Climate collapse not Climate change

I have been thinking about this for decades (being from Bristol the environment wasn’t far my mind) but it was mid 2010 (after my brush with death), when I grappled with the true fact.

I’m going to live in/experience climate collapse in my life time (next 10-25 years)

Its really hard to face but I made some peace with this fact over the last few years (using the 5 stages of grief). Don’t get me wrong I absolutely don’t like it and trying to do what I can (maybe I can do more/we can all do more) but the fact is we have passed the point of no change a long time ago. Its been what can we do now to make thing not even worst. I say this in a privileged position in Europe within the global north. But its super clear there is no place on earth which won’t feel the collapse!

The Paris agreement is a long way off and just like the pandemic, countries seem completely incapable of working together.

I don’t have solutions except from now on its going to be called Climate collapse not Climate change. I understand the power of language and I know the language around climate crisis has been discussed to death. Collapse is much more clear where things are going and you can’t help but question disagree or agree, it challenging and starts a conversation.

No more climate change, its time to face up to climate collapse.

Sleep books compared

Why we sleep by Matthew Walker

I noticed there has been a lot of hype and discussion around the book why we sleep by Matthew Walker.

Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker provides a revolutionary exploration of sleep, examining how it affects every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. Charting the most cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and marshalling his decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood and energy levels, regulate hormones, prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, slow the effects of aging, and increase longevity. He also provides actionable steps towards getting a better night’s sleep every night

Its a good book but I didn’t find it as in-depth and as interesting as

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience by Dr. Guy Leschziner

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret world of sleep by Guy Leschziner.

Dr. Guy Leschziner’s patients, there is no rest for the weary in mind and body. Insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, sleep apnea, and sleepwalking are just a sampling of conditions afflicting sufferers who cannot sleep–and their experiences in trying are the stuff of nightmares. Demoniac hallucinations frighten people into paralysis. Restless legs rock both the sleepless and their sleeping partners with unpredictable and uncontrollable kicking. Out-of-sync circadian rhythms confuse the natural body clock’s days and nights.

Then there are the extreme cases. A woman in a state of deep sleep who gets dressed, unlocks her car, and drives for several miles before returning to bed. The man who has spent decades cleaning out kitchens while “sleep-eating.” The teenager prone to the serious, yet unfortunately nicknamed “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome” stuck in a cycle of excessive unconsciousness, binge eating, and uncharacteristic displays of aggression and hyper-sexuality while awake.

With compassionate stories of his patients and their conditions, Dr. Leschziner illustrates the neuroscience behind our sleeping minds, revealing the many biological and psychological factors necessary in getting the rest that will not only maintain our physical and mental health, but improve our cognitive abilities and overall happiness.

I’m sure many will disagree, but I’d recommend The Nocturnal Brain over Why we sleep. Although I will admit it is a harder read, due to some of the experiences explained in some detail.

When the dead out number the living in social networks

I can’t say how good this TedX talk is, so many good points in a short video.

I noticed in dropbox terms and conditions a while, if you were to die and didn’t make very clear who your designated executors are and that you want them to gain access to your dropbox in your death. They will be denied access.

A valid court order establishing that it was the deceased person’s intent that you have access to the files in their account after the person passed away, and that Dropbox is compelled by law to provide the deceased person’s files to you

In short, if you don’t state your intent, dropbox can/will block access to your files. Or in short its won’t be simply hand over your password, as they can revoke your account if they think its been accessed by someone else than yourself. Of course this will most likely be decided by algorithms not humans.

Thats just the start…

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2021)

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Amazon’s destroying unsold goodsICO’s concerns over facial recognition and Tiktok sneakily changing there privacy policy.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with ethical ratings for fashion brandsthe introduction of the solar protocol and even Google has temporarily halted their privacy sandbox plans.


The future of the browser conference

Ian thinks: There is so much to take away from this community run conference, as I wrote in a blog. I’m sure you will find lots to take away too.

We know what you did last lock down

Ian thinks: The FT’s short black mirror like interrogation feels like drama but its all real and possible now with the cloud of always on IOT devices. Makes some seriously good points

Report those dark patterns

Ian thinks: The Electronic Frontier Foundation goes on the offensive asking you to report those dark patterns. Similar to what Mozilla and others have done too.

