Gawker.com to Shut Down

Gawker is shutting down:

After nearly fourteen years of operation, Gawker.com will be shutting down next week. The decision to close Gawker comes days after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s six other websites, and four months after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal campaign against the company.

Uber to Begin Testing Self-Driving Cars in Pittsburgh

Max Chafkin, reporting for Bloomberg, on Uber’s announcement that they will begin testing “self-driving” cars in Pittsburgh:

Starting later this month, Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved. Google, widely regarded as the leader in the field, has been testing its fleet for several years, and Tesla Motors offers Autopilot, essentially a souped-up cruise control that drives the car on the highway. Earlier this week, Ford announced plans for an autonomous ride-sharing service. But none of these companies has yet brought a self-driving car-sharing service to market.

There will be two “safety drivers” that sit in the car and can take over at any time, but this is a step toward our driverless future. A future generation will look back on the days where we all manually drove cars around as barbaric.

Twitter Rolls Out Abuse Filters

Twitter has finally rolled out some content filters to help curb abusive behavior on the service.

When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior. Turning it on filters lower-quality content, like duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated, from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience. It does not filter content from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with – and depending on your preferences, you can turn it on or off in your notifications settings.

NPR Gets Rid of Comments Section

NPR are removing comments from their website:

In July, NPR.org recorded nearly 33 million unique users, and 491,000 comments. But those comments came from just 19,400 commenters, [managing editor Scott] Montgomery said. That’s 0.06 percent of users who are commenting, a number that has stayed steady through 2016. […] When viewed purely from the perspective of whether the comments were fostering constructive conversations, the change should come as no surprise. The number of complaints to NPR about the current comment system has been growing — complaints that comments were censored by the outside moderators, and that commenters were behaving inappropriately and harassing other commenters.

Good for them. Moving all comments to our forums was the best decision I ever made.

Geoff Rickly on Surviving Martin Shkreli

Gary Suarez, writing at Pitchfork, speaks with Geoff Rickly of Thursday on “surviving” Martin Shkreli. This is the first time I’ve seen Geoff publicly mention that Collect Records was originally going to put out that The Hotelier album:

We would talk about bands. He brought me the Hotelier. I didn’t know them, they were sort of a buzzy band already. But he was super into them. He was always like you’re not signing enough bands. For me, the situation was so good that I didn’t want to lose it. I probably should have pressured him to put more money into each band.

And:

I met with the Hotelier about their record, which is so good. I thought, “This is the record that could save our label, it’s so good. There’s this one song on it that’s so much better than the rest of the record that we finally have a single—a real single.” And they were like, “We can’t do it.” That meeting, I felt like somebody punched me in the stomach. And I didn’t feel like they were betraying me. I just felt like I was understanding there’s no saving it. This is it. This is done.