Internet matters

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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This is an interesting case: Spyware’s Odd Targets: Backers of Mexico’s Soda Tax Related: Protecting your computer Dealing with some MediaWiki malware Google’s new malware notifications Black Code The Stuxnet worm The Storm Worm

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A paper by Pearce, Brown, Nerlich, Koteyko (“Communicating climate change: conduits, content, and consensus“, 2015) contains some interesting ideas about effective communication about climate change. They cite one “best practice guide” which explains that: in order for climate science information to be fully absorbed by audiences, it must be actively communicated with appropriate language, metaphor, […]

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Having ads on this site is pretty awful for several reasons. The site is plugged into Google via both analytics and advertising. For people not running an ad blocking plugin, this often leads to ads which are unappealing and often offensive. If you don’t want Google to know everything you (or everyone with access to […]

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