Prof Alessandro Acquisti gives a TED talk about privacy and modern technologies. He shows studies that can acquire sensitive real-time data about people just from information on the internet (like the social security number), and shows that it’s easily possible to use targeted advertisement by using faces merged from your best friends on facebook; you don’t recognise these faces anymore, but they will subconsciously influence your behavior.
Chris Godfrey, the VFX (visual effects) supervisor of the recently published movie “The Great Gatsby” posted a 5-minute “before and after” video on Vimeo. It’s fantastic what you can do today with CGI (computer generated imagery) …
(Also, the soundtrack of the movie is absolutely brilliant!)
“Oh no! It’s all the R functions that melt your brain in one line all together! What’s going on here is that R function arguments are not actually fully evaluated, but rather, they contain “promises.” So, before the argument is used as a value, you can actually grab the symbolic expression, convert it to text or even reevaluate it in another context. It’s like reaching back up the call stack with your zombie programmer hand to eat the brains of the code that called you.”
In the year 2010, German secret services read 37.292.862 private emails, five times as many as in 2009. The numbers for 2011 are yet unknown. In these 37.292.862 emails, 213 emails were found which were of interest.
When a state interferes with your privacy, it should always a question of commensurability: does the method in question improve security in such a drastic way that it is reasonable to bend a few citizens’ right for privacy?
In this case, the state read ~17.500 emails to find 1 email with content of interest. In other words, in 17.500 instances privacy was undermined (read: violated) to find one person who might or might not have planned a criminal act.
I’m not happy about that, because it implies that many people were accused to be criminals, and their right for privacy was ignored for that reason, in order to find one.
It is not in proportion.
The German Christian Democract Ansgar Heveling wrote the most hilarious guest article, in which he attacks the new generation using the internet, pretending you can either use the internet, or live a real life as a real person. (German link, and commentary on the article on spiegel.de)
“Two large ISPs in the Netherlands have said they will not be blocking subscriber access to The Pirate Bay, as demanded by the Hollywood supported anti-piracy outfit BREIN. T-Mobile and KPN argue that blocking websites is a threat to the open Internet, and suggest that the entertainment industry focuses on new business models instead.” (via torrentfreak)
“Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change … and some ways you can fix them” (Persuasive Tech Lab, Stanford University)
“Under new consular fees published Thursday, cost of renouncing U.S. citizenship skyrocketed from $0 to $450″. They really want you to stay American citizen, I guess? (NYdailynews)
“Aerospace engineers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have developed a prototype device that could power a pacemaker using vibrations in the chest cavity that are due mainly to heartbeats.” (Source)
FDP at 0%. Hard to fathom that a party which would be voted by 0% of the people is governing this country (German source)
“As FBI and Scotland Yard investigators recently plotted out a strategy for tracking suspects linked to Anonymous, little did they know that members of the group were eavesdropping on their conference call and recording their plans.” (Wired)
Wikipedia will be down for 24 hours, starting at 05:00 UTC tomorrow. The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, these bills would “seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia”.
(EDIT1, January 18th 1am: that’s how Wikipedia looks like at the moment!)
(EDIT2, January 18th 2am: I just saw this ad on a news website.)
(EDIT3, January 18th 3am: google.com)
(EDIT4, January 19th: open letter by Neil Gaiman and “musicians, actors, directors, authors, and producers” against SOPA and PIPA).
“It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web.
Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a “blackout” of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support.
On careful review of this discussion, the closing administrators note the broad-based support for action from Wikipedians around the world, not just from within the United States. The primary objection to a global blackout came from those who preferred that the blackout be limited to readers from the United States, with the rest of the world seeing a simple banner notice instead. We also noted that roughly 55% of those supporting a blackout preferred that it be a global one, with many pointing to concerns about similar legislation in other nations. Read the rest of this entry »
Most of you know how important sound is to me, and I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard what this little device does to the sound of my laptop.
A friend of mine owns one, and after trying it for a couple of hours I had to get one. They are cheaper in the States, but also very affordable in Germany. Increasing the sound quality by 500% for 42€ sounds like a good deal to me.
You can find the Logitech Z305 for example on Amazon. And no, I did not get money for this review. I wish I had!