A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘social networking

[LINK] “China urges Trump: be our friend, not our enemy”

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That Donald Trump is set for a confrontation with China and that this was not a surprise is the dominant theme in Tom Phillips’ article in The Guardian, which notes how the state media has muted criticism of Trump in an effort to prevent too bad a deterioration. Liu Zhen’s South China Morning Post article looking at the reactions of netizens is also worth reading for a take on how ordinary Chinese once pro-Trump are changing their minds.

China has urged Donald Trump to be its friend not its enemy, amid fears the tycoon’s inauguration could set the world’s two largest economies on a calamitous collision course.

Since his shock election last November Trump has repeatedly put Beijing’s nose out of joint, challenging it over the militarisation of the South China Sea, alleged currency manipulation and North Korea and threatening to up-end relations by offering greater political recognition to Taiwan.

The billionaire has also handed jobs to several stridently anti-China voices including one academic who has described its rulers as a cabal of despicable, parasitic, brutal, brass-knuckled, crass, callous, amoral, ruthless totalitarians.

But on the eve of Trump’s swearing in, China’s government and state-run media struck a conciliatory tone with the man about to become the United States’ 45th president.

“Both sides should try to be friends and partners, rather than opponents or enemies,” Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, told reporters.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm

[LINK] “Mark Zuckerberg to visit every U.S. state, sparking speculation he may be mulling a run for office”

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The Financial Post shares Chris Graham’s article from The Telegraph suggesting Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is trying to set up a political career for himself. Oh, why not?

Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he is to spend 2017 travelling to every U.S. state he has not yet visited, in a personal challenge that is fuelling speculation he plans to enter politics.

The Facebook CEO has set himself various challenges in recent years, such as learning to speak Mandarin. But, writing on Facebook, he said his new aim was to visit and meet people in every state. “I’ve spent significant time in many states already, so I’ll need to travel to about 30 states this year to complete this challenge,” he wrote.

“After a tumultuous last year, my hope for this challenge is to get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future.”

The tech mogul’s decision to sit out a high-profile meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and other Silicon Valley bosses in mid-December also fuelled speculation about a possible run for office.

When 13 tech bosses, among them some of the world’s richest entrepreneurs, were summoned for the meeting with Trump, Zuckerberg was conspicuously absent.

Instead, he sent his trusted deputy and chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, making Facebook the only company at the meeting without its CEO in attendance.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling notes the terminal problems of Livejournal.
  • blogTO names five up-and-coming Toronto neighbourhoods.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at asteroids and other bodies in space that might be natural vehicles for travelling between planets.
  • Crooked Timber links to a grim analysis of the prospects for the United Kingdom’s Labour Party.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting a search for Beta Pictoris b as it transits its star.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at the importance of Chuck Norris in Ceaucescu’s Romania.
  • Savage Minds looks at reasons why anthropologists have failed to join in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
  • Torontoist notes the generally low quality of jobs created recently in Toronto.
  • Window on Eurasia links to two scenarios for Russia’s collapse, looks at conflicts in Russia-Belarus relations, and considers two Estonian novels recently published regarding Russian invasions.

[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.

[META] On one impending good reason to move from Livejournal

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Dwight on Facebook linked to a Metafilter feature noting that the servers of Livejournal–the social networking and blogging platform I got started on, the social networking and blogging platform that I still use–has moved to Russia. In light of that country’s issues with basic freedoms, it’s probably worth considering ending blogging on this platform.

As of a few days ago, the IP addresses for blogging service LiveJournal have moved to 81.19.74.*, a block that lookup services locate in Moscow, Russia. Now users — especially those who do not trust the Russian government — are leaving the platform and advising others to leave.

For years, the online blogging community LiveJournal — popular in Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine — has served as a key communications platform for Russian dissidents (the Committee to Protect Journalists earlier this month called on Russian authorities to release a LiveJournal user who has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for a critical blog post). Even after Russian company SUP bought it from California-based Six Apart in 2007 (previously), the fact that SUP continued to run the servers in the US meant that users felt relatively safe; a 2009 press release specifically said that LiveJournal, Inc.* would continue to run technical operations and servers in the United States (and claimed that 5.7 million LiveJournal users were Russia-based).

