Technological Marvels

Scientists call for a ban on slaughterbots (but could a ban even work?).

Something is wrong on the internet. How keywords trick kids into watching violent YouTube videos.

How foreshortening tricks Amazon customers into buying the wrong long bear.

One hour of access every Sunday night.

The power of boredom.


23 November 2017

Все нормально

Russia’s clown troll princess duped the world.

More than 250 Trump organization subdomains are in communication with computers in Russia.

A Russian Facebook page organized a protest in Texas. A different Russian page launched the counter-protest.

Peer-to-peer misinformation.

Hillary Clinton warned about Putin’s propaganda machine.

Russian cyber warfare threatens every democracy.

“Social media ... is an ugly dystopia, and has utterly failed to deliver on its promised goods.”

“This is fine.”

22 November 2017

Once Were Webloggers

The other day I sorted through some old bookmarks of weblogs I used to follow—a more complete version of the pages of blogs I used to maintain here. Over 80% of them were defunct: archived, with depressingly similar farewell posts; or abandoned, with their most recent posts dating back years; or gone altogether. I filed those into folders marked “Hibernating” and “Missing in Action”. The rest, though, were still varying degrees of active, if not as active as most of us were back in the day. Any blog with a post from the past several months I considered a going concern, which is the least I can do when my own blog has sometimes barely matched that. Not many seem to be posting daily, though (not that I blame them), so even a curated collection of ye finest weblogges is no match for the Skinner-box hit of Twitter.

Several also seem to have got snarled up in Google’s push to deprecate http-served pages (as discussed by Shelley Powers of Burningbird, another old blogging hand who’s still at it). I fear that I’ll have to face that time-suck of site-maintenance soon, too, or see the ’snail sink even further into obscurity.

6 November 2017

Omit Needless Words

Twitter has announced a shift from its longstanding 140-character limit to 280 characters, in management tweets which were twice as long as they needed to be. The move has brought criticism not just from fans of creative concision, but from those who point out that the company should focus more on their platform being used to harrass women, promote racism, and provoke nuclear war.

Read More · 27 September 2017

The Howling Wind

It’s fair to say that I’ve kept a low profile on Twitter for a while, after experimenting with tweeting in various different styles in its early years. Nowadays I spend my time there reading depressing news stories posted by far more prolific people. Occasionally I tweet something work-related, as many of my followers know me from work. Now and then I’ll tweet or retweet something that isn’t, but mostly I use the Like button to keep track of that, using them like bookmarks (or favorites, funnily enough).

Read More · 4 September 2017

←Net Culture in 2016