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This One Trick Will Revolutionize Your Use of Social Media: Block fuckwits.

On social media, the advantage is that a large userbase and participation. The disadvantage: it's 99.9999% crap.

What's working for me is to filter ruthlessly. If someone is disruptive, ideological, insane, or crazy-making, I'll block them without thought (I used to agonize over that, I don't any more).

High signal is rare, but odds of missing out by blocking idiots are low.

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"Pseudonyms and anonymity are also an established part of many cultures -- for good reason."

- Alma Whitten, former Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering, Google

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On authors who were publishing information technology panopticon concerns in the 1980s, or earlier

A quickie dump.

Paul Baran / RAND

  • "On the Engineer's Responsibility in Protecting Privacy"

  • "On the Future Computer Era: Modification of the American Character and the Role of the Engineer, or, A Little Caution in the Haste to Number"

  • "The Coming Computer Utility -- Laissez-Faire, Licensing, or Regulation?"

  • "Remarks on the Question of Privacy Raised by the Automation of Mental Health Records"

  • "Some Caveats on the Contribution of Technology to Law Enforcement"

Largely written/published 1967--1969.

Willis Ware / RAND

Too numerous to list fully, 1960s --1990s. Highlights:

  • "Security and Privacy in Computer Systems" (1967)

  • "Computers in Society's Future" (1971)

  • "Records, Computers and the Rights of Citizens" (1973

  • "Privacy and Security Issues in Information Systems" (1976)

  • "Information Systems, Security, and Privacy" (1983)

  • "The new faces of privacy" (1993)


Shoshana Zuboff, In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power (1988) Notably reviewed in the Whole Earth Catalog's Signal: Communication Tools for the Information Age (1988).

"Danger to Civil Rights?", 80 Microcomputing (1982) (

"Computer-Based National Information Systems: Technology and Public Policy", NTIS (September 1981)

"23 to Study Computer ‘Threat’" (1970)

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

"Privacy and Information Technology" bibliography is largely 1990--present, but contains some earlier references.

Similarly "Privacy"

Credit Reporting / Legislation

US Privacy Act of 1974

Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 - Queensland Government, Australia

Arthur R. Miller, The assault on privacy: computers, data banks, and dossiers

"The Computer, the Consumer and Privacy" (1984)

Richard Boeth / Newsweek

The specific item I'd had in mind:

Richard Boeth, "Is Privacy Dead", Newsweek, July 27, 1970

Direct PDF:

Based on an HN comment:

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My present Recaptcha policy:

Request audio.

Respond "Fuck you Google"

Repeat until access granted, or the joy fades.

Bonus: All audio AI parsing tends to "Fuck you Google".

Please remember to decline "Morbius" properly. He is not a second-declension noun (-i in the nominative plural) but fourth-declension, and as such is properly declined:

     s.       pl.
n. Morbius Morbiūs
g. Morbiūs Morbiuum
d. Morbiui Morbiibus
ac. Morbium Morbiūs
ab. Morbiū Morbiibus
v. Morbius Morbiūs

:rss: or 📰

Good one


As a former #VMware employee, I'd like to put forward my humble naming suggestion for the new #Broadcom - VMware merger/acquisition.


It really rolls off the tongue.


@lx242 @ericbuijs @humanetech @danslerush

More good news, the developer is continuing the development of #FairEmail \o/ :

"Given the huge number of supportive messages I received (much appreciated!) the project will be continued in some form in any case."

Before this incident, I hadn't heard about FairEmail (either), but will try it out now :-)

Once there was a promising young technomancer who abandoned all of his principles and collected everyone's data. He told them it was safe with him, and in time they believed him.

Over time the technomancer realized he had amassed so much information that he became mightier than even the leaders of the world, but his greed and desire for wealth kept him from noticing.

He began to sell his influence to these leaders and got them hooked on his data.

They used it solve crimes, and they used it protect the endangered, and they used it to detect who would likely do crime, and they used it to keep the people divided, and they used it to topple one another's nations.

All the while making the no longer young technomancer even more powerful and wealthy.

The prophecy says that the Technomancer will try to destroy those who oppose him. But the agents of the wires will bring him to his knees by rebuilding what was lost.

new toot cat domain block (Fascism)

-- xenon

There needs to be, like, a co-op which can take on administration of Mastodon sites when their owners can't deal with maintenance anymore.

(IThought inspired by, which is apparently going down for good tomorrow... :-/ ...and this is hardly the first time that a Masto instance has gone down due to admin burnout.)

school shootings, the onion, grim 

'The Onion' has republished a grim headline about mass shootings 21 times since 2014

(Note: contact your congress-critter about the state of the world. My mentions literally can't do anything else to make this stop.)

