Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Champion of Democracy

Owen Jones :
Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive regimes on earth and bans political parties, trade unions and all forms of dissent; deprives women of many of their most basic rights; kills "witches"; has recently declared atheists to be terrorists; and persecutes LGBT people. It should surely be an ostracised regime. And yet this is the biggest market for British arms, with our government approving £1.6bn worth of exports, ranging from equipment for machine guns to "components for military equipment for initiating explosives."

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Cameron and Antibiotic Resistance

Cameron does something important and starts to look into the threat of antibiotic resistance.

But he puts an economist in charge of the project with an explicit assumption its an economic problem that industry has failed to invent more antibiotics.

So lets see if the committee starts recommending the banning of antibiotics in intensive farming practices or if they just come with recommendations to extend "intellectual property" rights or other incentives for big pharma companies.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Facebook Caught Experimenting on Users

Social Network Analysis research gets icky.

I have to admit that I see how this happened, and I would probably have signed off on the ethics of it myself (or been willing to be part of this). But I can see how it looks pretty bad to be caught doing it. And frankly, maybe it is pretty bad.

OTOH : I think what they found out knowledge worth having. But it's largely worth having in order to know the danger that corporations having this power present. You wouldn't want the academic study of this to be banned, and for the research to disappear into internal surreptitious tinkerings where no-one else ever sees the results except in private reports to the marketing department and advertisers.

PayPal Police

Do you have government permission for your privacy?.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mimesis, Civilization and Collapse

A must-read article from The Archdruid. Fascinating and disturbing.
The Broken Thread of Culture

OneNote and Magic Pen

Microsoft seem to be doing something pretty cool here. Tight integration of a custom UI device (the stylus on their latest Surface tablets) with their note-taking app. OneNote.

Obviously I'm sticking with OWL, but this is pretty nice. And you can imagine them taking it a lot further. Extra buttons on the pen. What about a chording-keyboard on a pen? Other apps. accessible through OneNote etc.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Society of the Query Reader

My conversation with Aharon Amir on Search Art and the language of search is now published in the Society of the Query Reader.
Available as a PDF or other online formats linked from the page.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Facebook App. To Live Monitor Audio Through Your Phone

WTF? At this point the surveillance-industrial complex is just laughing at us. The US has done nothing to prevent the NSA demanding that Facebook etc. hand over user's data to it. Has done nothing to make it legal for Facebook to even tell its users if the NSA has demanded their data. And yet Facebook says "trust us, we'll only use an always-open mic channel on your person for good".
At this point it's just comical that they'd ask for this, and comical we'll accept it.
BTW: You can sign a petition if you think it will do any good.
PS : I'm glad I shut my Facebook account and don't use the app.