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Four short links: 30 September 2016

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Data from Word, Bot Personalities, Secure Hardware, and Launch Checklist

  1. Use R to Get Data Out of Word Docs -- finding the relevant bits of XML in the zip file that is a .docx file.
  2. Lili Cheng on Bot Personalities -- bonus points for not mentioning the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
  3. ORWL -- crowdfunded first open source, physically secure computer. ORWL was designed specifically to prevent undetected tampering with any of its electrical components, including the entire motherboard and storage drive. When tampering is detected, ORWL immediately and irrevocably erases all your data, even if it is unplugged at the time. So be sure to carry a USB stick with a backup on it. *cough*
  4. Product Launch Checklist -- very useful, from an excellentl PM.

Continue reading Four short links: 30 September 2016.

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pfctdayelise
3 hours ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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The Presentation of Selfies in Everyday High School

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Originally posted at Montclair Socioblog.

A girl takes a selfie, posts it to Instagram, and waits. She doesn’t have to wait long – a minute or two – before the likes and comments start rolling in. “Gorgeous,” “So pretty OMG,” “Stunning,” “Cutest.”

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You can see why people might look at this and think: narcissism. You can see why they might think that new technologies – Instagram, cell phones (self-phones?) – have made kids today the most narcissistic generation in history.  In an earlier post, I expressed my skepticism about that claim. And, if we can generalize from an episode of This American Life last November, the selfie-Instagram-comments syndrome is not about narcissism – seeing yourself as standing shiningly above everyone else. It’s about fitting in – reading the social map, finding where you stand, and maybe changing that place.

Here is a slightly edited-down excerpt of the first part of the show. As Ira Glass says, if you have teenage girls in your life, you’re probably familiar with this. I don’t and I’m not, so I found it fascinating listening. (When the girls were reading their comments, I thought one of the girls, Jane, was saying “Hard eyes,” and I couldn’t imagine why that was a compliment. Turns out, she was saying “Heart eyes.”) Here’s Ira Glass’s distillation:

They want comments from other girls. This is not about sex. It’s not about boys. It’s about girls, and friendship. And it’s very repetitive – the same phrases, over and over.

All these moves – the posting, the commenting and liking – have a meaning that girls know intuitively but that must be decoded for outsiders like me and Ira.


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Transcript:

Ira Glass: These comments are a very specific language that tells the girls all kinds of things.  And a lot of the meaning in the comments has nothing to do with the actual words. . .  It’s about who is doing the commenting . . .  Liking a photo means something totally different from commenting. You comment with someone you’re close to or someone you want to get close to.

Ella: It’s definitely a social obligation, because you want to let them know, and also let people who are seeing those, that I have a close relationship with this person, so close that I can comment on their pictures, like, this is so cute, or, you look so great here.

Jane:  Especially because we, like, just started high school, so we’re meeting a lot of new people. So you would comment on someone’s photo who you’re not really super close with or that you don’t know really well. And it’s sort of a statement, like, I want to be friends with you, or I want to get to know you, or like, I think you’re cool.

If someone that you don’t know very well commented on your photo, you – it’s sort of like an unspoken agreement that you have to comment back on their photo. Like when you’re making new friends, if they comment on your photo, you comment on their photo.

It’s hard to find narcissism or vanity in any of this. The girls are not preening, not basking in their triumphs, not nursing an ego wounded from some social slight. They are reading a constantly changing sociogram or network model of their world.

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Transcript:

Ira Glass:  They’re only three months into high school, so there is a lot at stake right now.

Julia:  One of my, like, best friends posts a selfie. Maybe this isn’t, like, healthy. But I might go through the comments and see who she’s, like, really good friends with, just ’cause we’re in high school and there’’s that sense of jealousy between everyone.

Ira Glass:  Do you have people who you’re jealous of?

Jane: Yeah.

Julia:  Yeah. I definitely would. I go through, like, the comments that people see– like that people say, and like, I see what other people have said to other people.

Jane:  Yeah.

Julia:  Just to see, like, the whole– like, the whole social like map.

Jane:  Looking, mapping out your social world, seeing who’s with who, who’s hanging out with who, who is best friends with who.

