A collection of things I have read this week, and some tools for tech and/or learning new stuff, especially languages. Your first comment is checked, after that you are free to comment.

I posted this week about Other Kevin Ryans because I found the collection in my weekly (automatic) search even more than unusual.

I posted this week on FB (breaking my weekday “fast” routine) with a post about Colorado Governor Jared Polis (great guy) signing a “Red Flag” gun bill that allows judges to take away guns from really dangerous people. A great first step.

I just finished reading Team Human, but Douglas Rushkoff. He talks about how humans need to shape technology to their needs, and that is not the way it is happening. He starts out pretty dark.

This is the true meaning of “the singularity”: it’s the moment when computers make humans obsolete. At that point, we humans will face a stark choice. Either we enhance ourselves with chips, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering to keep up with our digital superiors; or we upload our brains to the network.

Mostly because of capitalism, and the inherent qualities of technology, but there are other factors as well. The biggest takeaway came late in the book..

These stages of video game play—from player to cheater to author to programmer—are analogous to the stages we passed through as a civilization.

It has gotten me to reconsider what cheating is all about. Whether it is not really as bad as it seems, but is simply a way of playing the game in a different way, not intended by the authors.

The US has now officially regressed to developing nation status. On the skids.

A nice analysis of YouTube algorithms and how they are designed to create a false environment of anger and outrage. The initial case shows that search results for education show more negative results than positive ones. This is followed up by results that show teachers in a sexual light.

Another Digital Media entry, with a great interactive article (check out the maps of Austin) about how the US government is increasingly writing warrants to search for people’s phones near where a crime is committed. This seems like a terrible breach of the 4th Amendment (unreasonable searches and seizures). For now, Google is complying with these requests. Apple said that it was not possible on their system. This is really disconcerting.

It may seem counterintuitive, but removing a big highway may actually improve traffic. Six cities have tried it and it seems to work.

The 2019 Peabody Awards for news-related media have come out. I have already watched Bride and Brothels, The Rohingya Trade . Not in the Peabodys, but it should, I am about to watch Japan’s Secret Shame about Shiori Ito. Both of these are about an hour long. Check out the other Peabodys. Make time.

A great podcast about telling stories, The Moth is celebrating its 20th anniversary with, what, a book? I don’t get it.

A new book of photos about “half” Japanese (my kids are double), is coming out this month.

Play this addictive web-based game in French. Bet you can’t stop.

I like cartoons, comics, graphic novels. My seminar students are reading Media Meltdown and In Real Life. But now there is the Global Problem Solvers. I am investigating for possible application in a course.

For the techies. 1-minute explanation of Searle’s Chinese Room (as opposed to Alan Turing) on Artificial Intelligence. Why did I read the books?

An open source kit to build a robotic cat. Looks enticing until you see the price. Still, ….