politics

Basecamp’s New Politics Policy

Basecamp (and Jason) has been a bellwether for how companies operate for almost 20 years now. Here’s an interesting memo for the company that I can only imagine more organizations will be implementing in the coming months / years…

With that, we wanted to put these directional changes on the public record. Historically we’ve tried to share as much as we can — for us, and for you — so this transmission continues the tradition.

1. No more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account. Today’s social and political waters are especially choppy. Sensitivities are at 11, and every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant. You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit, or wading into it means you’re a target. These are difficult enough waters to navigate in life, but significantly more so at work. It’s become too much. It’s a major distraction. It saps our energy, and redirects our dialog towards dark places. It’s not healthy, it hasn’t served us well. And we’re done with it on our company Basecamp account where the work happens. People can take the conversations with willing co-workers to Signal, Whatsapp, or even a personal Basecamp account, but it can’t happen where the work happens anymore.

Source: Changes at Basecamp

“Reopen” Domain Surge

Propaganda and misinformation are easy to propagate on the web as one of my mentors, Wayne Porter, would frequently show me. Now is not the time to let our guard down.

That lookup returned approximately 150 domains; in addition to those named after the individual 50 states, some of the domains refer to large American cities or counties, and others to more general concepts, such as “reopeningchurch.com” or “reopenamericanbusiness.com.”

Source: Who’s Behind the “Reopen” Domain Surge? — Krebs on Security

YouTube and “Reinforcing” Psychologies

“The new A.I., known as Reinforce, was a kind of long-term addiction machine. It was designed to maximize users’ engagement over time by predicting which recommendations would expand their tastes and get them to watch not just one more video but many more.

Reinforce was a huge success. In a talk at an A.I. conference in February, Minmin Chen, a Google Brain researcher, said it was YouTube’s most successful launch in two years. Sitewide views increased by nearly 1 percent, she said — a gain that, at YouTube’s scale, could amount to millions more hours of daily watch time and millions more dollars in advertising revenue per year. She added that the new algorithm was already starting to alter users’ behavior.

“We can really lead the users toward a different state, versus recommending content that is familiar,” Ms. Chen said.”

via “The Making of a YouTube Radical” by Kevin Roose in the New York Times

“Invisible Wire Pullers”

Eerily familiar to the American left…

Prideful of their own higher learning and cultivation, the intellectual classes could not absorb the idea that, thanks to “invisible wire-pullers”—the self-interested groups and individuals who believed they could manipulate the charismatic maverick for their own gain—this uneducated “beer-hall agitator” had already amassed vast support. After all, Germany was a state where the law rested on a firm foundation, where a majority in parliament was opposed to Hitler, and where every citizen believed that “his liberty and equal rights were secured by the solemnly affirmed constitution.”

— Read on www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/when-its-too-late-to-stop-fascism-according-to-stefan-zweig

Defending the Liberal Arts

Long overdue…

The new statement offers a counterargument to the notion that the liberal arts are impractical, and perhaps unnecessary. The disciplines, it argues, increase students’ curiosity, prepare them to be lifelong learners, and offer a foundation for academic freedom. As a result, the associations argue, the benefits of the liberal arts should be available to “all college students and not solely a privileged few.”

— Read on www.chronicle.com/article/2-Associations-Forcefully/243544

By eating less meat and more fruit and…

By eating less meat and more fruit and vegetables, the world could prevent several million deaths per year by 2050, cut planet-warming emissions substantially, and save billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and climate damage, researchers said.

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/diet-fitness/vegan-eating-would-slash-cut-food-s-global-warming-emissions-n542886

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Hi Sam, and all. My name is to be unable to chat with Ted, Citibank, I was calling to remind few ec event. Going to the polls to call Follett and, when you go to Naples. Thank you, the boat. It’s Akiva she’s a wonderful pistons representative of education, environment and hey i was kidding. Hi Florence, at 4:25. C is. That’s why I’m volunteer alright. Thank you. Goodbye. I hope you listen to my message.

I’ve listened to this voicemail three times and have no idea who she’s polling for on her message. 


Whoever it is, I wish them well in our local primaries. 

RedHatBlueHat

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Since we’re on a political kick here, head over to GeekCast and listen to the latest RedHatBlueHat podcast.

Despite Shawn’s rather biased show description, it was a well balanced and heated show where I do what I do every week… ask policy questions and have to fend off the politics of personal destruction that the Red Hats keep retreating to any time the water gets warm.

RedHatBlueHat : GeekCast.fm: “The fourth installment of RedHatBlueHat featured Tim Jones, Shawn Collins, Mike Allen, Sam Harrelson, and Todd Crawford getting worked up about money and war.

This week focused on a John McCain interview on the Today Show where he made comments about Iraq and ‘big oil’ that got the Obama camp worked into a tizzy.”

Even if you’re not a political junkie, it’s a fun show.

Here’s the mp3 for your downloading pleasure.

If I get some time this weekend, I’m going to make a dedicated site for the show at the www.redhatbluehat.com domain. Thanks to Jim Kukral for the logo!

Why Do Right Wingers Love Apple?

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One of my secret pleasures is to listen to the local right-leaning AM station here in Asheville while coding, doing spreadsheets or something that doesn’t require much higher brain function. Every town has one of these stations with a rotation of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity (who might have the worst designed website in the world) and Michael Savage.

I’m by no means a right winger and to keep my blood pressure down, I should probably be listening to the local Air America station instead. However, I just can’t help myself. Plus, the right wing ramblings help me prepare for the stale talking points that my comrades on RedHatBlueHat throw out every Thursday.

Lately, I’ve noticed that the right wing talk show guys are big Apple fans. A few weeks ago, Rush made a public plea to Steve Jobs to help him with a few problems he was having on his higher end Macs that got a good deal of press and coverage. Last week, Sean Hannity did an extended monologue about how innovative and great Apple was in terms of their products. Then, on my way in to the office this morning I listened to Glenn Beck go ga-ga over the iPhone 3G.

Which begs the question in my head… why do right wingers (except for Shawn Collins) love the shiny Macs? I almost feel dirty for typing this on my Macbook Pro. Almost.

I don’t know the answer to the question. Maybe it’s because Macs just work or perhaps they make Rush feel a little more faux-elite because of the price.

Regardless, if they have seen the light on tech perhaps they’ll see the light on the political side one day. Probably not. But a left winger can hope.

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