Julia:  If you didn’t have it, like, I feel like I’d be missing so much. And it would just –

Jane:    Because you wouldn’t see what other people were saying. A lot goes on.

Ira Glass:  Well, no, that’s, I feel like, the thing that I’m understanding from this conversation, is like – it’s actually like, you’re getting a picture of your entire social world and who’s up and who’s down and who’s close to who, and it’s like you’re getting a diagram of where everybody stands with everybody else.

Jane:  Yeah.

Ella:  Yeah.

Jane:  Definitely. Definitely.

Ira Glass: As it changes in real time, every day, every 10 minutes.

Ella: Yeah.

Jane:  Yeah. Everyone can see it.

Julia:  It’s crazy.

If you look at the individual –a girl posting a selfie and reading the laudatory comments – you see a personality trait, narcissism. But the behavior that looks like narcissism is really an aspect of the social structure (girls’ friendships networks) and the institution those networks are embedded in (school).

Jay Livingston is the chair of the Sociology Department at Montclair State University. You can follow him at Montclair SocioBlog or on Twitter.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

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pfctdayelise
3 hours ago
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Melbourne, Australia
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California now requires conviction before civil asset forfeiture

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California police departments' license to steal cash from innocent people has been restricted, thanks to a new bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Let's hope the federal government follows suit.

Nick Sibilla of The Institute for Justice says:

Since 1994, California state law has required a criminal conviction before real estate, vehicles, boats and cash under $25,000 could be forfeited to the government. But those requirements are completely missing under federal law. So California police could instead partner with a federal agency, take the property under federal law, and reap up to 80 percent of the proceeds.

To fix this, the new law requires a criminal conviction before agencies can receive forfeiture payments from the federal government on forfeited real estate, vehicles, boats and cash valued at under $40,000.

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InShaneee
3 hours ago
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Chicago, IL
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Fragments of Horror – Wonderfully creepy stories that are as weird as they are original

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tumblr_oe6e4mbW0O1t3i99fo1_1280

Fragments of Horror
by Junji Ito
Viz Media
2015, 224 pages, 5.8 x 8.2 x 0.8 inches (hardcover)
$12 Buy a copy on Amazon

Fragments of Horror is a collection of eight wonderfully grotesque and creepy short stories. A seemingly bright and pretty architecture student terrorizes a family while having a bizarre relationship with their house. A boy tries to hold his body together after cheating on his girlfriend. The number one fan of a novelist finds herself in a sick situation trapped in the writer’s basement. A young woman who just eloped can’t understand why her new husband won’t come out from under his futon covers.

Written by horror manga artist Junji Ito, whose influences include H.P. Lovecraft, the stories are as weird as they are original, while the art is crisp and expressive. What I love is the way these stories, set in modern Japan, are about seemingly normal lives that take a twisted turn into the bowels of darkness. They remind me of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, the ones that start off in a stylish, mid-century modern house or office where sharp-looking people go about their ordinary lives… until a crack in normality suddenly appears, the creep factor sets in, and they enter the twilight zone. My only regret is that there aren’t more stories here, but fortunately Ito isn’t new to the genre and has many other titles that I’ll be picking up soon. – Carla Sinclair

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InShaneee
4 hours ago
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Chicago, IL
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Ala. Chief Justice Roy Moore Suspended For Rest Of Term Over Gay Marriage Stance

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Saying that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore violated judicial ethics when he ordered judges not to respect the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling on same-sex marriage, Alabama's Court of the Judiciary suspended Moore for the rest of his term in office.

The order also requires the head of Alabama's highest court to pay the costs of the proceedings against him, and says that Moore will not be paid during his suspension.

The judgment against Moore was unanimous, according to the nine-member court.

Here's how NPR's Debbie Elliott laid out the case against Moore, when it began earlier this week:

"Moore forced the debate last year when he issued orders in conflict with a Mobile, Ala., federal judge's ruling that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Here's what he told NPR at the time:

" 'If we sit back and let the federal courts intrude their powers into state sovereignty, then we're neglecting everything about which the Constitution stands,' Moore said.

