The lesson of Cambridge Analytica: Facebook shares your data by design.

Cambridge Analytica, a company funded by Republican backer Robert Mercer, used data from 50 million Facebook users to model the electorate. But this isn’t a data breach. Facebook is a machine designed to encourage people to share their preferences, then exploit it for profit. Despite Facebook’s protests, this is a feature, not a bug. According … Continued

Analytical thinking: Unexpected consequences of a single election

A Democrat narrowly won a special election for an open congressional seat in western Pennsylvania. It’s only one election. But as an exercise in analytical thinking, let’s figure out what it could mean. First, the facts. Tim Murphy, the Republican in the 18th congressional district, resigned after his mistress said he’d told her to get … Continued

Emma Gonzalez and the power of victims

Look at this amazing statement from Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Is there any question that this woman will be one of tomorrow’s leaders? This level of passion, logic, persuasion, and maturity in an 18-year-old is remarkable. Ms. Gonzalez has taken her status as a victim and turned it … Continued

Time to cut burdensome airline regulations? Or add some more?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Airlines for America, the lobbying organization for airlines, has asked the Department of Transportation to end some popular airline rules. Donald Trump is all about cutting regulations, which is why his DOT asked the airlines what to cut. Any business owner will tell you that regulations are a pain … Continued

The SpaceX Tesla and the military parade are both legit branding exercises

Yesterday, we learned about two promotional stunts, one executed and one planned. Elon Musk launched a Tesla Roadster into solar orbit and word leaked that Donald Trump and the U.S. military were planning a massive military parade. These are both branding exercises. What do they say about the brands they reflect? Sports cars in space … Continued

Murky motivations muddle the Nunes memo

On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee released the formerly classified memo written by Representative Devin Nunes casting doubt on the political motivations of the FBI. Some say it proves bias; others have demonstrated how it omits facts and muddies timing to make a partisan point. But as writing goes, it’s like chasing a rabbit down … Continued

The NSA adopts new watchwords in its mission and values statements

The NSA changed its mission statement, deleting honesty and changing the definitions of integrity and transparency. The changes are revealing, because changes in mission statements reflect changes in how an organization views itself. The Intercept noticed that the NSA mission had changed. You can read the old statement, archived, here; the new one is here. … Continued