Dockless Scooter Startups Heat Up Micromobility Wars | CityLab

Like their pedal-powered relatives, the scooters are available to book via app and can be parked and picked up anywhere, thanks to GPS and sensor-enabled technology. And much like the early days of Uber and Lyft, the out-of-nowhere appearance of these scooters has triggered a backlash from locals in virtually every city.

Meanwhile, the players are competing fiercely for territory.

Source: Dockless Scooter Startups Heat Up Micromobility Wars – CityLab

Chicago Faces a Defining Moment in Police Reform and Civil Order

The consent decree is a dense document. In assessing its provisions, it’s important not to allow the complexity of the prescription to obscure the stark simplicity of the diagnosis: The Chicago Police Department engages in an unconstitutional pattern and practice of excessive force, including deadly force, primarily against people of color.

These patterns of unconstitutional police violence are enabled and shielded by systemic deficiencies in supervision, accountability, and training, and by the code of silence within the department.

That is the heart of the matter, the core problem that the array of reforms is designed to address. The sheer number of discreet measures invites a checklist approach that sees police reform as a matter of ticking off boxes on a long list.

Such an approach fails to comprehend that some reforms have priority because they are foundational and must be securely in place for other measures to be credible and effective.

Source: Chicago Faces a Defining Moment in Police Reform and Civil Order

‘Recyclable’ is a word, not a promise — most plastic goes to landfills |

No. These announcements may sound great, but they look painfully naive in the face of the growing storm that is the global plastic recycling market. At the same time that the news is filled with these flashy industry recycling pledges, we are getting an increasingly frantic story from across the country and the world that our plastic simply isn’t getting recycled.

A 2017 study found that of all the plastic ever created, only a paltry 9 percent has been recycled, and the rest is clogging our streets, waterways, and has even made its way into our food systems. Beyond the fish on our plate, tiny pieces of plastic have been found in sea salt, honey, and even beer. Not to mention 94 percent of the United States’ drinking water.

Source: ‘Recyclable’ is a word, not a promise — most plastic goes to landfills –

The Birth of the New American Aristocracy | The Atlantic

The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children.

We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy.

Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club.

But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we’re playing, everybody loses badly in the end.

Source: The Birth of the New American Aristocracy – The Atlantic


The Conversation | The Atlantic

I think the lack of a military draft since 1973 has contributed to the acceleration of class separation in American society. Remember the days when the likes of John F. Kennedy could serve alongside and develop relationships with people from various socioeconomic levels?

Americans have not had that kind of class intermingling for decades.

Source: The Atlantic September 2018 Issue: The Conversation – The Atlantic

Mission First: The Story of an NSA Hacker | SIGNAL Magazine

Millions of times every single day, antagonists search for entry into the U.S. Defense Department’s networks. They come from all over: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran. Some are sponsored by nation-states; others are terrorist groups.

Given the rapid-fire, all-action, all-the-time operations tempo, that movie might be called Fast & Furious: The Cyber Connection. “The speed of cyber is a buzzword, but the surprising thing is how true that is. The turnaround on a mitigation for something we’ve discovered is very fast,” he offers. “It’s a lot. The threat is ongoing and persistent.”

Source: Mission First: The Story of an NSA Hacker | SIGNAL Magazine

Convergence Guides Army Cyber | SIGNAL Magazine

The U.S. Army Cyber Command’s successful consolidation of capabilities from cyber, intelligence, electronic warfare and signal forces may be the deciding factor in whether sophisticated adversaries prevail in the future battlespace, says Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, USA, leader of the command.

The general emphasizes that cyber is a weapon system, not a service. He states that Army cyber must operate, aggressively defend and modernize these principal weapon systems—both nonsecure and secret Army networks. Where some people would consider these networks a service or an administrative capability, Gen. Fogarty says he views them as core warfighting platforms or weapon systems. “We have to operate them, defend them and modernize them to keep pace with the requirements our combat commanders place on us and that our adversaries pose a threat to,” he states.

The general points out that all these activities focus on supporting active combat operations worldwide over a network that is secure, resilient and adaptive, allowing commanders to leverage the entire power of the U.S. Defense Department.

Source: Convergence Guides Army Cyber | SIGNAL Magazine

Implementing an Effective Cybersecurity Strategy | SIGNAL Magazine

Recently, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in response to Executive Order 13800, released recommendations to the President of the United States on the subject of cybersecurity. Included was an emphasis both on domestic policy and international cooperation to achieve several key diplomatic, military and economic goals. The specific focus on international cooperation is a big step in the right direction.

The issues of cybersecurity and cyberwarfare are further complicated by the sheer number and variety of threat actors in the space. One of Secretary Pompeo’s stated goals is to “improve the ability of the United States to deter malicious cyber actors.” The specifics are less clear, even in the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues’ more detailed memo.

What makes one a cyber terrorist?

How should the U.S. and broader international community define a state actor?

Given the similarity in available tools, how should countries mete out justice for a nation state versus a curious young hacker?

These definitions are still lacking.

Source: Implementing an Effective Cybersecurity Strategy | SIGNAL Magazine

Censorship Does Not End Well | Rolling Stone

How America learned to stop worrying and put Mark Zuckerberg in charge of everything.

Last week, we saw another flurry of censorship news. Facebook apparently suspended, a site critical of U.S. policy toward Venezuela. (It was reinstated Thursday.) Twitter suspended a pair of libertarians, including @DanielLMcAdams of the Ron Paul Institute and @ScottHortonShow of, for using the word “bitch” (directed toward a man) in a silly political argument. They, too, were later re-instated.

More significantly: Google’s former head of free expression issues in Asia, Lokman Tsui, blasted the tech giant’s plan to develop a search engine that would help the Chinese government censor content.

Source: Taibbi: Censorship Does Not End Well – Rolling Stone

Alex Jones, the First Amendment, and the Digital Public Square | The New Yorker

The First Amendment protects us against governmental intrusions; it does not (yet) protect speech on privately owned platforms. Still, the Internet and social media increasingly function as a “modern public square,” as Justice Anthony Kennedy put it in a 2017 Supreme Court opinion. This has created new dilemmas concerning free expression.

The forums of Google and Facebook seem quasi-public in part because of their extraordinary reach.

Facebook’s two hundred million monthly users in the U.S. constitute about three-fifths of the American population. Its algorithms and its censors’ judgments, though they inevitably affect commerce and political competition, are based upon rules that aren’t all published. When moderators at Facebook, Google, and Twitter review the appropriateness of posted content, they generally follow First Amendment-inspired principles, according to Kate Klonick, a legal scholar who analyzed the practices of the three companies in the Harvard Law Review last year.

Some of the platforms’ standards are unsurprising, such as their bans on pornography and terrorist incitement. Other rules require moderators to block “hate speech,” an ambiguous term that, despite Facebook’s efforts at delineation, can be politicized.

Still other censorship reflects sensitivities that arise from operating in dozens of countries, including some run by dictators.

Source: Alex Jones, the First Amendment, and the Digital Public Square | The New Yorker