"One can almost hear the anticipatory echoes of something like Yelp in the context of José Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses
(1930). The multitude, he wrote, once “scattered about the world in small groups,” now appears “as an agglomeration.” It has “suddenly become visible, installing itself in the preferential positions in society. Before, if it existed, it passed unnoticed, occupying the background of the social stage; now it has advanced to the footlights and is the principal character.” The disgruntled diner, now able to make or break a restaurant through sheer collective will. Against this leveling of critical power, the old guard fulminates. Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet
, recently harrumphed that “anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they’re talking about.”
, by Tom Vanderbilt, in The Wilson Quarterly [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on May 5, 2013 -
Dissent Is the Health of the Democratic State
- "We live in big, complex societies, which means we are thoroughly interdependent on each other, and that we will naturally have different ideas about how our life in common should go, and will have divergent interests. This means that politics we shall always have with us. It also means that political problems are largely ones about designing and reforming the institutions which shape how we interact with each other..." (via
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 6, 2013 -
Networks of the Hanseatic League
- The Hanseatic League was a late-medieval network of economically largely independent long-distance trade merchants which was based on trust, reputation and reciprocal relations. The informal cooperation among its members kept transactional, informational and organizational costs low, allowing the Hanse merchants to make good profits from the long-distance trade between the Baltic and the North Seas. Thanks to personal and institutional links with confederations of towns, the Hanse merchants were initially able to strengthen their international position of power. Since the late 15th century, however, the transaction costs of long-distance trade increased as a result of growing exclusivity and formalization efforts in the Hanseatic league. Moreover, changes in the European economic structure, triggered by the discovery of America, and internal conflicts ultimately led to the disintegration of the Hanseatic networks.
posted by infini
on Dec 29, 2012 -
is a trusted ridesharing community where travelers meet and share rides across the U.S. It’s a friendlier way to travel—one that’s good for the environment, good for your wallet, and great for getting to know new people. It's a peer-to-peer ridesharing platform connecting those who need a ride with drivers who have extra space in their car. They are partnered with TrustCloud
, another startup that assigns a “Trust Score” to individuals, to help increase security for both drivers and passengers.
posted by netbros
on Sep 17, 2012 -
Why Nations Fail
- In a nutshell
: "Proximately, prosperity is generated by investment and innovation, but these are acts of faith: investors and innovators must have credible reasons to think that, if successful, they will not be plundered by the powerful
. For the polity to provide such reassurance, two conditions have to hold: power has to be centralised and the institutions of power have to be inclusive." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 15, 2012 -
Monogamouse Prairie voles have many vasopressin receptors in the reward centres of their brains. It seems as though these are wired up in a way that causes the animal to take pleasure from monogamy.
posted by kliuless
on Jan 9, 2010 -
In 1984 computer pioneer Ken Thompson wrote one of the seminal works of computer security, Reflections on Trusting Trust [PDF]
. In it he postulated putting a trojan horse inside a compiler as a means of infecting software compiled by it. 25 years later somebody has finally done just that. Researchers at anti-virus house Sophos have discovered a virus
that places a backdoor into applications compiled with the Delphi language. They've identified at least 3000 separate Delphi applications that have had this backdoor compiled into them so far, including banking programs and programs used for cellphone programming.
posted by scalefree
on Aug 20, 2009 -
Has some strange man been having orgasms inside your wife or daughter? Sure, you may think not, but can you be sure?? You can now, thanks to the revolutionary new CheckMate (get it) Semen Detection Kit
that is not, in fact, a joke despite how absolutely creepy it seems.
posted by jonson
on Jun 12, 2007 -
E-voting systems hacker sees ‘particularly bad’ security issues ...On Tuesday, Dec. 13, we conducted a hack of the Diebold AccuVote optical scan device. I wrote a five-line script in Visual Basic that would allow you to go into the central tabulator and change any vote total you wanted, leaving no logs....
More from the Washington Post here,
where ... Four times over the past year Sancho told computer specialists to break in to his voting system. And on all four occasions they did, changing results with what the specialists described as relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques. ..."Can the votes of this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card?" Two people marked yes on their ballots, and six no. The optical scan machine read the ballots, and the data were transmitted to a final tabulator. The result? Seven yes, one no. ... Verified Voting
and Black Box Voting
have much much more on all of this.
posted by amberglow
on Jan 23, 2006 -
Trusting The Redcoats:
How many independent-minded Americans actually rely on the BBC (specially the World Service
) for accurate coverage of American politics? Not to mention The Guardian
. Is it a strictly an elitist, liberal/left-wing phenomenon? What does it mean? What does it say about better-informed liberal newspapers and media of the U.S.? If so, why aren't like-minded Europeans just as cosmopolitan and, say, pay the same attention to news sources like The New York Times, NPR and others, rather than stolidly sticking to their own national staples?
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Jan 14, 2004 -
Impeach "the crazies" now!
"Can there be any greater violation of the public trust than to bear false witness to the people's representatives in pursuit of short-term political gain? Can there be injuries more immediate to society than to send American citizens to their death on a fraudulent pretext? With each shooting of a U.S. soldier in Iraq, the case for impeachment grows stronger."
posted by acrobat
on Oct 10, 2003 -