- The Atlantic's Ed Yong notes the discovery of dated Homo sapiens fossils 300k years old in Morocco. (!)
- The Atlantic reports on Twitter-driven science that has highlighted the remarkable visual acuity of the spider.
- The Economist notes that multilingual societies can encounter more difficulties prospering than unilingual ones.
- Torontoist notes a Thunder Bay park devoted to the idea of First Nations reconciliation.
- The Inter Press Service reports on how gardens grown under solar tents in Bolivia can improve nutrition in poor highland villages.
- The Toronto Star's Christopher Hume trolls Rob Ford's supporters over the new, well-designed, Etobicoke Civic Centre.Metro Toronto calculates just how many avocado toasts would go into a mortgage in the GTA.
- MacLean's hosts a collection of twenty photos from gritty Niagara Falls, New York.
- The National Post shows remarkable, heartbreaking photos from the flooded Toronto Islands.
- Edward Keenan argues that the Toronto Islands' flooding should help prompt a local discussion on climate change.
- Bloomberg looks at the recent surge of Chinese investment in Southeast Asia.
- Culture.pl looks at why Nietzsche falsely claimed Polish ancestry.
- Foreign Policy suggests that this is a new age of German prominence in the West.
- The New Yorker finds Amazon's new brick-and-mortar bookstores lacking.
- The Toronto Star shares claims that learning a second language provides mental benefits.
- Universe Today notes the discovery of potentially habitable super-Earth Gliese 625 b.
- Vice's Motherboard notes how the popularization of ayahuasca-driven spirit quests has actually hurt traditional users.
- Vox notes the latest Russia-Ukraine history fight on Twitter.
There are many reasons to criticize the government of Ontario's Liberal premier, Kathleen Wynne. There are many ways to criticize her. The personal abuse described in Mike Crawley's CBC News report is not one of these ways.
The replies to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Twitter are not for the faint of heart.
The tweets at Wynne predominantly express anger about her record and most stay within the bounds of fair comment, not crossing the line into personal abuse. Such calls as "Resign!" "You're incompetent!" and "Worst premier ever!" are now simply part of the deal for a politician in the era of social media.
But Wynne also draws a significant number of abusive, sexist and homophobic tweets. [. . .]
The comments on Wynne's Facebook page are equally nasty, but her communications team filters out posts that contain the most abusive words so the public can't view them.
A member of the premier's staff showed CBC News nearly 40 Facebook posts filtered out from just the past week, including ones calling Wynne a "wrinkly bitch" (by a Facebook user named George Onock) a "subhuman, dirty dyke" (Frank Yurkowski) and a "lying cheating c--t."
- Bloomberg talks about Poland's problems with economic growth, notes that McMansions are poor investments, considers what to do about the Olympics post-Rio, looks at new Japanese tax incentives for working women, looks at a French war museum that put its stock up for sale, examines the power of the New Zealand dairy, looks at the Yasukuni controversies, and notes Huawei's progress in China.
- Bloomberg View is hopeful for Brazil, argues demographics are dooming Abenomics, suggests ways for the US to pit Russia versus Iran, looks at Chinese fisheries and the survival of the ocean, notes that high American population growth makes the post-2008 economic recovery relatively less notable, looks at Emperor Akihito's opposition to Japanese remilitarization, and argues that Europe's soft response to terrorism is not a weakness.
- CBC notes that Russian doping whistleblowers fear for their lives, looks at how New Brunswick farmers are adapting to climate change, and looks at how Neanderthals' lack of facility with tools may have doomed them.
- The Globe and Mail argues Ontario should imitate Michigan instead of Québec, notes the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix, and predicts good things for Tim Horton's in the Philippines.
- The Guardian notes that Canada's impending deal with the European Union is not any model for the United Kingdom.
- The Inter Press Service looks at child executions in Iran.
- MacLean's notes that Great Lakes mayors have joined to challenge a diversion of water from their shared basin.
- National Geographic looks at the elephant ivory trade, considers the abstract intelligence of birds, considers the Mayan calendar's complexities, and looks at how the young generation treats Pluto's dwarf planet status.
- The National Post notes that VIA Rail is interested in offering a low-cost bus route along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia.
- Open Democracy notes that the last Russian prisoner in Guantanamo does not want to go home, and wonders why the West ignores the Rwandan dictatorship.
