Drones Are the New Flying Saucers

Photo illustration: A bunch of flying saucer-looking objects floating above an airport.

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There’s something weird in the sky. It’s blinking, it’s hovering, it’s making loud noises. But how do you describe what you saw? Your answer is probably dependent on the time you live in. In 1561, you might have called the weird flying thing a heavenly portent. In the U.K., just before the start of World War I, you would probably say you’d been startled by an unexpected zeppelin. During the Cold War era, you might have called the thing a flying saucer of possible alien origin, or perhaps a secretive Soviet spy weapon: objects that fell into the category of UFOs. And in 2019, you might assume the weird thing twinkling in the sky is a drone.

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Home Is Where the Photo Booth Is: How Instagram Is Changing Our Living Spaces

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Marrujo’s party is one of a handful of private get-togethers I attended in 2018 that included a dedicated Instagram wall, where guests could take photos good enough to graduate from the Instagram Stories feed to a post on their permanent grids. For her annual holiday party, Cosmopolitan senior editor Jessica Goodman cleared out her home office and covered one of its walls with CVS wrapping paper.

The so-called social media moment—i.e., a studio-esque photo op—was once a concept companies used as a marketing tool at promotional events. But as Instagram has grown in size over the years, so has its influence on the physical world.

Never Tweet

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Friends, reporters, fam: It’s time we journalists all considered disengaging from the daily rhythms of Twitter, the world’s most damaging social network.

You don’t have to quit totally — that’s impossible in today’s news business. Instead, post less, lurk more.

Of course, I’ve climbed onto this very high horse because we just witnessed a terrible week on the internet. Over the weekend, thanks largely to amplification on Twitter, MAGA-hatted high-school kids from Kentucky — and whether they did or did not harass a Native American elder during a march in Washington — eclipsed all other news. At first, the Twitter mob went after the kids from Covington Catholic High School. Then, as more details of the incident emerged, a mob went after the people who’d gone after the kids. No one won; in the end the whole thing was little more than a divisive, partisan mess.

So it was just another weekend on Twitter. But in its zigs and zags, the Covington story made one thing clear: Twitter is ruining American journalism.

The Covington saga illustrates how every day the media’s favorite social network tugs journalists deeper into the rip currents of tribal melodrama, short-circuiting our better instincts in favor of mob- and bot-driven groupthink.

He Reported on Facebook. Now He Approaches It With Caution.

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How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Nick Confessore, an investigative reporter, discussed the tech he’s using.

The social media app I really miss is Instagram. I always had a private account, and I accept requests only from real-life friends and family. So it’s an ocean of sanity and genuine relationships compared with Twitter, which is a hell of random angry people. But when I log in — once or twice a week at most, usually on my wife’s phone — I’m now hyper-conscious that every like, thumb click and scroll may go into my permanent Facebook record.

Is deleting Facebook an effective way to protect privacy?

Not in the slightest.

It may interfere with Facebook’s ability to track you as a consumer. But almost every website you visit or app you have on your phone is to some extent tracking where you go and what you do.

People Use 10-Year Challenge to Show How Devastatingly Different Our Planet Looks

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Around the globe, environmental organizations are taking advantage of the #10YearChallenge to show just how different our planet looks now versus then.

Parrot Uses Alexa to Order Watermelon, Lightbulbs While Owner Is Out

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A peckish parrot has been caught ordering strawberries, a watermelon and even a water boiler through his foster owner’s electronic personal assistant.

Rocco, an African Grey, requested the items through an Alexa device while his minder was out of the home. Luckily, due to a parental lock, none of his attempted purchases went through…

He also gets the device to tell him jokes and play his favorite tunes.

“I’ve come home before and he has romantic music playing,” Wischnewski told The Times of London. “He loves to dance and has the sweetest personality.”

Yelp Reviewers’ Authenticity Fetish Is White Supremacy in Action

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When reviewers picture authenticity in ethnic food, they mentally reference all the experiences they’ve had before with that cuisine and the people who make it — and most of the time, reviewers view those experiences, whether from personal interaction or from interacting with media, as not positive. Reviews tend to reflect the racism already existing in the world; people’s biases come into play.

According to my data, the average Yelp reviewer connotes “authentic” with characteristics such as dirt floors, plastic stools, and other patrons who are non-white when reviewing non-European restaurants. This happens approximately 85 percent of the time. But when talking about cuisines from Europe, the word “authentic” instead gets associated with more positive characteristics. This quote from a reviewer commenting on popular Korean barbecue restaurant Jongro illustrates the bias: “we went for this authentic spot with its kitschy hut decor much like those found in Korea”