jarrodwhaley.com

I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Posts in culture:

White People Are (Wrongly) Scared

Here’s Max Fisher of Vox on Trump’s little rally yesterday:

The conspiracy theory also feeds into far-right fears about demographic change, and a belief that, as white Christian Americans lose their demographic dominance, they will come under physical threat as well.

These fringe extremists see the world as divided into racial and religious groups, and believe that they are already under imminent physical danger from people who look different from them. Within that warped worldview, pre-emptive violence against their perceived enemies would be entirely justified.

This phenomenon strikes me as perhaps the driving force behind most–if not all–of our country’s current political stinkpit. White people assume that sharing privilege is tantamount to losing it. Men assume the same when it comes to feminism. And homophobes, when it comes to marriage equality. "If everyone is a person, I suddenly lose some of my special personhood," so the thought goes.

We’ll get past this ugly moment eventually, and even if we never attain a grand utopian society of equality, we’ll get ever closer to it. Meanwhile, the bigots and the ignorant misanthropes will foam and gurgle at the mouth, and they’ll die angry and bitter and sad.

It might almost be fun to watch them lose, if they didn’t have assault rifles.

Facebook Openly Breaks European Privacy Law

Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian:

Facebook tracks the web browsing of everyone who visits a page on its site even if the user does not have an account or has explicitly opted out of tracking in the EU […]

The real question is: what will the EU do about it.

A: Absolutely nothing.

Oh, You Didn’t See That Facebook Post?

John Moltz on Facebook’s goofily incomplete “News Feed”:

When the algorithm gets in the way of showing you what’s happening now, if you have to wait until the next day or go below the fold to see what happened last night, how is your medium any better than a newspaper?

Facebook has really become a giant abortion of theology and geometry, and every day I’m amazed to see that users aren’t kicking it to the curb en masse. Something this bad–something this disdainful of its users–really can’t be awfully long for this world. People will always get tired of eating crap…eventually.

Google Executive Murdered By Prostitute on Yacht

NBC Bay Area:

A woman police describe as a high-end prostitute has been arrested on suspicion of murder after allegedly injecting heroin into a tech executive on his yacht in Santa Cruz and leaving him to die when he overdosed.

This is bizarre and sad. Silicon Valley does seem to be a new Hollywood.

Facebook Caching Data Not Even Given to Them

Pierluigi Paganini of Security Affairs:

Facebook is analyzing thoughts the writing [sic] that users have intentionally chosen not to share.

The article claims that when a user begins to type something into the status update field and then changes her mind about sharing it (or in other words, censors herself), Facebook actually keeps that text and runs data analysis on it.

I don’t know if it’s fair to say that Facebook is “analyzing thoughts,” exactly, and I don’t think there’s any reason to think that any interaction with Facebook at all is in any way connected with anything even remotely related to privacy. My sense is that humanity as a whole seems eager to do away with the very notion of privacy, so who cares?

Android Flashlight App LoJacks Users

Alice Truong, Fast Company:

The Android app Brightest Flashlight has been installed between 50 million and 100 million times, averaging a 4.8 rating from more than 1 million reviews. Yet its customers might not be so happy to learn the app has been secretly recording and sharing their location and device ID information.

I’m willing to bet a non-negligible amount of money, actually, that the number of shits given among those who’ve installed this app is less than or equal to 0.01. These users will never even know that their movements are filling a creepy database, and they wouldn’t care a whit even if they did know.

Google Patents Douchey Gesticulations

Chris Welch, for The Verge:

The patents outline an entirely new way of controlling Glass (or any other wearable computing device); one that tracks a user’s hand gestures in an attempt to understand what’s important or significant. One example cited puts a physical spin on the ubiquitous “like” action used across social media. Google’s patent shows a user framing real-world objects with a heart-shaped hand gesture. Using its built-in camera, the wearable device would then analyze the framed content and intelligently “like” the highlighted object or location.

Great. I can’t wait until the world is overrun with idiotic douchnozzles pointing their thumbs at everything. Kill me.

German Doofs Conclude That Popcorn-Munching Nullifies Advertising

Philip Oltermann for The Guardian:

Eating popcorn in the cinema may be irritating not just for fellow movie goers, but for advertisers: a group of researchers from Cologne University has concluded that chewing makes us immune to film advertising.

The reason why adverts manage to imprint brand names on our brains is that our lips and the tongue automatically simulate the pronunciation of a new name when we first hear it. Every time we re-encounter the name, our mouth subconsciously practises its pronunciation.

I enjoy the conclusion, but I find the premise behind it to be highly risible. I don’t believe for a second that thousands of people are subconsciously mouthing “Pepsi” right now—and even if they were, I think it’s pretty bleedingly obvious that advertising succeeds or fails on the strength of its rhetoric.

Woman Knifes Roommate Over Being Forced To Hear The Eagles

Tara McGinley at Dangerous Minds:

I’m not one to condone violence, but… I kinda get this.

Oh, I totally get this. Die, Boomer Music, die.

The NSA Database Is Nothing Compared To This

Scott Shane and Colin Moynihan for The New York Times:

For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans’ phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency’s hotly disputed collection of phone call logs.

Some of these records are 26 years old, predating by far even the dubious statues which supposedly justify this sort of intrusion. First it's terrorists. Then it's drug dealers. What next? Political dissidents? Political or social or racial minorities?

We're getting snared in a giant fascistic trap, and most of the population is clapping and shouting “Woo!”