Why Online Voting Is Harder Than Online Banking

from ars technica For a feature last week, I talked to a number of election experts and computer security researchers who argued that secure Internet voting isn’t feasible today and probably won’t be for many years to come. A common response to this argument—one that came up in comments to last week’s article—is to compare voting to banking. After all, we regularly use the Internet to move money around the world. Why can’t we use the same techniques to secure online votes? But voting has some unique requirements that make secure online voting a particularly challenging problem. Every electronic transaction in the […]

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The Case for Dumping the Electoral College

from The New Yorker In 1961, Estes Kefauver, the crusading Democratic senator from Tennessee, denounced the Electoral College as “a loaded pistol pointed at our system of government.” Its continued existence, he said, as he opened hearings on election reform, created “a game of Russian roulette” because, at some point, the antidemocratic distortions of the College could threaten the country’s integrity. Judging from Twitter’s obsessions, at least, that hour may be approaching. The polls indicate that Donald Trump is likely to win fewer votes nationally than Joe Biden this fall, just as he won fewer than Hillary Clinton, in 2016. […]

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Welcome To Human-Computer Co-Creation: What GPT-3 Means For Education

from Forbes It’s a super auto-completer. With a little training, it’s a writer, coder, composer, translator, and puzzle solver. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of AI from OpenAI, a San Francisco R&D shop set up to guide a path to safe artificial general intelligence and funded by Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, and Vinod Khosla.  Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) is a deep learning language model that produces human-like text. The third-generation model “is the most powerful language model ever,” MIT Technology Review.   Trained by supercomputers with 175 billion parameters—an order of magnitude more than prior models—applications for GPT-3 have the potential […]

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We Can Have Social Media As We Know It, Or We Can Have Democracy

from Fast Company In early September, President Trump retweeted a video allegedly showing an “black lives matter/antifa” activist pushing a woman into a subway car. The video is nearly a year old, and the man in question was mentally ill and had no connection to either group. As a researcher studying social media, propaganda, and politics in 2016, I thought I’d seen it all. At the time, while working at University of Oxford, I was in the thick of analyzing Twitter bot campaigns pushing #Proleave messaging during Brexit. As a research fellow at Google’s thinktank Jigsaw that same year, I […]

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Eleanor Jacobs, 91, Dies; a Force Behind the Earth Shoe Phenomenon

from NYTs Eleanor Jacobs, who stumbled upon a pair of odd-looking shoes in Denmark and, with her husband, Raymond, created a short-lived phenomenon by selling them in the United States as Earth Shoes, died on Aug. 25 at her home in Litchfield, Conn. She was 91. Her daughter Susan Jacobs said the cause was congestive heart failure. In 1969, while she and her husband were vacationing in Denmark, Ms. Jacobs’s chronic back pain increased from all the walking she had been doing. She found unexpected salvation with a pair of negative-heel shoes she found at a store in Copenhagen. More […]

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Cheating

from Seth’s Blog There are really only two ways to approach this: “We don’t cheat.” “We cheat when we can get away with it.” The posture of, “our side doesn’t cheat,” is the belief in the validity of the game itself. It’s a statement of moral authority, a promise of consistency and valor. It respects the process. The posture of, “cheat if you can,” is the belief in the ends at any cost. It degrades the system, because if everyone cheats, then there is no system left. Cheaters often brag about their exploits, because they want to normalize them. More […]

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Together, You Can Redeem The Soul Of Our Nation

from NYTs While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity. That is why I had to visit Black Lives […]

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Now Is the Time for Main Street Shops to Go Digital

from Wired AS MANHATTAN BRACED for lockdown in early March, the main street of Fredonia, New York, was still buzzing with activity. The town had been chosen as the location for season five of Small Business Revolution, a TV series hosted by Amanda Brinkman in which the shops in a particular community get a makeover, and filming was underway. “We wondered if Covid would end up showing up in the narrative of season five,” Brinkman mused. Now, “the entire season is going to be about how we were able to help these businesses through this crisis.” As the chief brand […]

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A Different Kind of Civil-Service Organization

from The Atlantic The U.S. national government is failing in its response to the pandemic. One recent example: A month ago, on March 20, the United States and South Korea had about the same number of coronavirus deaths: nearly 100 in South Korea, versus somewhere over 200 in the U.S. Since South Korea has a much smaller population—about 50 million, versus more than 300 million for the U.S.—its per capita death rate was actually much higher. One month later, South Korea’s death total had risen to only 236—while that in the U.S. was rising quickly past 40,000. With adjustments for […]

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Thoughts On “I’m Bored”

from Seth’s Blog If you’re under 14: “Good.” It’s good that you’re feeling bored. Bored is an actual feeling. Bored can prompt forward motion. Bored is the thing that happens before you choose to entertain yourself. Bored is what empty space feels like, and you can use that empty space to go do something important. Bored means that you’re paying attention (no one is bored when they’re asleep.) If you’re over 14: “That’s on you.” As soon as you’re tired of being bored at work, at home, on lockdown, wherever, you’ll go find a challenge. You don’t have to quit […]

