[syndicated profile] niemanjournalismlab_feed

Posted by Ricardo Bilton

The bloom has come off the rose for the big tech companies. The last few weeks have not been good to the likes of Facebook, Google, and Twitter, which are taking increasing heat for their unwillingness — or inability — to grapple with the their outsize influence, particularly as it relates to the results of the 2016 presidential election. This week, however, has been particularly rough for the companies. Here are a few standout stories.

Facebook’s exemption to political ad disclosure laws is under threat. On Thursday, senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mark Warner (D-VA), joined by John McCain (R-AZ), introduced the Honest Ads Act, legislation that would force Facebook and other tech companies to publicly disclose who is paying for ads that users see on their platforms. This disclosure would include who was targeted by the ads, as well as how many people saw them. More regulation usually comes as the expense of revenue, which is why the big tech companies plan to fight proposed legislations by mobilizing their own lobbyists, who are likely to focus on ways to water down any regulations.

Twitter’s broken promises: Twitter this week said it plans to redouble its efforts to keep users safe on its own platform. Those promises, however, ring a bit hollow when you realize that the company has made at least five other similar — and unfulfilled — ones in the last four years, as Axios’ Ina Fried pointed out today.

Why should anyone believe Twitter this time? According to a Twitter spokesperson, what’s different now is that Twitter has publicly published a calendar with its planned improvements. “Now — for the first time — everyone can see exactly what updates we have planned and where we’re headed, and most importantly, hold us accountable for delivering on those specific promises,” the spokesperson told Axios.

Facebook employees: “We’re the victims.” A lot of the reports about Facebook’s reaction to its recent criticism have focused on the company’s public stances, which have ranged from dismissal to outright denial. Internally, things are just as fraught. BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel talked to numerous staffers about how Facebook staffers are responding to the ongoing election tumult, and many aren’t taking it well. Some say the company is being used as a scapegoat for the election result, which they say was largely influenced by factors outside of Facebook’s control. Frustration is rampant.

The article’s kicker comes from a distraught former Facebook employee, who captures well Facebook’s core dissonance:

“There are times when people at Facebook would gloat about the power and reach of the network,” a former senior employee said. “Somebody said with a straight face to me not terribly long ago that ‘running Facebook is like running a government for the world.’ I remember thinking, ‘God, it’s really not like that at all.'”

Move slow and fix things? For years, Facebook’s “move fast and break things” mantra has been an endearing encapsulation of the company’s engineering philosophy, and a core factor to its success. But that calculus might need to change now that the company wields such immense influence over so much of society. In a leaked recording, Facebook security chief Alex Stamos said that the company needs to take security in particular more seriously. “The way that I explain to [management] is that we have the threat profile of a Northrop Grumman or a Raytheon or another defense contractor, but we run our corporate network, for example, like a college campus, almost,” he said.

Is the sun setting on Silicon Valley? Former Google Ventures CEO Bill Maris said so at a Wall Street Journal conference on Wednesday. He also argued that Google and Facebook “are more powerful than AT&T ever was,” which is why he wouldn’t be surprised to hear regulatory calls to break up the companies in the future.

Photo of dislike grafitti by zeevveez used under a Creative Commons license.

(no subject)

NSFW 20 October 2017 02:02 pm

Me and a dolphin

20 October 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Me_10


Still at Discovery Cove, this was my first time interacting with a dolphin (well, porpoise). As I mentioned yesterday, I am generally in favor of zoos. I know they are not perfect and the non-accredited zoos are often quite awful. One of the places where my personal ethics make me a bit uncomfortable is when “intelligent” species are kept in zoos. As we have been trying to define “intelligent” for generations and seem to be unable to do, I am going to clarify by saying that I am referring to species of a significantly higher than average level of neural complexity that appear to live rich social lives and require constant interaction with their environment to be psychologically healthy. It’s not a great definition, but it does draw a line between octopuses which seem like good problem solvers and dolphins which seem genuinely intelligent. That said, I must admit to a likely human-centric view here.


Anyway, I get a bit uncomfortable when I see great apes and cetaceans in zoos. I tell myself that they wouldn’t necessarily be better off in the wild – great ape habitat is almost entirely gone, and the shallow oceans are far from healthy places to live. Physically, the dolphins are a lot better off in captivity. As for their mental well being, I always had a problem seeing dolphins in huge sterile tanks.


This is where I think that Discovery Cove has made great strides. Yes, the dolphins are taught to perform a routine and interact with guests. This can elicit memories (for those of us old enough to remember) of dancing bears at the circus. However, in talking with the trainers, I was impressed at how much effort was put into first, making the experience safe for the animals and second, designing the entire program around consent.