- TVO considers how rural communities can attract immigrants.
- Universe Today suggests sending our digital selves to the stars, looks at how cirrus clouds kept early Mars warm and wet, and notes the discovery of an early-forming direct-collapse black hole.
- Variance Explained looks at how Donald Trump's tweets clearly show two authors at work.
- The Washignton Post considers what happens when a gay bar becomes a bar with more general appeal.
- Wired notes that the World Wide Web still is far from achieving its founders' dreams, looks at how news apps are dying off, and reports on the Univision purchase of Gawker.
- Al Jazeera looks at the rejection of political Islam by Tunisia's Ennahda party.
- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation notes the ambition of Zambia to become a major food-exporting country.
- Bloomberg notes the negative impact of booming immigration on the New Zealand economy, observes Ireland's efforts to attract financial jobs from London-based companies worried by Brxit, reports on the elimination of Brazil's sovereign wealth fund, and notes a lawsuit lodged by Huawei against Samsung over royalties.
- Bloomberg View notes that Russia can at least find domestic investors, and worries about the politicization of the Israeli military.
- CBC reports on the Syrian refugee who has become a popular barber in Newfoundland's Corner Brooks, notes the sad news of Gord Downie's cancer, and wonders what will happen to Venezuela.
- Daily Xtra writes about the need for explicit protection of trans rights in Canadian human rights codes.
- MacLean's notes Uber's struggles to remain in Québec.
- National Geographic notes Brazilian efforts to protect an Amazonian tribe.
- The National Post reports about Trudeau's taking a day off on his Japan trip to spend time with his wife there.
- Open Democracy wonders what will become of the SNP in a changing Scotland.
- The Toronto Star looks at payday lenders.
- Wired examines Twitter's recent changes.
- Bloomberg notes Twitter will stop counting photos and links against its 140-character limit, reports on the challenges of the new Taiwanese president, and reports on Japan's efforts to boost its workforce.
- Bloomberg View argues European banks just aren't good at investment banking, suggests austerity worked for Latvia, and argues an IMF suggestion of a debt holiday for Greece is impolitic.
- CBC notes J.K. Rowling's defense of Donald Trump.
- Via The Dragon's Gaze, I found this Eurekalert post noting a search for Earth-like worlds around highly evolved stars, like the red giants that our sun will evolve into.
- Gizmodo reports on how Sweden is moving the city of Kiruna to safer ground, and describes Amazon's interest in opening more physical bookstores.
- The Inter Press Service wonders what will happen to Brazil now.
- The National Post notes the mysteries surrounding a secret American military spaceplane.
- Open Democracy looks at the human rights consequences of Mexico's long-running drug war.
- TVO considers the impact of a long NDP leadership campaign on the party.
- Bloomberg notes Petrobras' dismissal of rumours it is threatened by the impeachment, observes that many Europeans expect a chain reaction of departures if the United Kingdom leaves, notes that a return to high economic growth in Israel will require including the Palestinian minority, and
looks at Panamanian efforts to convince the world that the country is not a tax haven.
- The Globe and Mail remembers Mi'kMaq teacher Elsie Basque, and looks at how Mongolia is trying to adapt to the new economy.
- Bloomberg View states the obvious, noting that an expected event is not a wild swan.
- CBC notes Rachel Notley's tour of Fort McMurray.
- The Inter Press Service notes the denial of everything about the Rohingya.
- MacLean's looks at further confusion in Brazil.
- Open Democracy notes a push for land reform in Paraguay and looks at the devastation of Scotland's Labour Party.
- Wired notes the dependence of intelligence agencies on Twitter, proved by Twitter shutting an intermediary down.
D-Brief's Nathaniel Scharping blogs about a new computer algorithm that can detect drunken tweeters.
Drunk tweets, long considered an unfortunate, yet ubiquitous, byproduct of the social media age, have finally been put to good use.
With the help of a machine-learning algorithm, researchers from the University of Rochester cross-referenced tweets mentioning alcohol consumption with geo-tagging information to broadly analyze human drinking behavior. They were able to estimate where and when people imbibed, and, to a limited extent, how they behaved under the influence. The experiment is more than a social critique — the algorithm helps researchers spot drinking patterns that could inform public health decisions, and could be applied to a range of other human behaviors.
