Vitalik Buterin invented the world's hottest new cryptocurrency and inspired a movement — before he'd turned 20 - "I think a large part of the consequence is necessarily going to be disempowering some of these centralized players to some extent because ultimately power is a zero sum game. And if you talk about empowering the little guy, as much as you want to couch it in flowery terminology that makes it sound fluffy and good, you are necessarily disempowering the big guy. And personally I say screw the big guy. They have enough money already." [more inside]
In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
Ever wonder what the Internet might look like in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings? Wonder no more: THE REALM OF ROUGH TELEPATHY
Why a staggering number of Americans have stopped using the Internet the way they used to Nearly one in two Internet users say privacy and security concerns have now stopped them from doing basic things online — such as posting to social networks, expressing opinions in forums or even buying things from websites, according to a new government survey released Friday. This chilling effect, pulled out of a survey of 41,000 U.S. households who use the Internet, show the insecurity of the Web is beginning to have consequences that stretch beyond the direct fall-out of an individual losing personal data in breach. The research suggests some consumers are reaching a tipping point where they feel they can no longer trust using the Internet for everyday activities.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About How ISIS Uses The Internet by Sheera Frenkel [Buzzfeed] They talk on Telegram and send viruses to their enemies. BuzzFeed News’ Sheera Frenkel looks at how ISIS members and sympathizers around the world use the internet to grow their global network. [more inside]
Free Basics: Facebook's Biggest Setback From Zuckerberg’s vantage point, high above the connected world he had helped create, India was a largely blank map. [more inside]
Civitacampomarano is a small village in the province of Campobasso, Italy, with just 400 souls, mainly elderly. In this village, rich in folk traditions, Internet is a partially unknown world: mobile phones have difficulty working and the data connection is practically nonexistent. [more inside]
Scott Malcomsen has a brand new book: Splinternet; How Geopolitics and Commerce Are Fragmenting the World Wide Web. [more inside]
KC Green, the artist behind the "this is fine" meme, talks about its origin and meaning.
To the immense relief of technical support staff everywhere as well as your Aunt Helen, you can now buy a smartplug for power-cycling your internet router. It seems like router makers are aware you might need this.
How could kids today rebel? Stephen Fry suggests going off the grid.
When Rape Is Broadcast Live On The Internet by Rossalyn Warren [Buzzfeed News] Sexual assault, domestic abuse, and attempted murder are among the crimes recently captured on live video services. BuzzFeed News uncovered one apparent incident of a rape aired in real time and asked what it means for the companies that host this content. [more inside]
"When we punish others, we're advertising our own moral character" is one of the assertions made in this piece on Vox that offers a number of explanations for the question of "why it's so easy to get sucked into fights on the internet."
After leading with a cover story criticizing Xi Jinping (otoh) The Economist has been censored in China; Time too and now Medium. [more inside]
What happens when creating a new AI chatbot is as easy as installing a new app? Hugh Hancock writing on Charles Stross's blog explores the future implications of swarms of artificially intelligent chatbots. [more inside]
Phineas Fisher Hacks Back! Last year, an Italian company best known for selling surveillance software to governments was hacked. Phineas Fisher gives an overview of how he gained access to the Hacking Team's network.
Shoes - ten years ago Liam Kyle Sullivan created "Shoes", one of the first viral hits of the YouTube era featuring his Midwestern teen girl character Kelly. Now he sits down with Vice to talk about YouTube fame, touring, how it came about, and what came after.
THE SECRET RULES OF THE INTERNET: The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech [Potentially NSFW - language & content]
The Guardian Investigates What Goes On "Below the Line" Comments allow readers to respond to an article instantly, asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads. At their best, comment threads are thoughtful, enlightening, funny: online communities where readers interact with journalists and others in ways that enrich the Guardian’s journalism. But at their worst, they are something else entirely. [more inside]
The memorable URL damn.dog hides a game where you try to guess the titles of WikiHow articles by one of their illustrations.
How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell: For the last decade, [Joyce] Taylor and her renters have been visited by all kinds of mysterious trouble. They’ve been accused of being identity thieves, spammers, scammers and fraudsters. They’ve gotten visited by FBI agents, federal marshals, IRS collectors, ambulances searching for suicidal veterans, and police officers searching for runaway children. They’ve found people scrounging around in their barn. The renters have been doxxed, their names and addresses posted on the internet by vigilantes. Once, someone left a broken toilet in the driveway as a strange, indefinite threat. All in all, the residents of the Taylor property have been treated like criminals for a decade. And until I called them this week, they had no idea why.
A draft of a highly anticipated Senate encryption bill was leaked to The Hill late on Thursday night, sparking a swift backlash from technology and privacy groups even before the legislation has been introduced. [more inside]
The Internet (old/current format) is blowing up at the Associated Press Stylebook announcement that as of June 1st it'll be the internet. Furthermore, Web will begin with a lower case w in all instances from the same date. One author made the case for this (Facebook picture) in 2009. However, others are disagreeing, while others are finding more to disagree on. This, of course, is all good publicity for the forthcoming product.
