“Definitely, the No. 1 lesson from my career is: ‘Be super-lucky’. But if there was an actual aspect that didn’t depend on luck, it was being willing to give up while we still had options. We made the decision [to shut down Glitch] while we still had enough time and money left that we could pivot into something new.”—Stewart Butterfield
“The German pricing law exists to prevent any bookseller from undercutting their rivals. The law is rooted in the country’s belief that books are a necessity to a free-thinking, pluralistic society; one of the most moving monuments to the Nazi-era terror is a white room full of empty bookshelves recalling the volumes burned in 1933. The law is also considered a measure to ensure the survival of smaller bookshops and publishers.”—Why Is Amazon Squeezing Hachette? Maybe It Really Needs the Money
“In their deposition to the Freedom of Information case, Devon and Cornwall police referred to a burglary case that was dropped because it would have required them to divulge the location of an ANPR camera. Instead, they said, it was preferable to withdraw the prosecution “so that the integrity of that camera could be maintained for future use.””—How Britain exported next-generation surveillance
“They could have responded to this sequence of events with the same care and transparency in which they respond to a service outage.”—Mandy Brown (in reference to the GitHub investigation into alleged harassment and discrimination)
“In a similar study of URLs found in recent papers in the popular arXiv pre-print repository Sanderson, Phillips and Van de Sompel found that of the 144,087 unique URLs referenced in papers, only 70% were still available and of these, 45% were not archived in the Internet Archive, Web Citation, the Library of Congress or the UK National Archive.”—The Web as a Preservation Medium (via iamdanw)
“Liptak’s story spotlighted a recent study by Zittrain and Albert which found that 50% of links in United States Supreme Court opinions were broken. As its name suggests, the Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the United States…it is the final interpreter of our Constitution. These opinions in turn document the decisions of the Supreme Court, and have increasingly referenced content on the Web for context, which becomes important later for interpretation. 50% of the URLs found in the opinions suffered from what the authors call reference rot. Reference rot includes situations of link rot (404 Not Found and other HTTP level errors), but it also includes when the URL appears to technically work, but the content that was cited is no longer available. The point was dramatically and humorously illustrated by the New York Times since someone had bought one of the lapsed domains and put up a message for Justice Alito”—The Web as a Preservation Medium (via iamdanw)
I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?
It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.
“You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. That’s being a person. Because underneath everything in your life there is that thing, that empty—forever empty. That knowledge that it’s all for nothing and that you’re alone. It’s down there.
And sometimes when things clear away, you’re not watching anything, you’re in your car, and you start going, ‘oh no, here it comes. That I’m alone.’ It’s starts to visit on you. Just this sadness. Life is tremendously sad, just by being in it…
That’s why we text and drive. I look around, pretty much 100 percent of the people driving are texting. And they’re killing, everybody’s murdering each other with their cars. But people are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.”—Louis C.K.
“The inconvenience of extra passenger screening and added costs at airports after 9/11 cause many short-haul passengers to drive to their destination instead, and, since airline travel is far safer than car travel, this has led to an increase of 500 U.S. traffic fatalities per year. Using DHS-mandated value of statistical life at $6.5 million, this equates to a loss of $3.2 billion per year, or $32 billion over the period 2002 to 2011”—
“According to the Cornell study, roughly 130 inconvenienced travelers died every three months as a result of additional traffic fatalities brought on by substituting ground transit for air transit. That’s the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year.”—talking about the affects of increased airport security
I used to think that good execution only needed a few things: smart people, late nights, post-it notes, development to make it real, design to craft the narrative, and business to make it sustainable. But execution takes risk. And risk-taking is a skill set. A skill that progress requires.
A risk-taker is someone who is willing to make something before they are funded, to add value before they are applauded, and to tell a story before they are sure it will work.
“I’m super-fascinated by how texting and modern technology have made the early stages of our romantic interactions frustrating—that roller coaster of emotions you go through when you text some girl you are into, asking about dinner. You don’t hear back for hours, and you are going crazy . Then you look on Instagram, and she’s, like, posting a photo of her dog and you’re like, What the fuck? Why are you Instagramming photos of your puppy, you rude piece of shit? Respond to my text!”—Aziz Ansari interviews Aziz Ansari [via annie]. (via librarysciences)