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Five Reads: Whither Facebook?

The Forrest Four-Cast: November 16, 2018

Facebook is seriously putting the idea that “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” to the test. This week, a year-long New York Times investigation revealed how the company has fought back against myriad critics who accuse Facebook of corporate malfeasance. In short, they adopted an aggressive model of deny, delay, deflect. If you don’t have time to read the entire story — perhaps because you’re too bogged down by your Facebook feed — at least check out the six takeaways. There’s plenty to be angry and amazed about.

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What Podcasts Mean for Storytelling
In a thoughtful story in the New Yorker, Rebecca Mead explores the medium of podcasting. She points out that, obviously, we’re living in a golden age of storytelling, as indicated the explosive success of deep dive broadcasts. “A recent study conducted by Edison Research found that nearly a quarter of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month,” she writes. The bad news is a little more nuanced, asking if the desire to weave a good yarn can leave bits of truth and ethics behind.

Presenters at SXSW 2019 will address issues of modern day storytelling as part of the Experiential Storytelling track. Learn more about what is planned here.

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A Marvelous Life
The ultimate nerd hero Stan Lee died earlier this week at the age of 95. Among the many, many pieces written about the complicated and significant legacy of the man behind Marvel Comics, the Hollywood Reporter offers a comprehensive look. If you want to learn from the master, Esquire compiled some of his most memorable quotes, including “Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever.”

And since it’s Stan Lee, he popped back for a few final words posthumously in a video on Twitter. He didn’t reveal any details what’s going to happen with Thanos, but he did express his deep and undying affection for his millions of fans. Who say in return, “Right back at you.”

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Millennials Making a Difference
On the opposite end of the age spectrum, Forbes has released its 2019 30 Under 30 feature, profiling game-changing millennials in a wide range of fields, from consumer technology to music to games and venture capital and much more. In one in-depth article about young trail blazers, they focus on Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg (pictured above), who at 24 decided to take on cancer, focusing on gathering patient data from electronic health rec­ords to discover learnings that could improve care and outcomes. In April, they sold their company, Flatiron Heath, to Roche Pharmaceutical for $1.9 billion. They’ve also cracked open huge new possibilities in how cancer in treated.

Learn more from forward-thinking medical entrepreneurs at the SXSW 2019 Health and Med Tech track.

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rode a Blue Wave that offers hope for environmental legislation.

The Times They Are a-Changin’. The Earth too.
The midterm elections continued to dominate the news this week, as the results come out in dribs and drabs. Overall, the results were great for Democrats, which may also be great for the world’s health. In Vox, David Roberts takes an incredibly detailed look at what the new Democratic majority in the House might, should and could do to address climate change. While the election revealed that the nation is growing ever more polarized, it’s now possible that Democrats can take action with a Green New Deal to address this looming crisis, with Republican support or without 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.

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Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

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