The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America


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Have you wondered what life would be like for a Facebook or YouTube moderator?

It’s a place where, in stark contrast to the perks lavished on Facebook employees, team leaders micromanage content moderators’ every bathroom and prayer break; where employees, desperate for a dopamine rush amid the misery, have been found having sex inside stairwells and a room reserved for lactating mothers; where people develop severe anxiety while still in training, and continue to struggle with trauma symptoms long after they leave; and where the counseling that Cognizant offers them ends the moment they quit — or are simply let go.

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Casey Newton — The Verge

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In Praise of Urinal Lit


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What qualifies as urinal lit? Well, technically it’s anything that someone is brave enough to scribble on a bathroom wall. I’ll admit, most of these scribbles are nonsense, as alcohol fuels a tremendous amount of urinal lit (though the same could be said, I suppose, for lit lit). Urinal lit often has a sense of urgency, as well as a clarity typically reserved for a form like haiku. The best urinal lit uses an economy of language that makes Raymond Carver seem positively prolix. The urgency of urinal lit comes from the necessary brevity of scrawling a message in a public place without being seen. Given the amount of graffiti in bar bathrooms, I’m amazed I’ve never actually caught anyone in the act.

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Alex Tzelnic — The Millions

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The Tragedy Of Sanskrit: What Can Be Done To Democratise It Among People


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Sanskrit is a beautiful language, but it needs to be rejuvenated.

As a country producing a large number of computer graduates, combining the growth of natural language processing automation with the computational linguistics of Sanskrit would be a great way to contemporise the essence of this language. Although it must be pointed out that there are institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University investing in areas like computational Sanskrit, yet there is still a huge space to mainstream it for a larger section of students. The only silver lining through this, is the growing tribe of self-taught and passionate enquirers of Sanskrit who are discovering and researching despite the horrendous way in which Sanskrit was/is being taught in schools.

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Dr Nagendra Sethumadhavrao — Swarajya

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Understanding the Origins of the Pulwama Attack Inside Pakistan


Views from Pakistan.

If one is to go with what Pakistan’s foreign minister said recently then clearly there are elements in Pakistan that are acting on their own and are not in the state’s control. It’s undeniable that JeM leadership is based in Pakistan’s Punjab province and the Pulwama suicide bombing was claimed by the group. While JeM remains a banned group in Pakistan, the group’s leadership is not necessarily isolated in Pakistan when it comes to the outfits movement and networking in the country. While Islamabad has officially condemned the attack on Indian forces, New Delhi clearly blames Pakistan for the attack. If Pakistan’s government and military leadership are serious about improving ties with India, then some sort of action against the leadership of the JeM has to take place in Pakistan.

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Umair Jamal — The Diplomat

How Do You Know a Nuclear Weapon Works If You Can’t Test It?


In the end, I keep coming back to the question of how you know a weapon works if you cannot test it. (Or, for that matter, how testing ever established reliability since it destroyed the object whose reliability it demonstrated.) Who am I to question the judgment of the physicists who have spent decades honing their expert knowledge of this arcane field? Still, I keep thinking of a conversation I had in 1995 with a senior weapons designer, now retired, who told me that an inexperienced designer with a code is like a drunk driver, wrongly convinced of their excellent judgment. And I cannot help but notice a 2012 Department of Energy report complaining that National Ignition Facility shots were not producing the energy levels predicted by simulation codes. Nor, in 2015, has the National Ignition Facility met its former director’s prediction of reaching ignition—getting more energy out than was put in—by late 2012.

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Hugh Gusterson — Institute for Advanced Studies

How Silicon Valley Made Work More Stressful


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Lyons: This is a very cynical take, but all of that superficial stuff was really this bright, shiny object that they dangled in front of employees, while on the side they were sweeping away a lot of the more fundamental stuff like job security, the chance to get promotions, the chance to develop your career inside an organization at the very lowest level, to have health benefits. It’s amazing how many people in their 20s I talked to who said the one thing they really want and they’ve never had is a job with health insurance.

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Knowledge@Wharton

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How the tobacco industry targets young people with social media influencers


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The tobacco industry never backs down.

Social media detective work started to reveal a few consistent themes. Whenever Marlboro branding appeared in the frames of otherwise innocuous pictures, the hashtag #IDecideTo would too, slotted in at the bottom of the post. Similarly, any picture prominently featuring Lucky Strike would be equipped with #LikeUs_Party. They also appeared to be region-specific, with the most common hashtags in, for example, Brazil –  #AheadBR, #Quemtepira, #TasteTheCity and #Readytoroll – used by British American Tobacco to advertise Kent, Dunhill, and Lucky Strike.

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Francisco Garcia — Dazed

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