Out of oil - Rockefeller family dumps Exxon stock

It’s been a long time in the making but the Rockefeller family has finally cut its investment ties with ExxonMobil - the company founded by no less than John D. Rockefeller. BloombergBusiness quotes the family’s philanthropic foundation as saying, “the Rockefeller Family Fund has concluded there’s ‘no sane rationale’ for companies to explore for oil as governments contemplate cracking down on carbon emissions.” This isn’t a bolt out of the blue - the family began divesting from oil stocks back in 2014 but it still has strong symbolic importance. ExxonMobil, for its part, claimed not to be bothered. “It’s not surprising that they’re divesting from the company since they’re already funding a conspiracy against us,” the company told BloombergBusiness.

Oil drilling makes Oklahoma quake-wary

Staying with oil related news - specifically the impact of prolonged exploration in Oklahoma. The New York Times reports how residents of Oklahoma now face the same earthquake threat level as people living in quake-prone California. It’s not that geologists have just discovered a major new fault line lying below Oklahoma. No, this new threat appears to be entirely man-made according to the United States Geological Survey. As the NYT explains, toxic water from increased oil and gas production is being disposed of by “re-injecting it into the ground, into rock formations thousands of feet below the surface, increasing the pressure on existing subterranean faults, and causing them to slip and produce tremors.”

Mapping digital disruption

Two decades on from the dot-com boom it shouldn’t be any surprise that digital has become mainstream within all forms of business. But which industries are being disrupted the most and the fastest? Harvard Business Review has assessed a new study by Russell Reynolds Associates that asks more than 2,000 top executives how digital will disrupt their industry over the next 12 months. Retail, Consumer Financial Services and Telecom are all sectors ripe for disruption according to the study but none of them more so than the media business. Much like 20 years ago then. 

Behind the mask - the hidden story of Oculus Rift

Which leads us rather nicely onto virtual reality (a major disruptor of media if ever there was one) and the consumer launch of the Oculus Rift system. As thousands of first adopters prepare to tune in and tune out of this world Wired goes behind the scenes at the Facebook-owned VR company to learn how Oculus finally cracked the consumer experience of a technology that has vexed developers for years.

Microsoft says sorry for bad-mouth chatbot

Finally today, a story of when technology goes off script. Microsoft has apologised for racist and sexist Tweets posted last week by its artificial intelligence “chatbot”. Tay, the name given to the bot, was programmed to become “smarter” as more users interacted with it online. Unfortunately the bot’s education consisted of “a slew of anti-Semitic and other hateful invective that human Twitter users fed the program, forcing Microsoft Corp to shut it down on Thursday,” the Guardian writes. Had the company’s programmers never paid attention to Twitter conversations before?

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