The Internet is Just a Prototype The week in hyperlinks #23

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

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.

A quick interlude before we begin this week. My sick friend is trapped by the insane and cruel Universal Credit benefits system, and was left with £12 to live off this month. I’d like to raise £500 from readers to get her to the next (inadequate) payment, so she can not only buy food (she’s hungry right now!) but also pay her TV license and other bills. If you’ve been more fortunate in life and would like to chip in, send funds to me via PayPal and I will forward them on. (GoFundMe and the like is too slow.)

Censorship corner

What a tedious subject to cover every week, but it’s the world we live in, sadly.

BOOM! Devin Nunes: We Are Looking at “Legal Remedies” to Deal with Twitter Censoring ConservativesGateway Pundit

“Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee joined Maria Bartiromo today on Sunday Morning Futures. During their discussion the topic of Twitter censorship of conservatives, also known as shadow-banning, came up. A recent study by the leftist website VICE News found that Twitter is censoring top pro-Trump lawmakers. Nunes said the House is looking at legal remedies to deal with Twitter’s censorship of conservative voices.” — If you still work for Twitter, I think you should go for a long country walk and consult your conscience.

Twitter CEO Praises Article Calling For New ‘Civil War’ in Which Republicans Are DestroyedBreitbart

“Jack Dorsey is now busily trying to row back from suggestions that when he wrote “great read” he was in any way endorsing the liberal-fascist sentiment of Leyden’s extraordinary, anti-democratic screed.” — Is @jack a fit and proper person to be running such an important platform for democratic debate? (Hint: no.) See also Silicon Valley titans launch censorship tsunami against critics deemed offensive and Tech Companies Are Gathering For A Secret Meeting To Prepare A 2018 Election Strategy and Despite Twitter’s Protests, The Stifling of Conservative Speech On The Platform Is Real. (How’s your conscience now?)

How Israel and its partisans work to censor the InternetIf Americans Knew

“While it is common and appropriate for individuals to edit Wikipedia entries to add factual information and remove inaccurate statements, this project was the antithesis of such editing. As EI, reported, its purpose was “to rewrite Palestinian history, pass off crude propaganda as fact, and take over Wikipedia administrative structures to ensure these changes go either undetected or unchallenged.”” — You can be pretty sure absolutely everyone is at it; consider this merely an exemplar of process, not a political statement.

Noteworthy news

Amazon Pays ‘Creepy’ Twitter Accounts to Say Nice Things About CompanyBreitbart

“Several Twitter users discovered the accounts, which are almost identical looking except for the picture, and presumed they were bots before Amazon confirmed they were real employees.”

Netflix Has Deleted Its User ReviewsVanity Fair

“This weekend, Netflix changed the way users interact with its site by closing its reviews section and deleting every review any user had ever posted.” — Your media diet will be algorithmically optimised, like it or not. Anything that suggests it is lacking nutritional value will be purged. See also Netflix users angry about trailers playing between episodes and Netflix’s big payment change on iOS might be about something other than profits.

Facebook has TRUST ratings for users – but it won’t tell you your scoreThe Sun

“Tessa Lyons, who heads up Facebook’s fight against fake news, said: “One of the signals we use is how people interact with articles. … For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person’s future false news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true.”” — Anything that challenges the “official narrative” will be referred to the compliance division of the Ministry of Truth. See also Facebook will start hiding spam public posts from users sharing ‘vast amounts per day’ and Facebook Becomes First Company In History To Be Designated By Russia And China As “Hostile War Target” After It Attacks Free Elections In Brazil.

Study from Vanderbilt professor finds Google tracking is even creepier than you thoughtTrue Pundit

“For one thing, the study that was commissioned by the trade group Digital Content Next walks through “passive” data-collection done by Google often without the user’s knowledge. Such as when users switch to an incognito browsing session online, the results of which Google can retroactively link back to the users thanks to how deep its digital tentacles reach into the rest of that same user’s online experience.” — Google’s business model will one day be illegal. (It’s already unethical.) See also Google sued for tracking user location — a report shows how bad it really is.

ISPs say they can’t expand broadband unless gov’t gives them more moneyArs Technica

“”Like electricity, broadband is essential to every American,” USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter and NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield wrote Monday in an op-ed for The Topeka Capital-Journal. “Yet US broadband infrastructure has been financed largely by the private sector without assurance that such costs can be recovered through increased consumer rates.”” — If electricity was an unreliable as broadband, nobody would own a freezer. It’s a long way from being a proper utility.

Google, Amazon and IBM all trying to acquire your hospital records; issue statement demanding end of patient privacyNatural News

“Interestingly, these companies are rivals in many ways, so the fact that they would work together on this initiative speaks volumes about how desperately they want to break down the barriers that are keeping them locked out of this lucrative market.” — All the more reason to take care of your health and stay away from the medical mafia if at all possible.

