Links July 2014

Dave Johnson wrote an interesting article for Salon about companies ripping off the tax system by claiming that all their income is produced in low tax countries [1].

Seb Lee-Delisle wrote an insightful article about how to ask to get paid to speak [2]. I should do that.

Daniel Pocock wrote an informative article about the reConServer simple SIP conferencing server [3]. I should try it out, currently most people I want to conference with are using Google Hangouts, but getting away from Google is a good thing.

François Marier wrote an informative post about hardening ssh servers [4].

S. E. Smith wrote an interesting article “I Am Tired of Hearing Programmers Defend Gender Essentialism [5].

Bert Archer wrote an insightful article about lazy tourism [6]. His initial example of “love locks” breaking bridges was a bit silly (it’s not difficult to cut locks off a bridge) but his general point about lazy/stupid tourism is good.

Daniel Pocock wrote an insightful post about new developments in taxis, the London Taxi protest against Uber, and related changes [7]. His post convinced me that Uber is a good thing and should be supported. I checked the prices and unfortunately Uber is more expensive than normal taxis for my most common journey.

Cory Doctorow wrote an insightful article for The Guardian about the moral issues related to government spying [8].

The Verge has an interesting review of the latest Lytro Lightbox camera [9]. Not nearly ready for me to use, but interesting technology.

Prospect has an informative article by Kathryn Joyce about the Protestant child sex abuse scandal in the US [10]. Billy Graham’s grandson is leading the work to reform churches so that they protect children instead of pedophiles. Prospect also has an article by Kathryn Joyce about Christians home-schooling kids to try and program them to be zealots and how that hurts kids [11].

The Daily Beast has an interesting article about the way that the extreme right wing in the US are trying to kill people, it’s the right wing death panel [12].

Jay Michaelson wrote an informative article for The Daily Beast about right-wing hate groups in the US who promote the extreme homophobic legislation in Russia and other countries [13]. It also connects to the Koch brothers who seem to be associated with most evil. Elias Isquith wrote an insightful article for Salon about the current right-wing obsession with making homophobic discrimination an issue of “religious liberty” will hurt religious people [14]. He also describes how stupid the right-wing extremists are in relation to other issues too. has a really great comic explaning the economics of Social Security in the US [15]. They also have a comic explaining the TPP which is really good [16]. They sell a comic book about economics which I’m sure is worth buying. We need to have comics explaining all technical topics, it’s a good way of conveying concepts. When I was in primary school my parents gave me comic books covering nuclear physics and other science topics which were really good.

Mia McKenzie wrote an insightful article for about dealing with racist white teachers [17]. I think that it would be ideal to have a school dedicated to each minority group with teachers from that group.

5 comments to Links July 2014

  • Franco

    “I think that it would be ideal to have a school dedicated to each minority group with teachers from that group.”

    It is called “segregation”; we tried it a couple of times, didn’t work out very well.

  • Anonymous

    The prevalence of homeschooling among religious nuts seriously hurts the reputation of homeschooling in general, which makes life more difficult for people who homeschool for legitimate reasons.

  • Franco: The problem with racially segregated schools in the US was that the funding for Afro-American schools was significantly less than the funding for white schools. The current situation in the US is that school funding is based on geographic region so poor regions get less school funding. That disproportionately hurts Afro-Americans (by design) but also hurts poor white people.

    There are already schools for GLBT kids, Aspies, and other minority groups which are working well (or at least better than the general school system).

    Anon: True.

  • Elena

    Schools for kids who need a different learning style, like Aspies, are probably needed (there are other solutions, but they tend to be more expensive).

    Schools for minorities that exist only as a mean to prevent discrimination, on the other hand, may work short term for the children, but they tend to have long term consequences on society as a whole that can make the problem worse as soon as those children leave school.

    If this kind of segregation is widely implemented, minorities tend to become invisible and it is much easier for children from the majority to grow up believing the worse stereotypes about the minorities, and encouraging further discrimination.

    If, on the other hand, minorities are able to mix (openly) with the majorities, and there are effective systems in place to prevent acts of discrimination (or at least punish them in a way that makes it clear that it is not an acceptable behaviour), it can help growing a more tolerant new generation, and a more tolerant society in general.

    Of course, having one white teacher in a school where almost all the pupils are black because of geographic based de-facto segregation is not really going to help, you need a significant mingling of children from different cultures/backgrounds, and this same geographic segregation is going to make it significantly harder to implement non-segregated schools.

  • Elena: There is evidence to show that in some situations exposure to members of minority groups reduces bigotry. But the exposure to minority groups needs to be in a positive or neutral manner, consider the rampant racism in the Deep South of the US which isn’t mitigated at all by exposure to Afro-Americans.

    Mia’s article concerns primary school which is an environment where teachers have a lot of control over students and little oversight (adults never believe primary school kids). The class teacher in a primary school dominates school life for kids. If they had segregated primary schools and mixed high schools then high school would be a time to meet kids from different racial/ethnic groups and the bad teachers wouldn’t be able to do so much harm.