A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘internet

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes that TTC tunnels will get WiFi in 2018.
  • Border Thinking’s Laura Augustín shares some of Edvard Munch’s brothel paintings.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the latest science on fast radio bursts.
  • Dangerous Minds shares some of the sexy covers of Yugoslavian computer magazine Računari.
  • Dead Things looks at the latest research into dinosaur eggs.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that a high surface magnetic field in a red giant star indicates a recent swallowing of a planet.
  • Language Log shares an ad for a portable smog mask from China.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with the idea of NAFTA being of general benefit to Mexico.
  • Torontoist looks at the history of Toronto General Hospital.
  • Window on Eurasia is skeptical about an American proposal for Ukraine, and suggests Ossetian reunification within Russia is the next annexation likely to be made by Russia.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the importance of showing up for major events.
  • Crooked Timber looks at e-publishing for academia.
  • Dead Things notes that the evolution of the human brain and human teeth were not linked.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to two papers about ocean worlds and greenhouse effects.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the hopeful seasteaders of French Polynesia.
  • Towleroad looks at the life of a trans man in the mid-20th century.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a Catalonian linguists’ argument that linguistic diversity helps minority languages.
  • Arnold Zwicky reflects on the gay cowboy scene.

[URBAN NOTE] “Craig Silverman, the man who exposed the fake-news racket in 2016”

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NOW Toronto‘s Jonathan Goldsbie examines how Toronto journalist Craig Silverman helped expose the existence of the phenomenon of fake news.

It’s generally irresponsible to attribute an election result to any one thing – but in a presidential race as close as the one the U.S. just had, any one thing could conceivably have made the difference.

In addition to especially alarming factors such as apparent Russian intervention and the resurgence of white nationalism, another theme has dominated the post-election narrative: the ascendant influence of fake news. All of a sudden, it has become difficult to consider American political dynamics without wading in to questions of epistemology – how do people know the things they know, and how do those beliefs shape not only their positions on issues but understandings of reality at large?

Unlike an election result, however, this shift in political discourse can be credited to a discrete cause: the work of Toronto-based BuzzFeed reporter Craig Silverman, whose investigations into the propagation and effects of accidental propaganda have rippled through the world’s most powerful institutions.

Late last month, for example, The New Yorker reported that U.S. President Barack Obama “talked almost obsessively” about Silverman’s pre-election story (co-authored with British researcher Lawrence Alexander) that exposed the fake-news racket centred in the small town of Veles, Macedonia, where teenagers discovered that tricking American Facebook users into clicking and sharing pro-Trump hoaxes could be a ridiculously profitable enterprise. Another of Silverman’s pieces, showing that fake election news had outperformed legitimate stories on Facebook, had such thorough penetration into the zeitgeist that Reuters reported even Pope Francis had characterized the spreading of fake news as a sin. (The Vatican’s English-language transcript of his remarks, translated from the original Spanish, however, leaves some doubt as to whether he was actually alluding to the same phenomenon.)

When BuzzFeed News named Silverman its media editor at the start of December – promoted from his former role as founding editor of BuzzFeed Canada – the site’s editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, told Fortune that fake news is the type of story that “Craig has been kind of preparing for for some time – maybe his whole life.”

Written by Randy McDonald

December 24, 2016 at 5:30 pm

[LINK] “Amazon chooses Montreal for its Canadian data centre operations due to cheaper hydro costs than Ontario”

The National Post shares Vito Pilieci’s Postmedia News article noting the advantage that lower energy costs gave Québec over Ontario.

Internet giant Amazon Web Services has opened a cluster of data centres near Montreal due to the ready availability and cost of hydro-electric power in Quebec.

The company, which is notoriously secretive about its data centres, said there are now at least two data centres just outside Montreal to offer web-based services to the “Canada Region.” Canada joins 15 other regions around the globe from which Amazon is running data services on behalf of clients.

Teresa Carlson, vice-president of public sector with Amazon Web Services, said the cost and availability of hydro-electric power is ultimately what made Amazon choose Quebec as its Canadian home.

“We picked the area that we did because of the hydro power,” said Carlson. “We did find them (Quebec) to be very business friendly.”

Carlson said Amazon conducted a thorough review of various options within Canada, including Ontario, that involved looking at a number of factors, including the price of electricity. She also said Amazon is keen to source green energy where it can as the company is attempting to get all of its data centres on renewable energy sources.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 21, 2016 at 10:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos from ruined Aleppo.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the new explanation for the ASASSN-15h, of a Sun-mass star torn apart by a fast-rotating black hole.
  • The Crux looks at the condition of hyperemesis gravidarum.
  • Dangerous Minds shares the dark and Satanic art of an Argentine artist.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on one man’s displeasure that Malta has banned ex-gay “therapy”.
  • Language Log looks at where British law confronts linguistics.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money imagines an alternate history where Jill Stein leaves the presidential race and gives Hillary Clinton a needed victory.
  • Peter Rukavina recalls the simple yet effective early version of Hansard for the Island legislative assembly.
  • Mark Simpson notes the objectification of men on the new Baywatch.
  • Window on Eurasia fears the violence of an open Russian imperialism and looks at the confusion over how to recognize the 1917 revolution.

[BRIEF NOTE] On my confusing involvement with Facebook Editor

I don’t quite know how I happened getting in so deep with Facebook Editor. I have always been annoyed to find, whenever I’ve checked in on Facebook or Instagram to a particular location, that other people have assigned incorrect names to a particular location–misspellings, the wrong names, sometimes altogether the wrong information–so maybe it was happenstance. I don’t think it was a matter of my being caught by the complicated ranking system of people participating in Facebook Editor. Maybe I simply was bored and saw no reason not to help Facebook in its crowdsourcing of fixing locations.

(Click.)

Whatever combination of factors got me into Facebook Editor, named above or missed somehow by me, I have gotten deep. Right now, I apparently have 387 points. (What are these points, exactly? Dunno.) That leaves me ranking second among the 83 friends who’ve participated in Facebook, increasingly far ahead of most of them and catching up to leader Bernard. I guess this is good.

I may be overthinking this, but I wonder if this reflects something about the human mind. Can we be enticed to do anything so long as it’s presented in the format of a game? That seems to be the case for me. Is this something we should encourage?

Now, if you excuse me, I have to finish my ascent to Level 25. Just 72 edits to go!

Written by Randy McDonald

December 12, 2016 at 11:59 pm

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • At Apostrophen, ‘Nathan Smith talks about how he made a tradition out of Christmas tree ornamentation over the past twenty years.
  • blogTO notes that Toronto’s waterfront has major E Coli issues.
  • Crooked Timber notes the potential for the recent by-election in London, fought on Brexit and lost by the Tories, to mean something.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on a search for radio flares from brown dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that China has been installing ecologies on its artificial South China Sea islands.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers what it means to be an ally.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the complex peace negotiations in Colombia.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map of American infrastructure.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a one-terabyte drive passed from person to person that serves as a sort of Internet in Cuba.
  • Towleroad notes a film project by one Leo Herrera that aims to imagine what prominent AIDS victims would have done and been like had their not been killed by the epidemic.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the complexities surrounding Brexit.
  • Arnold Zwicky has had enough with linguistic prescriptivism.