Johnathan.org

September 3, 2018

Twitter CEO Allegedly Vetoing Bad Actor Removals

From The Wall Street Journal:

…in some cases, Mr. Dorsey has weighed in on content decisions at the last minute or after they were made, sometimes resulting in changes and frustrating other executives and employees, according to people familiar with the matter.

Last month, after Twitter’s controversial decision to allow far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to remain on its platform, Mr. Dorsey told one person that he had overruled a decision by his staff to kick Mr. Jones off, according to a person familiar with the discussion. Twitter disputes that account and says Mr. Dorsey wasn’t involved in those discussions.

Twitter’s stance on racism (they love it–it means more ad money) and blatant disregard for abuse on the platform (they also love that) fall exactly in line with this story. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if Dorsey was an actual racist. More likely though, he has fallen so deeply into the “white-guy-with-so-much-money-that-can-ignore-it-all-and-sleep-soundly” pit that there’s no changing his mind.

The company declined this allegation, because of course they did.

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What Does a Nuclear Bomb Feel Like?

Motherboard dropped a video a couple days ago that’s absolutely worth watching:

They spoke with a few military veterans that served in the 50s and 60s, working on (“participating in” is probably more accurate) nuclear bomb tests. These men went into these testing programs without knowing much of anything. What they did know? “Don’t look at the flash.”

Several of the men explained very specifically how, even with your closed eyes, you could see your bones and others as well. The heat was like fire.

Over a 10 year test period, there were 22,500 test personnel. Over 18,000 of them died of cancer-related diagnoses. Men became sterile. Children developed disorders and deformities.

Worst of all? They couldn’t talk about any of this until the late 1990s. Punishment if they did? Treason charges and prison.

Damn terrifying, really.

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Rest in Pancakes, Kenny Shopsin

I’ve never been to New York City. Jason Kottke over on Kottke.org posted about a small restaurant owner that recently passed and quoted a passage from a 2002 New Yorker profile that makes me sad I never saw the place back then:

One evening, when the place was nearly full, I saw a party of four come in the door; a couple of them may have been wearing neckties, which wouldn’t have been a plus in a restaurant whose waitress used to wear a T-shirt that said “Die Yuppie Scum.” Kenny took a quick glance from the kitchen and said, “No, we’re closed.” After a brief try at appealing the decision, the party left, and the waitress pulled the security gate partway down to discourage other latecomers.

“It’s only eight o’clock,” I said to Kenny.

“They were nothing but strangers,” he said.

“I think those are usually called customers,” I said. “They come here, you give them food, they give you money. It’s known as the restaurant business.”

Kenny shrugged. “Fuck ‘em,” he said.

Sounds like my kind of guy.

Take it easy, friend.

 

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September 1, 2018

Google Violations

Dave Winer reminded me why I opted to never use AdSense again:

Emails like this from Google about “violations” on my website are really disturbing, esp since I don’t run any Google ads on my site. I wish they’d STFU about violations, or say what the violations are. I always can use a good laugh. Their email is a violation of my independence. Fuck off.

Yes. 👏

Additionally, I’m told this blog is not fit for Google AdSense, which is fine. The last time I used AdSense was 2012 to 2013, I think. I was kicked out of the program without evidence I did anything wrong, but couldn’t argue against it. Without knowing what I did, I had no idea what to fix. Google always has the last say when it comes to their services and while that’s not particularly unique, they do a great job of reminding us from time to time that we’re at their mercy and we should consider ourselves grateful that they’re letting us play in their holy sandbox. 

I brought the Carbon ad network (under the ownership of BuySellAds) on board last week, an email I was genuinely excited to receive that email. They’ve been great to work with so far, have only a handful of rules, and the advertisers they allow are top-notch. As far as serving banner ads goes, Carbon is the limit. The rest of the revenue will be made up of affiliate links for stuff I actually believe in (and use) and site memberships. Dave has no ads, and that’s entirely fine–and his prerogative. I think the right network can make a world of difference.

Plus, I’m not subjecting my visitors to unknown levels of ad-tracking. BSA/Carbon does a bit of it, yes, in order to inform their advertisers how their ads performed, but that’s about it. I appreciate clean and simple advertising and wish the rest of the world would get on board. Even a single tear would not be shed if AdSense went away tomorrow. 

I can dream.

Apple’s Self-Driving Car Rear-Ended

Not that it matters, really–Apple’s car wasn’t at fault in any way–but the entire article can be summed up in a single paragraph:

The Apple car, a modified Lexus RX450h SUV carrying special equipment and sensors, was traveling at just 1 mph while preparing to merge onto the Lawrence Expressway in Sunnyvale when a Nissan Leaf rear-ended it going around 15 mph. Apple’s Lexus and the Leaf sustained damage, but neither car’s passengers received any injuries, the report states.

And done. 

I was going to just leave it at that, then I thought some more about this sentence in particular:

Autonomous software makers may have to take into account how humans tend to behave on the road and inject some of that behavior if they want to avoid these types of crashes in the future.

This is absolutely incorrect. The robot cars should not have to compensate for stupid. Humans need to learn to drive properly, more safely, and above all else, with more awareness. If the Leaf driver was close enough to rear-end a car, they were too close, period. This is a fundamental rule taught everywhere and one that tech journalists (especially ones at The Verge) seem to have forgotten. 

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Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
 
blogging, design, technology, software, development, gaming, photography