Monthly Archives: December 2013

David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’

If you watched the debacle that was, and is, the fight over something as basic as public health policy in my country over the last couple of years, imagine the ineffectiveness that Americans are going to offer the world when it comes to something really complicated like global warming. We can’t even get healthcare for our citizens on a basic level. And the argument comes down to: "Goddamn this socialist president. Does he think I’m going to pay to keep other people healthy? It’s socialism, motherfucker."

A recent speech by the creator of The Wire on the limits of capitalism. Sadly, I don’t believe that using The Guardian as the platform to voice these ideas will get him a lot of following in the US.

Our Responsibility as Developers

However in the case of QuizUp they actually send you other users’ personal information via plain-text(un-hashed); right to your iPhone or iPod touch. This information includes but isn’t limited to: full names, Facebook IDs, email addresses, pictures, genders, birthdays, and even location data for where the user currently is. I have been able to access the personal information of hundreds of people who I have never met, and had no interaction with other than we both used QuizUp. These people likewise had access to my personal information. It is important to keep in mind these were not people who added me as friends inside of the app, these were complete strangers in every sense.

A story of a game designed with no sense of data security, that ultimately has a happy ending as developers committed to fix the issue.

I get letters

Seymour Cray, of the eponymous line of supercomputers, dug a sizeable tunnel under his house. He said that he talked to elves down there. They helped him with design problems.

more on dansdata.com.

An analysis of issues with a new audio format endorsed by Neil Young generated a lot of heated responses. Author’s reply is one of the most entertaining pieces of writing I’ve read in a while.

How to Get Good at Chess, Fast

If chess is anything, it is a game of second chances. Chess, like life, rewards perseverance. I’ve turned countless losses into draws and wins because my opponents got overconfident while I dug in. I’ve also turned wins into losses because I was too intimidated by my opponent’s rating or reputation.

It’s worth keeping in mind that that in chess even the word “fast” is relative. In the end, the recipe comes down to hard work and perseverance. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Modern life ‘turning people off sex’

This has hit the nail right on the head! In my situation, it’s all thanks to good old Candy Crush (the game). My sex life has nearly vanished thanks to this game. Not just my sex life with my partner but our social relationship as well. The only "thing" keeping us together are the kids. Do I blame social media and candy crush? Yes I do, especially after I’ve done everything in my power to fix this! She’s addicted and needs help.

more on bbc.co.uk.

Amused to death.

If It Happened There: How the U.S. media would cover Thanksgiving if it were in another country.

The annual holiday, known as Thanksgiving, celebrates a mythologized moment of peace between America’s early foreign settlers and its native groups—a day that by Americans’ own admission preceded a near genocide of those groups. Despite its murky origins, the holiday remains a rare institution celebrated almost universally in this ethnically diverse society.

more on slate.com.

At least some Americans have a healthy perspective on themselves.

First Victim of Amazon Drones: The Credibility of CBS and 60 Minutes

The only place the drones aren’t soaring is here in the real world. In fact the FAA says it could be 2026 before these things are really in use. But who cares? These drones weren’t created to carry packages. They were created, and put on display, to boost sales and buff up a CEO’s wounded pride. Toward that end, they worked like a charm.

On Amazon’s recent brilliant PR stunt.

How to Burst the “Filter Bubble” that Protects Us from Opposing Views

“We conclude that an indirect approach to connecting people with opposing views has great potential,” say Graells-Garrido and co.

It’s certainly a start. But whether it can prevent the herding behaviour in which users sometimes desert social media sites overnight, is debatable. But the overall approach is admirable. Connecting people is important when they share similar interests but arguably even more so when their views clash.

An attempt to fight filter bubbles. Sadly, the first application the researchers came up with was improving the retention rate of social networks.

The Path to Self-Awareness

According to the renowned German psychologist Erick Erickson, people who lack self-awareness are experiencing an “identity crisis,” a condition that comes about when the person you think you are is different than the person you truly are. This happens a lot when you catch a glimpse of your Best Buy name tag.

Connecting self-help with reality.