Friday, December 12, 2014

Anthropologists are better than we think

MR posted the question: Are anthropologists better than you think? Apparently at least the US government thinks so.

Many independent scholars are critical of what they see as the US government's efforts to militarise social science in the service of war. In May 2008, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) wrote to the US government noting that the Pentagon lacks "the kind of infrastructure for evaluating anthropological [and other social science] research" in a way that involves "rigorous, balanced and objective peer review", ... 
Citing a summary critique of the programme sent to HTS directors by a former employee, Price reported that the HTS training scenarios "adapted COIN [counterinsurgency] for Afghanistan/Iraq" to domestic situations "in the USA where the local population was seen from the military perspective as threatening the established balance of power and influence, and challenging law and order." 
One war-game, said Price, involved environmental activists protesting pollution from a coal-fired plant near Missouri, some of whom were members of the well-known environmental NGO Sierra Club. Participants were tasked to "identify those who were 'problem-solvers' and those who were 'problem-causers,' and the rest of the population whom would be the target of the information operations to move their Center of Gravity toward that set of viewpoints and values which was the 'desired end-state' of the military's strategy."
This is from the Guardian.

Is it time to return to print ads

There is something about print ads that isn't captured by electronic screens. Even more so now that it is entirely possible that:
Robot fraudsters account for nearly a quarter of “people” watching online video ads and more than one in 10 display ads, according to the largest investigation to date into the digital advertising industry.
Bot fraudsters infect unsuspecting computer users with malware – malicious software. Sophisticated botnets mimic the behaviour of online consumers, pausing at ads, watching videos, switching websites and even putting items in shopping carts. This fake traffic is often bought by publishers who are unaware their audience is fake.

Despite all the advances that the Internet has brought us - the business model remains selling ads - and this is the domain of the great technology giant of our time - Google whose ads are about as eye-catching as ... er, well nothing. It is also the domain of the same technology behemoth's video ads via You Tube which are as good as, er, TV ads?

So should businesses continue to advertise online via Google or any kind of broad ad generating system such as Amazon? Or should they focus on narrow channels as is already happening - via Facebook, Hulu, etc.? Does this spell the beginning of the end for Google's business model?

Things I never knew

Authorities warned of minor flooding along the Sacramento River in Tehama County and Cache Creek in Yolo County.
From the Pineapple Express. After all, YOLO.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Android + Java = ?

Java is so riddled with security flaws that I am not sure why Google decided not to offer an alternative language when it decided to release Android Studio. As far as I can tell this is just a switch from Eclipse to InteliJ. Even worse is the the fact that Java is still being used for new development.

It's time to kill Java but Google and its ilk are continuing to promote a language that is riddled with security problems thereby prolonging its useless life. Schools still teach the language without any discussion to about its security flaws.