Linking blogs

Why I Love Link Blogging (BirchTree)
Besides, if someone reads my site and I link somewhere else, hopefully that will make people click that link and some of them will discover a new writer they had never heard of. If that linked article also links somewhere else, then the rabbit hole can get very deep, but that’s just more chances to find some gems out there.
That’s what happened here. I read Chris’s article which linked to the article linked to from this post. I added BirchTree to my RSS reader.

Silicon Valley Arrogance

Arrogance Peaks in Silicon Valley by M.G. Siegler (500ish)
Silicon Valley has long had a battle between IQ and EQ. Obviously, there should be a balance between these things. And certainly as the tech industry has gone mainstream, you’d hope to reach such an equilibrium. Instead, I fear IQ has won at the expense of EQ. And so the bile flows… I offer no answers. Just observations. Because I think this is a very bad, and potentially catastrophic trend. We need Silicon Valley?—?the people behind these companies?—?to wake up. We need everyone to act like human beings, not like rogue AI programs vomiting up delusions of grandeur. I’m honestly not even sure that some individuals?—?people I know?—?could pass the Turing test at this point. Facebook is but a taste of what’s to come, I fear.

Cyber-weapons as a form of magic

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Cyber-weapons as a form of magic, and why we can’t code our way to a safer internet | by Marcelo Rinesi (
It's a poem that, written down, unread by human eyes, causes havoc in the real world. You might as well apply the concepts of "deterrence" and "arms control" to a rumor. By calling them "weapons," politicians and the military, while reflecting the uses for them they desire and fear, misunderstand their nature. People who, in other contexts and issues, claim it impossible to control the production and distribution of something as solid as an AR-15, attempt to ensure the security of their computational infrastructure by controlling the production and distribution of pure knowledge, in an era where the circuits inside a car's door could drown out the output of any printing press.
This post by Marcelo Rinesi is spot on.

Meetup: ACM / IEEE Computer Society: “If You Trust Your Computer, You’re Crazy”

ACM / IEEE Computer Society: "If You Trust Your Computer, You’re Crazy"

Thursday, Apr 19, 2018, 7:30 PM

Princeton University Computer Science Building, small auditorium
35 Olden Street Princeton, NJ

6 Members Attending

The Princeton ACM / IEEE Computer Society Joint Chapter is delighted to host: Google Software Engineer Ron Minnich, presenting: ** If You Trust Your Computer, You’re Crazy ** There are potential security issues in your computer’s UEFI firmware. What can we do about it? In 2017, we learned from the WikiLeaks release of the vault7 material that the ...

Check out this Meetup →

The Princeton ACM / IEEE Computer Society Joint Chapter is delighted to host:Google Software Engineer Ron Minnich, presenting: "If You Trust Your Computer, You’re Crazy"

Social Media, Rutherford B. Hayes, and the plot to steal the US election

Photo by Dhaval Parmar on Unsplash, MacBook
Who Owns the Internet? by Elizabeth Kolbert (The New Yorker)
Chief among the plotters was an Ohioan named William Henry Smith. Smith ran the western arm of the Associated Press, and in this way controlled the bulk of the copy that ran in many small-town newspapers. The Western A.P. operated in tight affiliation—some would say collusion—with Western Union, which exercised a near-monopoly over the nation’s telegraph lines. Early in the campaign, Smith decided that he would employ any means necessary to assure a victory for Hayes, who, at the time, was serving a third term as Ohio’s governor. In the run-up to the Republican National Convention, Smith orchestrated the release of damaging information about the Governor’s rivals. Then he had the Western A.P. blare Hayes’s campaign statements and mute Tilden’s. At one point, an unflattering piece about Hayes appeared in the Chicago Times, a Democratic paper. (The piece claimed that Hayes, who had been a general in the Union Army, had accepted money from a soldier to give to the man’s family, but had failed to pass it on when the soldier died.) The A.P. flooded the wires with articles discrediting the story.

Once the votes had been counted, attention shifted to South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana—states where the results were disputed. Both parties dispatched emissaries to the three states to try to influence the Electoral College outcome. Telegrams sent by Tilden’s representatives were passed on to Smith, courtesy of Western Union. Smith, in turn, shared the contents of these dispatches with the Hayes forces. This proto-hack of the Democrats’ private communications gave the Republicans an obvious edge. Meanwhile, the A.P. sought and distributed legal opinions supporting Hayes. (Outraged Tilden supporters took to calling it the “Hayesociated Press.”) As Democrats watched what they considered to be the theft of the election, they fell into a funk.

“They are full of passion and want to do something desperate but hardly know how to,” one observer noted. Two days before Hayes was inaugurated, on March 5, 1877, the New York Sun appeared with a black border on the front page. “These are days of humiliation, shame and mourning for every patriotic American,” the paper’s editor wrote.

History, Mark Twain is supposed to have said, doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Once again, the President of the United States is a Republican who lost the popular vote. Once again, he was abetted by shadowy agents who manipulated the news. And once again Democrats are in a finger-pointing funk.
Thank you Nicola for the link.