Journalism

asbestos

Hey, look it’s a new week already and once again I haven’t posted any new articles here on Technoccult. You can always tell when I’m having trouble meeting my deadlines for work by the dearth of posts here.

This week’s must read is Betsy Haibel’s epic article about the technology industry’s utter disregard for getting your consent to do… well almost anything. Companies will sign you up for spam e-mails, let people tag you in photos, gather your location information and so much more — and it’s all opt-out, not opt-in.

The article was published by Model View Culture, which publishes lots of “must read” articles critiquing the tech industry.

Speaking of the tech industry, my friend and Mindful Cyborgs co-host Alex Williams launched a site this week called The New Stack, all about the technology behind the technology that we use today. I’m doing a series of guest posts there on the history of this so-called new stack to figure out what, if anything, is actually new about it. The first one is a history of scale-out architecture. If that puts you to sleep, don’t worry. It’s geeky even by my standards. You might be more interested in reading Curt Hopkins’ articles “New Tech Needed to Stop Train Crashes” and “Drones Muster Out and Head for Wine Country.” Curt’s an amazing writer, I wish I could write half as well as him, or at least think up story ideas as good as his.

Elsewhere on the web, Jon Evans thinks technology may destroy capitalism. Well, you know I’d be down, though of course I always worry that we’ll end up with something worse than capitalism. But I’m also not so sure what we’re seeing happening is going to displace capitalism. After all the sharing economy is anything but. And while I am hoping for what Jon calls the low-scarcity future, I fear that climate change, ocean acidification and peak soil may lead to even more scarcity. The Windup Girl is a frighteningly plausible scenario (see last week’s Media Diet).

While we’re waiting to find out what happens to capitalism, Seattle is considering raising its minimum wage to $15. Jordan Weissmann thinks higher minimum wages are a good thing, but worries that Seattle might be raising its wage too high too fast. I also rather like the idea of higher wages for America’s most disadvantaged works, but I would have to agree that going from $9.32 to $15 overnight might be a little too quick. But as Weissmann tells us at the end of his article:

To his credit, Murray’s is trying to implement the idea gradually. Under his proposal, businesses would have between three and seven years to phase in the new minimum, depending on their size and whether employees get health care coverage or tips. Through 2024, some businesses will also be able to count $3 worth of tips or benefits toward the $15 total. By introducing the change over time, the city will give businesses leeway to adjust, if they can.

Of course that still might not be enough time to absorb an almost 50% increase in wages, but kinda weird that he didn’t mention the timeline sooner.

It’s hard to find a job that pays more than minimum wage these days, and the ones you can find often really suck. Even the ones that are supposed to be good. For example, The Daily Beast says being a primary care physician really sucks. My dad’s a family practitioner and he says that article is right on the money. Also, it turns out that doctoring has surpassed dentistry in a ranking of the most suicide prone professions, at least among white males. (But marine engineers are the most suicidal of all.) Please don’t kill your self, Dad.

Ten thousand people still die of asbestos in the United States every year. That’s about the same number of people that were killed by gun violence last year. And yet we’re still using asbestos for some purposes, and even exporting to other countries. Mosiac has the dirt.

If you read Rusty Foster’s Today in Tabs, you’ve probably noticed I’m ripping off his style. I might continue to do that until I get back in the habit of posting links here on a more than weekly basis, and/or I find my own style. In the meantime, if you want to read a great, near daily thing sort of like this only better, check out Today in Tabs.

Comics

Bartkira

bartkira2

Everyone’s been recommending Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals, so this week I finally read the first issue, which I bought months ago. It was pretty good, but it didn’t really make me want to keep reading it. I’ll probably give it a couple more issues, though.

Today I wandered down to Floating World for free comics day. By the time I got there there just a few local indie comics left, which suited me just fine. I picked up Runner Runner # 3 from Tugboat Press, Courtney Crumrin # 1 from Oni and Barrio Mothes, which was co-published by like four different publishers, including Floating World. They all look great.

I also bought the Multiple Warheads collection by Brandon Graham and the Bartkira exhibition book, which looks amazing. If you want to know more about Bartkira, check out this interview and these two Tumblrs.

I’m really behind on reading comics, but then again, like Zack Soto:

zacksoto

TV

Been catching up on Parks and Recreation this week. It’s also refreshing chaser to all the violent, nihilistic shows I watch.

Apps

I’m a big fan of an app called Freedom, which kills your internet connection for a set amount of time. The only way to get your connection back before the time is up is to restart your computer.

Unfortunately, it’s not yet available for Linux, and although it’s totally worth the $10, it would be nice if the source code were available. But free/open source software purists are in luck: there’s now a F/OSS alternative for Linux called ColettesHusband.

I hosed up my Linux Mint partition so I haven’t been able to test it yet. Looks like it’s a bash script that disables your ethernet and wifi drivers for a set amount of time. I’m not sure if it, like Freedom, will stop you from re-enabling the drivers manually without having to restart your computer.

BTW, a Linux version of Freedom is in beta, and the new version adds nifty new features like scheduling your disconnections in advance, so don’t count it out of the running yet.