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James Lamb
All who wander... (you know the line - are not lost). All who wonder... are not dangerous heretics.
All who wander... (you know the line - are not lost). All who wonder... are not dangerous heretics.

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How to help the terrorists win

Rolled into the only Starbucks in Cannes, France, and logged onto their WiFi with my iPad, only to be greeted by this cringe-worthy idiocy.

11-year-old anti-terror legislation supposedly requires that customers register to use wireless services. They require name, email address, phone number AND home address.

By definition, they are collecting accurate personal information ONLY of honest people who aren't trying to hide anything.

By definition, they are NOT collecting personal information on users who are dishonest, trying to hide something or (as in my case) just think it's all dumb and see no reason to share accurate information.

This policy is EXACTLY what's wrong with emerging legislative trends in democracies around the world.

They violate the privacy and freedoms of law-abiding citizens, which is what the terrorists want. And they enable terrorists to freely use the Internet anonymously, which, again, is what the terrorists want.

This is a metaphor for encryption backdoors, which the UK government and others around the world are pushing for. They leave honest citizens vulerable to privacy violation by any criminal organization, hackers, nefarious governments and terrorists, while the terrorists easily route around such issues by other means.

The terrorists are counting on the stupidity of policy makers, and the policy makers are delivering it in spades.

#terrorism #privacy #encryption


Curation & compensation

In another social media outlet I got into a classic online fray that was prompted by recent strategic moves by the New York Times (NYT). As part of a roll-out of coverage and partnerships in Australia, the NYT set up a daily briefing email with top stories, and a group in Facebook to discuss their articles and ideas. The timing roughly coincides with a potential private equity buy-out of Fairfax Media as well as budgetary cutbacks by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). NYT is collaborating with ABC on content production and as things evolve could acquire some Fairfax journalists(?)

Where does Google Plus come into this? To be honest - I have a better content feed from Google Plus than the New York Times provides. My sources in Europe and Asia feed me stories from the regions that aren't just what's in headlines, but what's behind the headlines. While Google Translate might give me a somewhat garbled version of a story in another language, the person who mentions the story offers a more in-depth perspective of what the story means. People working in IT and scientific fields feed me information that stands out or goes to a deeper level than most journalism. They give informed opinions born of experience; not an outsider trying to understand concepts. Of course this is personalised content - by way of the choice of Google Plus users I've included in my circles.

The argument I had was about... the pay wall. The New York Times is pretty generous - ten free articles per month before the paywall hits. In my normal consumption, I might not hit the pay wall. With the Australia roll out, and perusing their daily email, I quickly hit the paywall.

Why would I subscribe to a newspaper in this era? I might subscribe to get a sense of local perspective (for example the Chicago Times would have a local mix different from the LA Times). But the New York Times is more of a national publication than a New York-specific source. The New York Times has some excellent journalists and columnists - and those articles often rise to the top in my searches or circle feeds. The ongoing question of the internet - how to compensate those efforts?

One person mentioned an app called inkl. It's a consolidator with a subscription or pay-by-article plan that gets you past the paywall of a number of major publications. It seems reasonable, but it's like an RSS feed where the inkl editor has decided which articles to include in the feed. And when I tried searching for the NYT article that caused me to hit the pay wall - it wasn't in there.

While most newspapers have put a lot of effort into their digital strategies, the evolution is now tilting towards social media since they've realised that most of their traffic is coming through social media referrals. The social media outlets drive the traffic, but the news outlets have the content. The New York Times and others have taken the path of trying to channel those clicks, after a certain free number, into subscription plans. While that may work for readers interested in the curation the newspaper provides, it doesn't work for those who have created their own curation strategies via RSS feeds and social media connections combined with search when a topic strikes curiosity.

Rather than pushing readers into the irritating paywall and demanding they subscribe to more volume than they want, what would make better sense for me would be a funding account set up through the social media. The content provider and the social media company would negotiate their revenue sharing agreement (which may fluctuate based on referral volume), and I would receive an alert as I am clicking through something that's going to dip into my pay account. Rather than the pay wall only offering subscription, it would also offer to set up the per-article click-through fund.

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I want to fly! And ice skate. Both. Sequentially.

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"But as you meet the people; you're talking to mothers on Christmas Island with their babies, you're meeting men who have been held for seven years in detention centres or meeting the families of women killed in domestic violence, or realising a 55-year-old can't get promotion or a job; when you're dealing with them and you start to get the data, frankly, one becomes radicalised," she said.

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We have a grafted and non-grafted passionfruit vine. The grafted one grew much more in the summer, but the fruit mostly fell or was chewed off before it got ripe. The non-grafted one grew much more later in the season. So while the grafted one is losing leaves for the winter, the non-grafted one is still green and the fruit stayed on until ripe.

Another difference is the non-grafted one is directly in the ground, but the grafted one is in a raised bed. I just checked online and lead soil contamination is less an issue for​ fruits than for root crops and leafy vegetables.

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At least they won't be eating the cabbage palms? The beetle exercise rig in this video is pretty cool, but only runs until the beetle gets tired.

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It seems that in the interest of democracy, this needs to be a transparent process. However, the responsibility may not rest with broadcast media; it should be the civic duty of those running for office and a reporting responsibility of political action committees. Those who do not properly report should be considered unfit for office.

The article says that spending is reported, but it goes through intermediaries. If so, the intermediaries should make both the content of ads as well as the targeting public. Democracy is suffering malaise and transparency is the key to integrity. 

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As a person who thinks in terms of reducing our environmental footprint, I am confused by this. Four days in space. Will it return to a location on earth where someone is hungry? Will it basically be frozen out there, and heat up when it returns? I fear that the container is not properly designed for appropriate re-entry re-heating. 
KFC teams up with private spaceflight company World View to send a chicken sandwich on a four day trip into the stratosphere.

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The first articles I read about this, before the decision, didn't say they had already been deported. So basically they're continuing with the case in order to re-enter the US? The devil is in the details. Sometimes the question is which country is responsible for putting someone in prison, and the costs of keeping them in prison. And whether what they've done is a crime in both countries.

Just when you think your G+ audience has shrunk to a handful, a couple of new people discover your posts and share a few of them. :-)
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