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Link Technology

China wants to create a whole new goverment-controlled internet

At the gathering, held at the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency that establishes common global standards for technologies, they presented a simple PowerPoint. It didn’t bother with much detail on how this new network would work, or what specific problem it was solving. Instead, it was peppered with images of futuristic technologies, from life-size holograms to self-driving cars.

The idea was to illustrate that the current internet is a relic that has reached the limits of its technical prowess. It was time, Huawei proposed, for a new global network with a top-down design, and the Chinese should be the ones to build it. #

This is scary:

China is already in the process of building a credit-scoring system for its population, based on online and offline behaviour and past “misdemeanours”, the delegation member noted. “So if somebody’s social credit score dipped below a certain amount because they were posting on social media too much, you could actually prevent that phone from connecting to the network.”


Note: the Finanical Times’ paywall and website is awful. They even inject this when you copy and paste something:

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.

So I’ve linked to a cached copy of the article. But if want you can read it at its original URL here.

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Link

‘DJI Won the Drone Wars, and Now It’s Paying the Price’

[DJI CEO, Frank Wang] is perhaps the most private tech CEO of them all, shunning all but a handful of media requests over his 14 years as DJI’s boss and figurehead. He stoodup a planned interview for this story twice, leaving his representatives to apologize and explain that they just never quite know what the man will do. In fact, the rumor going around DJI’s press office is that Wang might not speak to a reporter ever again. […] Wang once threatened to dock the pay of a public-relations executive because Wang had received too much attention in the media.

[…] DJI’s hiring standards are famously strict… Those who seem engineering-focused enough eventually face a hands-on challenge: soldering drone components together. Until recently, even potential sales and marketing hires were asked to complete this task. The tests don’t stop once an employee is hired. DJI has become infamous for its competitive atmosphere. The company separates workers into groups and challenges them to come up with rival takes on a new product. The winning group gets the glory of seeing its ideas come to market; the losers must help make that happen. Employees are often asked to judge one another in surveys and to rate the performance of other departments. This data is then used to help decide salaries. #

The article ends a little abruptly, but it’s still worth your time.

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Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 46, 2019

Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep” Is Riddled with Scientific and Factual Errors

A great in-depth look at some of the exaggerations in the book “Why We Sleep”. Sometimes when reading long articles like this I think to myself ‘wow, these people must be so efficient and fast to be able to knock out a piece like this’. Well it turns out that nope, it’s just good old-fashioned hard work:

I spent more than 130 hours over the last 2 months researching and writing this essay (~5 hours to write the outline; ~60 hours to get to the first draft; ~65 hours to edit and fact-check), which constituted essentially all of my surplus free time over this time period.

Trump, Biden, Sanders: How Old Is Too Old to Be President?

Concerns about politicians’ ages are not limited to presidential candidates. The average senator is 62. Mitch McConnell, the 77-year-old Senate majority leader, is already past the U.S.-male life expectancy. If the country were to deem, say, the Social Security retirement age of 66 as the mandatory cutoff for a career in politics, it would amount to a total overhaul of government. It would eliminate not just the top four presidential candidates, but much of Congress.

How the Dumb Design of a WWII Plane Led to the Macintosh

At first, pilots took the blame for crashes. The true cause, however, lay with the design. That lesson led us into our user-friendly age—but there’s peril to come.

Meet the Cybertruck, Tesla’s Ford-Fighting Pickup

I’m not sure if I love and loathe the look of it. Either way, it’s attention grabbing. I think it will look even more extreme when out on the road and alongside ‘normal’ cars.

‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims

More than 400 pages of internal Chinese documents provide an unprecedented inside look at the crackdown on ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Forgiveness, Peace, and Productivity

The surest way for me to not get anything done is to get overwhelmed by the guilt of not getting anything done. I’ve worked for years to solve this little quandary, and I’ve found a key element in the solution: forgiveness.

Categories
Links and Notes

Links and Notes – Week 45, 2019

Any Amount of Running Linked to Significantly Lower Risk of Early Death

When the study data were pooled, any amount of running was associated with a 27% lower risk of death from all causes for both sexes, compared with no running.

You really can’t afford not to be doing a small amount of regular exercise. We’re not talking about marathons or three hour long cycle rides here. There’s been so many studies finding that just twenty minutes of exercise three times a week gives humans massive life extending gains (not to mention the added benefit of the slowing down of cognitive decline). This is a really good deal that your body is offering you. Take it up on the offer and exercise!

