Big Tech, Google Search, AI, fundamental change
Photo credit: Garry Knight / Flickr (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

PICKS are stories from many sources, selected by our editors or recommended by our readers because they are important, surprising, troubling, enlightening, inspiring, or amusing. They appear on our site and in our daily newsletter. Please send suggested articles, videos, podcasts, etc. to

Listen To This Story
Voiced by Amazon Polly

It’s the End of Google Search As We Know It (Maria)

The author writes, “Google Search is about to fundamentally change — for better or worse. To align with Alphabet-owned Google’s grand vision of artificial intelligence, and prompted by competition from AI upstarts like ChatGPT, the company’s core product is getting reorganized, more personalized, and much more summarized by AI. … It’s as though Google took the index cards for the screenplay it’s been writing for the past 25 years and tossed them into the air to see where the cards might fall. Also: The screenplay was written by AI. These changes to Google Search have been long in the making.”

Donald Trump Is Now an Early Voting and Vote-By-Mail Evangelist (Reader Steve)

From Democracy Docket: “Former President Donald Trump, who previously vowed to get rid of mail-in ballots because he claimed they cause ‘crooked elections,’ has apparently reversed his stance on absentee and early voting. In a new video posted to the former president’s Truth Social platform, Trump says that ‘absentee voting, early voting and election day voting are all good options’ and encourages his Republican base to ‘make a plan, register and vote.’ It’s the latest development in Trump and the Republican party’s complete reversal on early voting and voting by mail, after years of saying both voting methods lead to widespread election fraud.”

Despite Warnings of Violence at UCLA, Police Didn’t Step in for Over 3 Hours (Gerry)

The authors write, “It’s not clear why police waited so long to respond. But in the hours before they took action, at least 16 people were visibly injured, the majority of them pro-Palestinian, including two protesters who could be seen with blood streaking across their faces and soaking into their clothes, videos and images show. The counterprotesters ignited at least six fireworks; struck protesters at least 20 times with wooden planks, metal poles, and other objects; and punched or kicked at least eight protesters. … Authorities did not report making any arrests and a review by The Post of video footage found no indication attackers were detained.”

Blackstone’s Big Gamble (Laura)

From Business Insider: “In 2017, Blackstone — the world’s largest private-equity firm, which usually caters to big institutions and the very wealthy — decided to give ordinary investors an opportunity to get in on the firm’s magic. It created BREIT, a private fund that buys commercial real estate like warehouses and apartment buildings, and marketed it to everyday investors. … By offering an annual dividend of about 4% in a world where interest rates were close to zero, BREIT quickly became a giant. At its peak in 2021, the fund was attracting as much as $3 billion a month in new investments. Today, BREIT boasts assets of $114 billion — about 8% of Blackstone’s entire fee-earning assets — and has generated over $5 billion in management and performance fees. But over the past two years, some investors have grown suspicious that BREIT isn’t the rock-solid investment Blackstone claims it is.”

Two Ukrainians Detained for Allegedly Plotting Zelenskyy Assassination With Russia (Sean)

The authors write, “Two colonels in Ukraine’s State Protection Service were identified as part of a group planning to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian officials said [last week]. The colonels, who have been detained but not yet been publicly identified, were recruited by the Russian Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, Ukraine said. ‘Their mission involved identifying military personnel within Zelenskyy’s security detail capable of abducting and assassinating him,’ Ukraine’s State Protection Service, or SBU, said.”

The Real Cancel Culture (DonkeyHotey)

From Popular Information: “In 2020, Bari Weiss quit her job as an editor and writer at the New York Times editorial page in a huff. In her public resignation letter, Weiss argued that she was forced out because the paper had become ‘illiberal’ and her more conservative beliefs made her ‘the subject of constant bullying by colleagues.’ In January 2021, Weiss launched a newsletter, Common Sense, with her partner, Nellie Bowles. Weiss billed Common Sense as the antidote to ‘cancel culture,’ which she argued was the practice by progressives of seeking to punish and ostracize anyone who diverged from their ideological orthodoxy. … In 2022, Common Sense rebranded itself as The Free Press to reflect its growing ambitions. … Ironically, as Weiss cashes in on her critique of ‘cancel culture,’ The Free Press has become a central part of a sophisticated right-wing ecosystem that seeks to tear down anything and anyone who diverges too far from their ideology.”  

Locks of Beethoven’s Hair Offer New Clues to the Mystery of His Deafness (Russ)

The author writes, “Using powerful technologies, scientists found staggering amounts of lead and other toxic substances in the composer’s hair that may have come from wine.”


Comments are closed.