👓 Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company | Medium

Read Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company by Sahil Lavingia (Medium)
I left my job as the second employee at Pinterest–before I vested any of my stock–to turn Gumroad into a billion-dollar company. And…

A great little essay. We need more entrepreneurs building things like this rather than chasing the dream of being a unicorn. We need more stories like this, because this is how the world really works, not the other way around.

🎧 Close Encounters | On the Media | WNYC Studios

Listened to Close Encounters | On the Media from WNYC Studios

The Lincoln Memorial debacle showed how vulnerable the press are to a myriad of social and political forces. This week, we examine how the outrage unfolded and what role MAGA hat symbolism might have played. And, a graphic photo in the New York Times spurs criticism. Plus, a reality show that attempts to bridge the gap between indigenous people and white Canadians. 

1. Bob's thoughts on where the Lincoln Memorial episode has left us. Listen.

2. Charlie Warzel [@cwarzel], tech writer, on the zig-zagging meta-narratives emerging from the Lincoln Memorial episode, and the role played by right-wing operatives. Listen.

3. Jeannine Bell [@jeanninelbell], professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, on MAGA hat symbology. Listen.

4. Kainaz Amaria [@kainazamaria], visuals editor at Vox, on the Times' controversial decision to publish a bloody photo following the January 15 attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Listen.

5. Vanessa Loewen, executive producer of the Canadian documentary series First Contact and Jean La Rose, CEO of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, on their televised effort to bridge the gap between indigenous and settler Canadians. Listen

So many interesting failures of journalism in this story which were fueled primarily by social media. Old media would have left it for a bit longer, particularly since it involved minors.

I increasingly want to get my news once a week well after a story has begun and most of the facts have shaken out. Rarely is something so timely that I need it immediately. I saw a few mentions of this story as it was developing, but it all had the stink of click-bait, so I kindly moved on. It’s amazing to hear the underlying pieces and fuller story after-the-fact.

The best section of this episode (and probably the most thought provoking story I’ve heard recently) was that of the interview with Kainaz Amaria on how we report on wars and famines that affect other countries and particularly countries involving poor people and those who are non-white. While the recent photo of the Yemeni girl (in conjunction with Jamal Khashoggi) may have helped to turn the political tide with respect to US participation in the crisis in Yemen, we definitely need a better way to engage people in the US without trampling over the dignity of the people living in those communities. Interestingly I’ll also point out that we all know the name and almost all of the details concerning Khashoggi, but almost no one knows the name of Amal Hussain and this fact alone is a painfully stark one.

The final portion of the episode was also truly enlightening. I’d love to see the documentary they made and hope that someone might make an American version as well.

🎧 “The Daily”: The Ethics of Genetically Editing Babies | New York Times

Listened to "The Daily": The Ethics of Genetically Editing Babies from New York Times

A scientist in China claimed to have created the world’s first gene-edited human beings. How should the U.S. respond?

🎧 IndieWebCamp Berlin 2018 Session Summaries | Marty McGuire

Listened to IndieWebCamp Berlin 2018 Session Summaries by Marty McGuireMarty McGuire from martymcgui.re

Listen to a summary of all the sessions at IndieWebCamp Berlin 2018!

Session notes: https://indieweb.org/2018/Berlin/Sessions

Narration by Marty McGuire
Edited by Aaron Parecki

This is a repost of https://aaronparecki.com/2018/11/18/7/indiewebcamp-berlin.

Interesting to see this served from Aaron’s domain when it looks and sounds just like another of Marty’s podcast. I’m guessing they collaborated at camp to put it together. I love the idea of not only having this as a quick audio summary of all the sessions, which I’ll now have to go back and watch a few, but of having this as a simple section at the end of day one at IndieWebCamps.

The sessions on Microformats, Displaying Responses, Data Ethics, Making your website work offline, and Location sound like interesting things to take deeper looks into. I particularly like the idea of separating the legal and the ethical portions completely away from each other and doing the ethical portion first and then secondly filtering that through any legal loopholes. Ideally the legal filter won’t actually be filtering anything out if the ethical is done properly, and if it does, then perhaps the legal has some issues.

