Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet


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Free speech and Reddit.

Which Web sites get the most traffic? According to the ranking service Alexa, the top three sites in the United States, as of this writing, are Google, YouTube, and Facebook. (Porn, somewhat hearteningly, doesn’t crack the top ten.) The rankings don’t reflect everything—the dark Web, the nouveau-riche recluses harvesting bitcoin—but, for the most part, people online go where you’d expect them to go. The only truly surprising entry, in fourth place, is Reddit, whose astronomical popularity seems at odds with the fact that many Americans have only vaguely heard of the site and have no real understanding of what it is. A link aggregator? A microblogging platform? A social network?

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Andrew Marantz — The New Yorker

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The Shattering Double Vision of V. S. Naipaul


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One of the great writers I truly admired. R.I.P.

Nominally, Naipaul is writing about Anand Biswas. Actually, he is writing about himself—Vidia in Oxford (“in a library grown suddenly dark”), and then in London (“in securer times of different stresses”). He is writing about the young man in South London, for whom memories of Trinidad are both painful and joyful, and about how the writing of his epic is at once the baring and the healing of a wound (“when the memories had lost the power to hurt”). How coolly and classically Naipaul refers to his own great achievement: “they would fall into place and give back the rest.” Now he is gone, but his book continues to give back the rest to us, again and again.

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James Wood – The New Yorker

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The Afterlife of Pablo Escobar


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Pablo Escobar’s legend keeps growing. A lot of people are minting money on Escobar’s posthumous celebrity status.

These days, Roberto Escobar, having served fourteen years in prison, earns money by leading tourists around one of his family’s former safe houses. The house, a bungalow of white painted brick, can be reached by a gated driveway off a steep mountain road, roughly halfway between the Envigado plateau, where Pablo Escobar grew up, and the middle-class neighborhood in Medellín where he was gunned down by Colombian police, in 1993. One recent morning, a group of visitors from the United States and Europe arrived in a chauffeured van—part of a growing influx of narcoturistas, who come to see the places where Pablo Escobar lived and worked. Roberto, seventy-one, still looked like an accountant; he wore khakis, a blue short-sleeved shirt, and thick-rimmed spectacles. While he was in prison, a letter bomb delivered to his cell exploded, leaving him blind in his right eye and deaf in his right ear. His damaged eye was a milky blue, and he periodically squirted drops of medicine into it.

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Jon Lee Anderson — The New Yorker

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Hillary Clinton Looks Back in Anger


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How do you deal with the fact that you get “more votes for President than any white man” in American history and still loose?

It’s true that, throughout the campaign, Clinton was described—by Trump, by his surrogates, and by countless people on social media—in the ugliest terms: weak, sickly, a criminal, physically repellent. Clinton, in her book, tells of how, during the second debate, just two days after the “grab ’em by the pussy” tape, she wanted to wheel around at Trump, who was “breathing down my neck,” and say, “Back up, you creep, get away from me, I know you love to intimidate women but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.” Instead, she bit her tongue and kept going.

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David Remnick — The New Yorker

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Calibri’s Scandalous History


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Somehow Calibri font seems to be there in recent scandalous events.

Since 2007, Calibri has figured in several other forgery allegations. In 2012, the Turkish government accused approximately three hundred people of plotting a coup, on the basis of documents that had been printed in Calibri but were purported to date from as early as 2003. De Groot sent a form letter in response to the many inquiries he received from Pakistan. “In my opinion, the document in question was produced much later” than 2006, he wrote. While Microsoft had by then released a beta version of its Office suite that included Calibri, de Groot pointed out that only “computer nerds” and “font lovers” were using it. “Why would anyone use a completely unknown font for an official document?”

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Ross Arbes — The New Yorker

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KONG: SKULL ISLAND


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Movie review of Kong from The New Yorker.

As Packard’s helicopters near their target, punch through a “perpetual storm system” that girdles the island, and discover a paradise of unravished greenery, the movie lays out its credentials. There’s a tracker named Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) on board, who possesses “unique expertise in uncharted jungle terrain,” and, soon enough, we even encounter a Marlow (John C. Reilly). Plus, for good measure, a blaze of burning napalm. Got it? I’m frankly amazed that nobody brings along a bulldog named Kurtz. In short, what this movie yearns to be is a pop-culture “Apocalypse Now,” with the human foe removed, the political parable toned down, and the gonzo elements jacked up.

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Anthony Lane — The New Yorker

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DOOMSDAY PREP FOR THE SUPER-RICH


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As per Wikipedia – The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face that represents a countdown to possible global catastrophe. It has been maintained since 1947 by the members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board,[1] who are in turn advised by the Governing Board and the Board of Sponsors, including 18 Nobel Laureates. The closer they set the Clock to midnight, the more vulnerable the scientists believe the world is to global disaster.

Tim Chang, a forty-four-year-old managing director at Mayfield Fund, a venture-capital firm, told me, “There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.” He said, “I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to.” He and his wife, who is in technology, keep a set of bags packed for themselves and their four-year-old daughter. He told me, “I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready.’ ”

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Evan Osnos — The New Yorker

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