A statistical analysis of the repetitiveness of pop lyrics… with a bonus 101 explainer on how compression (y’know, like in .zip files) works.
… I always was a sucker for a sweet animated infographic.
I won’t lie; I’ve always kind of wondered1 about the idea of buying followers for someone else’s social media account as a weapon against their reputation.
The trick about the best science fiction is that the only “science” that matters in it is, in the long run, of the social variety. And as it is in fiction, so it is life, and so it is with the fate of Really Real World “future country”, Japan, and what it can teach the rest of us about surviving the post-techboom future.
Jaron Lanier is a nerd of the fast-dying “dreadlocked hippie” variety. Formerly a VR pioneer, he now works for Microsoft and, in his spare time, gives interviews about the current state of tech.
Pretty much this entire interview is quotable, particularly where Lanier starts talking about Facebook and monetization, and the idea of nationalized social media. So just, yanno. Go read it.
More on the data broker business, including some frankly quite terrifying infographics.
The point here is that, a) pretty much all businesses are complicit in this practice, and b) it’s impossible to opt-out on an individual level. This stuff needs to be regulated. There’s no other way of dealing with it.
It is, again, difficult to be alive in an online world that regularly declares that men’s right to vent their frustrations about literally wanting to kill women because they feel rejected, or are not getting laid, is a bedrock principle of liberty. We are complicit in these massacres insofar as we have facilitated them; enabling the mass murder of women under the flag of “free speech” is perhaps the most irresponsible and stupid thing that the men at the helm of the internet could do.
Laura Hudson on freedoms for some.
As [Peter] Thiel’s wealth has grown, he’s gotten more strident. In a 2009 essay for the Cato Institute, he railed against taxes, government, women, poor people, and society’s acquiescence to the inevitability of death. (Thiel doesn’t accept death as inexorable.) He wrote that he’d reached some radical conclusions: “Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” The 1920s was the last time one could feel “genuinely optimistic” about American democracy, he said; since then, “the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.”
On Silicon Valley’s most notorious log cabin Republican.
Thiel is an absolutely vile human being and his company, Palantir, is James Bond supervillain levels of evil (which is what the article is mostly about).
Thiel also has the distinction of being a raging hypocrite; for a dude who makes his millions invading the privacy of others, he’s also extremely vicious to anyone who dares mention that he’s gay, i.e. Gawker, and likes to pontificate that private lives should be “kept private”… so long as you’re rich.
The dude is basically a walking talking signpost for the ideological bankruptcy and moral degeneracy of the modern “libertarian” right. And, like most of his fellow oxygen thieves, you kinda get the feeling that, somewhere, deep down, he knows it; he’s also one of the Valley’s most notorious doomsday preppers, with the “doomsday” he’s terrified of basically being “eventually karma will catch up and all the people I’ve hurt will come for me”.
Oh, and if all of that weren’t enough? He’s also a literal vampire.
Seriously. You couldn’t write a villain as one-note cliched as Peter Thiel.