Internet matters

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 […]

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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 […]

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Writing in The Guardian, Jacques Peretti has compiled an interesting summary of the technological capabilities and government-to-business relationships of Palantir, a secretive technology company focused on identifying patterns within large data sets and making them accessible to people without specialized training. With sensors getting cheaper all the time, the tricky part of ubiquitous surveillance isn’t […]

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I am aware that site performance here is less than ideal in at least three ways: Sometimes pages are simply slow to load Pages that do exist sometimes fail to load entirely, producing a 404 error instead Sometimes, pages load without images or CSS, showing only text It’s much worse on the administrative side, with […]

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Accounts of the protests that brought down the Mubarak government stressed the role of new internet-based social media, which helped organisers and supporters plan the protests. The critical event in toppling the regime, however, was the initial seizure of Tahrir Square on 25 January – a development in which the social media functioned partly as […]

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I’m playing in the qualifying tournament for the online Hive world championship. In the first round, my opponent forfeited. In the second, I lost both games (the tournament structure is to play two against each opponent, alternating who moves first). In the third round, I won the game where I moved second (black on boardspace.net […]

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I’ve written before about some problems with biometric security: it seems convenient to be able to use facial recognition to log in to your computer, until you find your co-workers doing it with colour photocopies of your picture. Computers aren’t the only context where we use biometrics for identification. “Don’t you recognize my voice?” has […]

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One convincing argument made by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (author of The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness) is that we intuitively misjudge the importance of the newest information, which is actually the most likely to be trivial and wrong. I wrote about this before. It’s an especially important point in the Trump era, where I […]

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