A.V. Club: David Anthony - How music’s worst format has found a new life
“Cassettes are interesting because they are truly a widget to 90 percent of people,” Kindlon says. “You could say I’m hypercritical of vinyl because 90 percent of people buy it and they’ll never actually listen to it; they’ll use the download code. There’s nothing really wrong with that; it just seems like an incredible waste of resources, but that’s fine."
In light of Twitter's announcement that it was going public this week, John Herrman considers how Twitter as a public company will look and feel.
BuzzFeed FWD: John Herrman - Here’s What Post-IPO Twitter Is Going To Look Like
Together, those pieces constitute Twitter’s big pitch, and the one it’ll be using in its IPO: It’s where people go to talk about TV, sports, politics, and the news. It’s created ad products that can be overlaid on events in real time, and which scale with popularity. It can contain and monetize the internet’s constant eruptions, including the unpredictable ones but especially the predictable ones.
For more great longreads, visit our friends at Longreads.
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.