Twitter freaks out over Russian-made telecom equipment installed in WHRussia Today

“The Russian-made equipment for the hotline was tested by US specialists and recommended for use, a Rostec official told Ria Novosti. “Russian-made equipment has been used exclusively ever since the hotline came about,” he said.” — Where are the telco interoperability standards to make sure the Chinese spyware runs properly on Russian hardware? 😉 See also ‘The CIA is listening & may kill me’: Duterte mulls ditching his smartphone.

Google, Apple and 13 other companies that no longer require employees to have a college degreeCNBC

“She said that instead of looking exclusively at candidates who went to college, IBM now looks at candidates who have hands-on experience via a coding boot camp or an industry-related vocational class.” — Maybe volunteering for a lifetime of debt serfdom isn’t a sign of being the brightest candidate?

Cool tech

RYO currency

“Ryo adds privacy to the core of Satoshi’s vision of a decentralized, trustless cryptocurrency. Many other cryptocurrencies fell prey to centralization caused by ASICS. Ryo will – as it has in the past – not allow this type of centralization to occur on its network through continued development of Ryo and its Cryptonight-Heavy algorithm.”

Light Phone 2 – A phone that actually respects youYouTube

“The Light Phone 2 is a simple, 4G LTE phone with a beautiful black & white matte E-ink display.  By allowing you to leave behind your smartphone, it encourages you to spend quality time doing the things you love the most, free of distraction. We call this ‘going light’.  The Light Phone 2 brings a few essential tools, like messaging and an alarm clock, so it’s even easier to ditch your smartphone more often, or for good.”

Revolutionize Macro Videography: Laowa 24mm f/14 Probe LensYouTube

The leading edge is less about algorithms, apps and computers, and more about how we sense the world.

We’re About to Get Many More Meat AlternativesFuturism

“GFI has its hands in pretty much anything that has to do with clean meat. It’s working with colleges to design clean meat-focused curriculums, launching a conference on the subject, and funding open-source research so that startups in the space can learn from each other’s work. GFI also lobbies government organizations and traditional meat manufacturers to secure funding for clean meat startups. The institute has even launched three startups of its own.”

Global Decentralized Communication NetworkCodeMail

“The answer is decentralized communication on the blockchain. Your data is entirely owned and only accessible by you. Full encryption during transmission and storage. Guaranteed privacy. Only you have the keys to your data. No centralized control or ownership. Redundancy over the blockchain means no denial or loss of data.”


“The aim of Tikkit is to become the most used site on the web, replacing Twitter to make mobile social media a truly free experience, no data collection, no location collection, no care for whatever app or site you last visited. The software is owned by one person and it’s use has been gifted to everyone. The owner, admin and moderators are all left wing socialists based in the UK. Together we have the power to make this the first socialist media platform based in the UK, created by the left for us all, not just the profiteers.”

Quantum Computers Today Aren’t Very Useful. That Could ChangeBloomberg

“Even if Rigetti succeeds at leapfrogging Google and IBM—and there’s no guarantee it will—the company still doesn’t know what the machine would be good for. Researchers have their pet theories: more effective analysis of huge databases, accurate models of hydrogen atoms or advanced artificial intelligence. None of them are proven.” — We need new games for quantum computers.

Uncool tech

Sex robot with FULL BODY movement just like in Blade Runner ‘almost ready’Daily Star

“Chinese robotics and sex doll company DS Doll is aiming to create and mass produce the world’s first commercially available anthropomorphic sex robot with full body movement. … Qiao Wu, DS Doll’s chief development officer, told Daily Star Online the firm is putting the finishing touches on a robot that can move the upper half of its body, from midriff upwards.” — Grindr looks like increasingly good value for money.

Important ideas

The trust deficit tearing apart our societiesJonathan Cook

“The first camp invests its trust, with minor reservations, in those who run our societies. The left and the right segments of this camp are divided primarily over the degree to which they believe that those at the bottom of society’s pile need a helping hand to get them further up the social ladder. … The current obsession with Russian conspiracies is in large part the result of the extraordinarily rapid rise of a second camp, no doubt fuelled by the unprecedented access western publics have gained through social media to information, good and bad alike. This new camp – let us characterise them as the dissenters – is not easy to characterise in the old language of left-right politics either. Its chief characteristic is that it distrusts not only those who dominate our societies, but the social structures they operate within.”

15 principles of good service designDigital Leaders

“This lack of ‘professional standards’ has forced us into an industry-wide existential crisis where we’re never quite sure of our own expertise in relation to everyone else around us.”

Data of distinction

Peak 2018: People Are Getting Plastic Surgery to Look Like Their Snapchat FiltersThe Anti-Media

“The connection between social media use, insecurity, and plastic surgery is also evident in individuals’ growing desire to appear more attractive in selfies, a pervasive element of social media activity. … Current data show that 55% of surgeons report seeing patients who request surgery to improve their appearance in selfies, up from 42% in 2015. The survey also noted an increase in the number of patients sharing their surgical process and results on social media.”