There’s a Whole Category of Software to Help People Manage Friendships

While many of the apps have an explicit professional-networking utility, the Irish company Monaru, one of the Y Combinator companies, is focused specifically on users’ 10 to 15 closest relationships. Not only will Monaru remind you of a loved one’s birthday, but it will also suggest specific gifts to buy her. It can help you plan a date night, or remember to call your parents regularly. “Millennials are four times lonelier than seniors,” the company’s homepage reads, probably erroneously. The service costs $20 a month, and its tagline is “Be the most thoughtful person you know.”

Apple Has Released a 16-Inch Macbook Pro

‘New’ keyboard with a physical Esc key. Not as expensive as I was expecting. Good short reviews from Marco Arment and Daring Fireball:

No one would ever suggest that the steering wheel for a car be designed by people who don’t drive. But yet somehow the entire Macintosh world has spent the last three years dealing with or avoiding keyboards that were seemingly designed by people who don’t type.3 The whole saga of the butterfly keyboards — their unreliable switches, poor typing feel, and anti-functional layout — betrays a certain arrogance. The more powerful an organization — a corporation, a nation, a sports team, whatever — the more at risk that organization is to hubris. It’s power that allows one to act on hubris.

We shouldn’t be celebrating the return of longstanding features we never should have lost in the first place. But Apple’s willingness to revisit these decisions — their explicit acknowledgment that, yes, keyboards are meant to by typed upon, not gazed upon — is, if not cause for a party, at the very least cause for a jubilant toast.

Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure — Stephen Wolfram

This is my third time reading this long and in depth look at Stephen Wolfram’s personal tech setup. I love stuff like this.

Instagram Is Testing Hiding ‘Likes’

Probably a good move. However, in the video linked in the article Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri says “private likes”. So I’m presuming the poster can still see the ‘like’ count, but the outside world can’t. The main reason ‘likes’ are so harmful is because people obsess over how many their photos receive. If they can still see this metric I’m not sure this fixes anything.

All the International Brands That Have Apologised to China

It’s eerie how all the PR press releases from these companies are so similar. “[Company] consistently respects and upholds China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” To the word repetition of the same thing is very dystopian. And let’s be honest, China is very dystopian.

The King (2019)

The Netflix movie “The King” is out. Directed by David Michôd – who also made “War Machine” – this in many ways has a lot of the same disjointed elements. With the lack of flow and continuity in some scenes making the film feel a bit like the effort of an inexperienced first time director. The script is decent and this could have been a much improved movie with a better director involved. However there’s enough here to make it worth the 2 hours 15 minutes of your time. I’m not sure if the restrained realism of the sets was planned or due to budget constraints, but either way it works. I also really like how realistic the light is, considering the period it’s set in. No artificial flood lighting here. Just sun streaking in through the windows. Timothée Chalamet is maturing as an actor and despite his boyish frame and bad posture sometimes undermining the believability of certain moments he leads the film very well. And Robert Pattinson is great in his brief moments on screen. 6/10

Categories
Link Technology

Security Lapse Exposed a Chinese Smart City Surveillance System

[Outline.com link as TechCrunch has a terrible pop up that I couldn’t dismiss on my iPad and their website is truly awful. So sod ’em. Here’s the original link if you’d prefer though.]

Today in Cyberpunk China:

Security researcher John Wethington found a smart city database accessible from a web browser without a password. […]

The exposed data contains enough information to pinpoint where people went, when and for how long, allowing anyone with access to the data — including police — to build up a picture of a person’s day-to-day life. […]

The database also contained a subject’s approximate age as well as an “attractive” score, according to the database fields. […]

The system also uses its facial recognition systems to detect ethnicities and labels them — such as “汉族” for Han Chinese, the main ethnic group of China — and also “维族” — or Uyghur Muslims, an ethnic minority under persecution by Beijing. […]

The Chinese government has detained more than a million Uyghurs in internment camps in the past year, according to a United Nations human rights committee. It’s part of a massive crackdown by Beijing on the ethnic minority group. […]

The customer’s system also has the capability to monitor for Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as phones and computers, using sensors built by Chinese networking tech maker Renzixing and placed around the district. The database collects the dates and times that pass through its wireless network radius. Fields in the Wi-Fi-device logging table suggest the system can collect IMEI and IMSI numbers, used to uniquely identify a cellular user. […]

Further reading: One Month, 500,000 Face Scans: How China Is Using A.I. to Profile a Minority