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Montecito is now a quarry with houses in it:

So far twenty dead have been removed. It will take much more time to remove twenty thousand dump truck loads of what geologists call “debris,” just to get down to where civic infrastructure (roads, water, electric, gas) can be fixed. It’s a huge thing.

The big questions:

  1. Did we know a catastrophe this huge was going to happen? (And if so, which among us were the “we” who knew?)
  2. Was there any way to prevent it?

Geologists had their expectations, expressed as degrees of likelihood and detailed on this map by the United States Geological Survey:

That was dated more than a month before huge rains revised to blood-red the colors in the mountains above town. Worries of County Supervisors and other officials were expressed in The Independent on January 3rd and 5th. Edhat also issued warnings on January 5th and 6th.

Edhat’s first report began, “Yesterday, the National Weather Service issued a weather briefing of a potential significant winter storm for Santa Barbara County on January 9-10. With the burn scar created by the Thomas Fire, the threat of flash floods and debris/mud flows is now 10 times greater than before the fire.”

But among those at risk, who knew what a “debris/mud flow” was—especially when nobody had ever seen one of those anywhere around here, even after prior fires?

The first Independent story (on January 3rd) reported, “County water expert Tom Fayram said county workers began clearing the debris basins at San Ysidro and Gobernador canyons ‘as soon as the fire department would let us in.’ It is worth noting, Lewin said, that the Coast Village Road area flooded following the 1971 Romero Fire and the 1964 Coyote Fire. While touring the impact areas in recent days, (Office of Emergency Management Director Robert) Lewin said problems have already occurred. ‘We’re starting to see gravity rock fall, he said. ‘One rock could close a road.'”

The best report I’ve seen about what geologists knew, and expected, is The Independent‘s After the Mudslides, What Does the Next Rain Hold for Montecito?, published four days after the disaster. In that report, Kevin Cooper of the U.S. Forest Service said, “no one alive has probably ever seen one before.” [January 18 update: Nick Welch in The Independent reports, “Last week’s debris flow was hardly Santa Barbara’s first. Jim Stubchaer, then an engineer with County Flood Control, remembers the avalanche of mud that took 250 homes back in November 1964 when heavy rains followed quickly on the heels of the Coyote Fire. He was there in 1969 and 1971 when it happened again.” Here is a long 2009 report on the Coyote Fire in The Independent by Ray Ford, now with Noozhawk. No mention of the homes lost in there. Perhaps Ray can weigh in.]

My point is that debris flows over Montecito ae a sure bet in geologic time, but not in the human one. In the whole history of Montecito and Santa Barbara (of which Montecito is an unincorporated part), there are no recorded debris flows that started on mountain slopes and spread all the way to the sea. But on January 9th we had several debris flows on that scale, originating simultaneously in the canyons feeding Montecito, San Ysidro and Romero Creeks. Those creeks are dry most of the time, and beautiful areas in which to build homes: so beautiful, in fact, that Montecito is the other Beverly Hills. (That’s why all these famous people have called it home.)

One well-studied prehistoric debris flow in Santa Barbara emptied a natural lake that is now Skofield Park,dumping long-gone mud and lots of rocks in Rattlesnake Canyon, leaving its clearest evidence in a charming tree-shaded boulder field next to Mission Creek called Rocky Nook Park.

What geologists at UCSB learned from that flow is detailed in a 2001 report titled UCSB Scientists Study Ancient Debris Flows. It begins, “The next ‘big one’ in Santa Barbara may not be an earthquake but a boulder-carrying flood.” It also says that flood would “most likely occur every few thousand years.”

And we got one in Montecito last Tuesday.

I’ve read somewhere that studies of charcoal from campfires buried in Rocky Nook Park date that debris flow at around 500 years ago. This is a good example of how the geologic present fails to include present human memory. Still, you can get an idea of how big this flow was. Stand in Rattlesnake Canyon downstream from Skofield Park and look at the steep rocky slopes below houses on the south side of the canyon. It isn’t hard to imagine the violence that tore out the smooth hillside that had been there before.

To help a bit more with that exercise, here is a Google Streetview of Scofield Park, looking down at Santa Barbara through Rattlesnake Canyon:

I added the red line to show the approximate height of the natural dam that broke and released that debris flow.

I’ve also learned that the loaf-shaped Riviera landform in Santa Barbara is not a hunk of solid rock, but rather what remains of a giant landslide that slid off the south face of the Santa Ynez Mountains and became free-standing after creeks eroded out the valley behind. I’ve also read that Mission Creek flows westward around the Riviera and behind the Mission because the Riviera itself is also sliding the same direction on its own tectonic sled.

We only see these sleds moving, however, when geologic and human time converge. That happened last Tuesday when rains Kevin Cooper calls “biblical” hit in the darkest hours, saturating the mountain face creek beds that were burned by the Thomas Fire just last month. As a result, debris flows gooped down the canyons and stream valleys below, across Montecito to the sea, depositing lots of geology on top of what was already there.

So in retrospect, those slopes in various colors in the top map above should have been dark red instead. But, to be fair, much of what geology knows is learned the hard way.

Our home, one zip code west of Montecito, is fine. But we can’t count how many people we know who are affected directly. One friend barely escaped. Some victims were friends of friends. Some of the stories are beyond awful.

We all process tragedies like this in the ways we know best, and mine is by reporting on stuff, hopefully in ways others are not, or at least not yet. So I’ll start with this map showing damaged and destroyed buildings along the creeks:

At this writing the map is 70% complete. [January 17 update: 95%.] I’ve clicked on all the red dots (which mark destroyed buildings, most of which are homes), and I’ve copied and pasted the addresses that pop up into the following outline, adding a few links.

