Weekend Reading: McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Unused Audio Commentary By Howard Zinn And Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002 For The Fellowship Of The Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition) Dvd. Part One.
Weekend Reading: Dale Eisinger: My Short Career in the Internet Outrage Business

Morning Must-Read: Noah Smith: Silicon Valley Can Solve the Big Problems

*Noah Smith:8 Silicon Valley Can Solve the Big Problems: "I am annoyed when writers accuse Silicon Valley...

...of not solving big problems... take us into space, solve the global energy crunch or invent new labor-saving devices. And presumably they aren't satisfied that SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, and the Google Self-Driving Car project, among others, are working.... What critics of Silicon Valley’s vision fail to realize, though, is that the really big problems aren't the hard ones or the spectacular ones. The really big problems are things that affect the quality of human life.... The problems of this higher rung of Maslow’s ladder are exactly the ones that tech companies like Facebook and Match.com have begun to crack. Consider the impact of dating sites on the lives of divorced people. For a young person, dating sites--OKCupid or Tinder--are a marginal improvement over the old singles scene.... But for divorced middle-aged people, who are often socially isolated and occupied with work, meeting people is a much more daunting task. For these people, dating sites are a godsend.... Most of what people in the developed world want in life has to do with other human beings, not with the physical world around us. Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal, famously griped that “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” But I guarantee you that if I had a flying car, after the first few days I would stop gawking at the scenery and start tweeting. I believe that the advent of social technology is a huge step toward solving the really big, really tough problems... connect[ing] with old friends and meet[ing] romantic partners.... Mars is just a ball of rock and ice. Here on Earth, there are much vaster worlds to explore: the worlds in other people’s minds.... Those Silicon Valley nerds, with their hoodies and their silly jargon, are building us the ships to explore those universes, and in the process changing what it means to live a full and complete human life. To me, that’s a big idea.