Skip to navigationSkip to content
Chloe Cushman

Good evening.

African broadband

World's longest flight

The world's longest flight has landed. The 19-and-a-half-hour ride took passengers, including one exhausted Bloomberg reporter, 10,100 miles (16,200 kilometers) from New York to Sydney.

I Just Took the World's First 20-Hour Flight. Here's What It Did to Me

Longest flight I’ve ever done was Hong Kong to NYC on Cathay. Great airline with wonderful staff in my limited experience. After 10 hours a certain “we’re all in this together” camaraderie developed. I’d jump at a 20 hr flight.

It's an interesting idea but ultimately, I think it may take a toll on people.. People don't have patience and I did a 15 hr non stop flight and even that was brutal. I think Qantas needs to test a flight like this out with regular people to see if this is doable.

Sign. Me. Up!

Although this flight--with all its media and research fanfare--isn't that far off the longest flight currently in operation. It's only 40 minutes longer than the 19-hour ones today.

As the article says, it requires an immense amount of discipline to do this kind of a flight well. May not suit older travellers or young families. I’m also thinking of a recent news article about the potential reintroduction of Concorde-speed flights between London and New York. Taking that speed to

As the article says, it requires an immense amount of discipline to do this kind of a flight well. May not suit older travellers or young families. I’m also thinking of a recent news article about the potential reintroduction of Concorde-speed flights between London and New York. Taking that speed to reduce the length of New York to Sydney is a different project altogether I guess.

At the president's houses

Donald Trump decided not to host the G7 summit at his hotel. The president blamed his reversal on "Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility," but ethics experts say his decision not to award himself a major contract is "a bow to reality."

“A bow to reality”: Trump reverses decision to host G7 at his own resort

Having lived in South Florida, I can attest that it's not the best place to go in June. That is the start of the angry season in the region, when the sun gets so hot it makes you mad just to walk outside. So Trump's claims that his Miami resort would made a great place for the G7 summit of world economic

Having lived in South Florida, I can attest that it's not the best place to go in June. That is the start of the angry season in the region, when the sun gets so hot it makes you mad just to walk outside. So Trump's claims that his Miami resort would made a great place for the G7 summit of world economic leaders is totally unsupportable, even putting aside the critical issue of presidential self-dealing. And it seems that even Trump must bow to reality sometimes, which is why he is nixing the decision to offer his resort as the locale for the summit. The world's leaders will no doubt be pleased not to have to travel to the heat just to appease this US president.

The best respite from politics is at the White House. On tours of the executive residence, talk of trees and turnips trumps talk of impeachment.

The best respite from politics is at the White House

It was dark and cold when I set out by bike for the White House yesterday hoping to secure a spot in the garden tour. By 7 AM there was a line. By 7:20 it was wrapping around Constitutional Avenue. But after a long, chilly wait, the sun rose and the secret service let garden tourists in and it was surprisingly

It was dark and cold when I set out by bike for the White House yesterday hoping to secure a spot in the garden tour. By 7 AM there was a line. By 7:20 it was wrapping around Constitutional Avenue. But after a long, chilly wait, the sun rose and the secret service let garden tourists in and it was surprisingly fun being allowed to wander the grounds of the White House with other commoners. Honestly, I was impressed with how pleasant the event was—even Melania Trump's brochure was mild and polite and showed none of the usual Trump bluster, just sweet talk of trees and government.

One small step

Two women walked in space. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir stepped outside the International Space Station for a historic spacewalk that doubles as a metaphor for what it's like to be a woman full of ambition in 2019.

The metaphorical power of NASA’s first all-women spacewalk

Today was the first-ever all-women spacewalk, this moment is historic and will inspire so many girls to come. But getting here to this moment is a reminder of women trying to succeed in a world made for men

A moment to celebrate for all women. Lets make the spacesuit fit for many more women to come. Lets break down the bias so that this story - while spectacular, can become the norm and our children will see no boundaries nor be marginalized in the future simply for being female.

The astronauts fact checked Trump from outer space. After the president incorrectly said it was "the first time for a woman outside of the space station," Koch and Meir reminded him that 15 other women have performed spacewalks since 1984.

Female astronauts schooled Trump from outer space

What's the big deal about the US president getting one word wrong on a phone call to female astronauts in outer space? Well, a lot.

