Thursday August 17th, 2017

Racist soap dispenser

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Back in 2009, when facial recognition was just starting to become a thing, HP had an issue where their webcams weren't detecting non-caucasian faces. That era was one where it was amazing that the technology worked at all, and was a good reminder to make diversity a part of the product ship checklist. So, yeah, almost 8 years ago. Apparently the soap dispenser people didn't get the memo.

RT Chukwuemeka Afigbo @nke_ise:

If you have ever had a problem grasping the importance of diversity in tech and its impact on society, watch this video

Wednesday August 16th, 2017

Cloudflare on Daily Stormer

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I have been struggling with a lot of philosophical issues around various companies terminating their services of the Daily Stormer web site. As someone with friends who've had sexually explicit content on the internet, and all of the challenges they've gone through, I'm super sensitive to cries of "censorship". It is not, for instance, lost on me that until pretty much *today* it has been far far more difficult to get web hosting or credit card payment services for anything remotely related to sexual content than for hate publications.

I've been weighing the moral imperative to punch a Nazi vs "love thy neighbor", and pondering when speech becomes violence.

This is helping me: Cloudflare: Why we terminated Daily Stormer

Our team has been thorough and have had thoughtful discussions for years about what the right policy was on censoring. Like a lot of people, we've felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network. We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.

More at Gizmodo: Cloudflare CEO on terminating service to the neo-Nazi site.

How come swimsuits half off never

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How come "swimsuits half off" never means what I want it to mean?

I see that Levi's is covering multiple

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I see that Levi's is covering multiple axes on the sexuality spectrum

Addendum: RT Brian Jarvis @bajarvis:

I wear the "slim straight cut" ironically, because I'm not any of those.

Tuesday August 15th, 2017

Statue Toppling

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Low bwaa followed by a statement or question

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Monday August 14th, 2017

attempted Oklahoma City bombing

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Oklahoma man charged in anti-government bomb plot. The parallels to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are strong, he tried to detonate a fake bomb in what he thought was a stolen cargo van outside a Federal building.

In one conversation he said he believed in the "Three Percenter" ideology - a form of anti-government activism that pledges resistance against the United States government on the belief it has infringed on the Constitution, according to court papers. Those who subscribe to the ideology incorrectly believe that only 3 percent of the colonial population participated in the American Revolution, and they see themselves as their heirs.

JJ MacNab has mirrored a copy of the FBI complaint and notes that he dialed the number that he thought would detonate the bomb again after it failed to detonate the first time.

Cancer treatments

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Choosing alternative cancer treatment doubles your risk of death:

The team then compared the health outcomes of these [281] people with 560 others who were similar to them in terms of age, race and disease, but instead underwent conventional treatment.

They found that people who took alternative medicine were two and half times more likely to die within five years of diagnosis. This is a low estimate, says Johnson, skewed by the fact that prostate cancer, for example, takes longer than that to develop into a life- threatening disease.

The study is Use of Alternative Medicine for Cancer and Its Impact on Survival Skyler B. Johnson Henry S. Park Cary P. Gross James B. Yu.

How Emotions Are Made

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Along with the excellent "Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain", this weekend I also finished Lisa Feldman Barrett's "How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain". Barrett's hypthesis is that emotions aren't innate, but rather are social constructs, ways that we explain and interpret our own physiology.

There is a lot to like about this theory. It helps explain why reactions under stress and threat are so different. It helps explain why there isn't cross-cultural agreement on what expressions mean (despite numerous (flawed) studies which purport to show this). It helps explain why some of us view drama and acting with a detachment of "that's not emoting, that's echoing a cultural cue that we've been taught to interpret as emoting".

(Which is, to a large extent, why I only see a few movies a year.)

Unfortunately, I think Barrett doesn't explain some of her postulates as well as I'd like, and gets drawn off into various examples and implications in ways that don't necessarily follow.

A lot of good stuff in here, some great takedowns of some of the theories put forward by people like Paul Ekman, but... I really hope to read the book of someone who helps better organize the argument.

certificates for malware

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RT Bʀʏᴀɴ @bry_campbell:

This is how cheap it is to buy, one year certificate for malware. $600. (macOS, Office etc)

Includes screen shot of someone selling code signing certificates for all of the various platforms. Worth thinking about if you have any sort of distributed trust system. Specifically thinking about this in the context of a friend who's doing a lot of work in the V2V and I2V space...

Sunday August 13th, 2017

1943 anti-fascist video

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RT Qasim Rashid, Esq.‏Verified account @MuslimIQ:


1943: US War Dept released this video to tell Americans not to fall for fascists. #Charlottesville

The video is embedded. The video, "Don't Be A Sucker", is also available from

Friday August 11th, 2017

Day traders disappear, robot traders do too

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The Quant Fund Robot Takeover Has Been Postponed:

In order to exploit inefficiency, giant firms like Two Sigma Investments LP and Worldquant LLC “need to be dwarfed by large, dumb money,” Berger said by phone. “They’re waiting for the sucker to come to the table, but the suckers are fewer and far between.”

ie: Day trading is no longer a thing.

Selling Evidence

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RT Keegan Stephan @KeeganNYC:

Imagine how much time people spent in jail for the drugs in those lockers.

with a link to: Former sheriff's deputies sentenced to probation for conspiring to sell drugs they stole

Wednesday August 9th, 2017

Fire hazard

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Trespasser falls off Santa Rosa PG&E tower, causes fire and outage:

The man, whose name and age were not released, was about 80 feet up the tower when he apparently came in contact with the live wires and fell to the ground into a patch of dry grass, which caught fire, witnesses told firefighters.

Dude apparently survived too.

Tuesday August 8th, 2017

Social security is saved

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Monday August 7th, 2017


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This thread is a fantastic look at the issues at the state of and need for anonymized end-to- end encrypted messaging, in the context of teledildonics: RT @SarahJamieLewis:

I have ~1hr before I'm going to meet my new friend & watch Steven Universe so let's fill time answering *the* question: Why Oniondildonics?

Street sold

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Rich SF residents get a shock: Someone bought their street. HOA loses tax bill for 3 decades, private street goes to auction, now there's discussion of charging for parking on the street...

Friday August 4th, 2017

mobility and work

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The Great Stagnation: Americans stopped moving to find work

The paper proposes a potential answer to a question that has nagged researchers and political observers in the current anti-establishment wave: why people in the decaying rust belt do not just move. According to the authors, a primary reason is state and local zoning regulations that have increasingly slowed housing growth in the most attractive cities since the middle of the 20th century, thus driving up real estate prices.

"The paper" is National Bureau of Economic Research: Why Has Regional Income Convergence in the U.S. Declined? ($5 paywall), which I have not read.

Perhaps an older version of the paper: Why Has Regional Income Convergence in the U.S. Declined? (PDF).