The Internet is Just a Prototype The week in hyperlinks #20

A weekly reading list to stimulate thoughts about the (digitised) world you might (or might not) want to live in.

The week in hyperlinks #20

Here is this week’s collection of articles and ideas that caught my eye, with a focus on ‘digital life’ , broadband Internet and personal data. They offer data about the world we presently live in, and hints about the one we might wish to pass on to future generations.

Noteworthy news

Twitter Admits: Your Posts Will Be Hidden if You Follow the Wrong AccountsTrue Pundit

““But a close analysis of Twitter’s own public statements reveal that the company’s Orwellian, vaguely-defined mission to improve the ‘health’ of ‘public conversations’ led to a system that allows the left to abuse the platform’s algorithm in order to suppress their political opponents,” Bokhari adds.” — QFD shadow bans are a “transmissible social media virus”, a kind of digital bioweapon, targeted at the political opponents of Silicon Valley’s uniparty politburo. See also Measuring healthy conversation and GOP House leader says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey should testify.

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg sued after stock crashThe Straits Times

“The complaint filed by shareholder James Kacouris in Manhattan federal court on Friday accused Facebook, Mr Zuckerberg and chief financial officer David Wehner of making misleading statements about or failing to disclose slowing revenue growth, falling operating margins and declines in active users. Mr Kacouris said the marketplace was “shocked” when “the truth” began to emerge on Wednesday from the Menlo Park, California-based company.” See also Facebook Takes ANOTHER Massive Hit, Zuckerberg Loses $660 Million and Facebook Eliminates Conservative Pages in Brazil Too — Just Weeks Before National Election and Facebook Has Been Hit By Dozens of Data Lawsuits. And This Could Be Just the Beginning.

Uganda is making ISPs block pornography from its citizensQuartz Africa

“In practical terms, it’s unclear if banning just 10 international adult websites can have much of an impact on Ugandans’ online habits given the proliferation of pornography across hundreds, if not thousands of websites. Uganda’s increasing trend toward internet censorship has seen the use of virtual private networks skyrocket even as the government has tried to also ban them.” — The infinite information copying machine has a dark side; how to tame our addictive impulses?

Suspension Of Blogger Cyprian Nyakundi Causes Communication Crisis At Twitter As Kenyans Leave The App In Masses For Gab Over CensorshipKenya Insights

“With the suspension still under review since he appealed the Twitter decision, a wild beast style migration from Twitter has been ongoing as a firm of protest to Twitter’s censorship. Using #KenyansOnGab , KOT have moved in droves to Gab an alternative to Twitter social media network which sells as the epitome of free speech without censuring the scale of Facebook and Twitter. The network has been caught be surprise with the big numbers, Kenyans are technologically savvy therefore Gab was at the right place at the right time.” — Centralised systems where the content policing policies are not under the control of users do not represent true freedom.

Largest Voting Machine Vendor in US Admits Its Systems Had Remote-Access Software InstalledFree Thought Project

“According to ES&S, the remote-access software was so that the company could provide “technical support purposes on county workstations, but this software was not designed to and did not come in contact with any voting machines.” ES&S refused to elaborate on how many of the systems had the software. However, they claimed that they stopped using it after it was explicitly prohibited in 2007 by the Election Assistance Commission. Whether or not this is true remains a mystery as the company has already proven that it will lie.” — Sometimes digital efficiency is unwanted.

QAnon Going Viral (and MSM is Beginning To Panic)Deus Nexus

The wild “conspiracy theory” that the #FakeNews media engages in coordinated manipulation of the public narrative is “debunked” [BBC] by 50 major media organisations on the same day engaging in the same smear story using the same words and a conspicuous absence of journalistic methodology. You really can’t make this up! See also BBC’s Today programme sheds 800,000 listeners and FAKE NEWS: ‘Nat Geo’ Photographer Admits Viral Photo Of Polar Bear ‘Dying From Climate Change’ Is False and Establishment Journalists Only Call Out ‘Fake News’ When It Suits Them.