Trump's failure to distinguish between the first all-female spacewalk and just any old female spacewalk meant he ignored decades of work in space by women who came before

What's the big deal about the US president getting one word wrong on a phone call to female astronauts in outer space? Well, a lot.

Trump's failure to distinguish between the first all-female spacewalk and just any old female spacewalk meant he ignored decades of work in space by women who came before NASA's first spacewalk involving only female astronauts, which happened this week. It's not a minor detail. The difference is between knowing history and being ignorant. This is just one more sign that Trump's not sufficiently nuanced or informed for the job he has.

Chinese censorship goes global

Chinese censorship is no longer just a China problem. The broad strokes of censorship in China are common knowledge. But over the past week or two, the world began to wake up to the fact that China’s censorship machine is now a global phenomenon. ✦

Chinese censorship is no longer just a China problem

It’s fascinating to see: the statement that something doesn’t fall in the scope of free speech because “it hurts the feelings” of people is an appeal to ethical concepts coming from a country that a while back proclaimed there are no such things as natural rights...

In the overt, China complains about

It’s fascinating to see: the statement that something doesn’t fall in the scope of free speech because “it hurts the feelings” of people is an appeal to ethical concepts coming from a country that a while back proclaimed there are no such things as natural rights...

In the overt, China complains about free speech hurting feelings, in the covert it manipulates social media in the west with disinformation.

Western companies need to decide how much to give up in ethics and basic rights in order to gain access to a market.

Outsiders' self-censorship follows a familiar pattern. When a Westerner runs afoul of Chinese nationalist ideology, they tend to follow the crude strategy of "apologize, play dumb, shut up."

The world needs to stop self-censoring about Hong Kong

Personally I disagree with cultural relativism. Not everything begs our understanding, like restricting freedom of thought, opinion, dress or the right to vote or assemble peacefully. There is a such thing as universally wrong. How does one judge the difference? I don’t have all the answers but usually

Personally I disagree with cultural relativism. Not everything begs our understanding, like restricting freedom of thought, opinion, dress or the right to vote or assemble peacefully. There is a such thing as universally wrong. How does one judge the difference? I don’t have all the answers but usually the right thing doesn’t produce more harm than good.

Making a media empire

Brexit's super Saturday

New uses for social media

Pinterest is the only place on the internet where people want ads. Once a simple place to find inspiration for DIY projects, the platform has become a power tool for online shopping.

How Pinterest became the only place on the internet where people want ads

I’m surprised Pinterest isn’t valued a lot higher because of this. I mean, A LOT higher. Basically, by making the tie-in to ads and purchases all organic to the experience of using the site, they achieve the holy grail of e-commerce, and they could monetize their position both ways, plus enjoy the fact

I’m surprised Pinterest isn’t valued a lot higher because of this. I mean, A LOT higher. Basically, by making the tie-in to ads and purchases all organic to the experience of using the site, they achieve the holy grail of e-commerce, and they could monetize their position both ways, plus enjoy the fact that their user base effectively creates their content, provides quite possibly the most detailed consumer profile possible, and evangelizes it all to their social circle, as well as cultivating broader-based followers across the internet. Plus, it’s easy to get sucked into spending time on Pinterest, and somehow that time spent feels enriching and fun. I don’t think I’d ever describe having to browse and use Amazon’s horrible search as “fun” or enriching, and same for Google Shopping or any other e-tailer.

The case of Pinterest proves the marketing theory of search. If you present a willing consumer with choices or alternatives for products they are looking for, they are likely to search from those alternatives. Else ads are just a nuisance

Indians are learning English through TikTok. China's viral video-sharing app just launched an educational initiative in India.

Indians are learning English through TikTok

It seems like ByteDance is trying to use the massive popularity of TikTok for something other than just being really fun.

Indians are using a Chinese app to teach one another English. Although it's an innovative use of social media, I'm a bit skeptical about TikTok's ability to revamp its image. The app's parent company, ByteDance, is based in Beijing. The specter of Chinese influence looms large.

This looks to me like an exercise to clean up its act in India. TikTok has had a rough run in this part of the world with linkages to fatal accidents and pornography. It's also faced legal suits and government warnings. So trying to promote and build an image of being more useful in helping common people

This looks to me like an exercise to clean up its act in India. TikTok has had a rough run in this part of the world with linkages to fatal accidents and pornography. It's also faced legal suits and government warnings. So trying to promote and build an image of being more useful in helping common people works in its favour. For the next court case, TikTok will at least have something positive to show for why it should be allowed to stay in the country.

