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Links December 2021

Wired magazine has many short documentary films on YouTube, this one about How Photography is Affecting Our Brains is particularly good [1].

Matt Blaze wrote an informative blog post about Faraday cages for phones [2]. It seems that the commercial shielded bags are all pretty good while doing it yourself with aluminium foil may get similar results or may get much worse results with no obvious difference in the quality of the wrapping. Aluminium foil doesn’t protect that well and doesn’t protect consistently. A metal biscuit tin performed quite well and consistently, so that’s a cheap option for reducing signals.

Umair Haque wrote an insightful article about the single word that describes most of the problems the world faces right now [3].

Forbes has an informative article about the early days of the Ford company when they doubled wages, it proves that they didn’t do so to enable workders to afford cars but to avoid staff turnover (which is expensive) [4]. Also the Ford company had a fascistic approach to employees, controlling what they were allowed to do in their spare time if they wanted the bonus payment. The wages weren’t doubled, there was a bonus payment that would double the salary if the employee was eligible for the bonus. One thing that Forbes gets wrong is that they claim that it was only having higher pay than other companies that provided a benefit and that a higher minimum wage wouldn’t, the problem with that idea is that a higher minimum wage would discourage people from having multiple jobs and allow more families to not have the mother working (a condition for a man to get the Ford bonus was for his wife to not work).

The WSJ has an interesting article about Intel’s datacenter for running all the different configurations of CPUs that they have supported over the last 10 years for security tests [5]. My Thinkpad (which is less than 10yo) is vulnerable to one of the SPECTRE family of exploits as Intel hasn’t released microcode to fix it, getting fixed microcode out for all the systems from major vendors like Lenovo would be a good idea if they want to improve their security.

NPR has an interesting article about the correlation between support for Trump in counties of the US with lack of vaccination and Covid19 deaths [6]. No surprises, but it’s good to see the graphs.

Cory Doctorow wrote an interesting article on the lack of “slack” in the current American education system [7]. It’s not that bad in Australia but we are unfortunately moving in the American direction.

Teen Vogue has an insightful article about the problems with the focus on resilience [8], while resilience is good we should make it a higher priority to avoid putting people in situations where they need to be resiliant than on encouraging resilience.

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