Five Reads: Silicon Valley Activists
What follows is our roundup of five of the most compelling stories discovered over the last few days. Look for this column every Thursday in this space.
And speaking of great ideas that need to be read, have you checked out the 5000+ forward-thinking speaking proposals in the 2019 SXSW PanelPicker?
It was a challenge to read much of anything this week that didn’t involve criminal behavior of people inhabiting the presidential orbit. But these are fascinating stories that don’t involve election fraud, collusion and the tarnished Oval Office.
Curtailing the Collection of Personal Data
A chance conversation over pizza and wine turned Alastair Mactaggart into a crusader determined to slow the widespread corporate collection and use of personal data. In the NY Times, Nicholas Confessore, takes a deep look into “The Unlikely Activist Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won.”
The Trouble with Water
Looking for something to worry about that isn’t the state of our democracy? How about water? In Esquire, Alec Wilkinson asks if we have enough water on the planet for seven billion people, pointing out the realities of multiyear droughts, crop failures, Cape Town nearly going dry, and growing fears of full-scale water wars. Can technology find a way?
Going Online for Groceries
Could your neighborhood grocery store go the way of Borders? Amazon $13.4 billion purchase of Whole Foods sparked fresh enthusiasm across the grocery industry for helping customers pick out their eggs and bacon online. In the New York Times, Eric Griffith says grocery startups are all the rage.
Hacking, It’s Not Always About an Election
And could a single piece of code really crash the world? In Wired, Andy Greenburg tells the untold story of Notpetya, he calls the most devastating cyberattack in history.
Can You Still Read War and Peace? Would You?
In a lengthy, thoughtful review of Maryanne Wolf’s new book, Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World, Laura Miller asks if digital culture has turned everyone into shallow readers. And, if you have become someone unable to get lost in a big, fat, real paper novel, what you can do about it?
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.