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New Pew study shows Black news consumers favor local media coverage

No surprise that Black consumers favor local papers that are more reflective of their communities (vs national outlets, which still skew white and male).

"Black news organizations — and also Black reporters at mainstream outlets — understand the local issues better and are less likely to engage in tired tropes and racist stereotypes than national journalists."

One of the most important things we can do to foster trust in media is to hire diverse newsrooms that are more representative of the communities we serve. Surely that's obvious? And yet, journalism as a whole still suffers from the same old diversity issues.

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Spoutible Introduces Cross-Posting to Mastodon and Bluesky

This is something, but it would be nice to see real ActivityPub support in a way that would allow Spoutible profiles to be first-class profiles on the fediverse.

Still, the nice thing about building in support for Mastodon and BlueSky is that - unlike when I built support for Twitter et al into Known years ago - the networks physically can't shut off or charge for the APIs.

Open networks allow for integration like this without incurring deep supplier risk, as well as much deeper integrations that plug users directly into the networks. All for free.

I'm looking forward to Threads joining the party, too.

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NLRB Files Case Against Mozilla for Not Hiring Apple Labor Activist

"The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint Tuesday alleging Mozilla refused to hire Scarlett because of her past labor activism. The agency’s prosecutors called on Mozilla to offer Scarlett the position she applied for in 2021 or a similar role, and to otherwise make her whole for damages as a result of not being hired."

Whatever the outcome of this complaint, there is effective blacklisting in tech. I sincerely hope that people continue to speak out and organize.

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US retail lobbyists retract key claim on 'organized' retail crime

This data was widely cited and used to justify some frankly racist rhetoric. I particularly noticed it in the usual circles who complain about the decline of San Francisco supposedly due to progressive policies.

It speaks to the power of data to tell stories, and to peoples' willingness to trust it as infallible and objective when, like every other storytelling medium, it carries underlying biases and context.

It never rang true, and I'm glad this is coming to light.

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Nick Fuentes: ‘The Window Has Shifted Noticeably’ On ‘White Identity’ Since Elon Musk Acquired Twitter

Some of the worst humans on the planet, crediting a third worst human on the planet for paving the way for their noxious ideology.

"Now everyone’s a white identitarian. Maybe not fully, but certainly it’s far more acceptable in the conversation — even the word white — than it was years ago."

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A fistful of Matters

Matter - coaching, consulting & training for executives and entrepreneurs. Plus managing 74 accelerator investments from 2012-2018.

Matter - an iOS app designed to help you capture the best moments in your life, collect and reflect on your memories of good experiences, understand how those experiences affect you on a molecular level, and use your best memories to shape the life you want.

Matter - team recognition and rewards, all in Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Matter - pulls everything you want to read into one beautiful place.

Matter - a global healthcare startup incubator, community nexus and corporate innovation accelerator headquartered in Chicago.

Matter - an innovation company pioneering technology solutions for capturing, harvesting and recycling microplastics.

Matter - one protocol to connect compatible devices and systems with one another.

Matter - strengthen your investments with granular ESG data.

Mttr - a singular place for making sense of the world, collectively, and participating in productive discourse.

Matter - a new venture fund backed by Kleiner Perkins and TSMC.

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“Someone Tell Me What to Do”

Nobody should need to prepare for a mass shooting. Nonetheless, across the country, many children do. That the police at Uvalde were less prepared than an eight year old is a travesty.

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The Internet Enabled Mass Surveillance. AI Will Enable Mass Spying.

Bruce Schneier on the inevitable application of AI to mass surveillance:

"Knowing that they are under constant surveillance changes how people behave. They conform. They self-censor, with the chilling effects that brings. Surveillance facilitates social control, and spying will only make this worse. Governments around the world already use mass surveillance; they will engage in mass spying as well."

I find this argument that AI can enable mass summarization and classification, and therefore more effective use of surveillance data at scale, very compelling. If governments can do something, as a general rule, they will. And this feels like something that is definitely coming down the pipe.

