14573 words

Juking the stats - 59

What does juking the stats look like at the SAAS level?

A certain provider has what I would call a significant issue with the ability to share content to external users and have the external users able to access that content with their own licenses. Turns out this is a known issue on the provider’s end, but the issue was downgraded from issue to awareness because a cause had been identified and a fix scheduled for a future date.

But the issue still exists, the fix has yet to be applied, and the app reports as being healthy despite the fix not yet being rolled out and impacting users.

A world of blue lines - 58

“The police detective Frank Serpico made the power of the blue wall infamous. While working for the NYPD in the 1960s, Serpico observed his colleagues running racketeering operations and punching suspects for fun. When he brought the corruption to light, he was shot in the face in a setup orchestrated by fellow officers.”

Shouting into the void - 57

OR: How much should we listen?

With the advancements in the technology of deepfakes for pictures, and at a slower but still relevant pace for video and audio, my pet theory is that online discussion will essentially collapse in toto. You can see the opening and middle game of this trend in how many news agencies have turned off comments on their articles, in the same thing for videos that are published by large and popular people or franchises, and I think most notably in the enterprise moves against bot/zombie/cyborg accounts by nation-states and the public awareness of this fact

A deepfake was used to attack an activist couple. One of the couple said that the photo just "seemed off" but weren't able to pin down why. It was later analyzed and revealed to be deepfake generated. This kind of technique will only be refined, and while I'm hopeful that solutions will be made to reveal this kind of stuff and in general raise skepticism of sources of information, whether formal or informal, what I think the end game will look like is that (most) people will just stop engaging with the equivalents of "comments sections" across platforms because there is too high a risk that you are, at best, wasting your time talking to a bot, or at worst being influenced by foreign agency psyops or having a shadow profile built of you by some advertisement agency

So with the collapse of this kind of behavior we'll fall back to something near Dunbar's number[2] and maybe the best benefit we as a species will get from our technological interconnectedness (at least in the short term, until superseded by some mechanism I can't even imagine right now) will be significant boosts to local government and "trickle up" efficacy of policy change - a sort of organic grassroots, because where online discourse fails to effect change, the power of the vote will be starkly underscored

Let's see!

1: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyber-deepfake-activist/deepfake-used-to-attack-activist-couple-shows-new-disinformation-frontier-idUSKCN24G15E

2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

Democracy vs GDP - infant deaths - 56

"The world’s 36 governments that depend on the largest groups of essentials have thirty-one fewer infant deaths per 1,000 births than the forty-four governments that depend on the smallest groups of essentials. Comparing the same eighty countries but now based on per capita income, the poorest have fifteen more infant deaths per 1,000 births than the richest. Being rich does facilitate saving babies’ lives but not as much as being democratic!" (Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Alastair Smith, The Dictator's Handbook)

Skills to grow - 55

Public speaking, and being more bold in general)

Psychology, and effective persuasion

Business writing

Accounting (basic)

Design (basic). Being able to sketch or mock things up is useful

Conversation - note, not the same as public speaking, not the same as articulation, not the same as debate

Second language. Not only useful at a practical level if you pick the right one but has benefits in brain plasticity

Archimedes and accidental discovery - 54

Some mathematical technique that Archimedes pioneered thousands of years BCE wasn't discovered until almost two thousand years AD. A prayer book or something like that was sold at auction and discovered to have information behind the writing (called a palimpset; in art, it's called apentimento) that belonged to Archimedes

Something similar happened with the amateur (and trailblazing) mathematician Fermat, whose marginalia writing contained lots of neat math stuff

It makes me think about how this could happen in a world of encrypted information. I don't want to go to a world without it but it makes me wonder if future generations might be missing out on ahead-of-their-time ideas or concepts from our current history that they won't be aware of because they might find our records but be unable to read them. Unless we're banking on an ability to decrypt that far surpasses our ability to encrypt, like what our digital PCs did to enigma machines and more basic ciphers that came before it

Who does the competition benefit? - 53

Or another way to think of it is, "who is the competition for?"

Ignore the dangling participle

Seasteading and spacefaring are proposed as means by which the human species can better sustain its growth and perhaps even mitigate its impact on the ecosystem. However the concern is that, while this is a true argument, it isn't a guiding principle for the legislation cropping up around the technology which makes these futures possible. Specifically the concern is that the ultra-rich will use these technologies and permissive attitudes towards "uncharted territories" to essentially establish sovereign nation-states (or mini-states, communes, enclaves, etc.) under which they have total authority

Are you prepared to live in a future of Amazonville and Musktopia?

