Take stock – December 27

A San Francisco billionaire who co-founded PayPal and gave Facebook its first big investment now wants Silicon Valley to buy into a bigger idea: the future.

Tycoon says Silicon Valley can free future

A San Francisco billionaire who co-founded PayPal and gave Facebook its first big investment now wants Silicon Valley to buy into a bigger idea: the future. Peter Thiel is urging Silicon Valley leaders to change the way they think about charitable giving by funding ventures that sound like science fiction. Thiel is backing groups that see a future when computers will communicate directly with the human brain. Seafaring pioneers will found new floating nations in the middle of the ocean. Science will conquer aging, and death will become a curable disease. Some scientists believe fervently in these possibilities, while others dismiss them as sheer fantasy. Thiel believes the minds and money that have conjured the technological marvels of today have the best chance of transforming these wild dreams into plausible realities.


NYC subways lose literary inspiration

For years, riders packing New York subways could catch some relief — by reading inspiring literature on placards in train cars. No more.

Transit officials have replaced the words of Kafka, Galileo and other great thinkers with service announcements.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Jeremy Soffin says the agency “needs to communicate with customers about what we’ve done in the past year to improve the system.” The slogan “Improving, Nonstop” has displaced the so-called Train of Thought quotes sprinkled on inner car walls. Riders are now reading about the MTA’s improved new technology, equipment and infrastructure.

There’s no mention of the service cuts and fare hike kicking in this week — by 25 cents to $2.50 for a single-ride ticket.