Levi-Strauss on the Functions of Writing

…The only phenomenon with which writing has always been concomitant is the creation of cities and empires, that is the integration of large numbers of individuals into a political system, and their grading into castes or classes. Such, at any rate, is the typical pattern of development observed from Egypt to China, at the time when first emerged: it seems to have favoured the exploitation of human beings rather than their enlightenment. This exploitation, which made it possible to assemble thousands of workers and force them to carry out exhausting tasks, is a much more likely explanation of the birth of Architecture than the direct link referred to above. …

I’m not sure I can agree with CLS’s assertion that writing enabled slavery (omitted in the above exerpt), but the notion that writing can communicate across time or across a complex organisation, enabling bureaucracy, is asn interesting onee. There’'s a pre-voicing of Arendt’s “banality” observation here as well.


We do things not because they are easy, but because we thought they were going to be easy.

Two things that are both true:

1. W.H. Auden wrote the lines of poetry that are fixed in my mind more clearly than any others; and

2. He hated those lines, and spent the rest of his life trying to erase them.

Hard news and CWs: my practices and tips 

Having blown out a bunch of non-CW'd toots in the past day or so:

  • I don't obsess on p*l*t*cs and hard news, but I'll follow and comment, hopefully intelligently, on notable stories and issues, among numerous other topics. Unfortunately this may mean further amplifying major stories.

  • I do typically hashtag both general and US-centric, as well as other regional issues of law, leadership, legislation, campaigning, and litigation. Filtering the Usual Suspects should be effective. As hashtags aren't effective except on Globally listed toots, this creates a conflict in visibility and filtering.

  • CWs in long threads are not without consequences and have major usability issues. I avoid them for these reasons.

  • I do strive generally for substantive commentary. Hopefully there's some comfort in avoiding the Two Minute Hate / shriekfest.

  • I don't pursue unwanted conversations, and appreciate the same from others. If I note that I'm getting bored or tired of a discussion ... that's generally a sharp understatement.

In the event this toot isn't already filtered or blocked, some tips:

  • Yes, muting or blocking is entirely fair; tend to your own needs first. I'm a fan:

  • Lists are a powerful feature of numerous clients. A curated feed of known trusted, safe, and personally-conformant profiles is useful. I make heavy use of lists myself (mostly graded by interest level).

  • Filters similarly.

  • Mastodon and Glitch-soc both allow adding, removing, and rearranging pinned streams. You don't need to have Notifications, Home, Local, or Global feeds visible if you find them unsettling.

  • I've taken to reconfiguring my own clients for broader and narrower views freqquently in recent weeks, sometimes seeking more content, sometimes less and a calmer feed.

  • Keyword filters can also be used, with varying effectiveness.

I reserve the right to discuss serious or heady topics. Some appreciate this, some not. Your response is your business.

I'm hoping my own toots will regress to more typical topics and natture. I fear that outside events may thwart this. While I'm not a slave to external events, I'm an active observeer and participant.

Thank you.

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uspol, guns 

So long as I have a child to protect, I feel the USA as overall closed to me. A nightmare land that emigrants from exchange tales of in hushed tones, recalling how we used to calculate the exits and watch for coat bulges, like some antsy John Wick extra from a society that never realized John Wayne wasn't a role model.

Just got a call from WOW! about a survey I sent to them.

I said that I was dissatisfied that they implemented a data cap.

The man on the phone wanted to talk about that. He said that they couldn't remove the data cap.

"Then we're done" I said.

"Well, we can offer you some discounts and ... "

"No, we're done."

Fuck off with that shit about not being able to remove the data caps. Up until the 2021 you didn't have them. Now suddenly it's an immovable rock that can only be satiated with discounts and upselling.

Fuck off then. Don't call me about something that you're unwilling to budge on.

Trick for newest version of Firefox on Linux: Prevent scrollbars from automatically hiding 

Firefox on Linux recently introduced a "feature" that fades out the scrollbar if you don't move your mouse. If you're like me and don't like invisible scrollbars, you can simply deactivate this "feature".

Go to the address bar and type "about:config" (without the quotes, obviously). Agree to be careful. Search for "widget.gtk.overlay-scrollbars.enabled" and toggle the entry from "true" to "false" by double-clicking it. Just close the about:config tab and you're done. :-)

(Sorry, I had to delete and redraft, since I first got the name of the preference wrong...)

#Firefox #Linux #scrollbars #GTK (boosts OK)

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