Learning a little every day

Craig Newmark, nerd en oprichter van Craigslist, over social media:

“Outrage is profitable. Most online outrage is faked for profit”

Maar hij blijft ervan overtuigd dat het internet toch een positieve ontwikkeling is:

“It allows people of goodwill to get together and work together for common good. Bad actors are much louder, they make for more sensational news and we’re seeing a period of that now. The US, in a way, is lucky. Bad actors interfering with our elections may have had some success but their success is not complete and it means that people of goodwill are fighting back vigorously.”

Just read the W3C Ethical Web Principles:

The web should be a platform that helps people and provides a net positive social benefit. As we continue to evolve the web platform, we must therefore consider the ethical implications of our work. The web must be for good.


Cory Doctorow vat op Boing Boing onderzoek van Citizen Lab samen in ‘How Wechat censors images in private chat’:

Wechat maintains a massive index of the MD5 hashes of every image that Chinese censors have prohibited. When a user sends another user an image that matches one of these hashes, it’s recognized and blocked at the server before it is transmitted to the recipient, with neither the recipient or the sender being informed that the censorship has taken place.

Separately, all images not recognized in the hash database are processed out-of-band. This processing includes checking for bitmaps representing text (to catch things like photos of banned articles) and also to see whether it is a partial match for an already-banned image (if it’s been resized, transformed, etc). Anything that is found to be “harmful content” (including material critical of the Chinese state) is removed from the chat on the sender and recipients’ devices and the hash of that image is added to the blocklist.

In de analyse van Citizen Lab staan meer details:

  • WeChat implements realtime, automatic censorship of chat images based on text contained in images and on an image’s visual similarity to those on a blacklist
  • WeChat facilitates realtime filtering by maintaining a hash index populated by MD5 hashes of images sent by users of the chat platform
  • We compare levels of filtering across WeChat’s Moments, group chat, and 1-to-1 chat features and find that each has different images censored; we find that Moments and group chat are generally more heavily filtered than 1-to-1
  • WeChat targets predominantly political content including images pertaining to government and social resistance
  • WeChat’s image censorship is reactive to news events; we found censored images covering a wide range of events, including the arrest of Huawei’s CFO, the Sino-US Trade War, and the 2018 US Midterm Elections

Hoe je verhalen vertelt hangt af van wie je bent, en in welke context jij je bevindt.

In this insightful, funny 99U talk, Slack’s (..) Anna Pickard explains her approach to giving the workplace chat app its voice, endearing it to millions of users. From finding unlikely places (like error messages) to show authenticity, to the significance of naming product features, Anna shows us why words matter in product design, and how to choose your moments to wield them.

En dat kan dus ook in de foutmeldingen van je app of in corporate tweets. Als het past bij je organisatie.

In 2009 onderzochten twee economen de hoeveelheid nieuw gebouwde wegen en het aantal gereden kilometers in verschillende Amerikaanse steden. En wat bleek:

If a city had increased its road capacity by 10 percent between 1980 and 1990, then the amount of driving in that city went up by 10 percent. If the amount of roads in the same city then went up by 11 percent between 1990 and 2000, the total number of miles driven also went up by 11 percent.

Het uitbreiden van openbaar vervoer-opties lijkt niet te helpen bij  het terugdringen van het aantal gereden auto-kilometers:

You might think that increasing investment in public transit could ease this mess. Many railway and bus projects are sold on this basis, with politicians promising that traffic will decrease once ridership grows. But the data showed that even in cities that expanded public transit, road congestion stayed exactly the same. Add a new subway line and some drivers will switch to transit. But new drivers replace them. It’s the same effect as adding a new lane to the highway: congestion remains constant. (That’s not to say that public transit doesn’t do good, it also allows more people to move around. These projects just shouldn’t be hyped up as traffic decongestants, say Turner and Duranton.)

Maar gewoon het aantal wegen verminderen werkt wel. 😈

(via @BrentToderian)

Soon, satellites will be able to watch you everywhere all the time. Can privacy survive?

Commercial satellite imagery is currently in a sweet spot: powerful enough to see a car, but not enough to tell the make and model; collected frequently enough for a farmer to keep tabs on crops’ health, but not so often that people could track the comings and goings of a neighbor. This anonymity is deliberate. US federal regulations limit images taken by commercial satellites to a resolution of 25 centimeters, or about the length of a man’s shoe. (Military spy satellites can capture images far more granular, although just how much more is classified.)

But that will change soon.

Ton Zylstra maakt een belangrijk punt:

If you make a statement about someone or something other than yourself or your personal opinions, you need to back it up with a link to supporting material.

Screenshots van webpagina’s of tweets zijn onvoldoende, want makkelijk te faken.