Web Excursions 2021-09-03

Covid, Climate, And The New Denialism - by Edward Snowden - Continuing Ed — with Edward Snowden

  • The media has become: someone Googling for you.

    • And yet whenever the media presents statistics, it somehow never manages to remind us that statistics are inherently uncertain

  • For many of us, to read the daily news is to assess our personal risk-levels and

    • yet we rarely recall—and the media never mentions—that the true challenge is not to enumerate the risk, but to live with it;

    • to stake out the resilient middle ground between denying danger altogether (and, say, refusing to wear a mask in a crowded train or bus) and finding nothing but danger everywhere

  • How to deal with good research that also happens to be bad news—especially when it comes to Covid and the changes in our climate.

  • When we decide the situation is so bad that there’s nothing to be done, we succumb to a kind of civic paralysis.

    • An overwhelming concatenation of negativity, communicated as constantly unfolding catastrophe, leads even the most conspiracy-immune into apathy—and willful ignorance.

    • And now here’s the baddest news: it leads us into apathy and willful ignorance whether or not we believe the science.

  • What do all of these people have in common? They can usually agree on the “fact” that nothing can be done.

    • this mutant strain of “science denialism” has become its own pandemic—one that leaves us in denial about our ability to implement change.

Apple cares about privacy, unless you work at Apple - The Verge

  • Preston’s story is part of a growing tension inside Apple, where

    • some employees say the company isn’t doing enough to protect their personal privacy and,

    • at times, actively seeks to invade it for security reasons.

  • Employees have been asked to install software builds on their phones to test out new features prior to launch —

    • only to find the builds expose their personal messages.

  • Others have found that when testing new products like Apple’s Face ID, images are recorded every time they open their phones.

  • Apple also tells employees that

    • they should have “no expectation of privacy

    • when using your or someone else’s personal devices for Apple business,

    • when using Apple systems or networks, or

    • when on Apple premises”

  • Many employees have a choice between getting an Apple-owned phone or having the company pay for their phone plan.

    • But one source tells The Verge that trying to maintain two phones can become impractical.

    • In software engineering, certain employees are expected to download a “live-on” program that puts out daily builds with bug fixes.

    • “You can’t have a successful live-on program without people treating these devices exactly the same as a personal phone, So a work device or a work account just won’t cut it.”

  • Employees could pause during onboarding and say they want to create a new Apple ID specifically for work or use a different phone.

    • But most do not — it seems a little paranoid, and the Apple instructions say to go ahead and use your personal account.

    • What’s more, most Apple devices don’t support using multiple Apple IDs.

  • Employees can choose to not sync certain folders, like their photo libraries.

    • But others, like messages, can be trickier.

    • Apple adopted Slack in 2019, but some teams still use iMessage as a primary way to communicate,

      • which makes opting out of a message sync nearly impossible.

  • In 2017, Apple rolled out an app called Gobbler that would allow employees to test Face ID before it became available to customers.

    • The process was routine —

      • Apple often launched new features or apps on employees’ phones,

      • then collected data on how the technology was used to make sure it was ready for launch.

    • Gobbler was unique in that it was designed to test face unlock for iPhones and iPads.

    • This meant that every time an employee picked up their phone, the device recorded a short video — hopefully of their face.

    • They could then file “problem reports” on Radar, Apple’s bug tracking system, and include the videos if they found a glitch in the system.

    • “All data that has your face in it is good data.”

    • After rumors of criticism, Apple eventually changed the codename to “Glimmer.”

The Grammarphobia Blog: How do you copy?


Can you shed some light on how the verb “copy” came to mean receive or understand a message?


  • the receipt of a message in the late 1840s by an operator at a US telegraph station

    • The operator put the machinery in motion, and he read from the paper the dispatch as it was slowly received. He read aloud, and the copyist, near by, wrote it down with a pencil; and when thus finished, it was handed to the copying clerk, whose duty it was to copy it on the forms as represented by B [an image of a Western Union form]. It was then enveloped and handed to the messenger for delivery

  • the telegraph operators took on the work of the copyists and later the copy clerks.

    • To speed up the “drudgery of reading from the paper and then copying, the operators “learned instinctively to catch the sounds by ear” from the sounder and copy them down in English.

    • As a result, the verb “copy” in telegraph jargon came to mean to receive, translate, and write down

  • In the early 20th century, amateur radio operators in the US began using the verb “copy” in a similar way

  • Radio amateurs may also have used “copy” over the next few decades to mean understand or receive a message