Nancy Scola

Nancy Scola is a writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in Science Progress, Politics Magazine, AlterNet, and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Recent Articles

Facebook Bares Its Soul

The company's initial public offering files reveal what its aspirations are, even as competitors play catch-up.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
"Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg writes in the letter included in the initial public offering (IPO) filings his company deposited with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday. "These days I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximizing profits." Facebook's $5 billion IPO filing reveals much about the economics and inner workings of the company. You can read elsewhere for the specifics on that front. The 150-page document also offers a glimpse of what the company believes and seems to be thinking as it moves more decisively onto the public stage. Some early takeaways: There's More to Life Online than Advertisements. For many years, Facebook's business model has been simple. Take the vast quantities of personal data we willingly shovel onto the platform. Add in the meta data we reveal as we move about the site...

Jimmy Wales Needs Your Help

Amid concerns over its shrinking editor base, Wikipedia sets out to prove it can survive and expand on small donations.

Robertolyra, Creative Commons license M uch of the Internet's attention the last two months has focused on stopping the various copyright bills being entertained in Congress, but at the same time, Wikipedia has been quietly running its annual fundraising campaign. With awkward banner ads featuring Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Wikimedia Foundation staffers, and volunteers, the campaign aims to cover Wikimedia's operating budget of $25 million. If working to halt bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act is a defensive move, Wikipedia's fundraising campaign is an offense. Just ten years old, Wikipedia has become a go-to repository of the world's knowledge, pulling in nearly half a billion unique visitors a month—enough to make it one of the top six websites in the world. Its success is improbable. "The problem with Wikipedia," a Wikipedia contributor named Gareth Owen writes , "is that it only works in practice. In theory, it's a total disaster...

Just TELL Me You're Gonna Invade My Privacy

Federal regulators have reached a settlement with Facebook over privacy violations—but it's just a slap on the wrist for an industry that regularly sells user data.

Washington, D.C., and Facebook Inc. took part yesterday in another round of what we might call "working on their relationship." But that we're fixated on specific privacy violations rather than the day-in-day-out use of our personal data lets us know that there's a limit to the conversation in which they're engaged. What happened is this: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached a settlement with Facebook that requires the company to stop engaging in privacy-violating practices and to participate in regular third-party privacy audits for the next 20 years. The agreement, prompted by a complaint by privacy-advocacy groups, is meant to address several places were Facebook was found to have gone astray in recent years—not truly deleting deleted user accounts, sharing friend lists that had been marked private, and changing privacy settings without really telling anyone. The agreement still needs to be approved by FTC commissioners at the end of December, after a period of public comment...

Off-Season

The possible demise of the Women's Professional Soccer league leaves soccer-playing girls without a dream to aspire to — and women's soccer in the U.S. without a plan. 

Natasha Kai of Sky Blue FC // Credit: WPS
The future is not looking bright for Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) in the United States. The pro league has dropped down to just five teams with October's disqualification of Florida's bungled magicJack franchise (the old Washington Freedom of the WPS, and WUSA, its predecessor league). At the moment, U.S. Soccer, the sport's governing body in the U.S., is dragging its heels in granting the waiver WPS needs to operate a Division 1 league with fewer than eight teams. For various reasons, national team players like the newly famous and semi-famous Abby Wambach, Lauren Cheney, Alex Morgan, and Hope Solo aren't likely to play in a noncertified or Division 2 league, and discussed new teams in Connecticut and even Detroit aren't likely to manifest before the early December deadline U.S. Soccer has placed on the league . The possible, perhaps even probable, demise of the WPS after three seasons would leave the United States without a pro soccer league and no place for soccer-playing...

Our Municipal Dollars, Ourselves

Occupy Wall Street's power lies in changing the political conversation.

"They don't know how to fix this," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about Occupy Wall Street on MSNBC yesterday, according to the Daily News . "They want their government to fix. They don't even know what the problem is, much less how to fix it, but they know that things aren't working well." He says that like it's a bad thing. Here's how it's not. Creating enduring conversations around complicated issues is one of the hardest things to do in politics, and Occupy Wall Street has managed to do it. Bloomberg and others go on about how Occupiers need to get their ideas poured into legislative vessels and get themselves elected-- as if those are the only way to participate in politics. They're not. Politics presents plenty of roles to play, and what's happening in Oregon right now with municipal banking reform shows how that's the case. We have to go back to last year, when the Oregon legislature passed a bill, HB 3700 , that takes on one of the reasons that local governments...

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