TIME NextDraft

Study: Facebook and Twitter Users Don’t Voice Controversial Opinions and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 27, 2014

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1. Cat Got Your Tongue?

The Internet is supposed to be the vast network that provides a new and unprecedented way for us to share our diverse opinions. But it turns out that the Internet cats have got your tongue. According to a new survey from Pew, people who use Facebook and Twitter are less likely to share their opinions on controversial issues. And that self-censorship spills over to their offline lives as well. “Researchers said they detect what they call the spiral of silence phenomenon: Unless people know their audience agrees, they are likely to shy away from discussing anything controversial.” That’s really terrible. (Unless you think it’s good, in which case it’s really good.)

+ It’s amazing how powerful an impact online life can have on even longstanding friendships. I saw that first-hand during a trip to Vegas a couple years ago: What Happens in Facebook…

2. Ain’t No Change in the Weather

Given the need for Senate approval, there’s basically no way that the U.S. could sign a global climate change treaty. So President Obama is working on an international “agreement” instead. The goal is to avoid another Kyoto, when the world signed a climate change treaty and the Senate rained on their parade.

3. Worth It?

After fifty days of fighting and a couple days of truce, Quartz takes a look at the latest cease-fire in Gaza, by the numbers.

+ MoJo reports on a game called Peacemaker that let’s you try to solve the Middle East conflict.

+ Freed American journalist Peter Theo Curtis thanks the “brave determined and big-hearted people” who helped save him.

+ The New Yorker’s George Packer: “Among the many reasons to mourn Foley’s death is the loss of his reporting, and of reporting in general, from Syria.”

+ Another reporter who was once kidnapped while reporting in Syria explains why it wasn’t worth it: “Now that he’s gone, I wish I could believe that such an extraordinary person died striving to inform an American public yearning to know the truth. It’s harder to accept what really happened, which is that he died while people eagerly formed opinions on his profession and the topics he covered without bothering to read the stories he put in front of them.”

4. All You Can Eat Buffett

Let’s see if we can gain any insight into Warren Buffett’s investment strategy by looking at some of the companies he’s invested in: Coke, See’s Candy, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Wrigley. You know you want it all. And so does Buffett.

+ Who’s in the office? NPR graphs the American workday.

5. From Startup to Neverending

The process usually goes like this. You start a tech company. You make a few million bucks. Then you realize that, hey, life is good and you’d like to live a little longer. Like forever. Former techie Dave Asprey explains: “I decided that I was just not going to die. That would be my next challenge.” (My next challenge is taking up squash.) FastCo takes you inside the quest to disrupt death.

+ Don’t trust today’s scientists and geeks to find the cure for death? Well, for a couple hundred grand, you can swap your blood for antifreeze and wait things out.

+ Computer modeling and bioengineering could be good for you in the long run. In the near term, it could be even better for those creatures who suffer the slings and arrows (and scalpels) of animal testing.

+ Five diseases that wearables are tackling.

+ You’re not old. It’s just that your blood is old. The latest research on young blood.

6. The Dread Carpet

Remember that story about the white movie producer who was detained and handcuffed on the way to an Emmy party because police thought he was a bank robber? Neither does anybody else. But that did happen to a black producer, which at this point, surprised exactly no one.

7. A Superego, an Id and an Ego Walk Into a Bar

“Clients follow her up a narrow staircase, past the bar and VIP lounge, to a third-floor office where they sit on an old-fashioned red couch that used to belong to Groucho Marx. Clowns gape from the walls. Through the floorboards rise the muffled sounds of jokes living and dying on the stage below.” Meet the psychologist who works out of an office at a comedy club to help comedians to keep laughing.

8. Grad School of Hard Knocks

“People often ask if jail is like Orange Is the New Black, but I see nothing similar in incarceration and entertainment. Every day in jail, you are belittled and berated.” Cecily McMillan explains how she went from grad school to prison.

9. Cutting to the Chase

“I had been talking with Chase for a few years when I finally asked him whether Tony was dead. We were in a tiny coffee shop, when, in the middle of a low-key chat about a writing problem I was having, I popped the question. Chase startled me by turning toward me and saying with sudden, explosive anger, ‘Why are we talking about this?’ I answered, ‘I’m just curious.’ And then, for whatever reason, he told me. And I will tell you. So keep reading.” Spoiler alert. Tony lived. But the ending was really all about your imagination.

10. The Bottom of the News

We started this edition by questioning the ability of the Internet to provide a panacea. Let’s end with a reminder of all that is great about this online world of ours with this remarkably enjoyable video: Is this the new iPhone 6?

+ Can you read these classic first lines of novels written in emojis?

+ ESPN felt the need to report on Michael Sam’s showering habits. One of his teammates summed up the response: “Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it.”

+ Zara decides to pull their recently released shirt that looks like a concentration camp uniform. (Next, they should design themselves a dunce cap.)

+ The GoPro dog harness has arrived.

+ Coming soon to reality TV: Sex Box: A show where people have sex in a box on TV, and then discuss it with an expert panel.

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