Vestager’s vision for the a digital Europe

Ian thinks: I highly recommend the Re:publica conference and seeing Margrethe Vestager again in her new role outlining her vision (with some tech hiccups) is good. I also recommend looking around the playlists to find other good talks including these audio essays and this talk about Silicon values.

Ian thinks: The ICO makes a big change to the EU cookie banner, interesting to hear the American tech view on this all.

When people can sit together

Ian thinks: Enabling physical public spaces with more thought and care for the community. You can’t help but smile and wish playful public spaces existed near you too.

Mozilla puts your data to use for a better society

Ian thinks: This is impressive, although not completely new there no better time to have a trusted company shepherding your data into good causes you choose.

Another internet outage, raises questions

Ian thinks: The outage of Fastly earlier this month has stoked fires about how centralised the internet is for lots of people. I personally didn’t notice much due to the decentralised services I use.

Social graph as a key to change?

Ian thinks: Every once in a while a start up makes some bold but well meaning claims. The notion of the social graph on a blockchain although not new is worth keeping an eye on to see where it goes.

Experience some fairly intelligent machine learning

Ian thinks: A.M. Darke’s piece makes all those silly harmless throw away decisions, very real by the end. There is also a Q&A hosted by the ODI well worth watching to understand more.


Find the archive here

Toxic masculinity at a level I can’t comprehend

Man with wheeled suitcase

A few things have based through my wallabag/read it later which has sadly surprised and sometimes shocked me. I doubt few wouldn’t (but sadly I know there will be a few who are not)

I read about the Mystery of wheelie suitcase (how gender stereotypes held back history of invention) in the Guardian and couldn’t but could believe it.

Why have some brilliant innovations – from rolling luggage to electric cars – taken so long to come to market? Macho culture has a lot to answer for

Ok it was in the past but as the piece says at the end…

Today, less than 1% of UK venture capital goes to all-female teams. Among the very few women who do get funded, a very large majority are white. Of course, venture capital isn’t everything – there are other ways to fund and scale innovation – but the fact that men, more or less, have a monopoly is certainly a symptom of an economy where women’s ideas are not heard.

So lets be honest little has changed, if you haven’t been paying attention.

Talking about history I found Do NOT Pass GO! with Tim Harford, super enlightening.

Lizzie J. Magie (played by Helena Bonham Carter) should be celebrated as the inventor of what would become Monopoly – but her role in creating the smash hit board game was cynically ignored, even though she had a patent.
Discrimination has marred the careers of many inventors and shut others out from the innovation economy entirely. Could crediting forgotten figures such as Lizzie Magie help address continuing disparities in the patenting of new inventions?

Coming back to this decade, this Vice piece titled Anti feminist gen-z boys who hate women, had so much in it I was sadly disappointed. I always hoped the next generation would learn the mistakes the previous had made. Of course as a whole things are getting better, its just disappointing to read.

Half of young men in the UK now believe that feminism has “gone too far and makes it harder for men to succeed”. These are the results of a significant study published in July 2020 by anti-extremism charity HOPE not Hate. The study, Young People in the Time of COVID-19, surveyed 2,076 16- to 24-year-olds on their ideological beliefs.

Then when you think its can’t get worst.

This totally shocked me. I discovered it via A.M. Darke’s fairly intelligent machine learning. It was one of the examples and I wondered what on earth is septic masculinity? I clicked and was horrified at how awful and low some parts of masculinity has gone. Warning its not nice at all.

Playing by the rules in a pandemic

NHS Track and trace app telling me to self-isolate for 8 days
I am very much looking forward to Breakfast on Sunday morning

For the last 5 days I have been self isolating due to coming in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid19. It was a team mate during outdoor Volleyball on Wednesday last week, so the risk was low especially because I was using hand sanitizer and still avoid touching my face, etc.

We only found out on Thursday they were positive and then on Saturday I got the NHS track & trace notification, ironically just after coming back from Moss side Volleyball.

I have been using the rapid testing for Covid for a long while every 3-4 days and logging my negative tests results with the NHS. Regardless, I’ve been self-isolating and happy the weather hasn’t been so hot making working from home bearable.

The thing I have found (lets say) interesting is, my phone with the Contact tracing/Track and Trace app was on while in the park playing (in my bag on the ground). While other players did not, although we all knew the person had tested positive. Long story short, the NHS finally got in touch and told the rest of the team to self-isolate but a good 3 days later. The others only needed to isolate for 5 days instead of my 8 days. It makes sense but…

…I find it interesting and reminds me of the DRM discussion of how DRM only effects those who play by the rules.

