ISSUE 1.19

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The War On Information

The information war against truth, Congress selling us out, internet trolls, philosophy under absurdism, adorable human-robot relations and more.


UW professor: The information war is real, and we’re losing it

Political social media researchers ignored the fringe ideas proclaiming that massacres were fakes, the Boston marathon bombing was staged by the Navy SEALs, and more conspiracy theories, only to later realize that these ideas had significant spread through social media, even aided by bots. (Hello, run-on sentence!) The warning here - more people are believing this stuff than ever before. The researcher concludes that we may be heading toward "the menace of unreality — which is that nobody believes anything anymore."


The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs, and how much it cost to buy them

Remember that article from last week about the US government voting to allowing ISPs to sell your data? Yup, that actually happened and it was dirt cheap, too. Remember to get a VPN for your non-completely-innocuous-internet-denizen needs. (Also, the other day, I read someone complaining about how they have nothing to hide because they - and everyone else in the US - looks up weird porn and the three-letter agencies don't care about that. OK, fair, but I still don't like it.)


Under the Internet's Bridge With Troll Scholar Whitney Phillips

A cool overview on Whitney Phillips' study and books into the emerging phenomena of militarized trolls, meme wars, and how it all fits in with modern day feminism and progressivism.


Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds

Ah, the tragedy of emotions! The woe of the desire to feel right! A shame that we, as a species, want to feel right so much more than we want to feel correct. I'm pretty sure alien historians will chronicle the demise of the human species the same way we talk about the fall of the Roman empire - but this time, not a cultural failure, but a genetic one. ... whoa. That got heavy. Sorry.


Is it worth the trouble?

Camus gives us some ideas for dealing with the fact that we attempt to be reasonable in an unreasonable world. Do we deny the unreasonable world, or abandon reason? Should we kill ourselves? Nah. We rebel against the circumstances of our existence, reject the idea of absolute freedom, and instead engage in freedom where we find it here and the now, finding passion for life and love and everything in it. A nice little pick-me-up with some great GIF illustrations, even if you think Camus is full of it.


Little girl mistakes water heater for robot, welcomes it to Earth, hugs it, is great

Aw, little one. You are adorable and you are important. You will make sure we are not all slaughtered in the oncoming digitization. (Whoa. Sorry. I had some deep conversations today and I guess it's got me in a mood.)


Taking Competition to New Heights: Skyscraper Dangles from an Asteroid

This title makes it seem like it's already happened but it has not but damn freakin' what? They want to hang a skyscraper from an asteroid that is above the ISS, because frankly, the tale of Icarus is for wimps.


Now, You Can Send Lemonade Over the Internet

OK, so they... used LED lights to affect the color of water, and then stimulated the drinker's taste buds with electricity from electrodes. They also used sensors at one end to send the data about what the lemonade should be like to the other person. This is some weird next level Smell-O-Vision stuff.