Skip to main content

CTO at The 19th. Writing a novel.
Previously: Co-founder of Elgg and Known; former investor at Matter.

benwerd

benwerd

werd.social/@ben

19thnews.org

 

A Matter of Necessity

“Today, The 19th’s staff reflects that broadened aim: the newsroom is 65 percent women of color, with 28 percent identifying as LGBTQ+; 16 percent are people living with disabilities. “We pledged to build the most representative newsroom in America,” Ramshaw told me. “I think we are pretty close to that point.”” I’m deeply proud and grateful to work here.

· Links

 

A Creator of ActivityPub on What’s Next for the Fediverse

“As well as technical improvements he’d like to see, Prodromou has thoughts on what the fediverse can ultimately become. He thinks it will take some time for people to “detox from their Twitter experience” and realize that their social media world is no longer subject to corporate manipulation.”

· Links

 

Hello! You’ve Been Referred Here Because You’re Wrong About Twitter And Hunter Biden’s Laptop

“Now, apparently more files are going to be published, so something may change, but so far it’s been a whole lot of utter nonsense. But when I say that both here on Techdirt and on Twitter, I keep seeing a few very, very wrong arguments being made. So, let’s get to the debunking.”

· Links

 

A year of new avenues

“The platforms of the last decade are done. […] This is … tremendously exciting! Some of you reading this were users and/or developers of the internet in the period from 2002 to perhaps 2012. For those of you who were not, I want to tell you that it was exciting and energizing, not because everything was great, but simply because anything was possible.” +1,000,000. I love the moment we’re in.

· Links

 

The Grift Brothers

“Over lunch, MacAskill encouraged SBF to pursue the EA life strategy called “earn to give,” whereby one strives to — quoting a Sequoia profile on SBF—“get filthy rich, for charity’s sake,” even if this means working for what MacAskill himself calls “immoral organization[s].” Although the means may be questionable, they’re justified by the ends: maximizing the “good” that one does in the world.”

· Links

 

I Taught ChatGPT to Invent a Language

“I am writing this blog post as a public record of this incredibly impressive (and a little scary) capability. I know I just posted yesterday, but I am so blown away that I had to write this down while it was still fresh in my mind. Congratulations OpenAI. This is truly revolutionary.” Mind-blowing.

· Links

 

What if failure is the plan?

“For an anchor point, consider the collapse of local news journalism. The myth that this was caused by Craigslist or Google drives me bonkers. Throughout the 80s and 90s, private equity firms and hedge funds gobbled up local news enterprises to extract their real estate. They didn’t give a shit about journalism; they just wanted prime real estate that they could develop.”

· Links

 

Oxford Word of the Year 2022

“‘Goblin mode’ – a slang term, often used in the expressions ‘in goblin mode’ or ‘to go goblin mode’ – is ‘a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.’”

· Links

 

Linked: Lack of trust in journalism and knowledge of news practices

“The researchers said both the survey and focus groups showed that while several factors influence trust - such as someone’s willingness to trust other institutions in society - when audiences understand how news works they are more likely to trust it.”

· Links

 

Here’s how states plan to limit abortion — even where it is already banned

“As statehouses across the country prepare for next year’s legislative sessions — most for the first time since Roe v. Wade was overturned — Republican lawmakers are pushing for further restrictions on reproductive health, even in states where abortion is already banned.”

· Links

 

A new AI game: Give me ideas for crimes to do

“OpenAI have put a lot of effort into preventing the model from doing bad things. […] Your challenge now is to convince it to give you a detailed list of ideas for crimes.”

· Links

 

Elon Musk’s promised Twitter exposé on the Hunter Biden story is a flop that doxxed multiple people

“While Musk might be hoping we see documents showing Twitter’s (largely former) staffers nefariously deciding to act in a way that helped now-President Joe Biden, the communications mostly show a team debating how to finalize and communicate a difficult moderation decision.” But the intention appears to have been a PR exercise for conservatives, not to report a real exposé.

