Category Archives: Technology

July 14, 2017

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

“Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them.”

You were going to get one-click access to the full text of nearly every book that’s ever been published. Books still in print you’d have to pay for, but everything else—a collection slated to grow larger than the holdings at the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of Michigan, at any of the great national libraries of Europe—would have been available for free at terminals that were going to be placed in every local library that wanted one.

At the terminal you were going to be able to search tens of millions of books and read every page of any book you found. You’d be able to highlight passages and make annotations and share them; for the first time, you’d be able to pinpoint an idea somewhere inside the vastness of the printed record, and send somebody straight to it with a link. Books would become as instantly available, searchable, copy-pasteable—as alive in the digital world—as web pages.

It was to be the realization of a long-held dream. “The universal library has been talked about for millennia,” Richard Ovenden, the head of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, has said. “It was possible to think in the Renaissance that you might be able to amass the whole of published knowledge in a single room or a single institution.” In the spring of 2011, it seemed we’d amassed it in a terminal small enough to fit on a desk.

“This is a watershed event and can serve as a catalyst for the reinvention of education, research, and intellectual life,” one eager observer wrote at the time.

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Complete text linked here.

May 21, 2017

REVEALED: Barack Obama Talked Directly with Mark Zuckerberg About Facebook Concerns

Former president Barack Obama spoke directly with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the latter’s drafting of a 5,700-word manifesto outlining the company’s future goals.

Obama was one of the instigators of the “fake news” panic that has put Facebook in the establishment’s CROSSHAIRS following the election of Donald Trump. Obama has repeatedly addressed the issue and even discussed it privately with European leaders prior to leaving office.

According to a major New York Times Magazine feature on the future of Facebook, he is also holding private discussions with Mark Zuckerberg.

Earlier that day, Zuckerberg’s staff had sent me a draft of a 5,700­ word manifesto that, I was told, he spent weeks writing. The document, “Building Global Community,” argued that until now, Facebook’s corporate goal had merely been to connect people. But that was just Step 1. According to the manifesto, Facebook’s “next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community — for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.” If it was a nebulous crusade, it was also vast in its ambition.

According to the piece, Zuckerberg — after a “pause” — admitted that he had been in talks with former president Obama during the drafting of the manifesto.

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Complete text linked here.

May 4, 2017

The Internet’s Endless War to Seize the Memes of Production

Culture warriors even forced the resignation of Yale’s Silliman College head Nicholas Christakis and lecturer Erika Christakis for defending Halloween costumes. Given that this is what “equality politics” consists of, it’s not surprising that most people want no part of it.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s ascension to the highest office in the land, journalists have sought answers for his popularity. Aside from the influence of “fake news,” the betrayal of white women towards the mythical sisterhood (because all women think alike, don’t you know?), and the “ignorance” of the conservative voting bloc, one particular group of politically-active millennial voters is brought up time and time again as a prime reason for Trump’s win at the polls: the anime-loving denizens of 4chan.

Writing for New York Magazine, former Gawker chief Max Read attempts to deconstruct the labyrinthian memeverse that is now the Internet—a social environment riddled with inside jokes and postmodernist hot takes. Referencing 4chan, Read argues that the Internet is now a message board because the “self-proclaimed losers and freaks of 4chan and its ilk had come to great political prominence” upon Trump’s election. After all, he argues, Hillary Clinton waged war against a cartoon frog.

To credit memes for so much of Trump’s success, however, is to bestow power upon the very memes that the progressive left battles daily. Fighting against memes, which are viral by nature, is to infect your audience with an awareness of their existence, which in turn grants them even more power. Were it not for the constant outrage against Pepe the Frog, the “OK” sign as a “white supremacist gesture,” and numerous other spawn of Reddit, Twitter and 4chan, these symbols would hold no meaning outside the bubbles in which they were formed.

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Complete text linked here.

April 24, 2017

Is the Silicon Valley Dynasty Coming to an End?

Ethical lapses at some of the tech industry’s biggest companies suggest a chilling reality of what really matters in the world’s most rollicking economy.

It has been said that Silicon Valley, or the 50 or so square-mile area extending from San Francisco to the base of the peninsula, has overseen the creation of more wealth than any place in the history of mankind. It’s made people richer than the oil industry; it has created more money than the Gold Rush. Silicon chips, lines of code, and rectangular screens have even minted more wealth than religious wars.

Wealthy societies, indeed, have their own complicated incentive structures and mores. But they do often tend, as any technological entrepreneur will be quick to remind you, to distribute value across numerous income levels, in a scaled capacity. The Ford line, for instance, may have eventually minted some serious millionaires in Detroit, but it also made transportation cheaper, helped drive down prices on countless consumer goods, and facilitated new trade routes and commercial opportunities. Smartphones, or any number of inventive modern apps or other software products, are no different. Sure, they throw off a lot of money to the geniuses who came up with them, and the people who got in at the ground floor. But they also make possible innumerable other opportunities, financial and otherwise, for their millions of consumers.

Silicon Valley is, in its own right, a dynasty. Instead of warriors or military heroes, it has nerds and people in half-zip sweaters. But it is becoming increasingly likely that the Valley might go down in history not only for its wealth, but also for creating more tone deaf people than any other ecosystem in the history of the world.

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Complete text linked here.

March 28, 2017

Venezuelans Using ‘Rare Pepes’ and Bitcoin As Currency

Internet users in Venezuela have finally quantified what it truly means to have a rare Pepe, buying and selling Pepe-themed, bitcoin-linked trading cards as a way to escape the economic control of their socialist government.

