Internet matters

I suppose it’s at least as old as the letter, but communications anxiety (COMANX) has some notable features. Whenever one feels it is possible that a psychologically difficult message will arrive via any medium — whether it’s by mail, telephone, email, text, or Facebook — it sets up the mind to be constantly apprehensive. Every […]


It seems the WPA2 encryption system used by most WiFi networks is badly broken: New KRACK Attack Against Wi-Fi Encryption KRACK! Wifi’s go-to security, WPA2, is fatally flawed, and will probably never be patched in many places WPA2: Broken with KRACK. What now? ‘All wifi networks’ are vulnerable to hacking, security expert discovers This follows […]


I left Facebook a long time ago. I’m back now because I think many of my potential PhD interview subjects will check me out there. Transparency and consultation have been critical parts of this project from the beginning:


A somewhat obvious rule of internet security to add to the first three: Against a sophisticated attacker, nothing connected to the internet is secure. Everything is internet now. You should probably worry more about being attacked online by your own government than by any other organization. Sensitive data about you is largely on the computers […]


It’s crazy how demanding web browsers have become. Both my main computers are somewhat old, but they can run modern 3D games at low graphics settings and perform computationally-intensive tasks like converting RAW files to JPG. Nonetheless, I find both my iMac and my MacBook Pro routinely struggling to run GMail in Safari, Firefox, or […]

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One mechanism of control used by the Chinese government is censorship of the media and the internet. Reportedly, this has been so comprehensive and successful that young people in China are unlikely to know about the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. This is an important example of how governments are often the biggest threat to […]

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In Argentina and the European Union, people can assert a “right to be forgotten“, in which internet companies are obligated to delete content which those complaining are unhappy to have online. There is also a Canadian connection: In June Canada’s Supreme Court ordered Google to stop its search engine returning a result advertising a product […]

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The Atlantic has an interesting article by Kurt Anderson about why so many Americans believe the crazy things they do. He argues that it’s both rooted in history and particular to the ideologies and self-understanding of the United States: America was created by true believers and passionate dreamers, and by hucksters and their suckers, which […]


When we think about global trends, we tend to focus on their importance and how rapidly things are changing. China’s economic rise, along with massive economic development and urbanization around the world, all have unambiguous importance, though we will endlessly disagree about how they will interact and few of us will live long enough to […]

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Step 1: British comedian John Oliver produces an absurd segment about coal CEO Bob Murray: In it, Oliver acknowledges Murray’s history of litigiousness toward critics and challenges him to do his worst. Step 2: Murray sues Oliver for defamation in West Virginia circuit court Step 3: As reported in Slate, Jamie Lynn Crofts of the […]