👓 Peaceful Transfer of Power Update | Kevin Drum

Read Peaceful Transfer of Power Update by Kevin Drum

This morning I mentioned how excited Republican legislatures have become about stripping state officials of power just before those state officials happen to become Democrats. But I missed one. It turns out that many years ago Florida handed authority over concealed-carry permits to the state’s agriculture commissioner. Why? Because sometimes law enforcement playfully tries to actually enforce the law, and the NRA would prefer that not happen. Instead, they want concealed-carry permits rubber stamped by an elected official. But then this happened:

The agriculture commissioner’s office attracted unwanted attention in early 2018 after it was found that for 13 months, the department’s Division of Licensing stopped using results from an FBI crime database that ensures those who apply do not have a disqualifying history in other states.

This was fine with the NRA, of course, but even in Florida it turns out that voters were unamused. As a result, they elected a Democrat as agriculture commissioner. A Democrat! This is the NRA’s worst nightmare, no now they’ve proposed that concealed-carry permits be transferred to…

…the state’s CFO.

The what?

Yeah, Florida has a CFO. It’s an odd office that was created just a few years ago, and the CFO doesn’t really seem to do all that much. But he is a Republican, so he’ll do. Democrats have counterproposed that concealed-carry permits be handled by law enforcement, which actually makes sense, but so far Republicans are having none of it. They’re dedicated to stripping the ag commissioner of authority and giving it once again to a Republican.

There’s no telling how hard they’ll kowtow to the NRA on this, but for now it looks like we have four GOP states that are desperately trying to strip elected officials of power in lame duck sessions before Democrats take over. Naturally, I have an updated map:

👓 What are our ethical obligations to future AI simulations? | Philip Ball | Aeon Essays

Read What are our ethical obligations to future AI simulations? by Philip Ball (Aeon)
Say you could make a thousand digital replicas of yourself – should you? What happens when you want to get rid of them?

👓 Top cancer expert forgot to mention $3.5M industry ties—he just resigned | Ars Technica

Read Top cancer expert forgot to mention $3.5M industry ties—he just resigned (Ars Technica)
For years, José Baselga didn’t mention industry links in dozens of top medical pubs.

👓 Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals | New York Times

Read Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals (New York Times)
A senior official at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has received millions of dollars in payments from companies that are involved in medical research.

This makes me think that researchers should have a page on their websites (like impressum, about, or other similar pages) that lists all of their potential research conflicts? What to call it? A Disclosure page, a Financial Ties page? It could have a list of current as well as past affiliations, along with dates, and potentially the value amounts paid (which are apparently available publicly in separate filings). In addition to posting their potential conflicts and disclosures on their own websites, researchers could easily cut and paste them into their publications (or at least their students, post docs, fellow researchers, or secretaries could do this when they’re apparently too busy to make a modicum of bother to do it themselves.)

I’m kind of shocked that major publishers like Elsevier are continually saying they add so much value to the chain of publishing they do, yet somehow, in all the major profits they (and others) are making that they don’t do these sorts of checks as a matter of course.

📺 Gene Editing: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | HBO via YouTube

Watched Gene Editing: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver from HBO via YouTube

Scientists are developing new ways to alter the genetic code of living organisms. John Oliver explores the risks, rewards, and wolf-related hazards of gene editing.

👓 An ethical framework for the digital afterlife industry | Nature Human Behaviour

Read An ethical framework for the digital afterlife industry by Carl Öhman, Luciano Floridi (Nature Human Behaviour)
The web is increasingly inhabited by the remains of its departed users, a phenomenon that has given rise to a burgeoning digital afterlife industry. This industry requires a framework for dealing with its ethical implications. The regulatory conventions guiding archaeological exhibitions could provide the basis for such a framework.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

four categories of firms:
(1) information management services,
(2) posthumous messaging services,
(3) online memorial services and
(4) ‘re-creation services’

…the online security company McAfee claims that the average Internet user puts a value of US$37,000 on their digital assets.

they all share an interest in monetizing death online, using digital remains as a means of making a profit.

For example, financially successful chat-bot services represent not just any version of the deceased, but rather the one that appeals most to consumers and that maximizes profit. The remains thus become a resource, a form of (fixed) capital in the DAI [Digital Afterlife Industry] economy.

To set the direction for a future ethical and regulatory debate, we suggest that digital remains should be seen as the remains of an informational human body, that is, not merely regarded as a chattel or an estate, but as something constitutive of one’s personhood. This is also in line with European Union legislation’s terminology regarding ‘data subjects’. Given this approach, the main ethical concern of the DAI emerges as a consequence of the commercially motivated manipulation of one’s informational corpse (that is, the digital remains of a data subject). This approach suggests we should seek inspiration from frameworks that regulate commercial usage of organic human remains. A good model is provided by archaeological and medical museums, which exhibit objects that, much like digital remains, are difficult to allocate to a specific owner and are displayed for the living to consume.