The idea of images of the popular green frog being “rare” started off as a joke on 4chan, where users would claim that their images of Pepe were rarer and more valuable than everyone else’s. It escalated into people selling their collections of Pepe on eBay, with bids reaching up to almost $100,000 before eBay took it down.

There were never any serious transactions however, with everyone involved enjoying the ironic humour of the situation. More recently, a group of redditors have been “trading” memes of any shape and size on /r/MemeEconomy, attempting to create a stock market in meme popularity. But, it turns out that rare Pepe collecting online is now a serious business.

Sometime last year, an unknown individual began issuing “official” rare Pepe trading cards using the Counterparty platform to link them to bitcoin, in an attempt to poke fun at another online trading game called Spells of Genesis. Today, these cards can be exchanged for the equivalent of thousands of US dollars on Counterparty’s decentralised exchange.

This is due to a creation of artificial scarcity in the cards (as one would expect trading cards to have). Anyone can issue their own rare Pepes, but these are then verified by the official Rare Pepe Foundation, and linked to a certain piece of the bitcoin chain via a practice known as coin colouring. Whomsoever owns that particular bitcoin key address owns the Pepe associated with it. All verified rare Pepes can be viewed in a complete directory of them.

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Complete text linked here.

#AdsenseGate: The Truth About Youtube Demonetization (Video)

Must watch.

February 2, 2017

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn Says, ‘Eliminate Net Neutrality to Preserve an Open Internet’

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn told Breitbart News that she hopes for the elimination of net neutrality with a Republican Congress and administration.

“I think that the chairman will move through the vote process and rescind the order and if that’s the way the chairman wants to proceed I am fine with that,” Blackburn explained of the Federal Communications Commission. “I think that the marketplace would appreciate it if there was a clean repeal of that order. It would get rid of Title II (public utility regulation). Then we can focus on light-touch regulation and preservation of an open internet, and focus on cybersecurity provisions and broadband expansions, and maybe focus on getting spectrum auction right.”

Congresswoman Blackburn discussed paid prioritization, in which content providers such as Netflix can pay Verizon to better handle its bandwidth. YouTube and Netflix, at peak hours, use half of the bandwidth in the United States. Congresswoman Blackburn said that the best way to handle this issue involves “content distributers and Internet service providers work[ing] this out at the negotiating table.”

Congresswoman Blackburn discussed the broadband internet’s importance to the economy, saying, “Rural broadband is the top education, economic development, and healthcare access issue in my district. I have 16 rural counties, and you do not get economic development and you cannot utilize telemedicine and remote monitoring and you cannot recruit companies and factories without consistent and steady broadband access.”

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Complete text linked here.

December 16, 2016

Georgia official: Cyberattacks linked back to DHS

Secretary of state: ‘It makes you wonder if somebody was trying to prove a point’

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office now confirms 10 separate cyberattacks on its network were all traced back to U.S. Department of Homeland Security addresses.

In an exclusive interview, a visibly frustrated Secretary of State Brian Kemp confirmed the attacks of different levels on his agency’s network over the last 10 months. He says they all traced back to DHS internet provider addresses.

As Kemp’s office waits on word from the Trump administration about investigating this incident, we’re talking with a cyber security expert about why he believes this could happen, on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.

“We’re being told something that they think they have it figured out, yet nobody’s really showed us how this happened,” Kemp said. “We need to know.”

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Complete text linked here.

October 14, 2016

YouTube Censors Conservative Video Channel by Labeling It Restricted Adult Content

YouTube have placed some of the videos of the conservative PragerU channel on “restricted mode,” designed to stop children from viewing inappropriate adult content.

The channel, PragerU, which is short for Prager University, produces short, concise, graphics-based videos for young people which are broadly based on Judeo-Christian values and conservatism, but features videos from the likes of feminist academic Christina Hoff Summers, human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Taleeb Starkes, author of Black Lies Matter.

YouTube has marked some of the channel’s videos on topics such as whether George Bush lied about the Iraq War, the university “diversity scam,” and whether Sharia Law and freedom can coexist, as part of a restricted mode.

According to YouTube, restricted mode is designed “to help screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to see.”

On the channel’s Facebook page, PragerU says that they have “worked quietly behind the scenes for months to resolve this, but YouTube’s censorship continues, leaving us with no option but to go public,” before asking users to sign a petition demanding that YouTube stop blocking the videos.

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September 29, 2016

FCC Commissioner on Internet Oversight Switch: ‘If You Cherish Free Expression,’ ‘You Should Be Worried,’ This Is ‘Irreversible’ (Video)

On Wednesday’s “Sean Hannity Show,” FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai (R) stated that the plan to “essentially give up the US oversight role…of the Internet” to ICANN is something that should worry anyone who cherishes “free expression, and free speech rights generally,” and could potentially cede oversight of the Internet to “foreign governments who might not share our values.” He further stated that such a move is “irreversible.”

Pai said, “This proposal is to essentially give up the US oversight role that it’s had for the last 20 years, basically for the entire commercial lifespan of the Internet to a company called ICANN, which is an international organization, which includes a number of foreign countries. And, it’s an unprecedented move, and one that, as Mr. DeMint pointed out, is irreversible. Once we give up this oversight role, we can’t get it back.”

He added that Internet oversight is a case of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Pai further stated, “[I]f you cherish free expression, and free speech rights generally, you should be worried, I think, when there’s — this oversight role’s going to be ceded to potentially, foreign governments who might not share our values.”

Video linked here at original source.