Going downstream along Cold Spring Creek, Hot Springs Creek and Montecito Creek (which the others feed), gone are—
  1. 817 Ashley Road
  2. 817 Ashley Road (out building)
  3. 797 Ashley Road
  4. 780 Ashley Road. Amazing architectural treasure that last sold for $12.9 million in ’13.
  5. 747 Indian Lane
  6. 631 Parra Grande Lane. That’s the mansion where the final scene in Scarface was shot.
  7. 590 Meadowood Lane
  8. 830 Rockbridge Road
  9. 800 Rockbridge Road
  10. 790 Rockbridge Road
  11. 787 Riven Rock Road B
  12. 1261 East Valley Road
  13. 1240 East Valley Road A (mansion)
  14. 1240 East Valley Road B (out building)
  15. 1254 East Valley Drive
  16. 1255 East Valley Road
  17. 1247 East Valley Road A
  18. 1247 East Valley Road B (attached)
  19. 1231 East Valley Road A
  20. 1231 East Valley Road B (detached)
  21. 1231 East Valley Road C (detached)
  22. 1221 East Valley Road A
  23. 1221 East Valley Road B
  24. 369 Hot Springs Road
  25. 341 Hot Springs Road
  26. 355 Hot Springs Road
  27. 340 Hot Springs Road
  28. 319 Hot Springs Road
  29. 325 Olive Mill Road
  30. 285 Olive Mill Road
  31. 275 Olive Mill Road
  32. 325 Olive Mill Road
  33. 220 Olive Mill Road
  34. 200 Olive Mill Road
  35. 275 Olive Mill Road
  36. 180 Olive Mill Road
  37. 170 Olive Mill Road
  38. 144 Olive Mill Road
  39. 137 Olive Mill Road
  40. 139 Olive Mill Road
  41. 127 Olive Mill Road
  42. 196 Santa Elena Lane
  43. 192 Santa Elena Lane
  44. 179 Santa Isabel Lane
  45. 175 Santa Elena Lane
  46. 142 Santo Tomas Lane
  47. 82 Olive Mill Road
  48. 1308 Danielson Road
  49. 81 Depot Road
  50. 75 Depot Road
Along Oak Creek, some are damaged, but none destroyed.
Along San Ysidro Creek—
  1. 953 West Park Lane
  2. 941 West Park Lane
  3. 931 West park Lane
  4. 925 West park Lane
  5. 903 West park Lane
  6. 893 West park Lane
  7. 805 W Park Lane
  8. 881 West park Lane
  9. 881 West park Lane (separate building, same address)
  10. 1689 Mountain Drive
  11. 900 San Ysidro Lane C (all the Lane addresses appear to be in San Ysidro Ranch)
  12. 900 San Ysidro Lane Cottage B
  13. 900 San Ysidro Lane Cottage A
  14. 900 San Ysidro Lane Cottage D
  15. 900 San Ysidro Lane E
  16. 900 San Ysidro Lane F
  17. 900 San Ysidro Lane G
  18. 900 San Ysidro Lane H
  19. 900 San Ysidro Lane I
  20. 900 San Ysidro Lane J
  21. 900 San Ysidro Lane K
  22. 900 San Ysidro Lane L
  23. 900 San Ysidro Lane M
  24. 900 San Ysidro Lane N
  25. 900 San Ysidro Lane O
  26. 900 San Ysidro Lane R
  27. 900 San Ysidro Lane S
  28. 900 San Ysidro Lane T
  29. 888 San Ysidro Lane A
  30. 888 San Ysidro Lane B
  31. 888 San Ysidro Lane C
  32. 888 San Ysidro Lane D
  33. 888 San Ysidro Lane E
  34. 888 San Ysidro Lane F
  35. 805 West Park Lane B
  36. 799 East Mountain Drive
  37. 1801 East Mountain Lane
  38. 1807 East Mountain Drive
  39. 771 Via Manana Road
  40. 899 El Bosque Road
  41. 771 Via Manana Road
  42. 898 El Bosque Road
  43. 800 El Bosque Road A (Casa de Maria)
  44. 800 El Bosque Road B (Casa de Maria)
  45. 800 El Bosque Road C (Casa de Maria)
  46. 680 Randall Road
  47. 670 Randall Road
  48. 660 Randall Road
  49. 650 Randall Road
  50. 640 Randall Road
  51. 630 Randall Road
  52. 619 Randall Road
  53. 1685 East Valley Road A
  54. 1685 East Valley Road B
  55. 1685 East Valley Road C
  56. 1696 East Valley Road
  57. 1760 Valley Road A
  58. 1725 Valley Road A
  59. 1705 Glenn Oaks Drive A
  60. 1705 Glen Oaks Drive B
  61. 1710 Glen Oaks Drive A
  62. 1790 Glen Oaks Drive A
  63. 1701 Glen Oaks Drive A
  64. 1705 Glen Oaks Drive A
  65. 1705 East Valley Road A
  66. 1705 East Valley Road B
  67. 1705 East Valley Road C
  68. 1780 Glen Oaks Drive N/A
  69. 1780 Glen Oaks Drive (one on top of the other)
  70. 1774 Glen Oaks Drive
  71. 1707 East Valley Road A
  72. 1685 East Valley Road C
  73. 1709 East Valley Road
  74. 1709 East Valley Road B
  75. 1775 Glen Oaks Drive A
  76. 1775 Glen Oaks Drive B
  77. 1779 Glen Oaks Drive A
  78. 1779 Glen Oaks Drive B
  79. 1779 Glen Oaks Drive C
  80. 1781 Glen Oaks Drive A
  81. 1711 East Valley Road (This and what follow are adjacent to Oprah)
  82. 1715 East Valley Road A
  83. 1715 East Valley Road B
  84. 1719 East Valley Road
  85. 1721 East Valley Road A (This might survive. See Dan Seibert’s comment below)
  86. 1721 East Valley Road B (This might survive. See Dan Seibert’s comment below)
  87. 1721 East Valley Road C (This might survive. See Dan Seibert’s comment below)
  88. 1694 San Leandro Lane A
  89. 1694 San Leandro Lane D
  90. 1690 San Leandro Lane C
  91. 1690 San Leandro Lane A
  92. 1694 San Leandro Lane B
  93. 1696 San Leandro Lane
  94. 1710 San Leandro Lane A
  95. 1710 San Leandro Lane B
  96. 190 Tiburon Bay Lane
  97. 193 Tiburon Bay Lane A
  98. 193 Tiburon Bay Lane B
  99. 193 Tiburon Bay Lane C
  100. 197 Tiburon Bay Lane A
Along Buena Vista Creek—
  1. 923 Buena Vista Avenue
  2. 1984 Tollis Avenue A
  3. 1984 Tollis Avenue B
  4. 1984 Tollis Avenue C
  5. 2075 Alisos Drive
  6. 627 Oak Grove Lane
Along Romero Creek—
  1. 1050 Romero Canyon Road
  2. 860 Romero Canyon Road
  3. 768 Winding Creek Lane
  4. 745 Winding Creek Lane
  5. 744 Winding Creek Lane
  6. 2281 Featherhill Avenue B

Along Arroyo Paredon, between Summerland and Carpinteria, not far east of the list above, one building is marked as destroyed on Craven Lane, and ten flanking Highway 101 by the ocean are marked as damaged, including four on Padero Lane.

When I add those up, I get 142 163* among the destroyed alone.

