The Internet is Just a Prototype The week in hyperlinks #26

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

Firstly, I’d like to welcome the over 1300 new people who joined the list in the past week. I hope you find my writing of interest and value, and ask others to sign up if you do.

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.

Censorship corner

Fake Compromises, Real Threats in Next Week’s EU Copyright VoteEFF

“By defining the sharing websites themselves as “performing an act of communication” (rather than their users), this language strips away existing liability protections websites have if their users are accused of copyright infringement. From remixes to memes, sharing sites would suddenly be liable en masse for all the errors in rights management committed by their users.” — In the EU you are vulnerable to censorship at executive and legislative whim. See also EU Parliament approves new copyright rules that could be ‘catastrophic’ for the Internet and Why the Whole World Should Be Up in Arms About the EU’s Looming Internet Catastrophe Happening TODAY.

Reddit bans communities promoting QAnon conspiracy theoryEngadget

“This probably won’t stop QAnon’s most loyal supporters, who could head to Facebook and other social networks. They won’t always have the anonymity that Reddit affords, though, and that could lead to some of them going quiet worried that friends and family will ostracize them.” — Nope, Reddit just churns 300,000 alienated core users onto Voat by banning the most active discussion topic. Don’t be like Reddit.

Major social media platform blocks posts that use phrase ‘illegal alien,’ classifying them as ‘hateful content’DML News

“The federal government, U.S. Supreme Court, and lawyers across the country use the word “illegal alien” to describe immigrants who illegally enter the country, because that’s the definition in the law. But Twitter makes its own laws, and the social media giant is now blocking folks from promoting any messages with the phrase, which its moderators apparently consider “hate speech.”” — My take? “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” ― George Orwell, 1984

Facebook’s Rosetta AI detects offensive memesFox News

“Rosetta’s intelligence starts with a two step process: detecting images that might potentially contain text and then recognising what the text in the image actually is. This model is not just for the English language, as Facebook says that it supports different languages and encodings including Arabic and Hindi, meaning the system will be able to read right to left as well.” — So don’t use Facebook. See also Facebook Starts “Fact Checking” Photos And Videos Using AI.

Noteworthy news

The US government is going to test a new ‘Presidential alert’ that will go to all citizens’ smartphonesBusiness Insider

“US cellphone users will not be able to opt out of the alert system. The test message on Thursday is scheduled for 2:18 p.m. EDT and will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.””

FTC opens monopoly probe on GoogleForbidden Knowledge

“Google’s seat, however was noticeably empty. This is because they know well that their practices are indefensible. This was made all the more apparent by recent revelations of Google’s failed “silent donation” attempt to sway Latinos to vote for Clinton and a leaked video of a company-wide post-election cry-fest on the night of Hillary’s defeat.”

GOP turns its fire on GoogleThe Hill

“Tech experts said Google can expect more trouble ahead and worry the company missed an important chance to publicly defend their practices. “Google is going to see long-term pain because of this,” said Christian Hertenstein, vice president of the right-leaning political strategy group Definers.” — Sell. See also ‘Silent Donation’: Corporate Emails Reveal Google Executives’ Efforts to Turn Out Latino Voters Who They Thought Would Vote for Clinton (illegal).

Sessions Open to Probe of Social Media Giants, Sources SayBloomberg

“[Louisiana Attorney General Jeff] Landry said in an interview last week with a Shreveport radio station that he’s “extremely concerned” about data collection by Google, Facebook and Twitter and the supposed suppression of conservative viewpoints. He added that he’s “thrilled” by the Justice Department’s interest. “Those are the kind of resources that we’re going need to break these companies up,” Landry said in the interview with KEEL News Radio 710. “The problem is they’ve got no competition.”” See also THE GOOGLE TAPE: Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin ‘Deeply Offended’ by Trump’s Election.

China and Russia Create Post-Google InternetPublic Intelligence Blog, the Russia firm that offers a range of internet services including social media, email and food delivery to 100 million registered users, has teamed up with Alibaba to launch AliExpress Russia, a JV that they hope will function as a “one-stop destination” for communication, social media, shopping and games.” See also Where in the World Is Larry Page? and Google China prototype links searches to phone numbers.