Discovery Cove has at least one pod of dolphins that live in a bay-like environment. It’s clean, but not sterile in the way that an aquarium is. The dolphins are trained to volunteer to come and play with the humans. They’re allowed to have their preferred trainers and if they don’t want to “work” that day, they don’t. Sure, they’re rewarded for performing with fish and fish-flavored jello, but that’s not all that different from humans being rewarded with money and occasional pizza parties.


While I, personally, did not enjoy the sameness and controlled experience that Discovery Cove offered – mostly because I’ve had experiences much closer to the wild – for the first time, I did not feel sorry for the dolphins. I think this is a big step in the right direction. I am also pleased to note that SeaWorld is reworking their older parks to build this newer understanding of cetacean psychology into the life experiences of all of their animals.


(And before you mention that movie, know that it was as misleading as the anti-Planned Parenthood “baby parts” video. People can edit footage to tell whatever story they want. SeaWorld isn’t perfect, but they’re not monsters either.)




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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[personal profile] writerlibrarian
We are experiencing a really nice Indian Summer. It will last until Sunday. Then Fall arrives for real with rain and rain and rain.

The reno are almost done. The counter top (quartz) has been measured and will be installed on Monday afternoon along with the sink. Then the plumbing and back splash will be done when my guys are free. That might be a few weeks.

Hockey is in full swing. Surprise teams are the New Jersey's Devils with their three rookies. Nico Hischier, who scored his first goal last night and added another one. Ottawa's Senators are also doing good despite Captain Erik Karlsson's absence. He is back now but not fully ready. Baby steps on his rebuilt ankle. Toronto's Leafs are performing as expected. Against the Wings, Auston Matthews was fantastic. Again. They even shot out the Caps in Washington.

Nikita Kucherov in Tampa is a scoring machine.

I'm outlining what I want to write for Nanowrimo. I might not write much but I setting up a goal of 5000 words.

Outbox

Sherry Thomas' A Study in Scarlet Women. The first in her Lady Sherlock's series. Fabulous remixing of Sherlock Holmes. Totally. Charlotte is point on. So is Livia. Mrs Watson, so good. I liked how Thomas turned things around and a non fan of Holmes will like it too but for the fan there are Easter eggs hidden all through the book. Charlotte "Sherlock" Holmes is fun and logical. Genius but with some empathy, especially for her family. The twists and turns of the introductions of the "known or expected" characters are wonderful. Mrs Hudson, John Watson, Moriarty are there in one form or another.

Inbox

Cinder. Marissa Meyer. Android fairy tale. Looks interesting.

Currently reading

Level up. Cathy Yardley So far it's keeping me interested. Geek girl working in game developing looking to move up as an engineer.

Ces livres qui nous font du bien.
This week's hockey highlights

(no subject)

20 October 2017 01:54 pm
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[personal profile] the_rck
Cordelia got home about 1 a.m. I think she enjoyed the concert (Imagine Dragons) in spite of several anxiety spikes. It means that she and I each only got about three and a half hours of sleep. I let her go to bed without even brushing her teeth. My impression is that they'd have been back here a good bit earlier, but they got stuck in the parking structure for more than half an hour after the concert.

I went back to bed after Cordelia left for school. I slept another three or four hours (not sure when I actually fell asleep). I still want more sleep, but Cordelia will be home in an hour.

Rumors where Scott works are that there may be an opening for a supervisor on third shift. If there is, he wants to apply and thinks he has a good chance of getting it. Both of us have mixed feelings about it, but getting a supervisory slot on either second or third shift is the only path to advancement from where he is. The times he's applied for jobs off the factory floor, the decision has always come down to him and one other person who has supervisory experience. Even when supervisory experience isn't relevant for the position, it matters. The fact that supervisors make more money matters, too, but they get more mandatory overtime to go with it because there has to be a supervisor there if anybody's working.

It would mean that he and I would never sleep at the same time and that he'd no longer see Cordelia for that little bit of time before school (he never used to when she was getting up for a later start time). Another downside is that he and I wouldn't intersect for meals very often-- I'd eat breakfast before he got home and both lunch and dinner while he was asleep. I'd need to alter my daytime activities a lot so as not to wake him when playing music or watching DVDs. He thinks that I can do more than I did while he was on that shift temporarily, but we'd have to experiment a bit to find the parameters.

He did tend to get more sleep when he was (temporarily) on third shift and so would be more awake/energetic in the evenings, and it meant being able to deal with his medical appointments without taking time off.
[syndicated profile] knowledgeatwharton_feed

Posted by Knowledge@Wharton

Innovation and the “old way of doing things” would seem to be strange bedfellows. But new research from Wharton’s Laura Huang finds that there are situations where traditionalism can be a help, not a hindrance.