My Year in Startup Hell. Dogs roam HubSpot’s hallways, because like the kindergarten decor, dogs have become de rigueur for tech startups. At noon, Zack tells me, a group of bros meets in the lobby on the second floor to do push-ups together... On the second floor there are shower rooms, which are intended for bike commuters and people who jog at lunchtime, but also have been used as sex cabins when the Friday happy hour gets out of hand. Later I will learn (from Penny, the receptionist, who is a fantastic source of gossip) that at one point things got so out of hand that management had to send out a memo. “It’s the people from sales,” Penny tells me. “They’re disgusting.” [more inside]
Wikimedia and Facebook have given Angolans free access to their websites, but not to the rest of the internet. So, naturally, Angolans have started hiding pirated movies and music in Wikipedia articles and linking to them on closed Facebook groups, creating a totally free and clandestine file sharing network in a country where mobile internet data is extremely expensive.Vice
From a suburban British house in 1984, Julian (password: 1234) demonstrates a modem while Pat (seemingly not allowed to touch the keyboard) lists her uses of the "communal" BBC Micro. Turn on your recorders as this TV clip ends with a data transmission! But how, in bygone online times, have modems been used... [more inside]
A Journal of Insomnia is an interactive documentary that only comes alive at night. Make a nighttime appointment to experience a sleepless night through stories, images and webcam videos shared by the insomniac of your choice. [more inside]
Billionaires, partying until the early morning, and Internet sleuthing: A recent scandal that rocked the world of high stakes contract bridge has it all.
The future of space travel demands better communication. The pokey pace at which our current Martian spacecraft exchange data with Earth just isn't enough for future inhabitants who want to talk to their loved ones back home or spend a Saturday binge-watching Netflix. So NASA engineers have begun planning ways to build a better network. The idea is an interplanetary internet in which orbiters and satellites can talk to one another rather than solely relying on a direct link with the Deep Space Network, and scientific data can be transferred back to Earth with vastly improved efficiency and accuracy.
As newsrooms disappear, veteran reporters are being forced from the profession. They dedicated their lives to telling other people’s stories. What happens when no one wants to print their words anymore?
Internet Map 2015 Such great beauty you have internet!
One of the Internet's core building blocks has a vulnerability that leaves hundreds or thousands of apps and hardware devices vulnerable to attacks that can take complete control over them. There is a patch available for Linux-based devices that do domain-name lookups, but it will take time to patch them all.
Web pages are ghosts: they’re like images projected onto a wall. They aren’t durable. Contrast this with hard-copies—things written on paper or printed in books. We can still read books and pamphlets printed five hundred years ago, even though the presses that made them have long since been destroyed. How can we give the average independent web writer that kind of permanence? Joel Dueck on building a website with Matthew Butterick's Pollen, allowing it to also be published as a printed book.
"After Taryn Wright exposed an elaborate fake tragedy on Facebook, she found herself leading a squad of online detectives – but on the internet, it doesn’t take long for a crowd to become a mob." (Guardian)
"We grew up pretty conservative," she recalls. "My parents kept us away from everything. Now everything we do is a sin." Meet Chris Johns and Tabitha Rae, the God-fearing Wisconsin couple who, if web glitches, fiercely defended patents, and a shortage of Novint Falcons don't stop them, are going to build the future of remote fucking right here in the Upper Midwest.
Fake Online Locksmiths A locksmith’s shop on a street in Sun City, Ariz. [...] turned out to be a fiction that was created for the locksmith by a web design firm using Photoshop at what is, in fact, a vacant lot. [via marginal revolution] [more inside]
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World - "With interviewees ranging from Elon Musk to a gaming addict, Werner Herzog presents the web in all its wildness and utopian potential in this dizzying documentary." (via)
MetaFilter is long familiar with the dichotomy between Ask Culture and Guess Culture. Alice Maz, a programmer writing for the new group blog Status 451, has described another common dichotomy between “harmonious emotional experience” and “information sharing”, and what happens when the two meet. (In short: “Harsh words may be exchanged, and everyone exits the encounter thinking the other person was monumentally rude for no reason.”) [more inside]
“I realize I’ve begun writing defensively on the web, putting in hedges and clarifications that really aren’t necessary for a charitable reader. I’ve also taken to toning down any rhetorical flourishes that could be interpreted uncharitably in a way that annoys some people. The result: boring writing stripped of a lot of my own personal style.” Paul Chiusano discusses how online feedback has affected our writing styles.
Say goodbye to online comments as you know them We have finally realized that the kind of person who devotes his day to arguing with strangers anonymously on the Internet is not necessarily representative of a large swath of public opinion or necessarily good at articulating anything. [more inside]
Here, nine YouTube sensations whose lives were upended briefly in the past decade (plus one from the prehistoric web era, before YouTube made its debut in 2005) speak about this odd, relatively new kind of fame. Most embraced the experience, seeing where it would take them. Some ended up in dark places. A couple have made it their living and found themselves with new careers. Others stepped away, opting out of the flame wars. Pay attention: Someday, the accidental celebrity could be you.
“I received a call from the horrified IT Director (the IT Manager himself had been made redundant straight after me), to ask if I knew why they faced an ISDN bill for over £100,000.”