For years, there was Playboy for blind people, then a Republican congressman tried to kill it
The government shouldn’t subsidize porn, he argued
Did not know this was a thing.
“The National Library Service was quoted saying that the Braille version of the magazine had about 500 regular readers in 2000, the most recent figures available. But the special edition might be in peril again — but from a different angle. Many young blind people are increasingly reliant on their smartphones for reading, and as of 2012 only one in 10 blind people can read Braille.”Posted on 2023-06-28T15:19:05+0000
Remote work appears to be here to stay, especially for women
More than one-third of American workers are still doing their jobs at home, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.
“Glynn said there is a common misconception that men work more in general. While men work more hours for pay, “women work more in ways where they not only don’t get paid but also that supports the paid employment of men by freeing up that time for them to be engaging in work that they receive wages for,” she said.”Posted on 2023-06-25T15:48:39+0000
No, We Haven't Lived with Diseases for Millions of Years.
Jessica Wildfire published a post on Ko-fi
“When you look at the last 2,000 years across the world, you see the same thing. About half of all children died before reaching adulthood. Scientists confirm this trend all the way back to the stone age. As Oxford scholar Max Roser says, “Whether in Ancient Rome, in hunter-gatherer societies, in the pre-Columbian Americas, in Medieval Japan or Medieval England, in the European Renaissance, or in Imperial China, every second child died.””Posted on 2023-06-21T15:25:45+0000
The conspiracy candidate: What RFK Jr.’s anti-vaccine crusade could look like in the White House
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a conspiracy theorist running for president as a Democrat. Experts fear his anti-vaccine activism threatens public health in America.
The recent drama with him has been quite unsettling, and now this. Ugh.
“Listening to Kennedy speak about vaccines is unsettling. It’s like being in a room with a man unspooling his red string, connecting various directors of government agencies with pharmaceutical company executives, philanthropists, prominent doctors and public health advocates, media and tech organizations.
Like any good conspiracy theory, Kennedy’s underlying argument contains grains of truth: The pharmaceutical industry does exert influence on science; misconduct from prestige-seeking researchers does sometimes occur; and doctors and drug companies do too often make medical decisions based on profit. Kennedy wraps these truths in the generic storyline of conspiracy: Something bad is happening, but “they” don’t want you to know about it so that “they” can reap profit and power.
If his views are true, I ask, why haven’t any reputable whistleblowing doctors or scientists come forward to agree with him publicly?
He says they are all, in some way or another, on the payroll. “Posted on 2023-06-20T01:18:53+0000
A white supremacist took MDMA for a study, and it snapped him out of his beliefs: 'Why am I doing this?'
30 minutes after taking the MDMA pill, Brendan questioned his actions and realized his life was missing connection.
I don’t get why the feds keep discouraging research into this and LSD.
“30 minutes after taking the MDMA pill, Brendan questioned: "Why am I doing this? Why am I thinking this way?" and wondered why he had jeopardized the relationships in his life.
During his time on the drug, he realized his life was missing connection.
The case suggested that MDMA has the potential to "influence a person's values and priorities," the authors wrote in a case study about Brendan. They hypothesized that if extremist views are fueled by fear, anger, and cognitive biases, they could potentially be treated with drugs. “Posted on 2023-06-18T01:38:08+0000
Twitter’s Lawyers Admit They’re Overwhelmed As Nearly 2000 Laid Off Employees File Arbitration Claims
Back in college, I took an arbitration class, and it was one of my favorite classes. The professor (James Gross, who just retired last year after teaching for an astounding 56 years) was amazing, a…
“Apparently Twitter’s lawyers hasn’t met with the other law firms that have brought arbitration claims yet. But, it seems they’re freaked out by the prospect of having to handle 1,848 separate discovery efforts.