Need a Host

20 October 2017 12:47 pm
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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith posting in [community profile] allbingo
We need a host for a November fest.  Is anyone interested?

OpenID and Livejournal

20 October 2017 05:33 pm
[personal profile] fifty_fifty posting in [community profile] getting_started
Hi,

I have been using OpenID in order to comment on LJ communities as I don't want to have an LJ account for obvious reasons.

I used to be able to log in just fine and post comments and create posts etc. But I recently got a new computer and went to log in and comment and it told me I needed to validate my email address. So I clicked through to a link and then clicked the link that was in the email that LiveJournal sent to my email address.

When I click this link in the validation email, it takes me to a page titled:

"Please, verify that you are human"
When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.

Then there's a continue button to click on. I click the page and it looks like it's doing something, but it takes me back to the same page again and I remain unverified and now unable to comment or post on any communities.

Any ideas as to how I can get LJ to actually verify the email address for my OpenID account? Thanks!

Challenge #674: wheel

20 October 2017 09:32 am
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[personal profile] primsong posting in [community profile] dw100
Welcome to [community profile] dw100. Challenges are posted approximately once a week.

Challenge #674 is wheel.

The rules:
  • All stories must be 100 words long.
  • Please place your story behind a cut if it contains spoilers for the current season.
  • Remember, you don't have to use the challenge word or phrase in your story; it's just there for inspiration.
  • Please include the challenge word or phrase in the subject line of your post.
  • Please use the challenge tag 674: wheel on any story posted to this challenge.
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Putting this behind a cut given the “Guy In Your Office Who Gives Weird Backrubs And Ends Every Sentence With ‘That’s What She Said’ Is Totally #IBelieveYou About Your #MeToo Social Media Posts” and “Pretty Much Every Movie You Loved In The 1990s Is Now Kinda Gross To Think About” week we’ve had.

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m a lady who has been friends with this guy for about a decade. He moved away to a nearby city a few years ago for post doc work so most of our conversations are through WhatsApp and Skype. A couple times a year we’ll visit and sleep on each other’s couches. We’re both unattached hetero-ish opposite gendered folk, but I have talked about how I’m basically asexual and never looking for anyone and he’s looking for someone to marry and have babies with. So that’s been discussed while neatly avoiding the ‘I’m not into you like that’ more direct conversation. We have always just been normal friends who are friends. I really like hiking, and he’s one of my only friends who shares that hobby so it’s something we’ve also done a lot together. A decade. No issues.

We went on a weekend camping/hiking trip this summer, and on one of the days we trekked out to a beach that happened to be clothing optional. He asked me if I was OK with him being naked. I said that while I would rather be clothed myself, I didn’t mind in the context of our hanging out sunbathing and reading our respective books at a nude beach if he’d rather ‘run free’. Since then, he’s casually WhatsApp’d me a few articles that tangentially relate to nudism. It’s clearly on his mind. “Look-these Germans are totally fine with going to the sauna naked with co-workers!” Neat. “Hey, have you seen this BBC article about naked co-ed swimming pools in Poland? It’s nice they’re comfortable about perfectly natural human bodies.” Sure, that’s cool. “Isn’t it terrible how clothing is used as such a marker of class and social difference?” I guess that’s true. Why are we so weird about bodies? But also, I like my tyranny of clothing?

Then I went out for another visit. Crashed on the couch as ever. Everything perfectly non sexual. We talked philosophy, pop culture, politics, hiking, the usual. In the morning I was getting ready to leave and he came out of the shower while I was packing up. “Do you have the bus schedule?” I asked, and as he checked the times he just fully removed his towel-one-Mississippi-two-excruciating-Mississippi-before tucking it back around his waist. I averted my eyes in panic and then said nothing, because, well, you’re the Captain of Awkward. You know.

He moved apartments just after our trip, and I’d been asking to see what his new place looked like. “Give me the virtual tour!” I suggested. He WhatsApp’d back a five minute video. Wow, it does have great lighting! And there he is casually narrating how great the appliances are here and the closet space is there, and 4 minutes in, in full view of the mirrored closet doors but not looking at them, he’s just totally naked. Dick a swinging. OK, I thought. Plausible deniability… it was a heat wave. Maybe he wasn’t thinking about the mirrors? Maybe he was, and he’s just chill with the human body? I can’t be chill this way. But I said nothing. Pretended that wasn’t in there. “Love the counter-tops” I wrote.