To begin with, the researchers sorted through a selection of tweets from both New York City and rural New York with the help of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Users identified tweets related to drinking and picked out keywords, such as “drunk,” “vodka” and “get wasted,” to train an algorithm.
They put each relevant tweet through a series of increasingly stringent questions to home in on tweets that not only referenced the author drinking, but indicated that they were doing so while sending the tweet. That way, they could determine whether a person was actually tweeting and drinking, or just sending tweets about drinking. Once they had built up a dependable database of keywords, they were able to fine-tune their algorithm so it could recognize words and locations that likely proved people were drinking.
To get tweeters’ locations, they used only tweets that had been geo-tagged with Twitter’s “check-in” feature. They then approximated users’ home locations by checking where they were when they sent tweets in the evenings, in addition to tweets containing words like “home” or “bed.” This let them know whether users’ preferred to drink at home or out at bars or restaurants.
The Economist take on Twitter's travails is not encouraging.
Faithful followers of Twitter believe that Jack Dorsey, one of the social network’s founders, is the only person capable of turning around the struggling firm. Mr Dorsey (pictured below, during a recent Old Testament beard experiment) returned as its boss last year, taking over from Dick Costolo, who had led the company during a chaotic round of executive departures and strategic changes. True believers hope Mr Dorsey will be a reincarnation of the late Steve Jobs, who returned from exile to restore Apple to greatness.
So far, however, Mr Dorsey has yet to perform miracles. On February 10th Twitter reported lacklustre earnings for the first full quarter that he has been back in charge. It now has 320m monthly users, no more than it had in the previous quarter, and it is unlikely to turn a profit until 2019.
When Twitter went public in 2013, some believed it could become larger than Facebook, an older rival. Mr Costolo promised to build the “largest daily audience in the world”. Its prospects looked bright. Unlike Facebook, which began as a service on desktop computers, Twitter has always been popular on mobile devices, so it did not have to cope with a difficult transition.
However, it has become clear that Twitter will never become the giant it was supposed to be. The pace at which it is adding users has slowed far sooner than it did at Facebook (see chart). Mark Zuckerberg’s outfit, which now has 1.6 billion monthly users, has grown swiftly by buying potential competitors such as Instagram, a photo-sharing site. One sign of Twitter’s ill health is that its number of users in America has stayed flat, at around 70m, for a full year, suggesting that it is approaching a ceiling in the world’s most important advertising market.
- Centauri Dreams notes the study of the atmosphere of super-Earth 55 Cancri e.
- The Dragon's Tales notes the discovery of a new extremophile living deep within the Earth.
- Geocurrents notes the nationalist defacement of maps at Stanford University.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the alliances between indigenous peoples and environentalists.
- The New APPS Blog notes a global preference for fairness.
- The Planetary Society Blog has a lovely time-lapse photo of light playing against a Martian cliff.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer dislikes pop linguistics.
- Spacing Toronto notes the night Neil Young was conceived.
- Towleroad considers the sexual orientation of Deadpool.
- Whatever's John Scalzi talks about what he would like from Twitter.
- Window on Eurasia notes controversy around the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in the Russian Far East.
I came across Joshua Topolsky's article in The New Yorker predicting the fall of Twitter into irrelevance on Facebook, funnily enough. I would say that, as a Twitter user who rarely uses the service, the issues Topolsky identifies speak to me.
It wasn’t that long ago that I—and many other people I know—would have argued that Twitter was more than just another social network. I would have told you that Twitter was more like a utility, a service so fundamental that I could imagine a scenario in which it was literally underwritten. Twitter needed to exist. A stream of those hundred-and-forty-character tweets was how you found the most crucial, critical, and thought-provoking stories of the moment.
[. . .]
But cracks in Twitter’s façade had been showing already. Changes to the product made it hard to follow conversations or narratives. A lack of rigor in verifying reliable sources made information suspect or confusing. More troubling was the growing wave of harassment and abuse that users of the service were dealing with—a quagmire epitomized by the roving flocks of hateful, misogynistic, and well-organized “Gamergate” communities that flooded people’s feeds with hate speech and threats. The company seemed to be wholly unprepared to handle mob violence, with few tools at its disposal to moderate or quell uprisings. Even its beloved celebrity users couldn’t be protected. In August of 2014, Robin Williams’s daughter, Zelda, was driven off the service after a series of vicious attacks.
