A 1970s Essay Predicted Silicon Valley's High-Minded Tyranny

A 1970s Essay Predicted Silicon Valley's High-Minded Tyranny

Bitcoin is dominated by a small cadre of investors, and “mining” new coins is so expensive and electricity-draining that only large institutions can participate; Facebook’s advertising system is exploited by foreign governments and other malevolent political actors who have had free rein to spread disinformation and discord; and Google’s informal structure allows leaders to believe they can act in secret to dispense with credible accusations of harassment.In Freeman’s unstinting language, this rhetoric of openness “becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others.”Because “Tyranny” explains how things work, as opposed to how people say things work, it has become a touchstone for social critics of all stripes.

Julian Assange Charges, Japan's Top Cybersecurity Official, and More Security News This Week

Julian Assange Charges, Japan's Top Cybersecurity Official, and More Security News This Week

Security News This Week: Japan's Top Cybersecurity Official Has Never Used a ComputerTOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty ImagesThe US refused to join a new global cybersecurity agreement this week—maybe because it was created by French president Emmanuel Macron, with whom President Trump isn’t on great terms with.On the same day, internet traffic that was supposed to route through Google’s cloud servers instead went haywire, traveling through unplanned servers based in the likes of Russia and China.

Where Did the 'Freedom From Facebook' Campaign Really Come From?

Where Did the 'Freedom From Facebook' Campaign Really Come From?

While Facebook’s head of global policy Monika Bickert spoke, protesters from a group called Freedom From Facebook, seated just behind her, held signs depicting Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg’s heads atop an octopus whose tentacles reached around the planet.Freedom From Facebook has garnered renewed attention this week, after The New York Times revealed that Facebook employed an opposition firm called Definers to fight the group.

What Diane Greene's Departure Means for Google Cloud

What Diane Greene's Departure Means for Google Cloud

Snagging her was seen as a good sign for the company’s effort to compete with Amazon and Microsoft in the booming business of providing computing infrastructure for other sites and businesses.Greene’s announcement Friday morning that she will move on in January is being read as the latest evidence that the project hasn’t gone as well as planned.

Surveillance Kills Freedom By Killing Experimentation

Surveillance Kills Freedom By Killing Experimentation

Of course the story is more complicated than that, but the ability for members of society to privately smoke weed was essential for putting it on the path to legalization.We don’t yet know which subversive ideas and illegal acts of today will become political causes and positive social change tomorrow, but they’re around.

What Is a Bot?

What Is a Bot?

Retweeting things hundreds of times a day, spamming the same link repeatedly, and using multiple accounts to amplify the same message are all good indicators of bot-like activity, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the account is a bot.Even Twitter gets confused sometimes.

All 141 'League of Legends' Champions, Explained

All 141 'League of Legends' Champions, Explained

Valve's Dota 2 has 79.And then there's League of Legends.Since its release in 2009—just two short years after Team Fortress 2—Riot Games' battle arena title offers 141 champions players can choose.

The Beauty and Danger of Australia's Salt Lakes

The Beauty and Danger of Australia's Salt Lakes

Photographer Leah Kennedy documented the region's resulting salt lakes in her series Salis.Related StoriesLaura MalloneeGet Lost in Australia's Vast Salt Lake With These Dreamy PhotosDoug BierendPhotos of Lakes Turn Psychedelic After Soaking in Their WatersAarian MarshallHow to Derail a Runaway Train (and Save Australia)The salt lakes predate human settlement, but over the past hundred years so-called "secondary salinization" has made the lakes’ natural chemistry even more extreme.

The Hail Mary Plan to Restart a Hacked US Electric Grid

The Hail Mary Plan to Restart a Hacked US Electric Grid

After failures plague Utility B, Utility A then needs to step in, restarting to offer redundant power to that same critical customer.In order to interact and safely share electricity, utilities also need to get their electromagnetic frequencies in tune at around 60 hertz, so part of the exercise involved not just getting Utility A and B running, but syncing them."We had 18 substations, two utilities, two command centers, and we had two generation sources that we had to bring up a crank path and synchronize," says Stan Pietrowicz, a researcher at Perspecta Labs who is working on a black start network analysis and threat detection tool through RADICS.

