Links for 2018-05-01

  • Silicon Valley Can’t Be Trusted With Our History

    the internet is messing with human cognition in ways that will take decades to fully understand. Some researchers believe it is altering the way we create memories. In one study, researchers told a group of people to copy a list of facts onto a computer. They told half the group that the facts would be saved when they finished and the other half that the facts would be erased. Those who thought that the facts would be saved were much worse at remembering them afterward. Instead of relying on our friends and neighbors — or on books, for that matter — we have started outsourcing our memories to the internet. So what happens if those memories are erased — and if the very platforms responsible for their storage are the ones doing the erasing? That scenario is a threat everywhere, but particularly in countries where the authorities are most aggressively controlling speech and editing history. We say the internet never forgets, but internet freedom isn’t evenly distributed: When tech companies have expanded into parts of the world where information suppression is the norm, they have proven willing to work with local censors. Those censors will be emboldened by new efforts at platform regulation in the US and Europe, just as authoritarian regimes have already enthusiastically repurposed the rhetoric of “fake news.” The reach and power of tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are so new and strange that we’ve barely begun formulating a response. But we can learn from the activists already doing it; from Mosireen, or the team behind the Syrian Archive — six people, with a budget of $96,000, who are preserving thousands of hours of footage from their country’s civil war. The archive recently published the Chemical Weapons Database, documenting 221 chemical weapons attacks with 861 verified videos, implicating the Assad regime in a pattern of war crimes and putting the lie to armchair investigators helping to propagate conspiracy theories in the West. One of its cofounders recently told the Intercept that he spends nearly all his time making sure videos aren’t deleted from the big tech platforms before he gets a chance to download them.

    (tags: censorship syria chemical-weapons assad history youtube video archival mosireen the-syrian-archive archives memory facebook)

  • I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t – The Verge

    Facebook events, Facebook pages, Facebook photos, and Facebook videos are for many people an integral part of the church picnic, the Christmas party, the class reunion, the baby shower. (The growing scourge of gender reveal parties with their elaborate “reveal” rituals and custom-made cakes seems particularly designed to complement documentation on social media). The completeness of Facebook allows people to create better substitutes for in-person support groups in a wide range of ever-narrowing demographics — from casual interests like Instant Pot recipes for Korean food to heavy life-altering circumstances like rare forms of cancer. Of all people, I know why I shouldn’t trust Facebook, why my presence on its network contributes to the collective problem of its monopolistic hold on people. Everyone is on Facebook because everyone is on Facebook. And because everyone is on Facebook, even the people who aren’t are having their data collected in shadow profiles. My inaction affects even the people who have managed to stay away. I know this, I barely use Facebook, I don’t even like Facebook, and I find it nearly impossible to leave.

    (tags: privacy facebook deletefacebook social-networking social life social-media data-privacy)

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Links for 2018-04-30

  • Europe fires back at ICANN’s delusional plan to overhaul Whois for GDPR by next, er, year • The Register

    So was it European law experts Hamilton that wrongly advised ICANN that it could request for a “moratorium” over the new law until it came up with a new solution? It seems unlikely given their expertise and the fact it was them that first warned ICANN that it had wrongly persuaded itself that it was not affected by the new law. What seems more probable is that ICANN’s staff and management board simply persuaded themselves that they could stall for time for no reason other than the fact that it would be convenient for them.

    (tags: icann fail gdpr whois law regulation eu)

  • Warning signs for TSB’s IT meltdown were clear a year ago – insider | Business | The Guardian

    The team behind the development were celebrating. In a LinkedIn post since removed, those involved in the migration were describing themselves as “champions”, a “hell of a team” and were pictured raising glasses of bubbly to cheers of “TSB transfer done and dusted”. However, only hours after the switch was flicked, systems crumpled and up to 1.9m TSB customers who use internet and mobile banking were locked out. “I could have put money on the rollout being the disaster it has been, with evidence of major code changes on the hoof over last weekend and into this week,” the insider said. Customers reported receiving texts saying their cards had been used abroad, that they had discovered thousands of pounds in their accounts they did not have – or that mortgage accounts had vanished, multiplied or changed currency. One bemused account holder showed his TSB banking app recording a direct debit paid to Sky Digital 81 years from now. Some saw details of other people’s accounts and holidaymakers complained that they had been left unable to pay restaurant and hotel bills.
    What an incredible shitfest.

    (tags: banks tsb fail banking uk sabadell)

  • The brave new world of genetic genealogy – MIT Technology Review

    The combination of DNA and genealogy is a potentially a huge force for good in the world, but it must be used responsibly. In all cases where public databases like GEDmatch are used, the potential for good must be balanced against the potential for harm. In cases involving adoptee searches, missing persons, and unidentified bodies, the potential for good usually markedly outweighs the potential for harm. But the situation is not so clear-cut when it comes to the use of the methodology to identify suspects in rape and murder cases. The potential for harm is much higher under these circumstances, because of the risk of misuse, misapplication or misinterpretation of the data leading to wrongful identification of suspects. The stakes are too high for the GEDmatch database to be used by the police without oversight by a court of law.  However, we are not looking at a dystopian future. In the long run the public sharing of DNA data, when done responsibly, is likely to have huge benefits for society. If a criminal can be caught not by his own DNA but through a match with one of his cousins he will be less likely to commit a crime in the first place. With the move to whole genome sequencing in forensic cases in the future, it will be possible to make better use of genetic genealogy methods and databases to identify missing people, the remains of soldiers from World War One and World War Two as well as more recent wars, and casualties from natural and manmade disasters. We will be able to give many more unidentified people the dignity of their identity in death. But we each control our own DNA and we should all be able to decide what, if anything, we wish to share.

    (tags: gedmatch genealogy dna police murder rape dna-matching privacy data-privacy)

  • For the first time, parents will be able to limit YouTube Kids to human-reviewed channels and recommendations | TechCrunch

    FINALLY. what took so long

    (tags: youtube google parents parenting kids apps)

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Links for 2018-04-29

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Links for 2018-04-26

  • twitter thread on incel culture, the “manosphere” and the rest of that toxic garbage

    For the past little while, I’ve been working on a piece about Toronto’s relationship to the alt-right, especially the “manosphere.” Unfortunately that research has become relevant. I’m going to share as much as I can here for people who may not be familiar with these movements.

    (tags: incels manosphere 4chan hate internet pua kill-all-normies)

  • TheJournal.ie FactCheck is first Irish outlet to officially tackle misinformation on Facebook

    TheJournal.ie FactCheck project has signed on to carry out third-party fact-checking on Facebook. This will involved testing the veracity of articles posted on the platform and attaching a rating and contextual information to contested items.
    Awesome. nice one TJ

    (tags: the-journal fact-checking facebook fake-news facts journalism)

  • The Joy Reid fight reinforces how critical the Internet Archive is to modern politics – The Washington Post

    What the Wayback Machine provides, in essence, is a third-party archiving service that largely escapes the influence of the content creators. If you publish a blog on a blogging platform (or a tweet on Twitter, etc.), you still have the power to go in and remove or alter what you’ve written. The Wayback Machine makes it much more difficult to cover your tracks, should you wish to. As more people who grew up creating content for the Web enter positions of authority in media and politics, that archive becomes more important. If the Wayback Machine hadn’t indexed Reid’s site, her words might have been lost. Or if someone had stumbled onto her old blog post, her expert’s argument that the post was fraudulent in some way might carry more weight. But with that index timestamped more than a decade ago, the argument is substantially undercut. Reid’s blog, though, is not currently available on the Wayback Machine. Her old blog updated the file on its server telling automated systems what can and can’t be indexed, a set of instructions that the Wayback Machine’s system respects as it gathers information from around the Web. By changing that file, Reid’s team essentially pulled a curtain down on her past writing.

    (tags: internet-archive archival history joy-reid web blogging wayback-machine robots.txt)

  • keiichishima/yacryptopan

    ‘Yet another Crypto-PAn implementation for Python’:

    This package provides a function to anonymize IP addresses keeping their prefix consistency. This program is based on the paper “Prefix-Preserving IP Address Anonymization: Measurement-based Security Evaluation and a New Cryptography-based Scheme” written by Jun Xu, Jinliang Fan, Mostafa H. Ammar, and Sue B. Moon. The detailed explanation can be found in [Xu2002]. This package supports both IPv4 and IPv6 anonymization.
    (via Alexandre Dulaunoy)

    (tags: via:adulau anonymization ip-addresses internet ipv4 ipv6 security crypto python crypto-pan)

  • The Handmaid’s Tale doesn’t quite get modern American misogyny – The Verge

    Soft biological determinism doesn’t inevitably lead to harsh oppression, but that’s not the point. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood imagined how seeds of xenophobia, misogyny, and authoritarianism could utterly corrupt a popular ideology with many well-meaning supporters — because a Gilead can grow in any group that lets its principles take root. That includes Evangelical Christianity, but also a modern secular rationalism that’s being co-opted by white male supremacists, speaking the language of science and logic. It’s not hard to envision a world that’s as cruel to women as Gilead, which is why watching The Handmaid’s Tale is so exhausting. But despite all its brutality, the show softens a more painful truth: misogyny doesn’t just persist, it evolves.

    (tags: handmaids-tale margaret-atwood science-fiction sf misogyny incels 4chan)

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Links for 2018-04-24

  • Parallelizing S3 Workloads with s5cmd

    nice parallel download/upload tool for S3, developed by Peak Games, open source, in Go

    (tags: golang go s5cmd open-source tools cli s3 aws)

  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics Tracked People By Their Mobile Device Data.

    The ABS claims population estimates have a “major data gap” and so they’ve been a busy bee figuring out a way to track crowd movement. Their solution? Mobile device user data. “…with its near-complete coverage of the population, mobile device data is now seen as a feasible way to estimate temporary populations,” states a 2017 conference extract for a talk by ABS Demographer Andrew Howe. While the “Estimated Resident Population” (ERP) is Australia’s official population measure, the ABS felt the pre-existing data wasn’t ‘granular’ enough. What the ABS really wanted to know was where you’re moving, hour by hour, through the CBD, educational hubs, tourist areas. Howe’s ABS pilot study of mobile device user data creates population estimates with the help of a trial engagement with an unnamed telco company. The data includes age and sex breakdowns. The study ran between the 18th April to 1st May 2016. [….] Electronic Frontiers Australia board member Justin Warren also pointed out that while there are beneficial uses for this kind of information, “…the ABS should be treading much more carefully than it is. The ABS damaged its reputation with its bungled management of the 2016 Census, and with its failure to properly consult with civil society about its decision to retain names and addresses. Now we discover that the ABS is running secret tracking experiments on the population?” “Even if the ABS’ motives are benign, this behaviour?—?making ethically dubious decisions without consulting the public it is experimenting on?—?continues to damage the once stellar reputation of the ABS.” “This kind of population tracking has a dark history. During World War II, the US Census Bureau used this kind of tracking information to round up Japanese-Americans for internment. Census data was used extensively by Nazi Germany to target specific groups of people. The ABS should be acutely aware of these historical abuses, and the current tensions within society that mirror those earlier, dark days all too closely.”

    (tags: abs australia tracking location-data privacy data-privacy mobile)

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Links for 2018-04-23

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Links for 2018-04-20

  • Palantir Knows Everything About You

    This is so fucking dystopian:

    Operation Laser has made L.A. cops more surgical — and, according to community activists, unrelenting. Once targets are enmeshed in a [Palantir] spidergram, they’re stuck. Manuel Rios, 22, lives in the back of his grandmother’s house at the top of a hill in East L.A., in the heart of the city’s gang area. […] He grew up surrounded by friends who joined Eastside 18, the local affiliate of the 18th Street gang, one of the largest criminal syndicates in Southern California. Rios says he was never “jumped in”—initiated into 18. He spent years addicted to crystal meth and was once arrested for possession of a handgun and sentenced to probation. But except for a stint in county jail for a burglary arrest inside a city rec center, he’s avoided further trouble and says he kicked his meth habit last year. In 2016, Rios was sitting in a parked car with an Eastside 18 friend when a police car pulled up. His buddy ran, pursued by the cops, but Rios stayed put. “Why should I run? I’m not a gang member,” he says over steak and eggs at the IHOP near his home. The police returned and handcuffed him. One of them took his picture with a cellphone. “Welcome to the gang database!” the officer said. Since then he’s been stopped more than a dozen times, he says, and told that if he doesn’t like it he should move. He has nowhere to go. His girlfriend just had a baby girl, and he wants to be around for them. “They say you’re in the system, you can’t lie to us,” he says. “I tell them, ‘How can I be in the hood if I haven’t got jumped in? Can’t you guys tell people who bang and who don’t?’ They go by their facts, not the real facts.” The police, on autopilot with Palantir, are driving Rios toward his gang friends, not away from them, worries Mariella Saba, a neighbor and community organizer who helped him get off meth. When whole communities like East L.A. are algorithmically scraped for pre-crime suspects, data is destiny, says Saba. “These are systemic processes. When people are constantly harassed in a gang context, it pushes them to join. They internalize being told they’re bad.”

    (tags: palantir surveillance privacy precrime spidergrams future la gangs justice algorithms data-protection data-privacy policing harrassment)

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Links for 2018-04-19

  • _Building a Bw-Tree Takes More Than Just Buzz Words_, SIGMOD 2018

    ‘An account of our disappointing journey to build a open-source lock-free Bw-Tree for the Peloton DBMS.’ ‘In 2013, Microsoft Research proposed the Bw-Tree (humorously termed the “Buzz Word Tree”), a lock-free index that provides high throughput for transactional database workloads in SQL Server’s Hekaton engine. The Bw-Tree avoids locks by appending delta record to tree nodes and using an indirection layer that allows it to atomically update physical pointers using compare-and-swap (CaS). Correctly implementing this techniques requires careful attention to detail. Unfortunately, the Bw-Tree papers from Microsoft are missing important details and the source code has not been released. This paper has two contributions: First, it is the missing guide for how to build a lock-free Bw-Tree. We clarify missing points in Microsoft’s original design documents and then present techniques to improve the index’s performance. Although our focus here is on the Bw-Tree, many of our methods apply more broadly to designing and implementing future lock-free in-memory data structures. Our experimental evaluation shows that our optimized variant achieves 1.1–2.5× better performance than the original Microsoft proposal for highly concurrent workloads. Second, our evaluation shows that despite our improvements, the Bw-Tree still does not perform as well as other concurrent data structures that use locks.’ Finally: https://twitter.com/andy_pavlo/status/986647389820747776 : ‘Our results show that @ViktorLeis’s ART index and @xexd’s MassTree and a non-fancy B+Tree are currently the best for in-memory workloads. Skip Lists are always terrible.’

    (tags: skip-lists algorithms data-structures storage bw-trees mass-trees benchmarks performance multithreading lock-free locking trees)

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Links for 2018-04-14

  • How to report graphic abortion imagery to the gardai under Irish law

    I tried to report ICBR graphic abortion imagery to the Gardai today and met a lot of resistance. The following thread gives an account of what happened and how someone can effectively report this imagery. 1/x At 2pm on Friday the 13th of April I noticed the presence of ICBR graphic abortion imagery being displayed outside the Nassau street entrance of Trinity. I called Kevin Street Garda Station in order to make a complaint under Section 7 of the Public Order Act 1994 2/x I was told that the Gardai had been instructed by their superiors to not intervene with such imagery and that this direction had come from the Refendum Commission itself. I then called the Refendum Commission in order to query this, as they’d never been involved previously. 3/x A representative from the commission informed me that no such direction had been given to the Gardai as it is not in the commission’s remit to influence such imagery. The representative told me that they would contact with Kevin Street Station about this miscommunication. 4/x I then rang Kevin Street Station again to inform them of what I had been told by the Refendum Commission. I was then told that a complaint had to be made in person to either a Garda on the scene or to a local station (Trinity would be Pearse Street), which is understandable. 5/x I informed the Gardai of a similar experience in Dundrum in which the local station had dispatched officers to move along those displaying the imagery to prevent a breach of the peace without a complaint being made in person. 6/x I was finally told that Pearse Street Station would be contacted to have an available car dispatched to Trinity. 8/x TLDR: If you see this imagery, report it under Section 7. If you are told that the Gardai cannot intervene, let them know that other stations have before. If they say they have been directed by the Referendum Commission, let them know there is no such directive on record. 9/x I hope this miscommunication can be cleared up and that both @gardainfo and @RefCom_ie end up on the same page, so that Gardai can continue to do their jobs effectively and respond to public complaints of breach of the peace. 10/10
    Very illuminating.

    (tags: twitter threads abortion propaganda gardai law ireland public-order-act)

  • Thomas Mayne (politician) – Wikipedia

    An illustrious ancestor, apparently! ‘Thomas Mayne (1832–1915) was an Irish Parliamentary Party politician. He was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Tipperary at a by-election in 1883,[1] and held the seat until the constituency was divided at the 1885 general election. He was then elected for the new Mid division of Tipperary,[2] and held that seat until he resigned in 1890 by becoming Steward of the Manor of Northstead.[3]’ He was known for helping Charles Stewart Parnell in a sticky situation — from http://www.online-literature.com/elbert-hubbard/journeys-vol-thirteen/6/ : ‘About six months after this, London was convulsed with laughter at a joke too good to keep: One Captain O’Shea [Kitty O’Shea’s husband] had challenged Charles Parnell, the Irish Leader, to a duel. Parnell accepted the challenge, but the fight was off, because Thomas Mayne had gone to O’Shea and told him he “would kick him the length of Rotten Row if he tried to harm or even opened his Galway yawp about Parnell.”‘

    (tags: parnell thomas-mayne ancestors history ireland nationalism mps 1800s 19th-century kitty-oshea)

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Links for 2018-04-12

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Links for 2018-04-11

  • Uses This / Leonard Lin

    lhl describes the stuff he uses, day to day. Lots of travel gear, drones, Linux and a surprising lack of Macs

    (tags: travel shopping hardware gear uses-this lhl drones vr linux vive chromebook tips)

  • #Repealthe8th | Are the Irish Media Up To The Job?

    For years we were subject to speculation and debate about the emergence of new party in Irish politics. Endless coverage for Lucinda Creighton, Michael McDowell and whoever else. All the while, the most incredibly vibrant social movement touching every county in Ireland has emerged and the majority of journalists are unable to write about it. Media comment has concerned itself not so much with the issues but with grave concern that this is happening outside perceived boundaries of respectable politics. This is ordinary people getting together and putting a most unspeakable issue on the agenda and soon to vote – in spite of the Normal Rules. It is not just that regime journalists live in a bubble or don’t care to inform themselves. They genuinely do not understand how this campaign has played out. It is beyond their entire conception. This is what happens when your idea of politics only extends to the ritual of posters on lamp posts.

    (tags: media ireland politics political-correspondents oireachtas-retort analysis society marref repealthe8th)

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Links for 2018-04-10

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Links for 2018-04-09

  • If iPads were meant for kids

    A long list of the misfeatures that IOS/Android devices have regarding child use. 100% agreed with this

    (tags: ios ipad iphone parenting devices kids android youtube)

  • A Closer Look at Experian Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in Durham Police

    ‘UK police bought profiling data for their artificial intelligence (AI) system, deciding whether to hold suspects in custody, from … Experian.’ ‘The AI tool uses 34 data categories including the offender’s criminal history, combined with their age, gender and two types of residential postcode. The use of postcode data is problematic in predictive software of this kind as it carries a risk of perpetuating bias towards areas marked by community deprivation.’

    (tags: experian marketing credit-score data policing uk durham ai statistics crime hart)

  • lemire/JavaFastPFOR: A simple integer compression library in Java

    a library to compress and uncompress arrays of integers very fast. The assumption is that most (but not all) values in your array use much less than 32 bits, or that the gaps between the integers use much less than 32 bits. These sort of arrays often come up when using differential coding in databases and information retrieval (e.g., in inverted indexes or column stores). Please note that random integers are not compressible, by this library or by any other means. If you ever had the means of systematically compressing random integers, you could compress any data source to nothing, by recursive application of your technique. This library can decompress integers at a rate of over 1.2 billions per second (4.5 GB/s). It is significantly faster than generic codecs (such as Snappy, LZ4 and so on) when compressing arrays of integers. The library is used in LinkedIn Pinot, a realtime distributed OLAP datastore. Part of this library has been integrated in Parquet (http://parquet.io/). A modified version of the library is included in the search engine Terrier (http://terrier.org/). This libary is used by ClueWeb Tools (https://github.com/lintool/clueweb). It is also used by Apache NiFi.

    (tags: compression java pfor encoding integers algorithms storage)

  • Austerity is an Algorithm

    Fucking hell, things sound grim Down Under:

    Things changed in December 2016, when the government announced that the system had undergone full automation. Humans would no longer investigate anomalies in earnings. Instead, debt notices would be automatically generated when inconsistencies were detected. The government’s rationale for automating the process was telling. “Our aim is to ensure that people get what they are entitled to—no more and no less,” read the press release. “And to crack down hard when people deliberately defraud the system.” The result was a disaster. I’ve had friends who’ve received an innocuous email urging them to check their MyGov account—an online portal available to Australian citizens with an internet connection to access a variety of government services—only to log in and find they’re hundreds or thousands of dollars in arrears, supposedly because they didn’t accurately report their income. Some received threats from private debt collectors, who told them their wages would be seized if they didn’t submit to a payment plan. Those who wanted to contest their debts had to lodge a formal complaint, and were subjected to hours of Mozart’s Divertimento in F Major before they could talk to a case worker. Others tried taking their concerns directly to the Centrelink agency on Twitter, where they were directed to calling Lifeline, a 24-hour hotline for crisis support and suicide prevention. At the end of 2015, my friend Chloe received a notice claiming she owed $20,000 to the government. She was told that she had reported her income incorrectly while on Youth Allowance, which provides financial assistance to certain categories of young people. The figure was shocking and, like others in her position, she grew suspicious. She decided to contest the debt: she contacted all of her previous employers so she could gather pay slips, and scanned them into the MyGov app. “I gave them all of my information to prove that there was no way I owed them $20,000,” she says. The bean counters were unmoved. They maintained that Chloe had reported her after-tax income instead of her before-tax income. As a result, they increased the amount she owed to $30,000. She agreed to a payment plan, which will see her pay off the debt in fortnightly installments of $50 over the course of two decades. “I even looked into bankruptcy because I was so stressed by it,” she says. “All I could think about was the Centrelink debt, and once they upped it to 30k, I was so ashamed and sad and miserable,” she says.

    (tags: austerity algorithms automation dystopia australia government debt-collectors robo-debt dole benefit grim-meathook-future)

  • The Irish Border’s Ladybird How It Works book on The Technological Solution

    amazing

    (tags: ladybird parody funny ireland politics northern-ireland brexit)

  • Mythology about security…

    A valuable history lesson from Jim Gettys:

    Government export controls crippled Internet security and the design of Internet protocols from the very beginning: we continue to pay the price to this day.  Getting security right is really, really hard, and current efforts towards “back doors”, or other access is misguided. We haven’t even recovered from the previous rounds of government regulations, which has caused excessive complexity in an already difficult problem and many serious security problems. Let us not repeat this mistake…
    I remember the complexity of navigating crypto export controls. As noted here, it was generally easier just not to incorporate security features.

    (tags: security crypto export-control jim-gettys x11 history x-windows mit athena kerberos)

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  • Brad Templeton’s commentary on the Uber robocar killing a pedestrian

    At this point, it does seem as though a wrongful death lawsuit might emerge from the family of the victim. The fame for the lawyer will cause pro bono representation to appear, and the deep pockets of Uber will certainly be attractive. I recommend Uber immediately offer a settlement the courts would consider generous. And tell us more information about what really happened. And, if it’s as surmised, to get their act together. The hard truth is, that if Uber’s vehicle is unable to detect a pedestrian like this in time to stop, Uber has no business testing at 40mph on a road like this. Certainly not with an inattentive solo safety driver.
    It certainly sounds like they need to answer questions about LIDAR usage on that car.

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Links for 2018-03-22

  • Arena

    Film by Páraic McGloughlin A brief look at the earth from above, based on the shapes we make, the game of life, our playing ground – Arena. Created using Google Earth imagery. Pearse McGloughlin and I collaborated on the audio resulting in something between music and a soundtrack. Audio mastered by TJ LippleHear

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  • SXSW 2018: A Look Back at the 1960s PLATO Computing System – IEEE Spectrum

    Author Brian Dear on how these terminals were designed for coursework, but students preferred to chat and play games […] “Out of the top 10 programs on PLATO running any day, most were games,” Dear says. “They used more CPU time than anything else.” In one popular game called Empire, players blast each other’s spaceships with phasers and torpedoes in order to take over planets.
    And PLATO had code review built into the OS:
    Another helpful feature that no longer exists was called Term Comment. It allowed users to leave feedback for developers and programmers at any place within a program where they spotted a typo or had trouble completing a task. To do this, the user would simply open a comment box and leave a note right there on the screen. Term Comment would append the comment to the user’s place in the program so that the recipient could easily navigate to it and clearly see the problem, instead of trying to recreate it from scratch on their own system. “That was immensely useful for developers,” Dear says. “If you were doing QA on software, you could quickly comment, and it would track exactly where the user left this comment. We never really got this on the Web, and it’s such a shame that we didn’t.”

    (tags: plato computing history chat empire gaming code-review coding brian-dear)

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  • Interesting Twitter thread on email UI design, vs Slack

    “When redesigning Outlook, we found two basic groups of users: pilers and filers. Pilers kept a single, ever-expanding list of mail in their Inbox and then worked it down to “inbox zero.” Filers wrote rules or manually filed mail into folders, creating an organizational system. Filers rely on their bespoke, highly customized knowledge of where things go in their email system, much like you might organize your kitchen in a way that makes sense to you. You know where the strainer or little corn-cob-holders go, and no one else does (or needs to.) Pilers rely on search to find things in their huge amassed pile. We moved Outlook from the fundamental organization unit of “message” to “conversation” (or “thread”) so that when pilers found mail via search, messages would return with the context of the surrounding conversation. Both pilers and filers have one key thing in common: their systems require an affirmative, discrete action to take a mail out of their list. Filers file to a folder when done with a message, and pilers archive/delete. This turned out to be essential for people to feel in control.”
    really, “filers” (update:) “pilers” are using the UI that GMail pioneered, where credit is due (as far as I know at least).

    (tags: mail ux ui pilers-and-filers filepile email slack outlook)

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Links for 2018-03-02

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Links for 2018-03-01

  • Yes, bacon really is killing us – The Guardian Long Read

    Nooooo!

    Since we eat with our eyes, the main way we judge the quality of cured meats is pinkness. Yet it is this very colour that we should be suspicious of, as the French journalist Guillaume Coudray explains in a book published in France last year called Cochonneries, a word that means both “piggeries” and “rubbish” or “junk food”. The subtitle is “How Charcuterie Became a Poison”. Cochonneries reads like a crime novel, in which the processed meat industry is the perpetrator and ordinary consumers are the victims. The pinkness of bacon – or cooked ham, or salami – is a sign that it has been treated with chemicals, more specifically with nitrates and nitrites. It is the use of these chemicals that is widely believed to be the reason why “processed meat” is much more carcinogenic than unprocessed meat. Coudray argues that we should speak not of “processed meat” but “nitro-meat”. […] When nitrates interact with certain components in red meat (haem iron, amines and amides), they form N-nitroso compounds, which cause cancer. The best known of these compounds is nitrosamine. This, as Guillaume Coudray explained to me in an email, is known to be “carcinogenic even at a very low dose”. Any time someone eats bacon, ham or other processed meat, their gut receives a dose of nitrosamines, which damage the cells in the lining of the bowel, and can lead to cancer. You would not know it from the way bacon is sold, but scientists have known nitrosamines are carcinogenic for a very long time. More than 60 years ago, in 1956, two British researchers called Peter Magee and John Barnes found that when rats were fed dimethyl nitrosamine, they developed malignant liver tumours. By the 1970s, animal studies showed that small, repeated doses of nitrosamines and nitrosamides – exactly the kind of regular dose a person might have when eating a daily breakfast of bacon – were found to cause tumours in many organs including the liver, stomach, oesophagus, intestines, bladder, brain, lungs and kidneys.
    But there IS some good news for Parma ham and sausages:
    In 1993, Parma ham producers in Italy made a collective decision to remove nitrates from their products and revert to using only salt, as in the old days. For the past 25 years, no nitrates or nitrites have been used in any Prosciutto di Parma. Even without nitrate or nitrite, the Parma ham stays a deep rosy-pink colour. We now know that the colour in Parma ham is totally harmless, a result of the enzyme reactions during the ham’s 18-month ageing process. […] the average British sausage – as opposed to a hard sausage like a French saucisson – is not cured, being made of nothing but fresh meat, breadcrumbs, herbs, salt and E223, a preservative that is non-carcinogenic. After much questioning, two expert spokespeople for the US National Cancer Institute confirmed to me that “one might consider” fresh sausages to be “red meat” and not processed meat, and thus only a “probable” carcinogen.

    (tags: bacon sausages meat parma-ham ham food cancer carcinogens big-meat nitrates nitrites)

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Links for 2018-02-28

  • 30 kWh Leaf Nissan Connect Issues

    seems there’s some kind of firmware/importation issue with the Nissan Leaf app integration…. bit of a mess

    (tags: nissan-leaf nissan leaf apps mobile cars driving)

  • Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology – The Verge

    Predictive policing technology has proven highly controversial wherever it is implemented, but in New Orleans, the program escaped public notice, partly because Palantir established it as a philanthropic relationship with the city through Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s signature NOLA For Life program. Thanks to its philanthropic status, as well as New Orleans’ “strong mayor” model of government, the agreement never passed through a public procurement process. In fact, key city council members and attorneys contacted by The Verge had no idea that the city had any sort of relationship with Palantir, nor were they aware that Palantir used its program in New Orleans to market its services to another law enforcement agency for a multimillion-dollar contract. Even James Carville, the political operative instrumental in bringing about Palantir’s collaboration with NOPD, said that the program was not public knowledge. “No one in New Orleans even knows about this, to my knowledge,” Carville said.

    (tags: palantir creepy surveillance crime forecasting precrime new-orleans us-politics privacy)

  • Huy Fong sriracha hot sauce label – Fonts In Use

    The fonts of the iconic sriracha bottle, analysed. Interestingly, the Chinese serif text is typeset in a universally-reviled font, PMingLiu:

    For East Asian designers, PMingLiu was probably as despicable as Papyrus. Many have publicly voiced their disdain for PMingLiu, and some even see the elimination of PMingLiu from public sight as a career goal. Julius Hui, then consultant for Commercial Type, exclaims: PMingLiu inhibits the type business, maims the public’s aesthetic judgment, and puts a bad face on the Minch? genre. As long as the public have not harbored a deep hatred against PMingLiu, it is futile to completely eliminate it from the world.

    (tags: typography packaging sriracha pmingliu mincho fonts type food labels)

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