The basic problem is that DRM is trying to keep honest people honest

Before you message me about the difficulty of epidemiology. I know I know, trust me I know!

This is also not judgement/shade on my fellow volleyball players. Someone from a coffee shop messaged a friend I was with, saying a staff member had tested positive. My friend decided to self-isolate while I decided not to because I hadn’t gotten a alert from the NHS (yes I do check in on the app every single time). If I had, I would have self-isolated like my friend, while still doing my rapid tests every 3-4 days.

I just find it all interesting, the judgement calls and personal decisions made during a pandemic.

Its only 30mins before I’m free to go

Self isolation ends soon

Hooray! I have big plans starting with Brunch and maybe a trip to Toolstation to get some bits for my new wifi changes. Exciting eh?!

Sams speech from the Falcon and the Winter Soldier

I just gotten around to watching the Falcon and the winter Soldier and I was pretty blown away by Sam’s speech near the end of the series (episode 6).

The falcon and the winter soldier

After the Flag-Smashers are defeated, Sam meets with the members of the GRC and is thanked for his role in stopping Karli Morgenthau and her group of “terrorists,” the Flag Smashers.

“You have to stop calling them terrorists,” Cap responds. “Your peacekeeping troops carrying weapons are forcing millions of people into settlements around the world, right? What do you think those people are going to call you? These labels…terrorist, refugee, thug. They’re often used to get around the question, ‘Why?'”

When it’s pointed out that Sam has no idea how complicated the situation is, he responds: “You know what, you’re right. And that’s a good thing. We finally have a common struggle now. Think about that. For once, all the people who’ve been begging, and I mean literally begging for you to feel how hard any given day is, now you know. How did it feel to be helpless? If you can remember what it felt like to be helpless and face a force so powerful it could erase half the planet, you would know that you’re about to have the exact same impact. This isn’t about easy decisions, Senator.”

When the Senator reiterates that Sam doesn’t understand, it’s then the hero really strikes a chord.

“I’m a Black man carrying the stars and stripes. What don’t I understand? Every time I pick this thing up, I know there are millions of people out there who are going to hate me for it. Even now, here, I feel it. The stares, the judgement, and there’s nothing I can do to change it, yet I’m still here. No super serum, no blonde hair or blue eyes. The only power I have is that I believe we can do better. We can’t demand that people step up if we don’t meet them halfway. You control the banks. Shit, you can move borders. You can knock down a forest with an email; you can move a million people with a phonecall. The question is, who’s in the room with you when you’re making those decisions? Is it the people you’re going to impact? Or is it just more people like you?

“I mean, this girl died trying to stop you and no one has stopped for one second to ask, ‘Why?’ You’ve gotta do better, Senator. You’ve got to step up. Because if you don’t, the next Karli will and you don’t want to see 2.0. People believed in her cause so much that they helped her defy the strongest governments in the world. Why do you think that is? Look, you people have just as much power as an insane God or a misguided teenager. The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘How are you going to use it?'”

It was impressive and I won’t lie, it brought a tear to my eye. Of course its worth watching with the video.

The Covid19 variants finally renamed

Proposed names for Covid varientsI meant to blog about this a while ago but got distracted with different things.

Really glad there are names which doesn’t apply the country or region (strange the UK is Kent, while the rest is the whole country) to the Covid variants. I keep reminding people to say “the variant first discovered in country” not the country variant as it sounds like blame.

So much misinformation about the Black Panthers party

Judas and the Black Messiah screenshot

Its insane the amount of misinformation about the Black Panthers. I remember reading the news when young about militant black people taking over parts of America. Of course it was all nonsense but systematic racism keeps the truth from getting out.

I was getting conflicting information from the news and from people in my family and friends. Of course we all know the truth.

 

Vox again do a great job bringing everything together, including the lasting revolution of the black panther party. How ironic the story of Marcus Rashford last year.

Of course I highly recommend watching the excellent, Judas and the Black Messiah too.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (June 2021)

Mozilla's instagram adverts

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Google’s new dermatology system wasn’t built with darker skin ,the relative landmass the big tech corps are taking in make believe maps and seeing Mob-rule encouraged by the Citizen app.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with Google finally processing dark skin betterco-ops changing the gig economy and seeing the number of iOS 14.5 users taking back their privacy.