Of course, getting noisy isn’t the only problem Twitter has today, though it seems to be one of the more pronounced symptoms of a company that has lost its direction, or, more worryingly (and perhaps more accurately), never had much direction to begin with. After a summer of turmoil and indecision—a summer spent largely rudderless after the resignation of the C.E.O., Dick Costolo—the company reappointed its co-founder, the Silicon Valley wunderkind Jack Dorsey, and signalled that, perhaps for the first time in a long time, Twitter could find its focus.
That focus would have to come fast. In the yearlong stretch leading up to Dorsey’s return, the number of active users on Twitter only grew by eleven per cent. Even more troubling was the service’s penetration in the U.S.: it remained completely flat for the first three quarters of 2015. Facebook has surpassed the company by orders of magnitude, but it’s hardly Twitter’s only foe. Instagram, WhatsApp, and even WeChat all now have more individual users than Twitter does. Snapchat has almost caught Twitter, too.
In Facebook’s case, the company has demonstrated its mastery of product focus and long-term commitment to user experience. While Mark Zuckerberg’s empire sent users sloshing to and fro on the seas of privacy invasion in its early years, the past five years have seen the company come to dominate and define the concept of a social conversation. If users get abusive on Facebook, they’re dealt with. If someone wants to wage a campaign of noise and intrusion, the repercussions are varied and plentiful. You may not agree with Zuckerberg’s “one identity” concept, but the fact that people have to register their real names has certainly made Facebook a much safer space in which to engage. That’s to say nothing of its mobile and ad offerings, which the company has finally paired elegantly, allowing Facebook to take an even larger bite of mobile-ad dollars. The company closed its latest quarter with revenue up a whopping fifty-one per cent year over year.
Meanwhile, a series of mediocre product changes at Twitter (such as the much-hyped but ultimately confusing Moments feature), a stagnant user base, and a massive executive brain drain have called into question whether Twitter can survive as a business. In the past week, the company has lost its vice-president of media, V.P. of product (to Instagram, natch), its head of the growing video service Vine (to Google), its V.P. of engineering, and its H.R. head. Unsurprisingly, the company’s stock has lost about fifty per cent of its value over the past three months.
But what should worry Twitter isn’t the value of its stock. (USA Today reported that, given its cash reserves, the service could run for another four hundred and twelve years with current losses.) What should worry Twitter is irrelevance, and there is growing data to suggest that that is where the company is headed. If Twitter’s real-time feed is its most powerful asset (and it is), it’s not difficult to see a future in which Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or even a newcomer like Peach (yes, I am citing Peach) focus enough on real-time news that they obviate the need for Twitter’s narrow, noisy, and oft-changing ideas about social interaction. Considering the fact that Kevin Weil, the head of product, left the company to join Instagram, it’s easy to imagine that service mutating or bifurcating into a speedier, more social platform for sharing links and having conversations. And, for many users—particularly young users, according to a recent survey—Snapchat is already their most important destination. We live in the Age of the Upgrade, and the generation raised on the Internet is the most fickle of brand champions: it loves something passionately, until it doesn’t. Then it moves on.
The Guardian reports on this wonderful, serendipitous photo.
A photograph of a Manchester street strewn with revellers is being lauded online for artfully capturing a uniquely British New Year’s Eve celebration.
The striking image, shot by freelance news photographer Joel Goodman, first appeared in a picture gallery on the Manchester Evening News website, and was brought to Twitter’s attention by BBC producer Roland Hughes.
The image, likened in its composition to a Renaissance masterpiece, depicts police wrestling a man in the foreground, crowds watching near a Greggs bakery in the back, and a gentleman in blue, reclining on the bitumen, reaching for a nearby beer.
Hughes’ post was retweeted more 25,000 times, his suggestion the photo looked “like a beautiful painting” inspiring some on Twitter to turn it into one.
Torontoist's Sarah Niedoba reacts to the news that Norm Kelly has been identified by Twitter as Canada's most valuable tweeter. Perhaps I should spend more time on that platform?
