Saddle Up

By Tim Hayden | B-side news and a collection of stories around technology and how human behavior is changing while human nature stays the same. 

The Problem with Most Meetings Is That There’s Not Enough Debate

The modern workplace is awash in meetings, many of which are terrible. As a result, people mostly hate going to meetings. The problem is this: The whole point of meetings is to have discussions that you can’t have any other way. And yet most meetings are devoid of real debate.<p>To improve the …

Management

Donald Trump’s profanity seems to be tripping up Google autocomplete

President Trump’s profanity is making it hard for Google to keep its autocomplete search suggestions rated PG.<p>While Google’s autocomplete searches typically use asterisks to censor the naughty words—or omits them from autocomplete altogether–Trump’s recent comments referring to El Salvador, Haiti, …

Donald Trump

50 Years Later, It Feels Familiar: How America Fractured in 1968

It was a year when liberals reeled, a war dragged on and protests raged. Back then, the evening network news and the printed newspaper told the stories of the day. But what would it have been like to experience it all with modern news alerts?

Protest

Mr. Amazon Steps Out

SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos rubbed elbows last weekend with Halle Berry, Chris Hemsworth and other Hollywood celebrities at an after-party for the Golden Globes. In December, he walked the red carpet, along with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, at a screening of “The Post” in Washington.<p>On Friday, Mr. Bezos …

Amazon

How Dirt Could Save Humanity From an Infectious Apocalypse

Nobody scours Central Park looking for drugs quite the way Sean Brady does. On a sweltering Thursday, he hops out of a yellow cab, crosses Fifth …

Microbiology

How to Succeed in Business? Do Less

Most top performers in business have one thing in common: They accept fewer tasks and then obsess over getting them right<p>Most Americans work impossibly hard. We put in long hours and maximum effort, but better performance often eludes us. I’m no exception. I remember being in my 20s and landing my …

Boston Consulting Group

Huge Water Reserves Found All Over Mars

New NASA images show layers of ice peeking out of eroded cliffs—a potential boon for future humans on the red planet.<p>At sites across the midsection of Mars, scientists have found layers of water ice buried mere feet beneath the red planet’s surface. The discovery adds crucial detail to Mars’s …

Planets

A new museum for language buffs wants to make America read again

Sometime during the height of the US presidential campaign, language and its capacity to be coded and manipulative became a national, if not global, preoccupation. At Quartz, for instance, we have obsessed about why president Donald Trump sounds racist when he talks about “the blacks”; why his …

Language

Mystery Radio Bursts From Space Just Got Even Weirder

Oxen Hill, Maryland<p>Astronomers are transfixed by twisted waves seen coming from an odd object three billion light-years away.<p>There’s a new twist in the tale of one of the strangest objects in the sky.<p>About three billion light-years away, that mysterious object continually hurls humongous blasts of …

Astrophysics

How the Government Hides Secret Surveillance Programs

In 2013, 18-year-old Tadrae McKenzie robbed a marijuana dealer for $130 worth of pot at a Taco Bell in Tallahassee, Florida. He and two friends had …

Surveillance

What We Learned Driving an Autonomous Vehicle for 24 Hours Straight

<i>Drive.ai’s First Drive-a-thon</i><p>At Drive.ai, we’re a team of over 100 people working to build the world’s best autonomous driving platform — to power a …

Transportation

Computers saw Jesus, graffiti, and selfies in this art, and critics were floored

The Barnes Foundation art gallery, located in Philadelphia, boasts a collection of famous work you’d probably recognize, whether that’s Vincent van …

Art

In China, facial recognition is sharp end of a drive for total surveillance

Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance<p>CHONGQING, China<p>For 40-year-old Mao Ya, the facial recognition camera that allows access to her apartment house is simply a useful convenience.<p>CCTV footage taken in Beijing uses the facial-recognition system Face++. China, …

Surveillance

Are Algorithms Building the New Infrastructure of Racism? - Issue 55: Trust

We don’t know what our customers look like,” said Craig Berman, vice president of global communications at Amazon, to <i>Bloomberg News</i> in June 2015. …

