👓 Is Tribalism a Natural Malfunction? | Nautilus

Is Tribalism a Natural Malfunction? by Simon DeDeo (Nautilus)
What computers teach us about getting along. From an office at Carnegie Mellon, my colleague John Miller and I had evolved a computer program with a taste for genocide.

Is Tribalism a Natural Malfunction?

This article reminds me that I need to go back to reading Fukuyama’s two volume series (Origins of Political Order) and apply more math to it as a model. I can see some interesting evolution of political structures spread throughout the modern world and still want a more concrete answer for the jumps between them. I suspect that some of our world problems are between more advanced political economies and less advanced (more tribalistic ones — read Middle Eastern as well as some third world nations) which are working on different life-ways. Are there punctuated equilibrium between the political structures of economies like the graph in this paper? What becomes the tipping point that pushes one from one region to the next?

I also feel a bit like our current political climate has changed so significantly in the past 20 years that it’s possible we (America) may be regressing.

Check out this referenced paper:
🔖 Barasz, M., et al. Robust cooperation in the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Program equilibrium via provability logic. arXiv 1401.5577 (2014).

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👓 The First Species to Have Every Individual’s Genome Sequenced | The Atlantic

The First Species to Have Every Individual’s Genome Sequenced by Ed Yong (The Atlantic)
It’s an endearing, giant, flightless, New Zealand parrot, and it’s a poster child for the quantified-self movement.

Kakapo

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👓 Is there any value in people who cannot write JavaScript? | Medium

Is there any value in people who cannot write JavaScript? by Mandy Michael (Medium)
I recently had the opportunity to speak at Web Directions Code 2017 over in Melbourne. While there, I was part of a panel with Mark Dalgleish and Glen Maddern (who gave spectacular talks I might add). We’d just finished a set of talks about CSS, and during the panel we got a question along the lines of (paraphrasing): “Is there a place in the industry for people who just write css and html” To me, this could easily be interpreted as, “Is there any value in people who cannot write JavaScript?”, based on some comments from the audience after, this seemed to be how many understood question. So, we asked the audience if they hire people who just write CSS and HTML. No-one put their hand up. And I, for one, was disappointed.
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👓 Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won’t Tell Me How | Gizmodo

Facebook Figured Out My Family Secrets, And It Won't Tell Me How by Kashmir Hill (Gizmodo)
Rebecca Porter and I were strangers, as far as I knew. Facebook, however, thought we might be connected. Her name popped up this summer on my list of “People You May Know,” the social network’s roster of potential new online friends for me.
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👓 How the NSA identified Satoshi Nakamoto | Alexander Muse

How the NSA identified Satoshi Nakamoto by Alexander Muse (Alexander Muse | Medium)
The ‘creator’ of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is the world’s most elusive billionaire. Very few people outside of the Department of Homeland Security know Satoshi’s real name. In fact, DHS will not publicly confirm that even THEY know the billionaire’s identity. Satoshi has taken great care to keep his identity secret employing the latest encryption and obfuscation methods in his communications. Despite these efforts (according to my source at the DHS) Satoshi Nakamoto gave investigators the only tool they needed to find him — his own words. Using stylometry one is able to compare texts to determine authorship of a particular work. Throughout the years Satoshi wrote thousands of posts and emails and most of which are publicly available. According to my source, the NSA was able to the use the ‘writer invariant’ method of stylometry to compare Satoshi’s ‘known’ writings with trillions of writing samples from people across the globe. By taking Satoshi’s texts and finding the 50 most common words, the NSA was able to break down his text into 5,000 word chunks and analyse each to find the frequency of those 50 words. This would result in a unique 50-number identifier for each chunk. The NSA then placed each of these numbers into a 50-dimensional space and flatten them into a plane using principal components analysis. The result is a ‘fingerprint’ for anything written by Satoshi that could easily be compared to any other writing.

The article itself is dubious and unsourced and borders a bit on conspiracy theory, but the underlying concept about stylometry and its implications to privacy will be interesting to many. Naturally, it’s not much new.

