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Weekend Reads 7

top stories of the week

This Week’s Stories: media, tech, small biz, and culture

By Jeff Howland

How to Lose $100 Million

by Luke O’Brien, Politico Magazine

From the living room of Barry Diller’s  Manhattan apartment in the Carlyle Hotel, it is possible, on a clear day, to see the Midtown skyline, where the Condé Nast building rises like a ziggurat from the Gilded Age of magazine journalism. The view was an appropriate one for a man who in the autumn of 2010 was about to pour millions of dollars into the dead tree business.

How Upworthy Aims to Alter the Web

by Alexis Sobel Fitts, Columbia Journalism Review

At Upworthy, each post begins with a video or infographic, plucked from the internet, embedded on the site, and packaged to entice readers not just to click, but to share. Upworthy’s repackaged videos and articles receive an average of 75,000 likes per post on Facebook, about 12 times that of any other news organization. If Upworthy has found the formula, it could fundamentally shift what we read on the Web.

The First Look at How Google’s Self-Driving Car Handles City Streets

by Eric Jaffe, The Atlantic

Google’s self-driving car project began in 2009. The vehicle’s early life was confined almost entirely to California highways. Hundreds of thousands of test miles later, the car more or less has mastered the art — rather, the computer science — of staying in its lane and keeping its speed. So about a year and a half ago, Google’s team shifted focus from the predictable sweep of freeways to the unpredictable maze of city streets.

One Startup’s Struggle to Survive the Silicon Valley Gold Rush

by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Wired

Nick Edwards and Chris Monberg were crouched at opposite rented desks in a shared coworking space near the Caltrain station in SoMa wondering if, by the middle of February, they would still have a company. Their company, Boomtrain, had no revenue, though that was hardly a hurdle to raising investment capital in Silicon Valley. Somewhat more problematically, it didn’t have a single customer, though there were several pilots in the wings.

Are Robots About to Rise? Google’s New Director of Engineering Thinks So

by Carole Cadwalladr, The Guardian

Ray Kurzweil popularized the Teminator-like moment he called the ‘singularity’, when artificial intelligence overtakes human thinking. But now the man who hopes to be immortal is involved in the very same quest – on behalf of the tech behemoth.


75 years ago today, the New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig told his manager that he was taking himself out of the lineup. He hadn’t missed a game in 14 years. And he would never play again. He died two years later, of A.L.S, at age 37. – NYT Now

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