Food for Thought: 2017-11-07
Posted on November 7th, 2017
Here are some of the things I’ve found thought-provoking, recently:
In the latest strange development in the realm of intellectual “property", a pharmaceutical company is holding a patent with a Mohawk Tribe, in order limit litigation accessibility.
Ad-driven media and algorithm-based sites are creating some really nasty incentives.
This article describes adversarial attacks against machine learning.
"Part of the horrors emanating from Trump involves style, and some involve substance. President Obama was a belligerent war president. So was Bill Clinton. So was George W. Bush. So is Donald Trump. Trump is not really taking the war positions he is because he’s Donald Trump. He’s doing what American presidents do, albeit with some tweaks and differences here and there. But Trump says things that are horrifying. He openly lies. He deliberately chooses to inflame situations. So how much of Trump is who he is and what he believes and how much of it is how he does it and how he speaks?" Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Intercept discuss that (and more) in an interview.
"Body Cam Study Shows No Effect On Police Use Of Force Or Citizen Complaints" This is not surprising. As I’ve said before, outward-facing body cameras are justice theater. They show the already-privileged view, are not always easy for complainants to access, and can become unavailable when video may be particularly damning. Furthermore, clear video is often not enough for law enforcement officers to face any justice, even if the video shows flagrant assault or murder.
The Israel lobby is huge and powerful. My own story is that a previous consultancy I worked for was invited to attend a Israeli technology showcase in Indianapolis, and the then-governor’s “office" told us that we ought to buy from or partner with one of the companies if we wanted to be considered for any state/city work.
“For too long, we’ve lauded men’s domination and aggressiveness as a sign of leadership rather than possible red flags."
Ranked Voting is a much better way to vote. (Approval voting is even better.) I hope Maine gets to keep this positive change.
This interesting bit of history describes how trial by ordeal was actually pretty effective.
While this app probably won’t be the one that makes it happen, near-real-time direct-democratic support of candidates or parties could become a powerful move for electoral politics, in the future.
Dysfunction isn’t heroism. “[W]e've recast dysfunction as heroic sacrifice. We've collectively created a narrative around the nature of work that not only justifies such dysfunctional practices, but also regards those who engage in them as selfless heroes, sacrificing sleep, relationships, and even their health in order to help the organization achieve its goals."
Underground cities are pretty cool. Here’s some details on a Cappadocian one.
Cory Doctorow warns that productive winnowing can also lead to calcification.
We are the true monsters. (philosophical joke about pocket monsters, AKA pokemon)
How often people actually switch jobs. Here’s the data for USA:
The 10/10/10 Method (from Medium):
- How will I feel about it in 10 minutes?
- How will I feel about it in 10 months?
- How will I feel about it in 10 years?