The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on January 19, 2014

  • Susan Crawford gets it.
    The theoretical downside is that the Internet devolves into a kind of “pay to play” system, with smaller companies tending to be squeezed out, and prices tending to rise overall.

    That is the dystopia envisioned by people like Susan Crawford, a visiting professor of law at Harvard University and a co-director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “We’ve got very powerful market actors in America who want to make more money from the same infrastructure, without expanding it,” Crawford says. “The way they do that is to divide markets and then steadily charge more. And on the other side, they want to charge people who want to reach subscribers different rates.”

    tags: net_neutrality mit_techreview susan_crawford politics internet

  • What with Google buying Nest (learning about people’s private preferences for how they heat or cool their homes – potential privacy invasion, much?), and apps like this (NameTag), you have to wonder where we’re headed. Creepy creepy.
    Perhaps the most cynical part of the whole idea, though, is that the creators do plan to offer people a way to avoid being face-scanned like this—but it looks like you have to sign up to their site to do it. “People will soon be able to login to and choose whether or not they want their name and information displayed to others,” Tussy explained in the release. Is the true idea behind NameTag, then, a social network that you have to opt out of?

    tags: privacy apps google glass facial_recognition socialnetworks victoria_turk

  • Something worth reading from Kunstler (for a change).
    To me, the danger of a President Christie is that he is about the last politician one might expect to recognize the nation’s tragic predicament and he is exactly the figure who will mount America’s deadly final campaign to sustain the unsustainable. He represents what amounts to a sort of national debt slavery: We will pay any price to stay where history has marooned us. One vivid example of this was Governor Christie’s decision in 2010 to cancel New Jersey’s participation in building a new commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River to relieve the unsustainable pressure on the existing 100-year-old train tunnels. He derided the project as “a tunnel to the basement of Macy’s.” Christie then diverted $4 billion from the tunnel project to New Jersey’s transportation trust fund in a bid to keep the state’s gas tax the second-lowest in the country. (New Jersey’s transit system, meanwhile, ranks among the country’s worst, and Christie has cut its funding.)

    This little maneuver highlights one of the nation’s most lamentable political failures of recent decades: the lack of will to invest in public transportation, in particular, upgrading and rehabilitating our conventional passenger railroad system. Governor Christie represents the majority of Americans who have no idea how close we are to the twilight of mass automobile motoring.

    tags: chris_christie james_kunstler motordom peak_oil

  • File under “Uh-oh”?
    NASA scientists, along with others, are learning that the Arctic permafrost—and its stored carbon—may not be as permanently frosted as its name implies. Research scientist Charles Miller of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is the principal investigator of the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE), a five-year NASA-led field campaign to study how climate change is affecting the Arctic’s carbon cycle. He told NASA, “Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures—as much as 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) in just the past 30 years. As heat from Earth’s surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilize these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic’s carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming.”

    tags: climate_change methane global_warming

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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