[* This is on January 17, when the map says it is 95% complete. All the additions appear to be along San Ysidro Creek, especially on San Ysidro Lane, which I believe is mostly in San Ysidro Ranch. Apparently nearly the whole place has been destroyed. Adjectives such as “lovely” fail to describe what it was.]

Now let’s go back and look more closely at this again from the geological perspective.

What we see is a town revised by nature in full disregard for what was there before—and in full obedience to the pattern of alluvial deposition on the flanks of all fresh mountains that erode down almost as fast as they go up.

This same pattern accounts for much of California, including all of the South Coast and the Los Angeles basin.

To see what I mean, hover your mind above Atlanta and look north at the southern Appalachians. Then dial history back five million years. What you see won’t look much different. Do the same above Los Angeles or San Francisco and nothing will be the same, or even close.

Five million years is about 1/1000th of Earth’s history. If that history were compressed to a day, California showed up in less than the last forty seconds. In that short time California has formed and re-formed constantly, and is among the most provisional landscapes in the world. All of it is coming up, sliding down, spreading out and rearranging itself, and will continue doing so through all the future that’s worth bothering to foresee. Debris flows are among its most casual methods. (By the way, I am writing this in a San Marino house that sits atop the Raymond Fault scarp, which on the surface takes the form of a forty-foot hill. The suite of rock under the bottom of that hill is displaced 17,000 feet from the identical suite under the base at the top. Many earthquakes produced that displacement, and erosion has buffed 16,960 feet of rock and soil off the top.)

So we might start to look at the Santa Ynez Mountains behind Santa Barbara and Montecito not as a stable land form but rather as a volcano of mud and rock that’s sure to go off every few dozen or hundreds of years—and will possibly deliver a repeat performance if we get more heavy rains and there is plenty of debris left to flow out of mountain areas adjacent to those that flowed on January 9th. If there’s a lot of it, why even bother saving Montecito?

Here’s why:

One enters the Engineering building at the University of Wyoming under that stone plaque, which celebrates what may be our species’ greatest achievement and conceit: controlling nature. (It’s also why geology is starting to call our present epoch the anthropocene.)

This also forecasts exactly what we will do for Montecito. In the long run we’ll lose to nature. But meanwhile se strive on, especially here in California.

In our new strivings, it will help to look toward other places in California that are more experienced with debris flows, because they happen almost constantly there. The largest of those by far is Los Angeles, which has placed catch basins at the mouths of all the large canyons coming out of the San Gabriel Mountains. Most of these dwarf the ones above Montecito. All resemble empty reservoirs. Some are actually quarries for rocks and gravel that roll in constantly from the eroding creek beds above. None are pretty.

To understand the challenge involved, it helps enormously to read John McPhee’s classic book The Control of Nature, which took its title from the inscription above. Fortunately, you can start right now by reading the first essay in a pair that became the relevant chapter of that book. It’s free on the Web and called Los Angeles Against the Mountains I. Here’s an excerpt:

Debris flows amass in stream valleys and more or less resemble fresh concrete. They consist of water mixed with a good deal of solid material, most of which is above sand size. Some of it is Chevrolet size. Boulders bigger than cars ride long distances in debris flows. Boulders grouped like fish eggs pour downhill in debris flows. The dark material coming toward the Genofiles was not only full of boulders; it was so full of automobiles it was like bread dough mixed with raisins.

The Genofiles were a family that barely survived a debris flow on a slope of Verdugo Mountain, overlooking Los Angeles from Glendale. Here’s another story, about another site not far away:

The snout of the debris flow was twenty feet high, tapering behind. Debris flows sometimes ooze along, and sometimes move as fast as the fastest river rapids. The huge dark snout was moving nearly five hundred feet a minute and the rest of the flow behind was coming twice as fast, making roll waves as it piled forward against itself—this great slug, as geologists would describe it, this discrete slug, this heaving violence of wet cement. Already included in the debris were propane tanks, outbuildings, picnic tables, canyon live oaks, alders, sycamores, cottonwoods, a Lincoln Continental, an Oldsmobile, and countless boulders five feet thick. All this was spread wide a couple of hundred feet, and as the debris flow went through Hidden Springs it tore out more trees, picked up house trailers and more cars and more boulders, and knocked Gabe Hinterberg’s lodge completely off its foundation. Mary and Cal Drake were standing in their living room when a wall came off. “We got outside somehow,” he said later. “I just got away. She was trying to follow me. Evidently, her feet slipped out from under her. She slid right down into the main channel.” The family next door were picked up and pushed against their own ceiling. Two were carried away. Whole houses were torn loose with people inside them. A house was ripped in half. A bridge was obliterated. A large part of town was carried a mile downstream and buried in the reservoir behind Big Tujunga Dam. Thirteen people were part of the debris. Most of the bodies were never found.

This is close to exactly what happened to Montecito in the wee hours of January 9th.

As of now the 8000-plus residents of Montecito are evacuated and forbidden to return for at least another two weeks—and maybe much longer if officials declare the hills above town ready to flow again.

Highway 101—one of just two major freeways between Southern and Northern California, is closed indefinitely, because it is now itself a stream bed, and re-landscaping the area around it, to get water going where it should, will take some time. So will fixing the road, and perhaps bridges as well.

Meanwhile getting in and out of Santa Barbara from east of Montecito by car requires a detour akin to driving from Manhattan to Queens by way of Vermont. And there have already been accidents, I’ve heard, on highway 166, which is the main detour road. We’ll be taking that detour or one like it on Thursday when we head home via Los Angeles after we fly there from New York, where I’m packing up now.

Expect this post to grow and change.

Bonus links:

 

Tags: , , , ,

Take a look at this chart:

CryptoCurrency Market Capitalizations

screen-shot-2017-06-21-at-10-37-51-pm

As Neo said, Whoa.

To help me get my head fully around all that’s going on behind that surge, or mania, or whatever it is, I’ve composed a lexicon-in-process that I’m publishing here so I can find it again. Here goes:::

Bitcoin. “A cryptocurrency and a digital payment system invented by an unknown programmer, or a group of programmers, under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It was released as open-source software in 2009. The system is peer-to-peer, and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Since the system works without a central repository or single administrator, bitcoin is called the first decentralized digital currency.” (Wikipedia.)

Cryptocurrency. “A digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies. Bitcoin became the first decentralized cryptocurrency in 2009. Since then, numerous cryptocurrencies have been created. These are frequently called altcoins, as a blend of bitcoin alternative. Bitcoin and its derivatives use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money/centralized banking systems. The decentralized control is related to the use of bitcoin’s blockchain transaction database in the role of a distributed ledger.” (Wikipedia.)

