2018/09/10: The current standards call for studying the U.S. as an exceptional country with ideals based in “personal freedom, the inherent nature of citizens’ rights, and democratic ideals.” These were written around the same time that the controversy erupted over the revised Advanced Placement United States History standards, which involved multiple states threatening to drop the course and the Republican Party issuing a statement condemning the revision.
The challenge with the traditional American Exceptionalism theory is that the more you learn about United States history, the harder it is to defend. It’s hard to defend the idea that the United States has an exceptional record of standing for inherent citizens’ rights when you learn about American history in the era of Japanese internment camps.
The reality is that there is a fundamental duality underlying American political history, and until we fully acknowledge this duality in current public school curriculums, our classrooms will continue to offer only a partial glimpse into the past. This is not an either/or proposition — America is exceptional — but just in ways that have done both good and bad.
We can trace this duality in American history to a conundrum that dates back to the very founding of the United States: When the leaders of the Revolution chose to seek independence, they launched a movement that espoused conservative ideals, but which used radical means to achieve them. Here, I am using “conservative” in the nonpolitical sense — the goal of the leaders was to return to American colonial society as it was before the increased interference of the British crown.
2017/04/24: At its peak, Google had a massive and loyal user-base across a staggering number of products, but advertising revenue was the glue that held everything together. As the numbers waned, Google’s core began to buckle under the weight of its vast empire.
Google was a driving force in the technology industry ever since its disruptive entry in 1998. But in a world where people despised ads, Google’s business model was not innovation-friendly, and they missed several opportunities to pivot, ultimately rendering their numerous grand and ambitious projects unsustainable. Innovation costs money, and Google’s main stream of revenue had started to dry up.
In a few short years, Google had gone from a fun, commonplace verb to a reminder of how quickly a giant can fall.
continuiamo a produrre plastica: oggi se ne producono circa 380 milioni di tonnellate all’anno e il totale continua ad aumentare. E’ questa l’origine della quantità di plastica che vediamo sparpagliata in giro dappertutto. Ma non è solo un problema estetico: stiamo tutti mangiando particelle di microplastica e nessuno sa che effetti avranno sulla nostra salute. A lungo andare, poi, tutta la questa plastica sarà ossidata e trasformata in CO2 gassoso che contribuirà al riscaldamento globale.
il problema dell’eliminazione della plastica non è poi così difficile. E’ solo che va affrontato nel modo giusto. Ci sono pochi usi per i quali la plastica è veramente indispensabile: applicazioni biomediche, gomme degli autoveicoli e altre cose. Ma moltissima plastica è sprecata per degli usi francamente stupidi e inutili, tipo le bottiglie usa e getta. Ne potremmo fare benissimo a meno e sostituire la plastica con metalli, carta, ceramica, tessuti naturali e altre cose. Per quello che rimane, possiamo usare la bioplastica. Non è un problema di tecnologia, è un problema di gestione. Noi (intesi come umanità) siamo stati in grado di gestire ragionevolmente bene l’eliminazione di alcune sostanze nocive dalla produzione industriale. Pensiamo al piombo come componente di vernici o benzina. Pensiamo al mercurio nei termometri, al berillio in alcune leghe, ai CFC nei frigoriferi, al DDT come insetticida e in molti altri casi. Tutte cose che sono state eliminate mediante accordi internazionali.
Quindi, sarebbe perfettamente possibile stabilire dei trattati internazionali per ridurre gradualmente l’uso di materie plastiche prodotte da combustibili fossili e alla fine vietarle completamente.
Converging crises are compounding the risk that Republicans could suffer historic 2018 losses in suburban communities that could harden a starkly polarized alignment in American politics.
Precisely as sexual abuse allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh threaten to deepen the GOP's already cavernous deficit with well-educated white women, the chaos that erupted with Monday's uncertainty about the fate of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appears likely to compound the concerns of independent voters who want Congress to provide more of a check on President Donald Trump.
