The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected

(The New York Times)

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The parents in Overland Park, Kan., were fed up. They wanted their children off screens, but they needed strength in numbers. First, because no one wants their kid to be the lone weird one without a phone. And second, because taking the phone away from a middle schooler is actually very, very tough.

“We start the meetings by saying, ‘This is hard, we’re in a new frontier, but who is going to help us?’” said Krista Boan, who is leading a Kansas City-based program called START, which stands for Stand Together And Rethink Technology. “We can’t call our moms about this one.”

I first noticed this gap almost a decade ago visiting college campuses. When I would sit in on classes​ at small private colleges​s students with ​laptops were a rare sight. At community colleges,​ they were slightly​ more common. At state universities, with amphitheater​ sized classrooms,​ they were all too common. Equally all too common was how many were all tuned to social media.​

Millions of Californians’ jobs could be affected by automation

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(LA Times)

We’re facing a major challenge,” Moenius said. “If we don’t do anything, then it will turn into an apocalypse.”

Whether confronting an increasingly automated labor market or grappling with how the gig economy is reshaping the relationship between companies and their workers, California’s next governor will have to address the changing nature of work.

That could mean rethinking how to educate Californians, remaking labor laws or considering major social safety net proposals such as a universal basic income. State government might not be able to control change sweeping the workplace, but it will have to deal with the fallout.

What starts in Cali . . .

More people are taking Facebook breaks and deleting the app from their phones

(The Verge)

According to new data from Pew Research Center that sampled US Facebook users aged 18 and up, 4 in 10 (42 percent) of those surveyed have taken a break from the social network for “several weeks or more” in the last year; a quarter of respondents said they’ve deleted the mobile app entirely from their smartphones.

I was always stunned​ adults put that app on their phone. I have serious regrets about ever advocating​ the use of Facebook.

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Finding silence online is difficult, but the pursuit is worthwhile

(The Verge)

What silence looks like online is hard to describe, because it’s necessarily individual: I have a different threshold than you, for example, for dealing with Twitter trolls or rogue Instagram commenters. But I do think there are a few rules. First, quiet is found in considered spaces — think @everycolorbot or #cloudtwitter. Second, if silence is found through listening, then peaceful places online are more generative (like Glitch or Codecademy, or one of my favorites, Twine) and, generally, focused on maintaining small, healthy communities (like Metafilter). Silence pools like the tides. It’s hard to find at high tide, and immediately obvious where the pools are when the tide are out.

True silence​ online​ can only be found at Zombocom

How to talk about God in Silicon Valley

(Quartz at Work)
Traditional religion in the Bay Area is being replaced
with another sort of faith, a belief in the power of technology and science to save humanity. It’s a creed that says poverty and disease are simply programming challenges yet to be solved, bad code to be debugged. There’s a reason technologists use words like “evangelist” and “mission” to talk about themselves and their work.

Farther out on the fringes is the belief in the technological singularity, the idea that artificial intelligence will evolve to a point where it surpasses human intelligence, resulting in a fundamental transformation of civilization. In some versions of the theory, people will merge with machines. Humans will become both obsolete and eternal.

For men and women immersed in the old-fashioned sort of religion, Silicon Valley’s faith in itself is a challenge. How can a religion based on ancient texts hope to compete with something as new and exciting—and sacrifice-free—as technology’s promise? 

Apple’s sorta powered by 100 percent renewable energy worldwide

(The Verge)

Apple announced today that its business is now powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources. The news is a major victory that the iPhone maker has been working toward for years through the purchase of green energy bonds and other renewable investments in its supply chain and physical infrastructure. The company’s last milestone, announced two years ago, was 93 percent of its worldwide operations running on clean energy.

The announcement comes just one week after Google announced that it now purchases enough renewable energy to offset its global energy consumption. Similarly, Apple’s global operations, including some suppliers in China and facilities in places without access to clean energy, are not technically 100 percent renewable, meaning not every single joule or electron used is initially created by wind, solar, or other green energy plants and farms.

Hooray!!! (sorta)