[. . .]

Tracerouting livejournal.com now points to a Moscow location and an ISP operated by Rambler Internet Holding LLC, the company that also owns SUP. (Former LiveJournal user Gary McGath says that a few days ago, he checked the IP location of livejournal.com, and it was in San Francisco.) LiveJournal’s official news posts do not mention the change; users have begun to ask questions there and on their own journals.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 2, 2017 at 5:15 pm

[LINK] “Inside Grindr’s Quest to Become the First Global Gay Lifestyle Brand”

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Vice hosts Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s article looking at the desire and apparent ability of Grindr to move beyond being a hookup app to being a broader social networking tool, a brand even.

To most gay men, Grindr is known as the world’s premiere dick pic delivery service. But lately, the company’s executives, programmers, and PR soldiers have been hard at work to shift the app’s image from “hookup helper” to “lifestyle brand.” When I visited the startup’s new Los Angeles headquarters, an 18,000-square-foot workspace located on the 14th floor of the Pacific Design Center Red Building, change was all anyone could talk about. The panoramic view of Los Angeles provided by floor-to-ceiling windows was inescapable. A diverse and attractive staff buzzed throughout the workplace, coding at large computers or lounging on modernist furniture. Morale was high, and conversations hummed with possibility. One thing was certain: This is far more than just the dick pic Death Star. This is the nerve center of a global tech company, and thanks to a recent majority investment by a Chinese gaming company, Beijing Kunlun Tech, it’s one that’s poised for major expansion.

The investment, which was announced in January, put Grindr’s valuation at $155 million. But though Beijing Kunlun has acquired 60 percent of the company, the investor allowed Grindr to keep its current operating team and structure. In short, Grindr has an influx of cash and a significant degree of autonomy to guide plans for global proliferation.

A motivating factor behind Beijing Kunlun’s investment was likely Grindr’s rapidly growing user base. A little over a year after CEO Joel Simkhai launched the app in 2009, Grindr had racked up more than one million users. The app now boasts more than seven million, with the highest concentration of members in the US. Users are also highly engaged: More than two million people use Grindr daily, and spend an average of 54 minutes on the app. Simply put: Grindr has the gay community by the balls. It wants to take this massive, highly attentive audience and, per press materials, “become the preeminent global gay lifestyle brand.”

The company has a variety of plans to achieve this. Some of the app’s initial rebranding plays include Slumbr, a celebrity-studded Pride party hosted at The Standard hotel in New York this year; Grindr Varsity, a clothing line benefiting Athlete Ally, a nonprofit fighting homophobia in sports; and Grindr For Equality, a gay rights advocacy initiative. Leaders in the company also hope to expand the functions of the app in coming years, to transform Grindr into something closer to a “gay social network.”

Written by Randy McDonald

December 29, 2016 at 9:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The Dundas Peak: Hamilton’s most risky selfie spot”

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CBC News’ Amara McLaughlin describes a location in Hamilton that is apparently the locus for dangerous selfies.

A small, rocky outcropping above Hamilton’s Tews Falls that is twice as high as the American side of Niagara Falls has become the city’s go-to spot for shareable snapshots and selfiies.

Known as the Dundas Peak, the spot is attracting a steady streams of amateur photographers, dangling their feet off steep cliffs, hanging over ledges with sheer drops, climbing fences and pushing the boundaries of safety, all to get closer to the edge of the escarpment for the quintessential shot.

The peak has long been a popular local destination.

But in recent years, influenced by the desire to see breathtaking panoramic views of Spencer Gorge and capture them for social media, hundreds of people are putting themselves at risk trying to recreate what they see on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

A search of the hashtag #dundaspeak on Instagram turns up more than 10,000 pictures. Some are actual “selfies,” others use friends to help get the ideal angle, but it is always about sharing a dramatic picture of yourself.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 26, 2016 at 11:00 pm