Even before these developments, Republicans faced a perilous environment in white-collar suburbs rooted in discontent among college-educated white voters, especially women, over Trump's tempestuous style, belligerent language and portions of his agenda. Both the Kavanaugh controversy and the Rosenstein speculation could reinforce two of the central sources of that suburban anxiety: concerns that Trump does not respect either women or the rule of law.
Yet national polls and surveys in the key state and House district battlegrounds offer much less evidence that all of these forces are meaningfully eroding Trump's support with the groups that keyed his 2016 election: particularly blue-collar, evangelical and rural whites.
Rather than a wave washing equally over all parts of the country, the 2018 election now appears more likely to produce a targeted current that widens the nation's existing geographic and demographic divisions, like a river cutting through rock.
2018/09/24: Oggi non si possono pubblicare foto della Torre Eiffel illuminata dallo spettacolo di luci. Se infatti la torre non è più coperta da diritto d’autore in quanto opera architettonica di valore creativo, così non è per la coreografia di luci che la illuminano di sera. La coreografia è coperta da diritto d’autore e dunque non può essere ripresa o fotografata.
Altra cosa da tenere a mente: anche quando è prevista l’eccezione per uso privato e non commerciale, non si potranno comunque postare queste foto sui social, in quanto questi ne fanno un uso commerciale.
Art. 11: Aggregatori di news (Google News, Apple News, Flipboard...)
Potreste non trovarci più notizie di giornali europei — Essendo costretti a chiedere una licenza ai giornali per pubblicare link alle loro notizie, se non volessero farlo non potrebbero più pubblicare le notizie dei media europei.
Esempio: Sia in Spagna che in Germania una legge simile è stata approvata in passato ma Google News ha preferito non pagare e in Spagna ha chiuso con conseguente calo di traffico verso i giornali spagnoli.
Lo stesso vale per i social: potreste non poter più linkare notizie di media europei. Ma tranquilli, le fake news fatte in Russia invece potranno circolare liberamente non essendo soggette alla direttiva.
2018/09/24: Snippets are being edited to improve/damage reputation or send certain signals to different audiences.
While the changes in the Bipartisan Report panel illustrate the possible use of the Wikipedia snippets to either damage or salvage the reputation of a publisher, there are other changes that are puzzling in their nature. Here is one, concerning the magazine American Renaissance, a white supremacist publication.
Figure 5: Knowledge Panels for American Renaissance on Jan and Sep 2018. The change of the text snippets makes one wonder which audiences are being targeted.
Both text snippets shown in Figure 5 acknowledge that American Renaissance is a white supremacist publication, but the provenance of the categorization differs. In January, the snippet lists third-party, well-known organizations as sources for the “white supremacist” label, however, in the September snippet, we read that the publisher self-describes as a “white-advocacy organization”. This shift of perspective (who does the labeling?) needs to be a matter of debate. Should these information panels tell us what the organizations think about themselves (how is this different from “About Us” pages which literacy experts suggest to avoid) or how other (especially watchdog) organizations regard them?
I don’t know how we can solve these issues without increasing the burden on Wikipedia editors. However, I think it’s important to raise awareness about these issues, so that we continue to actively address them. Furthermore, Google and Facebook need to better acknowledge the limitations of their initiatives and increase their support for Wikipedia and other knowledge production organizations.
2018/09/24: Facebook moderators under contract are “bombarded” with “thousands of videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder,” the lawsuit said.
Facebook is ignoring its duty to provide a safe workplace and instead creating a revolving door of contractors who are irreparably traumatized by what they witnessed on the job
2018/09/25: the Parthenon marbles were a single work of art that should not be divided. Wouldn’t it be bizarre, he argued, if the head of Michelangelo’s David was in the British Museum and the body in the Uffizi Gallery? As Greeks have been saying for years, at the moment the Parthenon marbles are like a family portrait in which loved ones are missing.