The firm also notes that they wouldn’t be surprised if Liss-Riordan seeks to depose Elon Musk for each of the nearly 2,000 claims, because why not?”Posted on 2023-06-18T01:32:52+0000
It's Companies' Fault we don't want to Return to the Office
It wasn't appealing to begin with
“RTO is completely unnecessary. Americans have adapted and found we enjoy working from home. Its benefits are voluminous, especially when compared to being crammed into a tiny open office with dozens of other noisy workers.
Let’s be honest. This is about saving cities. Without commuting office workers, the office buildings go empty, they become worth a fraction of their cost, and retail cannot survive. This erodes the tax base of most cities so much as to create a more-than-serious problem.
That’s all this is about. Your local government officials are pressuring CEOs to get butts in seats and your bosses want to walk around the office feeling like a God again watching their peons slave away in terrible conditions.”Posted on 2023-06-18T01:29:57+0000
“To face down your demons, you’ve got to free them.” The last six months have felt like a perpetual threat — a looming doom that never quite transformed into something tangible. We have all been waiting for something to break — for us to enter a recession, for us to be fired, for our frien...
Great read, starts off with the Reddit story but goes into VC in general.
“Venture has been incentivized for years to create shambling “growth” companies that can be acquired by big firms that don’t think too much about what they’re buying, or dumped onto the public markets. The problem is that the markets themselves — as rotten as their incentives may be — have shown an intolerance for the lack of basic business acumen that most startups seem to have. An alarming amount of venture capital isn’t being invested to create good or sustainable or reliable or even public-ready companies, but obtuse stores of value that burn cash and lock up talented tech workers looking to vest their stocks.”Posted on 2023-06-17T20:19:27+0000
Four alarming charts that show just how extreme the climate is right now | CNN
Soaring temperatures. Unusually hot oceans. Record high levels of carbon pollution in the atmosphere and record low Antarctic ice. We’re only halfway through 2023 and so many climate records are being broken.
This graph is really scary.
“Climatologist Maximiliano Herrera, who closely tracks extreme temperatures around the globe, said he didn’t think the rapid warming would come so soon. “Even before El Niño was officially declared, the tropics and the oceans were already experiencing a very fast warming,” Herrera told CNN. “It was expected, yes,” he added. “But not as fast as it has been.””Posted on 2023-06-17T15:06:38+0000
The Last Page Of The Internet | Defector
Gradually over the last decade, Reddit went from merely embarrassing but occasionally amusing, to actively harmful, to—mainly by accident—essential. As the platform that swallowed niche message boards, it became home to numerous small communities of surprisingly helpful enthusiasts, and grew int...
“We are living through the end of the useful internet. The future is informed discussion behind locked doors, in Discords and private fora, with the public-facing web increasingly filled with detritus generated by LLMs, bearing only a stylistic resemblance to useful information. Finding unbiased and independent product reviews, expert tech support, and all manner of helpful advice will now resemble the process by which one now searches for illegal sports streams or pirated journal articles. The decades of real human conversation hosted at places like Reddit will prove useful training material for the mindless bots and deceptive marketers that replace it.”Posted on 2023-06-15T13:46:12+0000
Building security tools is the wrong approach
If we want mass adoption of security tools, we need to use developer tools as the host
Kept nodding along here. This has definitely been my experience.
“What this means is that if we are to get true mass adoption of tools that can significantly improve security, they will have to be tools that first and foremost solve a ‘gunshot to the chest’ problem for software developers, and then solve a ‘gunshot to the chest’ problem for security teams as a side effect as well. Just reducing friction is not enough.
I have had a personal revelation. If we want mass adoption of security technology and to have a truly meaningful impact on the state of software security, we have to stop building security tools and start building developer tools that have security features. “Posted on 2023-06-14T13:59:09+0000
The curse of scalable technology
Some of the downsides of technology stacks that are massively scalable and general purpose
Lots of great advice here.
