5 generally interesting stories

I am trying to keep a new year’s media diet resolution of weaning myself off of trending news after realizing I have been reading more but learning less. As part of this attempt to widen my news horizons, I am finding five interesting stories each day that didn’t come from viral news algorithms.

  1. “Facebook Knows How to Track You Using the Dust on Your Camera Lens” (Gizmodo) – Kashmir Hill continues her impressive obsession with the ways that Facebook populates its “People You May Know” feature. While not exactly the scariest thing the social media megalith does, her reporting does show how much a technology firm can learn about its users given enough coders and the financial incentive of billions upon billions of advertising dollars. Also, there’s a fun-ish tool you can download and play with.
  2. “‘I replied to a Facebook post and was married six days later'” (BBC) In other Facebook news, a charming story about how a Nigerian man’s quest to find a wife online went from “Am interested, just DM me…lols” to wedded bliss in less than a week.
  3. “Exposed: London’s eugenics conference and its neo-Nazi links” (London Student) A student news publication at the University College London detail the London Conference on Intelligence, held on their campus four times since 2014, and the band of white supremacists and far-right figures attracted to this brand of racist genetic theory. One attendee: Toby Young, who has somehow gone from milking a book, movie and play from failing at a short-lived stint working for Graydon Carter’s Vanity Fair to Tory pundit to, now, inexplicably, the head of a state-funded education charity.
  4. “Ice cliffs spotted on Mars” (Science) A paper published today describes 100-meter tall cliffs at relative low latitudes: “Each cliff seems to be the naked face of a glacier, tantalizing scientists with the promise of a layer-cake record of past martian climates and space enthusiasts with a potential resource for future human bases.”
  5. “Man Ray’s Los Angeles: An outsider’s view of Hollywood” (Los Angeles Times) A selection of photographs taken by the Surrealist and Dadaist master during his time spent with movie stars and celebrities in Los Angeles after he fled France in 1940.