One of the arguments most frequently made against returning the marbles is that the British Museum is a museum for the world hosting global treasure. By comparison, the one in Athens is insultingly portrayed as simply a national museum – despite the millions of tourists who visit the cradle of western civilisation every year. But to my mind Brexit makes such an argument totally redundant.
Can the British Museum really lay claim to being a museum for the world when the British government has jettisoned freedom of movement in its Brexit negotiations? I think not. Send the Parthenon marbles back to Athens, and they are free to be viewed by any of the citizens of the European Union who should choose to travel there, free from restrictions.
2018/04/14: African digital enterprises thrive that are able to integrate analog and digital value creation, addressing a specific local problem that is widespread but unaddressable for foreign competitors in a cost-effective way. This doesn’t mean that Tayo’s vision is unrealistic; it only means that it will take rather exceptional founders and companies to break the pattern that most African digital enterprises currently fall into.
Digital enterprises from the US, Europe, and East Asia have been recognized for their potential to achieve global market reach, and for forming a globalized digital infrastructure. However, digital enterprises from economically peripheral countries have usually remained local.
This paper seeks to understand the enterprise-level reasons for these global differences. Drawing on in-depth interviews with founders, we empirically examine the value creation and geographical market scope of 73 digital enterprises in Lagos, Nairobi, Accra, and Kigali.
We develop theory that explains why enterprises in global economic peripheries are able to exploit some but not all opportunities of digital technologies.
In contrast to the claim in current scholarship that digital enterprises can operate in relatively unbounded ways, we find that African enterprises cannot compete in global digital markets and are ultimately compelled to offer localized digital products.
Based on these findings, we theorize that digital products with the greatest global scaling potential are the least likely to be owned and controlled by digital enterprises located in economic peripheries. We thus encourage scholars of digital enterprise to more carefully take geographical variation into account, and acknowledge technological drivers of increasing unevenness in the global digital economy.
1M5 is a secure open-source decentralized peer-to-peer application platform with end-to-end encryption and anonymity as a base layer for creating easy to build and use secure decentralized peer-to-peer applications requiring no server connections that can be used around the world by any person looking to protect their communications and personal data from unjust intrusion, interception, monitoring, and censorship.
2018/09/22: Permafrost thawing could indeed release ancient fossil fuels in areas where they intersect.
So now, in the Arctic’s August warmth, she had come back to this isolated spot with a small research team, along with her husband and two young sons, to see what secrets Esieh Lake might yield. Was it simply a bizarre anomaly? Or was it a sign that the thawing Arctic had begun to release an ancient source of methane that could worsen climate change?
When the scientists examined samples of the gases, they found the chemical signature of a “geologic” origin. In other words, the methane venting from the lake seemed to be emerging not from the direct thawing of frozen Arctic soil, or permafrost, but rather from a reservoir of far older fossil fuels.
If that were happening all over the Arctic, Walter Anthony figured — if fossil fuels that had been buried for millennia were now being exposed to the atmosphere — the planet could be in even deeper peril.
Scientists know the permafrost contains an enormous amount of carbon — enough to catastrophically warm the planet if it were all released into the atmosphere. But they don’t know how fast it can come out and whether changes will be gradual or rapid.
the continuing growth of thermokarst lakes — many of which have already formed in the tundra — could more than double the greenhouse gas emissions coming from the Arctic’s soils by 2100. That’s despite the fact that the lakes would cover less than 6 percent of the total Arctic land surface.
2018/09/25: why did not a single German automaker with all of its engineering capacity and billions of annual profits bring a single car on the road that can compete with a Model X, S, or 3 from Tesla?
People told me, “This is because they don’t want to do so, as the profits are made with their ICE cars, and with every EV, they lose money.” I understand this and believe that strategy makes a lot of sense. However, it creates a new question.
If this is the smart hidden strategy from the CEO of, for instance, BMW to maximize profits, how could he then allow Tesla to outsell BMW in the luxury premium segment? How could he allow them to sell more Model 3s than all of BMW’s passenger cars in the US combined? The same question is relevant for the CEO of Daimler, Audi, or Porsche.