“A cryptocurrency system is a network that utilizes cryptography to secure transactions in a verifiable database that cannot be changed without being noticed.” (Tim Swanson, in Consensus-as-a-service: a brief report on the emergence of permissioned, distributed ledger systems.)

Distributed ledger. Also called a shared ledger, it is “a consensus of replicated, shared, and synchronized digital data geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, or institutions.” (Wikipedia, citing a report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser: Distributed Ledger Technology: beyond block chain.) A distributed ledger requires a peer-to-peer network and consensus algorithms to ensure replication across nodes. The ledger is sometimes also called a distributed database. Tim Swanson adds that a distributed ledger system is “a network that fits into a new platform category. It typically utilizes cryptocurrency-inspired technology and perhaps even part of the Bitcoin or Ethereum network itself, to verify or store votes (e.g., hashes). While some of the platforms use tokens, they are intended more as receipts and not necessarily as commodities or currencies in and of themselves.”

Blockchain.”A peer-to-peer distributed ledger forged by consensus, combined with a system for ‘smart contracts’ and other assistive technologies. Together these can be used to build a new generation of transactional applications that establishes trust, accountability and transparency at their core, while streamlining business processes and legal constraints.” (Hyperledger.)

“To use conventional banking as an analogy, the blockchain is like a full history of banking transactions. Bitcoin transactions are entered chronologically in a blockchain just the way bank transactions are. Blocks, meanwhile, are like individual bank statements. Based on the Bitcoin protocol, the blockchain database is shared by all nodes participating in a system. The full copy of the blockchain has records of every Bitcoin transaction ever executed. It can thus provide insight about facts like how much value belonged a particular address at any point in the past. The ever-growing size of the blockchain is considered by some to be a problem due to issues like storage and synchronization. On an average, every 10 minutes, a new block is appended to the block chain through mining.” (Investopedia.)

“Think of it as an operating system for marketplaces, data-sharing networks, micro-currencies, and decentralized digital communities. It has the potential to vastly reduce the cost and complexity of getting things done in the real world.” (Hyperledger.)

Permissionless system. “A permissionless system [or ledger] is one in which identity of participants is either pseudonymous or even anonymous. Bitcoin was originally designed with permissionless parameters although as of this writing many of the on-ramps and off-ramps for Bitcoin are increasingly permission-based. (Tim Swanson.)

Permissioned system. “A permissioned system -[or ledger] is one in which identity for users is whitelisted (or blacklisted) through some type of KYB or KYC procedure; it is the common method of managing identity in traditional finance.” (Tim Swanson)

Mining. “The process by which transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, known as the blockchain. (It is) also the means through which new bitcoin are released. Anyone with access to the Internet and suitable hardware can participate in mining. The mining process involves compiling recent transactions into blocks and trying to solve a computationally difficult puzzle. The participant who first solves the puzzle gets to place the next block on the block chain and claim the rewards. The rewards, which incentivize mining, are both the transaction fees associated with the transactions compiled in the block as well as newly released bitcoin.” (Investopedia.)

Ethereum. “An open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality, which facilitates online contractual agreements. It provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine, the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which can execute scripts using an international network of public nodes. Ethereum also provides a cryptocurrency token called “ether”, which can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant nodes for computations performed. Gas, an internal transaction pricing mechanism, is used to mitigate spam and allocate resources on the network. Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale during July–August 2014. The system went live on 30 July 2015, with 11.9 million coins “premined” for the crowdsale… In 2016 Ethereum was forked into two blockchains, as a result of the collapse of The DAO project. The two chains have different numbers of users, and the minority fork was renamed to Ethereum Classic.” (Wikipedia.)

Decentralized Autonomous Organization. This is “an organization that is run through rules encoded as computer programs called smart contracts. A DAO’s financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain… The precise legal status of this type of business organization is unclear. The best-known example was The DAO, a DAO for venture capital funding, which was launched with $150 million in crowdfunding in June 2016 and was immediately hacked and drained of US$50 million in cryptocurrency… This approach eliminates the need to involve a bilaterally accepted trusted third party in a financial transaction, thus simplifying the sequence. The costs of a blockchain enabled transaction and of making available the associated data may be substantially lessened by the elimination of both the trusted third party and of the need for repetitious recording of contract exchanges in different records: for example, the blockchain data could in principle, if regulatory structures permitted, replace public documents such as deeds and titles. In theory, a blockchain approach allows multiple cloud computing users to enter a loosely coupled peer-to-peer smart contract collaboration.(Wikipedia)

Initial Coin Offering. “A means of crowdfunding the release of a new cryptocurrency. Generally, tokens for the new cryptocurrency are sold to raise money for technical development before the cryptocurrency is released. Unlike an initial public offering (IPO), acquisition of the tokens does not grant ownership in the company developing the new cryptocurrency. And unlike an IPO, there is little or no government regulation of an ICO.” (Chris Skinner.)

“In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, but usually for Bitcoin…During the ICO campaign, enthusiasts and supporters of the firm’s initiative buy some of the distributed cryptocoins with fiat or virtual currency. These coins are referred to as tokens and are similar to shares of a company sold to investors in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) transaction.” (Investopedia.)

Tokens. “In the blockchain world, a token is a tiny fraction of a cryptocurrency (bitcoin, ether, etc) that has a value usually less than 1/1000th of a cent, so the value is essentially nothing, but it can still go onto the blockchain…This sliver of currency can carry code that represents value in the real world — the ownership of a diamond, a plot of land, a dollar, a share of stock, another cryptocurrency, etc. Tokens represent ownership of the underlying asset and can be traded freely. One way to understand it is that you can trade physical gold, which is expensive and difficult to move around, or you can just trade tokens that represent gold. In most cases, it makes more sense to trade the token than the asset. Tokens can always be redeemed for their underlying asset, though that can often be a difficult and expensive process. Though technically they could be redeemed, many tokens are designed never to be redeemed but traded forever. On the other hand, a ticket is a token that is designed to be redeemed and may or may not be trade-able” (TokenFactory.)

“Tokens in the ethereum ecosystem can represent any fungible tradable good: coins, loyalty points, gold certificates, IOUs, in game items, etc. Since all tokens implement some basic features in a standard way, this also means that your token will be instantly compatible with the ethereum wallet and any other client or contract that uses the same standards. (Ethereum.org/token.)

“The most important takehome is that tokens are not equity, but are more similar to paid API keys. Nevertheless, they may represent a >1000X improvement in the time-to-liquidity and a >100X improvement in the size of the buyer base relative to traditional means for US technology financing — like a Kickstarter on steroids.” (Thoughts on Tokens, by Balaji S. Srinivasan.)