Twitter Canada has named Toronto City Councillor and all-around 6ix dad @norm Canada’s Most Valuable Tweeter, a recognition of his continuing service as Drake’s ambassador on city council.
Once known for his denial of climate change, now celebrated for his insights into rapper feuds, @norm won the weeklong poll with 34,019 votes, beating out Justin Bieber (14,412), P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens (3,506), and our nation’s leader, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (3,207).
Some of Kelly’s very valuable Twitter compositions include an ongoing countdown to Christmas, dadly quotes like “There are no mistakes in life, just lessons,” and reminders of what day of the week it is.
The Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski examines something I had noticed earlier this week. The expansion of the subway's WiFi I like, but the Twitter login? Not so much.
The TTC may have expanded its free Wi-Fi offering this month to another four stations. But the number of riders who can access it has been temporarily confined to those with Twitter accounts.
The social media company has a sponsorship agreement with BAI Canada, the TTC’s internet provider, for the month of December making internet access on the subway conditional on logging on to Twitter.
Riders who don’t have an account and want to text on the TTC would have to open one before heading underground. Those who already have one will automatically connect to the TConnect service on the TTC and remain connected for 12 hours on Wi-Fi accessible stations.
The transit sponsorship agreement is a first for Twitter, said spokesman Cameron Gordon.
“Anything in terms of privacy from our side is no different than if you were signing up for a Twitter account above ground,” said Gordon, adding that it takes about 45 seconds to create a Twitter account.
Twitter’s terms and conditions apply while you’re using it.
Robinson Meyer's <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/11/conversation-smoosh-twitter-decay/412867/><U>article</u></a> is thought-provoking. I frankly remain largely inactive on that medium for different reasons, but I can see how this sort of collapse in meaning and understanding would be offputting. <blockquote>Anthropologists who study digital spaces have diagnosed that a common problem of online communication is “context collapse.” This plays with the oral-literate distinction: When you speak face-to-face, you’re always judging what you’re saying by the reaction of the person you’re speaking to. But when you write (or make a video or a podcast) online, what you’re saying can go anywhere, get read by anyone, and suddenly your words are finding audiences you never imagined you were speaking to. I think Stewart is identifying a new facet of this. It’s not quite context collapse, because what’s collapsing aren’t audiences so much as expectations. Rather, it’s a collapse of speech-based expectations and print-based interpretations. It’s a consequence of the oral-literate hybrid that flourishes online. It’s conversation smoosh. What I like about Stewart’s work isn’t just that she identifies this mechanic. She can say that conversation smoosh (which, to be very clear here, is my term) is a force shaping the network without conceding it’s entirely a bad thing. As she writes: Twitter, dead or no, is still a powerful and as yet unsurpassed platform for raising issues and calling out uncomfortable truths, as shown in its amplification of the #Ferguson protests to media visibility (in a way Facebook absolutely failed to do thanks to the aforementioned algorithmic filters). Twitter is, as my research continues to show, a path to voice. At the same time, Twitter is also a free soapbox for all kinds of shitty and hateful statements that minimize or reinforce marginalization, as any woman or person of colour who’s dared to speak openly about the raw deal of power relations in society will likely attest. And calls for civility will do nothing except reinforce a respectability politics of victim-blaming within networks. Stewart calls the ability for marginalized groups to seize the mic “tactical Twitter.” (This is a way, way better term than “Twitter shaming,” which is what Jon Ronson and many others previously preferred to call the effect.) Tactical Twitter has aided civil-rights movements and neofascistic ones. And the media intensifies Tactical Twitter by watching Twitter as a social network more closely than it does other sites—what happens there gets turned into news stories in a way that doesn’t happen in other places.</blockquote>
In MacLean's, journalist Rosemary Counter describes how she survived a fierce global Twitter reaction to one of her articles.
At 1:54 a.m., the first tweet came. “Please help, very racist article!” it read, with a sudden sense of urgency and a link to my most recent piece in a city newspaper. The headline, at the time, read, “A feast of local delicacies not for the faint-hearted,” and the body was a short travel piece about challenging myself to eat strange (to me) local delicacies while in the Philippines.