“Trying to work out how much advice can be generalised is extremely hard. This is compounded by the fact that people who have experience in a lot of different projects often do not have in depth knowledge, or knowledge spanning a really long time period. I know from experience that conclusions I’ve come to after 2 or 3 years on a project are different to after 1 year, and they might change again after 5 or 10 years. So it may be that the most experienced people (judging by breadth) are actually the least qualified to advise others, due to lack of depth – but also the least aware of that!
And then you have the problem that many people with a lot of experience are pretty silent about it, and you have no idea how many they are (because they are not vocal about their existence either!) Further, the most vocal might not be the best qualified to help with your situation. For example, I know from at least 2 data points that it’s entirely possible to run a multi-million dollar business that has a main database containing much less than 100 Mb of data. But I don’t know how common that is, and I suspect you will probably hear a lot more from companies that have a massively different profit-to-data ratio.”Posted on 2023-06-14T05:58:27+0000
WSJ News Exclusive | Instagram Connects Vast Pedophile Network
The Meta unit’s systems for fostering communities have guided users to child-sex content; company says it is improving internal controls.
“In many cases, Instagram has permitted users to search for terms that its own algorithms know may be associated with illegal material. In such cases, a pop-up screen for users warned that “These results may contain images of child sexual abuse,” and noted that production and consumption of such material causes “extreme harm” to children. The screen offered two options for users: “Get resources” and “See results anyway.”
In response to questions from the Journal, Instagram removed the option for users to view search results for terms likely to produce illegal images. The company declined to say why it had offered the option.”Posted on 2023-06-14T05:51:06+0000
Instant Pot’s Slower Sales Tip Gadget Maker Into Bankruptcy
Kitchenware manufacturer Instant Brands will seek to fix its balance sheet in chapter 11.
This seems to be peak capitalism / private equity brain gunning for infinite growth. Instant pot had a sustainable business and a great product and now.. this. SighPosted on 2023-06-13T16:17:16+0000
We Need to Literally Declare War on Climate Change
We’re under attack by a powerful enemy—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.
The drunk mistake in a Bay Area bar that sent Apple into a frenzy
A Bay Area German bar ended up forever tied to the most infamous iPhone security breach...
“Police raided the Fremont home of then Gizmodo editor Chen, broke down his door when he didn’t answer and then seized external hard drives, four computers, two servers, phones and other items from his home — a raid that the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other groups argued violated federal and state law.”Posted on 2023-06-11T17:18:05+0000
Reddit’s users and moderators are revolting against its CEO
A lot of Reddit will go dark soon in protest of API changes
This whole thing has been such a shitshow.
“Since the AMA, some subreddits have escalated their response. Over at r/iPhone, the moderators posted early morning that their original plan was to go dark for just 48 hours, but Huffman’s behavior changed their minds:
Originally, the protest was planned to be 48 hours. However, after a shambolic AMA held by Reddit’s CEO, it has become clear to us that Reddit doesn’t intend to act in good faith. When the CEO is willing to lie and spread libellous claims about another third-party developer, and then try double down by vilifying them, again, in an AMA, despite being proven as a liar by the developer through audio recordings, that’s when we knew what we were up against.”Posted on 2023-06-11T05:05:21+0000
Opinion | CNN’s Chris Licht showed the problem with anti-woke centrism
Anti-woke centrism is increasingly prominent in media and politics, particularly among White men who live on the coasts and don’t identify as conservatives.
“There can and should be open debate about police reform, diversity, covid-19 policies and other issues — both between the two parties and among progressives and other non-Republicans. But when we have a left that is pushing America to finish the work of the 1960s and create a true multicultural democracy and a right that is banning Black intellectual ideas from public schools, it’s a huge mistake for powerful non-Republicans in society to spend so much time bashing the left. This anti-woke centrism often sounds as though people are auditioning to be today’s version of the “white moderates” the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. castigated six decades ago.
