Archive for ‘Technology’

January 12, 2023

El Paquete Semanal

El Paquete by Rubén Cabra

El Paquete Semanal (‘The Weekly Package’) or ‘El Paquete’ is a one terabyte collection of digital material distributed since around 2008 on the underground market in Cuba as a substitute for broadband Internet. Since 2015, it has been the primary source of entertainment for millions of Cubans, as Internet in Cuba has been suppressed for many years. El Paquete Semanal has its own page that is running in the United States, where one could view its contents and is consistently updated every week.

The Cuban Government has also been investing in more internet access for the people, with the use of ETECSA, a service that the citizens could pay 1 CUC (equivalent to an American Dollar) for one hour of internet use. This has become the most popular method for people to become connected to the internet, mainly used to connect to social media, such as Facebook.

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January 3, 2023

Libs of TikTok

School Litter Box Hoax by Robert Beatty

Libs of TikTok is a far-right anti-LGBT Twitter account owned by Chaya Raichik, a former real estate agent, that reposts social media content created by left-wing and LGBT people with hostile, mocking, or derogatory commentary. The account has over 1.5 million followers and has become influential among American conservatives and the political right.

The account harasses teachers, medical providers, and children’s hospitals. It spreads false claims and hateful commentary, especially relating to medical care of transgender children. Libs of TikTok regularly slurs LGBT people, as well as those who provide mental health services to LGBT youth and LGBT sex education to students, as ‘groomers.’ Raichik’s social media accounts have received several temporary suspensions and a permanent suspension from TikTok.

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December 13, 2022

Acoustic Kitty

Acoustic Kitty

Acoustic Kitty is a project launched by the C.I.A. Directorate of Science & Technology in the 1960s, which intended to use cats to spy on the Kremlin and Soviet embassies.

In an hour-long procedure, a veterinary surgeon implanted a microphone in the cat’s ear canal, a small radio transmitter at the base of its skull, and a thin wire into its fur. This would allow the cat to innocuously record and transmit sound from its surroundings. Due to problems with distraction, the cat’s sense of hunger had to be addressed in another operation. Victor Marchetti, a former CIA officer, said Project Acoustic Kitty cost about $20 million.

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November 16, 2022

Fatberg

Marine Conservation Society

A fatberg is a rock-like mass of waste matter in a sewer system formed by the combination of flushed non-biodegradable solids, such as wet wipes, and fat, oil and grease (FOG) deposits. The handling of FOG waste and the buildup of its deposits are a long-standing problem in waste management, with ‘fatberg’ a more recent neologism.

Giant fatbergs have blocked sewers in London, New York, Denver, Valencia, and Melbourne and are becoming more prevalent with the rise in usage of disposable (so-called ‘flushable’) cloths. Several prominent examples were discovered in the 2010s in Great Britain, their formation accelerated by aging Victorian sewers. Fatbergs are costly to remove, and have given rise to public awareness campaigns about flushable waste.

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November 8, 2022

Fruit Machine

LGBT Purge

The fruit machine was a device developed in Canada by Frank Robert Wake, a Carleton University psychology professor in the 1950s, that was supposed to be able to identify gay men (derogatorily referred to as ‘fruits’). The subjects were made to view pornography; the device then measured the diameter of the pupils of the eyes (pupillary response test), perspiration, and pulse for a supposed erotic response.

The machine was employed in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s during a campaign to eliminate all gay men from the civil service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the military. A substantial number of workers did lose their jobs. Although funding for the project was cut off in the late 1960s, the investigations continued, and the RCMP collected files on 9,000 people who had been investigated.

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November 6, 2022

Fediverse

Mastodon

The fediverse (a portmanteau of ‘federation’ and ‘universe’) is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other.

Their are federated alternatives to many mainstream websites: PeerTube (YouTube); Funkwhale (SoundCloud); Mastodon, Hubzilla, and pump.io (Twitter); Frendica (Facebook); Drupal (WordPress); Pixelfed (Instagram); and Lemmy (Reddit).

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September 6, 2022

Reply Allpocalypse

Email storm

A reply allpocalypse, also called an email storm, is a sudden spike of “reply all” messages on an email list. When members respond, often pleading for the cessation of messages, a chain reaction is triggered, generating traffic that can render the email servers inoperative.

Some email viruses also have the capacity to create email storms by sending copies of themselves to an infected user’s contacts, including distribution lists, infecting the contacts in turn.

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September 1, 2022

Stroad

Share the Road

stroad is a pejorative portmanteau of street and road that was coined by urban planner Charles Marohn in 2011 to describe paved traffic structures in the U.S. that are a bad combination of two types of vehicular pathways.

According to Marohn, a stroad is part street—which he describes as a ‘complex environment where life in the city happens,’ with pedestrians, cars, buildings close to the sidewalk for easy accessibility, with many (property) entrances / exits to and from the street, and with spaces for temporary parking and delivery vehicles—and part road, which he describes as a ‘high-speed connection between two places’ with wide lanes, limited entrances and exits, and which are generally straight or have gentle curves.

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July 25, 2022

Brewster Kahle

Internet Archive

Brewster Kahle [keyl] (b. 1960) is an American digital librarian, a computer engineer, Internet entrepreneur, and advocate of universal access to all knowledge. Kahle founded the Internet Archive and Alexa Internet. In 2012 he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

Kahle and his wife, Mary Austin, run the Kahle/Austin Foundation. The Foundation supports the Free Software Foundation for its GNU project, among other projects.

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June 12, 2022

Bored Ape

bored ape

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a non-fungible token (NFT) collection built on the Ethereum blockchain. The collection features profile pictures of cartoon apes that are procedurally generated by an algorithm.

The parent company of Bored Ape Yacht Club is Yuga Labs. The project launched in April 2021. Owners of a Bored Ape NFT are granted access to a private online club, exclusive in-person events, and intellectual property rights for the image.

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May 2, 2022

Accidental Discovery

Author and researcher Royston Roberts has said that various discoveries required a degree of genius, but also some lucky element for that genius to act on.  Author Richard Gaughan wrote that accidental discoveries result from the convergence of preparation, opportunity, and desire.

Major everyday discoveries that were helped by luck in some way include products like vulcanized rubber, teflon, nylon, penicillin, cyanoacrylate (Super Glue), the implantable pacemaker, the microwave oven, Scotchgard, Saran wrap, Silly Putty, Slinky, safety glass, the propeller, artificial snowmaking, stainless steel, Perkin’s mauve (one of the first synthetic dyes), and popsicles. Most artificial sweeteners have been discovered when accidentally tasted, including aspartame and saccharin.

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January 25, 2022

Hot Mic

We begin bombing in five minutes

hot mic is an error in which a microphone is switched on or remains on, especially without the speaker realizing, allowing unintended listeners to hear parts of conversations not intended for public consumption.

Such errors usually involve live broadcasting in radio or television, and sometimes material is recorded and played back via media outlets. Hot mic events can cause embarrassment for the person or organization involved, sometimes resulting in serious confrontations and employment termination.

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