Could texting help literacy?

 Writing Skills
[Via xkcd:]


He makes an interesting point. With so many people communicating with each other by the written language perhaps higher levels of literacy ill arise.

Because to be a part of the society arising from technology, you have to be able to communicate using words. And communication by words is the most powerful way to communicate.

Sure. there will be a lot of crap. But Sturgeon’s Law predicts that. I guess we shall see.

Hacking traffic lights

Traffic Light 

Researchers find it’s terrifyingly easy to hack traffic lights
[Via Ars Technica]

Taking over a city’s intersections and making all the lights green to cause chaos is a pretty bog-standard Evil Techno Bad Guy tactic on TV and in movies, but according to a research team at the University of Michigan, doing it in real life is within the realm of anyone with a laptop and the right kind of radio. In a paper published this month, the researchers describe how they very simply and very quickly seized control of an entire system of almost 100 intersections in an unnamed Michigan city from a single ingress point.


 This was the line that really got my attention:

The 5.8GHz network has no password and uses no encryption; with a proper radio in hand, joining is trivial.

An important network like this, one where someone could cause huge problems by disrupting, and there is an open network and no password. And there is no encryption of communications.

And then system defaults that leave a backdoor open.

Someone could disable stoplights faster than they could be repaired.

And what is the industry’s response? It has “followed the accepted industry standard and it is that standard which does not include security.”

You really can get an iPhone working after it has spent minutes underwater

Resuscitating a Drowned iPhone 5
[Via Daring Fireball]

Rob Griffiths, writing at Macworld:

Thanks to (I’m guessing) some time in the rice and a healthy dose of compressed air, I now have a fully functional iPhone 5, as seen in the image at right. I find this simply amazing, given the amount of time it spent 10 feet deep in a lake. So what did I learn during this incident?

(Via Shawn King.)


It id not easy fixing the phone but, as this story shows, it is possible.

Distributed approaches revolutionizing big data

 Data Represented in an Interactive 3-D Form


For Big-Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights 
[Via -]

Technology revolutions come in measured, sometimes foot-dragging steps. The lab science and marketing enthusiasm tend to underestimate the bottlenecks to progress that must be overcome with hard work and practical engineering.

The field known as “big data” offers a contemporary case study. The catchphrase stands for the modern abundance of digital data from many sources — the web, sensors, smartphones and corporate databases — that can be mined with clever software for discoveries and insights. Its promise is smarter, data-driven decision-making in every field. That is why data scientist is the economy’s hot new job.


Data just exist. They require humans to provide context. They always will.

So creating better ways for more people to interact with the data will lead to more insights.

No doubt about it.

Can real capitalism be returning? I think so

 Apple CEO Tim Cook

Shareholder vs. Stakeholder Capitalism
[Via Economist's View]

Quiet day in blogland. Here’s something to kick around for those of you who are so inclined:

Shareholder vs. Stakeholder Capitalism: …We may be witnessing the beginning of a return to a form of capitalism that was taken for granted in America sixty years ago. …

Are we witnessing the reemergence of “Stakeholder Capitalism”? I’m doubtful.


I’m not. Let’s look at one of the 21st century corporations that recognizes stakeholders, not shareholders – Apple.

At this year’s annual meeting, Tim Cook was visibly angered by the questions from a climate change denier group. They wanted to know if Apple’s investments in controlling the environmental  impacts of its business helped or hurt the bottom line. They wanted him to commit only to things that made money. Period.

Cook does not get angry in public much. But he knows the value of using it when necessary.

He stated that Apple tries to do what is right and just, to not focus purely on the return on investment (ROI) of what they do.

When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” he said, “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.

Then  he said something I have never heard a CEO state, one that the sociopathic leaders of shareholder-driven corporations would never even think:

If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.

A shareholder corporation focusses only on the ROI and screw anything else. A stakeholder corporation cares about that “anything else.”

That “ anything else” used to encompass a lot.There used to be a multitude of stakeholders a corporation needed to serve – shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, lenders, and the local community.

For much of the last 25 years, the only stakeholder a corporation focussed on is the shareholder.

It is the Costco model vs the Walmart model. One posits that corporations are run by the sort of moral and ethical people that Adam Smith described. People like Tim Cook.

The other envisions a corporation run by sociopaths. One that ignores its necessary impact on employees, suppliers, lenders and the community.

It ignores its social obligations.

Capitalism only works because of its social connections and norms. It cannot work by itself. It cannot exist in isolation. It is a social construct. It needs people who will participate.

And people are learning the power of that participation more and more to control the social behavior of a corporation. 

Apple has always been focussed on much more than its shareholders (one reason Wall Street has never treated Apple well). That is one reason it has such a dynamic community of fans.

Same with Costco.

The sociopaths tried to convince us that their path was the right one because it would raise up everyone. We have seen that this is not the case and people are beginning to use their power to make companies serve the public more.

It will increase and perhaps we will again return to the stakeholder view of capitalism.

Some  corporations and CEOs may not be as wealthy but society as a whole will be.

The internet is disrupting the group norms that define reality for most. This is good.

My Twitter social graph, visualized by Recollect 


How groupthink gets reality backward
[Via Boing Boing]

In his new book, David McRaney explains that You Are Now Less Dumb. Here he makes you even less dumb, by way of explaining social norms you will no longer be defeated by. Read the rest


Worth looking at. It helps explain some of the network material I’ve been developing.

Humans are social animals and HAVE to maintain social contacts. Most people make those contacts by having many strong ones within a small number of groups. Others have many weak links to a large number of groups.

Studies have shown that a majority of people in a group connect strongly to others in the group and are highly pushed top conform to the group’s norms.

Others tend to be  disruptive early adopters who have weak links to many other groups, so the pressure of any one group is weaker. They are not as susceptible to any one group’s norms

But this then tends to make them unloved by any particular group because they are not seen as one of the team. They bring in outside ideas and norms that are not from the group. 

They are the ones that hold their hand up and say they are confused. They are the ones who ask why we are doing it this way and not another. They are the ones who say that there is not viable reason for doing it this way and only the persona  view of a few is doing so.

They are disruptive. No one likes them. 

But they are the ones who bring in new ideas and new ways of doing things. They are the ones who help the group survive and adapt to changes. If they are not present, the group becomes mundane, brittle and maladaptive.

So, being an early adopter myself, I kept reading this article saying “I don’t do that.” or “That is not how I would do it.” It felt like reading a study on some weird primate instead of other humans.

It was a weird feeling.

But what technology allows us to do today, and what the article states we should do, is this: it allows anyone to make a weak connection to someone from outside the group. Now even the majority can begin to make links and find new norms, without having to be disrupted.

They can do it diectly. This will change culture in important ways.

Surfers, not plodders

 Academia Surf&Rock 2013

When she finished her pitch, the investor said he didn’t invest in women
[Via Boing Boing]

“I don’t like the way women think. They haven’t mastered linear thinking.


Idiots. Cutting off half of society simply reduces the possible solutions to a wide variety of solutions.

But the quote about linear thinking is right on. These guys simply do not understand the genius of real innovators and simply follow a linear approach themselves.

We need more non-linear thinkers, those that can adapt to things even as the conditions are changing.

These male investors know how to plod to the top of a mountain. They do not know how to surf a wave of change. But a  mountain does not change as you are hiking to the top. Today’s economies do.

A wave cannot be predicted. It is constantly changing. So we need surfers. But these investors will continue to fund plodders.


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