Nicholas Thompson
Nicholas Thompson
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15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook

15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook

Davos, Switzerland, were iced over on the night of January 25, 2018, which added a slight element of danger to the prospect of trekking to the Hotel Seehof for George Soros’ annual banquet. The aged financier has a tradition of hosting a dinner at the World Economic Forum, where he regales tycoons, ministers, and journalists with his thoughts about the state of the world. That night he began by warning in his quiet, shaking Hungarian accent about nuclear war and climate change. Then he shifted to his next idea of a global menace: and . “Mining and oil companies exploit the physical...

April 16, 2019
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The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker

The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker

alluring stories we tell are the ones with the details left out. Objects and faces can be prettier in the half light. We see a faint shape and we add the lines and shadows we want. We hear one part of a story and add another part that we hope might be true. I first learned of the man called Mostly Harmless this past August. A WIRED reader sent a note to my : The body of a hiker had been found in a tent in Florida in the summer of 2018, but scores of amateur detectives, and a few professional ones too, couldn’t figure out who he was. Everyone knew that he had started walking south on the...

Jan 12
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A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack

A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack

a man started hiking in a just north of New York City. He wanted to get away, maybe from something and maybe from everything. He didn’t bring a phone; he didn’t bring a credit card. He didn’t even really bring a name. Or at least he didn’t tell anyone he met what it was.He did bring a giant backpack, which his fellow hikers considered far too heavy for his journey. And he brought a notebook, in which he would scribble notes about Screeps, an online programming game. The Appalachian Trail runs through the area, and he started walking south, moving slowly but steadily down through...

Nov 2
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The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker

The Unsettling Truth About the ‘Mostly Harmless’ Hiker

alluring stories we tell are the ones with the details left out. Objects and faces can be prettier in the half light. We see a faint shape and we add the lines and shadows we want. We hear one part of a story and add another part that we hope might be true. I first learned of the man called Mostly Harmless this past August. A WIRED reader sent a note to my : The body of a hiker had been found in a tent in Florida in the summer of 2018, but scores of amateur detectives, and a few professional ones too, couldn’t figure out who he was. Everyone knew that he had started walking south on the...

Jan 12
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The Rank Hypocrisy of a TikTok Ban

The Rank Hypocrisy of a TikTok Ban

President of the United States that he intends to ban a vibrant source of American speech. And that he intends to eliminate competition in a giant industry that doesn’t have nearly enough. It’s a rare feat to upturn two such fundamental democratic values—free speech and free markets—at the same time.TikTok’s fate in the US remains uncertain. Trump’s declarations could be part of a negotiating strategy, with the intended goal of getting Bytedance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, removed entirely from the platform’s ownership. Microsoft . Trump’s proposed executive order could face legal...

August 1, 2020
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To Run My Best Marathon at Age 44, I Had to Outrun My Past

To Run My Best Marathon at Age 44, I Had to Outrun My Past

simplest of sports: right foot, left foot, right foot. But the simplicity opens up complexity. There's no ball to focus on, no mat to land on, no one charging toward you with their shoulder down. And so your attention shifts inward. As you run, you're just you—right foot and left foot, nature and nurture, whatever goes on in your mind. My relationship to the sport begins in Bacone, Oklahoma, in the mid-1940s. My father, Scott Thompson, grew up there as the shy, misfit son of a domineering Baptist minister. Frank Thompson, or Granddad, was an imposing oak of a man with eyebrows the size of...

April 20, 2020
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How Twitter Survived Its Biggest Hack—and Plans to Stop the Next One

How Twitter Survived Its Biggest Hack—and Plans to Stop the Next One

at first, just another day for Parag Agrawal, the chief technology officer of . Everything seemed normal on the service: T-Pain’s fans were defending him in a spat with Travis Scott; people were upset that the London Underground had removed artwork by Banksy. Agrawal set up in his home office in the Bay Area, in a room that he shares with his young son. He started to hammer away at —integrating deep learning into Twitter’s core algorithms, keeping everything running, and countering the constant streams of mis-, dis-, and malinformation on the platform.But by mid-morning on the West Coast,...

September 24, 2020
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