Cool tech

Kim Dotcom Creates Crypto Monetisation System For Content Creators — Bitcoin Exchange Guide News

“As such the project also seeks to address the reduction of the risk of fraudulent transactions, identity theft and give consumers the choice and versatility of content without having to rely on outdated third parties, wherever they may be. To achieve the monetization of digital content, the project platform works in such a way that content creators can transform their products into encrypted data. Therefore, in order for consumers to have access to this content, it will be necessary to decrypt the data. That’s where real monetization comes in.” See also Medium Is the Latest Platform to Start Censoring Crypto Companies and YouTube and Facebook Are Losing Creators to Blockchain-Powered Rivals as the battle between centralised and decentralised hots up.

Announcing The Kairos Protocol: Blockchain Friendly ID Verification Powered by Face Recognition —

“The Kairos Protocol™ gives you the opportunity to integrate the future of identity verification into your projects. Automate onboarding, improve accessibility, and reduce fraud— all with a design that preserves anonymity while suffocating malicious intent.”

This 16-Lens Camera Is a Threat to DSLRsWall Street Journal on YouTube

“Light’s pocket-size L16 replaces one big lens with 16 small ones, plus some super-smart software.” — An insight into computational imaging, and three minutes well spent. Software eats glass!

Designing a ‘Solar Tarp,’ a Foldable, Packable Way to Generate Power From the SunSingularityHub

“This sort of device, which we call a “solar tarp,” could be spread out to the size of a room and generate electricity from the sun, and it could be balled up to be the size of a grapefruit and stuffed in a backpack as many as 1,000 times without breaking. While there has been some effort to make organic solar cells more flexible simply by making them ultra-thin, real durability requires a molecular structure that makes the solar panels stretchable and tough.”

Uncool tech

Android’s keyboard will no longer autocomplete “sit” with “on my face” thanks to meBoing Boing

“Last week, I sent an SMS to our babysitter that said, “Hey, are you free to sit on,” and rather than offering autocomplete suggestions like “Saturday” or “Friday,” the default Android keyboard suggested “on my face and.” I tweeted about this yesterday and others chimed in that they could reproduce the odd suggestion, prompting Buzzfeed’s Nicole Nguyen to ask Google for comment, and Google replied that they were going to fix the keyboard so it no longer made this suggestion.” — Manners used to cost nothing, now they need a software development budget.

Google’s New Facial Recognition Patent Wants To Stalk Your Social Media — CB Insights

“The new patent envisions a way for people to identify photos of less famous faces. The system would bring in data from a user’s social apps and examine “social connection metrics of social connectivity” to guess identities. … The patent does not go into great detail about potential use cases, but it describes how the system could enable a user to automatically share a group photo with friends by identifying everyone in it.”

What is Momo? Parents warned over sick WhatsApp ‘suicide’ game that could be next Blue WhaleMirror

“Authorities in Mexico have also started an information campaign to warn youngsters and parents about Momo. The Computer Crime Unit of Tabasco said: “The risk of this challenge among young people and minors is that criminals can use it to steal personal information, incite suicide or violence, harass, extort and generate physical and psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.” … Blue Whale was a horrifying social media phenomenon where youngsters were encouraged to undertake horrific daily tasks including self-harming, watching horror films and waking up at unusual hours.” — You need to have skin in the game for the consequences of your software.

3D-printer gun plans proliferate despite court actionMy Statesman

“The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence criticized what it called extremist groups for reposting the do-it-yourself plans, citing the danger of promoting difficult-to-detect plastic firearms that would lack a serial number and therefore be untraceable.” — Forget the heated political arguments, what about basic concerns over product safety and compliance with established legal norms? Just because you can do something in software, doesn’t mean you should.

Important ideas

Technical Intuition: Instincts in a Digital WorldAlix

“Technical intuition is a conceptual frame that we know and see but have never worked towards. It is a key to broad-based access to personalised decision-making within and about technical systems. There are four dimensions of technical intuition. To Imagine … To Inquire … To Decide … To Demand.”

Online artefacts of the dead should not be deletedDeakin University

“Dr Stokes said that policy responses to date have applied existing ownership concepts or rights of disposal without acknowledging the ways in which digital assets differ from traditional assets such as houses or furniture.” — The “end of life” problem for data needs “digital fungus” to take care of the decay.

