If I do something clumsy or awkward, a sort of mental flag pops up in my head, and it bears a chimp’s face. Once someone caught me, at 13, picking my nose in school: was that a lingering habit from my time among the chimps? Our family cats hated me because I could not keep my hands off them; even more than usual for a small child, I always wanted to pick them up. Perhaps furry things seemed more welcoming to me than they did to other children. In my early 20s, I caught myself sitting cross-legged at a desk chair. That’s a regular habit of mine, but on that day I happened to be sitting in a courtroom — as counsel at a defense table. I blamed the chimps then, too. But that’s what I tell myself, of course. I don’t tell others about the chimps much.In "Monkey Day Care," Michelle Dean writes for The Verge about her recollections of being a child participant in primate research, her frustrating attempt to find out more about the study, and about the history of and ethical questions about such research.
Does The Handmaid's Tale hold up? , Adi Robertson for The Verge:
"A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a friend that I was in the middle of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. 'It’s like 1984 for feminists, right?' he asked. Sort of, I said. But it's a lot scarier. It's about how you'll lose every right you have, and none of the men you know will care. Then I said he would probably betray me if they froze all women's bank accounts. That was the peak of my paranoia, but it held on for several more days, as I read on the subway while half-consciously figuring out how I might theoretically escape to Canada. 1984 was for lightweights."[more inside]
"Using contractors it calls "brand ambassadors," Uber requests rides from Lyft and other competitors, recruits their drivers, and takes multiple precautions to avoid detection. The effort, which Uber appears to be rolling out nationally, has already resulted in thousands of canceled Lyft rides and made it more difficult for its rival to gain a foothold in new markets. Uber calls the program "SLOG," and it’s a previously unreported aspect of the company’s ruthless efforts to undermine its competitors."
Despite the comment collecting engine crashing on the last day to submit comments on the very popular topic of Network Neutrality, the system worked well enough to collect 1.1 million comments, which the FCC has made available to the general public as six XML files, totaling over 1.4 gigs of raw data. Mailed comments postmarked prior to July 18 are still being scanned and entered, so this isn't everything, but it's a lot of data. TechCrunch graphed the frequency of certain words, with the high score going to Comcast, with 4,613 mentions. NPR shared the visualized results of Quid's analysis of a sample of 250,000 comments, and Quid's analysis of a sample of 317,000 comments to map geographic sources of the public comments and adjusted them based on state populations to depict which states care more about net neutrality, while The Verge dug deeper, mapping comments by zip code.
"When Dystopia Rising went well, there were moments that felt natural, perfect. My first night was filled with gang warfare and hunts for a cult of radiation-worshipping Social Darwinists, but one of the parts I remember best was sitting next to a busker who played me a song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, gave a mythologized retelling of the musical, and ended up explaining the origins of a group I believe was called the Church of Daft Punk" -- The Verge on playing in the massively complex post-apocalyptic LARP ( Live Action Role Playing) game, Dystopia Rising.
The Verge examine the reasons IT fanboys fight their eternal war. [Plain text version] [more inside]
On February 12, 2010, a photograph of a rescue dog was posted on a blog in Japan. Three and a half years later, that photo changed western popular culture.
When Turntable.fm launched in 2011 it served as a unique way to listen to music virtually with friends on the web. It works on the basis of groups that let users play music on virtual decks with a queue system, chat room, and the ability to search and upload music. Two years after its introduction, its creators are fighting to keep it alive.
Top Secret: Images from the Stasi Archives A collection of images from the book, including more disguises, images of house searches, hand-to-hand combat techniques, hidden cameras, and even fake beards, is available free of charge at Simon Menner’s website. [more inside]
Ben Popper writes about the increased faith in strangers and falling crime rates that are enabling services like Lyft, AirBNB, TaskRabbit, and others in the new "sharing economy". [more inside]
"It's a been a year now since I 'surfed the web' or 'checked my email' or 'liked' anything with a figurative rather than literal thumbs up. I've managed to stay disconnected, just like I planned. I'm internet free. And now I'm supposed to tell you how it solved all my problems. I'm supposed to be enlightened. I'm supposed to be more 'real,' now. More perfect." Paul Miller is back on the Internet after spending a year offline. (previously)
Income At Home, Herbalife, and the $8 billion pyramid. Exposing the iconic brand behind Scamworld’s most visible ‘biz opp’. [Previously 1, 2]
Derek Smart has been making games for over 20 years. He sold his first games in plastic baggies at hobby stores. Yet his longevity is somewhat of an anachronism. Many gamers today don't even know who is is, in spite of the fact that his games have sold well enough to keep his company in business since 1992. And the games themselves, well they're mostly terrible. Especially his first, Battlecruiser 3000AD. The Verge takes an in-depth look at the hotheaded perfectionist millionaire game developer whose impenetrable, terminally overhyped games sparked one of the most legendary flamewars in internet history.
Offline: Paul Miller, writing for The Verge, is taking a year off from the internet. Among other things, he can't install modern video games and he must figure out how to pay his bills.
Scamworld: in which the Verge investigates "a network of pitchmen who have used the internet and fear of a failing economy to play the ultimate long con."