“A blockchain token is a digital token created on a blockchain as part of a decentralized software protocol. There are many different types of blockchain tokens, each with varying characteristics and uses. Some blockchain tokens, like Bitcoin, function as a digital currency. Others can represent a right to tangible assets like gold or real estate. Blockchain tokens can also be used in new protocols and networks to create distributed applications. These tokens are sometimes also referred to as App Coins or Protocol Tokens. These types of tokens represent the next phase of innovation in blockchain technology, and the potential for new types of business models that are decentralized – for example, cloud computing without Amazon, social networks without Facebook, or online marketplaces without eBay. However, there are a number of difficult legal questions surrounding blockchain tokens. For example, some tokens, depending on their features, may be subject to US federal or state securities laws. This would mean, among other things, that it is illegal to offer them for sale to US residents except by registration or exemption. Similar rules apply in many other countries. (A Securities Law Framework for Blockchain Tokens.)

In fact tokens go back. All the way.

In Before Writing Volume I: From Counting to Cuneiform, Denise Schmandt-Besserat writes, “Tokens can be traced to the Neolithic period starting about 8000 B.C. They evolved following the needs of the economy, at first keeping track of the products of farming…The substitution of signs for tokens was the first step toward writing.” (For a compression of her vast scholarship on the matter, read Tokens: their Significance for the Origin of Counting and Writing.

I sense that we are now at a threshold no less pregnant with possibilities than we were when ancestors in Mesopotamia rolled clay into shapes, made marks on them and invented t-commerce.

And here is a running list of sources I’ve visited, so far:

You’re welcome.

To improve it, that is.

allthenewsthatfitsintabs

#Publishing

When I heard that Backchannel would be moving to Wired while Google’s Contributor service (“buy an ad removal pass for the web”) was not only rolling out, but already deployed by some publishers (e.g. by Business Insider UK)—and while Wired (with the rest of Condé Nast) was still mistaking tracking protection for ad blocking (and hitting readers with the same lame interruptive shakedown popover I wrote about over a year ago)— I copied and pasted this section of the Daily Tab into Medium and expanded it into a piece titled How To Plug the Publishing Revenue Drain. I also wanted to get it up in advance of the Gillmor Gang webcast/podcast I’d be on that afternoon.

The (not so great) state of UK print advertising in 4 charts (Lucinda Southern @Lucy28Southern in DigiDay) Here they are:

uknewspaperevenue

Publishers can reverse that. Here’s how:

  1. Follow their customers’ lead. That means they should—
  2. Fire adtech (tracking-based advertising), which is full of fraud and malware, clogs data pipes, spies on people (which will soon be illegal in the EU thanks to the GDPR), and carries enormous operational and cognitive overhead for everybody. This will—
  3. Save journalism from drowning in a sea of content. (The problem with content is that it’s not editorial. It’s eyeball bait.) To do this publishers should—
  4. Agree to readers’ terms and conditions. These will live at Customer Commons (much as individuals’ copyright terms live at Creative Commons) and can be expressed in one line of code in the reader’s browser. The first and simplest term is called #NoStalking and says “just give me ads not based on tracking me.” These ads—simple brand ads—are far more valuable, and brand-supporting, than anything adtech has ever done, or ever can do. They also sponsor the publisher, which adtech also can’t do, because its actual business is chasing eyeballs. With #NoStalking, publishers will—
  5. Get cleaner, better and more supportive sponsorship from advertisers than they ever got from adtech. Agreeing not to stalk readers will also pave a way off the cattle ranches of Facebook and Google while also getting out of adtech’s bubble before it bursts. It will also respect The Castle Doctrine—for everybody involved, including readers, publishers, advertisers and intermediaries.

Bonus link: After Peak Marketing. And everything by Bob Hoffman (@adcontrarian), Don Marti (@dmarti), Augustine Fou, aka Ad Fraud Researcher (@acfou), WhiteOps (@WhiteOps), Dave Carroll (@profcarroll) and @MikkoKotila.

#Advertising vs. #Adtech

As Apple and Google take aim at ads, publishers tremble (Lucia Moses @lmoses in DigiDay)

De-blurring Lines Between ‘Ad Tech’ and Advertising (Daniel Meehan @MeehanDaniel in Martech Series). I’m kindly sourced: “…Doc Searls dug into what on earth brands are doing — and have been doing for years. He’s just as confused by this shift of advertisers effectively offloading their jobs to algorithms. Searls also calls for an end to ad tech, in favor of a return to “traditional” advertising approaches. The state of ad tech’s been killing media, too. And he wants to save it before we venture too far.”

Also by Daniel, this time in Martech TodayStop Calling ‘Ad Tech’ Advertising. Bonus link: Separating Advertising’s Wheat and Chaff.

Not listening to either Daniel or me:

#Random

Saturn is amazing. (Time)

Introducing FilterBubbler: A WebExtension built using React/Redux. Based on this idea by @dmarti. (Ean Schuessler in Mozilla Hacks) “The idea was to turn the tables on the kinds of sophisticated analysis that advertisers do with the everyday browsing activities we take for granted.”

 

 

 

amsterdam-streetImagine you’re on a busy city street where everybody who disagrees with you disappears.

We have that city now. It’s called media—especially the social kind.

You can see how this works on Wall Street Journal‘s Blue Feed, Red Feed page. Here’s a screen shot of the feed for “Hillary Clinton” (one among eight polarized topics):

blue-red-wsj

Both invisible to the other.

We didn’t have that in the old print and broadcast worlds, and still don’t, where they persist. (For example, on news stands, or when you hit SCAN on a car radio.)

But we have it in digital media.

Here’s another difference: a lot of the stuff that gets shared is outright fake. There’s a lot of concern about that right now:

fakenews

Why? Well, there’s a business in it. More eyeballs, more advertising, more money, for more eyeballs for more advertising. And so on.

Those ads are aimed by tracking beacons planted in your phones and browsers, feeding data about your interests, likes and dislikes to robot brains that work as hard as they can to know you and keep feeding you more stuff that stokes your prejudices. Fake or not, what you’ll see is stuff you are likely to share with others who do the same. This business that pays for this is called “adtech,” also known as “interest based” or “interactive” advertising. But those are euphemisms. Its science is all about stalking. They can plausibly deny it’s personal. But it is.

The “social” idea is “markets as conversations” (a personal nightmare for me, gotta say). The business idea is to drag as many eyeballs as possible across ads that are aimed by the same kinds of creepy systems. The latter funds the former.