A Presidential Pardon for A Thanksgiving Raccoon

A Presidential Pardon for A Thanksgiving Raccoon

In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge received a raccoon as a Thanksgiving dinner gift. This decision probably didn’t surprise many people at the time, as Coolidge had quite a collection of animals at the White House, according to the Presidential Pet Museum.

Scientists studying Weddell seal behaviour in Antarctica

Scientists studying Weddell seal behaviour in Antarctica

NIWA marine ecologist Dr Kimberly Goetz is leading two trips to Antarctica to study the seals as a way to examine the effectiveness of the newly-created Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) in conserving top predators.

Juul Pledges Big Changes, but the Impact May Be Small

Juul Pledges Big Changes, but the Impact May Be Small

Juul Pledges Big Changes, but the Impact May Be SmallGiorgos Zachos/Getty ImagesOn Tuesday, e-cigarette maker Juul announced an aggressive-sounding plan to prevent kids from using its nicotine products, including stopping the sale of most flavored pods in more than 90,000 US retail stores and shutting some of its social media accounts.

Facing UK Regulation, Big Tech Sends a Lobbyist to London

Facing UK Regulation, Big Tech Sends a Lobbyist to London

But while lawmakers on Capitol Hill have spent the last two years handwaving and making empty threats against Big Tech, regulators in the UK have been getting to work, strengthening their data privacy laws and taking steps toward more restrictions around content online.Now, the Internet Association, the lobbying firm that represents the likes of Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon, is opening an office in London.

Google Internet Traffic Wasn't Hijacked, But It Was Out of Control

Google Internet Traffic Wasn't Hijacked, But It Was Out of Control

On Monday, a Google spokesperson said that the company didn't see signs of malicious hijacking, and instead suspected that the Nigerian ISP Main One had accidentally caused the problem."The problem here is a failure to apply basic best current practices to these routing sessions."Roland Dobbins, NetscoutThere are minimum best practices that ISPs should implement to keep BGP routes on the up and up.

How Trumpy Bear Divided the World—and Conquered the Internet

How Trumpy Bear Divided the World—and Conquered the Internet

They are meant to: If you’re a Trump supporter, Trumpy Bear—who sports the President’s signature blond coiffure and red tie, and is stuffed with an American flag you can pull out the back of his fuzzy neck—is a hilarious gift that is, as the commercial says, “great for all American holidays.” If you’re not, it’s the sort of stupendously baffling object that makes you wonder what aliens would think if they visited Earth today.

The DIY Tinkerers Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence

The DIY Tinkerers Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence

“High school students can now do things that the best researchers in the world could not have done a few years ago,” says Andrew Ng, an AI researcher and entrepreneur who has led big projects at Google and China’s Baidu.The A.I. IssueClive ThompsonHow to Teach Artificial Intelligence Some Common SenseJessi HempelFei-Fei Li's Quest to Make AI Better for HumanityShaun RavivThe Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AIPeople like Ng have big hopes for the amateur AI explosion: They want it to spread the technology’s potential far from Silicon Valley, physically and culturally, to see what happens when tech outsiders “train” neural networks according to their own priorities and ways of seeing the world.

Take a Good Look, America. This Is What the Reckoning Looks Like

Take a Good Look, America. This Is What the Reckoning Looks Like

That turns out to be a myth—frogs are smarter than that.Humans aren’t, at least when it comes to climate change.LEARN MOREThe WIRED Guide to Climate ChangeFor nearly a week, fires of unprecedented speed and ferocity have been tearing through California.

How to Teach Artificial Intelligence Some Common Sense

How to Teach Artificial Intelligence Some Common Sense

A neural net trained to recognize only canaries isn’t of any use in recognizing, say, birdsong or human speech.“We don’t need massive amounts of data to learn,” Marcus says.

How Google and Amazon Got So Big Without Being Regulated

How Google and Amazon Got So Big Without Being Regulated

The new firms were instead devoted to spreading sweetness and light, goodwill toward all men—whether access to information (Google), good books for cheap (Amazon), or the building of a global community (Facebook).Not only did they not charge high prices, sometimes they didn’t even charge at all.

The US Sits out an International Cybersecurity Agreement

The US Sits out an International Cybersecurity Agreement

“The private sector is now willing to say that we can and we will do more.”"Over the past three or four years, we’ve really seen a groundswell of private leadership."Megan Stifel, Public KnowledgeIn April, Microsoft announced the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, an agreement similar to the Paris Call that was signed by more than 60 technology corporations, which it dubbed a “a Digital Geneva Convention.” In July, the company publicly advocated for the regulation of facial recognition technology and said it was developing its own set of principles for how it should be used.

