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Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013

Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013
The buses roll up to San Francisco’s bus stops in the morning and evening, but they are unmarked, or nearly so, and not for the public. They have no signs or have discreet acronyms on the front windshield, and because they also have no rear doors they ingest and disgorge their passengers slowly, while the brightly lit funky orange public buses wait behind them. The luxury coach passengers ride for free and many take out their laptops and begin their work day on board; there is of course wifi. Most of them are gleaming white, with dark-tinted windows, like limousines, and some days I think of them as the spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed to rule over us. Other days I think of them as the company buses by which the coal miners get deposited at the minehead, and the work schedule involved would make a pit owner feel at home. Another friend of mine told me a story about the Apple bus from when he worked for Apple Inc. The Google Bus means so many things.

Related:  Irony, Postmodernism, and Our Current Agetbf_summer_2013

Public Influence: The Immortalization of an Anonymous Death - - News Cover design by Andrew J. Nilsen. Turn on the computer. Open Twitter. Why You Never Finish Your To-Do Lists at Work (And How to Change That) LinkedIn released a survey last year revealing that our professional to-do lists are in dire need of a makeover. Turns out, we’re not so good at “doing” the things we tell ourselves we need to do. In fact, almost 90% of professionals admitted they’re unable to accomplish all the tasks on their to-do list by the end of an average workday. So if you're sick of tackling the same stale to-dos every day, it’s time to change that.

behavior online follow us omnivore Behavior online Aug 2 2013 3:00PM Ira P. Blue Bottle VC funding: Not just for the coffee? Stephen Davidson (left) uses tech darling Square to take customer orders at Blue Bottle in San Francisco. (Liz Halifa/Chronicle) So what’s going on with Blue Bottle Coffee? As Re/Code reports the darling coffee shop of hipsters and techies announced a $25.75 million investment from a handful of big tech names today. Add in another $20 million from Google Ventures, Index Ventures, True Ventures, Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams and skate-boarding legend Tony Hawk back in 2012, and we are talking about a lot of cash for a string of urban coffee shops.

Gentrification’s insidious violence: The truth about American cities A few years back, when I was still a paramedic, we picked up a white guy who had been pistol whipped during a home invasion in Williamsburg. “I can’t believe this happened to me,” he moaned, applying the ice pack I’d given him to a small laceration on his temple. “It’s like a movie!” Indeed. While film narratives of white folks in low-income neighborhoods tend to focus on how endangered they are by a gangland black or brown menace, this patient was singular in that he was literally the only victim of black on white violence I encountered in my entire 10-year career as a medic. Our Age of Anxiety By Elaine Showalter Jonathan Barkat for The Chronicle Review In his controversial book American Nervousness: Its Causes and Consequences (1881), the neurologist George M. Beard proclaimed that Americans in the 19th century led all civilized nations in their susceptibility to nervous, anxious, and depressive disorders. Beard named the mixture of negative emotions "neurasthenia" and attributed it to five developments in "modern civilization"—steam power, the periodical press, the telegraph, the sciences, and the mental activity of women.

Unmanned Flight: The Drones Come Home At the edge of a stubbly, dried-out alfalfa field outside Grand Junction, Colorado, Deputy Sheriff Derek Johnson, a stocky young man with a buzz cut, squints at a speck crawling across the brilliant, hazy sky. It’s not a vulture or crow but a Falcon—a new brand of unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, and Johnson is flying it. The sheriff ’s office here in Mesa County, a plateau of farms and ranches corralled by bone-hued mountains, is weighing the Falcon’s potential for spotting lost hikers and criminals on the lam. A laptop on a table in front of Johnson shows the drone’s flickering images of a nearby highway. Standing behind Johnson, watching him watch the Falcon, is its designer, Chris Miser.

Ratchet: The Rap Insult That Became a Compliment Last December, when Beyoncé posted a picture on Instagram wearing doorknocker earrings inscribed with the word ratchet, the Internet exploded with speculation: It would be the title of a new single; she and Lady Gaga were collaborating again; she was shaking up her image; it was the name of her next album. Fueling the fires were comments Azealia Banks made to MTV Brazil that she and Lady Gaga were working on a song called “Ratchet.” Because Lady Gaga had posted a picture with earrings similar to those in the Beyoncé photograph in September, it was thought that the two megastars, and perhaps Banks, too, could be working on a follow-up to their hit single “Telephone.” Eventually, Beyoncé’s representative told the Cut: “There is no confirmation on any song titles.” One of Beyoncé’s skills is trend-spotting, and indeed ratchet has been all over popular culture in the past year. Ratchet can be traced back to the neighborhood of Cedar Grove in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Why Data God Jeffrey Hammerbacher Left Facebook To Found Cloudera It's almost mythic: Archetypical data scientist Jeffrey Hammerbacher is sitting across the table from archetypical journalist Charlie Rose in the infinite blackness of the television interview. Rose repeats to Hammerbacher--who's a founder of data analytics company Cloudera--a line from an interview he gave Businessweek back when he was an early employee hustling stats for Harvard bud Zuckerberg at Facebook: "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads." And Rose, in his politeness, left off the last part of the line: "That sucks."

Gentrification report proposes bold solutions to stop displacement in Oakland Last week Causa Justa::Just Cause (CJJC) released a report titled Development Without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area. The 112-page document, prepared in collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Department, goes beyond describing the public health implications of gentrification to proposing steps that cities like Oakland can take to stop displacement of historic residents. Six key principles create a framework for the report’s policy recommendations:Baseline protections for vulnerable residentsProduction and preservation of affordable housingStabilization of existing communitiesNon-market based approaches to housing and community developmentDisplacement prevention as a regional priorityPlanning as a participatory process

Global Capitalism with a Human Face? « AC VOICE (Pete Suechting)— Why are charity and environmental conscientiousness so widespread, even fashionable, in today’s society? Back in the 1960’s and even earlier than that, these attitudes were anomalies, only practiced by societal outliers. Before Rachel Carson’s landmark work, Silent Spring, most Americans were unaware that humans could have an adverse and discernible impact on the environment. 67 Years Of Potato Chip Innovation, In 5 Animated GIFs : Planet Money For more, watch our video: Secrets From A Potato Chip Factory. Americans spend less on groceries than they did a few decades ago. That's partly because of new machines and technology that have made it much cheaper to produce food.

How to Manufacture Desire: An Intro to the Desire Engine Type the name of almost any successful consumer web company into your search bar and add the word “addict” after it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Try “Facebook addict” or “Twitter addict” or even “Pinterest addict” and you’ll soon get a slew of results from hooked users and observers deriding the narcotic-like properties of these web sites. How is it that these companies, producing little more than bits of code displayed on a screen, can seemingly control users’ minds? Why are these sites so addictive and what does their power mean for the future of the web? We’re on the precipice of anew era of the web.