Welcome to a new edition of TheSunnyMag. This week’s curated list of beautiful reads from around the web contains the bitter YouTube battle between Microsoft and Google, the present and future of adults only games, one man’s blog on his descent into Alzheimer’s and other stories. Have a good read.
Inside the bitter YouTube battle between Microsoft and Google: The gloves are off: Microsoft and Google find themselves battling in more product areas than ever while fighting a very public war of words. The latest spat has led Google to block a Microsoft-developed YouTube app for Windows Phone, despite a promise to collaborate between the two companies. In the past, Microsoft has launched public campaigns directly against Google: there’s Gmail man, newspaper ads, Scroogled, and even an anti-Google Apps “Googlighting” campaign. Google’s moves are less public, with curiously timed product changes, methods intended to block Windows Phone users, and the occasional sniping comment from Larry Page or Eric Schmidt. Behind closed doors, both companies are forced to work together for the benefit of their mutual customers. What’s really going on, though? Why doesn’t Google want a Windows Phone YouTube app? We’ve spoken to sources at Microsoft and Google to find out. More here.
Plague of game dev harassment erodes industry, spurs support groups: The greatest threat to the video game industry may be some of its most impassioned fans. Increasingly, game developers are finding themselves under attack by some of the very people they devote their lives to entertaining. And this growing form of gamer-on-game-developer cyber harassment is starting to take its toll. More here.
Google’s “20% time,” which brought you Gmail and AdSense, is now as good as dead: Google’s “20% time,” which allows employees to take one day a week to work on side projects, effectively no longer exists. That’s according to former Google employees, one who spoke to Quartz on the condition of anonymity and others who have said it publicly. What happened to the company’s most famous and most imitated perk? For many employees, it has become too difficult to take time off from their day jobs to work on independent projects. More here.
India Leads Emerging Markets in Solar Development: On just about any given day, you can pick up an Indian newspaper and read about a new solar project being commissioned in the country or a new policy announcement by the government. This steady stream of press coverage is the direct result of the government’s ambitious 2010 National Solar Mission that aims to establish India as a global leader in solar energy, including photovoltaics (PV), within the decade. More here.
New New World
How did Estonia become a leader in technology?: WHEN Estonia regained its independence in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, less than half its population had a telephone line and its only independent link to the outside world was a Finnish mobile phone concealed in the foreign minister’s garden. Two decades later, it is a world leader in technology. Estonian geeks developed the code behind Skype and Kazaa (an early file-sharing network). In 2007 it became the first country to allow online voting in a general election. It has among the world’s zippiest broadband speeds and holds the record for start-ups per person. Its 1.3m citizens pay for parking spaces with their mobile phones and have their health records stored in the digital cloud. Filing an annual tax return online, as 95% of Estonians do, takes about five minutes. How did the smallest Baltic state develop such a strong tech culture? More here.
How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets: This past January, Laura Poitras received a curious email from an anonymous stranger requesting her public encryption key. For almost two years, Poitras had been working on a documentary about surveillance, and she occasionally received queries from strangers. She replied to this one and sent her public key — allowing him or her to send an encrypted e-mail that only Poitras could open, with her private key — but she didn’t think much would come of it. More here.
A HISTORY OF (MUTED) VIOLENCE – The Present And Future Of Adults Only Games: Forty years ago, the most popular video game in America was Pong, a title in which two white slabs hit an equally white ball back and forth. A couple decades later, it was Super Mario World, a game in which two plumbers collect power-ups and jump across colorful worlds to save a princess. About a decade after that, it was Grand Theft Auto 3, an open-world action game in which a mute gangster kills and extorts his way up the ranks of a crime-ridden city. And this past June, it was The Last of Us, an epic reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in which a single father and an estranged teenage girl struggle with their existence in a lifeless, post-apocalyptic world. More here.