A few months earlier, and with the help of a Filipino guide who kindly escorted me around Palawan ordering foods for me to try, I’d eaten woodworm and “chicken ass” (his words) and crocodile. With what was supposed to be a Buzzfeed-esque quick-hit tone, I described each with a personal “ick factor,” then ate them anyhow. I enjoyed all but one, a boiled duck embryo called balut, which, because I’d eaten all the other foods and topped it off with a malaria pill in sweltering heat, I took one look at before vomiting over a wall. (Once upon a time, this was a funny story.) I returned to Canada with fabulous memories and experiences, psyched to write about my trip.
The first piece published was about my afternoon at the Selfie Museum at Manila, the world’s first and only selfie museum. Nobody noticed it.
Similarly, the food piece, for five glorious days, received only a handful of the usual “great job!” comments and a casual few Facebook likes, mostly for the photo of me with my tongue out and about to eat a woodworm, which we’d added at the last minute just for fun. Otherwise, the piece’s tone was amped up to be “edgy,” then turned up another notch online, where its title changed to “PETA-offending treats on the menu in the Philippines.”
The click bait didn’t work; the piece failed to gain steam and I had mostly already forgotten about it. I was getting married out of town that weekend, had been frantic and distracted for months. In fact, at first, I wasn’t even sure which piece the tweet referred to. In six years as a freelance writer, I’ve only dabbled in travel writing, but a handful of pieces came to mind as maybe-offenders. In those same six years, I’ve become used to the occasional negative tweet. Usually, I immediately and sheepishly apologize.
- The Big Picture shares photos relating to the restoration of Cuban-American relations.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about why she uses Twitter.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a study noting the sulfur-rich environment of protostar HH 212.
- The Dragon's Tales reports a Chinese plan to develop a mixed fission/fusion reactor.
- Language Log notes an example of Chinese writing in pinyin without accompanying script.
- Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen notes the importance of Kevin Kwan's novels about Chinese socialites.
- Language Hat reports on an effort to save the Nuu language of South Africa.
- Languages of the World reports on Urum, the Turkic language of Pontic Greeks.
- Discover's Out There reports on the oddities of Pluto.
- The Planetary Society Blog's Emily Lakdawalla explains why the New Horizons data from Pluto is still being processed.
- Spacing Toronto reports from a Vancouver porch competition.
- Towelroad notes a married gay man with a child denied Communion at his mother's funeral.
- Window on Eurasia notes racism in Russia, looks at Tajikistan's interest in the killing of its citizens in Russia, suggests Belarus is on the verge of an explosion, and examines Mongolian influence in Buryatia.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly comes out in favour of not trying to lead the life of an overachiever.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper noting the extent to which circumstellar habitable zones are influenced by the evolution of their stars.
- The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the sociology of summer vacations. Who gets to take one?
- Language Hat notes the complexities of Unicode.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the sweatshops of Argentina.
- The Planetary Society Blog's Emily Lakdawalla shares the latest pictures of Pluto while Jason Davis shares the first photos taken from the interior of the Society's solar sail.
- Towleroad notes Caitlyn Jenner's outpouring of support on Twitter.
- Window on Eurasia notes the practical collapse of federalism in Russia.
Bloomberg's Dara Doyle notes, in the context of Ireland's upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage, one consequence of its economic policy aimed at becoming a business hub: Big business is interested in the outcome.
When Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny rallied support for gay marriage ahead of a referendum this month, he got a little more than the usual help from Twitter Inc.
As well as disseminating the message through its social media, the company is backing the “yes” campaign, which is leading the polls before the May 22 vote. It says allowing wedlock for two people of the same sex is good for the economy. Other public declarations of support have come from Google Inc. and EBay Inc., which also have European headquarters in Ireland.
“Marriage equality is as good for our value as it is for our values,” Kenny said at an event last month among the stripped-down brick walls and bare floorboards of the Digital Exchange, a home for startup technology companies.
Just as the issue of gay rights in the U.S. has pit big business against a conservative opposition, in Ireland it’s the government supported by some of the world’s biggest Internet companies versus the tax friendly nation’s past as an upholder of Roman Catholic values.
[. . .]
“Twitter’s clear implication is that if we vote no it will be bad for business and bad for our international reputation,” said Ben Conroy, a spokesman for the Iona Institute, whose stated mission is to promote marriage and religion in society. “The most powerful economy in Europe, Germany, does not have same-sex marriage, so the idea that voting no would be bad for business is clearly ridiculous.”