Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Elron Steele
Part writer, part photographer, part comedian, part poker player, part techie - All Geek
Part writer, part photographer, part comedian, part poker player, part techie - All Geek

Elron's posts

Post has shared content
This is a great discussion of the role of privacy in history. Also make sure to read the first comment ... it's an excellent reminder that while privacy may not be "natural" to the human condition, neither are many of the other aspects of modernity that we take for granted such as freedom, education, representative government, and a whole lot of other stuff as well. The rise of privacy rights tracks pretty closely with the rise of a modern world where everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful, have the right to freedom, to education, to participate in government.

So, "natural" or not, I think we should be very cautious about being willing to jettison privacy, because it is one of the threads that make up the tapestry we call modern life, and when you start pulling ever one thread out of a tapestry, the results can be catastrophically unpredictable.

The Birth And Death Of Privacy: 3,000 Years of History Told Through 46 Images — The Ferenstein Wire — Medium

'Privacy, as we understand it, is only about 150 years old.
 Humans do have an instinctual desire for privacy. However, for 3,000 years, cultures have nearly always prioritized convenience and wealth over privacy.
 Section II will show how cutting edge health technology will force people to choose between an early, costly death and a world without any semblance of privacy. Given historical trends, the most likely outcome is that we will forgo privacy and return to our traditional, transparent existence.

*This post is part of an online book about Silicon Valley’s Political endgame. See all available chapters here.'

Silicon Valley’s Political Endgame, Summarized — The Ferenstein Wire — Medium

'5-Sentence Summary

This is a graphical summary of an online data-driven series about Silicon Valley’s political endgame: the path toward overhauling the Democratic Party and orienting our lives toward innovation.

The central argument is that changes in the economy also change the political ideology in power; some personalities and value systems thrive in different occupations and industries. The growth of the knowledge economy has empowered an ancient, idealistic ideology that places an extreme faith in the power of information to solve the world’s problems.

A growing demographic of highly-skilled college-educated liberals will transform government’s role to be about directly investing in citizens, funding them to become as entrepreneurial, civic, and healthy as possible.

The ultimate goal is to make life as close to the college experience as possible: a life dedicated to research, exploration, and creativity, while automation ensures that everyone has enough food and leisure time to pursue their unique contribution to the world.'

H/t +Danièle Mordmardok 

Post has shared content
OK, this is beyond cool ...
This sea slug steals genes from algae so it can photosynthesize like a plant | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

'Scientists have confirmed for the first time that one extraordinary species of sea slug ‘steals’ genes from the algae it eats, which enables it to photosynthesize like a plant and gain energy from sunlight. This exceptionally weird phenomenon is one of the only examples of inter-species gene transfer, and it could lend us clues for future research into gene therapy techniques.'

Post has shared content
Tweaked the original to reflect the media's current preferred choice of words.

Post has shared content
Glenn Greenwald is one of the sharpest commentators out there right now, and one of the few willing to stand up and point at the naked Emperor ... the argument by the intelligence community that ISIS needed Snowden to tell them to encrypt their communications is patently absurd. It should also be self-evident to the intelligence community that any "backdoor" in encryption is as exploitable by black hats as white hats, and black hats tend to be FAR more creative in finding ways to exploit things like that.

So even is there IS a link to online or phone planning in Paris (something which looks increasingly less likely as the lack of evidence continues to pile up), terrorists knew about encryption LONG before Snowden, and any backdoor in encryption, for any reason, negates the entire concept of it. If ANYONE other than my intended recipient has a key that can access my encryption, then I do not have any encryption at all. If the idea that Snowden taught the terrorists about encryption is absurd, the demand to put backdoors into encryption methods is unthinkably stupid and counter productive to the cause of security.
Glenn Greenwald: Why the CIA is smearing Edward Snowden after the Paris attacks

Bodies were still lying in the streets of Paris when CIA operatives began exploiting the resulting fear and anger to advance long-standing political agendas. They and their congressional allies instantly attempted to heap blame for the atrocity not on Islamic State but on several preexisting adversaries: Internet encryption, Silicon Valley's privacy policies and Edward Snowden.

Post has shared content
I do remember the days when Norton Utilities was a lean, mean systems tool that worked properly, and with a minimum of fuss ... sadly, that was 2 decades ago ...

Post has shared content
This is a great explanation of the expansion of space ... it's not that other stars and galaxies are moving away from us ... it's that new space is being created between us ...
How fast is the universe expanding?

A galaxy cluster one megaparsec away from us is probably moving away from us at about 70 km/s. That's Hubble's law:'s_law

The basic idea is that new empty space is being created at a (roughly) constant rate throughout the universe. Therefore, the further away an object is from us, the more empty space is being created between it and us, because there's more space. And so it appears to be moving faster.

That means stuff forty-five billion lightyears from us appears to be moving away from us at the speed of light. But that's an illusion. It's not really moving.

Think about somebody baking raisin bread in the oven. As the bread bakes, it expands. The raisins don't move, but they appear to get further away from each other.

That's why it can look like things are going away from us faster than light, when they're really not.

(The rate of creation of empty space used to be considered constant, but we believe it's changing. We don't know what's causing that change.,... but we've given it the name dark energy.

If you want a more complete description, including some about the history of Hubble and his law, you could read this article I wrote a while back.

Source: +Jonah Miller  responds to a question in the +Science on Google+ community. The best answers to questions will be posted as part of our  #Askascientist  series. Do you have science questions for us? Use the Science Outreach category to ask the science community. 


Post has attachment
PaleoFuture is always a great place to mine for nuggets of awesome, and this article about a 1985 paper by RAND on email is no exception. It's shockingly relevant today (we all use tot13 to indicate NSFW content now right?) Joking aside, it actually is very prescient about some of the issues we face today with retention and irrelevance, and sets out some of the standards we still use today ... rot13 may not be relevant today, but the smiley absolutely is.

Perhaps most interesting to me though is where they got it just a little bit wrong. For example, "These mechanisms have evolved to support the corporate structure, and to conserve the time and attention of its executives. Comparable mechanisms are not yet in place for electronic mail. Executives working in the evening at personal computers at home can send messages without “copying” their secretaries, resulting in those secretaries being “out of the loop” on matters of which they’re normally aware." The point on email being asymmetrical and largely ignorant of old-style corporate control structures, but, of course, in today's world, we've addressed the problem of "secretaries being out of the loop" by taking secretaries themselves out of the loop in many or most cases. The freedom of electronic communication has allowed corporate executives to do a lot more without the extra labour of a secretary in the same sense as past times. So I find it interesting that the paper accurately describes the problem future email use will present to corporate governance, but totally misses the changes in staffing and job flow that, in part, ended up addressing those problems.

Lot's of other cool nuggets in here, and in a more general sense, its ironic to me that such a "relevant" technical paper was authored by a group that, for the most part, isn't terribly relevant to the technical world anymore.

I've been AWOL on G+ for awhile now ... not sure why I stopped looking here, but I think I will try to come back ... how are all my plussers? Are you guys still around at all? 
Wait while more posts are being loaded