Daily Archives: July 17, 2015

The trolls are winning the battle for the Internet

By Ellen Pao – I have just endured one of the largest trolling attacks in history.

What happened to me while head of the popular online forum Reddit for the past eight months is important to consider as we confront the ways in which the Internet is evolving. Here’s why:

The Internet started as a bastion for free expression. It encouraged broad engagement and a diversity of ideas.

Over time, however, that openness has enabled the harassment of people for their views, experiences, appearances or demographic backgrounds. Balancing free expression with privacy and the protection of participants has always been a challenge for open-content platforms on the Internet. But that balancing act is getting harder.

The trolls are winning. more> http://tinyurl.com/omt62b3

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How Do You Measure the Effectiveness of Government?

By Paul Eder – Each of us serves as a self-contained big data processor, tagging data elements in our own minds and using the information later to formulate decisions such as preferred presidential candidates, favored legislative efforts, and opinions about policy nuances that we may not even understand to be nuanced or policy-related.

I have devised five distinct characteristics (noted by the acronym STEPS) employed by individuals for evaluating the government, with the caveat that they must be clear but lack rigidity and allow for individualized definition.

Characteristic Definition
Strength Relative influence over other stakeholders in the world.
Transparency Degree of openness in government communication and data availability.
Economics Soundness of financial footing. Judgment of whether the value delivered is worth the cost of delivering.
Public Goods Products and services provided by the government to improve quality of life.
Social Goods Products and services provided by the government to promote social, procedural, and economic justice.

more> http://tinyurl.com/pe9h3q3

Old astronomic riddle soon to be solved

By Olivia Poisson – Almost 100 years ago, astronomers discovered that the spectrum of star light arrived on earth with dark gaps, so-called interstellar bands.

Ever since, researchers have been trying to find out which type of matter in space absorbs the light and is responsible for these “diffuse interstellar bands” (DIB) of which over 400 are known today.

The research team led by Prof. John P. Maier from the Dept. of Chemistry at the Univ. of Basel has been studying the electronic absorption of the ionized Buckminsterfullerene since 1993. In fact, the spectrum measured in the lab did show absorption features at two wavelengths that were near two DIB that had been discovered by astronomers the following year. more> http://tinyurl.com/qjq2bjq

Can Europe fudge its way out of Greece’s financial mess?

By Jason Karaian – The contradictions, provocations, and twisted logic are enough to make your head spin.

And yet, time and again, Europe has defied the “this time it’s different” crowd. On the edge of the abyss, at the eleventh hour, a solution is devised to avert disaster (but give little cause to celebrate).

The EU, euro zone, and related institutions did not emerge by chance, and for political, economic, and emotional reasons they won’t be dismantled so easily—or quickly, since nothing in Europe ever moves that fast.

Of course, one cannot just blithely rely on eurocrats to keep on keeping on indefinitely. After all, short-term fixes can generate bigger long-term problems that even the most clever compromises can’t solve. more> http://tinyurl.com/pqq2fel

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