T. Robin Sutherland

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This site makes browsing Netflix simple again

We've all been there. You sit down for movie night, open Netflix and start looking for something to watch. And you keep looking. And keep looking. And you look until you reach the point of not wanting to watch anything anymore. This is the modern-day version of going to the movie rental store, …

Watchlist

Kurt Gödel’s Story

It is my impression that, even among mathematicians, mathematical logicians are a bit weird. Kurt Gödel was no exception.<p>Gödel is famous for proving …

Technology Is Biased Too. How Do We Fix It?

Algorithms were supposed to free us from our unconscious mistakes. But now there’s a new set of problems to solve.<p>Whether it’s done consciously or …

Artificial Intelligence

The Agony and the Anxiety of The New York Times

Despite a historic run, unease is now gripping the paper as a large-scale reorganization (physical, personnel, and psychic) looms. “The mood at the paper is poisonous in a way I’ve never seen it in the past 15 years,” as one editor put it.<p>The first six months of the Trump administration have been …

Why You Need Emoji - Issue 50: Emergence

The use of emojis has become a global phenomenon. By 2015, over 6 billion emojis1 were being sent every day by over 90 percent of the world’s online …

Will big data change how you use social media?

Anyone who is confused by this term should simply look at the name for an answer. Big data is exactly what it sounds like: massive volumes of data.<p>Businesses are concerned with big data because it requires new methods of interaction. Every part of the process including collecting, storing, and …

An Oral History of Homestar Runner, the Internet's Favorite Cartoon

If you grew up on the internet, <i>Homestar Runner</i> represents a time when the world wide web felt a little bit smaller. It was hilariously sarcastic, but …

Los Angeles

Nintendo Wants Players to Look at Each Other Again

But will they want to?<p>A father and son stand facing one another, hands at their sides, five feet apart. Each holds a small Nintendo controller in his palm. Right now, that controller is a firearm. Later it will be a samurai sword, a ping-pong paddle, or a cow’s udder. The son looks at the large …

Virtual Reality

Intellectuals for Trump

A rogue group of conservative thinkers tries to build a governing ideology around a President-elect who disdains ideology.<p>The most cogent argument for electing Donald Trump was made not by Trump, or by his campaign, but by a writer who, unlike Trump, betrayed no eagerness to attach his name to his …

Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again

In his own way, Trump has set us free.<p>Donald Trump and his forthcoming presidency may be the greatest gift to Washington journalism since the invention of the expense account. His unorthodox approach to politics and governance has vaporized the standard, useful, yet boring script for reporting on a …

Donald Trump

My Journey to the Center of the

To get to the white ethnostate, I drove through cornfields, listening to a man on the radio hype an upcoming “machine-gun shoot” at a nearby firing range. Paoli is a pretty postage-stamp-size town in southern Indiana. The seat of Orange County, it has a charming central square and a beautiful Greek …

Stage Oddity: The Story of David Bowie’s Secret Final Project

When Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Michael Cunningham got a call from someone claiming to be David Bowie, he thought it was a friend pulling a prank. He didn’t know he was about to be launched into a yearlong collaboration on a musical involving space aliens, mariachi bands, and an imaginary …

David Bowie

The Couple Who Saved China’s Ancient Architectural Treasures Before They Were Lost Forever

Architectural preservation is rarely so thrilling as it was in 1930s China. As the country teetered on the edge of war and revolution, a handful of …

The Unreal, Eerie Emptiness of China's 'Ghost Cities'

The Kangbashi district of Ordos, China is a marvel of urban planning, 137-square miles of shining towers, futuristic architecture and pristine parks …

Cities

Cyberwar for Sale

On the morning of May 18, 2014, Violeta Lagunes was perplexed by a series of strange messages that appeared in her Gmail inbox. It was Election Day to choose the leadership of Mexico’s right-wing Partido Acción Nacional, or PAN, and Lagunes, a former federal congresswoman, was holding a strategy …

Remote Controls

Fact-Checking Won’t Save Us From Fake News

Fake news.<p>We’ve used this phrase so many times in the past two months that it’s almost lost meaning — partly because it can mean so many different …

The Canada experiment: is this the world's first 'postnational' country?

Telling an Italian or French citizen they lack a “core identity” may not be the best vote-winning strategy<p>Can any nation truly behave 'postnationally' – ie without state governance and control? The simple answer is no<p>As 2017 begins, Canada may be the last immigrant nation left standing. Our …

Canada

A theory that challenges Newton’s and Einstein’s gravity and nixes dark matter passed its first test

Margot Brouwer of Leiden University is brave—and you need to be, if you’re challenging Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton in one fell swoop.<p>Brouwer and her colleagues believe that the laws of gravity, as determined by Newton and further expanded by Einstein’s theory of relativity, are not quite …

Putin’s Real Long Game

The world order we know is already over, and Russia is moving fast to grab the advantage. Can Trump figure out the new war in time to win it?<p>A little over a year ago, on a pleasant late fall evening, I was sitting on my front porch with a friend best described as a Ukrainian freedom fighter. He was …

Political Science

This Is What It’s Like to Read Fake News For Two Weeks

I lived Michael Flynn Jr.'s media diet so you wouldn’t have to.<p>A few weeks ago, perplexed by the persistence of fake news, I attempted to think like someone I wasn’t. On December 13, I created a dummy Twitter account. More of a clone, actually. I chose to emulate Michael Flynn Jr., the 33-year-old …

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution: Part 1

<i>PDF: We made a fancy PDF of this post for printing and offline viewing. Buy it here. (Or see a preview.)</i><p><i>Note: The reason this post took three weeks</i> …

Singularity

Damn, We Wish We’d Written These 11 Stories

Every year, Bloomberg News publishes a “Jealousy List” — the stories Bloomberg staffers wish they had published. It’s a delightful and endearing …

The secret rules of the internet - The Verge - Pocket

The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech<p>Julie Mora-Blanco remembers the day, in the summer of 2006, when the …

When Big Ideas Go Bad

• In-depth articles about current issues faced by universities<br>• Data and analysis on the latest higher education trends, statistics, and salaries<br>• Special …

My President Was Black

A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next<p><i>“They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn. “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”</i><p><i>— F. Scott Fitzgerald,</i> The Great Gatsby<p><b>I.</b><p>In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, he and his wife, …

Hillary Clinton

Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, and the Modern Whistle-Blower

From their backgrounds to their motivations, the two men have some striking differences.<p>In the summer of 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara commissioned a group of thirty-six scholars to write a secret history of the Vietnam War. The project took a year and a half, ran to seven thousand …

Surveillance

After the Islamic State

As the caliphate crumbles, rival movements struggle for the soul of Sunni jihadism.<p>Last May, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, the second most powerful leader in the Islamic State, hinted that the caliphate was crumbling. “Whoever thinks that we fight to protect some land or some authority, or that victory …

Gawker’s Demise and the Trump-Era Threat to the First Amendment

Hulk Hogan’s smashing legal victory shows us that publishing the truth may no longer be enough.<p>When Hulk Hogan faced off in court against the Web site Gawker, earlier this year, it was easy to become distracted by the rococo tawdriness of the spectacle. After all, the case centered on the leak of a …