"Differential privacy" (previously) is a promising, complicated statistical method for analyzing data while preventing reidentification attacks that de-anonymize people in aggregated data-sets. Read the rest
Amazon's got a tried-and-true way to deal with the negative consequences of high-speed ecommerce logistics: use subcontractors who can absorb the blame for the human toll wrought by the machine-like pace it demands of its workers. Read the rest
Bookstores don't have it on sale yet, but Amazon is already shipping out Margaret Atwood's The Testaments, her long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. The impromptu exclusive—apparently Amazon breaking a publisher's embargo—has enraged and terrified booksellers.
A number of angry independent booksellers have taken to social media to vent about the fact that Amazon violated the embargo set by Penguin Random House; the publisher instructed retailers to withhold the book from customers until its September 10 on-sale-date.
On Tuesday night, Astoria Bookshop (Queens, N.Y.) owner Lexi Beach posted on Twitter that some consumers had already received their pre-ordered copies of The Testaments from Amazon, while booksellers, like herself, were still abiding by the embargo.
Instagram user @JAMNPP posted that he had pre-ordered The Testaments “months ago” from Amazon, and received it in the mail yesterday. “I just figured they’d changed the date but now I checked! I don’t know how I got it a week early,” he wrote. Another Amazon customer, @LateBloomer, shared on Twitter that they had received the book, adding that they were “discouraged that Amazon would fail to abide by the release date, to the detriment of our beloved indie booksellers.” This comment earned a sharp rebuke from Beach, who responded, “If you’re that concerned, why did you order from Amazon?”
Hit up your local independent bookstore and pick up a copy with your own two hands. Read the rest
My latest Locus Magazine column is DRM Broke Its Promise, which recalls the days when digital rights management was pitched to us as a way to enable exciting new markets where we'd all save big by only buying the rights we needed (like the low-cost right to read a book for an hour-long plane ride), but instead (unsurprisingly) everything got more expensive and less capable. Read the rest
Illegitimate, popular vote losing, and manifestly unfit United States President Donald Trump said on Monday that at a recent dinner with Tim Cook -- what, you didn't think they hung out and shared meals? -- the Apple CEO made a “very compelling argument” that Apple may lose its competitive edge to Samsung because of Trump's tariffs on goods from China. Read the rest
Well before the collapse of Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme -- the largest in world history! -- accounting investigator Harry Markopolos had publicly accused Madoff of running a scam; now he says that General Electric is "one recession away" from bankruptcy, with a "balance sheet in tatters." Read the rest
Despite the departure of its most prominent leaders amid claims of harassment and retaliation, the Googler Uprising lives on, with Google employees circulating an internal petition demanding that the company not contract with US border agencies to provide any kind of services, on the grounds that US immigration authorities are notorious abusers of human rights. Read the rest
"The Ohio State University" is apparently the full name of Ohio State, and to remind everyone of it, they're selling a line of clothing emblazoned with the stark word "THE," and so they've asked the US Patent and Trademark Office to give them the exclusive right to sell t-shirts, baseball hats and hats with the word "THE" on them. This is stupidly generic and unlikely to survive a challenge or even examination. Doesn't THE university have a law-school that could prevent this kind of public embarrassment? Read the rest
Uber -- a bezzle -- projected $8b in losses this year; but it lost more than $5b in a single quarter, and despite an initial stock price rise (dead cat bounce?) the company's shares have tumbled by more than 10% since, hitting an all-time low. Engineers who were scheduled to interview at Uber have had those interviews canceled by the company's HR department, who told them the company now has a tech-worker hiring freeze. (Image: Tarcil, CC BY-SA, modified) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest
Automattic (beloved parent company of WordPress) is buying Tumblr from Verizon (loathesome parent company of Oath, a division named because its users are generally angry enough to swear at it), at a price "well below" $20m (which is well below the $1.1b Yahoo paid in 2013). No word as to whether Automattic will get rid of Tumblr's world-beatingly-terrible pornography filter. (via Bruce Sterling's Tumblr) Read the rest
After NYC raised its minimum wage from $7.25/h to $15/h this year -- the largest pay hike for low-waged workers in half a century -- the city's restaurants boomed, posting the highest growth levels in the country. Read the rest
Uber says it can be profitable someday: all it needs to do is corner the "total addressable market" for all transportation and food delivery, which will give it $12t in annual revenue, which is 15% of all global transactions. Read the rest
James Daunt gave up a brief career in banking and opened a small, family-owned chain of London bookstores bearing the family name (the original store, in Marylebone High Street, is literally the most beautiful English-language bookstore I've ever set foot in); in 2011, he took over management of Waterstones, the UK's last, foundering bookstore chain, and effected a miraculous turnaround by devolving purchasing to the managers who knew local tastes best, ending the practice of soliciting "co-op" payments from publishers to order in and stock massive piles of their frontlist titles, most of which would end up being returned. Read the rest
Shadow-banning is a process that dates back to at least the 1980s, with Citadel BBS's "twit bit," which would allow users to post replies to forums that they could see, but no one else could see. Read the rest