Your Meat Addiction Is Destroying The Planet (But Can We Fix It): On Monday, August 5th, 2013, at a television studio in London in front of around 100 people, Dr. Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands unveiled the culmination of five years of research: a lab-grown “test tube” beef burger, cooked in a pan and served to two members of the public. Though a handful of tiny pieces of such meat had previously been displayed, the burger in that pan was the first fully cooked specimen tasted and admired by everyday citizens. “A few cells that we take from a cow,” Post says, can be turned into “10 tons of meat.” What Hanni Rützler, an Austrian researcher, and Josh Schonwald, a Chicago-based food writer — the “tasters” — were eating was 100 percent perfect beef. It had never been slaughtered, had never been properly “alive,” and most importantly, had never been a living, breathing animal. The meat, which contained no fat, was pronounced to have “quite a bit of flavor” by Rützler, and the consistency was said to be “perfect.” “Some people think this is science fiction,” Sergey Brin, founder of Google and the single donor who provided funding (nearly $1 million thus far) for Post’s research, said, but he sees it as an achievable goal. More here.
SLOW IDEAS. Some innovations spread fast. How do you speed the ones that don’t?: Why do some innovations spread so swiftly and others so slowly? Consider the very different trajectories of surgical anesthesia and antiseptics, both of which were discovered in the nineteenth century. The first public demonstration of anesthesia was in 1846. The Boston surgeon Henry Jacob Bigelow was approached by a local dentist named William Morton, who insisted that he had found a gas that could render patients insensible to the pain of surgery. That was a dramatic claim. In those days, even a minor tooth extraction was excruciating. Without effective pain control, surgeons learned to work with slashing speed. Attendants pinned patients down as they screamed and thrashed, until they fainted from the agony. Nothing ever tried had made much difference. More here.
The Age of Invisible Design Has Arrived: The Wright brothers didn’t invent powered, manned flight. By the end of the 19th century, daredevils around the world had already put motors on gliders and launched themselves into the air. Technically these machines could fly—they just tended to crash afterward. But the Wright brothers created a plane that people could actually control, with an effective steering system that let pilots maneuver the craft in mid air and land safely. They may not have invented powered flight, but they brought it into the realm of human experience. They designed it. More here.
Approaching Darkness – One Man Blogs His Descent Into Alzheimer’s: I ring the bell for Apartment #2. But before I have time to flatten the creases in my skirt, a gray-haired man wearing no shoes appears at the door and lets me inside. Retired physician David Hilfiker, 68, has invited me to his Washington, D.C., home to discuss the blog he’s operated for the past 10 months. David has Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that causes memory deficits and difficulty performing everyday tasks. This cognitive disorder manifests variably across patients, and its symptoms can appear in people as young as 30 or as old as 90. He was first diagnosed in September 2012, although he’d experienced symptoms of “mild cognitive impairment” five years beforehand. David Googled “natural course of Alzheimer’s” to prepare himself for the next few years of his life. More here.
How A ‘Deviant’ Philosopher Built Palantir, A CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut: Since rumors began to spread that a startup called Palantir helped to kill Osama bin Laden, Alex Karp hasn’t had much time to himself. On one sun-baked July morning in Silicon Valley Palantir’s lean 45-year-old chief executive, with a top-heavy mop of frazzled hair, hikes the grassy hills around Stanford University’s massive satellite antennae known as the Dish, a favorite meditative pastime. But his solitude is disturbed somewhat by “Mike,” an ex-Marine–silent, 6 foot 1, 270 pounds of mostly pectoral muscle–who trails him everywhere he goes. Even on the suburban streets of Palo Alto, steps from Palantir’s headquarters, the bodyguard lingers a few feet behind. More here.
So you want to be a venture capitalist: You’ve always wanted to be a VC. Maybe it’s the diversity of deals and the industry that attracts you. Maybe it sounds sexy. You are probably armed with a freshly minted MBA and some experience in finance and/or technology. However, with very few job openings a year, landing that dream job in venture can be harder than you think. Here are some of my top tips to optimize your chances. More here.
10 STORYTELLING TIPS TO HELP YOU BE MORE PERSUASIVE: Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, there was a salesman who traveled the countryside, peddling his wares. Everyone loved his product except the evil king, who wanted to do away with it. One day the king said, “This product is ruining my kingdom and I want to destroy it. If anyone has a reason for why this product should live, let him come hither and speak now.” Out of the crowd came a voice. “I think this product is great and I can prove it,” said the brave salesman. “Then come to my palace tomorrow morning and prove to me why this is so,” said the king. And so the salesman went home and prepared PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide filled with endless statistics and dizzying market projection graphs. More here.
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