Excerpt

Is that even a thing?

I can now sleep at night.

In the OED’s latest update, the word (“thing”) has gained yet another meaning, “defined as ‘a genuine or established phenomenon or practice’, and is often used in questions conveying surprise or incredulity, such as ‘is that even a thing?’”

(Via Quartz)

Understanding Privacy Developments with the Latest Browsers

Solid summary of privacy-related developments in Safari and Chrome via the EFF:

Starting sometime in 2018, Google’s Chrome browser will begin blocking all ads on websites that do not follow new recommendations laid down by the industry group the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA). Chrome will implement this standard, known as the Better Ads Standard, and ban formats widely regarded as obnoxious such as pop-ups, autoplay videos with audio, and interstitial ads that obscure the whole page. Google and its partners worry that these formats are alienating users and driving the adoption of ad blockers. While we welcome the willingness to tackle annoying ads, the CBA’s criteria do not address a key reason many of us install ad blockers: to protect ourselves against the non-consensual tracking and surveillance that permeates the advertising ecosystem operated by the members of the CBA.

Google’s approach contrasts starkly with Apple’s. Apple’s browser, Safari, will use a method called intelligent tracking prevention to prevent tracking by third parties—that is, sites that are rarely visited intentionally but are incorporated on many other sites for advertising purposes—that use cookies and other techniques to track us as we move through the web. Safari will use machine learning in the browser (which means the data never leaves your computer) to learn which cookies represent a tracking threat and disarm them. This approach is similar to that used in EFF’s Privacy Badger, and we are excited to see it in Safari.

I can’t believe…

The New York Times has is keeping track since Inauguration not only how often the President lies, but also the content of the lies and the corresponding facts.

It is baffling but mostly nauseating that this is the new normal.

The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews

Via the New York Times, the money quote:

The key psychological insight here is that people have no trouble turning any information into a coherent narrative. This is true when, as in the case of my friend, the information (i.e., her tardiness) is incorrect. And this is true, as in our experiments, when the information is random. People can’t help seeing signals, even in noise.

Says a lot about a recent election, too.

From the 2016 Panic Report

Via Panic Blog:

Defining roles is important What happens when you’re truly a “flat” organization and you have a bunch of incredibly smart people that can all offer valuable input on almost every task happening at any one time? Things can actually slow down a little at times. You want the right people on the right tasks, and you want someone who can make tough decisions and process the possibilities. It’s possible we’ve outgrown complete flatness. We’ll be experimenting with this more into the future, although it’s so tricky — you don’t want people feeling excluded, and you don’t want to extinguish the passion of creating!

Hi. Thanks for the Unsolicited Mail!

Never in the history of ever have I acted on unsolicited mail. Ever. Your mail is unsolicited which means I did not request it. This makes your email spam. This is unfortunate because there is a non-zero chance the goods and/or services you’re selling might be useful. Given to my own devices, it is probable that in my endless compulsive wandering of the Internet that I would have discovered your goods and/or service and learned about the value you created.

But you blew it.

By spamming me, your product is cast as useless. And it’s not.

I realize that your strategy works. I realize that blindly spamming email addresses costs you very little and a single digital response percentage justifies your effort. You are going to continue with this strategy because the reward outweighs the risk and it feels like the fiscally responsible move.

My strategy works, too.

Trust Your Gut

Despite the growing reliance on “big data” to game out every decision, it’s clear to anyone with a glimmer of self-awareness that humans are incapable of constantly rational thought. We simply don’t have the time or capacity to calculate the statistical probabilities and potential risks that come with every choice.

I feel I’ve spent 22.3% of my last four years of my life arguing with data-minded engineers about this topic.

“The number of objective facts deserving of that term is extremely low and almost negligible in everyday life,” he says. “The whole idea of using logic to make decisions in the world is to me a fairly peculiar one, given that we live in a world of high uncertainty which is precisely the conditions in which logic is not the appropriate framework for thinking about decision-making.”

Preach it.

(Via Quartz)