A few weeks have gone by. Conversations on WhatsApp are normal. “Maybe we can do more camping and hiking next summer?” he asked. Maybe. A few days ago I sent him some photos of a new hiking bag I’d gotten. He’d been shopping too. “And on sale because it’s end of season!” declared the caption on a perfectly innocuous photo: a box of new hiking boots on his living room floor. I scrolled past it and replied “Those look way better than the old ones, how much?” And so it went. We move on to other topics. Politics. Hikes. OK, maybe I wouldn’t have to deal with this situation. Things are… fine? But going back through the photos today, I clicked on the boots image this time to see them better and there, in the now fully expanded view on my phone, was his dick. Just hanging out in the bottom corner of the image. NothingwrongwithbodiesbutcomeONadickisnotahandoraknee….WHAT DO.

Lest I make you do the summarizing work yourself, here is a less full-picture but probably sufficient TLDR alternative:

Dear Captain Awkward,

I am a lady whose close decade long platonic friendship with a dude has taken an awkward turn. He lives out of town now, so we mostly communicate online with the odd visit to one another’s respective city. We both share a passion for hiking. We stopped by a clothing optional beach when hiking earlier in the year, and he asked if I was cool if he took advantage and let it all hang out whilst we sunbathed. I said that was fine, though I was gonna carry on wearing my clothes and enjoying my book. Since then he’s sent me a number of ‘isn’t nudism/naturism? great’ articles. OK, fine. What even are bodies anyway. The menace of class expression through clothing and the joy of non sexual naked bodies has been a recurring theme in his recent ‘check out this news link’ communication.

When I crashed at his place during my most recent visit, he let his towel slip for a moment too long after getting out of the shower, but I said nothing. A few weeks later he sent me a video tour of his new apartment where four minutes in he’s just casually and totally naked in the reflection of his mirrored closet doors. Just for a short few seconds. There was a heat wave. He’s maybe a nudist/naturist now? I was uncomfortable but pretended it didn’t happen. Now this week we exchanged innocuous ‘cool new hiking gear purchases!’ photos. But I realized upon expanding the shot of his hiking boots that his footwear was photo bombed by his dick. It’s autumn. There is no heat wave. Nudism surely does not equal what feels like stealth dick pics. WHAT DO? :/

Hi there! I included both the longer version and the TL;dr because you summed it up so well in both.

So, your friend is exploring nudism. Many people in the world are into that. There are clubs, days, events, hikes, bike rides, runs, online communities, resorts, and an entire Wikipedia page for “nude recreation.” Your friend can be free-falling and free-balling in the great outdoors as long as he a) finds like-minded people (i.e. not you) and b) he respects certain limits.

Speaking of limits, your friend is testing yours by repeatedly showing you his bathing suit area. He started with “accidentally-on-purpose” towel drops and escalated to “Oh hai, my apartment tour has some very special features!” Not cool. The chances that the hiking boots were accidentally photobombed by his junk approach .001%., though to be clear I don’t actually care if it was an accident.

We could spend a lot of time discussing his intentions, does he MEAN IT-mean it like, in a sexual way, or is it just part of his new lifestyle and he’s really comfortable with you vs. is he trying to be creepy/provocative, is it just a mistake where he thought because he asked you that one time that it’s okay forever,  is it just that he’s too shy/socially awkward to ask you about it again (though somehow not too shy to do it). And, why stop at “shy/socially awkward” as descriptors? Why not dive into his entire psychological makeup and history for explanations so we can find a diagnosis that would make this somehow less his fault? Or, we could try to separate a clear pattern of behavior into totally unique isolated incidents that definitely do not have anything to do with each other and definitely do not have anything to do with gender or misogyny or culture. We could write it all off as probably “harmless,” we could discuss body positivity and why are people so weird about a little bit of nudity it’s not all sexual/why are we making it that way with our dirty minds and narrow-minded upbringing, are we some kind of prudes or something? We could do the 1,000 other absurd, exhausting mental and emotional gymnastics where we deep-dive into the intentions and feelings of men and try to find the most reasonable, gentle, benefit-of-the-doubt approach that won’t startle them or make them feel bad for even a second about the things they do to women.

I think there are two questions women can ask themselves when a man does something that creeps them out that are way better than “but did he MEAN IT-mean it”:

  1. Does he do this behavior to other men? Do his dad or his boss or his male buddy have to say “Whoa dude, consider the pants” when they chat with him?
  2. Do we think he’s doing even a tenth of the emotional labor in this situation that you are? 1/100th? 1/1000th?

This week has felt like a century. I don’t know about y’all but I’m done with doing this much work around men behaving badly.

Here are the facts:

1) Your friend repeatedly exposed himself to you.