TikTok is definitely the app of the moment in the non-Western world. Agree that they’ve had a lot of negative press, but I wouldn’t underestimate the potential of EduTok to change people’s lives. People aren’t going to get degrees because of it, but it might pique some people’s interests (especially

TikTok is definitely the app of the moment in the non-Western world. Agree that they’ve had a lot of negative press, but I wouldn’t underestimate the potential of EduTok to change people’s lives. People aren’t going to get degrees because of it, but it might pique some people’s interests (especially youth) to the point they’re motivated to learn English in more detailed ways, to the point that it can change their lives. Why restrict it to English though - there’s opportunity to learn the various other dialects of India’s own hundreds of languages or even other countries’ languages, even if the aspirational quality of English positions it higher than other candidates.

The future of cars

The world’s downtowns are giving up on personal cars. In recent years, cities have begun to banish cars from specific streets or entire districts.

The world’s downtowns are slowly giving up on personal cars

I live in Los Angeles and were considering things like this as well except our public transit is terrible compared to other places. As long as the infrastructure can support having no cars, great!

It was a shame that the urban streetcar lines were all ripped out because of GM and Big Oil. Yet another stupid, awful and selfish mistake made by capitalism. Who would have thought? A system based on selfishness, greed and power is responsible for screwing over pretty much everyone in short-sighted

It was a shame that the urban streetcar lines were all ripped out because of GM and Big Oil. Yet another stupid, awful and selfish mistake made by capitalism. Who would have thought? A system based on selfishness, greed and power is responsible for screwing over pretty much everyone in short-sighted grab for profits... and we’re just supposed to accept this garbage?

Let’s start laying down a new urban streetcar system on these car-free streets - and expand from Market. I’ve always thought that Fillmore street would make a great no-car bus rapid transit line north/south. It’s only one lane in each direction for most of it, and the cars currently delay the busses, which delay the cars, and it all just slows to a crawl. Get rid of the car traffic and prioritize the signals at cross streets for busses (or ideally, a streetcar líne) and you could actually get from Market Street to the Fillmore, Pacific Heights, and the Marina much faster. Unlike the other North/South streets that parallel to each side, which are either arterials for cars or more residential with stop signs every block, Fillmore is slightly commercial but low-ish capacity and underutilized. But really, what SF needs is a lot more subways! Transit trying to compete with car congestion sucks.

Banning cars from the downtown is good for our lungs, our waist lines and our ears. Less air and noise pollution could attract people back to the downtown and result in much needed rejuvenation of beautiful older architecture. Walking in green spaces would allow exercise that is accessible to all and

Banning cars from the downtown is good for our lungs, our waist lines and our ears. Less air and noise pollution could attract people back to the downtown and result in much needed rejuvenation of beautiful older architecture. Walking in green spaces would allow exercise that is accessible to all and may even reconstitute a sense of community as people interact more. The key is access for service and delivery vehicles and easy alternative transport for longer distance travel like trains tramways buses and shared taxis.

Just think of the weight and power spent to transport a single person in a car - that is way too much of a waste and not sustainable - solutions must come from every end.

India's wealth gap

The future of gaming

Call of Duty turns down the loot. Players of the latest edition of the military-themed first-person shooter will no longer be able to pay for a chance of getting better at the game. Ridding loot boxes is a big step for the company, which generated $4.2 billion in revenue last year.

Call of Duty won’t be the last high-profile game to get rid of loot boxes

As an avid gamer I am extremely happy about this! This returns the game to a more skill-based system rather than a “pay to win” model. If you want pay to win, play mobile games or Fortnight and try not to get eliminated by some 8 year old who stole his moms credit card to buy better weapons.

This is great, loot boxes are kind of like gambling with the RNG (random number generator) element. Yes it makes money but nowhere near Season Battle Passes that Fortnite uses (Epic made ~$3B in profit in 2018 from it just one company not the while industry).

So good riddance to loot boxes, Battle Passes

This is great, loot boxes are kind of like gambling with the RNG (random number generator) element. Yes it makes money but nowhere near Season Battle Passes that Fortnite uses (Epic made ~$3B in profit in 2018 from it just one company not the while industry).

So good riddance to loot boxes, Battle Passes are more aligned with player engagement b/c you buy the pass and in order to maximize all its benefits you have to play more, play with friends, complete challenges, etc. to unlock things. Brilliant from a user engagement standpoint vs dumb chance loot boxes.

