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Monday, November 27, 2017

Links - 27th November 2017 (2)

Why Isn’t Telegram End-to-End Encrypted by Default? - "popular apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Line, they rely on Apple iCloud and Google Drive to store their users' message history and prevent data loss in case their users lose their smartphones. These backups are not e2e-encrypted and get decrypted whenever the user buys a new phone and restores their WhatsApp/Viber/Line message history. While it may seem that you, as a user, have the freedom to opt out of these backups, in reality there’s little room for choice: even if you opt out (which is unusual and sometimes tricky), people you chat with most likely won’t. This creates a situation when messages you send and receive end up not e2e-encrypted in the cloud without you even realizing it. You have zero transparency on what is really e2e-encrypted and what is backed up. You rely on e2e encryption and trust the “no third party can access my messages” mantra, but your private data is in fact vulnerable to hackers and governments that can get access to it via the cloud storage. If you think this is a minor threat, think again: according to stats WhatsApp shared during Google IO last year, most of the “e2e-encrypted” chats on WhatsApp eventually get backed up and stored in the cloud, not e2e-encrypted... while Telegram has disclosed no private data to third-parties from its cloud so far, this year alone Apple satisfied 80% of data requests from the Chinese (!) government (and is even building a data-center for private iCloud data in China)"

Madison police chief plans to round up city's worst criminals - "The targets at the top of the list also are all African-American. Koval said he received calls Thursday from some people who told him his plan has racist overtones, particularly since less than 8 percent of the Madison population is African-American. Koval responded by coming to defense of their victims, many of whom were also African-American... "I prefer to look at it from a victim’s lens and when 7 out of 10 are African-American, why is nobody concerned that young, black people are having their lives taken from them?”
Black criminals matter more than black victims

Removing statues at private theme park unlawful, says Art Harun - "the district office ordered the closure of the theme park and removal of two female-winged statues following complaints lodged by some quarters who were apparently uncomfortable with the display of “angel-like” figures there. Azhar said if the people were uncomfortable with the statues, the answer is simple. “I mean, if anyone is not happy with the statues, just don’t go there... Last year, the iconic eagle statue in Pulau Langkawi had also been scrutinised after some claimed it was “haram”. The issue became a hot topic after a comment by Perak’s deputy mufti Zamri Hashim, who said that it was forbidden in Islam to make full-bodied statues of living creatures."

Brit pervert banned from having girlfriend without police OK - "Geoffrey Ball, 44, has been told he is not allowed any contact with women without alerting cops because of his history of sex assaults... "The defendant must not have or enter into any friendship or sexual or physical relationship with any female without first notifying a police at risk management officer within the public protection unit or equivalent.""

Sexual grooming victims: Is there Sikh code of silence? - "They see Sikh girls as 'easy targets' because they know codes of honour mean the child will be too scared and ashamed to tell their parents about the abuse and "their parents would not even report it if they were to find out"."

How Anti-White Rhetoric Is Fueling White Nationalism - "At first, “white men are our greatest threat” postings tended to be ironic, a way of putting the racist shoe on the other foot. They were meant to show that blaming an entire race for the harmful actions of a few individuals is senseless. Then the tenor changed. What started as irony turned into an actual belief that white people, specifically white men, are more dangerous and immoral than any other people. Loosely backed up by historical inequities and disparities in mass shootings, this position has begun to take a serious foothold. Strikingly, this shift in rhetoric undermines what was once the core of anti-racist efforts. Treating people equally has given way to making all of us ambassadors for our race. This is a classic theme in critical race theory, that people of color carry a burden of representation that white people do not. But foisting the baggage of representation onto white people doesn’t solve that problem. It makes it worse. White people are being asked—or pushed—to take stock of their whiteness and identify with it more. This is a remarkably bad idea. The last thing our society needs is for white people to feel more tribal. The result of this tribalism will not be a catharsis of white identity, improving equality for non-whites. It will be resentment towards being the only tribe not given the special treatment bestowed by victimhood. A big part of the reason white Americans have been willing to go along with policies that are prejudicial on their face, such as affirmative action, is that they do not view themselves as a tribe... Modern progressives don’t talk about the “greater ideals of the American Republic.” Rather, those ideals have become suspect, empty words used to justify slavery and genocide. But for Du Bois, who was closer to slavery than any of us will ever be, this was not the case. The facile notion that some inherent evil of whiteness must be expunged is anathema to his entire vision of equality and reconciliation."

Why Hong Kong passengers are a flight attendant’s nightmare, and other cabin crew gripes - "Hongkongers were rated the most frustrating passengers to deal with in interviews with three Hong Kong-based flight attendants, themselves Hongkongers. All three feel that Hong Kong travellers treat them like serfs."

