Technolotics #39 – Lollystop


Listen: Episode 39
Watch: Youtube



Fear and loathing in single sex schools

Review of data from across the world showed no evidence that single-sex schools were consistently better.
Ability and social background of the pupils reason for their performance in school league tables.
Success of single sex schools could be attributed to them creaming the best students.
Situation occurs of co-educational school having a large gender imbalance containing the girls deemed unfit for the single-sex school.

Is it natural to seperate boys and girls at school as is simply denies them the chance to interact? Hence stunting their social and personal development?
An interesting study would be to compare the social skills of those from single and co-educational schools.
Children go to school together up until the age of 11, why then seperate them?


The Observer news article
Guardian Unlimited news article

Social networking products that game the system.


Allows a salesperson to see exactly what you looked at and clicked on on their website after clicking on a link sent via email.
The subsequent telephone sales pitch is then based on what they have learned by observing you.

LinkedIn is a social networking site for jobs.

It allows people to connect to strangers who may employ them via someone they do know who will vouch for them.
Situation may occur where you are asked to connect people you don’t know to one another, which can be socially awkward.

Jigsaw allows one to trade business contacts almost like baseball cards.

You get money or credits for submitting contact information which can then be used to buy contact information.
Idea of trading your contacts or obtaining contacts merely to trade them for better ones is kindof creepy.


Break the social contract–for fun and profit by Rafe Needleman

Who’s reading your email?

New plans to scan e-mails for illegal images of child abuse.
AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, EarthLink and United Online have joined with the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to create new ways to safeguard children.
First initiative is to create a database of images of child abuse and then process each to create a digital fingerprint.
They will then monitor email attachments and images files sent over the networks in the hopes of spotting illegal images.
Chances of false positives are quite high.

Seems more of a token gesture rather than a real effort to stop the trading of images of abuse.
Trading often happens on restricted servers with files encrypted and obfuscated to hide their true content.

UK is moving towards forcing ISP’s to put in place technical measures that will block customers from accessing websites identified by the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) as containing illegal images.
Interestingly the IWF has not a statutory body and has no legal powers.
But it will have the power to block a website it considers unacceptable or illegal under current law.

Why would you oppose this?

Another foot in the door of the total surveilence of email
False positives – family snaps etc
What other images will trickle into later versions the tracking algorithem – essentially anything illegal that is distinct enough to algorithmically analyse cheaply – any form of drug useage, or how about photos of you at a protest. But technology is never used for repression right?
Look at the list of other things the IWF watch for

things that may be banned at the ISP – copyright violations, peer to peer services (note – not just file sharing), mobile camera violence (happy slapping we think)

Great UK firewall anyone?



Commentary by Bill Thompson on BBC Technology website

The Future of Futurism

In 1976 Stefan Kanfer divided futurists into two groups:

Neo-Malthusians are convinced that the world is going to hell.
Cornucopians, in contrast, promise vast riches.

Most futurists believe technology will empower the ordinary individual.
Glenn Reynolds believes in a “comfy chair revolution” that will turn every consumer into a producer.
John Robb believes that such empowering technology has the downside of also being available to terrorists, criminals etc.
Philip Longman, believes “the comfy chair revolution” will strengthen the hand of fundamentalists worldwide. The forces of reaction will simply outbreed the secular world.
Barry Lynn argues that the global supply chains we count on are too fragile to survive a major shock, be it natural disaster or terrorist attack or otherwise.

Some things don’t change, i.e. death and taxes etc.
Good futurists take the constants into account and extrapolate on current trends.

The author states that the Cornocopians have generally got things right.

Rising standard of living: Not for all, gap in wealth between rich and poor has widened.
the XBox as a Superintelligent robots: eh.. no.
Vast Undersea cities: This may come true but not through design, more likely through rising sea levels flooding cities.

Links article

Short Stories

New Defamation bill makes it harder to sue for libel

The Irish Governments new defamation bill allows a defence of innocent publication to people providing the medium.
The bill has been proposed and is due for debate in the Dail before being passed into law in November.

ISP’s could be liable if they exercise an editing role on a site as they would then have the opportunity to excise defamatory material.
In the UK ISP’s are absolved from liability over what at third party writes about another person online.

The new legislation may well force ISP’s to disclose the identity of bloggers and contributors to chatrooms so that the defamer can then be sued for everything he owns.

All this means is that the ISP is less likely to get sued.
You however will still be at risk for damaging someone’s good name, even more so now they can find out who you are.


SiliconRepublic article

Amanda Congdon leaves Rocketboom.

Anchor of popular daily video blog Rocketboom Amanda Congdon leaves the show.
She claims she was forced to by Andrew Baron her former partner in RocketBoom.
Rocketboom released a statement stating she was no longer with them due to her wanting to move to a different part of the country.

RocketBoom has catapulted itself to success,

with 250,000ish daily viewers,
distribution via Tivo
and $40,000 per week in advertising revenue.

How much of that is attributable to the anchor is debatable but future success may depend on finding a suitable replacement.
Or maybe they will kiss and make up.


TechCrunch Article

US military turns to “blog analysis” for intelligence

Air Force Office of Scientific Research, is currently funding a US$450,000 study that attempts to mine blogs for “invaluable help in fighting the war of terror.”
Some genius has come up with the idea of basing the relevance of a source by the number of hyperlinks to it. Someone contact the Nobel foundation.
This of course is not at all like the method used by the world’s largest search engine.
System will allow warhawks to figure out what topics bloggers are talking about before it makes it onto Fox News.


Ars Technica article

Media Pimp


Lost Words
Become a camcorder pro


StoryCorps – Oral history of the USA

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