A timely roundup of links   15 September 2014

I just wandered in from the modeling agency next door and decided to feed your child fresh fruit. We are all wearing clean clothes. http://itsliketheyknowus.tumblr.com/post/97438828619/i-just-wandered-in-from-the-modeling-agency-next

Doing something

Finally, and drawing from our collective experience as Middle Experts, we must stress that the US should not and must not continue its policy of non-intervention in the Scottish independence question. We must do something. Things must be done. There is a necessity for the doing of things. It’s also the point at which we normally ask the requisite rhetorical question near the end of the end: should we allow Scotland to exist as a small oil-rich country? (Like, do we need another Qatar now?) President Obama must avoid this by arming the Protestants. Or the Catholics. http://www.karlremarks.com/2014/09/we-give-scottish-independence.html

In spite of English Literature’s disciplinary hostility to “innovation,” change agency, and both entre- and intra-preneurship, my training as a literature scholar would offer immediate benefits to your department’s offerings in Social Innovation. For example, I would be pleased to proofread your job advertisements, in order to innovate their presently sub-optimal levels of intelligibility. http://jpleary.tumblr.com/post/97315187713/my-letter-of-application-to-the-harvard-kennedy

if you really think feminism, or women, are destroying games, or that LGBT people and LGBT relationships have no place in games, or that games in any way belong to you or are “under attack” from political correctness or “social justice warriors”: please leave this website. I don’t want your clicks, I don’t want your hits, I don’t want your traffic. Leave now and please don’t come back. http://games.on.net/2014/08/readers-threatened-by-equality-not-welcome/

Remember that leering, cursing lynch mob in Little Rock reviling a meek, innocent little 12-year-old Negro girl as she tried to enroll in public school? Weren’t they – or most of them – devout churchgoers? I detest the two-faced who pretend liberality but are practiced bigots in their own mean little spheres. I didn’t tell my daughter whom to marry, but I’d have broken her back if she had had big eyes for a bigot. http://boingboing.net/2014/08/31/frank-sinatras-february-196.html

Thiel fellows will have the opportunity to emulate their sponsor by halting their intellectual development around the onset of adulthood, maintaining a narrow-minded focus on getting rich as young as possible and thereby avoid the siren lure of helping others or pursuing knowledge for its own sake. http://fortune.com/2014/09/04/peter-thiels-contrarian-strategy/

Police States

It’s generally OK to criticize the government in China, as long as you aren’t inciting others to act. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/researchers-made-a-fake-social-network-to-infiltrate-chinas-internet-censors

You’re Eight Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than a Terrorist. http://www.cato.org/blog/youre-eight-times-more-likely-be-killed-police-officer-terrorist

If you were tasked with designing a regional system of government guaranteed to produce racial conflict, anger, and resentment, you’d be hard pressed to do better than St. Louis County. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/

There’s a lot of overlap for reform across the political spectrum here, but seeing the states as merely the pawns of the federal government when it comes to forfeiture abuse is problematic. Ironically, we see this precisely because we can’t see what the states are doing, but the hints we do know point to awful abuses, driven by the profit motive from the bottom-up. http://www.nextnewdeal.net/rortybomb/how-much-are-local-civil-asset-forfeiture-abuses-driven-feds-reply-libertarians

What should be obvious from all the above is that cops are unfairly protected when they do something grievously wrong, and the teachers are unfairly blamed when they simply show up for work in a difficult educational environment. http://www.salon.com/2014/09/10/we_coddle_bad_cops_vilify_good_teachers/


How does David Lightman in WarGames manage to hack a computer by dialing a number? His setup seems to be a telephone connected to a computer. When he dials another computer on the phone, he manages to gain access to it remotely. http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/66882/how-does-david-lightman-in-wargames-manage-to-hack-a-computer-by-dialing-a-numbe

The end result is a burner Instagram account on a burner “phone” connected to the Internet somewhere far away, all sandboxed inside a burner computer. A cheap laptop, some moderate Googling, and an afternoon will give you a cover that’s very unlikely to be blown. http://venturebeat.com/2014/09/11/how-instagrams-drug-deals-go-undetected/

-2nd Normal Form: The database contains at least one table that is a corrupt, out-of-date copy of another table, except with additional columns. It is impossible to determine if these additional columns can be trusted. http://www.johnmyleswhite.com/notebook/2014/09/10/the-lesser-known-normal-forms/

Design Choices

Car park payment machines provide an every-day example of poor usability. […] They also teach us that usability doesn’t always matter in design, the best user interface is no interface and that usability is a differentiator only when customers have a choice. http://www.userfocus.co.uk/articles/car-park-payment-machines.html

As luck would have it, Dupont had been using chlorine instead of bromine to produce CFCs. As far as anyone could tell, the two elements were interchangeable. But as some experts later noted, bromine is 45 times more effective at destroying ozone. Had that been used, the ozone layer might’ve been destroyed before anyone noticed. http://www.vox.com/2014/9/10/6132991/ozone-layer-starting-to-recover

Lastly, a lot of games rely only on the wasd keys to move around. That’s great, except for all the people who don’t use qwerty keyboards. I, for example, use an azerty keyboard (as everyone in France), and all wasd games are unplayable for me. There are hundreds of millions of other people not using qwerty keyboards, don’t forget them. http://blog.lessmilk.com/better-inputs/

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