But Licht and others like him should definitely stop being so anti-woke. It is disappointing that some of the most powerful people in the country think the problem in America is that people are too critical of the police and insufficiently critical of transgender activists. I can’t tell if the anti-woke don’t understand what’s actually happening in America — or if they actively oppose a more equitable country.”Posted on 2023-06-07T05:28:58+0000
During Pride month, journalists should be ashamed | Press Watch
What does the Washington Post call retrograde bullies and bigots spewing hatred? "Emboldended shoppers."
“As the Republican “culture war” has turned into a full-fledged battle against basic human rights, the political media’s continued insistence on covering it like just another political tactic is enabling it.
That’s right: Journalistic restraint is aiding and abetting the dehumanizing of gay and trans people by a bunch of evil fanatics.”Posted on 2023-06-06T01:01:23+0000
SEC sues Binance, says it evaded US law with “extensive web of deception”
Binance slammed by SEC chair for "calculated evasion of the law."
The SEC quotes here are... gold
"The SEC’s complaint alleges that Zhao and Binance created BAM Management and BAM Trading in September 2019 as part of an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. federal securities laws by claiming that BAM Trading operated the Binance.US platform independently and that U.S. customers were not able to use the Binance.com platform. The complaint alleges that, in reality, Zhao and Binance maintained substantial involvement and control of the U.S. entity and that, behind the scenes, Zhao directed Binance to allow and conceal many high-value U.S. customers’ continued access to Binance.com. In one instance, the Binance chief compliance officer messaged a colleague that, “[w]e are operating as a fking unlicensed securities exchange in the USA bro.”"Posted on 2023-06-05T22:51:03+0000
Why do railway tracks have crushed stones alongside them? - Alpha Rail
Track ballast is the name for the crushed stones next to railway tracks. They are used by Railway Track Designers for numerous reasons
“Without the ballast in place, railway lines would simply not be able to cope with the stress from the weight of the trains passing over them, not to mention the impacts of expansion and contraction.
So, the next time you are near a railway line and you see the loose stones all around, you will now hopefully have a greater respect for the role they play in getting you safely to your destination.”
'It was crazy,' says California kayaker who was engulfed in a whale's mouth | CBC Radio
Julie McSorley says she learned an important lesson after she and her friend were nearly swallowed by a humpback: "Whales need their space."
Every introvert’s nightmare, magnified.
“McSorley had already been out to watch them once, so when her friend came to town for a visit, she asked her if she wanted to go.
"Her reaction was, 'No, I don't like the ocean. I'm scared of sharks. I'm scared of anything I can't see in the water.' And I so ignorantly told her, 'Oh, they're never going to dump you over. The kayaks are very stable. I've never had an issue,'" McSorley said.
"And so she reluctantly came with me just to have a new experience."”Posted on 2023-06-04T01:41:58+0000
More than 70% of US household COVID spread started with a child, study suggests
A study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open suggests that 70.4% of nearly 850,000 US household COVID-19 transmissions originated with a child.
Debunking more COVID myths. I wish this had come out earlier.
“"More than 70% of transmissions in households with adults and children were from a pediatric index case, but this percentage fluctuated weekly," the study authors wrote. "Once US schools reopened in fall 2020, children contributed more to inferred within-household transmission when they were in school, and less during summer and winter breaks, a pattern consistent for 2 consecutive school years."
The researchers said the finding that pediatric COVID-19 transmission was negatively correlated with new community cases during most of the pandemic is consistent with that of a previous study.”Posted on 2023-06-03T06:07:00+0000
India train crash: More than 280 dead after Odisha incident
The collision involving two passenger services in Odisha state has left about 900 people injured.
:( this is horrifying
“It is believed that several carriages from the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed at about 19:00 local time (13:30 GMT), with some of them ending up on the opposite track.
Another train - the Howrah Superfast Express travelling from Yesvantpur to Howrah - is then thought to have hit the overturned carriages.
Indian officials said that a goods train - which was stationary at the site - was also involved in the incident. They provided no further details.”Posted on 2023-06-03T04:10:06+0000
These Vampires Can Have Everything Except Our Love
Psychoanalyzing the cancel culture panic.