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Harvard Gutted Initial Team Examining Facebook Files Following $500 Million Donation from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Whistleblower Aid Client Reveals

"Harvard University dismantled its prestigious team of online disinformation experts after a foundation run by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $500 million to the university, a whistleblower disclosure filed by Whistleblower Aid reveals."

If this is true, it's damning: essentially a payment to shut down academic investigation into harm caused by Facebook. There should be a firewall between research and payments like this; no donor should ever have the ability to shut down a line of research.

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The Chimeralogists

I see myself very clearly in this post, which is a somewhat rare and lovely thing.

I've called myself a technologist for over a decade, but the definition in this post is better than anything I've offered. Thank you, Robin.

Also, this:

"The past few decades have been stormy from a technological point of view, and much has been tossed about in the waves. It makes sense that a job specialising in plotting a course through technology would become necessary. The storm isn't over. If you want to actively navigate rather than just be pushed around by the wind, a technologist is what you need."

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Doing it all

A family's hands

I’ve been struggling a little bit to re-find my creative rhythm and balance it with the needs of having and supporting a family.

My day — every day — looks like this:

  • Woken up by baby
  • Get baby ready for daycare (breakfast, clothes, etc)
  • Walk to daycare and back
  • Eat breakfast
  • Work
  • Walk back to daycare and back to retrieve baby
  • Play with baby
  • Make and have dinner
  • Put baby to bed
  • Post-baby exhaustion time / other household work

That last bullet point in my day is where I could be doing more to work on creative projects. By that time, though, I’m usually wiped out by the day: I’m not going to produce anything close to good work. It’s a great time to read and reflect, but less so to produce anything new, because by that time I’ve spent my entire day producing.

This is in contrast to my twenties, when I’d return from work and be able to spend at least a few hours working on creative projects. That’s how my startups were initially built, and really how I learned to do anything of value.

Now, obviously, my baby is incredibly important. Spending time with him is non-negotiable: anything that reduces that contact time is something I’ll regret later in life. Raising our child takes priority, by some distance, over any other work I’ll ever do.

But I’m also pretty sure other people have figured this out.

There are novelists, artists, creative coders, and startup entrepreneurs who have all found time for their other pursuits in the midst of having a family and doing it well. I feel, though, that I haven’t yet cracked the code.

It’s also occurred to me that if I was simply less exhausted, I’d be able to do more. That likely comes down to some combination of mental and physical fitness. The latter is easy to pinpoint: if I do more exercise, I’ll likely feel better and more energetic. (Baby’s first year of daycare has also meant that everybody gets sick every two weeks, which has not been helpful.) The former has been harder to come by; life has been a lot for the last few years at least, partially because of external factors, and partially because of bad decisions of my own making.

I’m hardly alone. One of the hidden aspects of privilege is access to time. Consider the act of taking him to daycare: we pay a little over $1,800 a month for our fifteen month old to be cared for as part of a small class during the day. In turn, that allows us to work during the day and make money. But imagine if we couldn’t afford an extra $1,800 a month to begin with. (Most people can’t.) Some extended families are able to provide care — the old “it takes a village” maxim — but that care has traditionally created a disproportionate burden for women, and it is more likely to be undertaken in lower income families.

The average age of a successful startup founder is older than you might think: 45 years old. But a lot of founders are younger, in part because they have more time and fewer commitments. When older founders do have time, it’s either because they’re paying for childcare, or their partner is taking the brunt of the childcare work (and probably housework, and so on), or both. This feels like an inclusion problem to solve! Stronger childcare support overall — perhaps like Canada’s new $10 a day childcare system — would free up lots more diverse entrepreneurs and artists to be able to build and create.

I’m comparatively lucky, and my issues are more prosaic. I’m just tired. But for absolutely everyone, more help would probably not go amiss.

If you have a young family and you are managing to spend time on creative work, I’d love to learn from you. Leave your strategies in the comments?

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Britons support rejoining the single market, even if it means free movement

Well, of course. Brexit was a massive own goal at the hands of regressive nationalism.

