Two Judges Who Get It About Banks

from NYTs Big banks hold great sway in Washington these days, far more than troubled homeowners do. But outside the Beltway, many people remain caught in the maw of the financial giants, which is why it is heartening when some judges step into the fray. Consider two opinions involving Wells Fargo, a bank that enjoys a somewhat better reputation than many of its peers. On Monday, a judge in a state court in Missouri ordered Wells to pay over $3 million in punitive damages and other costs for abusing a borrower. Then, on Thursday, a judge in Federal Bankruptcy Court in suburban New […]

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The One Loophole to Rule Them All

from Slate For more than a year, alongside immigration and an oil pipeline, net neutrality has been one of the biggest policy debates in the nation, prompting thousands of articles, late-night comedy skits, many Senate letters, days of mass action, and a video pronouncement from the leader of the free world. Cable and phone companies (like Comcast and Verizon) want the power to charge Web giants (like Netflix and Amazon) for access to fast lanes and preferential treatment on the Internet, which would radically change the level playing field we have today for all inventors, speakers, and organizers. A year […]

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Rod Serling On Where Good Ideas Come From

From brain pickings The questions of where good ideas come from, what inspiration is made of, why some people are more creative than others, and how we can optimize ourselves for creativity are perhaps as enduring as the act of creation itself. In this short clip from the vintage TV special Writing for Television, Rod Serling, creator of the cult-classic The Twilight Zone, manages to articulate the combinatorial nature of creativity, as well as Arthur Koestler’s seminal theory of “bisociation,” in a mere sixty-four seconds: More here.

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At Universities, a Push for Data-Driven Career Services

from Bits Blog Officials at the University of California, San Diego, had sparse information on the career success of their graduates until they set up a branded page for the university on LinkedIn a couple of years ago. “Back then, we had records on 125,000 alumni, but we had good employment information on less than 10,000 of them,” recalled Armin Afsahi, who oversees alumni relations as the university’s associate vice chancellor for advancement. “Aside from Qualcomm, which is in our back yard, we didn’t know who employed our alumni.” Within three months of setting up the university page, LinkedIn connections […]

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S.E.C. Faces Challenges Over the Constitutionality of Some of Its Court Proceedings

from NYTs It is probably not a stretch to say that the Securities and Exchange Commission likes to win every case that it decides to bring. But a recent push by the agency to bring more cases before its administrative law judges rather than filing charges in federal district court is drawing increased attacks from defense lawyers claiming that the entire process is not just unfair, but also unconstitutional. Those criticisms could call into question the legality of the process used by a number of federal agencies that have in-house judges who decide whether laws were violated. The issue has […]

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Since 2004, This Small Team Has Been Crushing The Podcasting Competition

from Fast Company One afternoon in 2004, Mikel Ellcessor walked into his boss’s office with a big idea. At the time, he was the head of local content for New York public radio station WNYC. It was making all sorts of interesting shows, but connecting them with the right audience could be difficult. Distributing them outside of New York was complicated and time-consuming, and involved convincing a big group of people working at local public radio stations around the country that a new show was worth their time (and money). It was as if the people behind Parks and Recreation […]

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Verizon’s Mobile ‘Supercookies’ Seen as Threat to Privacy

from NYTs For the last several months, cybersecurity experts have been warning Verizon Wireless that it was putting the privacy of its customers at risk. The computer codes the company uses to tag and follow its mobile subscribers around the web, they said, could make those consumers vulnerable to covert tracking and profiling. It looks as if there was reason to worry. This month Jonathan Mayer, a lawyer and computer science graduate student at Stanford University, reported on his blog that Turn, an advertising software company, was using Verizon’s unique customer codes to regenerate its own tracking tags after consumers […]

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Among the Disrupted

From NYTs Amid the bacchanal of disruption, let us pause to honor the disrupted. The streets of American cities are haunted by the ghosts of bookstores and record stores, which have been destroyed by the greatest thugs in the history of the culture industry. Writers hover between a decent poverty and an indecent one; they are expected to render the fruits of their labors for little and even for nothing, and all the miracles of electronic dissemination somehow do not suffice for compensation, either of the fiscal or the spiritual kind. Everybody talks frantically about media, a second-order subject if […]

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The World Is Watching Our Net Neutrality Debate, So Let’s Get It Right

from Wired Does the United States act in accordance with the same principles that we advocate to others? The answer needs to be yes. When it comes to the debate on network neutrality, the world watches what we do at home. That’s one reason that the President’s commitment to network neutrality is so important: In the struggle to protect a global, open, and free internet, we must also protect it at home. The President’s recent call to enshrine network neutrality principles in domestic regulation echoes our diplomatic efforts to prevent any centralized power—corporate or governmental—from picking winners and losers on […]

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Here We Go Again 5 Key Questions for Patent Reform in 2015

from Gigaom Will the third time be the charm? In the last five years, Congress has twice tried to fix the country’s dysfunctional patent laws only to see those efforts founder at the hands of shrewd lobbying by reform opponents. Now, lawmakers are at it again, vowing to cut down the patent trolls who have made a mockery of a system that is supposed to promote innovation by instead turning it into a tool for economic extortion. Here’s a short look at the story so far, plus five factors that will determine if this year’s patent reform effort will fare […]

