Will You Be Able to Read this Article in 1,000 Years?
If you ask Anthony Weiner, digital records—especially those on the Internet—can seem impossibly hard to get rid of. When a picture or document is reduced to a series of 1s and 0s, it becomes transmissible, reproducible, downloadable, and storable. You can’t burn digital books, and ideas like cloud computing make it possible to back up […]
Streetlights That Watch Passersby & Turn Them Into Big Data
Smart LEDs are installed in Newark Liberty International AirportThe Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Not so long ago, LEDs were like the slide rule of the lighting world, found mostly in the lovably geekiest of places: front panels of technical equipment, scientific kits for kids, and of course Radio Shack. But over […]
The Marvelous, Bad Ideas That Are Worth $Billions
It’s well-known that statistics is a deceptively difficult topic to understand—at least, it’s well-known among people who’ve had some training about those deceptive difficulties. One concept, though, that seems to penetrate the barriers to statistical understanding is the normal distribution, the standard bell curve. Even if people don’t have the mathematical language to describe it, […]
The Uncertainty Baked Into NSA Surveillance—and the Internet
Over the weekend, more details emerged about the U.S. federal government’s no-longer-secret digital-surveillance program code-named PRISM. The project gave the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies unprecedented access to data, like emails and chats, going through popular services owned by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other Internet giants. After this additional information about PRISM seeped […]
Who Owns Your Identity?
When the digital media pioneer and visionary Jaron Lanier signs his new book, Who Owns The Future?, he circles the “Who” and draws an arrow to the reader’s name, achieving a visual haiku of his message: Each of us, by name, generates a great amount of profit for the Internet’s corporations as they use our […]