Come back soon!

Close
Should Parents Pledge as a Group to Delay Giving Smartphones to Their Children?

Should Parents Pledge as a Group to Delay Giving Smartphones to Their Children?

Read more on The Wall Street Journal

From Our Members

  • The touch generation forgets to write, spell, search in books and memorize through listening. Several parents I know face serious problems of aggressive reactions from their children at the moment they take back cell phones, iPad and tablets from them.

  • Our daughter got her Apple ID the day she was born alongside an iPod touch. This might seem to represent the radical opposite of those pledges, but take a minute to let me explain why:

    Of course she didn’t use it from day one, but we did. We put bedtime music on it (she loved Sofia Karlberg & Dire Straits

    Our daughter got her Apple ID the day she was born alongside an iPod touch. This might seem to represent the radical opposite of those pledges, but take a minute to let me explain why:

    Of course she didn’t use it from day one, but we did. We put bedtime music on it (she loved Sofia Karlberg & Dire Straits, so it wasn’t as bad as we thought) and used it as a baby monitor. While friends had to carry around a rather large plastic device that wasn’t fully charged on a regular basis and had interferences with neighborhood landline phones, ours vibrated gently in our pockets and allowed us to remotely check how the new babysitter handled the situation while we were gone.

    Later on, more and more functions came in handy. At a very young age our daughter started taking photos. The first one on record was taken by her when she was 15 months old. And of course I wouldn’t want to give her my new iPhone, so once again that iPod was the weapon of choice. When we went on holiday that same month I bought a thick silicone case and let her experiment on a regular basis. After photo shoots she discovered all her favorite songs and fairytales were hidden in the music app. And started making FaceTime calls to her godmother and grandparents.

    While friends carried around CDs & a CD player, baby monitors, toy cameras (that produced shitty pictures) and so on, she started recording her first videos, told Siri to turn off the lights and used the calculator as a toy register to play cashier on holiday.

    Last month she turned four years old, she writes her first text messages with the dictation feature, then identifies the letters to see if it’s right. Did it make her dependent on that phone? Not at all. Sometimes she forgets about it for a week until she rediscovers it’s there. It’s like regular toy. It’s a bigger drama when her stuffed animal is nowhere to be found.

    Meanwhile we monitor the use through screentime or simply use it together (every photographer needs a model). She even sets her own timer to 30 minutes when she starts using it and puts back to charge when it rings - or asks if she can put on Aristocats via Airplay in her room after that.

    Her skills are far beyond some adults I know and so is her sense of responsibility while using it. What if we made her wait until she was 8? By then, the smartphone would have made Number One on all her wishlists for birthday & Christmas each year without even knowing what to do with it or how to handle it.

    I’d rather have her tell her friends who just got a smartphone: „So what? I have had one all my life. Now let’s go out and play...“

  • Indeed! It is a chronic problem with youth today, starting with pre-school children who are hooked to the screen and don’t learn how to socialize properly.

  • If parents need to have groupthink in order to deal with the angst of not caving into their children's wishes, or demands, that is only setting an example of what they are as a parent. Children should be taught and nurtured in ways that they do not need to be dependent upon smartphones, and especially

    If parents need to have groupthink in order to deal with the angst of not caving into their children's wishes, or demands, that is only setting an example of what they are as a parent. Children should be taught and nurtured in ways that they do not need to be dependent upon smartphones, and especially not games that are designed to be addictive. This is no different than the opioid epidemic, addiction is a problem that must be addressed and children need to be taught.

  • Embrace technology. It’s the future, and our kids will run everything from it. You can still teach core values and skills in conjunction with mobile tech... just like how our parents managed the TV with us, screen time can be limited.

  • Parents need to be parents. Part of parenting is making decisions for the safety of your children. Being a parent means many times disagreeing with your child’s wants. This is not liked by the child and retaliation occurs. My children would say”but all the other parents allow it.” My response “I am Your

    Parents need to be parents. Part of parenting is making decisions for the safety of your children. Being a parent means many times disagreeing with your child’s wants. This is not liked by the child and retaliation occurs. My children would say”but all the other parents allow it.” My response “I am Your parent and I don’t care what the other parents do.” They would of course be mad at me but they knew I believed in the parameters of their behavior. Being an enforcer of rules is not always popular.