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Can The Privacy Revolution Prevail?

from Forbes How many of you were suckered by the Facebook privacy hoax and posted the scary note revoking Facebook’s rights to your pictures and data? Oops. Snopes has pointed out that Facebook never owned your data. The message is useless. You control who sees your information through Facebook privacy controls, but by agreeing to the site’s terms of use you are granting Facebook a “non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any content you post.” But the number of people who’ve posted point to a very real phenomenon: the growing sensitivity of consumers to websites that share or sell […]

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Speaking While Female

From NYTs YEARS ago, while producing the hit TV series “The Shield,” Glen Mazzara noticed that two young female writers were quiet during story meetings. He pulled them aside and encouraged them to speak up more. Watch what happens when we do, they replied. Almost every time they started to speak, they were interrupted or shot down before finishing their pitch. When one had a good idea, a male writer would jump in and run with it before she could complete her thought. Sadly, their experience is not unusual. More here.

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Is Public Broadband a Threat to Taxpayers? Let Towns Decide.

from Gigaom A casual observer might think towns across the country are contemplating Communism, rather than construction projects. Such is the state of the national debate over how to build more high speed internet, which is becoming as indispensable to modern life as hot water or electricity. The crux of the debate is over how small cities, especially those where fast internet is in short supply, can get better broadband networks. The right answer, however, should not be a matter of partisan politics — but in looking at the competence of individual towns, and ensuring that their populations can have […]

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Secure Messaging Scorecard

From EFF In the face of widespread Internet surveillance, we need a secure and practical means of talking to each other from our phones and computers. Many companies offer “secure messaging” products—but are these systems actually secure? We decided to find out, in the first phase of a new EFF Campaign for Secure & Usable Crypto. This scorecard represents only the first phase of the campaign. In later phases, we are planning to offer closer examinations of the usability and security of the tools that score the highest here. As such, the results in the scorecard below should not be […]

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How My Mom Got Hacked

from NYTs MY mother received the ransomnote on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It popped up on her computer screen soon after she’d discovered that all of her files had been locked. “Your files are encrypted,” it announced. “To get the key to decrypt files you have to pay 500 USD.” If my mother failed to pay within a week, the price would go up to $1,000. After that, her decryption key would be destroyed and any chance of accessing the 5,726 files on her PC — all of her data — would be lost forever. Sincerely, CryptoWall. CryptoWall 2.0 is […]

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Whether Working or Job Seeking, the Algorithm Is Watching

from Bits Blog Are you perusing LinkedIn at work more than usual? That small change in behavior could set off alerts in computer analytics programs used to surveil and rank employees, according to a forthcoming book, “The Reputation Economy: How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset.” If your LinkedIn browsing is noticed “by a recruiter, look forward to increased cold calls trying to lure you into new jobs,” the authors write. “If it’s caught by your company, look forward to either a conversation about what it would take to keep […]

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Artificial Intelligence Is Real Now And Its Just Getting Started

from Gigaom Artificial intelligence is already very real. Not conscious machines, omnipotent machines or even reasoning machines (yet), but statistical machines that automate and increasingly can outperform humans at certain pattern-recognition tasks. Computer vision, language understanding, anomaly detection and other fields have made immense advances in the past few years. All this work will be the stepping stones for future AI systems that, decades from now, might perform feats we’ve only imagined computers could perform. There are brain-inspired neurosynaptic microchips under development, and quantum artificial intelligence might only be a decade away. Some experts predict general artificial intelligence — perhaps even artificial superintelligence — will happen easily within […]

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Unprepared

from Seth’s Blog Is there anything worse we can say about you and your work? “You are unprepared.” But the word “unprepared” means two things, not just one. There is the unprepared of the quiz at school, of forgetting your lines, of showing up to a gunfight with a knife… this is the unprepared of the industrial world, the unprepared of being an industrial cog in an industrial system, a cog that is out-of-whack, disconnected and poorly maintained. What about the other kind, though? We are unprepared to do something for the first time, always. More here.

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Cluetrain: We Have Met The Internet’s Enemy, And He Is Us

from Gigaom When the Cluetrain Manifesto first appeared in 1999, the consumer internet was still in its infancy. The vast majority of people still used dial-up phone services to get online, if they got online at all, and GeoCities and Yahoo were the kings of the web — the closest thing to social media was AOL’s Instant Messenger. But the authors of the Manifesto saw what was coming: a world in which users, consumers and people in general would be connected in more ways than anyone imagined. That world is the one we live in now — a world in which […]

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Nobody Tells This To Beginners

from co.CREATE Few have been able to articulate the struggle of finding your creative footing better than Ira Glass. The producer and public radio magnate gave some advice on the topic to Public Radio International in 2009 that has resonated deeply in the years since. Pitched toward people just starting out, his advice focused on the gap between having good taste and producing good creative work—and battling the self-doubt that comes along with it. As the new year stirs feelings of dynamism in many of us, the team at Creavite has now animated Glass’s words into an inspiring new video. More here.

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