In 1934, a little-known Belgian thinker published plans for a global network that could have changed everything
«In 1934, a little-known Belgian bibliographer named Paul Otlet published his plans for the Mundaneum, a global network that would allow anyone in the world to tap into a vast repository of published information with a device that could send and receive text, display photographs, transcribe speech and auto-translate between languages. Otlet even imagined social networking-like features that would allow anyone to “participate, applaud, give ovations, sing in the chorus.”«
See on salon.com
Facebook has been experimenting on us. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that Facebook intentionally manipulated the news feeds of almost 700,000 users in order to study “emotional contagion through social networks.” The study raises a number of ethics and privacy issues, since no authorization or warning was issued for the experiment.
Social scientists team up with Facebook, manipulate data feeds, and ignore ethical good practices in experiments with human subjects.
«Facebook has been experimenting on us. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that Facebook intentionally manipulated the news feeds of almost 700,000 users in order to study “emotional contagion through social networks.”
The researchers, who are affiliated with Facebook, Cornell, and the University of California–San Francisco, tested whether reducing the number of positive messages people saw made those people less likely to post positive content themselves. The same went for negative messages: Would scrubbing posts with sad or angry words from someone’s Facebook feed make that person write fewer gloomy updates?
Here is the only mention of “informed consent” in the paper: The research “was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research.”
That is not how most social scientists define informed consent.
Over the course of the study, it appears, the social network made some of us happier or sadder than we would otherwise have been. Now it’s made all of us more mistrustful. «
See on slate.com
The World Wide Web celebrated its 25th birthday recently. Today the global network serves almost 3 billion people, and hundreds of thousands more join each day. If the Internet were a country, its economy would be among the five largest in the world. In 2011, according to the World Economic Forum, growth in the digital economy created six million…
«Laura DeNardis, of American University, speculates that if the Internet becomes subject to direct governmental regulation, a cascade of destabilizing consequences could follow. In a complex gambit arranged by a consortium of European telecommunications providers, a bloc of African states tried in 2012 to use the ITU’s machinery to enact a new payment model dubbed “sending party pays.” In essence, the regulation would have required any content providers that transmit data between countries to pay an additional fee for the use of the service network in the destination country—a tax on international data transmission little different from a tariff wall on foreign goods. “If adopted, the proposal would have completely undermined the economic model of the Internet,” writes Vint Cerf, a senior executive at Google, in a paper he co-authored with two colleagues. The measure was never brought to a vote. But as the idea of a more heavily regulated Internet gains legitimacy, and as national governments and regional or international bodies begin to govern the Web, efforts to bend regulation to the advantage of business interests are sure to multiply. «
See on qz.com
And there’s a logic behind it. There’s even a kind of compelling moral principle behind it. The compelling moral principle is that the mass of the public are just too stupid to be able to understand things. If they try to participate in managing their own affairs, they’re just going to cause…
A good day for a bit of Chomsky.
How the cult of self-optimization was born on the factory floor—with a manager’s stopwatch in hand.
When has taken care of ourselves become a full-time job? In this age of permanent dissatisfaction, we are the first objects of dislike and criticism. When we also internalize industrial methods for the care of our selves, we become endless tinkers, adjusting our behaviour to better suit the demands of our work and social environments.
«Life-hacking wouldn’t be popular if it didn’t tap into something deeply corroded about the way work has, without much resistance, managed to invade every corner of our lives. The idea started out as a somewhat earnest response to the problem of fragmented attention and overwork—an attempt to reclaim some leisure time and autonomy from the demands of boundaryless labor. But it has since become just another hectoring paradigm of self-improvement. The proliferation of apps and gurus promising to help manage even the most basic tasks of simple existence—the “quantified self” movement does life hacking one better, turning the simple act of breathing or sleeping into something to be measured and refined—suggests that merely getting through the day has become, for many white-collar professionals, a set of problems to solve and systems to optimize. Being alive is easier, it turns out, if you treat it like a job.«
See on psmag.com
Inspired by scientific studies, ordinary people are buying and building devices to send electrical current into their brains. Some say it has improved their memory and focus. Others have found relief from depression and chronic pain. But are they getting ahead of the science?
See on wired.com
Between 2000 and 2013, a network of sensors that monitors Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations detected 26 explosions…
«Between 2000 and 2013, a network of sensors that monitors Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from 1 to 600 kilotons – all caused not by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts. These findings were recently released from the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which operates the network.
To put this data in perspective, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 exploded with an energy impact of 15 kilotons. While most of these asteroids exploded too high in the atmosphere to do serious damage on the ground, the evidence is important in estimating the frequency of a potential “city-killer-size” asteroid.«
See on vimeo.com
Gross is la mot juste
The agenda of American media. Propaganda fuckin up our priorities, distracting us from the harsh truths about the world we live in. It’s up to us to educate ourselves on what actually matters. Will you?
How climate change has shifted spring’s emergence
" As the planet warms, the temperatures that trigger spring arrive earlier. But not everything’s adjusting on the same schedule. Flowers open before their insect pollinators come out, and birds return from migration too late to find their usual bug meals. Detailed study of ecological mismatch requires equally meticulous observations of historical timing—and a Boston University lab has found a trove in the journals Henry David Thoreau kept in Massachusetts in the mid-1800s. “They’re probably the oldest detailed records of flower and bird-migration times in the United States,” says Richard Primack, a conservation biologist who runs the BU lab. The diaries, together with more recent data, reveal an ecological system in flux."
See on popsci.com