PROFESSIONAL NERD.

PERSONAL BLOG.

What I'm Reading - 4/26/2018

Three to five links every weekday - with some weeks more "every weekday" than others...

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ENGINEERS ARE LEAVING TRUMP’S AMERICA FOR THE CANADIAN DREAM

Rangnekar still gets email queries daily, mostly from engineers with Indian surnames, all looking for the same information. Then there are the other emails, the ones Rangnekar calls “nastygrams.” He pulls up a sample with the subject line “Ignorant Idiot.” “You’re going to ruin your own country’s economy by making it harder for Canadians to find jobs, so for that reason we here in the US stopped foreign visas,” he reads. “We are becoming a proud independent nation again.”

There are anti-immigrant and so-called alt-right groups in Canada, but they haven’t gained the same traction as in the U.S. and Europe. The country has historically courted immigrants to propel economic growth. Now, at least 1 in 5 Canadian residents was born abroad; in Toronto, which has a thriving Indian community, more than half are foreign-born. “Canadians don’t send me any of this,” Rangnekar says, waving a hand at the screen. Sometimes Canadians—always polite—write wondering whether an invasion of engineers will hurt the country. He writes back explaining what to him is an obvious, pragmatic reality: that tech is growing in its importance to culture and economies, and the benefits in terms of jobs and wealth are increasingly concentrated in global cities like Toronto. In short, as he sees it, the influx of migrants to Canada helps everyone.


DISNEY MADE A JACKET TO SIMULATE PHYSICAL EXPERIENCES, LIKE A SNAKE SLITHERING ACROSS YOUR BODY

Disney Research, MIT Media Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University have unveiled a new conceptual haptic “force jacket” that simulates physical experiences to people wearing the device. The force jacket is lined with airbags controlled by a computer that inflates and deflates the bags. Disney envisions the jacket will be used with VR headsets for more immersive experiences, given it’s able to simulates hugs, being hit or punched, and peculiarly, the sensation of a snake slithering across your body. The jacket is made up of airbags with sensors attached that direct force and vibrations to specific locations on your body.


SNAPCHAT'S BETTING ITS FUTURE ON AUGMENTED REALITY ADS — HERE ARE ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES

You've probably seen the giant face taco shell, the barfing rainbow and the dancing hot dog, perhaps the three most popular examples of augmented reality on Snapchat. But that's not it.

The self-proclaimed camera company has made a massive push into AR, and has consistently iterated on its offerings to get as many marketers on board as quickly as possible.

Marketers consider Snapchat the market leader in this field, with Tom Buontempo, the president of the ad agency Attention, telling Business Insider recently that "they seem to be headed in the right direction by doubling down on something they can own."


OPEN, CLOSED, AND PRIVACY

Of course it is not the only data generated by messaging: entailed in the ease-of-use that comes from relying on centralized servers for key exchange is the necessary collection by those servers of metadata. Obviously email addresses and/or phone numbers and/or usernames have to be stored (so that they can be associated with public keys), and the very act of connecting two accounts will generate logs of who was communicating with whom and when, and often from where (through IP addresses). Services can and do differentiate based on how long they keep that metadata; Signal, for example, promises to flush metadata as soon as possible, whereas WhatsApp — which uses encryption developed by Signal — keeps such data indefinitely.

That gets at the more important way that the relationship between open/closed and encryption is relevant to data and privacy: just as encryption at scale is only possible with a closed service, so it is with privacy. That is, to the extent we as a society demand privacy, the more we are by implication demanding ever more closed gardens, with ever higher walls. Just as a closed garden makes the user experience challenge of encryption manageable, so does the centralization of data make privacy — of a certain sort — a viable business model.


THE INTERNET IS ENABLING A COMMUNITY OF MEN WHO WANT TO KILL WOMEN. THEY NEED TO BE STOPPED.

[A WARNING THAT THIS IS A DIFFICULT READ. IT'S THE LAST LINK ON TODAY'S LIST, SO THOSE WHO WANT TO AVOID THE TOPIC CAN DECIDE NOT TO SCROLL FURTHER.]

Some of them kill us. Even more of them say they want to. Both in the most pedestrian of ways, through the casual and regular practice of domestic violence, or simply by assaulting or murdering any woman who does not immediately acquiesce to their sexual demands. More recently, the festering online wound of the incel community has begun to express itself in the form of mass murder. Online platforms have long been more concerned with free speech than the literal lives of women, and the vicious, lethal misogyny of incels has flourished in these spaces accordingly. Misogyny is water, and we are all swimming.

...

This most recent demonstration of the lethality of male sexual frustration, via Minassian’s mass killing, is linked inextricably to the internet, where the most pernicious ideas about male supremacy have flourished thanks to the superseding concern of doing whatever you want over basic human decency. Although Reddit finally, finally banned the r/incels subreddit in November for its open advocation of rape and other violence toward women, internet platforms at large have been fertile ground for men who openly hate women and wish to convene with other men who feel the same way. They have migrated easily and without restriction to other websites and subreddits, including Braincels, where these ideas persist and are deified.

What I'm Reading - 4/27/2018

What I'm Reading - 4/25/2018