Explainers

In This Week’s New Yorker, We Learn Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Wears an Albanian Army Dog Tag

Man with the plan. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

In this week’s issue of the New Yorker, there’s an intriguing profile about Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his company’s boom.

The lengthy piece, penned by Ken Auletta, is an interesting deep-dive on how the streaming site maneuvered away from the edge of irrelevance to the dominant, Emmy-winning, Robin Wright-purveying entertainment powerhouse that it is. Read More

The Future of the Ebook

O Pioneers! Twitter Launches a Virtual Fiction Festival to Help Storytellers Get Experimental

Awaiting the future of fiction. (Photo: Plympton, via Instagram)

Still more evidence that Twitter means business about its positioning as a media brand: In an event today at the New York Public Library, head of editorial programming Andrew Fitzgeraldannounced a Twitter Fiction Festival, a wholly virtual event that’ll run November 28 to December 2.

The goal, according to Mr. Fitzgerald, is to “push the outward bounds of what people thing of when they think of content on Twitter.” Read More

Scandals

New Yorker Cartoon Page Temporarily Banned by Facebook Because Nipples

The titillating cartoon in question. (Photo: Mick Stevens, The New Yorker)

Despite what those skimpy bikini pics in your news feed might indicate, Facebook has really been cracking down on nudity recently. Even camel toes are inappropriate now! But what about cartoon imagery? Surely line-drawn naked bodies are art, are they not?

Actually…not. Turns out Facebook has become so prudish that they temporarily banned the New Yorker’s official page because one of its cartoons was deemed too racy. Read More

Bitcoin Drama

The New Yorker’s Joshua Davis Attempts to Identify Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

satoshi

The New Yorker has a great story in its upcoming issue about Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency still trucking along after a glorious rise in value to $33 USD due to a spate of media-driven attention followed by a plunge to about $5 USD, where it stands now. The writer, Joshua Davis, attempted to find Bitcoin’s creator, the probably pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, who after years of prolific postings on the internet wrote to Bitcoin project lead Gavin Andresen in April that he had “moved on to other things.”

“He’s a world-class programmer, with a deep understanding of the C++ programming language,” Dan Kaminsky, one of the country’s top internet security experts, said of Mr. (or Ms.) Nakamoto. “He understands economics, cryptography and peer-to-peer networking. Either there’s a team of people who worked on this, or this guy is a genius.”

Mr. Davis started following Mr. Nakamoto’s trail of online writing, and noticed that, after an initial post announcing Bitcoin that used American spelling, the programmer used the British spelling, referred to London newspapers and at one point using the phrase “bloody hard”–suggesting he had lived or studied in the U.K. or Ireland.

Mr. Davis headed to the close-knit cryptography conference Crypto 2011 to find more traces of Nakamoto. He found nine attendees who fit the bill. Two were dismissive of Bitcoin; two had no history with large software projects. Then Mr. Davis started looking into a man named Michael Clear. Read More

You Like Me?

New Yorker Sees 8% Growth in Likes After Facebook Fan Whoring Experiment

Used to be cool.

We are sad for you, New Yorker. Recall: The magazine released to the free internet an essay by Jonathan Franzen on the condition readers “like” its Facebook page. Simon Owens had the presence of mind to check how many “likes” the brand had before and after the stunt and noticed a gain of 16,000. These fans are worth anywhere from $3.60 to $136.38, Mr. Owens writes; we’d argue for the more conservative lower limit of $0.00. Read More