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Co-founder of Elgg and Known; former investor at Matter;
CTO at The 19th.

benwerd

benwerd

benwerd

19thnews.org

 

Some interesting links – Ben Werdmuller (2006)

I resurrected my old blog, which has posts from 2004 through 2013. The links are pretty dead (I should repoint them to the Internet Archive) but the commentary is still interesting. I was pretty sassy in the old days.

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The High Cost of Living Your Life Online

“Studies have found that high levels of social media use are connected with an increased risk of symptoms of anxiety and depression. There appears to be substantial evidence connecting people’s mental health and their online habits. Furthermore, many psychologists believe people may be dealing with psychological effects that are pervasive but not always obvious.”

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In Grief and In Anger, Welcome to Peste Magazine

“Peste Magazine believes health is a human right. We believe in naming the names of the powerful who believe others do not deserve that right, because of who they are, where they live, what they do, how they fuck, or how much money they don’t have.”

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Notes on Roadtrips

“And because I’m still uncomfortable talking about company values, we’re going to do so by talking about something else entirely. We’re going to talk about Road Trips.” I appreciate this more human approach to values statements.

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Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights

“You should be protected from abusive data practices via built-in protections and you should have agency over how data about you is used.”

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Kim Kardashian settles SEC charges over Instagram EthereumMax crypto promo

“The reality TV superstar and influencer has settled Securities and Exchange Commission charges that she failed to disclose a payment she received for touting a crypto asset on her Instagram feed, the agency announced Monday morning.”

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Co-Founding Considered Harmful

“I’ve come to view the idea that you absolutely need a co-founder as one of the most harmful memes in Silicon Valley. It’s probably killed more companies than any other misconceptions out there.” Really solid advice.

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Wikipedia has once again debated whether Fox News is a reliable source.

“The final result: Li found consensus that Fox be deemed a “marginally reliable” source for information about politics and science. This means that its use as a reference in Wikipedia articles will not be permitted for “exceptional claims” that require heightened scrutiny, but that its reliability will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for other claims.”

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AI Data Laundering: How Academic and Nonprofit Researchers Shield Tech Companies from Accountability

“This academic-to-commercial pipeline abstracts away ownership of data models from their practical applications, a kind of data laundering where vast amounts of information are ingested, manipulated, and frequently relicensed under an open-source license for commercial use.”

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Software engineering practices

I really like Simon’s summary of recommended software engineering practices. I agree with everything here, and this might encourage me to write my own additional list.

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Book Exploder

A podcast that could have been made just for me. What I found most striking in all of these author accounts is how personal these book projects all are. Writing is a detailed exercise in craft, but also a phenomenal act of empathy.

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Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez

A very personal exploration of a facet of history that still has so many unheard stories. The portion set in England pulls no punches, in a way that makes me want to force all my friends there to read this. I learned so much, and felt so much: it does its job and more.

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Return to Monkey Island

A splendid, absolutely fitting sequel. Nostalgic, funny, fresh, engrossing: everything I wanted it to be.

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Elon Musk’s Texts Shatter the Myth of the Tech Genius

“It’s been a general Is this really how business is done? There’s no real strategic thought or analysis. It’s just emotional and done without any real care for consequence.”

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Hundreds Of Authors Ask Publishers To Stop Attacking Libraries

“Tons of authors, including some very big names like Neil Gaiman, saying that the publishers need to not just stop going after libraries, but especially that they need to stop doing so in the name of authors.”

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eBay exec sentenced in cyberstalking attack on Natick couple

“The couple said they were sent disturbing items, including live bugs, a bloody pig mask, a funeral wreath and a book about coping with the loss of a spouse.”

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‘We can continue Pratchett’s efforts’: the gamers keeping Discworld alive

“Not only does it feature most of the key locations, from the city of Ankh-Morpork to areas such as Klatch and the Ramtops, it has seven guilds, player-run shops, and countless quests and adventures featuring many of the Discworld’s most notable characters. It even has its own newspaper.”

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Axios's 'Smart Brevity' and Questionable Book-Selling Tactics

“The intrigue: An internal Axios memo encouraged each employee to buy six copies of the trio’s new book. Workers could then get those purchases expensed by the company—a practice that could cost Axios more than $70,000, according to Defector.” Savage.

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One of the Hottest Trends in the World of Investing Is a Sham

On ESG: “Instead of measuring the risks that environmental and social developments pose to companies, raters and investors should measure the risks to humanity posed by companies.”

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The Liz Truss BBC Local Radio Interviews

Fantastic job by BBC local radio interviewers. Terrifying listening, straight out of The Thick of It.

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Rohingya seek reparations from Facebook for role in massacre

“But a new and comprehensive report by Amnesty International states that Facebook’s preferred narrative is false. The platform, Amnesty says, wasn’t merely a passive site with insufficient content moderation. Instead, Meta’s algorithms “proactively amplified and promoted content” on Facebook, which incited violent hatred against the Rohingya beginning as early as 2012.”

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Inside Podcasters' Explosive Audience Growth

“Each time a player taps on one of these fleeting in-game ads—and wins some virtual loot for doing so—a podcast episode begins downloading on their device. The podcast company, in turn, can claim the gamer as a new listener to its program and add another coveted download to its overall tally.”

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Artist receives first known US copyright registration for latent diffusion AI art

“In what might be a first, a New York-based artist named Kris Kashtanova has received US copyright registration on their graphic novel that features AI-generated artwork created by latent diffusion AI.”

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Climate change is turning the trees into gluttons

“Although other factors like climate and pests can somewhat affect a tree’s volume, the study found that elevated carbon levels consistently led to an increase of wood volume in 10 different temperate forest groups across the country. This suggests that trees are helping to shield Earth’s ecosystem from the impacts of global warming through their rapid growth.”

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Meridian

Meridian finds places based on a user’s latitude and longitude - and is open source and distributed. Useful for all kinds of purposes, not least indieweb checkin apps.

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