Rather than unpack that, I’ll leave that up to the rest of ya’ll, with a few links:

 

I want all the help I can get unpacking this, because I’m writing about it in a longer form than I’m indulging in here. Thanks.

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After accumulating more than a thousand tabs (in OneTab) over the last few months, I whittled the collection down to a couple hundred, which I’ll post at a rate of a couple dozen or so at a time.

I’ll start by highlighting two new posts in Stephen Lewis’ excellent Bubkes.Org:

And then leave the rest un-sorted, since I need to sleep and get on a plane early tomorrow. If I get a chance, I’ll sort them later. If not, enjoy anyway:

Why Espressos in America are not Good? — Medium

Re NPR and podcasting

Entefy | Redefining Digital Interaction

Love your response Doc! — Medium

Something I said

PeerStorage

How to block the companies tracking you on Facebook – Tech Insider

It’s a battle for internet freedom – TOI Blogs

Free Basics protects net neutrality – TOI Blogs

Scientists have uncovered exactly what makes a photo memorable – The Washington Post

Deep-learning algorithm predicts photos’ memorability at “near-human” levels | MIT News

We’re in a brave, new post open source world — Medium

What if data was established as a legal asset for everyone? * Why Hernando De Soto Is Relevant to the Biggest Issue Facing Us Today

What America’s top technologist has to say about online harassment – The Washington Post

P.R. Wild Pitches: Spring Edition 03/21/2016

What we’re doing to the Earth has no parallel in 66 million years, scientists say – The Washington Post

The powerful woman behind a news site about refugees

The information age traffics in speed. To adapt to it wisely, we must slow down | Aeon Videos

Personal APIs Are Not Just A Local Destination, They Are A Journey

Why pushing will get you slaughtered in advertising; and pull is the future. — Medium

Carbon Emissions Haven’t Been This High Since Dinosaurs Went Extinct

Girl Teaches Herself Dubstep From YouTube Videos | POPSUGAR Moms

What if we don’ need advertising at all? |

Startup uses ultrasound chirps to covertly link and track all your devices / Boing Boing

digitando – simplify your online shopping

What if data was established as a legal asset for everyone? * Why Hernando De Soto Is Relevant to the Biggest Issue Facing Us Today

Share of Ear: 18-24s Cross the Threshold — The Infinite Dial

Julie Meyer: What If Data Was Established As A Legal Asset For Everyone? | Influencers Insights

New Online Tool Shows You What The Heck Privacy Policies Actually Say – Consumerist

Nielsen Finds Little Demand For Ads In Video-On-Demand, Apathy Growing 03/17/2016

Now Advertisers Can Watch You Watch TV – Fortune

How Marketers Use Big Data To Prey On The Poor – Business Insider

Continuing the Conversation About Encryption and Apple: A New Video From Mozilla — Encryption Matters — Medium

Enders Analysis ad blocker study finds ads take up 79% of mobile data transfer – Business Insider

Privacy and the New Math — Medium

Apple Opens Mobile News App to Publishers in Bid for Readers | Media – AdAge

Databite No. 46: Malavika Jayaram || Data & Society

Going Beyond Data-Driven Marketing To True Intent-Driven Campaigns 03/15/2016

You can now Google your home to see if you should go solar

Conversational commerce — Chris Messina — Medium

iRespond | No matter where, iRespond

The Long March to Fiber Will Take Many Roads…. — Medium

Rebooting Work: Redefining the digital economy | Douglas Rushkoff | LinkedIn

About This Book — Leadership in the Age of Rage — Medium

You Didn’ Notice It, But Google Fiber Just Began the Golden Age of High Speed Internet Access — Backchannel — Medium

The Internet of Things is going to need an Internet of Me — The Internet of Me — Medium

68% of U.S. smartphone owners listen to streaming music daily

Mobile App Security and Encryption Forum

Epic Country-Level A/B Test Proves Open Is Better Than Closed — Backchannel — Medium

The One-Two-Three Sucker Punch That Is Killing Digital Media 03/07/2016

Marketing to Humans In the Digital Age – Brand Marketers Wake Up! | Gary Milner | LinkedIn

Friday Linklings

Okay, today I’m going to try outlining the links I piled up before 8:45am this morning. (#VRM request to @Wordpress: put an outliner in the composing window, or whatever you call the space where I’m writing this. Also, quit putting slashes through the @ when @-handles are copied and pasted in Visual mode from @Twitter. Example: . Thanks.)

Marketing:

Grief:

Clues:

Tech-ish stuff:

Direct response marketing, camouflaged to look like brand advertising:

  • YourAdChoices.com. This is the Digital Advertising Alliance’s program program for giving you a way to opt out, separately, from the many different advertising systems behind “interest-based” (a euphemism for tracking-based) ads, separately for every ad. Which, if you’re not doing the simple thing and running an ad or tracking blocker, could soak up your whole day, every day. Background from MediaPost: Digital Advertising Alliance Launches Opt-Out App 02/26/2015, and Ad Industry Launches Campaign Promoting AdChoices Icon 03/10/2016.
  • Could Bitcoin Solve the Problem of Ad-Blocking? Possibly, but please quit calling ad blocking a problem. Ad blocking is a clear signal from the market to marketing. It says three things: 1) You made the mistake of ignoring and pissing on Do Not Track when we kindly offered it as an olive branch that didn’t block ads at all; 2) You’re now tracking us more than ever and spamming us with awful advertising as well; 3) We’re doing something about it by protecting our own browsers from your intrusions and your crap, which isn’t “theft” because these are our own fucking browsers and our own fucking personal spaces on the Web, and we are entirely within our rights as sovereign human beings to decide what we let in and what we don’t.
  • New Anti-AD App will create total chaos? | Ronald Voorn MSc | LinkedIn, which is another message from the market to a industry that isn’t listening.

Fintech:

In case you can’t get enough already:

I’d say more, but it’s torture to reorganize (much less outline under topical headings) and annotate this stuff in WordPress’ composing window (or whatever you call it).

