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Adam L. Penenberg


Adam is a journalism professor at New York University, and has written for The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, the Economist, as well as many others. He is the author of several books, including the critically acclaimed “Viral Loop.” His latest is “Play at Work: How Games Inspire Breakthrough Thinking,” which is coming out in paperback next year. Follow him on Twitter @penenberg or visit his website,

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    How to protect yourself when GCHQ goes for your webcam

    News that government intelligence agency GCHQ has been intercepting and storing webcam images from 1.8 million users of Yahoo’s chat service under the codename Optic Nerve is a reminder of how close we are to living in a surveillance state. Webcams, embedded in laptops and sitting on top of monitors, have become a standard piece of computing equipment, but it has now become clear that these can be used against us. Hackers have been stealing webcam images of unsuspecting…
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    Arab Bank lawyers claim Pando story poisons jury pool; judge disagrees

    Earlier this week I published an in-depth feature story on Arab Bank and a lawsuit that seeks to hold it responsible for facilitating massive amounts of terror financing. A few days after “Follow the Money: Exposing the secret U.S. operations that help fund suicide bombers” went online, lawyers representing Arab Bank filed a complaint with the court, claiming that two of the attorneys I quote in the story had violated Rules of Professional Conduct in an attempt to “taint…

    Follow the blood money: Exposing the secret US banking operations that help fund suicide bombers

    Editor’s note: This story by Adam Penenberg was first published on Pando in 2014. In March 2015 it was nominated for a Deadline Club award.  The day before he blew himself up, Bassam Jamal Darwish al-Takruri wore a freshly ironed white shirt, blazer, and shiny shoes, as if he were on his way to a job interview. As he was about to leave home for the last time, his father gave him 10 shekels in pocket money, apparently unaware…
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    The Steve Jobs stamp: Commemorating the man who helped destroy the post office

    The Washington Post reports that Steve Jobs will be joining Dora the Explorer, Charlton Heston, Run DMC, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Harvey Milk, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on future commemorative postage stamps. The stamp is being designed and scheduled for release in 2015. It’s is an odd juxtaposition. One of Steve Jobs’s greatest contributions was to turn computers into personal, must-have consumer products, and part of their functionality is communication. They are a main reason, although not the…
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    The greatest pizza box known to man (and it’s patented)

    In the classic cyberpunk novel, Snow Crash, author Neal Stephenson envisions a future when America does only four things well: movies, music, software, and high-speed pizza delivery. Unlike the first three, which experience a constant state of disruption, pizza has resisted change. It’s prepared and delivered pretty much like it was 40 years ago. You call (maybe order online), give your address and ask for extra cheese, pepperoni, maybe some mushrooms, and about 30 minutes later some shlub drives,…
  • scarry

    Patents show that Apple has been trying to break into your car for years

    Rumors abound that Apple has explored the idea of buying Tesla. Naturally the article that started this, published in the San Francisco Chronicle over the weekend, doesn’t come out and say this. It just strongly implied it by reporting that Adrian Perica, Apple’s mergers and acquisitions czar, who has been on a buying spree over the past 18 months, “met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino last spring around the same time analysts suggested Apple acquire the electric…
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    Why stop at 56 gender options? Facebook should add nuance to relationships, too

    For those who feel that identifying yourself as either male or female is too limiting, Facebook now claims to offer 56 new gender options. In addition to such binary categories as male and female, you can be “agender,” “androgyne,” “androgynous,” “Cis,” “gender fluid,” “intersex,” “two-spirit,” “non-binary” — which sounds like something a Facebook coder might choose — a series of variations on “transgender,” and many more. (Click here for a full list.) Kudos for Facebook for recognizing greater nuance…
  • airplane_knot

    Forget Google Glass: If Virgin wants “flying to be a pleasure” it should change how it treats passengers

    Virgin Atlantic concierges in the Upper Class lounge at London’s Heathrow Airport are testing out Google Glass for checking in upper crust passengers. I can just imagine Virgin staff pirouetting their heads like dancers in an avant-garde troupe, whispering sweet nothings to themselves while watching YouTube videos of cats. With Google Glass, airline staff could, according to USA Today, relay the latest flight information and the weather, provide foreign language translations, and one day keep a log of passengers’…
  • marc_2

    Marc Andreessen tweets an astute analysis of the news business

    Marc Andreessen signed up for Twitter six and a half years ago, didn’t post a tweet for four years, and two and a half years ago tweeted once more. [Disclosure: Marc Andreessen is an investor in Pando.] It then took years for him to return to Twitter (982 days to be exact) but following a New Year’s resolution — he timed his first tweet to post at midnight — he sure has been making up for lost time. In fact,…
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    “Selfie” and the worst TV show social media can spawn

    They say we are in a second, or even third Golden Age of Television, when TV has eclipsed movies — Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and before them The Sopranos and The Wire — with the rise of cable TV and the explosion in television channels resulting in unprecedented opportunity for writers and producers to push boundaries and experiment. Depending on whom you ask, the first Golden Age occurred in TV’s early years, the 1940s through 1960s, with shows…

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