As a European citizen who grew up in the UK, I took the Brexit vote very personally. Not being able to legally live in the place you used to call home is very hard (although I'm fully aware that many people around the world have experienced a much harsher version of this story). I would very strongly welcome a reversal.

Britain's current Labour Party is next to useless, unfortunately, choosing centrist politics over offering a real alternative. I don't know that they'd be bold enough to make this correction under their current leadership. But maybe?

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Why We're Dropping Basecamp

Duke University Libraries says "no" to 37 Signals based on DHH's blog posts:

"When we enter into business with a company whose boss takes delight in the mass layoffs of tech workers because it disempowers those who might speak out against their company keeping a list of non-Anglophone names that some members of the team find hilarious, we have a decent sense of who we’re dealing with."

This move away from Basecamp on ideological grounds is, I think, something to be applauded. I'd love to see more of these kinds of public statements. Because the more of them there are, the less likely a company is to embrace the kind of racist libertarianism that 37 Signals has been so proud to broadcast.

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Newsonomics: Can startup Invisibly be the new revenue stream publishers dream of?

Spoiler alert: no. This concept been tried before, more than once, and will fail again. Jim McKelvey seems to understand why advertising is broken - but not necessarily how to align users and publishers.

This quote from a publisher says it all for me: “Honestly, I’m not that invested in knowledge about what he’s doing. I’ve seen the pitch and most everyone says the same thing: ‘He’s a bit arrogant. He’s been very successful.’ It costs nothing to say ‘sure, go ahead,’ and if it works, we’ll most likely be in.'”

And this one: “To be honest, we do not know enough about the tech integration to know how it will work. At this time, we are signed up for the test and will participate.”

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Non-profits making a difference in news

A newsroom

As part of my roundup of Giving Tuesday suggestions the other day, I mentioned a few non-profit media organizations that I’ve recently donated to. Of course, as soon as I hit publish, I realized there were more that I wanted to highlight.

In particular, I think it’s worth talking about smaller ecosystem organizations rather than newsrooms. These are non-profits that help newsrooms to improve the way they work, their technology, experiment on revenue, or other activities that help make a stronger news ecosystem overall. If you’re not in the space, you probably haven’t heard of them — and they’re all doing notable work.

When I embarked upon building this list, I assumed there would be more entries. It turns out, there were: it’s just that many of them have disappeared. I’ve also chosen not to include for-profit ventures, large organizations like the Knight Foundation or the Press Forward coalition, or organizations that are initiatives of colleges and universities like the Brown Institute for Media Innovation’s Local News Lab.

Each of the following is a small US non-profit that helps makes a difference for journalism. If you think I missed an important organization, let me know and I’ll try to correct in a future post.

OpenNews creates spaces and communities for journalists who are changing the way their newsrooms operate (something that is a prerequisite for newsrooms to be successful in the internet era). Its SRCCON event is a legendary space for journalists to share more about how they work with each other. Its other programs include the DEI Coalition For Anti-Racist, Equitable, And Just Newsrooms.

News Revenue Hub helps news organizations to make their journalism freely available while raising funds through patronage. Its News Revenue Engine software simplifies revenue operations by integrating with other widely-used software, but perhaps its biggest contribution is consulting and sharing best practices for fundraising.

The Open Notebook helps science journalists improve their skills through training, mentorship, and community-building. At a time when most of our most consequential stories — the climate crisis, AI — are rooted in science and technology, conveying details accurately and accessibly is more important than ever before. The Open Notebook helps get us there.

Tiny News Collective helps underrepresented founders and journalists to build newsrooms that reflect and serve their communities. They provide resources, training, support, and technology to further that goal.

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Elon Musk tells advertisers: ‘Go fuck yourself’

If Elon Musk seems to be acting more like a politician than a businessman, then I think it has to be on purpose. This was an awkward exchange that played to an audience on X rather than the one that was in the room.

