cats, cat signals, games, internet freedom

Monday, August 25, 2014

China, Online Censorship, Tank Man photo

The Diminishing Returns of Tricking China’s Online Censors | MIT Technology Review: "... Censorship has forced Chinese activists to use increasingly obscure language on social media, isolating themselves from those they hope to reach.... Obviously, censorship and the subsequent ignorance it breeds hinders the effectiveness of these anticensorship tricks. For instance, the enforced silence of state media and China’s education system no doubt leaves many young people unaware of what happened on June 4, 1989. In a recent informal survey of 100 college students, only 15 recognized the Tank Man photo. Without a shared base of knowledge, what use are memes like the big yellow duck for reaching the masses?... (read more at link above)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Microsoft Lawyer Slams Secret Surveillance Court, FISA

Microsoft’s Top Lawyer Slams Secret Surveillance Court - Digits - WSJ: "The U.S.’s secret surveillance court is unaccountable to the public and not “inclined to promote justice,” Microsoft’s top lawyer said Tuesday. General counsel Brad Smith said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews applications and appeals involving U.S. government data-collection efforts in the name of national security, acts unlike most other courts because “only one side gets to tell its story.” The surveillance court also effectively creates law “that the American public is not permitted to read,” Smith said Wednesday in a speech at the Brookings Institution. The 35-year-old court was cast into the spotlight following revelations about National Security Agency’s (NSA) data-collection programs. The court’s decisions and most documents submitted to the court are secret, which Smith said made it tough for those opposing the government’s data demands to have a fair hearing. “This is not an approach inclined to promote justice,” Smith said, as he showed an image of what he implied was a government document before the surveillance court, with all text blacked out...." (read more at link above)

Monday, August 11, 2014

What Do Animals See in a Mirror?

What Do Animals See in a Mirror? - Issue 13: Symmetry - Nautilus: "... Gallup, now in his 70s, mainly stays away from advocacy work but he likes to philosophize about what exactly mirror self-recognition shows, and why that capability might have evolved. Clearly, it has little to do with mirrors since aside from the occasional still pond, our distant ancestors would never have encountered their reflections. He’s come to the conclusion that a pass of the mirror test indicates a profound level of consciousness that includes animals’ ability to contemplate their own thoughts and experiences as well as to imagine what others could be thinking and experiencing. This ability is called “theory of mind.”...." (read more at link above)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Human Love Watching Animals

Why humans evolved to love watching animals – David Barash – Aeon: "....The popularity of pets, animal films, TV shows, and books suggests that interaction with animals derives from a deeply rooted human need. Recent findings that companion animals contribute positively to many people’s physical and emotional health do not in themselves explain why animals exert such effects; rather, they suggest that animals (at least, some species) have long been associated with human well-being. The same goes for the simple pleasures so many of us derive from observing and interacting with animals. ‘Pleasure’ is not something that natural selection doles out without a reason – and we would expect that reason to be intimately connected with maximising fitness. When it comes to evolution, pleasure is deployed as bait as much as for immediate reward. The question then is simply this: what do people get from their animal-watching? And can evolution help explain this powerful yearning to observe other creatures?...." (read more at link above)

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