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Weekend Reads 3/25/17

You probably didn’t read the most telling part of Orwell’s “1984”—the appendix

Newspeak fails to take. Why? Because it was too difficult to translate Oldspeak literature into Newspeak. The text Orwell singles out to exemplify this, intriguingly, is the Declaration of Independence. The “author” of the appendix argues that these ideas cannot be expressed in Newspeak, specifically the part about governments deriving their legitimacy from the consent of the people, and citizens having the right to challenge any government that fails to honor the contract. As long as we have a nuanced, expansive system of language, Orwell claims, we will have freedom and the possibility of dissent.

Firefox gets complaint for labeling unencrypted login page insecure

Around the same time this post was going live, participants of this Reddit thread claimed to hack the site using what's known as a SQL injection exploit. Multiple people claimed that passwords were stored in plaintext rather than the standard practice of using cryptographic hashes. A few minutes after the insecurity first came up in the online discussion, a user reported the database was deleted.

The Sin of ‘Just Doing Our Job’

Many of history’s darkest moments were disguised under the framework of government action, where sin was facilitated through the pretense of law and order and evil was carried out through the charades of nationalism.

Slavery was legal. The forced removal and oppression of Native Americans was legal. The Holocaust was legal. Segregation was legal. Prohibiting women to vote was legal. The mass incarceration of Japanese American citizens was legal. Even today, the systemic racism and bias inflicted upon numerous people within the U.S. is fueled by our nation’s laws and policies.

The social media “echo chamber” is real

However, the authors did see some different results when they used other definitions for online “community.” One definition included communities that were established by Facebook “page creators,” such as a local church, community center, or school. These types of communities tended to be made up of users who were closely linked geographically. By contrast, when the researchers looked at communities that were defined by users’ activity (such as likes, reactions, and shares), the communities were geographically larger and tended to be international. Though these different definitions of community changed the geographic distribution of users, all of them still trended toward self-segregation and polarization of news consumption.

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