The Importance of Dumb Mistakes in College - The New York Times
These days I work as the senior communications officer at another college, where I spend a healthy fraction of my time dealing with students who’ve made mistakes of their own. I recognize myself in them: intellectually adventurous, skeptical, newly aware of life’s injustices. They’re also different from me in many ways: less Grateful Dead and Dead Kennedys, much more technology.

That’s the important bit. Because for all of the supposed liberating power of their digital devices, they might as well be wearing ankle monitors. Technological connectedness has made it much harder for them to make mistakes and learn from them.

Today’s students live their lives so publicly — through the technology we provide them without training — that much simpler errors than mine earn them the wrath of the entire internet.

Continue reading the main story

On Campus
Dispatches from college students, professors and administrators on higher education and university life. You can reach the editors at oncampus@nytimes.com.
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Steve Sailer December 11, 2017
Didn't the New York Times run all sorts of stories about "hate" on campus after the election, and yet several of the incidents turned out to...
Pan-Africanist December 11, 2017
I would suggest a required presentation during freshman orientations, on Jeremy Bentham’s notion of the Panapticon and how that relates to...
Colenso December 11, 2017
'Because in 1985, a college student could get a little self-righteous, make a bad decision, face consequences and then go home, having...
Usually, the outrage is over things they say, for example a campus newspaper editorial that grapples with balancing free speech and appropriate behavior. That’s a quandary that has occupied American legal theorists since the founding of the country. It’s certainly one any young citizen should think through.
education  communication 
6 hours ago
Exklusiv: BKA-Mitarbeiter verrät, wie Staatshacker illegal Telegram knacken - Motherboard
Täglich chatten Millionen Nutzer mit dem angeblich besonders abhörsicheren Telegram. Unsere Recherchen zeigen, dass das BKA die App mit einer einfachen Software austricksen kann—und das auch schon dutzendfach getan hat.
privacy  mime:german 
7 hours ago
"Keinen Inch weiter nach Osten": Was den Russen zur Wiedervereinigung über die Nato versprochen wurde | Telepolis
Jetzt frei gegebene Dokumente zeigen, dass die westlichen Regierungen den zu naiven Gorbatschow mit falschen Versprechungen hereingelegt haben.

Immer wieder wurde von Politikern der Nato-Mitgliedsstaaten beteuert, es habe bei den Verhandlungen zur Wiedervereinigung Deutschlands keine Zusicherungen an Russland gegeben, dass sich die Nato nicht über Ostdeutschland hinaus nach Osten erweitert. An den Verhandlungen zum Zwei-plus-Vier-Vertrag haben neben der Sowjetunion, die USA, Frankreich, Großbritannien, BRD und DDR teilgenommen.
mime:german  germany  russia  military  history 
7 hours ago
Jason's Machine Learning 101 - Google Slides
This deck started as a mind dump for my own sanity but has evolved over time to turn it into a one stop fountain of knowledge for ML for all.
ai  ml  research 
7 hours ago
Copyright and the Constitution
Whatever the origins, the clause in Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution provides the foundation for all US copyright law today. Debate over its meaning and intent, its scope and its structure, continues today, 223 years after it was written.
usa  law  history 
7 hours ago
It’s Official: California Issues Caution on Cell Phone Use | EWG
This week, California officially issued groundbreaking guidelines advising cell phone users to keep phones away from their bodies and limit use when reception is weak. State officials caution that studies link radiation from long-term cell phone use to an increased risk of brain cancer, lower sperm counts and other health problems, and note that children’s developing brains could be at greater risk.
phone  health 
7 hours ago
US regulator scraps net neutrality rules that protect open internet | Technology | The Guardian
The US’s top media regulator voted to end rules protecting an open internet on Thursday, a move critics warn will hand control of the future of the web to cable and telecoms companies.

At a packed meeting of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, the watchdog’s commissioners voted three to two to dismantle the “net neutrality” rules that prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from charging websites more for delivering certain services or blocking others should they, for example, compete with services the cable company also offers.
usa  networking  politics 
7 hours ago
Universities spend millions on accessing results of publicly funded research
University research is generally funded from the public purse. The results, however, are published in peer-reviewed academic journals, many of which charge subscription fees.

I had to use freedom of information laws to determine how much universities in New Zealand spend on journal subscriptions to give researchers and students access to the latest research - and I found they paid almost US$15 million last year to just four publishers.
7 hours ago
Culture Queries: The best questions to ask in your interview
I sat down to make a list of companies I might like to join, and let me tell you, it was overwhelmingly un-fun. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It was the antithesis of fun.

I wanted to know about who I’d be working with, what my day-to-day would look like, and whether my values aligned with those of the engineering team. But careers pages and job descriptions were so unhelpful.

I got on the phone with several recruiters, and none of them could tell me if engineers were involved in shaping the product roadmap, or whether they favored speed or perfection when it came to shipping code. It suddenly made sense why so many engineers join companies where they already know someone.
7 hours ago
EFF to Court: Accessing Publicly Available Information on the Internet Is Not a Crime | Electronic Frontier Foundation
EFF is fighting another attempt by a giant corporation to take advantage of our poorly drafted federal computer crime statute for commercial advantage—without any regard for the impact on the rest of us. This time the culprit is LinkedIn. The social networking giant wants violations of its corporate policy against using automated scripts to access public information on its website to count as felony “hacking” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 federal law meant to criminalize breaking into private computer systems to access non-public information.
usa  crime  networking 
7 hours ago
English rivers polluted by powerful insecticides, first tests reveal | Environment | The Guardian
Neonicotinoids, banned on flowering crops, were found in nearly all rivers tested, increasing concerns over their impact on fish and birds
britain  ecology 
7 hours ago
Now that the FCC has repealed net neutrality, let’s adopt it in California
Today the Federal Communications Commission repealed net neutrality — a terrible step for the future of a free and open internet and for our democracy. In January when the State Legislature reconvenes, I will introduce legislation to require net neutrality in California.
usa  networking  politics 
7 hours ago
How The US Pushed Sweden to Take Down The Pirate Bay - TorrentFreak
A series of documents released by the US Department of State have revealed how Sweden was pressed to take action against The Pirate Bay. According to US officials, this directly led to law enforcement's decision to shut down the torrent site more than ten years ago. Sweden, meanwhile, avoided a spot on the feared US Trade Representative's 301 Watch List.
spectrial  usa 
7 hours ago
I Made My Shed the Top Rated Restaurant On TripAdvisor - VICE
Once upon a time, long before I began selling my face by the acre for features on VICE dot com, I worked other jobs. There was one in particular that really had an impact on me: writing fake reviews on TripAdvisor. Restaurant owners would pay me £10 and I'd write a positive review of their place, despite never eating there. Over time, I became obsessed with monitoring the ratings of these businesses. Their fortunes would genuinely turn, and I was the catalyst.

