Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #289

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person “must see”.

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another: 

  • Viewpoint Diversity in the Academy – The Righteous Mind. “There’s been a lot of talk about how far ‘safe spaces’ in academic discourse can go, before they invade freedom of speech. As a straight white male, I’ve been reluctant to take a stand on this other than to say, ‘everyone should have a voice,’ because I come from a place of tremendous privilege. But recently — with people claiming that yoga is cultural appropriation — I feel like we’ve hit a tipping point. One of my favourite thinkers, Jonathan Haidt, has an amazing writeup, chock-full of links and content, on how we get here; it echoes many of my sentiments, but does so in a far more articulate way than I’ve been able to muster.” (Alistair for Hugh).
  • How Esurance Lost Its Mascot to the Internet – Priceonomics. “At the other extreme, Rule 34 says that if it exists, the Internet will find a way to make porn of it. ’For God’s sake, sex and auto-insurance are not two things that go together.’ said the creator of Erin Esurance, a cartoon character created to sell online insurance. Maybe it was the three twenty something male animators hired to sketch her unrealistic curves and tight-fitting catsuit, but apparently, they do — to the point that they overtake the original in search results.” (Alistair for Mitch).
  • BYU’s Bold Plan to Give Students Control of Their Data – eSurge“Over the past decade ’digital’ has come to mean – for most of us - ’everything,’ and the result has been a monumental dumping of personal data into the cloud, with not-well-defined social contracts between us (the users, the dumpers of data) and them (the gigantic companies that hoover up our data). Some years ago there was, perhaps, an idea that there was ’too much data to process.’ But this data is a goldmine, and processing techniques and hardware are getting better and better. And at some point, the tradeoff of ’free photo and link posting service’ in exchange for ’total knowledge of your inner soul’ might start to seem like a bad trade. Brigham Young University has just launched a new program to help students start thinking in this way, envisaging university services as a set of APIs, that talk to a student’s ‘personal API,’ giving the student explicit control over what data is shared with the University services, and under what conditions. It seems to me this will be an important next step in digital application development, the notion that we should be able to control information about ourselves, and using, say, an email application, should not also mean, by default, allowing a marketing bot to read our emails about the dentist and selling us ads about toothpaste (or worse).” (Hugh for Alistair).   
  • Democracy’s Destabilizer: TMI – BloombergView. “The choice presented by social web (and, say, cable TV) has fractured and polarized political discourse, that’s a common understanding these days. But a new book by former CIA analyst, Martin Gurri, suggests that the impacts of society’s transformation from ’information scarcity’ to ‘information abundance’ has been underestimated. Information abundance, he argues, creates a ’crisis of authority,’ where governments and other large institutions are losing legitimacy in the eyes of a growing percentage of the population. Before our current info abundance era, governments and large institutions could control the messaging and media to the general population. And while fringe ideas could exist, their spread was limited by controls on distribution of information. This is no longer the case, so every oppositional force (left, right, Trump, Sanders, ISIS, Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, whatever) creates a kind of self-contained sphere of understanding, ’sectarian publics’ whose ‘only shared agenda is opposition to the status quo.’ And yet, populations in general expect that their governments will (or should) solve their problems – but they don’t. This tension is destabilizing our understanding and legitimacy of big institutions… and …we’re not sure what will happen next! Happy New Year!” (Hugh for Mitch).
  • You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question – Quartz. “It took a lot of personal discovery, hard work and time for me to realize that saying things like, ‘all I want to do is be happy’ is a very stupid thing. It may sound cliche, but happiness is not a destination. It’s on a spectrum of emotions. So, you can’t be happy and not have some kind of sadness, depression, anxiety and whatever else mixed in there. So, what do you want from life? Maybe it is a bad question. And, while this article might seem like linkbait, the question to really ask yourself is the right one. What are you really willing to endure to get what you want… and, yes, how much pain are you willing to accept, deal with and push forward, as you carry that weight on your shoulders like luggage?” (Mitch for Alistair).
  • Lemmy’s Last Days: How Metal Legend Celebrated 70th, Stared Down Cancer – Rolling Stone. “We lost a whole bunch of people in the past little while. The one that affected me the most was Lemmy from the metal band, Motorhead. I had met, interviewed, and been in the general vicinity of the metal legend more than a few times during my tenure as a music writer. He always scared me. I was never a huge fan of their music, but always appreciated what they brought to the genre. He scared me simply because I was young, and he was intimidating. Just look at him. And, if you think I’m a wimp, go and hang out in a real motorcycle club bar, and tell me that you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder, or worried about getting punched in the face. That’s what made Lemmy so great: the unpredictable. You never knew what was coming next, because he really was the embodiment of rock and roll and heavy metal. In the last few years, his health made him struggle, it was hard to watch, but he kept on keeping on. To me, this is what I loved most about Lemmy. Never say die. This is someone who truly lived (and died) doing what he loved most. Whether you liked his music or not, I’m wondering how many of us can claim to have lived our lives like that? With that, my favorite Moorhead song was always Killed By Death… it gets us all… eventually.” (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.