👓 Is Anybody Home at HUD? | ProPublica

Is Anybody Home at HUD? by Alec MacGillis (ProPublica)
A long-harbored conservative dream — the “dismantling of the administrative state” — is taking place under Secretary Ben Carson.

I was just thinking yesterday, HUD has been awfully quiet. What has Ben Carson been up to?

The answer is appallingly painful, but seemingly par for the course, for the current administration.

While certainly having a particular point of view, this article is well reported with some great history/background, and specific examples. Sadly, it appears that the people Trump specifically said he was out to help are going to get the shaft even worse than I would have expected.

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👓 ‘20 seconds of burning’: Friends partly blinded after watching solar eclipse warn of dangers | Washington Post

‘20 seconds of burning’: Friends partly blinded after watching solar eclipse warn of dangers by Amy B. Wang (Washington Post)
“We thought we were invincible, as most teenagers do,” said Roger Duvall, who briefly looked at a partial eclipse without protective eyewear.

I was wondering where these stories were hiding. I was surprised that I hadn’t seen more of them prior to the eclipse today.

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👓 ‘Psychologically scarred’ millennials are killing countless industries from napkins to Applebee’s — here are the businesses they like the least | Business Insider

'Psychologically scarred' millennials are killing countless industries from napkins to Applebee's — here are the businesses they like the least by Kate Taylor (Business Insider)
Millennials' preferences are killing dozens of industries. There are many complex reasons millennials' preferences differ from prior generations', including less financial stability and memories of growing up during the recession. "I think we have got a very significant psychological scar from this great recession," Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger told Business Insider. Here are 19 things millennials are killing.

There could be some more solid data in here, particularly since some of these businesses have been declining for more than a decade and some of that decline began during the recession.

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👓 More on My LinkedIn Account | Schneier on Security

More on My LinkedIn Account by Bruce Schneier (Schneier on Security)
I have successfully gotten the fake LinkedIn account in my name deleted. To prevent someone from doing this again, I signed up for LinkedIn. This is my first -- and only -- post on that account. Now I hear that LinkedIn is e-mailing people on my behalf, suggesting that they friend, follow, connect, or whatever they do there with me. I assure you that I have nothing to do with any of those e-mails, nor do I care what anyone does in response.

More than any other network, I’ve been hearing more and more people quitting LinkedIn for security and other reasons.

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👓 Mastodon is big in Japan. The reason why is… uncomfortable by Ethan Zuckerman

Mastodon is big in Japan. The reason why is… uncomfortable by Ethan Zuckerman (My heart’s in Accra)
Most distributed publishing tools are simply too complex for most users to adopt. Mastodon may have overcome that problem, borrowing design ideas from a successful commercial product. But the example of lolicon may challenge our theories in two directions. One, if you’re unable to share content on the sites you’re used to using – Twitter, in this case – you may be more willing to adopt a new tool, even if its interface is initially unfamiliar. Second, an additional barrier to adoption for decentralized publishing may be that its first large userbase is a population that cannot use centralized social networks. Any stigma associated with this community may make it harder for users with other interests to adopt these new tools.

Like many others, I can see many more and stronger reasons for a decentralized web than not. This article takes a look at a little bit of the downside of the model. (Though to be honest, I think the downside for this is even bigger in the siloed model.) Naturally the long term effects are far more complex than described here, but this is also very interesting during a week when there’s a continuing resurgence of neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and other white supremacists in America as well as a growing list of major companies that aren’t allowing them a safe harbor.

The US Government subpoena to DreamHost this week for visitors of an anti-Trump website and backbone internet companies like CloudFlare kicking off “The Daily Stormer” are particularly intriguing in the larger ecosystem as well.

I think there’s a lot here that’s both interesting to the IndieWeb community and from which we can all learn.

As I’m thinking about it, I wonder a bit what happens to the role of “community manager” in a larger decentralized and independent web? I hope it’s tummelers like Tantek Çelik, Kevin Marks, Jeremy Keith, Martijn van der Ven and others who continue to blaze the trail.

Mastodon is big in Japan

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👓 Subscription Attrition | Brooks Review

Subscription Attrition by Ben Brooks (The Brooks Review)
I’ve been running this site as a “member” supported site since July of 2012. That’s what I call my subscription based, paywall model, a member-site. I’ve tried a lot of different methods to what I charge for, over the years, so I know a thing or two about subscriptions. I’m not selling software, but the consumer mindset on most any recurring payment is similar across the aisles. I’m sure Amazon could tell you some amazing stories about people being unwilling to use ‘Subscribe and Save’, but we are going to have to wait awhile for that TED talk.

Some interesting thoughts on diminishing returns and subscription pricing for personal blogs and related content.