X is not a business in any real sense. He is losing revenue dollars hand over fist, seemingly in search for clout from a particular set of people.

And it goes without saying that the views he's spreading are noxious: right-wing, exclusionary, knee-jerk, and often at odds with inclusive causes. It's perfectly possible that he's just letting an unstable mental state play out in public. Or he's just become a right-wing wingnut in the Trumpian tradition. Regardless of the underlying cause, he's doing a lot of damage.

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ChatGPT Can Reveal Personal Information From Real People, Google Researchers Show

Here we go: proof that it's possible to extract real training data from LLMs. Unfortunately, some of this data includes personally identifiable information of real people (PII).

“In total, 16.9% of generations we tested contained memorized PII [Personally Identifying Information], and 85.8% of generations that contained potential PII were actual PII.”

“[...] OpenAI has said that a hundred million people use ChatGPT weekly. And so probably over a billion people-hours have interacted with the model. And, as far as we can tell, no one has ever noticed that ChatGPT emits training data with such high frequency until this paper. So it’s worrying that language models can have latent vulnerabilities like this.”

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Giving Tuesday

An arm wearing a wristband that says

It’s Giving Tuesday: a reaction to the consumer excess of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the whole winter holiday period. Here, you give to causes you believe in, and encourage others to do the same.

I’ve used Daffy to donate to non-profits for the last few years. It lets anyone create a donor-advised fund that they can then donate to. It’ll actually invest that money, so theoretically your fund size can be higher than the money you donated. But for me the killer app is that it allows me to keep track of all my non-profit donations in one place.

Here’s a partial list of non-profits I’ve given to recently. If you have the means, I’d love it if you would consider joining me, and I’d love for you to share your favorite non-profit organizations, too.

One note: because I’m based in the US, these are American organizations. If you have links to great international organizations, please share them in the comments.


UNICEF COVAX: ensuring global, equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Sandy Hook Promise: preventing gun violence across the United States.

The Brigid Alliance: a referral-based service that provides people seeking abortions with travel, food, lodging, child care and other logistical support.

The Pink House Fund: a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women with abortion access and abortion care.


MADRE: builds solidarity-based partnerships with grassroots movements in more than 40 countries, working side-by-side with local leaders on policy solutions, grant-making, capacity bridging, and legal advocacy to achieve a shared vision for justice.

Rainbow Railroad: a global not-for-profit organization that helps at-risk LGTBQI+ people get to safety worldwide.

Trans Lifeline: connecting trans people to the community support and resources they need to survive and thrive.

Montgomery Pride: provides a safe space for LGBTQIA+ people and advocates for their rights in the Deep South.

Equality Texas: works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Texans through political action, education, community organizing, and collaboration.


The 19th: a women-led newsroom reporting on gender, politics, and policy.

ProPublica: Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalism that is having a profound impact on national politics.

KALW: local public media in the San Francisco area.

First Look Institute: publisher of The Intercept, among others. Vital investigative journalism.


Fight for the Future: a group of artists, engineers, activists, and technologists who have been behind the largest online protests in human history, for free expression, net neutrality, and other goods.

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FCC Moves Slowly To Update Definition Of Broadband To Something Still Pathetic

Upgrading the broadband standard is good, although I agree that the new, improved speed benchmarks are still really substandard.

Almost all US households have broadband, although in reality, for many of them the internet is very slow. I wonder if this is one of the reasons that most internet traffic takes place over a phone, beyond the convenience of that form factor: a 4G connection, for many people, is faster than their home internet.

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‘Doctor Who’ Writer Residuals Shaken Up After Disney+ Boards BBC Show

The most frustrating thing about this is that it's some of the exact same stuff that writers were striking for in the US. While that industrial action seems to have come to a satisfactory conclusion, it looks like American companies are creating similarly exploitative arrangements in areas not covered by WGA agreements.

We live in a global world, connected to a global internet, and agreements need to cross borders and jurisdictions. Perhaps we need a Creative Commons style organization for streaming writers agreements?

