September 4 2019

On the Origins of Modern Biology and the Fantastic: Part 13 —Ursula K. Le Guin and Lynn Margulis | Tor.com
“Margulis’ revolutionary paper also hit at a time when it was most impactful, but also had to deal with intense criticism. Neo-Darwinists balked, holding that organelles arose from stepwise mutations and deeming symbiotic theory neo-Lamarckianism. Furthermore, its “feminine” implications of mutual cooperation flew against dominant survival-of-the-fittest narratives. Margulis detested this kind of narrow thinking and was not shy about debating her critics publicly, armed with a growing body of evidence in her favor. “

Mike Rugnetta: TAKE: Efficiencymaxxing
I make no claim as to the effectiveness of orthotropics (Mike Mew was recently ejected from the British Orthodontics Society fwiw) but a certain community of Internet Men have taken it to suggest if they put their tongue in the right place for long enough they’ll reshape the front facing bits of their cranium and get smokin’ hot thus attracting … *ahem* … “females”.Mewing has become a candidate for inclusion into a regiment that also includes – as Natalie Wynn recently discussed – “skinmaxxing” and other deeply uncomfortable bizarroverse simulacra of self-care which are means towards the end of ~obtaining~ others and not, y’know, caring for the self.

Just Delete Me | A directory of direct links to delete your account from web services. [ht 4 short links]

September 2 2019

How much does it cost your cell phone provider to send your text messages? | OpenMedia
It’s common practice for companies to offer packages of unlimited texts for $5 or $10, which seems like a deal, right? Not when you look at the actual cost of sending a text. University of Waterloo professor Srinivasan Keshav estimated in 2009 that a text message, taking into consideration billing costs and the required network equipment, costs cell phone companies a third of a cent to transmit.

Let us now stop praising famous men (and women) | Aeon Ideas
Assessments of praise and blame tend to reflect existing hierarchies of power and status, thereby reifying them. This is because praise and blame have as much to do with the person judging as the person being judged. If everyone in a meritocracy wants to get ahead, assessments of praise and blame will be influenced by whatever helps people to get ahead – namely heaping praise on the powerful and respected, and castigating those without power and status. [ht Final Boss Form]

Women Don’t Negotiate Because They’re Not Idiots | Psychology Today
What you probably haven’t heard is what happens when women do negotiate. Often they end up worse off than if they’d kept their mouths shut. A 2006 study Babcock did with Hannah Riley Bowles and Lei Lai helped explain why women are less likely to negotiate their starting salaries (referred to as the Bowles study). When they do, both men and women are less likely to want to work with, or to hire, them. The effect size is large. Women who negotiated faced a penalty 5.5 times that faced by men.

Mark Blyth – A Brief History of How We Got Here and Why – YouTube
This lecture sets out a brief history of two versions of capitalist software. The first drove the capitalist hardware during the period known as the Great Compression—1945 to 1980. The second did the same for the period many refer to as the era of neoliberalism—1980 to 2008. This lecture describes the bug in the system that crashed the first version of the capitalist software and the subsequent design of the neoliberal software. It also describes the bug that led to the 2008 Great Recession, landing us in the current transitional period that we might describe as the era of neonationalism or Global Trumpism. A key idea is that the emergence of contemporary populist politics, both left-wing and right-wing Trumpist variants, are attempts to rewrite the software of capitalism once again. [ht Robin Sloan]

August 20 2019

Links related to my comments on the Rose City Politics episode about Smart Cities:

Smarter Cities by IBM – Better World International
In 2009, IBM began their mission to create Smarter Cities. This was their “comprehensive approach to helping cities run more efficiently, save money and resources, and improve the quality of life for citizens”. They launched an initial ‘Smarter Cities Campaign’ that same year, which saw 800 experts being deployed to 130 cities around the world to help them address their most pressing issues. During a three-week period, they offered expert suggestions on how to make the cities smarter.

Against the Smart City (“The city is here for you to use”)

Barcelona is leading the fightback against smart city surveillance
“Now we have a big contract with Vodafone, and every month Vodafone has to give machine readable data to city hall. Before, that didn’t happen. They just took all the data and used it for their own benefit”

The city vs. Big Tech
Summary of the problems inherent with the Sidewalk Toronto bid

The NYPD Was Systematically Ticketing Legally Parked Cars for Millions of Dollars a Year- Open Data Just Put an End to It (See also: TED Talk: How we found the worst place to park in New York City — using big data)

Google says it forgot to mention there’s a mic in its home alarm system Nest

When Google Fiber Abandons Your City as a Failed Experiment

Are New York’s Free LinkNYC Internet Kiosks Tracking Your Movements?
“According to privacy watchdogs, the rollout of the kiosk’s cameras have shown how the mission has already expanded beyond its initial purview. In 2016, LinkNYC disclosed that the kiosks “may” contain cameras; by 2017, the cameras were operational. LinkNYC’s privacy policy states that cameras do not keep video records for more than seven days and that the camera footage is used to “improve the services.” But opting out is not an option: Just by walking down the block, it is possible to be swept into its audio or video feeds, which can capture a nearly 360-degree view of their surroundings”.

OLITA (Ontario Library Association)
2019 Digital Literacy
2018 The Mid Life Crisis of Makerspaces 
2017 We Got Game
2016 Privacy in Public: Implications for Libraries
2015 Open Data, Open Heritage

Open Data to Open Knowledge Via City of Boston

Toronto Public Library – Digital Literacy
Digital Innovation Hubs
Pop-Up Learning Labs
Computer Learning Centres
— Youth Hubs
— eLearning

August 17 2019

Concepts which maintain power / Concepts that challenge power

Owning demand gives companies a compounding advantage, but needs to be bootstrapped. When a company is just starting out, it not only doesn’t own demand, it has all the disadvantages of competing against others that do.

In order to grow their demand high enough to become a beneficial flywheel, Barton’s companies use a Data Content Loop to bootstrap their demand and create unique content and index an industry online (homes for Zillow, hotels and flights for Expedia, companies for Glassdoor).

Expedia: Prices for flights and hotels that before you’d have to get from travel agent
Zillow: Zestimate of what your house is likely worth that before you’d have to get from broker
– Glassdoor: Reviews from employees about what a company is like that before you’d have to get from a recruiter or the company itself

Making Uncommon Knowledge Common [ht]

Apparent Gender-Based Discrimination in the Display of STEM Career Ads — “women disproportionately click on job ads, so bidding algorithms charge more to advertisers to show to women, so men see more job ads” [ht].

August 7 2019

Uncertain and afraid“, John Green / vlogbrothers, YouTube.

Andy Baio loves the video game Elsinore (“Hamlet meets Groundhog Day”) “Parts feel like interactive narrative theater a la Sleep No More, but you’re constantly changing the fates of the people around you in unexpected ways.” … pairs nicely with…. Ryan North’s To Be or Not To Be.

Collecting Your Thoughts Is Good. Organizing Them Is Even Better“, New York Times. Google Keep and Apple Notes are much closer in functionality to Evernote than I had thought.

Twitter thread on how The Simpsons handle French and Quebecois