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Chloe Cushman

Good morning.

On the president's peppers

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.

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.

India's wealth gap

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.

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 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.

Top dollar TV

Can you hear me now?

Brave towns are putting a stop to the tyranny of leaf blowers. The loudest models may have noise levels of up to 112 decibels—louder than a plane taking off, a freight train, or a live rock concert.

More and more brave towns are putting a stop to the tyranny of leaf blowers

Sorry but the back up beep beep is required by law to save lives. Doesn't stop people from walking behind them and that creates more noise.

Life outside the city has highway noise lawm mowers and snow blowers not to mention trains and jet engines. Even cottage country has outboards and snowmobiles

Sorry but the back up beep beep is required by law to save lives. Doesn't stop people from walking behind them and that creates more noise.

Life outside the city has highway noise lawm mowers and snow blowers not to mention trains and jet engines. Even cottage country has outboards and snowmobiles. Annoy your neighbors crank the volume.

Let’s not stop there. Those pesky beep BEEP BEEPS from the semi-trailer trucks and snow plows on my street have got. to. go. I’ve fantasized about painting a “where (your) kids come to cry” sign at the entrance of the alley way our bedroom sits over. I swear it’s a symphony of bad hip hop or EDM blasting

Let’s not stop there. Those pesky beep BEEP BEEPS from the semi-trailer trucks and snow plows on my street have got. to. go. I’ve fantasized about painting a “where (your) kids come to cry” sign at the entrance of the alley way our bedroom sits over. I swear it’s a symphony of bad hip hop or EDM blasting from sun roofs and open windowed sedans (you know who you are), trucks endlessly backing up (to seemingly nowhere), children mid-meltdown, sloshing drunks, recycling foragers clanking $.05 bottles, children on the verge of a meltdown, couples on the verge of a meltdown and finally, yes, leaf blowers and lawn care equipment.

I want peace but I’m wrapped in red tape. An ode to city life.

Noise pollution is one of the next major challenges to overcome, and the solutions cannot only come from technology advances. Machines, even the quietest, generate their own low-level noise that contributes to both overall pollution and the insistent, steady thrum.

Come back soon!

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Hooked on Hardware? Tech Giants Face Tough Questions Over Device Addiction

Hooked on Hardware? Tech Giants Face Tough Questions Over Device Addiction

Read more on Variety

From Our Members

  • We don’t know the long-term effects of smart-phone and social-media use. In 50 years, what will we be shocked we used to do? What will be regulated or illegal? Personally, I think we’ll all die of cellular-wave brain cancer before we find out.

    This quote is the central unknown: “You go by any playground

    We don’t know the long-term effects of smart-phone and social-media use. In 50 years, what will we be shocked we used to do? What will be regulated or illegal? Personally, I think we’ll all die of cellular-wave brain cancer before we find out.

    This quote is the central unknown: “You go by any playground at recess, and the kids are all staring at their smartphones. Is that pathology or is it just the way the world is evolving?” In the 18th century, people thought novels would rot our brains too.

    Then again: “To Dr. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, it’s very clear that overuse of digital media is linked to mental health issues and unhappiness. Her research has found that U.S. teenagers who spend three hours a day or more using electronic devices are 35% more likely to have a risk factor for suicide than those who spend less than an hour with them — while those who spend five or more hours are 71% more likely to have a suicide risk factor.”

  • The diseases of the Industrial Age were diseases of the body. The diseases of the Digital Age will be diseases of the mind. Addiction is one of them.

    Whether it our devices, food, painkillers, or alcohol, we need education and health solutions that address addiction from an early age, and equip individuals

    The diseases of the Industrial Age were diseases of the body. The diseases of the Digital Age will be diseases of the mind. Addiction is one of them.

    Whether it our devices, food, painkillers, or alcohol, we need education and health solutions that address addiction from an early age, and equip individuals with the tools they need to prevent and manage it over the course of their lives.

  • I’m thankful for having growing up before cellphones because I can see the difference and feel the addiction. It’s disastrous. Perhaps some of these treatments could be integrated into school curricula - this is a widespread issue that crosses all parts of society.

  • I feel sad for those parents. Dealing with any type of addiction with your children must be so incredibly difficult.

  • I read this on the train on the way to work instead of the book that's been crammed in my bag for a month. An hour from now I'll log back in here to see if anyone liked this comment so I can get a tiny endorphin rush. I can imagine exactly how bad I'd be if I'd had access to one of these little handheld

    I read this on the train on the way to work instead of the book that's been crammed in my bag for a month. An hour from now I'll log back in here to see if anyone liked this comment so I can get a tiny endorphin rush. I can imagine exactly how bad I'd be if I'd had access to one of these little handheld information-and-validation machines before my brain was fully formed.