The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet


The judge quickly made clear that he saw Hutchins as not just a convicted criminal but as a cybersecurity expert who had “turned the corner” long before he faced justice. Stadtmueller seemed to be weighing the deterrent value of imprisoning Hutchins against the young hacker’s genius at fending off malevolent code like WannaCry. “If we don’t take the appropriate steps to protect the security of these wonderful technologies that we rely upon each and every day, it has all the potential, as your parents know from your mom’s work, to raise incredible havoc,” Stadtmueller said, referring obliquely to Janet Hutchins’ job with the NHS. “It’s going to take individuals like yourself, who have the skill set, even at the tender age of 24 or 25, to come up with solutions.” The judge even argued that Hutchins might deserve a full pardon, though the court had no power to grant one.

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Andy Greenberg — Wired

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We Can Protect the Economy From Pandemics. Why Didn’t We?


The remoteness of the risk is always the hardest part to get our heads around. Our past moments of calm or our current nightmare, like the last coin flip or turn of the roulette wheel, tell us nothing about when the next one might arrive. One in 500 years isn’t a prophesy, just a probability. If anything, as Wolfe pointed out when I first met him over a decade ago, global warming, urbanization, and destruction of species habitats are only accelerating the speed at which the next pandemic may arrive.

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Evan Ratliff — Wired

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The Ibuprofen Debate Reveals the Danger of Covid-19 Rumors


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The letter was speculative. But, three days after it was published, the French Ministry of Health circulated a warning against using ibuprofen for Covid-19 fevers, citing “serious adverse events” occurring in “possible or confirmed cases.” The same day, the French minister of health, a physician, tweeted advice to avoid ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories because they could be “an aggravating factor” in Covid-19 infections. The minister, Olivier Véran, recommended that people with fevers take paracetamol, the European generic name for acetaminophen, and didn’t offer any evidence to back up the recommendation. Still, his advice whipped around the world: It was repeated in media outlets from the United States to the United Kingdom to Israel to Singapore to New Zealand.

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Mary McKenna — Wired

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Silicon Valley Ruined Work Culture


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Offices used to be gulags, but at least they had a clear purpose. You wouldn’t hang out in a cubicle farm, let alone spend time there on the weekends. Then companies like Google came along and reinvented the rat race into something with purpose and, along the way, confused work with the rest of life. Now, your coworkers are supposed to feel like a family. Hierarchies have been flattened, conventional job titles replaced by ones like “wizard” and “ninja.” The vacation days are unlimited (not that you’d ever take them). And forget about work-life balance. It’s all about work-life integration. Why else would the office have on-site acupuncture, nap pods, and free dinner after 7 pm?

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Arielle Pardes — Wired

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Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet


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I would have used Wiki countless times. I like the structure of the articles. You know what to find where. Wikipedia is also a proof that not for profit good intentions can work on a scale.

In its first decade of life, the website appeared in as many punch lines as headlines. The Office‘s Michael Scott called it “the best thing ever,” because “anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject—so you know you are getting the best possible information.” Praising Wikipedia, by restating its mission, meant self-identifying as an idiot.

That was in 2007. Today, Wikipedia is the eighth-most-visited site in the world. The English-language version recently surpassed 6 million articles and 3.5 billion words; edits materialize at a rate of 1.8 per second. But perhaps more remarkable than Wikipedia’s success is how little its reputation has changed. It was criticized as it rose, and now makes its final ascent to … muted criticism. To confess that you’ve just repeated a fact you learned on Wikipedia is still to admit something mildly shameful. It’s as though all those questions that used to pepper think pieces in the mid-2000s—Will it work? Can it be trusted? Is it better than Encyclopedia Britannica?—are still rhetorical, when they have already been answered, time and again, in the affirmative.

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Richard Cooke – Wired

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THREE YEARS OF MISERY INSIDE GOOGLE, THE HAPPIEST COMPANY


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A detailed account.

Google employees lit up the company’s internal social networks, once again contemplating galling facts about the status of women in Silicon Valley. But this time the discussion was less easily derailed, perhaps because some of the most important exchanges took place on an anonymous mailing list called Expectant New Moms. The group’s 4,000 members knew the stories about Rubin and Singhal—thanks in part to email threads on the list after each executive departed. But Rubin’s $90 million payout felt like a sucker punch. The fact that leaders’ misconduct had been an open secret made it worse. Why had they given so many years of their lives to make these men insanely rich?

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Nitasha Tiku — Wired

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THE TRUTH-AFFIRMING POWERS OF A GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED NETFLIX BINGE


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For people who need to justify their Netflix binges.

The Netflix Binge works on the theory that there’s nothing wrong with the web that can’t be fixed by what’s right with it. Close out the brain-cell-­bruising Facebook, and skip over to the neural luxury resort that is Netflix. With no mandate to sell ads, and because Netflix’s profit motive craves your love more than your data, the shows aim only to enthrall. Let yourself be enthralled, then, by shows that subdue consumerism—Netflix doesn’t want you bouncing to Amazon mid-binge—instead of amplifying it.

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Virginia Heffernan — Wired

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A gang of teen hackers snatched the keys to Microsoft’s videogame empire. Then they went too far.


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Pokora reveled in the perks of his success. He still lived with his parents, but he paid his tuition as he entered the University of Toronto in the fall of 2010. He and his girlfriend dined at upscale restaurants every night and stayed at $400-a-night hotels as they traveled around Canada for metal shows. But he wasn’t really in it for the money or even the adulation of his peers; what he most coveted was the sense of glee and power he derived from making $60 million games behave however he wished.

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Brendan I. Koerner — Wired

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AMAZON IS ABOUT TO TRANSFORM HOW YOU BUY GROCERIES


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Sharing this needull as anything Amazon does is going to have some impact in our lives. And this is the biggest acquisition by Amazon.

Of course, buying Whole Foods doesn’t help Amazon reach the rural areas where Walmart rules. “Amazon is stronger in bigger cities, and the map of Whole Foods locations shows it is closer to these cities,” says Goldberg. Still, you can see the Whole Foods deal being the first step in a larger plan. “If this strategy proves out for Amazon, you could well imagine it could be opening a bunch more stores or doing more acquisitions just to cover the US,” says Goldberg. “And you could imagine it might have similar plays that it’s evaluating in other markets.”

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Davey Alba — Wired

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How Quora became the hottest website of the year


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The best feeling a writer gets is when he is read. For us bloggers, a big satisfaction is when we feel people want to read what we publish. Recently, we had a discussion about how to bring more people to our platform. I found a 2011 article on Quora. A good read to understand what works for collaborative content platforms.

On January 20 this year, Google announced that Larry Page would be replacing Eric Schmidt as CEO. It was the week’s big tech story, possibly one of the biggest of the year, and it needed explanation. Within the hour, a user had put the question to the information-sharing website Quora: “What are some possible reasons that Google replaced Eric Schmidt with Larry Page as CEO?”

Minutes later, a former Google employee posted a detailed answer that included: “This has been a long time coming and not really that big a leap to make if you’ve been on the inside… This is a matter of pride and legacy for him [Page], so he’s going to keep Google’s long-term interests in mind in a way that few outside CEOs would be able to do; he’s emotionally invested in a way that only he and Sergey [Brin] can be.”

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Neal Pollack — Wired

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