Digital inclusion in the UK

Ian thinks: OFCOM’s report highlights the importance of digital inclusion which most assume is pretty much over, judging by the general press coverage.

Mozilla on the transparency march

Ian thinks: Mozilla picks up where Signal and Facebook left off with creepy personalised adverts in Instagram. They also did a good job explaining the signals which are used in Youtube’s recommendation.

A Planetary-Scale, Pluralist and cooperative commonwealth for the Digital Economy

Ian thinks: Such a interesting read starting with an alternative to Amazon and ending up rethinking everything. This is the kind of thinking we need more of.

Thorp attempts to make a statement

Ian thinks: Our European friends in the publicspaces collation take on the messaging and (small S) social networking big tech giants with a new matrix based server service which promises to be exciting.

The public interest internet

Ian thinks: The Electronic Frontier Foundation starts a series of postings around the concept of the public interest internet. Similar in many ways to the public service internet I do believe.

The Knight institute asks us to Re-imagining the internet

Ian thinks: There were some good sessions and like most online conferences, you can catch up with everything. I normally would point at one or two but they were all worth watching.

Smart contracts or Smart coins?

Ian thinks: I’m always interested in whats possible with DID’s and smart contracts and this high level Identity talk around Chia raises many ideas for non-commercial use.

The stress of digital currency on our existing banking sector

Ian thinks: The economist outlines the massive power struggle going on with company digital money, p2p cryptocurrency and government backed Central Bank Digital Currency

Why Recapture is getting much harder for humans

Ian thinks: If the captures are annoying now, don’t worry because behavior recognition will judge us all, all the time. Feedback loops make this a reality forever more.

The opt out game

Ian thinks: Its rare I mention a game but this frustrating trip through opt-out web interfaces/dark patterns that we all loath so much, is worth it. Even I have to admit to not getting 5 of the opt-outs correct!


Find the archive here

Been thinking about machine bias again recently

Amazon AR haircut

Yesterday I met up with some friends to celebrate a birthday. We went to the Wharf in Castlefield, Manchester. Nice outdoor space with a massive teepee to help with Manchester’s typical rainfall.

I had a few drinks so visited the toilet a few times and of course washed my hands well so needed to dry them. A few times I tried the hand dryer but there was a red light, so assumed it wasn’t working from a fault or due to the spread of germs? Once I noticed the paper towels were refilled and used that.

However the last time I went in there was white man using the hand dryer, I was surprised and naturally thought it must be fixed now. So afterwards attempted to use it. Did it work, did it heck!

This doesn’t come as too much of a shock as its not the first time and there are many examples on youtube. However with a lot more knowledge now, I’m pretty peed off about it. I wanted to record it but needed a white hand to trigger it and at the end of the night, very few people would join my video experiment. I can tell you I moved, flipped, waved, even touched the sensor with my hand. Nothing would trigger it.

After returning to the table, I asked if the men had used the hand dryer but didn’t get a clear yes or no. So I’ll have to go back to the Wharf soon to film this I think.

Another interesting point also came up after the hand dryer discussion.

Amazon opens its first hair salon, where customers can use augmented reality to experiment with hair colors

I instantly wanted to know if Amazon’s AR app will actually work on non-white people? From all the press pictures, its all pictures of white skin women. If it doesn’t work on non-white skin, expect an explosion of coverage, but it would speak volumes about the total bias of this whole industry. Something many have covered but watching Coded Bias during Mozfest made super clear.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (May 2021)

a dark forest

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Facebooks dismissal of 530 million users data leaked and actively being exploited, joining the general dismissal of data leaks this month.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with Google maps providing eco-friendly routesEurope seeking to limit AI use in society and how Ben & Jerry’s combine activism with business.


Facebook/Nick Clegg attempts to gaslight us all

Ian thinks: Nick’s blog post is cleverly written ultimately saying the right things even touching on algorithmic transparency. However the key message is, you are the problem, and ignores the power dynamic an entity like Facebook really has over their users lives.

What is the dark forest theory of the Internet?

Ian thinks: Yancey (co-founder of kickstarter) shares his thoughts about the dark forest theory in light of a year plus in a pandemic and our ever increasing reliance on the internet. Recently followed up with more thoughts.

