The Process By Which Your Online and Offline Identities Are Connected

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1. Maybe the most interesting section in the big new Federal Trade Commission report on data brokers is the description of what the companies call "Onboarding."

While collaborative targeting allows advertisers to determine which campaigns to run on particular registration websites, the practice of onboarding goes further. 'Onboarding' refers to a process whereby a data broker adds offline data into a cookie (the process of onboarding offline data) to enable advertisers to target consumers virtually anywhere on the Internet. It allows advertisers to use consumers’ offline activities to determine what advertisements to serve them on the Internet."

+ The award for the most Pynchonian/Gibsonian company name in the new FTC report on data brokers is definitely Recorded Future.


2. How scientists look at the problems with legal injection.

"For the three-chemical protocol to be considered humane, it is essential for the person being executed to be adequately anesthetized before the other two compounds are administered. If the person is not unconscious, then he or she would experience suffocation from the pancuronium and burning from the potassium chloride. Once the pancuronium is administered, because the person is unable to move, it can be difficult to tell whether they are still adequately anesthetized. That makes the anesthetic dose particularly critical."


3. The brain benefits of men going solo with their children

"But the brains of the homosexual couples, in which each partner was a primary caregiver, told a different story. All of these men showed activity that mirrored that of the mothers, with much higher activation in the amygdala-based network, the team reports online today in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This finding argues strongly that the experience of hands-on parenting, with no female mother anywhere in the picture, can configure a caregiver's brain in the same way that pregnancy and childbirth do, Feldman says. She adds that in the heterosexual fathers, the activation of the amygdala-based network was proportional to the amount of time they spent with the baby."


4. Free People of Color in Lousiana, a collaborative digitized collection of documents.

"Free people of color—people of African descent who lived in colonial and antebellum America and were born free or escaped the bonds of slavery before it was abolished in 1865—made significant contributions to the economies and cultures of the communities in which they lived but held an anomalous status in the racial hierarchy of the day.  Inhabiting this place in between made their ambiguous and incongruent status one of the most talked about 'problems' of the first half of the nineteenth century, yet their story has been largely overshadowed by the harsh story of slavery."


5. A really unusual essay that examines both the science and religion of biodynamic wine seriously

"Biodynamic wine is, in this sense, a cultural descendant of communion wine, and it probably won’t be the last. So long as we remain a religious species, there will be wine sacraments of one sort or another. They will differ from era to era, depending on the anxieties of the people they serve, but there will be a family resemblance among them, something that weaves all the way back through Christ and Dionysus, to the terracotta etchings of the first farmers."


Today's 1957 American English Usage Tip

bog(e)y, bogie. Bogy is the bugbear, & bogie in coach building; the golf word is usually bogey.


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Inhabiting This Place in Between

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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