The father of modern propaganda - 52

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country." (Edward Bernays, Propaganda)

Duplicitous statistics - 51

"Forget the "crime rate." The "crime rate" figures cited by government officials are based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) system, which has several serious flaws. To name only a few: First, the UCR only measures reported crime. Second, since the system is not independently audited there are no meaningful controls over how police departments use their crime data. Police officers can and do "unfound" crimes, meaning they decide that no crime occurred. They also "downgrade" crimes — for example, by officially classifying a rape as an assault. Third, reports can get "lost," either deliberately or inadvertently. There are many other technical problems that make the UCR a dubious measure of the extent of crime problems."

A perfect day - 50

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

I'd be great to say something like, the day I won the lottery, or I invent a patent that secures financial independence for me and the people that I care about most. But much more generally speaking I'd say a good day is a day where nothing particularly bad happens to anyone I care about, a better day is when the same can be said for the world at large, not that there isn't any bad news but hopefully nothing catastrophic. So a perfect day would be a day where something good happens to me and the people I love. Someone gets a job they were after, or finishes a project, or takes a first or next step in a relationship, or gets a clean bill of health.

Phone call - 49

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

It depends on the nature of the conversation. Most of the time, no. I'm fairly quick witted and have a decent vocabulary so have confidence, more often than not, in just being able to have an honest conversation with someone. But there are circumstances, say for a phone interview, where I'll review information, practice responses to common questions, and try and think scenarios out and how I might handle them. These aren't frequent circumstances though.

Famous - 48

Would you like to be famous? In what way?

No, not particularly. I'd rather be privately well-off than famous but if it was some kind of fame or nothing at all, and I got to choose the kind of fame in question, then I'd choose to be upper-crust famous. Not the kind of person you'd worry about following on instagram, but the kind of person that's "in the know" about who's who and what's what. Not to be a socialite, but it would be interested to be able to converse with some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world, to whatever end.

Dinner guest - 47

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Nikola Tesla. It isn't a very original answer but the challenge isn't to be original, just authentic, and Tesla is one of the most fascinating people I've read about. In addition to probing his mind about everything even slightly cryptic he's said, as well as to clarify some things like "did you really say that to Marconi?", I'd like to get his take on modern technology and what he'd do different.

I'd also like to ask him about the odd event early in his life where he had some near-death experience, after which is apparently when the genius really opened up inside of him. I'd want to see how much truth to that there is, and what he feels about it.

46 - 33 habits for corporate productivity

  1. Speak up
  2. Be polite
  3. Invite others to schedule their interactions with you
  4. Schedule all the time you need for yourself
  5. Set your calendar view default setting to private
  6. Set your calendar appointment default to 15 minutes
  7. Put your out-of-office times on your calendar
  8. Learn and use people's names
  9. Use titles (such as sir or ms. where appropriate)
  10. Make plans - structure your time
  11. "Disagree and commit" - execute reliably
  12. Be willing to ask questions
  13. Acknowledge others before speaking
  14. Say thank you - acknowledge someone else's contributions
  15. Say you're welcome - acknowledge your own contributions
  16. Separate emails for separate functions - work or personal
  17. Use email labels and filters
  18. Set reminders
  19. Have more than one phone number - work or personal
  20. Let people save face, and leave escape routes for them
  21. Share credit
  22. Notice and share when others do well
  23. Stay in demand
  24. Have other options
  25. Keep a work diary - accomplishments, ideas, etc
  26. Anticipate and guide
  27. Share proactively
  28. Dress up (slightly)
  29. Give good feedback
  30. Negotiate - don't take the first offer in anything that matters
  31. Say no sometimes - set boundaries and abide by them
  32. Admit when you don't know
  33. Be willing to move on

The Wailing - a review - 45

Genre: Horror; mystery; thriller
Rating: 8/10

I enjoyed this movie a lot, and one of the marks of a good movie for me is the fact that I find myself still thinking about some of the moments in the movie weeks and weeks later.

It's generally well-regarded, but I think that it may hold a special place in my heart, and do the same for my cultural bedfellows, because the cultural boundary presents a new take on something that I've become very familiar with due to the religious perspective around here - possessions.

In the Christian mythos, I know pretty much how an exorcism goes, and while a few movies have done a few different things in this vein, they fit inside of a general framework that I know enough about to undercut some of the novelty of what a creator may be aiming for. The Wailing has something new for me. It's exorcism ritual is bright and powerful, and nearly festive, almost diametrically opposed to the gloomy and somber exorcisms I'm accustomed to seeing in media over here.

Some of the symbolism is a little on the nose. The stranger presents an almost existential threat to the villagers he lives near, which is an apparent exploration of the racist attitudes that Koreans hold towards the Japanese. But the twists that the creator throws out, for this character, for the demon and its capabilities, for the priest, and for other supernatural entities, and in particular for some of the relationships that all of these characters have with one another, is intriguing and refreshing. It's a level of complexity that the Christian mythos for these same kinds of movies don't have, regardless of whether or not they have that potential.