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    The best writing of the week, January 12

    The best writing of the week, January 12

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    Your Sunday reading

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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.

    Grab the entire list as a Readlist.

    On GMOs

    Amy Harmon reports on the complex mix of fears and facts driving Hawaii's anti-GMO movement.

    The New York Times: Amy Harmon - A Lonely Quest for Facts on Genetically Modified Crops

    Still, it was hard not to be spooked by material emailed by constituents and circulated on Facebook: images of tomatoes with syringes stuck in them and of pears and apples stapled together, warnings of children harmed by parents serving genetically modified food. The specter of genetic contamination still haunted him.On harassment

    Amanda Hess writes about the challenges women face on the web and how law enforcement and Silicon Valley are responding to online abuse.

    Pacific Standard: Amanda Hess - Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet

    My fingers paused over the keyboard. I felt disoriented and terrified. Then embarrassed for being scared, and, finally, pissed. On the one hand, it seemed unlikely that I’d soon be defiled and decapitated at the hands of a serial rapist-murderer. On the other hand, headlessfemalepig was clearly a deranged individual with a bizarre fixation on me. I picked up my phone and dialed 911.On Aaron Swartz

    Janelle Nanos profiles Bob Swartz, father of Aaron, and his struggles with MIT.

    Boston: Janelle Nanos - Losing Aaron

    Bob pleaded with MIT’s administrators and lawyers to intervene. Joi Ito, the Media Lab’s director, also petitioned the university to consider it a “family matter” and speak up regarding the charges of Aaron having “unauthorized access” on a campus where anyone, anywhere, could log into the JSTOR system—or any library database—with a simple Ethernet connection. But instead, MIT took a position of “neutrality.” It made no public statements for or against Aaron’s prosecution or about whether he should be imprisoned. This is the other reason why Bob’s visits to MIT are so painful: He can’t walk through campus without feeling that MIT betrayed his son.On suicide prevention

    Linda Vaccariello writes about efforts to create programs that can help identify suicidal people.

    Cincinatti: Linda Vaccariello - Last Words

    Pestian’s idea was to use linguistics-based data to see if it was possible to teach a computer to distinguish between someone who is genuinely driven to take his own life and someone who is not. And the one way to get the undisputable words of the former was clear: “We said to ourselves, ‘OK, let’s get some suicide notes, and see what we can do with that.’”On Bitcoin mining

    Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone write about the Bitcoin mining gold rush.

    Businessweek: Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone - The Bitcoin-Mining Arms Race Heats Up

    Occasionally, he says, he stuffs the air holes of his machines with paper to bring up the temperature. “There is serious money in this,” he says, noting that he’s earned 100 Bitcoins over the past few months from mining and other transactions. He estimates his two fastest computers will earn him $150,000 each this year. “It takes up a lot of time, but I have no kids. I have no life. I have a cat.”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.

    Today’s Storystream

    Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

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    External Link
    Emma RothSep 24
    California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

    The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

    A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


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    Youtube
    Andrew WebsterSep 24
    Look at this Thing.

    At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


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    The Verge
    Andrew WebsterSep 24
    Get ready for some Netflix news.

    At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


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    Andrew WebsterSep 24
    Looking for something to do this weekend?

    Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


    A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
    Thermae Romae Novae.
    Image: Netflix
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    Twitter
    Jay PetersSep 23
    Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

    Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


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    Tom WarrenSep 23
    Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

    Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


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    External Link
    If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

    Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

    Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


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    Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

    Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

    Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.