March 2018

NASA receives response from Voyager 1

Build things that last… “The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters,” said Jones, chief engineer at JPL. Source: NASA receives response from Voyager 1 spacecraft 13 billion miles away after 37 years of inactivity …

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Surveillance Capitalism

Surveillance capitalism is deeply embedded in our increasingly computerized society, and if the extent of it came to light there would be broad demands for limits and regulation. But because this industry can largely operate in secret, only occasionally exposed after a data breach or investigative report, we remain mostly ignorant of its reach. Bruce …

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Massive MyFitnessPal Data Breach

Annnnd I just restarted my MyFitnessPal account last week after picking up the Apple Watch again. Great. I guess it’s just a given now that any sort of online service you sign up for is going to eventually have a data breach of some sort. Here’s to Two Factor Authentication and user-friendly hashing of login credentials. …

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What did Jesus look like?

I’ve taught a series on depictions of Jesus numerous times at churches and for Sunday Schools of all flavors. This is one of the best pieces I’ve ever read on the subject. Thorough, but approachable. Plus, there’s a connection to my beloved Dura Europos… However, there is one other place to look: to the synagogue …

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Data Panic

I’ve been following Curran’s tweets and posts and press blitz the last couple of days, and I have to say that I’m not a fan of his scare tactics and frequent plugs for people to donate to his Patreon so that he can continue his “work”. Yes, your data should be intensely personal and used …

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Large implications as Facebook shuts down Partner Categories

This is significant. Many large companies (Fortune 100 type) have their own data sets on customers and potential customers and audiences they’d like to target. They’ve been able to combine that data with Facebook’s or Twitter’s own user data in incredibly effective (and cheap!) marketing campaigns tied to email newsletters and website promotions. None of …

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If you automate tweets for marketing purposes, you might want to read this

Back in January, Twitter announced upcoming changes to its service that would discourage use of automation tools for “amplification” of tweets. Now we’re beginning to see the effects of this change. One of the great things about using Twitter for marketing is the relative ease of “amping” up tweets and causing increased “velocity” which signals to …

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Churches and nonprofits should realize that Facebook privacy issues are just the tip of the iceberg

Way back in 2012, I was featured in a New York Times article titled “How To Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet” and offered up this bit as part of my interview (I was teaching Middle School Science at the time): “The topic of privacy policies and what lies ahead for our digital footprints is …

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Podcast on Church Marketing

Thomas and I recorded a new episode of Thinking Religion last night that covers many of my thoughts about how churches and nonprofits use (and should use) social media, email services, web apps etc in their marketing efforts. My basic point is that “social” media is reaching the same point that “broadcast” media did years …

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Episode 144: Should Your Church Delete Its Facebook Page?

Dr. Thomas Whitley and The Rev. Samuel Harrelson discuss The Great Social Media Reckoning of 2018, broadcast media vs social media, why you need a website (and why your church needs a GOOD website), and the importance of bringing it all back home. Support Thinking Religion

Reaping Data

Not to mention how companies and governments so haphazardly use this data for causes and purposes… The unchecked power of companies that harvest our data is a great problem—but it’s hard to get angry about an idea that’s so nebulous. Like climate change, the reaping of our data is a problem of psychology as much …

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Facebook is facing an existential crisis

Zuckerberg really needs to make a statement. This is going thermonuclear and Facebook’s sole commodity is trust via relationship. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has done immense damage to the brand, sources across the company believe. It will now take a Herculean effort to restore public trust in Facebook’s commitment to privacy and data protection, they …

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What Facebook knows about you and me and what I can do about it

Cambridge Analytica harvested personal information from a huge swath of the electorate to develop techniques that were later used in the Trump campaign. Source: How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions – The New York Times I often have consultations with clients involving data sources. Marketing has always been closely tied to the …

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“to queer the prophetic body”

Rather, she is interested in how queerness, in all of its polysemy, “works” in the prophetic texts. Her aim is to “trace the prophetic body as a queer object and to queer the prophetic body” (p. 7)—a project that is both queer and feminist. The result is an imaginative, illuminating investigation into the bodies of …

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