This convinced me that TripAdvisor was a false reality – that the meals never took place; that the reviews were all written by other people like me. However, they're not, of course – they're almost all completely genuine. And there was one other factor that seemed impossible to fake: the restaurants themselves. So I moved on.

And then, one day, sitting in the shed I live in, I had a revelation: within the current climate of misinformation, and society's willingness to believe absolute bullshit, maybe a fake restaurant is possible? Maybe it's exactly the kind of place that could be a hit?

In that moment, it became my mission. With the help of fake reviews, mystique and nonsense, I was going to do it: turn my shed into London's top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor.
food  people 
8 days ago
A Spectator Who Threw a Wrench in the Waymo/Uber Lawsuit
In its most dramatic allegations, Waymo is accusing engineer Anthony Levandowski of taking over 14,000 technical confidential files to Uber. But the company also claimed that Uber’s laser-ranging lidar devices infringed four of Waymo’s patents.

But Swildens had a suspicion. He dug into the history of Waymo’s lidars, and came to the conclusion that Waymo’s key patent should never have been granted at all. He asked the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to look into its validity, and in early September, the USPTO granted that request. Days later, Waymo abruptly dismissed its patent claim without explanation. The USPTO examiners may still invalidate that patent, and if that happens, Waymo could find itself embroiled in another multi-billion-dollar self-driving car lawsuit—this time as a defendant.
10 days ago
Google's AI Built its own AI That Outperforms Any Made by Humans
In May 2017, researchers at Google Brain announced the creation of AutoML, an artificial intelligence (AI) that's capable of generating its own AIs.

More recently, they decided to present AutoML with its biggest challenge to date, and the AI that can build AI created a 'child' that outperformed all of its human-made counterparts.

The Google researchers automated the design of machine learning models using an approach called reinforcement learning. AutoML acts as a controller neural network that develops a child AI network for a specific task.

For this particular child AI, which the researchers called NASNet, the task was recognising objects - people, cars, traffic lights, handbags, backpacks, etc. - in a video in real-time.
10 days ago
Wehrmachtsstolpersteine vor der AfD-Zentrale
Rocco und seine Brüder haben Wehrmachtsstoplersteine vor der AfD-Zentrale verlegt, denn „Identität braucht Erinnerung. Danke AfD. Danke Deutschland!“
mime:image  politics  germany  history 
10 days ago
Druckversion - Trübe Finanzquellen | Telepolis
Die AfD ist im Bundestagswahlkampf sehr präsent. Nicht nur in den Massenmedien, wo etwa der wegen Volksverhetzung angezeigte Alexander Gauland weiterhin Talkshow-Dauergast ist, sondern auch im Straßenwahlkampf.

Dem unbedarften Beobachter stellt sich natürlich unweigerlich die Frage, woher all das viele, viele Geld herkommt, das die AfD für diesen Wahlkampf aufwenden kann. Die überraschende Antwort seitens der Rechtspopulisten: Offensichtlich wissen es die Parteiführer selber nicht so genau. Dies ist zumindest die offizielle Version der Parteioberen, mit der die üppigen, millionenschweren Aufwendungen erklärt werden, mit denen die Partei des "kleinen (deutschen) Mannes" von anonymen Gönnern regelrecht überschüttet wird.
politics  germany  business  mime:german 
14 days ago
Bereits seit zehn Monaten ist das Zentrum für Politische Schönheit (ZPS) im Besitz des einzigen direkten Nachbargrundstücks in Höckes „Refugium“ – dem braunen Haus von Bornhagen. Das ZPS hat jetzt 24 Betonstelen vor dem Haus von Deutschlands größtem Hetzer errichtet.

„Die Zivilgesellschaft finanziert dieses Mahnmal. Das bedeutet: Wir können die grotesken Forderungen zur Geschichtspolitik nicht länger auf sich beruhen lassen. Auch nicht nach knapp einem Jahr ohne Distanzierung. Die Erinnerung muss in den braunen Ecken in Beton gegossen werden.“
politics  germany  mime:german  activism 
14 days ago
A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making
We believe the time has come to broaden the traditional approach to leadership and decision making and form a new perspective based on complexity science. (For more on this, see the sidebar “Understanding Complexity.”) Over the past ten years, we have applied the principles of that science to governments and a broad range of industries. Working with other contributors, we developed the Cynefin framework, which allows executives to see things from new viewpoints, assimilate complex concepts, and address real-world problems and opportunities. (Cynefin, pronounced ku-nev-in, is a Welsh word that signifies the multiple factors in our environment and our experience that influence us in ways we can never understand.) Using this approach, leaders learn to define the framework with examples from their own organization’s history and scenarios of its possible future. This enhances communication and helps executives rapidly understand the context in which they are operating.
business  communication 
14 days ago
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth provided funding to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) to evaluate if fire caused the collapse of WTC 7 and to examine what may have occurred at 5:20 P.M. on September 11, 2001. Therefore, the UAF research team evaluated the structural response due to the reported fire. A structural framing virtual model of WTC 7 was used to conduct the study. The reported failure was simulated using three-dimensional finite element computer models of the building. The research team studied the building’s response using two finite element programs, ABAQUS and SAP2000 version 18. At the micro level, three types of evaluations were performed. In plan-view, the research team evaluated: 1) the planar response of the structural elements to the fire(s) using wire elements; 2) the building’s response using the NIST’s approach with solid elements; and 3) the validity of NIST’s findings using solid elements. At the macro-level, progressive collapse, i.e., the structural system’s response to local failures, is being studied using SAP2000 with wire elements, as well as with ABAQUS, and it is near completion. The findings thus far are that fire did not bring down this building. Building failure simulations show that, to match observation, the entire inner core of this building failed nearly simultaneously.
usa  architecture 
14 days ago
Roy Moore Just Blamed His Sexual Misconduct Allegations On Lesbians, Gays, And Socialists
Speaking from the pulpit at Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Alabama Wednesday night, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore accused liberals, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, and socialists of fabricating sexual harassment allegations against him in an effort to keep his conservative Christian views out of Washington.

The Alabama Republican has repeatedly and emphatically denied accusations that he initiated a sexual encounter with a woman when she was 14 and he was 32, as well as the accounts of several other women who have said Moore inappropriately pursued them when they were teenagers.
people  usa  politics 
15 days ago
‘Rot in Hell’: One YouTube Star’s Fan Club Is Menacing Cleveland
YouTube star Alissa Violet left a Cleveland bar with a busted lip and a black eye. Then her fans made Clevelanders who were miles away from the skirmish pay for it.
youtube  people  crime 
15 days ago
The World's Most Toxic Value System
The more I travel, study history and read the papers, the more convinced I become of the superiority of rationalism. With that attitude, I should spend all my time traveling to northern Europe and Japan. However, fate has also seen fit to send me to many places where people think with their viscera and gonads instead of their brains. The more I see it in action, the more convinced I become that societies that place personal "honor" before everything else are truly cursed. This value system has ramifications that pervade the societies infested with it. It is, in my view, the most toxic value system on the planet. The term toxic is carefully chosen and meant to be taken with the utmost literalness because societies pervaded by this value system are deeply poisoned spiritually.