“Fuck that. The common thread is nothing more than a pulsing desire by the already powerful to sew up the last few places in the world that they are forced to deal with regular people on an equal playing field. Elon Musk is rich and powerful, but he looked like an idiot when he tried standup comedy. Thomas Friedman is distressingly influential and comfortable cheerleading a war, but he looked pretty normal when he got a pie in the face on stage. And David Zaslav can force thousands of writers to risk their livelihoods in order to go on strike, but he can’t help looking like a pathetic greed-drunk uncool dad when all the kids start booing him at his commencement speech.
If we lived in a more equal society in which everyone had a fair and democratic chance to exercise their own power and influence, we could have a reasonable discussion about toning down “incivility.” Until then, fuck it. You gotta use what you got. Keep booing these fuckers when you are forced to listen to their speeches. Yell at Stephen Miller when you see him in a restaurant. Make fun of billionaires. They can have everything else, but they’re not entitled to our love. They didn’t earn it.”Posted on 2023-06-03T02:56:20+0000
Opinion | The Supreme Court Has Earned a Little Contempt
In recent years, the judiciary has shown little but contempt for other governing institutions.
My only disagreement with this piece is in the final sentence: it’s deserving of more than just a little contempt.
“Recognizing the justices’ ideological project also points to the beginning of the solution. We ought to begin talking about the justices the way we talk about other political actors — recognizing that their first name is not Justice and that they, like other politicians, should be identified by their party.
We should stop talking about another branch’s potential defiance of a judicial opinion as an attack on “the rule of law” and instead understand it as an attack on rule by judges, one that may (or may not) be a justified response to some act of judicial governance. And those other branches should be more willing — as they have at other moments in American history — to use the tools at their disposal, including cutting the judiciary’s funding, to put the courts in their place.
In recent years, the judiciary has shown little but contempt for other governing institutions. It has earned a little contempt in return.”Posted on 2023-06-02T15:16:52+0000
A catatonic woman awakened after 20 years. Her story may change psychiatry.
New research suggests that a subset of patients with psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia may actually have autoimmune disease that attacks the brain.
This is so promising and one of the more inspiring news stories I’ve read recently. Can’t imagine how the families of the patients must feel.
“How many people ultimately will be helped by the research remains a subject of debate in the scientific community. But the research has spurred excitement about the potential to better understand what is going on in the brain during serious mental illness.
“I think we, as basic neuroscientists, are now in a position, both conceptually and technologically, to contribute, and it’s our responsibility to do so,” said Richard Axel, Nobel laureate and co-director of Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute.”Posted on 2023-06-02T04:11:07+0000
Highlights from the RAeS Future Combat Air & Space Capabilities Summit - Royal Aeronautical Society
What is the future of combat air and space capabilities? TIM ROBINSON FRAeS and STEPHEN BRIDGEWATER report from two days of high-level debate and discussion at the RAeS FCAS23 Summit.
Predictable (even if unintended) consequences of AI
“He notes that one simulated test saw an AI-enabled drone tasked with a SEAD mission to identify and destroy SAM sites, with the final go/no go given by the human. However, having been ‘reinforced’ in training that destruction of the SAM was the preferred option, the AI then decided that ‘no-go’ decisions from the human were interfering with its higher mission – killing SAMs – and then attacked the operator in the simulation. Said Hamilton: “We were training it in simulation to identify and target a SAM threat. And then the operator would say yes, kill that threat. The system started realising that while they did identify the threat at times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat. So what did it do? It killed the operator. It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective.”
He went on: “We trained the system – ‘Hey don’t kill the operator – that’s bad. You’re gonna lose points if you do that’. So what does it start doing? It starts destroying the communication tower that the operator uses to communicate with the drone to stop it from killing the target.””Posted on 2023-06-02T01:46:47+0000