🔖 An ethical framework for the digital afterlife industry | Nature Human Behaviour

Bookmarked An ethical framework for the digital afterlife industry by Carl Öhman, Luciano Floridi (Nature Human Behaviour)
The web is increasingly inhabited by the remains of its departed users, a phenomenon that has given rise to a burgeoning digital afterlife industry. This industry requires a framework for dealing with its ethical implications. The regulatory conventions guiding archaeological exhibitions could provide the basis for such a framework.

Some interesting potential research and references for the IndieWeb longevity page.

👓 Abortion is Immoral, Except When It Comes to My Mistresses | McSweeny’s

Read Abortion is Immoral, Except When It Comes to My Mistresses by Devorah Blachor (McSweeney's)
TIM: Life begins at conception. Pregnancy is a gift from God, which is why I’m cosponsoring this anti-abortion legislation after asking my lover to have an abortion. I’m 65 and she’s 32, but you probably figured that out already.

🎧 ‘The Daily’: The C.I.A.’s Moral Reckoning | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The C.I.A.’s Moral Reckoning by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Gina Haspel, President Trump’s pick for C.I.A. director, faced the Senate Intelligence Committee for the first time on Wednesday as her confirmation hearings began. Lawmakers addressed her with an unusual line of questioning: What is your moral character?

On today’s episode:

• Matthew Rosenberg joins us from Washington, where he covers intelligence and national security for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• Ms. Haspel defended the C.I.A.’s torture of terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks, but vowed that she would not start another interrogation program.

• Among the issues raised in the hearing were Ms. Haspel’s involvement in a black site in Thailand where Qaeda suspects were tortured, her role in carrying out an order to destroy videotapes of C.I.A. interrogations, and her willingness to defy a president who has supported waterboarding.

We’ve recently seen the head of the F.B.I. be ousted because he ostensibly wouldn’t take a loyalty oath and refused to close an investigation. Could this happen again? Could it be far worse?

They stopped far too short here in opening up questions of harkening back to the Third Reich and Hitler and his government commanding people to commit genocide. We all know there’s a line one can’t cross and use the defense that “I was commanded to by the authorities.”

So the real question is: will Haspel stand up to Trump to prevent moral atrocities which Trump may want to inflict, whether this may extend to areas like torture or, perhaps, far worse?

👓 Scandal after scandal focuses scrutiny on USC leadership, culture | LA Times

Read Scandal after scandal focuses scrutiny on USC leadership, culture by Paul Pringle, Matt Hamilton, Sarah Parvini, and Harriet Ryan (latimes.com)
How USC handled the case of a campus gynecologist allowed to practice for years despite complaints of misconduct has sparked outrage and demands for change in the university’s leadership and management culture. To some, it is part of a troubling pattern.

If I were a journalist, I would just start tracking people leaving posts and then dig into what the scandal must surely be. USC is definitely stinking from the head and needs to begin digging itself out of an ever-deepening hole.

👓 Daniel Goldsmith’s reply to Sebastian Greger

Read a post by Daniel Goldsmith (View from ASCRAEUS)

Sebastian, first of all, thank you for your detailed write up on this issue. I think much of your roadmap is worthwhile, and of great interest.

I cannot, however, say that I am convinced by your contentions regarding the effect of GDPR and indieweb sites. In particular, I think your definitions are excessively broad, and you elide much information from both the Regulation itself and the Recitals.

It’s certainly interesting to see some of the replies to Sebastian’s article. It’s definitely stirring up some interesting thought. Daniel’s reply here is primarily to the legal issues at stake more than the design related issues, which have some interesting merit aside from the legal ones.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle of the two and see some of the moral and ethical pieces which are more important from a people perspective. I’m not as concerned about the law portion of it for a large variety of reasons. It’s most interesting to me to see the divide between how those in the EU and particularly Germany view the issue and those in the United States which may be looking at regulations in the coming years, particularly after the recent Facebook debacle.

As I think of these, I’m reminded about some of the cultural differences between Europe and the United States which Jeff Jarvis has expounded upon over the past several years. Europeans are generally more leery of corporations and trust government a bit more while in America it’s the opposite.