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Current Events Editorial The Street Finds Its Own Uses For Things

“Star Wars” speech or call to action for the remaining people at Twitter?

The inspirational speech that Kino Loy (played by Andy Serkis) at the end of episode 10 of Star Wars: Andor was meant to inspire the prisoners to break out of the Narkina 5 prison labor camp. However, with only a few changes, it could easily be an inspirational message that someone could send on the Twitter company Slack to the remaining employees.

With the news that Twitter has slashed its contractor workforce by about 80% to 1,000 people, there are now about 5,000 people working at Twitter, which is the same as the number prisoners on Narkina 5. This additional coincidence should make the speech even more applicable.

🚨 Spoiler warning for those of you who haven’t yet seen episode 10 of Star Wars: Andor!

“My name is Kino Loy. I’m the day shift manager on Level Five. I’m speaking to you from the command center on Level Eight. We are, at this moment, in control of the facility.”

“How long we hang on, how far we get, how many of us make it out, all of that is now up to us. We have deactivated every floor in the facility. All floors are cold.”

“Wherever you are right now, get up, stop the work. Get out of your cells, take charge, and start climbing. They don’t have enough guards and they know it. If we wait until they figure that out, it’ll be too late. We will never have a better chance than this and I would rather die trying to take them down than giving them what they want.”

“We know they fried a hundred men on Level Two. We know that they are making up our sentences as we go along. We know that no one outside here knows what’s happening. And now we know, that when they say we are being released, we are being transferred to some other prison to go and die…and that ends today! There is one way out. Right now, the building is ours. You need to run, climb, kill!”

“You need to help each other. You see someone who’s confused, someone who is lost, you get them moving and you keep them moving until we put this place behind us. There are 5,000 of us. If we can fight half as hard as we’ve been working, we will be home in no time. One way out! One way out! One way out!”

Categories
Career The Street Finds Its Own Uses For Things

Why you shouldn’t put your street address on your resume

Karly Blackburn’s cake resume, complete with street address (which I blurred out).

If you’re not familiar with the story of Karly Blackburn’s cake resume, check it out — it tells of her clever idea to make use of Albertsons’ cakes with printed icing and Instacart’s delivery services to land a job interview at Nike by sending them an attention-getting CV. She tells the story in her own words on LinkedIn.

There’s only one thing I would’ve changed to her plan: I would have left out the street address from the contact info. An email address, phone number, and city and state are more than enough. These days, putting your street address on your resume is a bad idea.

Why did we put our street addresses on our resumes?

In the Don Draper era, it made sense. These days, it’s a bad idea.

In the pre-internet era, you often got a response to your job application via postal mail, so it made sense to include your street address on your resume. It was a slower-paced era, when landing an interview could be a matter of weeks, rather than days or hours.

In this era of ubiquitous, instant internet communications, networked pocket computers always arm’s length away, and instantaneous access to databases packed with real estate and demographic information, it’s not just an anachronistic practice, but a potentially harmful one.

The Google factor

Consider this advice from a recruiter in one of my secondary LinkedIn circles:

This recruiter was probably a little too honest.

At least this recruiter’s honest enough to write about their morbid curiosity on LinkedIn. With a couple of clicks on Google Maps, a recruiter, or more critically, a hiring manager can get a sense of your socioeconomic status, especially in hyper-segregated metros. You could be ruled out based on race or class and wouldn’t even know it.

Others may rule you out based on the distance between your home and the office, or more importantly, the time it would take for you to get there. This shouldn’t be their call to make, so why give them the tools to do so?

Even more troublesome: the Zillow factor

In a comment made in response to the recruiter above, another recruiter posted this reply…

Read on to hear a similar story.

…which leads me to something I overheard while waiting to board a flight in late August:

It was a conversation between a couple of recruiters who were talking about a hiring manager that they both knew. It went something like this, but with the hiring manager’s name changed:

Recruiter 1: So wait, what did Todd do?

Recruiter 2: It was a total dick move, but in a way, I gotta respect it. The candidate put his address on his CV. Big mistake.

Recruiter 1: Kind of old-fashioned, but not a killer. What’s the deal here?

Recruiter 2: Well, Todd — being Todd — enters the address into Zillow and finds out that the guy bought the place at the height of the market. He looked at the price history, and it was obvious the guy overpaid big time. Leveraged to the max.

