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Friday, August 16, 2013

Today’s Scuttlebot: The C.I.A.-Backed Start-Up and Facebook Blues

Every day, The New York Times’s staff scours the Web for interesting and peculiar items. On Thursday, The Washington Post said its Web site had been breached by the Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker collective that supports the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

The collective bragged in that it had also targeted Time magazine and CNN, suggesting a coordinated attack on Western media organizations. It left many wondering just who â€" or what â€" is the Syrian Electronic Army? The Times’s Nicole Perlroth in May offered some background on the group, which came on the heels of an attack on another well-known media organization, The Financial Times.

(Coincidentally, Thursday’s attacks were a day after The Times’s Web site went down, though company officials said that they didn’t suspect foul-play.)

Here’s what else we noticed today:

Facebook Use ‘Makes People Feel Worse About Themselves’
BBC News |  Using Facebook erodes overall well-being and a sense of satisfaction among young adults, researchers said. - Nick Bilton

Something’s Missing From the Golden Age of Design
Wired Opinion |  Steve Jobs inspired a generation of design thinkers. It left one entrepreneur to wonder why there aren’t more designer-led start-ups. - Ashwin Seshagiri

Meet Big Brother
Forbes |  How a philosopher in Palo Alto built Palantir, a C.I.A.-funded start-up that helped capture Bin Laden. - Ashwin Seshagiri

Economists Don’t Believe the Hyperloop
Al Jazeera |  Even if the technical aspects work, the economics of Elon Musk’s futuristic transit idea ‘do not make any sense.’ - Jenna Wortham (Related Bits post)

A Quantum Leap for the Government in Mining Twitter Feeds
The New Yorker |  Agencies don’t always need to access your private data to investigate you. What you do publicly online may suffice. - Ashwin Seshagiri

Why Is Software So Slow?
The Atlantic |  An interview with software executive Charles Simonyi on software slumps and how new apps could end drudgery. - Ashwin Seshagiri

Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet
Wired |  Meet the “Indie Web,” an effort to create a web that’s not so dependent on Facebook, Twitter and Google. - Jenna Wortham

Google Maps Easter Egg of Tardis
Maps.google.co.uk |  An easter egg inside Google Maps UK. Step inside the Tardis from “Dr. Who” by clicking the arrows on the ground. - Nick Bilton