"The result was confusion in marriage license offices throughout Alabama. Some closed down altogether. Even after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed marriage equality, Moore told local judges that they had a 'ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to' state laws forbidding same-sex marriage."

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sirshannon
4 hours ago
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The 2015 version of Alabama reminds me of the 1963 version of Alabama.
fxer
15 hours ago
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Peace out
Bend, Oregon
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Feminist Bookstore Slams 'Portlandia' And Says Show Can No Longer Film There

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Fred Armisen performs as Candace and Carrie Brownstein as Toni in a Portlandia sketch about two feminist bookstore owners in Portland. Augusta Quirk/IFC hide caption

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Augusta Quirk/IFC

Fred Armisen performs as Candace and Carrie Brownstein as Toni in a Portlandia sketch about two feminist bookstore owners in Portland.

Augusta Quirk/IFC

In the TV comedy version of Portland, Ore., the bookstore is called Women and Women First. In real life, it's In Other Words — and the shop is using frank terms to say the Portlandia show is no longer welcome to film there. The feminist store and community center faults the show's depiction of men dressing as women, its treatment of store staff, and its role in gentrification and race relations.

The staff of In Other Words made those claims in a blog post that shares its title with a sign that was placed in its window when the store's relationship with the show soured. The title is straightforward: "F*** Portlandia" (asterisks ours).

The store's staff say that by featuring Portlandia co-star Fred Armisen in a wig and a dress as Candace, one of the owners of Women and Women First, the show "throws trans femmes under the bus by holding up their gender presentation for mockery and ridicule."

On TV, the bookstore is portrayed as a home for strident advocacy and outrage. In their blog post, the staff of In Other Words depict the IFC comedy as "diametrically opposed to our politics and the vision of society we're organizing to realize."

We've asked the folks at IFC for their reaction and will update this post when they respond.

The tone of the store's blog post is markedly different from 2012, when the comedian and Portlandia regular Kumail Nanjiani visited In Other Words and spoke to some of its board members for a short online video.

Asked whether they'd seen the feminist bookstore sketch, one board member (who wasn't identified by name in the video) said, "It's not like a lot of what happens here ... but it's funny."

When Nanjiani asked about Armisen dressing as a woman for the sketches, a board member replied, "That's called gender expression."

In Other Words is a volunteer-run community center, according to its Facebook page. The store says that none of its current board and staff members were involved in the original decision to allow Portlandia to film inside the store six years ago, and that the "small flat fee per episode filmed" doesn't cover its lost profits.

From its blog post:

"The additional exposure we have received from our time on Portlandia does not provide financial or political support of any kind: tourists and fans of the show come to our door to stand outside, take selfies, and then leave. The vast majority of them don't come inside."

The store also says it has undergone changes in the past two years, saying that it now hosts meetings of Portland's Black Lives Matter group and that "the last time the show filmed in our space, the production crew asked to us to remove the Black Lives Matter sign on our window. We refused."

In another passage, the store's staff accuses Portlandia of essentially rolling out a red carpet of twee and whimsy "for the incoming technocrat hordes."

In Other Words is located in a northeast Portland district called Albina — an area that has a rich history as a home for the city's black residents. Responding to the store's accusation that Portlandia contributes to gentrification and depicts an overly white Portland, at least two readers took the store to task.

"Are you serious? Your store itself is the epitome of gentrification to the actual displaced residents of NE Portland," a reader named Xavier Woods wrote in a comment on the store's blog post.

"This is 150% valid," the store wrote in response. "Sorry doesn't mean a thing when people are still actively being displaced but we are sorry and we are working every day to make sure we are a contribution to the neighborhood and that we are doing everything we can to build the power of the neighborhood."

The store concluded its blog post by asking any readers that support its stance to donate or volunteer.

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sirshannon
5 hours ago
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Portlandia is OVER.
fxer
12 hours ago
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"Are you serious? Your store itself is the epitome of gentrification to the actual displaced residents of NE Portland,"
Bend, Oregon
wreichard
9 hours ago
Life imitating art imitating life.
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More Cluster Fudge Here

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More Cluster Fudge Here

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sirshannon
5 hours ago
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#lifegoals
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