Almost everybody will react to an attack on their honor, but in many societies people are expected to restrain their impulse to get revenge: to forgive or simply ignore insults, and most members of those societies succeed to a greater or lesser extent. But in societies dominated by the "honor" ethic, it's permissible, often demanded, to seek revenge. In many places, this cycle of revenge creates blood feuds that last for generations, or results in periodic flareups of mass violence or ethnic cleansing.

If there's a single attribute that defines the "honor" mentality, it's the notion that private killing over personal grievances is acceptable. But in addition to the most obvious manifestations of blood feud and vendetta, the "honor" mentality includes a constellation of other attributes. Most conspicuous is male domination, which often includes systematic degradation of women and extreme paranoia regarding female sexuality and possible infidelity.
15 days ago
Can a Government Official Block You on Twitter? | American Civil Liberties Union
Thanks to a growing number of state and local government officials, not to mention national actors like President Trump, questions abound these days about the constitutionality of public officials blocking people on social media.

The answers to those questions are complicated and depend on the facts of any given case. But, as we explain in a brief we filed in a Virginia lawsuit this week, the proper framework for courts to use in considering these cases should ensure that as our democracy increasingly moves online, the Constitution applies with no less force on the internet than it does offline.

Two main principles should govern these cases: First, individuals do not lose their First Amendment rights just by virtue of gaining public office, no matter how powerful they are. Second, when they act on behalf of the government, elected officials are also subject to the limits that the First Amendment imposes on them as government actors.
twitter  law 
15 days ago
The Trump Administration Is Mulling A Pitch For A Private “Rendition” And Spy Network
The White House and CIA have been considering a package of secret proposals to allow former US intelligence officers to run privatized covert actions, intelligence gathering, and propaganda missions, according to three sources who’ve been briefed on or have direct knowledge of the proposals.

One of the proposals would involve hiring a private company, Amyntor Group, for millions of dollars to set up a large intelligence network and run counterterrorist propaganda efforts, according to the sources. Amyntor’s officials and employees include veterans of a variety of US covert operations, ranging from the Reagan-era Iran–Contra affair to more recent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Amyntor declined to discuss the proposals, but a lawyer for the company said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the type of contract being contemplated would be legal “with direction and control by the proper government authority.”
usa  military 
15 days ago
Bitcoin Mining Now Consuming More Electricity Than 159 Countries Including Ireland & Most Countries In Africa
Bitcoin’s ongoing meteoric price rise has received the bulk of recent press attention with a lot of discussion around whether or not it’s a bubble waiting to burst.

However, most the coverage has missed out one of the more interesting and unintended consequences of this price increase. That is the surge in global electricity consumption used to “mine” more Bitcoins.

According to Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index, as of Monday November 20th, 2017 Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption stands at 29.05TWh.

That’s the equivalent of 0.13% of total global electricity consumption. While that may not sound like a lot, it means Bitcoin mining is now using more electricity than 159 individual countries (as you can see from the map above). More than Ireland or Nigeria.

If Bitcoin miners were a country they’d rank 61st in the world in terms of electricity consumption.
bitcoin  ecology 
15 days ago
Trump Donated to Project Veritas Before Organization Tried to Trick Washington Post With Outrageous Roy Moore Claim
President Donald Trump donated to an agency with a history of trying to take down liberal organizations, an agency that is now accused of trying to dupe The Washington Post with a fake Roy Moore claim in an undercover operation. 

The newspaper found out that a woman was lying after contacting reporters with a false claim that she'd become pregnant after having sex with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore when she was a teenage girl. She claimed he then took her to get an abortion. In her interviews, she appeared to try and get reporters to make promises the story would eliminate Moore's chances of being elected, the Post reported. 
trump  journalism  activism 
16 days ago
AfD im Bundestag bekommt Bewerbungen von Politprofis - Politik - Süddeutsche.de
Die AfD im Bundestag sucht Mitarbeiter: Insgesamt 400 Stellen in Abgeordnetenbüros und Fraktion sind zu besetzen.
Ende Oktober konnten SZ, NDR und WDR eine Liste mit mehr als 200 externen Bewerbern einsehen, darunter viele Akademiker und Politikerfahrene.
Auch aus anderen Parteien wechseln Büromitarbeiter zur AfD - teils aus Pragmatismus, teils aus Überzeugung.
16 days ago
Weeks after hosting Trump, China’s president reconnects with Obama - Business Insider
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday praised former US leader Barack Obama for his contributions to the Sino-US relationship, state media reported, despite Obama’s “pivot to Asia” and tensions over the South China Sea during his term.

During talks in Beijing, Xi made “positive remarks” on what Obama had done over his eight-year presidency to develop ties between the two countries, official news agency Xinhua reported.

The meeting was part of Obama’s first trip to Asia since leaving office and came weeks after Xi hosted US President Donald Trump during a high-profile visit to China.

Obama, who championed a “pivot to Asia” policy that Beijing viewed as a bid to contain its ambitions and critics say was largely a failure, said China had made impressive achievements.
usa  china 
16 days ago
Pflege: Krank gespart | ZEIT Arbeit
Die Hilferufe sind kurz und sachlich. Doch was die Formulare erzählen, klingt bedrohlich: "Gefährdung des Personals durch eingeschränkte Hygiene", heißt es in einem von ihnen. In einem anderen Dokument steht: "Zeitnahe Medikamenten-Gabe nicht möglich."

Die Sätze stammen aus internen Dokumenten deutscher Krankenhäuser. Es sind sogenannte Überlastungs- oder Gefährdungsanzeigen. Jeder Arbeitnehmer ist verpflichtet, seinen Arbeitgeber darauf hinzuweisen, wenn er sich überlastet fühlt oder ihm Gefahren drohen. Verzweifelte Pflegekräfte beschreiben darin ihren frustrierenden Alltag und immer wieder auch lebensbedrohliche Situationen. Ob Unfallchirurgie, Psychiatrie oder Intensivstation – das Problem ist überall das gleiche: Zu wenige Krankenschwestern und Pfleger müssen sich hierzulande um zu viele Patienten kümmern. Solche schriftlichen Gefährdungsanzeigen sind ihr Versuch, ihre Arbeitgeber auf das tägliche Drama hinzuweisen.

