Do Ads Keep the Internet Democratic? (And Other News to Chew on)

Drone footage shows nature taking back what’s hers; Washington high-school students build tiny houses for the homeless; and the epic tech battle over adblockers.

Welcome to The Crunch, our weekly roundup of stories from around the web; like reading the news while chomping on granola. Here’s what we’ve been chewing on lately.

Your microbiome says a lot about you

The elusive “aura” we hear about may just be a cloud of skin and fart bacteria. Scientists have recently discovered that individuals walk around in their own microbiome, surrounded by particles released from the skin and the gut. Much like fingerprints, each body has its own and we leave particles behind as we move. Some law enforcement hope the discovery will help track down criminals. (via Wired)

How ads keep the Internet democratic

The largest and most visible tech companies are having a huge battle that might determine the fate of how culture is produced around the entire world, kind of. They’re fighting over adblockers, and if successful, small websites that depend on ads for revenue will essentially be pushed out of the game. (via The Verge)

Tiny houses for the homeless

When these Seattle high-schoolers built a tiny house for a homeless man, locals wondered if this could be an alternative to homeless “tent-cities.”(via KUOW Radio)

The new “women’s” news

Websites that combine feminism, femininity, and real news are popping up everywhere and changing the conversation from the sometimes patronizing tone of typical women’s magazines.  Why do we need these sites anyway? “More women’s outlets means more women editors, writers, and reporters who will end up in mainstream newsrooms.” (via The Columbia Journalism Review)

Nature reclaims her territory

In this three-minute short shot entirely by drone, Tim Sessler portrays the ruins of human establishments (skeletons of houses, empty parks, abandoned schools) where nature has taken over ad flourished. (via The Atlantic)

The wild (and dry) west

After years of record-breaking droughts in the Western states, people are beginning to worry. But Sarah Tory, a drought and water news reporter, makes the case for being optimistic about our situation. The facts may not be in our favor but if we treat the problem as a crisis, “we’re going to be sending out squadrons of armed helicopters against our neighbors, and that’s not a West that any of us wants. (via High Country News)

Pope Francis’ subtle call for inclusion

The Pope called out four American heroes in his address to Congress. One of them was the writer Thomas Merton.  What many didn’t realize was how controversial Merton is within the American Catholic Church.  The Pope’s calling him out was one more of his subtle and not so subtle means of shifting the conservatism of the church to a more open, active, and inclusive stance.  (via Sojourners)  


All photos from Shutterstock.


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