American Demagogue – The New Yorker. Good one by David Remnick. No news, though.
Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why | Thomas Frank | Opinion | The Guardian. Another.
Lakoff on Trump as Repub catnip. Dave nails it. He also makes another good point: that somebody needs to translate George’s take on Trump to the accessible from the academic. I’ll try, but after the 18th. I’m too busy until then.
What Today’s Republicans Don’t Get About Reagan – The New York Times. He was nowhere near today’s GOP orthodoxy or attitude. He also had a sense of humor.
Emily Bell’s latest
Why no UI standards for the web?
Who is That Man Behind the Curtain? It Certainly Isn’t a Shareholder (or a Voter)… | Strong Views Lightly Held
Peasants, Pitchforks & Torches. Or Why Bank Stocks are Tanking. | Strong Views Lightly Held
DSpace@MIT: Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications
(Here is an excerpt from the book I am working on. Enjoy!) — Wild World of Wireless — Medium
Taxman pops up on online ads | Business Line
Terms of engagement — latest Marketoonist | Marketing Week
Facebook is eating the world – Columbia Journalism Review
How Shyp Is Shaking Up Shipping | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
God Save The Queen – And Proceed With Caution While Backing Up 02/23/2016
The Genomic Ancient DNA Revolution | Edge.org

This continues my pre-Spring housecleaning of remembered tabs. #1 is here.

The spork, the pressure cooker, and the back burner … | deadpenguinsociety. Great collection of links, including “Second order Doc Searls effects.”
VRM — the flipside of CRM breaks out (part 1) — diginomica
VRM — the flipside of CRM breaks out (part 2) — diginomica
​The mainframe lives on in IBM’s LinuxONE | ZDNet
My Explorations of Blockchain Technology, One Year In | Phil Gomes | LinkedIn
The Genomic Ancient DNA Revolution | Edge.org
Ad Blockers Are Making Money Off Ads (And Tracking, Too) | WIRED
Wired Is Launching an Ad-Free Website to Appease Ad Blockers – Bloomberg Business
Media companies worried as ad blocking goes mobile – FT.com
Heavyweight – The New Yorker
Bitcoin’s nightmare scenario has come to pass | The Verge
The challenges of using blockchain technology – Linkis.com
The Financial System is Unstable !!! | The Connectivist
Technoethics and The Future of Work — Medium
The Onlife Manifesto – Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era | Luciano Floridi – Academia.edu Creating an Equitable Tech Ecosystem in Oakland — Medium
European Carrier Blocks Ads at Network Level | Digital – AdAge
Yahoo Hires Advisers, Forms Committee to Explore Options | Digital – AdAge
blog.aloodo.org – Bike helmets
IBM Buys Truven for $2.6 Billion, Adding to Trove of Patient Data – The New York Times
Mobile giant Three to block online advertising
Block an Ad Save an Artist? Google Still Supporting Ad Funded Piracy Time to Fight Back | The Trichordist
thecanadaparty
Here’s How Electric Cars Will Cause the Next Oil Crisis
My view on the current situation of Bitcoin and the Blockchain – Joi Ito’s Web
What’s Next in Computing? — Medium
If you’re alive in 30 years, chances are good you may also be alive in 1000 years (haakonsk)
A Robot That Has Fun at Telemarketers’ Expense – The New York Times
Google Unveils Neural Network with “Superhuman” Ability to Determine the Location of Almost Any Image
Could machines have become self-aware without our kn…
Build them and they will come | The Economist
Empowering the edge – Practical insights on a decentralized Internet of Things
Internet Identity Workshop
It seems nobody knows what’s going on with the economy | Andrew McAfee
Where’s The WD-40? 02/15/2016
From Platforms to Protocols | lightcoin
IVP Capital TMT Advisory – Telecom and Internet Strategic and Financial Advisory
Consciousness; the Next Competitive Advantage |
Filament – Large-scale Wireless Networks
Re-imagining Decentralized and Distributed
Apple, FBI, and the Burden of Forensic Methodology | Zdziarski’s Blog of Things

I use OneTab to move all my open tabs into a single list on a Web page. But then that gets unwieldy too. So now I’m moving a bunch over here. Although it’s a sloooow process inside WordPress’ composition window (or whatever this is called). So I’ll stop trying to edit this page and start working on the next one.

You Didn’t Notice It, But Google Fiber Just Began the Golden Age of High Speed Internet Access, by Susan Crawford in @Medium’s Backchannel. The optimistic view on Googles deal with Huntsville Alabama to do Google Fiber on the city’s own glass.
What Money Can Buy – The New Yorker
What is blockchain? – Business Insider. Has some useful visuals.
How the Blockchain Can Change the Music Industry (Part 2) — Cuepoint — Medium
From shoe repair to digital identity — putting online on the High Street — The Internet of Me — Medium
A New Manifesto for the Tech Industry — Medium
Is Google Fiber (Finally) Changing the Broadband Game ? | diffraction analysis
The growth rate of FTTH/B subscriptions should continue to increase at an annual average rate of 10% until 2019
Shoshana Zuboff: Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism. A learned, deep and depressing take on Where We Are Now. Fortunately we’re on the case.
Why Trump? by George Lakoff. George has studied the shit out of where each of our political preferences come from, and he puts it to work here.
The rise of American authoritarianism – Vox. Also about Trump.
Flyover Country on the App Store. A fabulous app I can’t wait to try on my next trip studying geology at 500 mph at 38,000 feet.
FCC Just Making A Bad Thing Worse | Doc Searls in Radio Ink. A comment they liked so much that they turned it into a stand-alone post. It’s about how all attempts to “revitalize” AM radio are worse than wasted in an age when digital live streams, on-demand and podcasts are the obvious future. Bonus link.
Adblock Plus and (a little) more: Acceptable Ads explained: monetization
The New York Times Might Ban Visitors Who Use Ad Blockers | Adweek
NY Times recommends ad blockers after CEO mulls ad-block ban | Ars Technica
The Ad Blocking Wars – The New York Times
Why People Block Ads
Discussion of a user/publisher optimized web advertising system – Google Docs
Data is a toxic asset, so why not throw it out? – CNN.com
The Trichordist | Artists For An Ethical and Sustainable Internet #StopArtistExploitation
Personal data empowerment: Time for a fairer data deal – Citizens Advice
First, design for data sharing : Nature Biotechnology : Nature Publishing Group
Big Data, Trust and ‘You as The Product’ | A Customer & Brand Strategy Blog
Is Digital The Answer To AM Radio Interference? | Radio Ink
Publishers Asked to Pay Up for Distributed Platform Tracking | Digital – AdAge
The Trumping Of Adblock Plus 03/03/2016
The Onlife Manifesto – Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era | Luciano Floridi – Academia.edu
How Tech is Killing Off Independent Pizzerias | Aaron D. Allen | LinkedIn
Introducing the Futurist Hall of Fame | Thomas Frey | LinkedIn
Louis C.K.’s Warning About Donald Trump – The Atlantic
Giving Silos Their Due | Linux Journal
The Cluetrain Manifesto (1999) | Hacker News
Louis C.K. on Trump: "The guy is Hitler. And by that I mean we are being Germany in the 30s." – Vox
From shoe repair to digital identity — putting online on the High Street — The Internet of Me — Medium
Is technology making the world indecipherable? — Aeo…
Our Economy Is Obsessed with Efficiency and Terrible at Everything Else
The Forthcoming–Behavioral–Economics of Abundance
UK consumes far less than a decade ago – ‘peak stuff’ or something else? | Business | The Guardian
Is technology making the world indecipherable — Aeo…
The car century was a mistake. It’s time to move on. – The Washington Post
March 2016’s shocking global warming temperature record.
Republican Party in suicidal tailspin over Donald Trump’s unstoppable rise
Half of the Earth must be preserved for nature conse…
GBG: world leaders in identity data intelligence – GBG UK
When Fallacies Collide – The New York Times
The Case of the Woman With the Severed Child’s Head – The New York Times
IAB Creates Guide For Publishers To Combat Ad Blocking | Digital – AdAge

