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    Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

    Bill McKibben doesn’t pretend that if we can just rein in our greenhouse-gas emissions everything will be fine. Government actions are so far short of what’s needed to avert catastrophic climate change, he says, as to warrant a “don’t bother.” The message runs counter to that of virtually every green group, which lobbies for both individual action and government policy to control greenhouse emissions.
  • Uncle Sam Wants Your Tweets

    How does a tweet die? Quickly and quietly. As any Twitter user can attest, the rolling, unstoppable "tweet stream" has a short shelf life; any message older than a few hours has reached its expiration date. That all changed yesterday, when the Library of Congress announced (through its Twitter account, of course) that it would archive every public tweet ever made. That’s right—every tweet, from the mind-numbing review of your sister-in-law’s breakfast burrito to John Larroquette's 140-character tone poems, will now be preserved for posterity. This is good news for pretty much everyone. It's a win for Twitter, which gains legitimacy at the expense of its rivals. (Don't expect the Library of Congress to target Foursquare checkins any time soon.) It's a PR coup for the Library as well, showing the world that a hidebound government bureaucracy can adapt to the digital era. And, most of all, it's a boon for researchers and historians. Much of Twitter is...
  • Don’t Know How to Use Facebook? You’re Fired!

    According to the Daily Mail newspaper, the British intelligence agency MI5 has rolled out plans to lay off workers (including spies) who do not know how to use social-networking tools like Facebook and Twitter.  The cuts were announced by the organization’s director-general, Jonathan Evans, who told Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee last month that some of the older secret agents possessed computer skills that were not up to snuff in the war against cyberterror. The belief is that part of fighting counterterrorism involves dealing with cyberthreats. That includes extremists who turn to social-networking sites to recruit followers and hold meetings. So the need for agents who understand the Internet’s social landscape is becoming more and more crucial.To be fair, this doesn't appear to be about a handful of agents afraid of technology. To infiltrate private terrorist forums and similar groups requires more than a basic understanding of social-networking tools...
  • Study: Jealousy Is Blinding

    New research shows that women who are made to feel jealous can't spot targets on a computer screen. In other words, jealousy is (literally) blinding.
  • Twitter Begins Taking Ads From Starbucks, Best Buy, Virgin America—and You?

    Promoted Tweets launched because Twitter-friendly companies are worried that their updates are getting lost almost as soon as they're posted, amid the site's 50 million, and counting, tweets per day. But average users care about getting their "message" out too. While Starbucks may pay $1 million to have a "Free Frappucinos today!" tweet promoted to everyone who searches for "coffee," there may also be 1 million Twitterers willing to pay $1 each to have their own tweets promoted to their followers....
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    How Important Are Apple's Updates to the iPhone and iPad? Very.

    Maybe you thought it was nuts the way some folks in the media—myself included—went nuts over Apple’s iPad. But guess what? Today Apple announced a new version of the operating-system software that runs on the iPad and the iPhone. To any sane person this was not a life-changing event. For one thing, the operating system is pretty geeky stuff. For another, this operating system won’t even arrive until this summer.
  • In Net Neutrality Ruling, the Bad Guys Win—for Now

    Net neutrality isn't a fair fight. It's an abstract issue concerning whether Internet service providers can treat different kinds of data in different ways, and to understand it, people mainly look to see who's on which side of the battle. That turns out to be, in the pro camp, innovative Internet companies like Google and Yahoo, who have playful logos and give you stuff for free, versus scary cable megaliths like Comcast, a.k.a. the guys who gouge you monthly and schedule installation appointments for eight-hour windows. It's the wide open future of the Internet versus roadblocks and toll-taking. There may not be a clearer good-guys/bad-guys fight in all of technologydom. There's a third player, too, a kind of white knight—the Federal Communications Commission's baby-faced new chairman, Julius Genachowski. A college and law-school chum of President Obama's, Genachowski has made net neutrality one of his signature issues, viewing it as a part of...
  • The IUD Makes a Comeback

    After years of the IUD being off-limits to younger women, a new generation is embracing the once-beleaguered birth control.
  • The New Rules of Business From 37signals

    It's the kind of outcome most entrepreneurs only dream of. Last September, the financial-planning startup was acquired by Intuit for $170 million-earning its founder a reported $20 million. As the kudos poured in, another Web entrepreneur, Jason Fried, assailed Mint in a blog post for selling out to a corporation it could have taken down. "Is that the best [we] can do?" Fried wrote. "Become part of the old generation? How about kicking the s--t out of the old guys?"...