Seven things I think are worth reading this weekend

Kids Reading

Inspired by my friend Om’s series of “Seven stories to read this weekend” posts, I decided to collect some of the pieces of writing that have impressed me and/or made me think this week, in case some of you are also looking for things to read. And if you’ve come across any this week that you thought were worth sharing, please leave them in the comments.

Why email will never die, and may actually be improving: Everyone hates email, but Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic makes a fairly persuasive case that email is still one of the best forms of communication — in part because no one owns it, and therefore it is platform-agnostic and open. Alexis argues that it’s being unbundled into its component services, and that’s a good thing.

Advertising-based business models are the “original sin” of the internet: Ethan Zuckerman of MIT’s Center for Civic Media, who helped develop the first pop-up ad two decades ago, argues that the desire to attract advertising is why Web businesses have become so focused on data collection and invasion of privacy (I also responded to Ethan with a post of my own).

An 18-year-old black man is shot by police and all hell breaks loose: If you’re trying to catch up with what we know — and don’t know — about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., you could do a lot worse than to read this piece from Vox. The site’s focus on aggregating news in point form, and in as factual a way as possible, works particularly well for events like this one.

Forget about Satoshi Nakamoto — this is the guy who built Bitcoin: Maybe you remember the frenzy that Newsweek created when it claimed to have found Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. That died down after he denied having anything to do with it, but Bitcoin continues to grow, and this story looks at the guy who has built it into a phenomenon: programmer Gavin Andresen

What impact do algorithms have on what we know about news events? Sociologist and social-media expert Zeynep Tufekci of the University of North Carolina looks at what happens when our knowledge of news events like the turmoil in Ferguson is filtered through the algorithms of networks and platforms like Facebook. Will it affect how we as citizens perceive our society and our role in it?

The US military is using teenaged gamers to test next-generation software: The title says it all — the Defense Department’s research lab, DARPA (which helped fund the research that created the internet) is working on the advanced adaptive-learning software it wants to build for the soldiers of the future by testing it on the most adaptable subjects it could find: teenaged video-game players.

A 1,284-slide presentation on how to win at life, from a 30-year-old entrepreneur: Life advice from a 30-year-old might seem a little self-aggrandizing to some, but Ryan Allis did sell his company iContact for $170 Million, so maybe his 1,284-slide presentation on Winning at Life is worth a look. If nothing else, you have to admire the chutzpah — and actually, some of the advice is not bad.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user ThomasLife

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