How a corporate cult captures and destroys our best graduates

Today’s hero: Gordon Chesterman, head of the careers service at Cambridge University. He recognizes that the lure of money thrown at graduates by large corporations’ recruiters is robbing the world of bright, concerned young people who could make a positive difference if they followed their hearts instead of taking the money-bait.

He told me his service tries to counter the influence of the richest employers. It sends out regular emails telling students “if you don’t want to become a banker, you’re not a failure”, and runs an event called “But I don’t want to work in the City”. It imposes a fee on rich recruiters and uses the money to pay the train fares of nonprofits. He expressed anger about being forced by the government to provide data on graduate starting salaries.

“I think it’s a very blunt and inappropriate means [of comparison], that rings alarm bells in my mind.”

Source: How a corporate cult captures and destroys our best graduates | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

The Agency

This is one of the most fascinating articles / pieces of reportage I’ve read in a very long time. And it’s unsettling: a Russian company with deep ties to the Kremlin spends $400,000 a month posting misinformation on the Net. And the NYT reporter who researched and wrote this story eventually became another of their victims after he was set up. Follow the cloak-and-dagger in this great read.

From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid “trolls” has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet — and in real-life American communities.

Source: The Agency – NYTimes.com

Canada’s Forced Schooling of Aboriginal Children Was ‘Cultural Genocide’

I started reading this article thinking it was in a Canadian publication — because there is no mention whatsoever of the American Indian Boarding Schools in the United States. But the article is in the NY Times. Quite an omission. You can replace pretty much any instance of “Canada” in this article with “the U.S.”, and it will still be true, and in many cases, accurate.

OTTAWA — Canada’s former policy of forcibly removing aboriginal children from their families for schooling “can best be described as ‘cultural genocide.’ ”

That is the conclusion reached by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission after six years of intensive research, including 6,750 interviews. The commission published a summary version on Tuesday of what will ultimately be a multivolume report, documenting widespread physical, cultural and sexual abuse at government-sponsored residential schools that Indian, Inuit and other indigenous children were forced to attend.

. . .

Aboriginal groups and the government see reconciliation very differently, the report said: The government appears to believe that it involves aboriginal people’s accepting “the reality and validity” of the government’s power “in order to allow the government to get on with business.”

“Aboriginal people, on the other hand, see reconciliation as an opportunity to affirm their own sovereignty and return to the ‘partnership’ ambitions they held,” the report said.

Source: Canada’s Forced Schooling of Aboriginal Children Was ‘Cultural Genocide,’ Report Finds – NYTimes.com

Box Shows Tomorrow’s Weather On Your Table With REAL Rain And Clouds

Often, the simplest concepts are the most compelling — but they’re a little tricky to execute. Looks like inventor Ken Kawamoto has managed to make this great one happen.

Ken Kawamoto, a software engineer by day and gadget inventor by night, likes to “break the barrier between the digital world and the real world ,” and he has done just that with his latest invention – the Tempescope. This little box can create real raindrops and clouds and simulate lightning and sunlight to show you the weather forecast or real-time weather display.

Source: This Box Shows Tomorrow’s Weather On Your Table With REAL Rain And Clouds | Bored Panda

The battle to keep servers safe … is sometimes funny

WordPress dashboard

One of my responsibilities as a web designer and developer is to make sure all of the server software is constantly kept up-to-date. If it’s not, hacker-bots sneak in and take over. And that can get ugly, as it did for my server a few weeks ago.

For the first time since I started in this business in 1995, my server was partially compromised, and was used to send spam. The server was added to blacklists, and some of my clients had difficulty sending email. Not good at all for my clients. And for me — it was a nightmare. I felt horrible.

And once a hacker finds a vulnerable server, they keep hammering it.

So, my excellent admin and I fought repeated incursions over the following 3 weeks, finding nasty bits of hacker code and deleting them, tightening up various aspects of server security, finding and patching holes, and instructing clients on the things they must do to keep their websites secure — until the incursions were finally stopped.

At least for now. The battle is constant — so I sometimes joke that WordPress plugins have to be updated every 15 minutes.

Today, I got an automatic heads-up that a WordPress plugin needed to be updated: WordFence, a great security utility. So, I opened up my security update checklist and started in, updating WordFence itself from version 6.0.3 to 6.0.4.

Fifteen minutes later, as I updated the last of 17 websites, I noticed that the new plugin version that was available had changed to 6.0.5.

That meant that from the time I got the notice about 6.0.4, 6.0.5 had come out… and I had to start over and update all of the sites again.

It’s possible that the first notice I got was delivered as long as 24 hours after the update came out, but still, it was funny that I literally had to update again 15 minutes later.

Maybe I should stop making that 15-minute joke and “putting it out into the universe.”

In the meantime, we fight on, doing our best to keep clients’ websites and mail service running smoothly!

Movie: All-in-one digital kitchen table for Ikea suggests recipes

Several really innovative ideas here! In addition to the food-recognition tech, the wood table is an induction surface, so you can place pots and pans on it for cooking. Plus, they introduce wood induction shelves that allow individual containers of food to be cooled without the need for a refrigerator, yielding substantial energy savings. This is great design!

A team of students have created a concept kitchen table for Ikea, which acts as an integrated cooking hob and dining table and can also suggest recipes.

Source: Movie: All-in-one digital kitchen table for Ikea suggests recipes

Spock is dead. Long live Spock.

Leonard Nimoy

For those of us who grew up with the Trek world, the death of Leonard Nimoy is a tremendous loss. It’s the saddest news I’ve seen in a very long time.

Leonard and his character Spock embodied so much of what Gene Roddenberry infused into ST. The intelligence, the wit, and the wisdom of that hopeful future were carried through the entire canon of Star Trek by Spock, and by Leonard. Appearing at the very start of the original series as Lt. Commander Spock, then Commander Spock, Captain Spock, and Ambassador-at-Large Spock in multiple series and movies, Leonard was the thread that pulled together the entire universe of Trek, over generations of characters and story lines, over hundreds of years. News of Spock’s appearance in yet another sequel was always big news, and always elicited feelings of nostalgia and belonging in his fans. Leonard’s character Spock was a force for peace and reason, as was his own character in real life.

His talents, his warmth and his spirit will be missed but remembered by millions for a very long time to come. To so many of us, he was family.

Thank you, Leonard, for everything you gave us. You lived long. You prospered. And because you did, we prospered, too.

Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83 – NYTimes.com.