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Taylor, Astra

Everyone On the Internet Needs to Read ‘The People’s Platform': An Interview With Astra Taylor

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Do you use the Internet? Then you have to read Astra Taylor’s The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, one of the most important books of the year. In it, Taylor (a writer, activist, and documentarian whose films include Zizek! and Examined Life) argues that the promised utopia of online culture is built upon a lie; in reality, the amorphous mass that we call the Internet is actually a place of great inequality, where the people’s interests are in hock to corporations and billionaires who just go by different names these days, whether it’s Google, Apple, or other Silicon Valley monoliths. Taylor is a clear-eyed writer and a provocative thinker, covering the shifting grounds of how the Internet changes and affects today’s culture, from journalism to music. It makes you very wary about having a Facebook page. I had the chance to talk to her about what we can do to create a sustainable Internet culture, and whether institutions like the library can survive.
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20 of the Internet’s Best April Fools’ Day Pranks

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Thanks to the limitless possibilities the Internet has given us, today’s April Fool’s jokes are a lot more sophisticated than the ones American Girl Magazine used to suggest (“Put a dime and a safety pin in a box, give it to your friend, and say you got them a diamond pin!”). Tech startups (and, of course, established companies) have become especially big players, as they have the platforms, budgets, and creative minds to make really wacky ideas come to life. Some companies go all-out, like Google, which has at least five different pranks (just in America) on its multitude of channelsOthers, like Uber and TOMS, realize they’re a match made in heaven and combine forces into something beautiful. For your entertainment — and to help you avoid falling for an embarrassing prank — here’s a roundup of the best April Fools’ jokes the Internet has to offer today.
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Maj Isabelle Olsson, Lead Industrial Designer of Google Glass, on Wearable Technology

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“Perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away,” wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. At last weekend’s annual Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, lead industrial designer of Google Glass Maj Isabelle Olsson referred to the above quotation from the author who wrote The Little Prince to explain her inspiration behind the “look” of Google Glass. Appropriately, the title of her talk was “Google Glass: Less Is More.”
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Mark Zuckerberg and Frank Gehry inspect models for the Facebook West office in Menlo Park, California.

Why Is Frank Gehry So Desperate to Align Himself With Facebook?

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For a while, rumors have been circulating that Facebook would be relocating from a Midtown Manhattan office at 335 Madison Ave to the downtown tech stead of Silicon Alley. Yesterday, Serkan Piantino, head of Facebook’s New York engineering team, confirmed the news, announcing that they would be taking up 100,000 square feet of space on two floors of an existing building at 770 Broadway.
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kitties

The Best April Fools’ Jokes From Around the Web

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April Fools’ jokes are tricky, and not just because it’s way too easy to forget the date and believe Gmail’s about to turn blue for a few minutes. They’re also hard to get right: they need to be believable, but not too believable; absurd, but not totally out of left field. And most importantly, they need to leave your readers feeling in on the joke, rather than cheated and pissed off. We’ve compiled the highlights (or, depending on your viewpoint, lowlights) of today’s pranks from around the Web. From the email of the future to an Aaron Sorkin-esque HR move at a comics giant, here are the headlines that made us smile, cringe, and sometimes both.
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Stark, Haunting Google Street View Images of a Post-Fukushima Japanese Town

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The Japanese town of Namie was evacuated after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, and two years later, its 21,000 residents have been unable to return. However, as narrated in this blog post, Google Japan has sent its intrepid Street View cars to photograph the current state of the town, at the request of residents who want to see what sort of condition their houses in and also as an exercise in recording the aftermath of Fukushima for posterity. The resultant images are remarkable viewing, telling the story of a town damaged by an earthquake and then hastily abandoned — there are still cars parked on the street and cans in the vending machines. They’re also striking works of art in their own right, and the experience of exploring the town from afar via Street View is both creepy and rather humbling.
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Famous Paintings to Peruse on Google’s New Indoor Maps Feature

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Ever wanted to see the Met’s Impressionist wing without booking a trip to New York? To browse presidential portraits inside the White House? Take in the newest MOMA exhibition from your couch? You can.

While Google Maps may get you to the front door of your destination, its newest feature, “Indoor Maps,” can help you figure out where to go next. Originally a feature exclusive to Android, last week Google expanded Indoor Maps to be available on web browsers, bringing the user inside an assortment of transportation, shopping, and cultural destinations, from airports to malls, casinos to train stations; a full list of locations is available here.
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