Why Blockchain? That's the key question. "In this case," writes David Kernohan, "the problem is trust." For example, what do you do if you don't trust your bank? "Cryptographic encryption (hiding information using the power of really difficult maths) lends anonymity and security, but the openly visible nature of transactions lends reliability." Except - it doesn't. In the cases where the currency fluctuates wildly, or where millions are stolen from user accounts, or where falso contracts are executed, you find quickly that there is no more reason to trust the digital currency ecosystem than there is to trust banks or governments. And maybe a lot less reason. "You don’t need Wonkhe to tell you that investing in a hugely volatile financial product with no reliable – or even regulated – way to withdraw your money is probably a bad idea." Yeah.
These aren't just tips for journalists, they're tips for learners as well. Consider the first tip: "Don’t start by learning a technique for the sake of it – there are 101 different things you could learn – instead pick a problem that you face regularly, or a story idea that you have, and let that dictate the sorts of data journalism skills that you learn first." Doesn't that make so much sense as an approach to learning? It's certainly the approach I take. Or consider the three technical skills: speadsheet skills, data visualization, and computational thinking. If we think of 'spreadsheek skills' as data management in general, we have a pretty core skill.
The first item in this series, describing how websites record your sessions by tracking keyboard clicks and mouse movements - was an eye-opener. This article talks about how your browser betrays you. "Third-party scripts exploit browsers’ built-in login managers (also called password managers) to retrieve and exfiltrate user identifiers without user awareness." I tested it myself on their live demo page and it certainly appears to work. There's a list of sites that use this technique for grabbing email addresses and using them for tracking. Using ad blockers can help prevent this. But the best defense is to disable browser auto-fill options and use a third party password manager like 1password instead. Via Ben Werdmuller.
This is a pretty thorough debunking of the idea that blockchain technology will disrupt industry. Kai Stinchcombe looks at several putative use cases - payment and banking, anonymous transactions, micropayments, bank-to-bank transfers, smart contracts, distributed ledgers and storage, stock transfers, authentication - and in each case shows that the hard parts are not addressed by blockchain. For example, blockchain is no more efficient than the existing system of payments and banking, but with none of the protections. Meanwhile, it turns out that anonymous banking helps criminals and terrorists a lot more than it helps society in general. And so on and on. "Blockchain enthusiasts often act as if the hard part is getting money from A to B or keeping a record of what happened. In each case, moving money and recording the transaction is actually the cheap, easy, highly-automated part of a much more complex system."
Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) has announced its goals for Total Learning Architecture (TLA) for 2018. There are four major components:
ADL is seeking proposals to address these needs, generally looking at development at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 to 6. Interestingly, "The ADL Initiative has developed a prototype, smartphone-based personal assistance for learning. The system, called “PERLS,” employs a complex and novel self-regulated learning model, developed through prior research into adaptive distributed learning theory."
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