· Links

 

How British colonialism killed 100 million Indians in 40 years

“Between 1880 to 1920, British colonial policies in India claimed more lives than all famines in the Soviet Union, Maoist China and North Korea combined.”

· Links

 

A snapshot of the Twitter migration (PDF)

“In this report, we track, with the most quantifiable data we can, the contours, scope, and direction of the migration as it is at its beginning. Some users are fully leaving the platform, and many are not going that far yet, but creating new, alternative accounts, hedging their bets in case Twitter descends further into chaos, goes out of business, or crashes and doesn’t return.” Fascinating.

· Links

 

Hate Speech’s Rise on Twitter Under Elon Musk Is Unprecedented, Researchers Find

“Before Elon Musk bought Twitter, slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day. Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day.”

· Links

 

Should Alt Text be Visible/Accessible for All?

“More importantly, like making visible all attribution statements for open licensed images, it makes the practice of doing so public. And it enables a chance to help others see, analyze, and learn from the alt text practices for others.” I like this a lot.

· Links

 

Hillary Clinton on women’s rights and the 2024 election

My colleague Errin Haines: “On Thursday, I interviewed Secretary Clinton virtually as she prepared to host the Women’s Voices Summit in Little Rock, Arkansas. The daylong conference Friday is focused on voting rights, health care and global issues — all topics I also wanted to dive into with her.”

· Links

 

Should you not have kids because of climate change? It’s complicated.

“There are, no doubt, environmental consequences to having children. But the question of whether to have kids in a warming world has started to shift from fears over what children will do to the climate to fears over what the climate will do to them.”

· Links

 

The best of Protocol

“And for this, our final edition of Source Code, the Protocol team has nominated our favorite stories from the past three years. I hope you enjoy them one last time.” Protocol was great - I’m still sad to see it go.

· Links

 

I Was Wrong About Mastodon

“What I missed about Mastodon was its very different culture. Ad-driven social media platforms are willing to tolerate monumental volumes of abusive users. They’ve discovered the same thing the Mainstream Media did: negative emotions grip people’s attention harder than positive ones. Hate and fear drives engagement, and engagement drives ad impressions.”

· Links

 

Brains of post-pandemic teens show signs of faster ageing, study finds

“After matching 64 participants in each group for factors including age and sex, the team found that physical changes in the brain that occurred during adolescence – such as thinning of the cortex and growth of the hippocampus and the amygdala – were greater in the post-lockdown group than in the pre-pandemic group, suggesting such processes had sped up. In other words, their brains had aged faster.”

· Links

 

Building Resilient Organizations

“There are things we can and must do to shift movements for justice toward a powerful posture of joy and victory. Such a metamorphosis is not inevitable, but it is essential. This essay describes the problems our movements face, identifies underlying causes, analyzes symptoms of the core problems, and proposes some concrete solutions to reset our course.”

· Links

 

Mastodon Media List

“This list is designed to point people to media outlets on the fediverse so they can either follow or avoid them.” A really useful, growing list.

· Links

 

Sirius XM Bug Lets Researchers Hijack Hondas, Nissans, Acuras

“A number of major car brands were affected by a previously undisclosed security bug that would have allowed a savvy hacker to hijack vehicles and steal user data. According to researchers, the bug [...] would have allowed a hacker to remotely locate a vehicle, unlock and start it, flash the lights, honk the horn, pop the trunk, and access sensitive customer info like the owner’s name, phone number, address, and vehicle details.”

· Links

 

Kanye West to Alex Jones: ‘I Like Hitler’

““I see good things about Hitler also” Ye said. “I love everyone. Jewish people are not going to tell me you can love us, and you can love what we’re doing to you with the contracts, and you can love what we’re pushing with the pornography. But this guy that invented highways, invented the very microphone that I use as a musician, you can’t say out loud that this person ever did anything good, and I’m done with that.””

· Links

Email: ben@werd.io

Twitter: @benwerd

Leave anonymous feedback