26 Jul 2021 - permalink
The Guardian reports:
Italy could be forced to pay millions of pounds in damages to a UK oil company after banning new drilling near its coast.
The case has sparked outrage at the secretive international tribunals at which fossil fuel companies can sue governments for passing laws to protect the environment – amid fears that such cases are slowing down action on the climate crisis.
This is outrageous but expected. The ISDS is being used to let the fossil industry continue unabated. It never belonged in healthy countries with well established institutions and rule of law.
Against surveillance-based advertising
19 Apr 2021 - permalink
We need legislation in this area, fast.
Every day, consumers are exposed to extensive commercial surveillance online. This leads to manipulation, fraud, discrimination and privacy violations. Information about what we like, our purchases, mental and physical health, sexual orientation, location and political views are collected, combined and used under the guise of targeting advertising. […]
Together with 55 organizations and more than 20 experts, NCC is asking authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to consider a ban.
Inferential Statistics is not Inferential
25 Mar 2019 - permalink
A small p-value indicates that something is wrong with the model, but it does not indicate what is wrong.
Symbol of Life
7 Oct 2014 - permalink
Jamie Davies, professor of experimental anatomy at the University of Edinburgh in Aeon:
If we recognise that genes do not make body features, they make the machines that organise body features adaptively, that shift in perspective does much to lay to rest the long debates about nature versus nurture.
Lost in translation, space edition
11 Feb 2014 - permalink
Emily Lakdawalla from Planetary Society:
A big question is whether we even still know how to communicate with the spacecraft. It was built in the 1970s, at the same time as the Voyagers. But we’ve been in continuous communication with the Voyagers since their launch; the same isn’t true of ICE.
[…] in the 30 years since it departed Earth we’ve lost the ability to speak its language.
The Patent Protection Racket
4 Apr 2013 - permalink
Joel Spolsky on software patent trolls:
It is organized crime, plain and simple. It is an abuse of the legal system, an abuse of the patent system, and a moral affront.
The Internet is a surveillance state
17 Mar 2013 - permalink
Bruce Schneier on surveillance online:
All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever. This is what a surveillance state looks like, and it’s efficient beyond the wildest dreams of George Orwell.
The Trouble with Social News
17 Mar 2013 - permalink
In social news, the front page is king. Most users never go beyond the first or second page of top stories. […]
The effect of this is that we’re looking at a fast-flowing river of information through a pinhole.
Leopardize your internet
21 Mar 2012 - permalink
Small Safari extension I wrote inspired by this XKCD that “improves” the internet by replacing all occurrences of keyboard with leopard.
You Are Not Ruthless Enough
25 Feb 2012 - permalink
In the next release a new feature will be impossible to implement because class A has intimate, incestuous, biblical knowledge about class B. It seemed to work but the child of this relationship is going to cause you problems for the rest of its life even if you manage to separate the star-crossed classes and send them back to their families.
Here’s the thing: you are not ruthless enough.
Do it right the first time or you’ll have a “Giger-esque state-driven nightmare”.
Facebook is gaslighting the web
21 Nov 2011 - permalink
Facebook has moved from merely being a walled garden into openly attacking its users’ ability and willingness to navigate the rest of the web. The evidence that this is true even for sites which embrace Facebook technologies is overwhelming, and the net result is that Facebook is gaslighting users into believing that visiting the web is dangerous or threatening.
In this post I intend to not only document the practices which enable this attack, but to also propose a remedy.
7 Aug 2011 - permalink
Paul Krugman on the S&P rating downgrade:
It’s hard to think of anyone less qualified to pass judgment on America than the rating agencies. The people who rated subprime-backed securities are now declaring that they are the judges of fiscal policy? Really?
Stanley Kubrick interview
6 Aug 2011 - permalink
Stanley Kubrick interview in Playboy, 1968:
The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
The One Rule
5 Aug 2011 - permalink
Michael Lopp on context switches, creativity and OS X Lion:
Let’s talk about the Zone […]. This is that magical place where you’ve managed to fit the entire context of your current project in your head. With all this content in there, you can perform superhuman acts of productivity and creativity because you have the complete problem space at your mental disposal.
The Zone is a sacred place. Staying or even getting there is difficult and OS X Lion really does help.
Shell accepts responsibility for Nigeria Oil Spills
4 Aug 2011 - permalink
Niger delta oil spills will take +25 years to clean! Good news is that Shell has accepted some responsibility
17 Jul 2011 - permalink
The Guardian reports that several independent European software developers are removing their apps from sale in the US for fear of being sued.
[Simon Maddox] told the Guardian that it’s “far too dangerous to do business” in the US because of the risk of software patent lawsuits.
But for US-based developers, the problems remain. Craig Hockenberry of Iconfactory, developer of Twitterrific, remarked that “Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, they do and tweeted that “I became an independent developer to control my own destiny. I no longer do”. Iconfactory is among those being targeted by Lodsys, but earlier this week was granted a 30-day extension to reply to Lodsys’s claim.
Even if you are not against software patents in general, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current system does not work as originally intended and might actually stifle innovation rather that help it.
3 May 2011 - permalink
Herman Daly interviewed for Seed magazine:
What we tax mostly now is income from the input of labor and capital, what economists called “value added.”
Value added to what? To the resources extracted from nature, which are treated as zero. So, the idea is to shift our tax base away from value added and toward the resources themselves. If we want to increase efficiency, then we have to begin by making things more expensive. We’re careful how we use gold. We’re not so careful how we use aluminum.
28 Apr 2011 - permalink
Melissa Febos writes about living in New York and crying in public.
In a place where we are so rarely alone, we find privacy in public. We all have our masks, behind which we are free to be, yes, depressed, or any other emotional state we may not want to share with 30 fellow passengers.
25 Apr 2011 - permalink
Michael Pollan in a long and interesting article on food and nutrition:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Work Your Ass Off
7 Apr 2011 - permalink
Will Shipley on success:
We’re blindly following past lottery winners thinking we can win the lottery, too, if we just emulate them. But, mostly, lotteries create lots of small losers. Losers aren’t written about in magazines, but they’re the majority.
This doesn’t work. Your idea sucks. No, I’m not calling you stupid — my idea sucks, too. All ideas suck, because they are just ideas. They’re worth nothing.
My success is because I worked to make the idea real. A lot. All my life. Starting when I was 12, I learned to program, and I’ve programmed every spare moment since.