  • From my experience banning phones would increase their desire to have one let alone use it without our knowledge through frds etc. We have to manage thier use without putting too much emphasis on not having one. We let them use it for Khan academy and other stuff intentionally ignoring tablets and laptops

    From my experience banning phones would increase their desire to have one let alone use it without our knowledge through frds etc. We have to manage thier use without putting too much emphasis on not having one. We let them use it for Khan academy and other stuff intentionally ignoring tablets and laptops in order to remove the association of fun and phones. It's also important that we as parents become responsible users of phones and begin good habits such as putting our phones outside our sitting rooms to give more attention to our kids and partners, to mix activities no matter how mondain such as as a stroll in the park. There is no argument here that social media and 12 year olds don't usually go hand in hand thier brains are not developed enough but so does ours so in short we have to become responsible before we ask our kids to do so.

  • Absolutely not. I couldn’t give a damn about what other people are doing with their brats. And if anybody told me what to do with mine I’d give the little buggers a smartphone right away - perhaps two just to annoy everyone else.

  • Absolutely not necessary to give a smartphone to a kid with the exception of serious health conditions.

  • Screw 8th grade. They shouldn't be able to have one until they can afford it. There are tablets and smartwatches for communication and learning. And it also teaches them how expensive these bloody things are.

  • Having grown up in the 90’s, I occasionally wonder what my childhood would have been like with access to MLB.tv, Netflix, blindingly fast internet access, social media, and an iPhone.

    When you recognize how addictive Sonic 2 was, I think there is a better than average chance my brain, as well as many

    Having grown up in the 90’s, I occasionally wonder what my childhood would have been like with access to MLB.tv, Netflix, blindingly fast internet access, social media, and an iPhone.

    When you recognize how addictive Sonic 2 was, I think there is a better than average chance my brain, as well as many other brains of my generation, would have most certainly melted into the carpet.

    Holding off seems like a prudent move, but it’s a limited proposition. It can only last so long, and you cannot expect cooperation from everyone your child encounters.

  • I’m not a parent, so I’m speaking one-sides here. But as a general human I think there should absolutely be rules (enforced ultimately by the individual parents) on children’s device use. Physical and mental well being is put into play here, will there be times when devices are helpful, educational

    I’m not a parent, so I’m speaking one-sides here. But as a general human I think there should absolutely be rules (enforced ultimately by the individual parents) on children’s device use. Physical and mental well being is put into play here, will there be times when devices are helpful, educational, or just plain necessary? Absolutely, but they don’t need personal devices until they are at least old enough to understand a little bit more about safety, privacy, and boundaries.

    The pledge but seems a little cultish or on the lines of purity pledges to me, but as a parent, I know you have to try everything sometimes to find the ‘right’ balance.

  • If Tim Cook and the Apple team limit their families' screen time, probably a good idea for the rest of us! 2019 is the year we make disconnecting cool - #unplug&recharge challenge 2019 who's with me?

  • Deprivation is rarely a successful strategy decision. Especially as a parent. Nothing is that simple.

  • This is really disturbing. "Research by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has shown that teen girls’ high levels of smartphone and social-media use are amplifying their surging rates of depression and suicide-related behaviors. Since there is a contagion effect for

    This is really disturbing. "Research by Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has shown that teen girls’ high levels of smartphone and social-media use are amplifying their surging rates of depression and suicide-related behaviors. Since there is a contagion effect for suicide-related behaviors, including self cutting, access to smartphones increases the risk of suicide-related behaviors in the entire youth community—including for children who don’t have smartphones."

  • My boys are 11 and 13, I don't plan to give them a smartphone until they at are least 17, if they can show discipline and restrain.

  • This kind of collective restraint only works if every single one of community members follows the same rule; if there is just one family that disobeys and lets its kid to bring a smartphone to school, other kids will be infatuated with the devise and turn themselves against their parents, just as water

    This kind of collective restraint only works if every single one of community members follows the same rule; if there is just one family that disobeys and lets its kid to bring a smartphone to school, other kids will be infatuated with the devise and turn themselves against their parents, just as water fully leaks out of a bucket from a tiny hole.

    Or do they put a collective, compelling pressure on opposing families to accept this self-righteous pledge?

  • Parents should pledge to learn how to use the Parental Controls on platforms/technology and monitor their kids instead of just handing them something

  • Weren’t 90s kids told something similar when it came to TV and video games?

  • I think that it’ not just problem about smartphone. The really thing is how they can use it.