Psychologists debate adding another attention disorder to the books →

Soon, children may be diagnosed with another attention disorder. Psychologists are working to determine if sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) — marked by daydreaming, mind-wandering, and lethargy — has a clear set of symptoms and can join the ranks as a legitimate disorder.

This is how we turn boredom in school into a disorder.

This post is part of the thread: Testing & Standards in Education – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

Rebuilding a Reader →

When Google declared war on RSS and the open web by killing off their reader it was a heavy blow for deep thinking and for blogging. At first, I didn’t miss it. I still had twitter after all. But over time, I began to realize that relying on twitter only for what I was going to read and learn was like relying on the remote control of my TV. It put me too much at the whim of other people and things I just happened to see. I had a great form of synchronous communication, but I had lost the intentionality of using asynchronous tools.

Every once in a while, I consider dropping my RSS reader in favor of Twitter all the time. This article sums up why I don’t.

How ‘colorblind’ education reform policies actually ignore racial inequality →

I’ll be honest, before I knew any better, I belonged to the “John Roberts School of Fighting Racism”: “The best way to stop discriminating based on race is to stop discriminating based on race.” However, it’s the outcomes of these policies (and personal practices) that’s often discriminatory. We can’t simply ignore it and expect it to go away on its own.

NSA denies it had early knowledge of Heartbleed →

Reports that NSA or any other part of the government were aware of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability before April 2014 are wrong. The Federal government was not aware of the recently identified vulnerability in OpenSSL until it was made public in a private sector cybersecurity report. The Federal government relies on OpenSSL to protect the privacy of users of government websites and other online services. This Administration takes seriously its responsibility to help maintain an open, interoperable, secure and reliable Internet. If the Federal government, including the intelligence community, had discovered this vulnerability prior to last week, it would have been disclosded to the community responsible for OpenSSL.

On one hand, I’m generally not inclined to believe the NSA nor would I be surprised if they left an exploit like this out in the wild for the sake of intel. However, if they’re not lying about the fact that many government websites use it, in that case, I would actually be surprised if they left it out there. I’m not sure what to believe now.

This post is part of the thread: Privacy & Surveillance – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

Mozilla Co-Founder Brendan Eich Resigns as CEO, Leaves Foundation Board →

The controversy has been a difficult one for Mozilla, which could be described as more of a movement than a tech company and which has a very vocal community around it.

I saw a number of people arguing that we shouldn’t fire people over their personal beliefs, which I generally agree with, but in this case, Mozilla isn’t a company; it’s a movement, and you can’t have a movement who’s leader has lost the faith of those he’s leading.

DLD14 – Against Solutionism (Evgeny Morozov)

I love Evgeny Morozov, and the feisty back-and-forth he gets into at the is really the core of the debate he’s having with the tech industry: the problem isn’t “technology”; the problem is the way we think about and relate to technology and the socio-political structures around them.

That said, I do think the questioner’s POV is valid: at least in this talk, he doesn’t articulate any particular action we’re supposed to take as a result of his ideas. It’s all pretty much grounded in changing the way we think about it.

Granted, I’m a fairly big believer in the idea that what we do and how our society is structured is, in a lot of ways, a result of the way we think about things, and that our actions (and by extension, our society) will change if we think differently about the way we approach things. However, I do think that if the problem, as he says, is our venture capitalists, then even changing the way we think about the problem isn’t by default a solution to the problem. At least for us as outsiders.

So that changes who his audience is, really; he’s not talking to regular people so much as he’s talking to the industry. Those within, those with the power and control, have to buy into his vision of technology as inherently political, that the design decisions (and even the decision to make a particular piece of technology at all) is inherently political. That algorithms are inherenetly political.

Unfortunately, so far, while I’m sure he’s influential, I’m not really convinced his ideas are sticking in the minds of those who’s minds need sticking.

This post is part of the thread: Technology & Society – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.

Electronic cigarettes ‘don’t aid quitting’, study says →

This is interesting, though it doesn’t square with my observations of it. It’s worth noting that the study doesn’t separate out e-cig users who turn to it as a method of quitting smoking, just users in general. I know at least one friend for whom that was never his intention, so obviously it doesn’t look like it helps people quit if you look at it that way.