We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in various categories. Here, the best in business and tech reporting.
We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in various categories. Here, the best in business and tech reporting. Read more…
He’s a forgotten hippie idol, a sage of 1960s counterculture. What can we learn from Bucky Fuller’s faith in technology?
I live in Ulster County–hippie country–not far from a longstanding “Church of Ayahuasca,” where devotees take what they describe as life-altering psychedelic trips induced by drinking a precise mixture of B. caapi tea and chacruna leaf. While I’ve been curious about the experience, I haven’t been enough so to get past the vomiting that’s pretty much a standard part, and the stories I’ve heard about bad trips.
At The New Yorker, Ariel Levy reports on ayahuasca’s recent uptick in popularity in San Francisco among young people in the tech world, and in New York City among the young and the hip. As part of her reporting, she braves one of the ceremonies in Williamsburg, led by an ayahuasquera called Little Owl .
One at a time, we went into the front room to be smudged with sage on the wrestling mats by a woman in her sixties with the silver hair and beatific smile of a Latina Mrs. Claus. When she finished waving her smoking sage at me and said, “I hope you have a beautiful journey,” I was so moved by her radiant good will that I nearly burst into tears.
Once we were all smudged and back in our circle, Little Owl dimmed the lights. “You are the real shaman,” she said. “I am just your servant.”
When it was my turn to drink the little Dixie cup of muck she presented, I was stunned that divine consciousness—or really anything—could smell quite so foul: as if it had already been vomited up, by someone who’d been on a steady dieta of tar, bile, and fermented wood pulp. But I forced it down, and I was stoked. I was going to visit the swampland of my soul, make peace with death, and become one with the universe.
At The New Yorker, Andrew Marantz takes us behind-the-scenes at the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley,” revealing how its writers and creators are so good at accurately skewering the tech world:
The show’s signature gag, from the first season, was a minute-long montage of startup founders pledging to “make the world a better place through Paxos algorithms for consensus protocols,” or to “make the world a better place through canonical data models to communicate between endpoints.” This scene was set at TechCrunch Disrupt, a real event where founders take turns pitching their ideas, “American Idol”-style, to an auditorium full of investors. Before writing the episode, Judge and Berg spent a weekend at TechCrunch Disrupt, in San Francisco. “That’s the first thing you notice,” Judge said. “It’s capitalism shrouded in the fake hippie rhetoric of ‘We’re making the world a better place,’ because it’s uncool to just say ‘Hey, we’re crushing it and making money.’” After the scene aired, viewers complained about the lack of diversity in the audience. Berg recalled, “A friend of mine who works in tech called me and said, ‘Why aren’t there any women? That’s bullshit!’ I said to her, ‘It is bullshit! Unfortunately, we shot that audience footage at the actual TechCrunch Disrupt.’”