Data of distinction

Bike-sharing backpedal puts China manufacturers in a spinFinancial Times

“China’s bike-sharing market brought in an estimated Rmb10.3bn ($1.5bn) in revenues last year, more than 8 times the Rmb1.2bn revenue in 2016, according to Beijing consultancy iiMedia Research. User numbers followed the same trajectory: last year 209m people in China used bike-sharing platforms, up from 28m in 2016.” — Software-enabled sharing is the future of ownership.

Tipping point for large-scale social changeScienceDaily

“A new study finds that when 25 percent of people in a group adopt a new social norm, it creates a tipping point where the entire group follows suit. This shows the direct causal effect of the size of a committed minority on its capacity to create social change.”

Even ‘healthy’ people experience dangerous blood sugar spikes after a bowl of cereal, study showsDaily Mail

“‘There are a lot of people running around with spiking glucose levels who have no idea that these spikes have been associated with cardiovascular disease and things like that.’ Based on the treasure trove of information that Dr Snyder and his team gathered from the glucose monitors on their 57 subject, they categorized people into three self-explanatory groups: high spikers, medium spikers and low spikers.” — Continuous blood sugar monitoring is the single most important tech development I know of.

Factualities: Believe Them or NotArnoldIT

“Today’s data: 80 percent of Dark Web visits relate to child porn. When organizations do not restrict any internet activity, over half of employees (58 percent) spend at least four hours per week, on Web sites unrelated to their job. Silicon Valley families making $117,000 are considered low income. Dark Web boosts ecommerce fraud by 30 percent. The cost of UK biometric residence permits: About $30.” — Links to sources in article.

Interesting views

Over the Acid RainbowMedium

“The quickening bloom of the so-called Psychedelic Spring has brought us within sight of a long-delayed revolution in psychiatry, promising breakthrough treatments for mortal anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, and more. … The idea of psychedelics as technologies of mass “moral enhancement” has lately jumped the fence, escaping the tiny worlds of psychedelic research and advocacy.” — Treat with extreme respect; these powerful substances are medicinal, and not for entertainment use.

I keep all 204 of my iPhone apps on just one home screen — here’s the system I use to stay organizedBusiness Insider

“Plenty of people organize their apps in different ways — some people do it by the color of the app icon, or just by the order in which they were downloaded. My fiancée doesn’t use folders at all; she just keeps all of her apps on separate pages. Everyone has their own system, and this one’s mine. It’s not perfect, but I like knowing that everything I have is on a single home page. And if I don’t immediately know where it is, I can just pull my finger down on the screen and search for it.” — “Tidy your phone” is the new “tidy your room”.

Provocative perspectives

You are being gamedCritical Thinking

“The ruling classes have always feared and disparaged the masses, seeking justification for their cavalier approach to poverty and oppression, carelessly disposing of those asserting their rights to freedom. To make sense of the world, we need to understand that the enslavement of our minds begins at school and continues into adult life. John Taylor Gatto, in the Ultimate History Lesson, explains, with copious historical references, the development of the public school system, tracing its antecedents: Plato, Calvin, Spinoza, Fichte…”

The Imperium Censorship of YouTubeBreaking All The Rules

“When the 1948 masterpiece Imperium by Francis Parker Yockey becomes the focus of censorship by YouTube, you know that burying the memory hole has been accelerated to protect the safe space for anyone who cannot handle the truth. The fear that people might wake-up and start educating oneself motivates the shadow banning of any historic account that conflicts with the purity of an official narrative.” See also YouTube child protection mechanism ‘failing’ and Google plans to launch censored search engine in China, leaked documents reveal.

Media of merit

From YouTube:

From Twitter:


All Watched Over by Machines of Loving GraceBBC via Daily Motion

“Curtis argues that computers have failed to liberate humanity, and instead have “distorted and simplified our view of the world around us. The title is taken from a 1967 poem of the same name by Richard Brautigan.The first episode was originally broadcast at 9 pm on 23 May 2011. This episode investigates how machine ideas such as cybernetics and systems theory were applied to natural ecosystems, and how this relates to the false idea that there is a balance of nature.”

Buyable books

Technology vs Humanity: The coming clash between man and machine — Gerd Leonhard

“We have not thought through what AI, IoT, big data, social media, cloud, ICT, genome editing, could possibly do. He compares it to the invention of the atomic bomb. Things were a lot less fast in those days. We are dealing with a digital nuclear bomb, and it might explode before we realise what we have gotten ourselves into.”


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