2) You don’t like it and you want it to stop.

That’s enough. That’s enough to block him from your life if you want to without any further communication or work on your part. It’s enough to change whole story to “I had this really lovely friend for 10 years but then it got weird between us and we’re not friends anymore.”

It’s certainly enough to send him a text that says: “Can you make sure to put on clothes if we’re going to video-chat? Thanks.

See also:

  • “Can you make 100% sure that your penis doesn’t show up in photos you share with me, thanks.”
  • I’m glad you’re enjoying all that. I don’t really like reading or talking about it with you, so you should find someone else to send these articles to.”
  • Also, while we’re talking, that hiking day at the clothing optional beach was a one-time thing for me, please opt for pants when we’re talking or hanging out in the future.”
  • I don’t like that.” = Good general script for unwanted nudes.

If your friend has sad or embarrassed feelings about what he’s done…okay? Good? He should feel some awkwardness about making his friend so uncomfortable? He should be the one writing to advice columnists right now about how he’s really into this new hobby and he’s afraid and uncomfortable about maybe fucking up a great friendship by getting carried away with it and constantly showing her his penis, so, how can he apologize and how can he make it right.

Honestly, if you tell him to knock this off, “I’m really sorry I made you uncomfortable” + STOPPING THE BEHAVIOR AND DROPPING THE SUBJECT IMMEDIATELY & FOREVER = is pretty much the only acceptable reaction from him. If he gives you an iota of pushback about this, your friendship is probably over. “Wait, did you think I was harassing you? I was just enthusiastic about my fun hobby!” = “Cool story. But now you know that I don’t like it, so, STAHP.”

If that pushback becomes about how this is all your fault somehow, like “But you said it was okay that day when we were hiking, it’s not fair for you to change the rules on me now” or  “I didn’t think you were such a prude,” we’ve crossed over into friendship-is-over-with-extreme-prejudice territory. “It was an accident and I didn’t mean it, but, also, it was all the woman’s fault since I reasonably and objectively assumed she liked it” is not how great guys who are safe to be around talk when they get busted for behaving badly.

I’m so sorry, this sucks and none of it is your fault. Neither his penis nor his feelings are your work to manage.

 

 

 

 

 


[syndicated profile] dorktower_feed

Posted by John Kovalic

Hi John,

My name is Alessandra (called Sandy) from Italy.

At  first, sorry for my English!

I’d like to tell you that you are my favorite illustrator !

I met you in Lucca comics & games in far 2005 during an interview of  Ragno Magazine, do you remember?

In that time, you draw me a play card of munchkin “a lot of very nice balloons”, but my boyfriend lost my card and I cry.

I love Munchkin illustration!

In Lucca comics & games 2014 I went to Lucca only for you, but during your signed session,  Lucca’s security couldn’t enter in Games palace .

So, I’d like to know if you will came in Italy again , and finally say hallo to you!

Thanks a lot for your kindness and enjoy yourself!

Sandy

Hi, Sandy!

First off, thank you so much for the VERY kind words! Your English is MUCH better than my Italian, so you have nothing to apologize for!

I’d love to come back to Italy, and soon. When I was in school, in England, we’d spend our summers outside of Milan. I miss it terribly.

The problem with Lucca is, it usually falls on Halloween, and I really try to spend holidays with my wife and daughter. But I do have a many friends there, and I miss them all. It’s also one of my all-time favorite conventions. So…possibly..?

I’m sorry I missed you at Lucca 2014 – it was a crazy huge convention. I’m going over my 2018 schedule now: if I’m not back at Lucca next year, perhaps there will be another Italian show.

In any case, Italy’s definitely top of my list to get back to, and soon! And I’ll certainly re-draw you that card. Tell your boyfriend he loses a level!

With many thanks,

John

 

 

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[personal profile] conuly
imbroglio
spurious
righteous
Kafkaesque
mike (short for "microphone")

Should I ditch my plans and plunge into a day of current events?
havocthecat: shego facepalms at stupid people, and everything else (kim possible shego facepalm)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Thousands of Bats Slaughtered Annually in Asia End up on Ebay and Etsy for Artsy Americans

Oh, of course they're not "ethically sourced," because why would they be when profit is involved?

(You see skeletal art at local craft shows too.)

(I really wasn't creeped out by dead thing art before.)

(Not that I don't understand "killing lots of shit for profit," but also PASSENGER PIGEONS, enough said there.)

(Damn it.)

Julian Clare May (1931 - 2017)

20 October 2017 10:03 am
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Angry Robot Books reports the death of Julian May.

Ray

20 October 2017 02:00 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Fish_8


This is one of the cool things you can see when you go underwater.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

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