Tencent Is Participating In More Tech IPOs Than Anyone ElseCB Insights

“Since the start of 2017, no investor (VC, PE, corporate, or otherwise) has notched more tech IPO exits than the Chinese social giant moonlighting as an investment holding company. A total of 12 of Tencent’s portfolio companies, which include Sogou, China Literature, Sea, and Yixin Group, among others, have gone public over the period. … Notably, Tencent’s aggregate stake in these 12 IPOs was worth more than $20B at the time of exit (some IPOs have trended down since).”

This company embeds microchips in its employees, and they love itTechnology Review

“A year into their experiment, McMullan and a few employees say they are still using the chips regularly at work for all the activities they started out with last summer. Since then, an additional 30 employees have gotten the chips, which means that roughly 80 of the company’s now 250 employees, or nearly a third, are walking, talking cyborgs.” — Adds a whole new dimension to “severance package”.

The sound of your voice has a therapeutic effect on human cellsNatural News

“John Stuart Reid, an acoustic-physics researcher, recently published a fascinating hypothesis on the therapeutic potential of sound, and how our voices could, even years after our death, be heard as “songs” in the universe. The piece begins rather technically, with Reid describing how light and sound work.” See also Armpit odor is an indicator of overall health, according to research.

High Speed Internet Is Causing Widespread Sleep Deprivation, Study FindsVice

“By drawing upon confidential location data from the German socioeconomic survey, which has surveyed a representative sample of [West vs East] German households since 1984 on a wide range of issues including sleep and PC use, the researchers were able to determine how sleep deprivation is linked to high speed internet access by comparing this to broadband penetration in the country.”

Call for action to end children’s ‘battery-hen existence’ in summer holidays — The Guardian

“A study published last year by UKactive, a not-for-profit group of organisations that campaigns for better health, found that children were measurably less fit by the end of the summer holidays. The deterioration was considerably worse among children from deprived areas. The primary school children in the study lost 80% of the fitness levels gained during term time. The poorest 25% experienced a drop in fitness levels 18 times greater than the richest 25%. The children’s body mass index worsened from an average of 17.64kg/m2 to 18.26kg/m2.” See also Critical Thinking for Young Adults And Children.

Forget Silicon Valley; tiny Estonia is reimagining the way money movesVentureBeat

“Intriguingly, Tallinn has also been the birthplace to global businesses that have made a big impact on the world — perhaps none more iconically than Skype. … Since then Tallinn has become a hub for startups and an engine for innovation across Europe. In fact, Skype’s first employee, Taavet Hinrikus, went on to found TransferWise, an online service for transferring money internationally more cheaply compared to what a bank or PayPal usually charge.”

Interesting views

Something Wicked This Way Comes…Between Now And Election DayState of the Nation

“The only way forward for the globalists is to lock down the Internet.  The 2016 US election, Brexit, and other national elections worldwide have shown them the power of the net when it’s married to people power.”

How To Beat A Manipulator — Caitlin Johnstone

“Because of the reach of mass media, every single one of us is in an abusive relationship with plutocratic manipulators. Many of us are in personal relationships with manipulators too. Conveniently, the strategies for dealing with sociopathic manipulators are the exact same, from plutocrats to your live-in partner.”

The Babel VirusJames True

“There are several side effects to this technology. One of the most profound is the discovery of emotional telepathy. For the first time, we begin to understand each other above the chirping. Our clean minds allow us to experience a new fidelity in the silence. Our entire body becomes the listening device. We discover an inner being to man as a tuning fork for emotion. Conversations turn into sessions of beholding. We are filled by and with the presence of each other.”

How Wikipedia dodged public outcry plaguing social media platforms — Pete Forsyth

“At its core, Wikipedia is avoiding scandal by two core aspects of how it functions: it doesn’t try to predict and guide what you encounter online, and it doesn’t capture and analyze user data.”

On Psychedelic Drugs and HappinessSteemit

“What else could you possibly do today which will continue to benefit you in terms of day-to-day well-being weeks, months, or even decades from now? I, frankly, cannot think of anything. There is simply no surer, swifter, and more enduring way to increase happiness than the judicious use of psychedelic drugs.” — Just say ‘oooh!’.

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs: A Work Rant — David Graeber

Old but good: “Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.”

Provocative perspectives

Who Lucifer Actually Is & Why They Are HereCollective Evolution

“Of course through the Catholic Church, Christianity had become a control mechanism that was not grounded in its own principles of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. It had gained tremendous power and wealth in the world. Is it possible that the Lucifer group soul long took over Christianity at the highest levels as well?” — The Devll’s greatest trick, etc.; if you want to create a better world, understand the philosophy and culture of those who do evil.

Natural Law (Part 1): A Reformed Satanist Illuminates Our Natural Power To CreateCollective Evolution

Speaking of which, here’s an expert in that very topic: “He says that if we truly want to create a better world for ourselves, we first need to be willing to learn ‘how to learn,’ and then how to recognize and embrace truth by rejecting all the false programming we have been fed. He believes our knowledge, understanding, and execution (‘wisdom’) of Natural Law is central to this.”

Media of merit

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