The Liberal Crackup - WSJ - "nothing those presidents did while in office did much to reverse the rightward drift of American public opinion. Even when they vote for Democrats or support some of their policies, most Americans—including young people, women and minorities—reject the term “liberal.” And it isn’t hard to see why. They see us as aloof, elitist, out of touch. It is time to admit that American liberalism is in deep crisis: a crisis of imagination and ambition on our side, a crisis of attachment and trust on the side of the wider public... To meet the Reagan challenge, we liberals needed to develop an ambitious new vision of America and its future that would again inspire people of every walk of life and in every region of the country to come together as citizens. Instead we got tangled up in the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics, losing a sense of what binds us together as a nation... There is a mystery at the core of every suicide, and the story of how a once-successful liberal politics of solidarity became a failed liberal politics of “difference” is not a simple one. Perhaps the best place to begin it is with a slogan: The personal is the political... the idea got rooted on the left that, to reverse the formula, the political is the personal... The classic Democratic goal of bringing people from different backgrounds together for a single common project has given way to a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow and exclusionary self-definition... As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate... Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions... Black Lives Matter is a textbook example of how not to build solidarity. By publicizing and protesting police mistreatment of African-Americans, the movement delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. But its decision to use this mistreatment to build a general indictment of American society and demand a confession of white sins and public penitence only played into the hands of the Republican right."

I’m a White Man. Hear Me Out. - The New York Times - "“White men: stop telling me about my experiences!” someone later scrawled on a poster that was put up to advertise a talk, “Identity Is Not Politics,” that he gave at Wellesley College. “But I wasn’t talking about their experience or my experience,” Lilla pointed out when I spoke with him recently. “I was talking about an issue.”... awareness disclaimers and privilege apologies have ferried us to a silly, self-involved realm of oppression Olympics. They promote the idea that people occupying different rungs of privilege or victimization can’t possibly grasp life elsewhere on the ladder... Lilla noted that what people in a given victim group sometimes seem to be saying is: “You must understand my experience, and you can’t understand my experience.” “They argue both, so people shrug their shoulders and walk away,” he said... “My black father, born in 1937 in segregated Texas, is an exponentially more worldly man than my maternal white Protestant grandfather, whose racism always struck me more as a sad function of his provincialism or powerlessness than anything else. I don’t mean to excuse the corrosive effects of his view; I simply wish to note that when I compare these two men, I do not recognize my father as the victim.”... you know some important things about me, but not the most important ones: how I responded to the random challenges on my path, who I met along the way, what I learned from them, the degree of curiosity I mustered and the values that I honed as a result. Those construct my character, and shape my voice, to be embraced or dismissed on its own merits. My gayness no more redeems me than my whiteness disqualifies me. And neither, I hope, defines me."

Britain’s New Bank Notes: Secure. Durable. Not for Vegetarians. - - "“This decision reflects multiple considerations including the concerns raised by the public, the availability of environmentally sustainable alternatives, positions of our central bank peers, value for money, as well as the widespread use of animal-derived additives in everyday products, including alternative payment methods,” the Bank of England said in a news release... 88 percent were against the use of animal-derived additives, while 48 percent were against the use of additives derived from palm oil, which the bank had explored as a possible alternative to the tallow. Despite the overwhelmingly negative response to the use of tallow, the Bank of England said it had to balance those concerns against its “other public duties and priorities.” In part, the cost of switching would have been significant: about £16.5 million over the course of the next decade, the bank said."

'Game of Thrones' Season 7 Episode 5 Recap: How Convenient - "If Martin has slowed down, it's because he's interested in so many little details, which grow more complicated and far-reaching with every chapter he write... Game of Thrones’ solution to the same problem Martin is describing seems to be: Ehhh, who gives a shit? And that philosophy has led to an undeniably rousing and action-packed Season Seven, in which characters who have been separated for the entire series have suddenly come face-to-face... the granular details that might sounds boring on paper—geography, travel, diplomacy, and training—are actually a big part of what made Game of Thrones interesting in the first place, and I've begun to miss them... Time and time again, Season Seven has shrugged off the journey to give us the destination... All stories depend on contrivances; the trick of the storyteller is to disguise them. "There’s a greater purpose at work," says Berric Dondarrion as this week’s episode ends. I just wish it weren’t so obvious that in Season Seven, that "greater purpose" is often just the needs of the show’s writers."

Kelsey L. Hayes's answer to How are the Dothraki surviving on Dragonstone? - Quora - "Let’s just call a spade a spade and admit that this is a gaping logistical error. Dany’s forces would have packed food and supplies for the journey to Westeros, but there’s no indication that she has a regular supply of fresh food coming, even less so now that the Reach has been compromised. It’s not clear at all where tens of thousands of Dothraki are staying and what their horses are grazing on — Yara’s ships that got intercepted on the way to Dorne didn’t have any Dothraki on board, obviously, and neither did any of the Unsullied’s ships that ended up at Casterly Rock"

The history of hit points - "D&D's co-creator Dave Arneson explained that the earliest version of the game didn't have hit points. The rules had evolved from wargames he and fellow D&D inventor Gary Gygax played, in which a single successful attack was all it took for a soldier to die.That changed when they started experimenting with having players control individual heroes rather than entire armies, as players identified with them much more strongly. As Arneson put it, “They didn't care if they could kill a monster in one blow, but they didn't want the monster to kill them in one blow.”"