It does not matter if VW does produce more cars, or if BMW has the i3 and i8 on sale and the iNext as a concept that is supposed to have a range above 400 miles in 2021. It does not matter if the e-Golf is selling well in Norway and Audi will start delivering the e-tron this year, or that the charging speed of the Taycan and e-tron is supposed to be faster than a Tesla Supercharger.
The only factor that matters is if the consumers do pay for a German EV or an EV from another brand like Tesla.
2018/09/17: Unless we know when to trust our own instincts over the output of a piece of software, however, it also brings the potential for disruption, injustice and unfairness.
If we permit flawed machines to make life-changing decisions on our behalf – by allowing them to pinpoint a murder suspect, to diagnose a condition or take over the wheel of a car – we have to think carefully about what happens when things go wrong.
Back in 2012, a group of 16 Idaho residents with disabilities received some unexpected bad news. The Department of Health and Welfare had just invested in a “budget tool” – a swish piece of software, built by a private company, that automatically calculated their entitlement to state support. It had declared that their care budgets should be slashed by several thousand dollars each, a decision that would put them at serious risk of being institutionalised.
The problem was that the budget tool’s logic didn’t seem to make much sense. While this particular group of people had deep cuts to their allowance, others in a similar position actually had their benefits increased by the machine. As far as anyone could tell from the outside, the computer was essentially plucking numbers out of thin air.
From the inside, this wasn’t far from the truth. The algorithm was junk. The data was riddled with errors. The calculations were so bad that the court would eventually rule its determinations unconstitutional.
2018-09-24: Google parent Alphabet and the other four dominant U.S. technology companies -- Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook -- are fast becoming industrial giants. They spent a combined $80 billion in the last year on big-ticket physical assets, including manufacturing equipment and specialized tools for assembling iPhones and the powerful computers and undersea internet cables Facebook needs to fire up Instagram videos in a flash.
Thanks to this surge in spending -- up from $40 billion in 2015 -- they've joined the ranks of automakers, telephone companies, and oil drillers as the country's biggest spenders on capital goods, items including factories, heavy equipment, and real estate that are considered long-term investments.
Their combined outlay is about 10 times what GM spends annually on its plants, vehicle-assembly robots, and other materials. The splurge by tech companies is behind an upswing in capital-goods spending among big U.S. companies, which is seeing its fastest growth in years, according to a Credit Suisse analysis. The $80 billion tab also is a snapshot of why it's tough to unseat the tech giants.
How can a company hope to compete with Google's driverless cars when it spends $20 billion a year to ensure it has the best laser-guided sensors and computer chips? There are a lot of physical assets behind all those internet clouds.
2018/09/24: Perhaps the strongest legacy of Systrom and Krieger will be how Instagram changed global culture. It made non-artists feel creative, and let people give friends a window into their world, engendering empathy and friendship.
At the same time, a desperate lust for Likes led many people to manicure their online image while hiding their sorrows and vulnerabilities. Instagram became the premier venue for success theater, where people engender health-harming envy in others by showing off just their most glamorous moments. And when Instagram launched Stories to try to get users to share more than just their life highlights, it ended up normalizing the behavior of interrupting every special moment with their smartphone camera.
Based on the existing literature and case studies, we have developed a Periodic Table of Open Data Elements detailing the enabling conditions and disabling factors that often determine the impact of open data initiatives. Although the importance of local variation and context is, of course, paramount, current research and practice shows that the elements included in five central issue categories — Problem and Demand Definition, Capacity and Culture, Partnerships, Risks, Governance — are likely to either enable or disrupt the success of open data projects when replicated across countries.
2018/09/23: Changes at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in US courts’ outcomes may have already meant that patent trolls rather than software patents in general are a growing threat, including those that Microsoft is backing, funding and arming to put legal pressure on GNU/Linux (and compel people/companies to host GNU/Linux instances on Azure for patent ‘protection’ from these trolls).