Cities

The Robots Are Coming, and Sweden Is Fine

GARPENBERG, Sweden — From inside the control room carved into the rock more than half a mile underground, Mika Persson can see the robots on the march, supposedly coming for his job here at the New Boliden mine.<p>He’s fine with it.<p>Sweden’s famously generous social welfare system makes this a place …

Sweden

Deep Learning Sharpens Views of Cells and Genes

Eyes are said to be the window to the soul—but researchers at Google see them as indicators of a person’s health. The technology giant is using deep …

Machine Learning

How blockchain can democratize green power

Imagine buying a solar panel from a hardware store, mounting it on your roof, then selling the green electricity you produce at a price you set.<p>Is …

Bitcoin

Spielberg's Ready Player One – in 2045, virtual reality is everyone's saviour

At last, a film that dares to show the positive side of living in virtual reality. Steven Spielberg’s future shocker, about people using VR to escape hell on Earth, is everything The Matrix wasn’t<p>It’s 2045 and Earth has been brought to its knees by catastrophic climate change and a worldwide energy …

Virtual Reality

Inside the Amish town that builds U2, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift's live shows

In December 2016, designer Ric Lipson was in New York on a conference call with Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. Lipson is a senior …

U2

Even Republicans Hate Jeff Sessions’s New Weed Policy

The Attorney General seems poised to go after legal weed, but nobody in Washington seems to support him.<p>"I think Jeff Sessions has forgotten about the constitution and the tenth amendment," California Republican Dana Rohrabacher said in a Thursday press call with four other pro-marijuana …

Cannabis

iPhones and Children Are a Toxic Pair, Say Two Big Apple Investors

Two activist shareholders want Apple to develop tools and research effects on young people of smartphone overuse and addiction<p>The iPhone has made Apple Inc. and Wall Street hundreds of billions of dollars. Now some big shareholders are asking at what cost, in an unusual campaign to make the company …

Finance

Zuckerberg’s Dilemma: When Facebook’s Success Is Bad for Society

Facebook’s chief has signaled he will do what it takes to curb the social network’s negative effects—but how far will he go?<p>When scientists started linking cigarettes to cancer, the tobacco industry silenced them—only acknowledging the extent of the truth decades later, under legal duress.<p>Imagine …

Facebook

A former Facebook VP says social media is destroying society. And he's right.

Feedback Loop<p>Speaking at a recent event at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Chamath Palihapitiya – a former vice president for user growth …

Chamath Palihapitiya

What Would Really Happen If Russia Attacked Undersea Internet Cables

It might seem like a nightmare scenario. A terrorist organization or nefarious nation state decides to derail the global internet by faulting the …

Internet

This Artificial Muscle Costs 10 Cents to Make. And It’s As Strong As an Elephant.

A team of young scientists hopes to use the device for prosthetics and industrial applications.<p>Two years ago, a team of scientists came together in a university basement. Many of them had never co-authored papers before, and their research money came from start-up funds.<p>Turning to nature, the …

Planets

27 fascinating maps that show how Americans speak English differently across the US

In a country as vast as the United States, you're hardly ever going to find a consensus on how to say something.<p>Do you drink soda, or do you call it pop? Do you wear sneakers, or tennis shoes? The answers vary depending on where you ask the question.<p>Linguists Bert Vaux and Scott Golder surveyed …

Language

What Foods Kids Eat Around the World in Photos

What Kids Eat Around the World<p>In the face of rising global obesity, photographer Gregg Segal traveled around the world to ask kids what they eat in …

Kuala Lumpur

The Real Future of Work

Forget automation. The workplace is already cracking up in profound ways, and Washington is sorely behind on dealing with it.<p>In 2013, Diana Borland and 129 of her colleagues filed into an auditorium at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Borland had worked there for the past 13 years as a …

21st Century

Automotive Industry: The Next Content Channel - Brain+Trust Partners

(Photo credit: Fortune Magazine)<p>The future of the industry we used to know as “automotive” is now more accurately described as the “mobility …

George Clooney