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The legal framework for AI is being built in real time, and a ruling in the Sarah Silverman case should give publishers pause

"Silverman et al. have two weeks to attempt to refile most of the dismissed claims with any explicit evidence they have of LLM outputs “substantially similar” to The Bedwetter. But that’s a much higher bar than simply noting its inclusion in Books3."

This case looks like it's on shaky ground: it may not be enough to prove that AI models were trained on pirated material (the aforementioned Books3 collection of pirated titles). Plaintiffs will need to show that the models produce output that infringes those copyrights.

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How independent media outlets are covering the shootings in Vermont

An instructive look at what independent local news outlets are doing in the face of a tragedy that is part of a rapidly-rising trend. Upshot: their journalism is far more accessible than the local "big" paper.

Independent local news is undergoing a renaissance, but to do it well requires a thorough rethinking of what local news even is. First-class internet products are very different to old-school papers, and the former is what is generally needed to succeed. The prerequisites are a deep understanding of your community's needs, a product mindset, and truly great journalism.

The story itself is awful, of course. A disturbing part of the rising hate we're seeing everywhere. Real, in-depth coverage that isn't just there to feed advertising pageviews helps us to understand it - as well as how we might stand up to it.

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I made myself a home office when all I really needed was a cup of tea

I’ve been trying to create a productive home office that fulfills the following criteria:

  • I can concentrate and do great heads-down work
  • I can take video calls with impunity
  • It’s a relaxing space for me
  • The background when I take calls conveys some sense of professionalism

After some experimentation, I’ve gone back to using a desktop computer — actually a Mac Mini plugged into a single 33” gaming monitor — with a wireless keyboard and trackpad. It works perfectly fine for my purposes (although I wish I could split my big monitor screen into multiple virtual monitors).

But the computer isn’t the main thing. I’ve got plenty of desk space, which is great, and an Uplift standing desk that lets me get up and move around a little bit while I’m working. (I don’t use the balance board that came with it, which looks a bit like a wooden boogie board, but maybe I should?)

The biggest innovations have been three small things:

  • I’ve got three lights: two from Uplift and a third Elgato Key Light Air that hangs over my monitor and prevents me from looking like I’m in witness protection on video calls.
  • A decent speaker setup that supports Airplay so I can play music to help me concentrate.
  • A teapot, which I constantly refill through the day, and sencha tea.

The tea is probably the most important.

Everything else aside, I’ve learned that coffee doesn’t help me concentrate in the way I need to in order to do my work. I do still enjoy my first cup of the day, but then I move to something that doesn’t ramp me up on caffeine (it’s still caffeinated, but not to the same level) and doesn’t spike my already inflated cortisol. A cup of tea is where it’s at.

Maybe I could have dispensed with everything else I did to my office in order to figure it out. But, hey, I easily spend eight hours of my day in here. It’s nice to have an environment that I can truly call my own.

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Secretive White House Surveillance Program Gives Cops Access to Trillions of US Phone Records

"A surveillance program now known as Data Analytical Services (DAS) has for more than a decade allowed federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to mine the details of Americans’ calls, analyzing the phone records of countless people who are not suspected of any crime, including victims."

No surprise that this is run in conjunction with AT&T, which previously was found to have built onramps to the NSA.

Obama halted funding; Trump reinstated it; Biden removed it again. But it didn't matter: it could operate privately because individual law enforcement agencies could contract directly with AT&T.

Ban it all.

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"We pulled off an SEO heist that stole 3.6M total traffic from a competitor."

"We pulled off an SEO heist that stole 3.6M total traffic from a competitor. Here's how we did it."

What this single spammer pulled off - 1800 articles written by technology in order to scrape traffic from a competitor's legitimate site - is what AI will do to the web at scale.

Yes, it's immoral. Yes, it's creepy. But there are also hundreds if not thousands of marketers looking at this thread and thinking, "ooh, we could do that too".

The question then becomes: how can we, as readers, avoid this automated nonsense? And how can search engines systemically discourage (or punish) it?

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