Bag ‘o tabs

I have accumulated a ridiculous sum of open tabs and closed ones collected in OneTab pages. Here’s a selection from just the latest collection, for your reading pleasure.

Stuff I’ve said

Science

Tech, especially Internet

  • The Internet is a Global Public Resource, by Mark Surman in The Mozilla Blog. “We’re working to bolster the open Internet movement and take it mainstream.”
  • It’s not cyberspace any more, by danah boyd in Medium. Pushback against John Perry Barlow’s A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. “We all imagined that the Internet would be the great equalizer, but it hasn’t panned out that way… There is a power shift underway and much of the tech sector is ill-equipped to understand its own actions and practices as part of the elite, the powerful. Worse, a collection of unicorns who see themselves as underdogs in a world where instability and inequality are rampant fail to realize that they have a moral responsibility. They fight as though they are insurgents while they operate as though they are kings.”
  • The Open Web and its Enemies, by Bill Thompson in Medium. “…we can use the tools of Web science to design and build a better and more resilient Web — but that we must move quickly or there will be nothing left to save.”
  • Beyond Mobile: Life After Smartphones ToC, by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble in Medium. “We spotlight four game-changing product categories that will come into play in 2016 and change the world as we know it over the next decade–faster in any case. They are: Augmented and Virtual Reality, Robots, Digital Genies and Autonomous Cars.”
  • When your heroes disappoint you. The disappointing hero in this case is Wolfgang Puck.
  • From platforms to protocols, by John Light. Important. Example: “Within the past decade or so, many open protocols have been invented that can be used to assemble platforms that can replace the corporate Death Stars.”
  • Ida — a Community Empowerment Platform, which “seeks to leverage technology to create new political and economic space for communities.”
  • The economics of the Internet, by the World Bank. Not bad as far as it goes, which is transactions. But the Net is about more than transactions. So is economics.
  • Scoble goes apeshit over Magic Leap. “I can’t talk about what I saw… is absolutely the biggest product introduction demo, the most interesting product demo, that I’ve ever had in my life.”
  • The Waze Effect: AI and the Public Commons, by John Battelle in Medium. “Should we just throw up our hands and “trust the tech?” No.

Politics

The People vs/+ Marketing and Advertising

  • 60% of all Mobile Banner Ad Clicks are Accidents. Wasting 60% of the $18 billion expected to be spent on mobile advertising this year. Not to mention (the business never does) the wasted time, energy and bandwidth costs to human beings, most of which would rather not have ads on their phones at all.
  • Buy More Pointless Stuff, says street-art-edited adverts at the Ealing tube stop.
  • Non-Marketing, by Andrew McLuhan in Medium, explains a bit about that last point above: “Fashion magazines and Superbowl Sunday aside, no one wants to see the ads. But in spaces like Snapchat, the users don’t just dislike ads and marketing, they really, really, dislike it. They resent it.”
  • MyData: A Nordic Model for human-centered personal data management and processing. “The core idea is that individuals should be in control of their own data. The MyData approach aims at strengthening digital human rights while opening new opportunities for businesses to develop innovative personal data based services built on mutual trust.” A long manifesto at the heart of what might become a movement or part of one. Bonus link: MyData 2016. In Helsinki, August 31-September 1. I’ll be there.
  • Wired Is Launching an Ad-Free Website to Appease Ad Blockers. “‘Wired plans to charge $3.99 for four weeks of ad-free access to its website. In many places where ads appear, the site will simply feature more articles,’ said Mark McClusky, the magazine’s head of product and business development. The portion of his readership that uses ad blockers are likely to be receptive to a discussion about their  responsibility to support the businesses they rely on for  information online… There are legitimate reasons that people use ad blockers, according to McClusky, like a desire to speed up web browsing or not wanting to be tracked online. But Wired has bills to pay. “’I think people are ready to have that conversation in a straightforward way,’” McClusky added.  But there is no conversation. If there were, it would look like this.
  • Samsung wants customers not to discuss personal information in front of smart TVs, in The Week. Headline says it all.
  • Smart, Connected Devices Open More Doors To Personal Networks, by Chuck Martin in MediaPost‘s IoT Daily. My response: “The only ‘transformative consumer experience’ that matters is one of personal independence and control of one’s own data and one’s own stuff. Approximately 0% of the jive around the Internet of Things today is about that, however. Mostly it’s about surveillance and marketing guesswork further intruding themselves into our lives, on vectors of connected stuff controlled by remote corporate and government intelligence agencies with zero interest in our privacy and absolute interest in spying on us. On our side there is no market demand for that. Until we get the true Internet of Things — http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/true… — we’ll just have more delusional BS.” Chuck’s gracious response: “Agree. Doc, that will have to be part of the “value” exchange. Great piece at the link, thanks for sharing. Still a ways to go to reach The Internet of Everything.”
  • Facebook and the new colonialism, by Adrienne LaFrance in The Atlantic.
  • India Doesn’t Need Facebook’s Free Mobile Internet Access. It Needs Nationwide Broadband, by Hasit Shah in Slate. “India has a can-do mentality that enables it to keep functioning and thriving, despite disparaging remarks from places like Silicon Valley. It’s not dissimilar to the spirit that has made the Internet itself a realm of possibility. Splendidly, the 2015 TRAI report ends with a quote from Machiavelli: “The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not.” India paid attention, Facebook did not.”
  • Is Adblock good for consumers? — asked in Quora. I just added an answer.
  • Samsung rolled out ad blocking on Android, Google said no, and then said “Yeah, okay.

Humanities, culture or something

Fintech

Oldies but Goodies

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