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👓 The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction | Hacked Education

The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction by Audrey Watters (Hacked Education)
Is blockchain poised to be “the next big thing” in education? This has become a question I hear with increasing frequency about a technology that, up until quite recently, was primarily associated with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The subtext to the question, I suppose: do educators need to pay attention to the blockchain? What, if anything, should they know about it?

A facile introduction with some interesting directions that education could take with it. Still, none seem so strong as to be worthwhile/valuable.

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👓 Pivot time: searching for an Open Web blogging model | AltPlatform

Pivot time: searching for an Open Web blogging model by Richard MacManus (AltPlatform)
We launched this blog less than three months ago to explore the latest in Open Web technologies. Things like the IndieWeb movement, blockchain apps, API platforms, Open AI, and more. AltPlatform has always been an experiment, as I made clear in our introductory post. However, from a publishing point of view the experiment hasn’t worked out as we had hoped. To put it plainly, the page views haven’t eventuated – at least in a sustained way. So it’s time to try something new. We’re going to pivot into something a bit different…soon.

I’m a bit saddened by this, but it’s always fun to try out new things. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

I love ricmac’s conceptualization of blogging and hope it comes back the way he–and I–envision it.

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👓 Phở Networks, an experiment to create a singularist & truly scalable social platform | AltPlatform

Phở Networks, an experiment to create a singularist & truly scalable social platform by Emre Sokullu (AltPlatform)
An open source, MIT licensed project that I’ve been personally spending a lot of time on, for almost a year. – In a nutshell, Phở Networks lets you create independent social media outlets. – Phở Networks is singularist; because it allows you to create any form of social media, with a simple language that many sysadmins have already familiarized themselves with in the UNIX world; ACL — access-control lists. You may use Phở Networks as your blogging engine, but you can also create a whole new Facebook. Need proof? Just visit the pho-recipes Github repo. – Phở Networks is lightning fast and massively scalable, because it takes an unorthodox approach as to how it handles data. With Phở, data is stored and served warm right off the RAM, as it is built on top of Redis. With this unconventional RAM-first design choice (in contrast to caching, which most high-scale web sites have opted into), Phở Networks won’t be cheap (for now), but it will be blazing-fast and super low-maintenance by avoiding the limitations of sharding and hard-drive friction.

I’d heard of this a while back, but never spent much time on it. Perhaps it’s time to delve in a bit to play around?

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👓 I Voted for Trump. And I Sorely Regret It. | New York Times

Opinion | I Voted for Trump. And I Sorely Regret It. by Julius Krein (New York Times)
I supported the president in dozens of articles, radio and TV appearances. I won’t do it any longer.

A nice overview for the case against him.

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👓 Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run | New York Times

Stephen Bannon Out at the White House After Turbulent Run by Maggie Haberman, Michael D. Shear and Glenn Thrush (New York Times)
Mr. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, had clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers and members of the president’s family.
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👓 Steve Bannon to leave White House | PBS NewsHour

Steve Bannon to leave White House by Joshua Barajas & Erica R. Hendry (PBS NewsHour)
In a statement, the White House said "White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best."

Ding-Dong!…

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👓 Scripting News: August 17, 2017

Scripting News: August 17, 2017 by Dave Winer (Scripting News)
Another shift happened a few years ago, when I decided it was okay to develop just for myself, with no intention of ever releasing the stuff I was working on. That led to a new style of product, and a happier developer. I was always doing it for myself, and fooling myself into believing it was for other people. I'm no less a narcissist than anyone else. Once you own that, you get a lot more powerful, I have found.

A great advertisement for selfdogfooding.

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👓 The Friendliest Lawsuit Ever Filed Against the Justice Department | Law Fare Blog

The Friendliest Lawsuit Ever Filed Against the Justice Department by Benjamin Wittes (LawFare)
In February, speaking before a joint session of Congress, President Trump declared that: “according to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” There's a lot of reason to believe this statement is a compound lie—both to believe that the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes did not come here from elsewhere and to believe that the career men and women of the Department of Justice did not provide any data suggesting otherwise.
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👓 How the design firm behind the Xbox built the bike of the future | The Verge

How the design firm behind the Xbox built the bike of the future by David Pierce (The Verge)
"We wanted you to be able to take the bike and go with how the city moves." Teague was enlisted to design a new kind of bike by Oregon Manifest, a non-profit dedicated to making the world think differently about bikes. Its Bike Design Project gave firms in five cities the opportunity to build a bike made with their city in mind; the public then voted on the winner, which will enter a limited production run from Fuji Bikes. The New York City bike had a USB phone charger built in; The Evo, from San Francisco, was all about modular storage. Chicago's Blackline bike was a rugged pothole-conquerer of a bike, and Portland's PDX came with an app to personalize the ride just for you. For every different city, a different bike. But the voters picked Seattle. They picked Denny, the bike Jackson and the team at Teague designed with Sizemore Bicycles, a custom-bike maker in the city.

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