Post Holiday Long Reads + Links

Can data ever know who we really are? [medium] Identities are fluid. Who I am at any given time depends on a confluence of factors, the context of the situation I’m in. Sometimes I might want to perform one element of my identity more than another. And that choice is, or should be, mine to decide — it changes based on who I’m with, what I want to project, what’s important to me at that time.

The Books of College Libraries Are Turning Into Wallpaper [theatlantic] The sharp decrease in the circulation of books also obviously coincides with the Great Recession and with the steady decline of humanities majors, as students have shifted from literature, philosophy, and history to STEM disciplines—from fields centered on the book to fields that emphasize the article.

It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?
[wapo] “This is your data. Why should it even leave your phone? Why should it be collected by someone when you don’t know what they’re going to do with it?” says Patrick Jackson, a former National Security Agency researcher who is chief technology officer for Disconnect. He hooked my iPhone into special software so we could examine the traffic. “I know the value of data, and I don’t want mine in any hands where it doesn’t need to be,” he told me.