How a Guy Who Mastered Tweeting While Peeing Gave Up Tech For a Year

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Welcome to Reading List, Gizmodo's weekend roundup of the best and most interesting writing from around the web. Today, we've got great work from Pacific Standard, Outside, Nautilus, and The Paris Review. Let's dig in!

  • By 2012, David Roberts wasn't just a man, he was a brand: A star political blogger for Grist, by August 2013 he had tens of thousands of Twitter followers and an enviable online presence. But living in the heart of the 24-hour news machine had pushed him nearly to the edge, driving him to take a one-year sabbatical from online life. "I would not blog, tweet, share, pin, like, star, favorite, or forward anything. Internet David Roberts would go silent," he said. He's back now, but he's armed with lessons and a better understanding from a year away from tech. [Outside]
  • You might think the devices we invent to make our lives easier would be duty-bound to interact with us honestly. But as Kate Greene explains, there are plenty of ways technology is designed to deceive us. From "Door Close" elevator buttons that aren't connected to anything, to a decoy bus stop in Germany designed to keep dementia patients from wandering away from a care facility, Greene shows us the fascinating ways tech can be benevolently untruthful—and how that might expand in the future. [Pacific Standard]
  • Caleb Scharf, an astrophysicist and director of Astrobiology at Columbia University, gives us a deep, dark look into what might happen if we were to encounter alien life somewhere else in the universe. I don't want to ruin the surprise, but things could go very badly. [Nautilus]
  • Dan Piepenbring finds joyous, off-beat art where most of us who write for the internet only find frustration and pain: The janky, disjointed language of machine-posted spam in online comment sections. Piepenbring's examples transcend penis pills and get-rich-quick schemes to almost reach the high art of found poetry. [The Paris Review]

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