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Some Shirts Hide You From Cameras—But Will Anyone Wear Them?

from ars technica Right now, you’re more than likely spending the vast majority of your time at home. Someday, however, we will all be able to leave the house once again and emerge, blinking, into society to work, travel, eat, play, and congregate in all of humanity’s many bustling crowds. The world, when we eventually enter it again, is waiting for us with millions of digital eyes—cameras, everywhere, owned by governments and private entities alike. Pretty much every state out there has some entity collecting license plate data from millions of cars—parked or on the road—every day. Meanwhile all kinds […]

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Gustave Eiffel’s Original Drawings for the Statue of Liberty

from kottke Long thought destroyed or lost forever, a cache of original engineering drawings & blueprints for the Statue of Liberty done by Gustave Eiffel were found among some of Eiffel’s papers purchased at auction last year. Smithsonian magazine has the story of how they came to be found and why the drawings are so significant. More here.

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During the Pandemic, the FCC Must Provide Internet for All

from Wired IF ANYONE BELIEVED access to the internet was not essential prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, nobody is saying that today. With ongoing stay-at-home orders in most states, high-speed broadband internet access has become a necessity to learn, work, engage in commerce and culture, keep abreast of news about the virus, and stay connected to neighbors, friends, and family. Yet nearly a third of American households do not have this critical service, either because it is not available to them, or, as is more often the case, they cannot afford it. Lifeline is a government program that seeks to […]

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Surprising Study Finds That Creativity Is Not Actually Right Brain–It Is Left Brain

from Fast Company Time to implode one of your sacred cows: Creative excellence is mostly driven by the left brain, not the right brain, according to new research. This flies in the face of all of our popular notions about how right-brain thinkers are free-spirited creatives while left-brain thinkers are steeped in logic and analytics. In a new study in the journal NeuroImage, researchers at Drexel University conducted EEG scans while 32 guitarists to improvise jazz to six leads (songs). They found the guitarists’ brain activity to be almost entirely left-brain. A caveat: Inexperienced improvisers displayed right-brain activity and, not surprisingly, […]

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5 Things To Practice If You Want To Be More Creative

from Fast Company Two years ago, a report was published by the World Economic Forum that showed creativity is one of the top three most important skills for future workers. It went on to explain that by 2030, roughly 85% of the jobs that will exist haven’t even been invented yet—the idea being that with how quickly technology is changing the landscape of our world, jobs like being a cashier clerk or even an accountant will soon be replaced entirely by machines. Which begs the question: So then what are the most valuable skills worth cultivating today? Creativity was listed […]

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The Problem For Freelancers

from Seth’s Blog No clients, no work. And the clients have a problem as well: Figuring out who the truly good freelancers are. A marketplace like Upwork is supposed to solve a classic two-sided problem like this one. But the problem is so difficult that marketplaces often make it worse (and charge too much as well). They make it worse by pushing people to be bottom-fishing cheap commodity providers. If someone searches for ‘logo designer’, there is a huge amount of pressure to be the freelancer who checks all the boxes, has decent reviews and is also the cheapest. More […]

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The Future Of Work Looks Like Staying Out Of The Office

from ars technica It’s 2020: we finally live in the future! Or at least a future—one where broadband Internet connections and portable, reasonably high-powered computing tools are pervasive and widely accessible, even if they aren’t yet universal. Millions of workers, including all of us here at Ars, use those tools to do traditional “office jobs” from nontraditional home offices. Tens of millions of jobs at all points of the income and skill spectrum are of course not suited to remote work. Doctors, dentists, and countless other healthcare workers of the world will always need to be hands-on with patients, just […]

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Democratizing Innovation for The Fourth Industrial Revolution

from The Stillman Disruption Journal One of the highlights in Professor John Shannon’s Disruption course at Seton Hall University was when Frank Diana came in to speak. Frank is the lead futurist for Tata Consultancy Services, and he makes his living speaking to leaders and executives around the world about the ways that technology will likely disrupt the foundations of the way we live. These changes have been labeled appropriately as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which invites comparison to the three previous technology driven transformations of the same name. Frank’s presentation begins with a walk-through history, how transformation has impacted […]

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Democratizing Innovation for The Fourth Industrial Revolution

from The Stillman Disruption Journal One of the highlights in Professor John Shannon’s Disruption course at Seton Hall University was when Frank Diana came in to speak. Frank is the lead futurist for Tata Consultancy Services, and he makes his living speaking to leaders and executives around the world about the ways that technology will likely disrupt the foundations of the way we live. These changes have been labeled appropriately as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which invites comparison to the three previous technology driven transformations of the same name. Frank’s presentation begins with a walk-through history, how transformation has impacted […]

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