scritic + teaching   1461

Border family separation and how computer software can make policy - Vox
100j

The podcast detailed how border agents process people coming across the border. They use a computer program that allows them to categorize people in one of three ways: as an “unaccompanied minor,” an “individual adult,” or an “adult with children,” which refers to the whole family unit. Each case gets assigned an identification number, and families (”adults with children”) shared one ID number.

This seemed to work fine, until the Trump administration ordered these agents to separate these same families. In order to do that, border agents reprocessed members of families as either individual adults or unaccompanied minors, and gave everyone new identification numbers, thus losing the one piece of data that connected the members of the family in the system. So, when the court ordered that agents reunite families, those same processing center records no longer reflected which children belonged to which parents.

As Caitlin Dickerson and Annie Correal, who reported this story, put it, “When people hear this, they immediately picture something sinister. They think border agents carrying out this policy were essentially trying to cover their tracks, to intentionally make it impossible to link parents and kids after they were separated.” Instead, as Dickerson and Correal stated, “They can’t change their computer systems in a way that would separate families but still hold on to that identification number, for example. They just don’t have that much power on an individual level.”
teaching 
4 hours ago by scritic
Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret - The New York Times
Use in 100j for "users" section

Apps form the backbone of this new location data economy.

The app developers can make money by directly selling their data, or by sharing it for location-based ads, which command a premium. Location data companies pay half a cent to two cents per user per month, according to offer letters to app makers reviewed by The Times.
teaching 
5 hours ago by scritic
The big lessons of political advertising in 2018
189
As co-directors of the Wesleyan Media Project, which has tracked and analyzed campaign advertising since 2010, we spend a lot of time assessing trends in the volume and content of political advertising.
Teaching  polarization 
3 days ago by scritic
An Amazon revolt could be brewing as the tech giant exerts more control over brands - Recode
100j

The recent tension marks the latest chapter in what is an often-tumultuous relationship between Amazon and the brands that stock its digital shelves. Last year, Amazon began engaging in a fierce pricing battle with Walmart that put a profit squeeze on some of the biggest consumer-packaged goods makers in the country. Brands also have to face the fact that Amazon is increasingly using the insights from the brands’ sales on Amazon to create Amazon-owned product lines that get prime real estate on product search result pages.
Teaching  platformization  amazon 
6 days ago by scritic
The Trouble With White Women: An Interview With Kyla Schuller | The Nation
100g
NA: One of the fiercest arguments you make in the book is that womanhood is a very recent fiction created for very specific purposes. You write, “‘Woman’ represents a tactic of risk management”—can you explain what you mean by that?

KS: I’m building on arguments that black feminist theorists made in the 1980s that gender is a racial structure. Womanhood is not a universal category, but instead is an aspect of whiteness that was positioned by definition as unobtainable for nonwhite women, specifically black women. I looked at the scientists who were inventing and codifying the idea of sex difference in the 19th century—not just the cultural role of gender, but the idea of physiological and anatomical sex difference, the binary of a male and female body. These folks argued that full sex differentiation was only achieved by whites. No other races have achieved the level of evolutionary specification where they were able to differentiate between the distinct roles of men and women.

This is super-surprising, because we assume that the idea of male and female as two opposing categories is universal—at least in Western thought. But before the 19th century, male and female bodies were described as more alike than different. Fo
teaching 
9 days ago by scritic
What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick? - The New York Times
100g But as many of the talks at the conference indicated, this might be about to change. Aided by functional magnetic resonance imaging (f.M.R.I.) and other precise surveillance techniques, Kaptchuk and his colleagues have begun to elucidate an ensemble of biochemical processes that may finally account for how placebos work and why they are more effective for some people, and some disorders, than others. The molecules, in other words, appear to be emerging. And their emergence may reveal fundamental flaws in the way we understand the body’s healing mechanisms, and the way we evaluate whether more standard medical interventions in those processes work, or don’t. Long a useful foil for medical science, the placebo effect might soon represent a more fundamental challenge to it.
Teaching 
4 weeks ago by scritic
Richard Stallman: Talking to the Mailman. New Left Review 113, September-October 2018.
100j great interview with stallmans on the promise of free software and what went wrong
Teaching 
4 weeks ago by scritic
DSHR's Blog: It Isn't About The Technology
What is the centralization that decentralized Web advocates are reacting against? Clearly, it is the domination of the Web by the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) and a few other large companies such as the cable oligopoly.

These companies came to dominate the Web for economic not technological reasons.

100j
Teaching  platformization 
4 weeks ago by scritic
Twenty-First Century Victorians
100a social theory - how people use virtue signals to show that they are responsible for their own success
teaching 
5 weeks ago by scritic
Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property? | The New Yorker
He is a brilliant mercenary, a visionary opportunist, a man seemingly without loyalty. He has helped build a technology that might transform how the world functions, and he seems inclined to personally profit from that transformation as much as possible. In other words, he is an exemplar of Silicon Valley ethics. 100j
Teaching 
5 weeks ago by scritic
Why science can’t replace religion
100g. Really nice statement of post modernism. See the part about how science validates the values that prevail.
Teaching 
5 weeks ago by scritic
It Started as an Online Gaming Prank. Then It Turned Deadly | WIRED
Racist policing and swatting come together in a tragedy 100j
Teaching 
6 weeks ago by scritic
London Review of Books
100g. Very comprehensive. Aids.
Teaching 
6 weeks ago by scritic
To Curb Terrorist Propaganda Online, Look to YouTube. No, Really. | WIRED
Bolstering that point, SITE’s latest study identified 16,219 URLs specifically for video and audio files by ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their supporters. Of those, nearly 2,000 were created using Google Photos and Google Drive. Based on that data, Google Photos, Dropbox, and Google Drive are the three top platforms used by ISIS and al-Qaeda to share audio and video with their affiliates and supporters.

While major platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are often widely cited as platforms that have been exploited in ISIS and al-Qaeda’s outreach, it is often understated how far these terrorist groups’ tentacles reach. SITE’s five-month study documented the use of over 100 platforms, from major players like OneDrive, Google Photos, and Dropbox to those you’d be forgiven for having never heard of.
Teaching 
6 weeks ago by scritic
Can technocracy be saved? An interview with Cass Sunstein.
100g great interview on quantification and cost benefit analysis
Teaching 
6 weeks ago by scritic
Five Artificial Intelligence Insiders in Their Own Words - The New York Times
Computer scientists thinking they invented everything...

For millenniums Western philosophy took for granted the absolute distinction between the living and the nonliving, between nature and artifice, between non-sentient and sentient beings. We presumed that we — we humans — were the only thinking things in a world of mere things, subjects in a world of objects. We believed that human nature, whatever it may be, was fundamentally stable.
teaching 
6 weeks ago by scritic
The Big Blockchain Lie by Nouriel Roubini - Project Syndicate
The language could be tempered but it's a nice take on why a gift economy won't work when stakes are high. 100j, 100g
teaching 
7 weeks ago by scritic
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