The End of Encryption? NSA & FBI Seek New Backdoors Against Advice from Leading Security Experts

Democracy Now!, July 8, 2015
By Juan González & Amy Goodman
Guest: Bruce Schneier

“FBI Director James Comey is set to testify against encryption before the Senate Intelligence Committee today, as the United States and Britain push for “exceptional access” to encrypted communications. Encryption refers to the scrambling of communications so they cannot be read without the correct key or password. The FBI and GCHQ have said they need access to encrypted communications to track criminals and terrorists. Fourteen of the world’s pre-eminent cryptographers, computer scientists and security specialists have issued a paper arguing there is no way to allow the government such access without endangering all confidential data, as well as the broader communications infrastructure. We speak with one of the authors of the paper, leading security technologist Bruce Schneier..”

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Speech Emotion Recognition: Two Decades in a Nutshell, Benchmarks, and Ongoing Trends

Communications of the ACM, May 2018
By Björn W. Schuller

“Communication with computing machinery has become increasingly ‘chatty’ these days: Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and many more dialogue systems have hit the consumer market on a broader basis than ever, but do any of them truly notice our emotions and react to them like a human conversational partner would? In fact, the discipline of automatically recognizing human emotion and affective states from speech, usually referred to as Speech Emotion Recognition or SER for short, has by now surpassed the “age of majority,” celebrating the 22nd anniversary after the seminal work of Daellert et al. in 1996—arguably the first research paper on the topic. However, the idea has existed even longer, as the first patent dates back to the late 1970s.”

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Shouldn’t We All Have Seamless Micropayments By Now?

Wired.com, January 21, 2019
By Zeynep Tufekci

“Here’s one you probably haven’t seen—and its absence from your life speaks to why the promise of the early web seems increasingly out of reach: “402 Payment Required.”

That’s right: The web’s founders fully expected some form of digital payment to be integral to its functioning, just as integral as links, web pages, and passwords. After all, without a way to quickly and smoothly exchange money, how would a new economy be able to flourish online? Of course there ought to be a way to integrate digital cash into browsing and other activities. Of course.”

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Bias on the Web

Communications of the ACM, June 2018
By Ricardo Baeza-Yates

“Bias on the Web reflects both societal and internal biases within ourselves, emerging in subtler ways. This article aims to increase awareness of the potential effects imposed on us all through bias present in Web use and content. We must thus consider and account for it in the design of Web systems that truly address people’s needs.”

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Francisco Kjolseth - The Salt Lake Tribune - The ski slopes draw a steady stream to Big Cottonwood Canyon during a recent weekend morning.

Traffic in Utah’s Cottonwood Canyons Getting Worse

The Salt Lake Tribune, March 30, 2019
By Brian Maffly

“On powder days, Rafferty and nearly every other Alta and Snowbird skier not staying on the mountain, spent more time in cars than on the skis….’While the ski areas have adjusted to accommodate growth on their mountains,’ Maughan said, ‘the road and parking capacities are the same as they were 15 years ago.’”

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Getting Hooked on Tech

Communications of the ACM, June 2018, Vol. 61 No. 6, Pages 18-19
By Logan Kugler

“Facebook and Google lead the way in this arena. Facebook allows users to customize their personal profile to their liking and indicate their interests by engaging with content. Every reaction a user has to a post teaches Facebook’s algorithms his/her preferences; these algorithms then serve more content that even better matches the user’s preferences.

The result? The user visits and revisits the site, staying for longer, making them a richer target for advertising.”

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Alexa, I Want Answers

Amazon Alexa and the Search for the One Perfect Answer

Wired.com, February 18, 2019
By James Vlahos

“Reaching position zero requires a wholly different strategy than conventional SEO. The importance of putting just the right keywords on a web page, for instance, is declining. Instead, SEO gurus try to think of the natural-language phrases that users might say—like “What are the top-rated hybrid cars?”—and incorporate them, along with concise answers, on sites. The hope is to produce the perfect bit of content that the AI will extract and read aloud.”

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The Wizard of the Wasatch (WoW)

The Wizard of the Wasatch (WoW)

Bob Athey is the Wizard of the Wasatch. His website is “Snow and avalanche conditions in the Wasatch range including photos, diagrams, snow pit graphs and trip reports in winter. Images of wildflowers, goats and other wildlife, changing season leaves, and trip reports from hikes and runs in the summer and fall.”

Spend some time poking around his site. You’ll be well rewarded for your efforts. Here too is a collection of articles and videos featuring the WoW.

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A List Apart – Illustration by Dougal MacPherson

From URL to Interactive

When we think about it, our whole industry depends on our faith in a handful of “black boxes” few of us fully understand: browsers. We hand over our HTML, CSS, JavaScript, cross our fingers, and hope they render the experience we have in our heads. But knowing how they work can really get you out of a jam when things go wrong. That’s why we’ve assembled a handful of incredibly knowledgeable authors to take us under the hood in this four-part series. Join us on this trip across the web, into the often foggy valley between code and experience.

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Adding Custom Code

Adding Custom Code

One of the things that you can do to customize your website is to add custom code. This resource will provide you with information you need to get started. If you are not comfortable with HTML, CSS and/or JavaScript coding then take a look at a couple of the other resources I’ve listed: Learning Web Design (book) and W3Schools.com which provides a wealth of info on those forms of coding.

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Daniel A. Reed

The Shifting World of Net Neutrality

Communications of the ACM, April 2018
By Daniel A. Reed

“Then there is the woefully obsolete nature of the governing law – the Communications Act of 1934. Yes, you read that right – 1934! There have been updates, most recently the Telecommunications Act of 1996, but twenty years is a geologic eon at Internet speed.”

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