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Welcome To The Metadata Society — And Beware

There's a potentially sinister side to the crush of data we unwittingly feed into systems like Google, which can use the information not only to make money, but ultimately control us.

Leaving digital thumbprints all over
Leaving digital thumbprints all over
Adrian Lobe

MUNICH — Every day, Google processes 3.5 billion search queries. Users google everything: resumes, diseases, sexual preferences, criminal plans. And in doing so, they reveal a lot about themselves; more so, probably, than they would like.

From the aggregated data, conclusions can be drawn in real time about the emotional balance of society. What's the general mood like? How's the buying mood? Which product is in demand in which region at this second? Where is credit often sought? Search queries are an economic indicator. Little wonder, then, that central banks have been relying on Google data to feed their macroeconomic models and thus predict consumer behavior.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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