Hillary Clinton & GOOGLE Created Covert Server to Hide Classified Benghazi Emails from Congress; FBI Never ProbedTrue Pundit

“According to sources, Clinton’s former and privately-paid information technology guru Bryan Pagliano worked with Google to convert’s server. Pagliano, who served as a federal witness for the FBI in Clinton’s criminal investigation, has been granted immunity in exchange for his cooperating with federal agents.” — Schmidt resigned so he could spend more time with his lawyers.

DORSEY ADMITS ON TAPE: Twitter is so liberal that its conservative employees ‘Don’t Feel Safe’True Pundit

““We have a lot of conservative-leaning folks in the company as well, and to be honest, they don’t feel safe to express their opinions at the company,” Dorsey said. “They do feel silenced by just the general swirl of what they perceive to be the broader percentage of leanings within the company, and I don’t think that’s fair or right.”” — Such a lovely man.

Cool tech

The Ultimate DIY Bug-Out BagOutside Online

“Stay informed with RunningSnail’s Solar Crank radio ($30), which receives AM/FM stations and NOAA weather alerts and includes a built-in flashlight, solar panel, SOS alarm, and a micro-USB port to charge your phone and other devices.”

Onstellar ICO (ONST Token): Blockchain Social Media Rewards?Bitcoin Exchange Guide

“The site recruits vital content contributors from their contact list and then gets to the Onstellar Bounty program where participants earn ONST tokens for publicizing the platform. The Onstellar platform seeks to bring a rare connection between social media use and Cryptocurrency. Through the platform, users can meet like-minded individuals with interest in Cryptocurrency.” — Twitter and Facebook will get competition soon enough as “incentive engineering” takes off.

Important ideas

The Future of CommunicationsSteve Saunders

“At one corner of said hat we have ETSI… At another corner we have the Open Source Linux types… And last, and certainly least, we have the communications gerontocracy – the increasingly frail incumbent vendor community… As an industry, these three groups have conspired to wave/flap the magnificent Tricorn Standards Hat at the problem of how to convert hardware defined networks to interoperable, affordable, financially viable virtualized cloud services.” — Remember, this is an industry that not only hasn’t figured out a standard unit of supply and demand, it isn’t even looking for one!

Data of distinction

RFID chip implants are quickly becoming a reality for AmericansLast American Vagabond

From 2016: “H.R. 4919, which allows the US government to actually implant RFID microchips into the bodies of those with “mental disabilities” for tracking purposes, recently passed the House.” — I missed this. Significant as the disabled are one of the “edge communities” that are harbingers of the mainstream future.

iPhone apps blasted for selling your EXACT location – do you have these on your phone?The Sun

“So how did the researchers discover these potentially dodgy dealings? When an app wants to sell your data to a data-harvesting company, the easiest way to do it is through an automatic process. It involves simply taking a chunk of computer code from the “data monetisation” firms, and then sticking it in the app. That way, the app can simply scoop up data and flog it on with minimal effort.” See also Dozens of popular iPhone apps caught sending user location data to monetization firms.

Psychopaths, sociopaths and differences for the workplaceOmega Z Advisors

“Classical management theory is very silent on the influence of personality in business, especially psychopaths and sociopaths who can and do exist in business… Since experts don’t agree on definitions and these personalities appear in varying degrees, it’s hard to say exactly how many exist in everyday society. Figures range from 1% to 10-15% for less intense forms. For example, Dutton claims we all have psychopathic tendencies to some degree.” — The “dark power” of psychopathic cultures is greatly underestimated.

9-1-1 Origin & HistoryNENA

“In the United States, the first catalyst for a nationwide emergency telephone number was in 1957, when the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended use of a single number for reporting fires. In 1967, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended that a “single number should be established” nationwide for reporting emergency situations.” — Later than I would have guessed.

Missing wages, grueling shifts, and bottles of urine: The disturbing accounts of Amazon delivery drivers may reveal the true human cost of ‘free’ shippingBusiness Insider

“In interviews over the course of eight months, drivers described a variety of alleged abuses, including lack of overtime pay, missing wages, intimidation, and favoritism. Drivers also described a physically demanding work environment in which, under strict time constraints, they felt pressured to drive at dangerously high speeds, blow stop signs, and skip meal and bathroom breaks. Many of their accounts were supported by text messages, photographs, internal emails, legal filings, and peers.”

