This week — the agency tasked with deciding which refugees can stay in Germany, Cambridge Analytica’s American adventures, organised crime in Russia, and the aphorisms of Albert Einstein.
If you only read one thing — The New Yorker on Reddit is worth the time.
Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet // The New Yorker // Society
Though it is currently the 7th most visited site in the world (and 4th in the US), it’s easy to underestimate the sheer scale of Reddit, the self-styled “front page of the internet”. That scale, and its anarchic traits, have made it the front line in figuring out what is acceptable online behaviour. This insightful and often darkly funny piece meets the people trying to draw the lines.
The Refugee Detectives // The Atlantic // Society
A look at the work of Germany’s Bamf, the agency with the thorny task of deciding which refugees receive permission to remain in their country. They have many techniques at their disposal, some that can establish identity with little doubt, many more that can only offer “Hinweis” — a clue as to the truth of the story they’re being told.
Gangster’s paradise: how organised crime took over Russia // The Guardian // Politics
A piece examining the criminal organisations operating in Russia and how they have evolved during Vladimir Putin’s time in office.
Thus spake Albert // Aeon // History
A piece looking at the prevalence of Albert Einstein aphorisms in the public consciousness — at an extraordinary level even for someone of his stellar reputation. The story examines his sayings and how they were in some cases applied in his own life and times.
Cloak and Data: The Real Story Behind Cambridge Analytica’s Rise and Fall // Mother Jones // Politics
Before working for Donald Trump, Cambridge Analytica worked for Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign against him for the Republican nomination. This story goes back to that campaign and asserts that the company’s skills lay not in a uniquely effective use of data, but in a willingness to go where others wouldn’t and an ability to take business development to the level of an “internal Ponzi scheme”.