Technology

WIRED: Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits

Jigsaw, Google’s think-tank, has used Google’s search advertising algorithms to help dissuade people searching for information on joining ISIS to, y’know, not join.

The program, which Jigsaw calls the Redirect Method and plans to launch in a new phase this month, places advertising alongside results for any keywords and phrases that Jigsaw has determined people attracted to ISIS commonly search for. Those ads link to Arabic- and English-language YouTube channels that pull together preexisting videos Jigsaw believes can effectively undo ISIS’s brainwashing—clips like testimonials from former extremists, imams denouncing ISIS’s corruption of Islam, and surreptitiously filmed clips inside the group’s dysfunctional caliphate in Northern Syria and Iraq.

That’s brilliant and an actual display of courage. Google deserves all the high-fives.

Source: Wired.com

"The New Yorker: Trump’s Boswell Speaks"
Linkin' Log, Politics

The New Yorker: Trump’s Boswell Speaks

The New Yorker has a piece on “The Art of The Deal” ghostwriter Tony Schwartz’s feelings on a Donald Trump presidency. It’s only slightly horrifying.

Starting in late 1985, Schwartz spent eighteen months with Trump—camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate. During that period, Schwartz felt, he had got to know him better than almost anyone else outside the Trump family. Until Schwartz posted the tweet, though, he had not spoken publicly about Trump for decades. It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”

This is fine.

"Twitter Announces New Features!"
Linkin' Log, Society, Technology

Twitter Announces New Features!

Twitter has announced new enhancements to its service in a blog post today:

In the coming months we’ll make changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters, so for instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valuable characters.

It’s great that Twitter is working on giving people more space for the meat of their tweets, and obviously a much better use of their time than trying to stem the tide of horrifying abuse that occurs on their platform every damn day. But, hey, now trolls can make each tweet chock-full of more hate, so I guess it’s a super-awesome thing!

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

"Alfred 3"
Linkin' Log, Technology

Alfred 3

Alfred, which is more or less OS X’s Spotlight on steroids, released a new version today. Whenever I’m setting up a new Mac for myself, Alfred is the second application I’ll install.1

It’s free to use the basic functionality, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a shot. Live a little, would’ja?


  1. In order, it goes Dropbox, Alfred, Hazel, then Evernote. Everything else is installed in a very willy-nilly order because I’m not that OCD.