Recruiter 1: You weren’t kidding about “dick move,” were you?

Recruiter 2: Todd doesn’t stop there. He looks at where the guy’s working now, and figures that he needs this job to cover his new expensive house, and uses that fact to play hardball during salary negotiation. The guy’s still making more than he did at his old job, but Todd knew he was in a tough spot, and talked him down 10K.

Recruiter 1: That there is some James Bond villain-style negotiating.

Recruiter 2: I know, right?

Even your zip code is too much info

Some folks, such as this person on Instagram, are providing good advice by telling people not to put their street addresses on their resumes, but they’re still saying that the zip code is okay. This is still a potential landmine, thanks to the Esri ZIP Code Lookup Tapestry.

If you’re based in the U.S., you can try it out. Visit the page, tap the Explore Your ZIP Code button, and enter your ZIP code. You’ll get a marketer-focused set of stats for your neighborhood that looks like this:

The ZIP Code Lookup Tapestry lists all sorts of things, including:

  • The three largest marketing demographic categories in your neighborhood
  • Average annual spending habits in your area: credit debt, apparel, medical insurance, and entertainment
  • The levels of disposable income in your ’hood

This is just more data on which you could be judged. Leave your zip code off your resume!

For more about this service, see this article: This Is What Marketers Think of You and Your Neighbors.

Categories
The Street Finds Its Own Uses For Things

Airbnb users are booking in Ukraine to directly support Ukrainians

May be an image of 1 person and text

You may have seen the news about Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky ’s announcement that they’re suspending all operations in Russia and its puppet state Belarus, but you may not be aware of the other Airbnb activism: making bookings as a way to directly give money to Ukrainians!

People have reasoned out that Airbnb can be used as a way to find people in a specific area and send them money. It’s simple — you just book a room or house in Ukraine without actually staying:

I found about this novel approach to crowdfunding from the Facebook account of Christopher “Christophe the Insultor” Buehlman, a comedian and writer whom I know through his insult comedy show at Tampa Bay’s Bay Area Renaissance Festival.

I’ve also read posts where people are giving money to Airbnb hosts in neighboring countries who are taking in refugees.

I’m going to do the same.

Find out more here:

Categories
Security The Street Finds Its Own Uses For Things

Weaponizing social media with strobing images, Neuromancer, and what we can do

In another occurrence of terrible people weaponizing the internet, a number of assholes posted strobing images to Twitter with the intent of inducing seizures in people with the photosensitive variety of epilepsy. In order to ensure that their intended victims viewed the images, they @-mentioned the Epilepsy Foundation’s Twitter username and included epilepsy-related hashtags in their tweets. Worse still, they did this in November — National Epilepsy Awareness Month — when a larger than usual number of people would be following the Epilepsy Foundation’s Twitter account.

The Epilepsy foundation has since filed criminal complaints against the owners of 30 Twitter accounts with law enforcement, with the intention of ensuring that the perpetrators “are held fully accountable”.

This isn’t the first time that someone has tried this sort of attack against a person with epilepsy. In December of 2016, John Rayne Rivello, who didn’t agree with journalist Kurt Eichenwald’s negative takes on Donald Trump, tweeted a seizure-inducing animated GIF to Eichenwald from an account named @jew-goldstein. The GIF included the text “YOU DESERVE A SEIZURE FOR YOUR POSTS”.

Eichenwald viewed the tweet, as suffered a seizure, as was Rivello’s intent. As written up in The Outline:

According to a federal civil suit filed by Eichenwald against Rivello in Maryland, that seizure left him vulnerable to additional ones; he had another a week later. The second one forced him to increase the dosage of his anti-convulsive medication, despite profoundly debilitating side effects, and he spent Christmas of 2016 in a sedated haze.

Unsurprisingly, Rivello’s defense in the suit is based on the First Amendment, but as the Outline article says in a pull quote:

PUNCHING SOMEONE IN THE FACE COMMUNICATES A MESSAGE, BUT IT ISN’T ONE PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT.

The proceeding has been delayed until January 31, and Rivello is expected to plead guilty.

