I love the inventiveness of this. And it's a great way of demonstrating the ubiquity of data. "This tool turns tables from any Wikipedia Article into a working JSON API." I looked around a bit for ways to embed this dynamically in a web page, and while there are several options, none of them would work seamlessly in this post (not, at least, in the five minutes I am dedicating to the project). Still, the idea that live Wikipedia data could be made accessible to any web application is still delicious. Via ProductHunt.
The story itself is very modest. "Pearson has announced a further 32 locations worldwide where candidates can access its Secure English Language Test Pearson PTE for UK Visas & Immigration purposes." But this is the sort of thing that grows exponentially. What happens when there are thousands of locations, when there are numerous tests on offer, and where they're used for professional certifications, employment opportunities, and academic credentials?
I can't imagine Facebook actually leaving Europe but I think they need to rethink their position. I think we know how American governments would react if a social network refused to obey a law prohibiting user data from being sent to, say, China. So nobody should be surprised that Ireland wants Facebook to obey European law and to cease sending user data to the United States. Now some may say that China and the U.S. are two very different cases, but I think we've learned from the recent histories of both countries how quickly things can change. Europeans have also learned this lesson, which is why personal data protection is so important, and why laws like the GDPR exist. Now to be clear, nobody in Europe is threatening to seize and sell Facebook, nor to shut it down. They just want it to obey the law. That may be optional in some countries, but I'm hoping Europe will make it stick.
I'm not as pessimistic as Douglas Rushkoff though I would certainly agree there is cause for concern. "When I search my heart, I look at the problem as being that we never recognized the awesome power of corporate capitalism... The underlying operating system of the world is capitalism, which is how we extract time and resources from people and places and convert it to capital. When you decide to energize capitalism with digital devices, you amplify its power." That's when wealth extraction, rather than human well-being, becomes the dominant activity of society, and when therefore society begins to fail. I think we can put the brakes on this, though some countries may have already traveled too far down this path to recover.
This article (22 page PDF) does two things. First, it identifies three major conceptions of scientific progress (as identified by van Fraassen in 1884):
Second, though an analysis of thousands of scientific articles in JSTOR, it measures what account scientists actually give in their published accounts (spoiler: "practicing scientists use the terms ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ significantly more often than the term ‘truth’"). We should, of course, take this as a starting point, not a finished result. We could ask, for example, whether the published accounts accurately represent scientific discourse. Or we could ask whether this taxonomy needs to be updated to reflect more contemporary ideals such as well-being or social justice.
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