PC World: Hackers stole my personal info from Twitter. Twitter didn’t tell me. “Well, 2023 is off to a rousing start. This morning I learned that my personal information was pilfered as part of the recent Twitter data breach that leaked the email addresses, phone numbers, and other identifying data of over 200 million users. That sucks, but here’s what really sucks: Twitter didn’t tell me about it. So far, the Elon Musk-led social media company hasn’t actively notified users (or at least me) of the worrying situation.”
Slate: Why I Use Snap and TikTok Instead of Google. “To be clear: I use Google products regularly. But I use them for only the most straightforward tasks: checking the spelling of something, looking for a quick fact, finding directions. If I’m looking for a place for lunch, or a cool new pop-up, or an activity my friends would enjoy, I’m not going to bother with Google.”
The Conversation: Ending online anonymity won’t make social media less toxic. “Online bullying and misinformation are growing problems, and government action to address them is overdue. However, limiting anonymity alone won’t make social media less toxic. It will only work combined with broader reforms to platform design and business models, which drive polarisation, negativity, abuse and misinformation. Reforms must also protect free speech and account for power imbalances between citizens and the state.”
The Atlantic: The Pandemic Is Ending With a Whimper. “The Biden administration has yet to come out and say that the emergency is ending. To even contemplate it seems disrespectful to the nearly 800,000 dead. The Delta variant and vaccine resistance scuttled President Joe Biden’s hopes of declaring a ‘summer of joy’ this past Fourth of July. Yet even though the threat still exists, the country needs to be nudged into the recovery phase—and only elected leaders can provide that nudge.”
New York Times: Help! I’m Stuck in a Knowledge Bubble and I Need to Get Out.. “I write this newsletter for The New York Times, which means that I write this for you, the subscribers. Those of you who are reading this probably know a lot about American politics, and are steeped in a particular East Coast-centric culture. I’m going to assume that some of you might know less about, say, the inner workings of a call-in radio show that focuses on college football teams in the Southeast. Knowledge bubbles become problematic and even dangerous when we pretend as if they don’t exist or don’t matter. Because what we don’t know — about the lives of our neighbors and fellow citizens and why they think the way they do — is almost as important as what we do know.” One thing ResearchBuzz is good for, over and over, all day every day, is teaching me that I don’t know anything.
The Guardian: ICU is full of the unvaccinated – my patience with them is wearing thin. “Enshrined in the way we protect patients’ autonomy is the recognition that others may reasonably make decisions we may see as irrational or wrong. We are all products of our upbringing, education and opportunities, and I have been hugely fortunate that in my case these have led me to make decisions I value. Who is to say I wouldn’t have made different choices in someone else’s shoes. Translating this to the choice not to take the vaccine, however, I find my patience wearing thin. I think this is for a number of reasons. Even if you are not worried about your own risk from Covid, you cannot know the risk of the people into whose faces you may cough; there is a dangerous and selfish element to this that I find hard to stomach.”
Slate: Google Needs to Defund Misinformation. “This content moderation problem is not unique to Facebook; it plagues all the large social media platforms. However, at least with misinformation, the recent focus on content moderation is distracting us from something important: In addition to detecting misinformation on social media, A.I. can be a tool for defunding misinformation so it doesn’t spread on social media in the first place. But it’s not being used for this second purpose nearly as effectively as it could be.”
NBC News: Don’t let Trump or Jan. 6 distract from Covid accountability efforts. “As I have noted before, America has a habit of ‘moving on’ from its mistakes and failures. The folly of the Iraq War, for example, never received the kind of comprehensive U.S. public inquiry as the British Chilcot Report. And with each passing month, the likelihood of anyone in power being held accountable for the cavalier profiteering and science denialism that marked the Trump regime’s handling of the pandemic — and the resultant and ongoing Republican Party slide into vaccine hesitancy, misinformation monetization and science rejection — seems to grow dimmer.”
Michigan Daily: It’s time for Facebook to end. “It’s no coincidence that the best film from the 2010s was — according to Quentin Tarantino and myself — David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network.’ At the time, the movie’s depiction of the protagonist, Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg), seemed a bit over-the-top. Today it feels like they held back. The inherent evils of Zuckerberg’s monstrosity have been evident for years; a solution cannot be delayed any longer. “
Washington Post: Opinion: The pandemic is not done yet . “Plenty of smart people are putting forward the narrative that the pandemic is essentially over. This is understandable; after all, it’s hard to blame anyone for feeling fatigued after 20 months of the same health crisis. But the sentiment is misguided. There’s much more reason to suspect the pandemic is not done yet. Even after the recent decline in cases, Americans are dying from covid-19 at the pace of 440,000 a year. Deaths from the opioid epidemic, by contrast, reached almost 70,000 last year. Covid-19 is still here and spreading fast.”
New York Times: We Need to Talk About an Off-Ramp for Masking at School. “Because the masking issue has been so divisive, I fear we haven’t been able to have a practical, nuanced and data-driven conversation about what a good masking policy would look like now that nearly all school-age kids can soon be vaccinated.”
Michigan Daily: The Summer of Farming Simulations. “Farming sims are games in which the player typically grows and harvests crops, raises animals, and decorates their farm. There is also a large social component to most games in the genre, often involving both friendship and romance through a system of talking with the various townsfolk, giving them gifts and leveling up your relationship. These bonds and activities are not just vital to the experience of each game but have also helped me grow in unexpected ways in real life.” Sometimes you just want to fire up Stardew Valley and go fishing for a few hours.
San Antonio Express-News: Ayala: Mexican American Civil Rights Institute deserves continued local government support. “The Mexican American Civil Rights Institute has driven home one idea in its short history: San Antonio is to Mexican American civil rights history what Atlanta is to Black civil rights history. While the latter is roundly recognized, San Antonio’s role as an activism mecca has not.”
Daily Beast: How I Know Facebook Can’t Fix the Problems It Profits From. “One would think this urgent global crisis would inspire Facebook, which now has over 2 billion users, global influence, and ownership of Instagram and Whatsapp, to use its immense financial and human resources to proactively and aggressively remove anti-vaccination disinformation and bad faith actors. If you believe this, you also probably think billionaires might spend their obscene wealth during these calamitous times on raising workers’ wages, fighting hunger and investing in infrastructure. Instead, they are locked in a race to escape Earth altogether. And, based on my own experience working with Facebook, I would bet heavily against them ever doing the right thing.”
Mashable: Book clubs should always meet on Zoom. “I read a lot, and I love the low pressure engagement of a virtual book club. I was bad at attending book clubs in real life before the pandemic, because my book club friends and I all have very busy schedules, so finding a time for us all to meet up was difficult. Scheduling online hangouts is easier because you can do them from anywhere — at your family’s house, with your partner, or even from your own bed. Now that the meetups are returning to apartments and bars, scheduling is once again more difficult and, honestly, I don’t want to participate in them anymore.”