Normalerweise verschwinden diese Hilferufe in den Schubladen der Klinikleitungen. ZEIT ONLINE hat mehr als 100 solcher Überlastungsanzeigen aus einem Dutzend Kliniken ausgewertet und zusammen mit dem ARD-Magazin Report Mainz die Situation recherchiert. Egal ob das entsprechende Krankenhaus einem privaten Träger gehört, kirchlich oder kommunal organisiert ist, überall ist das Missverhältnis zwischen Pflegepersonal und Patienten so groß, dass Pfleger und Krankenschwestern nahezu gezwungen sind, die Patienten und sich selbst in Gefahr zu bringen.
medicine  business 
16 days ago
New pants for EuroPython 2018 | Indiegogo
During EuroPython 2017 an unbelievable adventure happened to me. I was robbed (whole story below). I gave a lightning talk “How to get your pants stolen in 2 easy steps” the next day, and it was a huge success. Still I got numerous requests to reveal details behind my talk. And then I thought that maybe power of community could help me recover some of the stolen belongings, maybe at least pants :D. So now you have a good chance to laugh with me together and donate for the good cause.
conference  humour  people 
17 days ago
The Lunch That Could Make or Break Brexit
On Monday, Dec. 4, British Prime Minister Theresa May will sit down to what could turn out to be the most expensive meal in history. Her lunch date will be Jean-Claude Juncker, who as European Commission president has a powerful role in determining progress toward a Brexit deal. Over seasonal dishes and vintage wines in Brussels, May will seek to persuade Juncker to start discussions on a new trade agreement between the U.K. and the European Union, as well as to allow a two-year transitional period to help British businesses plan and adjust. Juncker will be expecting May to pick up the tab: The EU is demanding that the U.K. pay an exit bill of €60 billion to depart the bloc.
18 days ago
Semi-Synthetic Life Form Now Fully Armed and Operational - MIT Technology Review
Every living thing on Earth stores the instructions for life as DNA, using the four genetic bases A, G, C, and T.

All except one, that is.

In the San Diego laboratory of Floyd Romesberg—and at a startup he founded—grow bacteria with an expanded genetic code. They have two more letters, an “unnatural” pair he calls X and Y.

Romesberg, head of a laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute, first amended the genes of the bacterium E. Coli to harbor the new DNA components in 2014. Now, for the first time, the germs are using their expanded code to manufacture proteins with equally unusual components.
18 days ago
CARMAT is developing this orthotopic and biocompatible artificial heart which is completely implantable, as well as its electrical power supply system and remote diagnosis system.

The objective is to meet a world-wide public healthcare need, that is to say the treatment of advanced heart failure which is the result of numerous cardiovascular illnesses, such as coronary diseases and arterial hypertension.

Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons only have one possible treatment for patients suffering from advanced end-stage heart failure: heart transplantation. Unfortunately, this cannot meet all needs, since the number of transplants is very insufficient and the operation presents many contra-indications (arterial hypertension, spreading cancer, etc.).

The main aim of the biocompatible heart developed by CARMAT is to offer a reliable new treatment and innovative therapeutic solution to heart failure patients who are not eligible for a transplant and who have exhausted every drug-related possibility.

It should allow these patients, for whom no treatment is available and who are currently treated in hospital at very high cost to the community, to return home and even enjoy an active life once more.
24 days ago
ReinHeart TAH GmbH
At the Institute of Applied Medical Engineering, initial research for artificial hearts already started in the 1990s. A fully implantable Total Artificial Heart by the name of ReinHeart has been under development since 2009. With an innovative drive concept, the ReinHeart is designed to be a real alternative to a heart transplant. An interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers and surgeons is working together to create a maintenance-free TAH, free of permanent percutaneous connections and small enough for implantation in the majority of patients.
24 days ago
Sarah Sanders Asks Press To Say What They're Thankful For Before Questions | HuffPost
The Thanksgiving holiday spirit took a bit of a strident twist during Monday’s press briefing by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

She told journalists that they would be expected to announce what they were thankful for before they could ask her a question, and most complied.
journalism  politics 
26 days ago
After Weinstein: A List of Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct and the Fallout for Each
After multiple women came forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer, of sexual misconduct, at least 30 high-profile men in a variety of industries have also been accused. Since then, a number have resigned, been fired or experienced other fallout after claims ranging from inappropriate text messages to rape.

Here is a list of such cases that have been brought to public attention since the Weinstein scandal broke on Oct. 5. We’ll update this list periodically as we get new information.
crime  gender 
27 days ago
Amazon seller lost $400k after being targeted by 'virus of Amazon'
Pure Daily Care had the top-selling facial steamer on Amazon before a rival began attacking its listing.
The storefront was suspended for seven weeks during the busiest season of the year.
Pure Daily fired half of its employees and is liquidating inventory to pay bills.
amazon  business  people 
28 days ago
Secure ledgers don't require proof-of-work
As Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other blockchain-based systems have gained popularity, there’s been a push in the decentralized Web space to use blockchains as a hammer for every nail: databases, user identity, key distribution, and even basic hosting.

I think this is almost a great idea! But, we’re not evaluating the cost of proof-of-work properly, and we need to consider whether we need it at all.
28 days ago
Apple Diversity Chief Forced Out After Saying White Men Can Also Be 'Diverse' | Zero Hedge
The New York Post is reporting that, after just six months on the job, Apple Diversity Chief Denise Young Smith, who was named vice president of diversity and inclusion in May, has resigned her post after making a “controversial” comment last month during a summit in Bogota, Colombia.

What was Young’s crime? She insinuated that “diversity” can still exist among a group of white men because of their different life experiences.
apple  business  gender 
28 days ago
Disruption games: why are libertarians lining up with autocrats to undermine democracy?
In the era of digital politics, an odd alliance has sprung up: anti-state campaigners and Moscow-backed nationalists are combining to disrupt liberal institutions.

At a time when strange alliances are disrupting previously stable democracies, the Catalan independence referendum was a perfect reflection of a weird age. Along with the flag-waving and calls for ‘freedom’ from Madrid, the furore that followed the vote unleashed some of the darker elements that have haunted recent turbulent episodes in Europe and America: fake news, Russian mischief and, marching oddly in step, libertarian activism
29 days ago
No, there has not been a successful human head transplant | Popular Science
In a 2015 TEDx talk, Sergio Canavero made a bold and tantalizing claim: by 2017, he swore, he would conduct the first human head transplant. And if you’ve been paying attention to trending headlines today, you might think he’s followed through on that promise.

He has not.
29 days ago
19 reasons this “survival” story smells fishy
So let’s start with some morons in a boat!

No politics here (though I’m sure if you squint you can find a way to accuse me of racism or sexism or something), just me and my lifetime of sailing experience, including nearly five years living on a boat, against these two idiots.

Those two are named Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava, and their story has been everywhere recently. Here’s their account of what happened, in brief:

They set off from Hawaii in May of this year, bound for Tahiti. They were caught in a storm that both ruined their engine and rendered their mast and sails useless. They were unable to contact help. They drifted for five months, living off of dry food and a handheld watermaker (takes the salt out of seawater so you can drink it) until they were rescued by a fishing boat and, eventually, the Navy.

Now here’s how much of their story makes sense:

They left Hawaii in May. They were rescued five months later by the Navy.

That’s it. That’s the only portion of their story that has even a shred of credibility to it. Now, I’m not going to speculate as to their motives yet, but I will point out that the world of open-water sailing is an obscure one to most people. I am one of a small minority to have spent a lot of time sailing on the open ocean, out of sight of land for months at a time. So I don’t blame journalists for not catching these things at first sight. But that’s why I’m here to explain them to you.
people  science 
4 weeks ago
Twitter’s multi-million dollar US election pitch to RT revealed in FULL — RT World News
After RT published excerpts from Twitter’s “limited offer” to spend millions on US election marketing, the company abruptly banned all advertising from the news network. This makes full disclosure and transparency imperative, so here goes.

On Thursday, the micro-blogging platform announced a policy decision to ban ads from RT and Sputnik, citing alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.

It followed Twitter’s report implying that RT was trying to influence US public opinion, crucially without providing context that virtually all news media organizations spend money on advertising their news coverage.
twitter  politics  marketing  uselection2016 
4 weeks ago
How I hacked Google’s bug tracking system itself for $15,600 in bounties
Have you ever heard of the Google Issue Tracker? Probably not, unless you’re a Google employee or a developer who recently reported bugs in Google tools. And neither had I, until I noticed my vulnerability reports were now being handled by opening a new thread there, in addition to the usual email notifications.
So I immediately started trying to break it.
security  google  people  bug 
4 weeks ago
Das Husarenstück des Carsten Spohr - airliners.de
Die Filetstücke der Air Berlin sind verkauft, das Insolvenzverfahren für den Rest eröffnet. Karl Born zieht ein erstes Fazit: An Genialität/Kaltschnäuzigkeit ist das von Kranich-Chef Carsten Spohr nicht zu überbieten.
mime:german  transportation  market 
4 weeks ago
The suspect told police ‘give me a lawyer dog.’ The court says he wasn’t asking for a lawyer. - The Washington Post
When a friend says, “I’ll hit you up later dog,” he is stating that he will call again sometime. He is not calling the person a “later dog.”

But that’s not how the courts in Louisiana see it. And when a suspect in an interrogation told detectives to “just give me a lawyer dog,” the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the suspect was, in fact, asking for a “lawyer dog,” and not invoking his constitutional right to counsel. It’s not clear how many lawyer dogs there are in Louisiana, and whether any would have been available to represent the human suspect in this case, other than to give the standard admonition in such circumstances to simply stop talking.

The ruling by Louisiana’s high court could have serious implications for a suspect charged with raping a juvenile, because it will allow his subsequent incriminating statements into evidence at his trial, which is pending. And it clarified that requesting a canine attorney need not cause the police to stop questioning someone.
usa  law 
4 weeks ago
0patch Blog: Did Microsoft Just Manually Patch Their Equation Editor Executable? Why Yes, Yes They Did. (CVE-2017-11882)
The recent Patch Tuesday brought, among other things, a new version of "old" Equation Editor, which introduced a fix for a buffer overflow issue reported by Embedi.

The "old" Equation Editor is an ancient component of Microsoft Office (Office now uses an integrated Equation Editor), which has been with us since 2000. That's 17 years, which is a pretty respectable life span for software!

Really, quite literally, some pretty skilled Microsoft employee or contractor reverse engineered our friend EQNEDT32.EXE, located the flawed code, and corrected it by manually overwriting existing instructions with better ones (making sure to only use the space previously occupied by original instructions).

How do we know that? Well, have you ever met a C/C++ compiler that would put all functions in a 500+ KB executable on exactly the same address in the module after rebuilding a modified source code, especially when these modifications changed the amount of code in several functions?
microsoft  people  compiler 
4 weeks ago
Strunzverbohrte Ideologiegläubigkeit: Spalter killen das Berliner Filmfestival “globale” | Metronaut.de
Es ist mal wieder so ein klassisches linkes Trauerspiel. Da gibt es mit der “globale” für 13 Jahre ein nicht-kommerzielles Festival, das 2003 aus der globalisierungskritischen Bewegung entstanden ist. Das Festival findet jährlich statt und zeigt zahlreiche politische Filme und Dokumentationen, die sonst nirgendwo gezeigt werden. Das Festival ist ein alternativer Raum für Kultur. Ein Ort der radikalen Kritik, der Diversität und der Vernetzung. Es steht finanziell auf eigenen Beinen, hat fördernde Organisationen und wird gestemmt von einer undogmatischen Gruppe, die sich jedes Jahr nach Feierabend den Stress und die Strapazen einer Festivalorganisation gibt. So weit, so cool. Und gut, dass es sowas gibt in einer Zeit, in der linke Freiräume immer knapper werden.

Was dann passiert: Eine handvoll plenumsgestählter Dauerdiskutanten taucht 2016 bei den Vorbereitungstreffen auf. Doch die Beteiligung führt nicht zu einer produktiven Weiterentwicklung oder Stärkung des Festivals. Die Beteiligung sieht so aus, dass ab jetzt alles in Frage gestellt wird. Das Programm sei rassistisch, die Gruppe homogen, weiß, privilegiert, hierarchisch, das Festival ableistisch, die Filme nicht divers und so weiter. Die ganze Breitseite Elfenbeinturm wird abgefeuert, obwohl die Vorwürfe nicht stimmen. Ein tödlicher Mix aus falsch verstandener Awareness, hochgejazztem Hyperfeminismus und dummbatzig interpretierter Critical Whiteness überrollt die Festivalgruppe. Lähmende Diskussionen sind die Folge. Streit. Es geht nichts mehr. Am Ende wird die globale 2017 nicht stattfinden.
mime:german  activism  people 
4 weeks ago
arsonbunny comments on EA reduced the cost of heroes in Battlefront 2, but forgot to mentioned they reduced your rewards. Do not believe their "changes"
EA is awful but I fear people are going to let this entire issue blow over once EA is dealt with. There is a much larger issue here that now affects the entire gaming industry and is only going to get worse and worse, until it gets to the point of needing regulation like we do with slot machines.
gamedev  psychology 
4 weeks ago
A Bible museum is a good idea. The one that's opening is not. - Vox
This Friday, one of the most controversial new museums in recent memory will open to the public: Washington, DC’s Museum of the Bible, a gargantuan, 430,000-square-foot, $500 million building just off the National Mall. With six stories’ worth of exhibits — from fragments of ancient Near Eastern texts to personal Bibles of major figures in the American civil rights movement — the museum purports to tell the story of the Bible’s creation and dissemination, of how stories of one tribe of ancient Israelites, rooted in their place and time, became stories of profound and personal significance for so many.
arts  religion 
4 weeks ago
Seizure of Private Border Land Without Just Compensation (Until Years Later) | Cato @ Liberty
Media outlets are describing the Border Security for America Act as codifying Trump’s “border wall.” I have previously detailed the numerous problems with building a border wall, including the fact that it would require huge amounts of private land along the Southern border. This deprivation of the right to private property is serious, but it’s compounded by the fact that the government seizes the land first and only then, many years later in some cases, provides just compensation. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has long ago signed off on this procedure. It’s a problem that Congress must fix.
usa  borderwall  law 
4 weeks ago
At Guantánamo, a Death Penalty Case Without a Death Penalty Lawyer | American Civil Liberties Union
The Guantánamo military commissions, the scheme created by the government to try 9/11 and other detainees, have devolved into an unacceptable and alarming assault on defense lawyers attempting to provide fair representation to their clients.