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👓 Trump Punishes Longtime Aide After Angry Phoenix Speech, Sources Say | Bloomberg

Trump Punishes Longtime Aide After Angry Phoenix Speech, Sources Say by Jennifer Jacobs and Kevin Cirilli (Bloomberg)
George Gigicos removed as president’s rally organizer Sparse crowd put Trump in foul mood before delivering remarks
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👓 I ghosted my ex, and she’s about to be my new boss | Ask A Manager

I ghosted my ex, and she’s about to be my new boss by ALISON GREEN (Ask a Manager)
I was hoping you would be able to help me with a conundrum I got myself into. I have been an expat since graduating and have been moving a lot. More than a decade ago, when I was still young, I was in a relationship with a woman, Sylvia, in a country where we both lived. Sylvia wanted to settle down but I was not ready to commit so young. We clearly had different expectations from the relationship. I did not know what to do and, well, I ghosted her. Over the Christmas break, while she was visiting her family, I simply moved out and left the country. I took advantage of the fact that I accepted a job in other country and did not tell her about it. I simply wanted to avoid being untangled in a break-up drama. Sylvia was rather emotional and became obsessed with the relationship, tracking me down, even causing various scenes with my parents and friends. Anyhow, fast forward to now. I now work as a math teacher in an international school. I have been in other relationships since, so Sylvia is a sort of forgotten history. Sadly, till now. This week, I learnt that our fantastic school director suddenly resigned due to a serious family situation and had to move back to her home country over the summer. The school had to replace her. We are getting a new director. I read the bio of the new boss and googled her and was shocked to discover it is Sylvia. We have not been in touch and do not have any mutual friends anymore. I am not a big fan of social media and had no idea what she had been up to since the unpleasant situation a long time ago. I have no idea what to do and how to deal with this mess. It is clear this will be not only embarassing but I will also be reporting to my ex. I am not in a position to find another job at present. There are no other international schools so finding another job in this country is not an option. Even finding a job elsewhere is not possible on such a short notice. These jobs usually open for school terms so I have to stay put for few months. But more importantly, I am happy and settled here so do not want to move. To make the situation worse, the expat community here is very small and tightly knit so teachers also socialize a lot. Do you have any suggestions for me how to handle it and what should I do? I understand that this would not have happened if I did not ghost her back then, but I cannot do anything about it now. I gathered from the comments that readers usually have a go on people like me for “bad behavior” but I am really looking for constructive comments how to deal with the situation.

A great small world story. It was most interesting to see the reactions in the comments and on social media about this story. People definitely are taking different sides based on some pretty slim and one-sided detail.

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👓 Aram Zucker-Scharff named Ad Engineering Director for RED | The Washington Post

Aram Zucker-Scharff named Ad Engineering Director for RED by WashPostPR (Washington Post)
He will be focused on developing and launching new ad products that will be offered to clients on and off The Washington Post.
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👓 We Called it Gutenberg for a Reason” | Matt Mullenweg

We Called it Gutenberg for a Reason by Matt Mullenweg (ma.tt)
Movable type was about books, but it wasn’t just about books. Ideas spread. Literacy spiked. The elite monopoly on education and government started to crack. Luther’s 95 Theses were printed a press, rocking Europe, and he issued “broadsheets.” Broadsheets became newspapers; newspapers enabled democracy. The printing press ushered in social, political, and economic sea changes. Gutenberg changed everything. WordPress has always been about websites, but it’s not just about websites. It’s about freedom, about possibility, and about carving out your own livelihood, whether it’s by making a living through your site or by working in the WordPress ecosystem itself. We’re democratizing publishing — and democratizing work — for everyone, regardless of language, ability, or economic wherewithal.
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👓 Reply rate of the top 10 journalists on Twitter | Matt Maldre

Reply rate of the top 10 journalists on Twitter by Matt Maldre (mattmaldre.com)
Barkha Dutt of the Washington Post is the most-engaged top journalist on Twitter. 64% of the reporter’s tweets are at-replies. That’s how to use Twitter–as an engagement platform, not a broadcast platform. How do the other most-followed journalists on Twitter rate with their response level? Poynter published a list of the the most-followed journalists on Twitter:

This article has some interesting data, but I’m not sure that the emphasis on the value of replies is necessarily the correct one. Journalists have a specific job and work in specific media, so I don’t think necessarily that their reply rate on Twitter is something that should be gamified this way. First one should look at what the individual’s needs, wants, and aims are for using the platform. Also, are these “corporate” accounts or “personal” accounts? The distinction here can make all the difference.

Other useful questions to ask:
Are they using the platform as a tool to do their work? Are they using it simply for PR? What other avenues do they use to reach their viewers? Are they using it to disseminate actual news? Does their beat dictate specific needs for Twitter? (Tech journalists may be more heavy Twitter users, for example.)

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👓 Taking Notes Is a Two-Step Process | Chris Thilk

Taking Notes Is a Two-Step Process by Chris Thilk (christhilk.com)
A post on The Writing Collective about how it’s fruitless to search for the perfect note-taking app because it doesn’t exist caught my eye and got me thinking about my own preferences and habits for taking notes.

The important part is usually coming back to them to do something about what you’ve written.

Note taking

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👓 Breaking: Sebastian Gorka Resigns From Trump Administration | The Federalist

Breaking: Sebastian Gorka Resigns From Trump Administration by Mollie Hemingway (The Federalist)
Sebastian Gorka is resigning his post as Deputy Assistant to President Trump, multiple sources familiar with the situation have told The Federalist. In a blunt resignation letter, the national security and counterterrorism expert expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the Trump administration. “[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”
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👓 How (not) to write mathematics: Some tips from the mathematician John Milne | John Carlos Baez

How (not) to write mathematics: Some tips from the mathematician John Milne by John Carlos Baez (Google+)
If you write clearly, then your readers may understand your mathematics and conclude that it isn't profound. Worse, a referee may find your errors. Here are some tips for avoiding these awful possibilities.

I want to come back and read this referenced article by Milne. The comments on this are pretty interesting as well.

Calvin & Hobbes: On Writing

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👓 Show authors more ❤️ with 👏’s | Medium

Introducing Claps, a new way to react on Medium by Katie Zhu (Medium)
Rolling out to Medium users over the coming week will be a new, more satisfying way for readers to give feedback to writers. We call it “Claps.” It’s no longer simply whether you like, or don’t like, something. Now you can give variable levels of applause to a story. Maybe clap once, or maybe 10 or 20 times. You’re in control and can clap to your heart’s desire.

Yet another way to “like” a post….

This reminds me a lot of Path’s pivot to stickers. We all know how relevant it has made them since.

And all this just after Netflix, the company that has probably done more research on ranking than any other, has gone from a multi-star intent to a thumbs up/thumbs down in the past month.

Most of the measurements social media and other companies are really trying to make are signal to noise ratios as well as creating some semblance of dynamic range. A simple thumbs up creates almost no dynamic range compared to thumbs up/nothing/thumbs-down. Major platforms drive enough traffic that the SNR all comes out in the wash. Without the negative intent (dis-like, thumbs down, etc.) we’re missing out on some important data. It’s almost reminiscent to the science community only publishing their positive results and not the negative results. As a result scientific research is losing a tremendous amount of value.

We need to be more careful what we’re doing and why…

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👓 Did This Book Buy Its Way Onto The New York Times Bestseller List? | Pajiba

Updated: Did This Book Buy Its Way Onto The New York Times Bestseller List? by Kayleigh Donaldson (Pajiba)
Publishing is a tough industry. Building an audience can be hard, competition is tight, profit margins even tighter, and most authors have annual wages below the poverty line. Making your way to the still-coveted New York Times best-seller list remains one of the biggest markers of success as well as a reliable way to sell more books. If everyone else is buying the book, surely you have to too, right? Nowadays, you can make the bestseller list with about 5,000 sales. That’s not the heights of publishing’s heyday but it’s still harder to get than you’d think. Some publishers spend thousands of dollars on advertising and blogger outreach to get that number. Everyone’s looking for the next big thing and that costs a lot of cash. For the past 25 weeks, that big book in the YA world has been The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, a searing politically charged drama about a young black girl who sees a police officer kill her friend, and the fallout it causes in her community. Through publisher buzz and exceedingly strong word of mouth, the novel has stormed to the forefront of the YA world and found thousands of fans, with a film on the way. Knocking that from the top of the NYT YA list would be a major deal, and this week it’s going to happen. But something’s not right.

A well reported (and onging) article about an author seriously gaming the publishing system.

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