Weekend reading

Once again, time for some long reads:

When You Give a Tree an Email Address

Officials assigned the trees ID numbers and email addresses in 2013 as part of a program designed to make it easier for citizens to report problems like dangerous branches. The “unintended but positive consequence,” as the chair of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Arron Wood, put it to me in an email, was that people did more than just report issues. They also wrote directly to the trees, which have received thousands of messages—everything from banal greetings and questions about current events to love letters and existential dilemmas.

Spotify is getting unbelievably good at picking music — here’s an inside look at how

There's a playlist on Spotify I love called Discover Weekly. It's updated every Monday with a mix of songs, some I know and some I've never heard, crossing into almost every genre with no discernible pattern. Like magic, it just knows what I want to hear.

2013 was a terrible year for Internet news. 2015 is worse.

Fool us once, shame on you; fool us a hundreds times in a row, and now we’ve got ourselves a working journalism business model here. We were all Henry Hill with an eye on the Chartbeat numbers. We ran everything. We didn’t check sources. We didn’t verify. We scraped Twitter for screenshots. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking.

What Searchable Speech Will Do To You

We are going to start recording and automatically transcribing most of what we say. Instead of evaporating into memory, words spoken aloud will calcify as text, into a Record that will be referenced, searched, and mined. It will happen by our standard combination of willing and allowing. It will happen because it can. It will happen sooner than we think.