The map we need if we want to think about how global living conditions are changingOur World In Data

“While a geographical map is helpful if you want to find your way around the world, a population cartogram is the representation that we need if we want to know where our fellow humans are at home.”

Interesting views

The Treason of Big Tech — New Movie on Creepy Google, Creepy FacebookPublic Intelligence Blog

“An eye-opening documentary, The Creepy Line reveals the stunning degree to which society is manipulated by Google and Facebook and blows the lid off the remarkably subtle – hence powerful – manner in which they do it.”

Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?New Yorker

“For many years, Zuckerberg ended Facebook meetings with the half-joking exhortation “Domination!” Although he eventually stopped doing this (in European legal systems, “dominance” refers to corporate monopoly), his discomfort with losing is undimmed.” — Not smart.

Who Invented the iPhone?Scientific American

“A brief analysis of these three research breakthroughs reveals a research web of over 400,000 publications since Apple first published their phone patent in 1997. … There are countless other research breakthroughs without which the iPhone would not be possible. Some well-known, others less so. Both GPS and Siri had their origins with the U.S. military, while the complex algorithms that enable digitization were initially conceived to detect nuclear testing.”

Media of merit

From YouTube

From Twitter:

From Wikipedia:

Buyable books

For some unknown reason a bonanza of book recommendations came my way this week!

On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

From reviews: “This was the first book to confront an issue that society wanted to hide away in the privacy of people’s homes – how to deal with death. It was written in the late 1960s, but its findings are as relevant today as ever. It became a textbook read in every medical school in the world, and its messages informed a generation of those responsible for institutional end-of-life care.” — Several people have suggested to me that to figure out what kind of life to lead, start at the end and work backwards. See also What Do 90-Somethings Regret Most?

The Social Singularity: How decentralization will allow us to transcend politics, create global prosperity, and avoid the robot apocalypse — Max Borders

From reviews: “I didn’t expect to love this book so much. Max has become a master of persuasion and an intellectual force of nature. This book is going to totally reframe the way people think about societal change.”

Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance — William Engdahl

From reviews: “Engdahl begins the book by explaining its subtitle – that the United States government (with the help of the corporate media) has been using contradictory ideas about freedom, democracy, and human rights to control the perceptions of its citizens.” — If you want a better world, understand how totalitarianism comes about, and stop it happening.

The best books on Moral EconomyFive Books

Detailed write-ups on:

  • The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber
  • The Gift by Marcel Mauss
  • The Passions and the Interests by Albert Hirschman
  • The New Spirit of Capitalism by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello
  • Debt by David Graeber

The End: The Fall of the Political Class: Open Source Government Book One (Volume 1)Chas Holloway

“Open Source Government began with two simple facts: first, science and technology is the only way humans have ever made progress.” — Innovation in the “software” of society.

5 Paragraph Business Plan: The Action Oriented Business Management Tool For Leaders — Michael J. Penney

“The “5 Paragraph Business Plan” is based on the United States military’s 240 year old operational planning concepts, which have been refined through actions on the battlefield. The VALUE of the “5 Paragraph Business Plan” is in its simplicity.”

Behind the European Project: Shadow Aristocracy, Secret Networks, Religious Orders and an Unholy Union — Chris Deliso

“There are two histories of the European Union- the bland official one, one which lauds a supposedly benevolent union of common values, and another, more sinister and hidden one.” — Your ignorance of history is not bliss for your descendants. Honest government and governance cannot arise from deception (but tyranny does).

The Articulated Man: A Personal Journey Through the Universe of Consciousness — James Zul

From reviews: “In the Hollywood blockbuster, ‘The Matrix’; Neo was offered the blue pill or the red pill, a choice between truth and freedom or being returned to blissful ignorance. On the face of it one might say “it’s a no-brainer”, “of course I’ll take truth and freedom”. I would too. Indeed I have. It comes with a price though. Conscious freedom isn’t entirely `free’, in fact it has a levy – at first: loneliness, self-doubt, envy that you aren’t `one of the crowd’ – even questioning your own sanity.”


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