Is more data or a more human outlook the future of shopping?

Ian thinks: Data use is a worrying trend and it reminds me how Ford decided the data was the goal of the car sell, but maybe shopping is missing the human element?

How is remote working going to effect the future of work?

Ian thinks: A good summary of the development work if you are a office/knowledge worker. Little for other types of work which seemed a obvious hole in this all.

The doomsday machine: scale is the enemy of human progress?

Ian thinks: The comparisons of Facebook to the doomsday machine is quite a leap but the points made are clear and re-enforces my thoughts about scale being the enemy of humanity

Those face filters were never fun

Ian thinks: I turn off the filters as they are usually not flattering for black skin. However there is much greater affect on women who have their faces and bodies under the microscope every moment of the day causing anxiety and even worst.

A new decentralization pattern library

Ian thinks: Its great to see a pattern library focused on decentralised, distributed applications and systems. Its still early days but do get involved if you see something obvious missing from the current 22.

The future of 3D printing is truly impressive

Ian thinks: There is so much covered in this video, everything from 3D printed houses, food and organs. The most impressive for me after the organs is the bio-mimicry printed structures.

If you don’t know dark patterns, this will explain it all in moments

Ian thinks: Really good to share this with people are not clear on the effects of dark patterns, also interesting to see Trump using dark patterns recently.

Sudhir explores the motivations, mistakes and conflicts of mainstream social media

Ian thinks: Although nothing new, its interesting to hear someone who has spent time with gang leaders and street prostitutes; lend his thoughts to the ugly side of social media from the inside out, in new podcast.


Find the archive here

No mushy middle for Ben & Jerrys

At the intersection of activism and confectionary delight is none other than Ben & Jerry’s. The company has stood up for everything from climate change to same sex marriage to Black lives matter and defunding the police. And in June 2020, the brand took a bold stance against white supremacy, proving that in business, silence is no longer an option.

Ben & Jerry have been consistently amazing with their support for many things from climate change to systematic racism. I do wish more companies would learn from them examples. It can easily dismissed as PR in glance but their consistently is the key.

The continuous ability to be better is something which I see is missing in many places. The status-quo must be challenged and Ben & Jerrys are all about this.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (April 2021)

Deep fake technology

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed, seeing how Amazon won’t support public library systems and how good / prevalent deepfake technology is becoming.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with fashion taking on surveillance, Google finally being called out for the not so incognito mode in Chrome and introducing a progressive tax-like system following Apples store changes.


Meet the disruptors at publicspaces

Ian thinks: From the publicspaces conference where you can watch all the talks. I personally found Melanie Rieback and post growth entrepreneurship quite inspirational for all those new startups. We need more of this!

Evidence disappearing right under your nose

Ian thinks: This short documentary from VPRO, highlights the problem with archiving and moderation in critical cases like war crimes.

TransCopyright realised with Micropayments?

Ian thinks: Delivered at Mozfest 2021, Amber got me thinking when she mentions the dream of Ted Nelson’s TransCopyright (co-creator of hypertext) realised using web monetisation for attribution.

Why the excitement over non-fungible tokens?

Ian thinks: March become the month when most people heard the term non-fungible tokens for the first time, likely for a piece of art which sold for the equivalent of 69 million.

Some of the facts and myths surrounding China & America explained

Ian thinks: Useful overview from Wired magazine on the clear differences between the two but also the misconceptions which are portrayed by the media and each other.

We all knew Facebook is hooked on mis-information

Ian thinks: Interesting to see Facebook time their AI fairness paper on the same day. Who are they trying to kid?

A bank is the last place I think about when thinking purpose and human rights?

Ian thinks: I’m not so sure how much is honest in this video but Paypal, are not just saying the right thing but actually doing. Such a important difference from a lot of the D&I efforts being talked about now.

Forget GDP, Its time for a new metric and the UN is engaged

Ian thinks: Its great to hear the UN is considering a move away from GDP to natural capital. Its about time the alternatives are taken deadly seriously, for the benefit of us all. Of course BBC R&D are researching Human Values in a similar mind.

The walled garden is the new security through obscurity?

Ian thinks: Feeling comfortable behind a walled garden can make you reliant on them for security, but like the MIT piece makes clear this can be a bad mistake for your own security


Find the archive here