William Gibson wrote about this in Neuromancer

The idea of deliberately using strobing images on screens to induce epileptic seizures isn’t new. It most prominent use in science fiction that I’m aware of dates from 1984, in a heist executed on the Sense/Net broadcasting corporation by the protagonists and a gang called the Panther Moderns in William Gibson’s cyberpunk novel, Neuromancer:

The Panther Moderns allowed four minutes for their first move to take effect, then injected a second carefully prepared dose of misinformation. This time, they shot it directly into the Sense/Net building’s internal video system.

At 12:04:03, every screen in the building strobed for eighteen seconds in a frequency that produced seizures in a susceptible segment of Sense/Net employees. Then something only vaguely like a human face filled the screens, its features stretched across asymmetrical expanses of bone like some obscene Mercator projection. Blue lips parted wetly as the twisted, elongated jaw moved. Something, perhaps a hand, a thing like a reddish clump of gnarled roots, fumbled toward the camera, blurred, and vanished. Subliminally rapid images of contamination: graphics of the building’s water supply system, gloved hands manipulating laboratory glassware, something tumbling down into darkness, a pale splash… The audio track, its pitch adjusted to run at just less than twice the standard playback speed, was part of a month-old newscast detailing potential military uses of a substance known as HsG, a biochemical governing the human skeletal growth factor. Overdoses of HsG threw certain bone cells into overdrive, accelerating growth by factors as high as one thousand percent.

What can we do?

  • Read the Mozilla doc Web accessibility for seizures and physical reactions and follow its recommendations.
  • On your web pages and applications, consider removing auto-play from animated GIFs and videos.
  • Use tools to screen your video content for seizure-inducing flashing or strobing:
  • If you have the ability, write applications like Epilepsy Blocker, which detects potentially seizure-inducing images and videos. Otherwise, help susceptible people install it on their devices, and help spread the word about it!
  • And finally, if you see people using these kinds of attacks on social media, report and block them. If Gamergate taught us only one thing, it’s that the “ignore the bullies” tactic doesn’t work against online harassment campaigns.

Recommended reading

Categories
Current Events Security The Street Finds Its Own Uses For Things

The 2020 presidential campaigns aren’t ready to fight disinformation. It might be up to us.

In today’s New York Times, there’s a frightening article titled 2020 Campaigns Throw Their Hands Up on Disinformation, which Techmeme succinctly summarizes like so: Campaign staff and researchers say almost no political campaigns, including presidential ones, have teams for spotting and pushing back on disinformation.

Welcome to the downside of the old internet promise that anyone can be a publisher or a journalist: It’s that everyone also has to be an editor, a fact-checker, a media critic, and yes, an investor too.

Start with these basics:

Also worth reading: The Internet Broke the News Industry—and Can Fix It, Too, by Jimmy Wales and Orit Kopel:

The people-powered solution

In the end, what may end up making a big difference is the rise of contributors who care enough to give up some of their time to act as independent fact-checkers and watchdogs. That’s how the Urban Legends Reference Pages got its start, and it eventually became Snopes. Just as social media accounts can be used to spread disinformation, they can also be used to spread the truth. Algorithms have been weaponized against people, but they can also be harnessed to protect them.

Someone’s going to have to take on the challenges that the campaigns and social media networks can’t or won’t do, and as the drivers of the information age, that responsibility will fall to us. Are we up to it?

Categories
Humor Programming The Street Finds Its Own Uses For Things

ArnoldC: A programming language based on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie one-liners

Do you like programming? Do you like Arnold Schwarzenegger movies? If so, ArnoldC is the programming language for you!

ArnoldC will never make the TIOBE list, but then again, no other programming language is based on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie one-liners! Better still, there’s an ArnoldC syntax highlighting package for Sublime.

Here’s “Hello, World!” in ArnoldC:

IT'S SHOWTIME
TALK TO THE HAND "hello world"
YOU HAVE BEEN TERMINATED

It compiles down to Java bytecode. Running the program above is as simple as saving it as hello.arnoldc and entering the following on the command line:

java -jar ArnoldC.jar hello.arnoldc
java hello

Find out more about ArnoldC on its GitHub page, and once you’ve been impressed, download it, start coding, and GET TO DA CHOPPA!

Since we’re on the topic of Arnie, enjoy this video: