Papua New Guinea Goes Cellular 🏝

and how to moderate the Internet… without Zuck being in charge

Aesthetics

This human did an excellent job of logging a full year’s worth of how they spent their time. The main lesson I took away from “My year in data” is that it’s certainly worth investing in quality sleep, given how much time we spend sleeping!

I love trains and train stations, so I’m enthralled to learn that Penn Station is getting a glorious, art-filled makeover. Plenty more pics when you click through: Moynihan Train Hall Brings Art to Penn Station - The New York Times

Put that yeast to work! This looks to be some legitimate progress from (relatively) early bio-hacking. Inspired by kombucha tea, engineers create “living materials” | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This site is full of products that are “wrong” and shouldn’t exist. But maybe they do exist? 🤔 Products | Erratum

Just Random Things

These two pieces are fascinating examples of how we can find meaning from randomness, and how we can use randomness to shake up our lives.

🌈 Inside Randonautica, the App Leading Zoomers to Discover Rainbows, Dead Bodies, and Hidden Treasures | by Steve Rousseau | OneZero

🤖 This Computer Scientist Built an App That Randomized His Life

Content Moderation & Internet as Public Space

I did enjoy some schadenfreude when Parler got hacked and dumped by “computer programmer” @donk_enby

That’s a lotta bytes! 70TB of Parler users’ data leaked by security researchers | CyberNews

Then, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay dunked on Parler for getting taken offline so easily:

AWS kicking off Parler isn’t censorship because it is essentially a commodity service: The Line Between Choosing Your Own Customers and Censorship

However, it is worth thinking critically about techno-authoritarianism and how that fits with leftist politics (as notable contrarian Glenn Greenwald wrote). Do we want Zuck to be in charge of policing speech on the Internet? I don’t.

FB & Twitter have the resources to build moderation teams and also to defend themselves politically, but not all platforms do. Watch out for larger platforms trying to set the agenda here in a way that reinforces their monopolies!

This problem is going to show up on other platforms as the far right diaspora continues:

There is research about historical public space and how services can implement those. Who will listen, and why?

TL;DR? Spaces that build healthy communities do these things:

  • Develop programming – social activities – that draw different groups in, without over-optimizing for any one group

  • Offer visual cues as to what kinds of behavior are invited in the space

  • Are designed to be physically accessible and attractive to many different populations

  • Engage stewards, leaders, and maintainers who can do the labor of community-building 

  • Are designed in partnership with the communities that use them.

Culture

Area man exhibits extreme wholesomeness by gifting pizzas, is rewarded with internet fame: This man has given away 500 free pizzas. He lowers them from his apartment window. - The Washington Post

Fascinating piece about the intersection of ancient cultures and modern technology that happens when cell towers are installed in a remote island nation: Papua New Guinea calling – Rest of World

The title of this article is a bit self-deprecating, because the Person here will indeed do Something, if you want. It’s more accurate to say that he will just be there without judgement. Frankly, I can see a lot of value in a service like this! 'Rent-a-person who does nothing' in Tokyo receives endless requests, gratitude - The Mainichi

The Solarpunk future we all deserve is apparently starting in Paris. A major and historic street gets a planty makeover: Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris to become "an extraordinary garden"

Also, I saw this on Twitter, and it feels appropriate here:

What if we could crack open a cold one… without drinking alcohol? These luxury ‘relaxation’ beverages are trying to make that space. I also enjoy their packaging. Chill imbibes: inside the booming business of relaxation drinks - The Verge