Ableton Loop Is More of a EDM Networking Event Than a Rave

Ableton Loop Is More of a EDM Networking Event Than a Rave

What It's Like to Attend an Electronic Music Conference Where the Beat Never DropsAt a studio session at Loop, Lafawndah (Yasmine Dubois) gave attendees valuable insight into her creative process—just part of the programming that made electronic music a conduit for inspiration rather than perspiration.AbletonHalfway into her 90-minute live set at Loop, Ableton's electronic music conference in Los Angeles, Juana Molina put down her Gibson SG guitar, stepped back from her synthesizer, and started dancing.

Making a Stormtrooper Out of Bodies Is Easier Than You'd Think

Making a Stormtrooper Out of Bodies Is Easier Than You'd Think

In 2009, they launched an entire Shadowland show, all based on the shapes people could act out with their bodies and maybe a few stretch-y pieces of clothing."Limitations are awesome for creativity," says Renee Jaworski, one of Pilobolus’ artistic directors "They are super helpful, because if the world is your oyster then it’s really hard to make a decision.

Rural Kids Face an Internet 'Homework Gap.' The FCC Could Help

Rural Kids Face an Internet 'Homework Gap.' The FCC Could Help

Rural Kids Face an Internet 'Homework Gap.' The FCC Could HelpReliable broadband is not guaranteed in southern Utah, a region of towering plateaus, sagebrush valleys and steep canyons.john lambing/AlamyBefore and after classes at Panguitch High School, a low-slung brick building nestled in the high desert of southern Utah, students find their way to Shawn Caine’s classroom.

These Wind Patterns Explain Why California's Wildfires Are So Bad

These Wind Patterns Explain Why California's Wildfires Are So Bad

That’s why all these fires popped up on either end of the state nearly simultaneously: They share a common origin in the jet stream.https://twitter.com/RobElvington/status/1061385865857949696When the air masses hit the Sierra Nevada Mountains in eastern California, they behave like water flowing over a rock in a stream.

How the 'Betrayal Legacy' Board Game Tells a Story Over Time

How the 'Betrayal Legacy' Board Game Tells a Story Over Time

When Avalon Hill approached Daviau with the idea to build a legacy game for Betrayal in December 2016, it seemed like an opportunity to tell a longer, richer story about one of his most popular games.Designing the mechanics of a “living” game is a balancing act.

Was a Star Wars Escape Pod Really Just a KFC Bucket?

Was a Star Wars Escape Pod Really Just a KFC Bucket?

If I had a view of the "falling" model from the side, I could easily get position-time data using video analysis by looking at each frame in the scene.Alas, I don't have that view.

THC! CBD! Terpenoids! Cannabis Science Is Getting Hairy

THC! CBD! Terpenoids! Cannabis Science Is Getting Hairy

It’s called the entourage effect: THC, like a rock star, only reaches its full potential when it rolls with a crew, consisting of hundreds of other compounds in the plant that scientists know about so far.But the problem with researching a schedule I drug is that the government doesn’t want you to do it.

Midterm Election Voters Shot Down a Carbon Tax, But It'll Rise Again

Midterm Election Voters Shot Down a Carbon Tax, But It'll Rise Again

Initiative 1631 was technically a fee, not a tax; It would’ve charged many emitters $15 per metric ton of carbon, increasing every year until emissions declined—and the money would pay for green infrastructure like clean power generation, environmental remediation, and projects in communities most affected by pollution.

Hey! Know-It-Alls! Can I Vote Online?

Hey! Know-It-Alls! Can I Vote Online?

You should probably just bring it.In some states you can bring your phone into the voting booth with you, and even post a “ballot selfie,” but in others you can’t, so again, check your local election sites.

The Science of the Sniff: Why Dogs Are Great Disease Detectors

The Science of the Sniff: Why Dogs Are Great Disease Detectors

“Finding those individuals is currently very difficult,” says Logan.In this study, dogs were trained to sniff out malaria through the scent of the disease in samples of socks worn by infected children.Medical Detection DogsAn entomologist by training, Logan spent the early years of his career trying to understand why some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others.

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