Coming to terms with my game backlog - "more importantly than a commitment, I made a spreadsheet. There are a lot of games out there, and the list only gets longer every year. If I was going to tackle this hobby now, I decided I was going to do so with a strategy. Some may call this, not without a sense of frustration and resentment, their "backlog." But I look at mine as a "road map.""

This player spent $2 million in a mobile game. Then he led a boycott. - "The thing that these boycotts all had in common was that they were created by the players who loved the games the most. They wanted to fix the games that they loved, and they felt like the company needed to come down from its high perch and talk to them as real people, not sheep to be fleeced"

Why PC game downloads are so damned big - "If you’re running a game on a single GeForce GTX 1060, do you really need assets designed for 4K? Probably not. If you’re playing in English, do you need to install uncompressed audio for a dozen other languages? Nein. And if you only ever plan to play singleplayer, do you need all of the multiplayer stuff too?"

'The Witcher 3' And 'Fallout 4' Show Us That Single-Player Games Should Live Forever - "Very, very few games these days are entirely reliant on single-player. The idea seems to be that multiplayer games allow players to keep playing indefinitely, putting more time into the title, and these days hopefully sinking money into map packs or microtransactions. Single-player is a much less reliable model than it used to be. But for some companies? They’re so good at it, they can buck the trend. The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 have exactly zero multiplayer components to them. You can’t play with a friend, you can’t do battle against strangers. None of that. And yet, they’ve created the most engaging gaming experiences of the year, because they answer that need for gamers who sometimes, just want to explore a big, wide world alone." Outdoor Lighting for Safety & Security - "In 1998, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority undertook a test program to evaluate what effect increased nighttime illumination levels would have on crime rates in some areas which had been suffering from high levels of criminal activity... the nighttime crime rate in the test area had risen in all categories; violent crime went up 32%, property index offenses were up 77%, non-index offenses up 40%, for an overall increase of 40%. Comparing the daytime crime rate for the same two time periods, the overall crime rate dropped 23% during the daylight hours... increased crime occurring with increased lighting, as in the Chicago study above, may be the result of people feeling safer when they actually aren't, thus being lulled into taking fewer anti-crime precautions... "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design", or CPTED, is a system for looking at many different physical aspects of an area, and arranging them in a manner to most effectively discourage crime. In CPTED, both daytime and nighttime illumination is one important factor, and "more is better" is not assumed to be the case. Glare, shadows, light trespass, overly bright nighttime illumination, and widely uneven illumination are all recognized as creating undesirable, unsafe situations"

As Smart Nation drive speeds up, anxieties arise - "The Land Transport Authority’s announcement last week that the public transport system will go cashless by 2020, in keeping with Singapore’s Smart Nation push, should give us cause to pause. While the move is in the name of convenience, we might well ask: For whom? The implicit assumption is that digital non-natives, with relative ease, transform into tech-savvy citizens who will be completely at home with whatever technological disruptions come their way. That is a worrying and naive assumption. The pace of technology development is uneven; so too is the pattern of technology acceptance and adoption. Every generation produces a segment of people at risk of being left behind amidst the rapidity of change... In fluid dynamics, the greater the speed, the greater the turbulence. So too with society. And as the philosopher Paul Virilio further argues, an increase in speed also creates the potential for gridlock. He cites the example of airports and train stations as points from which we are sped through space, but which are also characterised by delays and jams."

Report: More Than 50% of Google Employees Are Against the Firing of James Damore - "In a survey conducted by the “anonymous corporate chat app” Blind, 56 percent, or more than half, of the 441 alleged Google employees who took part disagreed with the company’s decision to fire Damore... Damore’s biggest support came from Uber, where 64 percent of employees disagreed with his dismissal. This was followed by Yahoo, where 60 percent disagreed, followed Airbnb, where 58 percent disagreed, and Microsoft, where 57 percent disagreed. Facebook and Amazon also had a majority of employees who disagreed with Damore’s dismissal, with 56 percent and 54 percent respectively, while Apple, Linkedin, and Lyft all majority agreed with Damore’s firing. 49 percent of Apple employees and 47 percent of Linkedin disagreed with Google’s decision, while just 35 percent of Lyft employees thought Google was wrong to fire Damore"

Amateur Sleuths Aim to Identify Charlottesville Marchers, but Sometimes Misfire - The New York Times - "Mr. Quinn, who runs a laboratory dedicated to wound-healing research, was quickly flooded with vulgar messages on Twitter and Instagram, he said in an interview on Monday. Countless people he had never met demanded he lose his job, accused him of racism and posted his home address on social networks... In the case of Charlottesville, social media users hoped identifying rally participants would lead to real-world consequences for racism. One Twitter account, @YesYoureRacist, was retweeted tens of thousands of times by people trying to help name the men in several photos... Mark Popejoy, an art director in Bentonville, Ark., attempted to correct dozens of Twitter accounts that had inaccurately pegged Mr. Quinn as the Charlottesville rally participant. He would point out that the University of Arkansas had confirmed that Mr. Quinn was not involved, and ask that the Twitter users delete their erroneous tweets. While some appreciated the new information, others adamantly refused to change their minds"
Ahh... mob "justice"
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