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I see a lot of people complaining about how "RSS readers went away." It's a bit baffling, because they didn't. You just stopped using them 🤷

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Quayside, in Toronto, was supposed to be the leading proof of concept for smart cities in the Western world.

Google's parent company planned to invest almost $1B in autonomous garbage collection, self-driving taxis, and an extensive data collection layer - from bench occupation, to pedestrian crossing monitoring, to public transport live usage data.

The problem is that Alphabet failed to address all the concerns of the locals about privacy and data governance - and in many cases it even actively dismissed or derided them. The local government even mentioned several episodes of arrogance shown by Alphabet's representatives. So, two years and a half after its start, the project has been officially terminated.

This is a good example of how citizens can push back on surveillance capitalism. Smart cities have plenty of potential to improve lives. Collecting more accurate live data leads to better understanding of the problems and therefore better governance. But the collected data is extremely valuable, and it shouldn't solely lay in the hands of a private corporation. Especially if that corporation dismisses valid concerns about user privacy and data gatekeeping as technophobia.

These technologies should be controlled by elected officials, because they are the ones accountable (through the democratic process) for their correct usage. Representatives that misuse the data, or sell private citizens' data to 3rd-parties, are likely to be voted out. You can't say the same about Alphabet. Nobody voted for them, nobody can vote them out if they misuse the data, they aren't accountable to anyone other than their shareholders, and therefore they are not eligible for handling something as precious as the data flows of our cities.

And there's also a disturbing lesson to be learned here: companies like Google would rather kill billion-dollar projects and not improve our cities, rather than losing control over the data, or even just starting a conversation about data usage and accountability. Their interest is not to make the world a better place: it's to maximize profit. Improving things sometimes comes as an aftermath of their profit-seeking strategies, but sometimes it doesn't.

news.slashdot.org/story/22/08/

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Techno-utopians are a problem.

Their ideas really aren't workable, but are very *marketable*.

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RT @Citizen09372364@twitter.com

The recent droughts in Europe once again made visible the "Hunger Stones" in some Czech and German rivers. These stones were used to mark desperately low river levels that would forecast famines.

This one, in the Elbe river, is from 1616 and says: "If you see me, cry"

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@idlestate @felix the other thing that is usually an outcome, even when it's not deliberate, is that by automating something you remove the opportunity for nuance, recognition of special exceptions, interpretation of ambiguous situations etc. Often that's intended, but sometimes it's naively waved away.

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"we will automate this to make it easy for people"

there is a lot to unpack in that sort of notion but the things I'm thinking about today revolve around the vast space between "oh, that's sounds nice and helpful" versus "'easy for you to do' and 'in your best interests' are not nearly the same thing at all".

We want good things to be easy, but not all easy things are good.

In fact, people work to make entering and persisting in an exploitative situation "easy".

I have Lots of Feelings about how frequently people position themselves as "helping" when mostly what they are doing is making something easy that perhaps not be done at all, let alone made easy to do.

OMFG, just discovered that the spellchecking dictionaries included in Debian Linux have the word "Gypsy", but not Roma and Romani. Seriously?! In goddamn 2022?!

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That people say RSS is incompatible with an 'advertising driven' model of the Web is just more reason to kill advertising off.

"But advertising is fundamental to the web as it exists now!"

Have you seen the web as it exists now?
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A question to ask:

- does this tool improve the life of the developer so that they can make *better* things for other people?
- does this tool improve the life of the developer so that they can write more code faster?

These are not the same things.

Things that feature in many of my stories:

- exposed pipework;
- scary elevator rides;
- ruins.

Do you suppose my brain is trying to tell me something?

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@Dee Ok but unironically this

Especially younger people have been shown to have a shifted day-night cycle, not to mention neurodivergent people or those with sleeping difficulties, the list goes on

There's a systemic problem of capitalists demanding people work at a specific time which dictates the entire rhythm of life, and a lot of society has been gaslit into thinking that's the ideal healthy cycle

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war meta 

If there is a conflict on the other side of the world, that doesn't directly affect you but is catastrophic for the lives of countless people, consider shutting the fuck up

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stolen from Tumblr 

What an autistic person says: "How long is it going to take?"

What they mean: "I want to know whether to activate my short term waiting mode where I just wait and do nothing else, or activate my long term waiting mode where I occupy my mind with something else. I fully understand that both are possibilities, and I have no problem whatsoever with either one, but I want more information so I can best adapt to the situation."

What neurotypical people hear: "I am impatient and demand that everything I want happen right now. Please scold me and publicly humiliate me for it."
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If everyone thinks your country is shit, instead of forbidding saying its shit why not try and make it less shit.

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"If you think technology will solve your problems then you don't understand technology and you don't understand your problems."

-- Laurie Anderson

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While I absolutely love the fantasy land some liberals live in where we can all switch to 100% renewable energy in the timeframe required to stop mass extinction without relying heavily (or at all) on nuclear power, it is unfortunately not Earth and not a lick of data supports that pipe dream.

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People are doubtful about vacuum tube hyperloop transportation systems, but I say they're an excellent source of jobs.

For CGI concept artists.

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Liked this piece, about how we should take back our cities from being car-centric monocultures: Rewilding Cities

Also saved it as a link post on my blog, where I elaborated a little more on my thoughts, at just enough length that I didn't think I should crosspost it directly to Mastodon 😛

@dswxyz You might like this: my first map made with Zinnia. It was very easy despite lack of planning forcing me to redo the coordinates twice, and I like the way it allows me to break up the grid without fuss.

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