A new letter, drafted by the ACLU and joined by 150 death penalty lawyers and law professors, registers the capital defense community’s outrage over the legal breakdown, which clearly violates federal and international law.
usa  law  military 
4 weeks ago
How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, not Engaged Argument | GARY KING
The Chinese government has long been suspected of hiring as many as 2,000,000 people to surreptitiously insert huge numbers of pseudonymous and other deceptive writings into the stream of real social media posts, as if they were the genuine opinions of ordinary people. Many academics, and most journalists and activists, claim that these so-called ``50c party'' posts vociferously argue for the government's side in political and policy debates.
china  military  web 
4 weeks ago
Druckversion - Die fatalen Folgen der Hollywood-Hacker | Technology Review
In Filmen erscheinen Computer als Zauberkisten – mit bedenklichen Folgen. Nun will eine neue Generation von Produzenten der Wirklichkeit näher kommen. Es wird höchste Zeit.

Jahrzehntelang hat Hollywood Computer als Zauberkisten eingesetzt, mit denen sich die Handlung in jede beliebige Richtung treiben lässt – auch wenn das manchmal gegen den gesunden Menschenverstand verstieß. In Fernsehserien und Kinofilmen gibt es Rechenzentren, die nur durch Einlassschleusen unter dem Meer zu betreten sind, Kryptografie, die sich mit einem Universalschlüssel knacken lässt, und E-Mails, die Buchstabe für Buchstabe eintreffen, jeder davon großgeschrieben.

"Hacker-Schwachsinn aus Hollywood", sagt eine Figur namens Romero dazu in einer frühen Folge von "Mr. Robot", einer US-Fernsehserie, die jetzt in ihrer zweiten Staffel läuft. "Ich bin seit 27 Jahren in diesem Spiel. In dieser Zeit habe ich kein einziges Mal einen animierten Virus gesehen, der singt."
movies  mime:german 
4 weeks ago
"Only three songs, no flash!" – Die Praxis der Konzertfotografie | c't Fotografie
Die Konzertfotografie ist ein Knochenjob. Wie die Realität vor der Bühne aussieht und worauf es beim Fotografieren ankommt, zeigt Musikjournalistin und Fotografin Isabelle Hannemann am Beispiel zweier Besuche bei Fury in the Slaughterhouse.
journalism  mime:german  people 
4 weeks ago
Anhörung beim Menschenrechtsgerichtshof: Die Rechtswidrigkeit der Massenüberwachung – netzpolitik.org
Seit den Snowden-Veröffentlichungen ist nicht mehr abzustreiten, dass die britischen Geheimdienste in Europa an den Netzkabeln horchen. Dieser und weitere Eingriffe in die Privatsphäre von Millionen Menschen war am Dienstag Thema bei einer mündlichen Anhörung vor dem Europäischen Menschenrechtsgerichtshof. Ein Bericht aus der Verhandlung.
prism  law  mime:german  europe 
5 weeks ago
DNAinfo and Gothamist Are Shut Down After Vote to Unionize - NYTimes.com
A week ago, reporters and editors in the combined newsroom of DNAinfo and Gothamist, two of New York City’s leading digital purveyors of local news, celebrated victory in their vote to join a union.

On Thursday, they lost their jobs, as Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade who owned the sites, shut them down.
6 weeks ago
Replace UEFI with Linux
● Linux no longer controls the x86 platform
● Between Linux and the hardware are at least 2 ½ kernels
● They are completely proprietary and (perhaps not surprisingly) exploit-friendly
● And the exploits can persist, i.e. be written to FLASH, and you can’t fix that
linux  security  os 
6 weeks ago
Universe shouldn’t exist, CERN physicists conclude | Cosmos
One of the great mysteries of modern physics is why antimatter did not destroy the universe at the beginning of time.

To explain it, physicists suppose there must be some difference between matter and antimatter – apart from electric charge. Whatever that difference is, it’s not in their magnetism, it seems.

Physicists at CERN in Switzerland have made the most precise measurement ever of the magnetic moment of an anti-proton – a number that measures how a particle reacts to magnetic force – and found it to be exactly the same as that of the proton but with opposite sign.
universe  physics 
7 weeks ago
Pilotprojekt „Soldat in 20 Tagen“ – In Bayern schon Realität : Augen geradeaus
Anfang des Jahres gab es ein Papier des Reservistenverbandes mit dem Vorschlag, Ungediente im Schnellkurs zu Soldaten auszubilden – einschließlich Ausbildung an der Waffe. Die Absicht ist dabei, in zwanzig Ausbildungstagen Ungediente eine militärische Grundausbildung durchlaufen zu lassen, an deren Ende die Zertifizierung durch die Bundeswehr steht, hieß es in dem Konzept des Verbandes. Das Angebot sollte sich an Interessierte an einer militärischen Grundausbildung richten, die jedoch keinen Wehrdienst leisten wollten oder könnten.
germany  military  mime:german 
7 weeks ago
Catalonia's go-it-alone posture rattles Spain - NYTimes.com
The question of how to keep this country's regions united under one state has simmered in Spanish politics since the establishment of democracy here in 1977. But recent 2006 events suggest that the prospect of a constitutional clash between Madrid and the regional governments, long considered remote, has begun to strike some here as a possibility, even if an unlikely one.

The catalyst was the recent declaration by Catalonia, in northeastern Spain, that the region is a nation unto itself with powers of self-government that are not necessarily restricted by the Spanish Constitution.
7 weeks ago
How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail - Scientific American
Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them. The reason is related to the worldview perceived to be under threat by the conflicting data.
8 weeks ago
How Fake News Turned a Small Town Upside Down - The New York Times
At the height of the 2016 election, exaggerated reports of a juvenile sex crime brought a media maelstrom to Twin Falls — one the Idaho city still hasn’t recovered from.
journalism  people 
8 weeks ago
The Pop-Up Employer: Build a Team, Do the Job, Say Goodbye - The New York Times
To the extent that temporary organizations replace permanent ones, they have the potential to add to the economic uncertainty that workers must increasingly contend with.

Temporary organizations capable of taking on complicated projects have existed for decades, of course, perhaps nowhere more prominently than in Hollywood, where producers assemble teams of directors, writers, actors, costume and set designers and a variety of other craftsmen and technicians to execute projects with budgets in the tens if not hundreds of millions.

In principle, many companies would find it more cost-effective to increase staff members as needed than to maintain a permanent presence. The reason they do not, economists have long argued, is that the mechanics of hiring, training and monitoring workers separately for each project can be prohibitively expensive.

There is some evidence that the corporate world, which has spent decades outsourcing work to contractors and consulting firms, is embracing temporary organizations.

Intermediaries have sprouted in many industries. In the tech world,
there is Gigster, a platform founded in 2014 that knits freelancers together into software-building teams, so that an entrepreneur with no technical know-how can hand off an idea and get back a fully functional app in months or a prototype in weeks.

In entertainment, there is Artella, a platform that helps freelance animators, sound designers and other talent form teams that produce animated features. Artella, by also providing the costly technical tools that support animation, may one day allow freelancers to compete with the major studios.
8 weeks ago
NASA finally admits it doesn’t have the funding to land humans on Mars | Ars Technica
For the last five years or so, NASA has sold the public on a Journey to Mars, a grand voyage by which the agency will land humans on the red planet during the 2030s. With just budgetary increases for inflation, the agency said, it had the resources for humanity's next great step, to land crews safely on Mars, and to bring them home. The agency's new rocket, the Space Launch System, and spacecraft, Orion, were sold by NASA administrator Charles Bolden as the vehicles that would get the job done.
universe  usa 
8 weeks ago
The War To Sell You A Mattress Is An Internet Nightmare | Fast Company
Why did Casper sue a mattress blogger? A closer look reveals a secret, multimillion-dollar battle to get you into bed.

As Casper flourished it enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with Sleepopolis and similar sites. For many bloggers, in fact, Casper was among the first mattress companies to offer affiliate commissions, leading its competitors to respond in turn. The reviews sites were key parts of what marketers call the “purchase funnel,” converting a vague interest in mattresses into awareness of a specific brand, and often the decision to buy it. Many consumers were Googling terms like “best mattress,” landing on sites like Sleepopolis, and learning about e-tailers like Casper for the first time.
marketing  market  people 
8 weeks ago
Who works in America’s newsrooms?
Over the course of two decades, the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) has compiled a national view of gender and race breakdowns of U.S. journalists. The newly released 2017 data helps us understand who is working in America’s newsrooms, and provides a unique insight into how the industry reflects—or struggles to reflect—the population it serves.
The Google News Lab supports inclusive reporting, and for the first time, has partnered with ASNE on their annual Newsroom Employment Diversity Survey. Working with design studio Polygraph, we helped ASNE create a data visualization to show how hundreds of newsrooms across the U.S. have changed since 2001.
journalism  gender 
8 weeks ago
Google Acts to End One Fight in Europe as Bigger Antitrust Battle Looms - The New York Times
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has cleared the deck for a huge antitrust fight. The technology giant is separating its European shopping unit and allowing rivals to
bid for ads. That frees Google up to battle European regulators over claims that the company uses its Android operating system to dominate online search.

The European Commission fined Google $2.7 billion this summer after
determining that the company had acted abusively in promoting its online shopping service over those of others. The regulator also added the prospect of a fine of 5 percent of Google’s daily revenue each day if the company did not fix the problem by Thursday.
google  law  market  android 
8 weeks ago
Driving the future of digital subscriptions
Journalism provides accurate and timely information when it matters most, shaping our understanding of important issues and pushing us to learn more in search of the truth. People come to Google looking for high-quality content, and our job is to help them find it. However, sometimes that content is behind a paywall.
While research has shown that people are becoming more accustomed to paying for news, the sometimes painful process of signing up for a subscription can be a turn off. That’s not great for users or for news publishers who see subscriptions as an increasingly important source of revenue.
To address these problems we’ve been talking to news publishers about how to support their subscription businesses: Flexible Sampling will replace First Click Free.
journalism  google 
8 weeks ago
How scientists and supercomputers could make oceans drinkable | Google
Aleksandr Noy has big plans for a very small tool. A senior research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Noy has devoted a significant part of his career to perfecting the liquid alchemy known as desalination—removing salt from seawater. His stock-in-trade is the carbon nanotube. In 2006, Noy had the audacity to embrace a radical theory: Maybe nanotubes—cylinders so tiny, they can be seen only with an electron microscope—could act as desalination filters. It depended on just how wide the tubes were. The opening needed to be big enough to let water molecules flow through but small enough to block the larger salt particles that make seawater undrinkable. Put enough carbon nanotubes together and you potentially have the world’s most efficient machine for making clean water.
8 weeks ago
Umwelt- und sozialfreundlich Anlegen - mit nachhaltigen Aktienfonds
Sie sind ein vorsichtiger Mensch. Sie vertrauen zwar Ihrem inneren ethischen Kompass aber bei Geldanlagen haben Sie nachhaltige Optionen bisher noch nicht gewählt. Weil Sie offen für Innovationen sind, wollen sie langfristiges, nachhaltiges Investieren testen. Sie entscheiden sich für Start Value und investieren einen kleinen Teil Ihres Vermögens in dieses Produkt. Wir investieren Ihr Geld in nachhaltige, kosteneffiziente Anlagefonds. So können Sie erst mal testen. Wenn Sie zufrieden sind, können Sie zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt entscheiden, mehr auf nachhaltige Art und Weise mit Start Value zu investieren oder zu Personal Value oder Carbon Value zu wechseln.
investment  mime:german 
8 weeks ago
AfD-Wähler: Was nicht sein darf, kann nicht sein | Telepolis
Unter den AfD-Anhängern ist der Anteil der Arbeiter inzwischen höher als bei allen anderen Parteien. Die Meinungselite hält soziale Gerechtigkeit aber weiter für überbewertet

Die Kommentare, die den hohen Stimmenanteil der AfD zu erklären versuchen, unterscheiden sich tatsächlich kaum voneinander. Große Einigkeit herrscht darüber, dass ein Mangel an sozialer Gerechtigkeit nicht für den Wahlerfolg der AfD verantwortlich sein könne. Die AfD-Wähler kämen aus allen Gesellschaftsschichten, heißt es zur Begründung. Nicht soziale Ungerechtigkeit habe sie veranlasst, ihr Kreuz bei den Rechtspopulisten zu machen, sondern kulturelle Entfremdung.
germany  politics  mime:german 
8 weeks ago
Giles Bowkett: Why Scrum Should Basically Just Die In A Fire
Scrum's standups are designed to counteract an old tradition of overly long, onerous, dull meetings. However, at both these companies, they replaced that ancient tradition with a new tradition of overly long, onerous, dull meetings where management got to sit down, and everybody else had to stand. Scrum's attempt at creating a more egalitarian process backfired, twice, in each case creating something more authoritarian instead.

To be fair to Scrum, it's not intended to work that way, and there's an entire subgenre of "Agile coaching" consultants whose job is to repair broken Scrum implementations at various companies. This is pure opinion, but my guess is that's a very lucrative market, because as far as I can tell, Scrum implementations often break.

I recommend just skimming the first few seconds of this.

Scrum's ready devolution springs from major conceptual flaws.

Scrum's an Agile development methodology, and one of its major goals is sustainable development. However, it works by time-boxing efforts into iterations of a week or two in length, and refers to these iterations as "sprints." Time-boxed iterations are very useful, but there's a fundamental cognitive dissonance between "sprints" and "sustainable development," because there is no such thing as a sustainable sprint.
8 weeks ago
Why don’t software development methodologies work?
I’ve worked on big projects, small projects, in huge teams and by myself, in fossilized federal agencies and cool Silicon Valley companies. I have learned and used at least twenty programming languages. I’ve lived through waterfall/BDUF (big design up front), structured programming, top-down, bottom-up, modular design, components, agile, Scrum, extreme, TDD, OOP, rapid prototyping, RAD, and probably others I’ve forgotten about. I’m not convinced any of these things work.
8 weeks ago
My 20-Year Experience of Software Development Methodologies | zwischenzugs
Recently I read Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari. The basic thesis of the book is that humans require ‘collective fictions’ so that we can collaborate in larger numbers than the 150 or so our brains are big enough to cope with by default. Collective fictions are things that don’t describe solid objects in the real world we can see and touch. Things like religions, nationalism, liberal democracy, or Popperian falsifiability in science. Things that don’t exist, but when we act like they do, we easily forget that they don’t.

This got me thinking about some of the things that bother me today about the world of software engineering. When I started in software 20 years ago, God was waterfall. I wrote very long specs which were honed to within an inch of their life, down to the individual Java classes and attributes. These specs were submitted to the customer (God knows what they made of it), who signed it off. This was then built, delivered, and monies were received soon after. Life was simpler then and everyone was happy.

I’m not going to beat up on any of these paradigms, because what’s the point? If software methodologies didn’t exist we’d have to invent them, because how else would we work together effectively? You need these fictions in order to function at scale. It’s no coincidence that the Agile paradigm has such a quasi-religious hold over a workforce that is immensely fluid and mobile.

One of many interesting arguments in Sapiens is that because these collective fictions can’t adequately explain the world, and often conflict with each other, the interesting parts of a culture are those where these tensions are felt.

I don’t know about you, but I often feel this tension when discussion of Agile goes beyond a small team. When I’m told in a motivational poster written by someone I’ve never met and who knows nothing about my job that I should ‘obliterate my blockers’, and those blockers are both external and non-negotiable, what else can I do but laugh at it?

How can you be agile when there are blockers outside your control at every turn? Infrastructure, audit, security, financial planning, financial structures all militate against the ability to quickly deliver meaningful iterations of products. And who is the customer here, anyway?
development  agile  psychology 
8 weeks ago
Why Are People Sexist, Racist, and Judgmental? Behind Cognitive Bias and Prejudice » the nerve blog | Blog Archive | Boston University
Once we’ve made up our mind about a group, or even someone in particular (consciously or not), it’s often hard to change our opinion. When beliefs are formed, confirmation biases kick in and begin to look for information that supports our views, and selectively ignore everything which doesn’t. Maybe someone had decided that you were shy and uptight when you first met. You were more reticent than usual because you had only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before. Now that acquaintance may not notice all the times you’re friendly and outgoing, but instead seems to pounce on all the times you’re a little quiet.

Our brains are hard-wired to automatically categorize things based largely on surface information. It’s an adaptive process that allows us to quickly perceive the meaning of a given stimulus and move onto other things that require more elaborate cognition. These mental snapshots of ours are pretty accurate, but when we apply this automatic categorization to extremely complex human beings, we often get first impressions wrong.
9 weeks ago
Refusing to Tolerate Intolerance – Julia Serano – Medium
Most free speech absolutists have a huge blind-spot that they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge: They have generally lived lives where virtually everything that they think or say falls within the realm of tolerated discourse. Perhaps a few of their opinions or word choices are considered by some to be “unsavory” or “edgy,” but none of it dooms them to the status of abomination or pariah. So they are unable to see constitutive intolerance — the fact that some people and ideas (such as trans identities and perspectives several decades ago) have been excluded from that discourse a priori. Then, when the status quo eventually shifts, and things that people could previously freely say (such as making transphobic remarks) are suddenly met with protest, it feels like an attack on “free speech” to them. And they imagine themselves as the “good guys” defending “free speech” against the “bad guys” (i.e., people using their “free speech” to protest transphobic remarks), when in reality, all of us are doing the exact same thing: Making personal choices and pronouncements regarding what we are willing (or unwilling) to tolerate, in an attempt to slightly nudge the world in our preferred direction.
9 weeks ago
Tolerance is not a moral precept – Extra Newsfeed
The title of this essay should disturb you. We have been brought up to believe that tolerating other people is one of the things you do if you’re a nice person — whether we learned this in kindergarten or from Biblical maxims like “love your neighbor as yourself” and “do unto others.”
But if you have ever tried to live your life this way, you will have seen it fail: “Why won’t you tolerate my intolerance?” This comes in all sorts of forms: accepting a person’s actively antisocial behavior because it’s just part of being an accepting group of friends; being told that prejudice against Nazis is the same as prejudice against Black people; watching people try to give “equal time” to a religious (or irreligious) group whose guiding principle is that everyone must join them or else.
9 weeks ago
I Tried Soylent. It Didn’t Go Well. – The Everywhereist
Last week, I decided to try Soylent.

For those unfamiliar with this “food” product, Soylent is a high-protein drink designed to appeal to lifehackers, dieters, and doomsday cult members who are maybe a little shy and don’t want to come out of their bunker for communal meals. It has an incredibly long shelf-life, and provides you nutrition without all the pesky side-effects that food usually has, like chewing, tasting like something, and being an excuse for human interaction.

As a bonus, it also apparently gives you raging diarrhea, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
9 weeks ago
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