Weekly links #3

Written on 30 October 2015, 12:11pm

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Daniel Craig on his series of Bond movies

One of the greatest problems we face today is people’s self-awareness. It’s all about “Who am I?” instead of “What am I doing?”

The best acting is when you’re not concerned about the surface. And Bond is the opposite of that. You have to be bothered about how you’re looking. It’s a struggle. I know that how Bond wears a suit and walks into a room is important. But as an actor I don’t want to give a fuck about what I look like! So I have to play with both things. In a way that works, as that’s Bond: he looks good and he doesn’t give a fuck what you think he looks like!’

Greenland is melting away

“We scientists love to sit at our computers and use climate models to make those predictions. […] But to really know what’s happening, that kind of understanding can only come about through empirical measurements in the field.”

Each year, the federal government spends about $1 billion to support Arctic and Antarctic research by thousands of scientists […] But the research is under increasing fire by some Republican leaders in Congress, who deny or question the scientific consensus that human activities contribute to climate change.
NY Times

Two interesting concepts

Negative externality – or unaccounted-for cost:

In the auto industry, CO2 emissions are the negative externality. If you have a cheap and easy way to build cars that dump garbage into the atmosphere and no one makes you pay for it, why would you ever change anything?
This kind of negative externality is how tobacco companies got away with murder for so many decades.
Wait but why

Normalization of deviance

“Social normalization of deviance means that people within the organization become so much accustomed to a deviant behavior that they don’t consider it as deviant, despite the fact that they far exceed their own rules for the elementary safety”
Diane Vaughan

The scandal wouldn’t have been caused by a few rogue engineers, though, so much as by the nature of engineering organizations themselves. Faced with an expensively engineered diesel engine that couldn’t meet strict emissions standards, Volkswagen engineers “tuned” their engine software. And they kept on tuning it, normalizing deviance along the way, until they were far from where they started, to the point of gaming the emissions tests by detecting test conditions and re-calibrating the engine accordingly on the fly.
An engineering theory of the VW scandal

EU does something right, but…

27 oct 2015:
The European Parliament today voted in favor of net neutrality rules that, in theory, will prevent ISPs from blocking and throttling traffic or implementing paid fast lanes. But MEPs did not adopt amendments designed to strengthen the rules by closing potential loopholes.
Ars Technica

Today, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of a resolution to drop charges against Edward Snowden, who is currently wanted by the US under charges defined by the ‘Espionage Act’. But the vote is not as concrete as people might think it is. It was merely a suggestion instead of a binding law, thanks to Europe’s hugely convoluted legal system.
Snowden, I’m happy for you, but don’t start packing your bags anytime soon.
The Next Web


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