HE situation at the USPTO has changed in recent years. AIA introduced the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and inter partes reviews (IPRs) — together with 35 U.S.C. § 101 as relevant law — helped eliminate a lot of software patents which had been granted for a couple of decades.
These changes posed a problem not just for patent trolls and bullies but also law firms and bodies whose sole purpose was to ‘protect’ from these patent trolls and bullies. Some were rendered moot or redundant. See the demise of RPX for example. Well, what about Open Invention Network (OIN)? The terrain is changing and OIN is totally failing to adapt. It’s still stuck in the past.
OIN’s Jaime Siegel and Mirko Boehm reappeared several days ago. Usually it is their CEO who appears in the media.
OIN has such a misguided and pointless strategy these days that even the patent trolls’ proponents can support these people. Watchtroll entertains Jaime Siegel, OIN’s Global Director of Licensing (yes, licensing!). It’s a large “cross-license agreement” — one that Oracle did not even seem to obey when it sued Google over Android/Java. Abolish software patents instead
2018/09/24: One of the administration’s favorite arguments confuses the largely accurate observation that solar and wind are intermittent sources for energy (as in, the sun doesn’t always shine) with the more dubious logic that renewables are somehow more susceptible to security threats than a physical stockpile of coal.
It’s “a tremendous form of energy in the sense that in a military way — think of it — coal is indestructible,” Trump said at an August fundraiser on Long Island. “You can blow up a pipeline, you can blow up the windmills. You know, the windmills, boom, boom, boom, bing, that’s the end of that one.”
But that’s not what we’ve been seeing after catastrophic hurricanes. After Maria, solar power became a symbol for more reliable power, even if few had access to it. And more recently, Hurricane Florence tested the most solar-powered state after California. In North Carolina 4.6 percent of the state’s electricity comes from the sun. InsideClimate News reports that large solar farms and even rooftop solar (which face more variable conditions and are more susceptible to damage) remained intact following the storm. At the same time, those who live in North Carolina still saw massive power outages — at one point more than 300,000 residents were without power.
The upside of solar is that it easily lends itself to decentralized power and micro-grids that could maintain the power for more people in the wake of a disaster.
2018/09/17: in recent years, research has made it increasingly clear that — after an 11,000 year period of relative stability — the climate has become destabilized by human emissions of carbon pollution, putting us on a path towards steadily rising temperatures throughout the century.
In this business-as-usual case — without more drastic action taken to cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — we will continue warming more than 50 times as fast as the planet was (slightly) cooling in the past 5000 years.
And it’s not just global temperatures that are being destabilized, so are sea levels. That’s clear from the Trump administration’s own November 2017 National Climate Assessment.
This “authoritative assessment of the science of climate change” explains that sea levels do not stop rising this century. Even worse, if the country’s do-little climate policies continue — or, worse, actually get rolled back as they are under Trump — then the rate of sea level rise will actually speed up.
our current climate is near the very edge of stability, according to a major new study by 16 leading climate scientists.
We are pushing the planet toward an irreversible “Hothouse Earth” — catastrophic warming of 9°F or more with ultimate sea level rise of up to 200 feet. And that study warns we are much closer to the “point of no return” than most people realize.
2018/09/24: ICANN-approved domain registrar Tierra.net turned off access to all Zoho domains, affecting 40 million customers worldwide. Zoho, a web-based office suite company, which provides customer relationship and invoicing services to small businesses, tweeted that the site was 'blocked' earlier in the day by Tierra.Net, which administers its domain name.
Zoho customers affected by the disruption reached out to the registrar's support chat and email. Tierra.net then discussed Zoho's account details with these third parties, claiming that phishing attempts were originating from Zoho's webmail service, and these attempts necessitated blocking the company's domains. Zoho is a privately held India-based competitor to Google's G Suite platform, and maintains US offices in Austin, Texas. The dispute has resulted in calls for censure from ICANN.