Hello, brave Internet warriors! It’s time to follow some links to other websites.

  • MIT professor Scott Aaronson explores strategies for mitigating online shaming mobs. Having recently been subject to the dark side of call-out culture himself, he is intimately familiar with the subject. However, his post is light on actual solutions. Furthermore, I wish he would have explored how his privilege (as a white, well-off male) helped him weather the storm; it’s hard to imagine that so many people would have risen to his defence had he belonged to less privileged social groups. Still, I think it’s worth considering his wider points about the toxic effects of online mob justice.
  • Writing for Boing Boing, Marc Goodman writes about how Texas Auto Center in Austin installed devices on their vehicles that could allow the cars to be remotely disabled in the event of a repossession. The problem? Somebody hacked into the system and started bricking cars remotely. I think this neatly serves to illustrate that as the world becomes more technological and interconnected, security needs to be a number-one concern.
  • At his personal blog, Fredrik de Boer examines how the liberal media are intent on pretending that the liberal media don’t exist. de Boer doesn’t really engage with why the liberal media do this, however. My theory: The liberal media fight for underdogs, and rightfully so. However, by asserting that they don’t form a media bloc, they paint themselves as underdogs too, lest they be accused of leveraging their privilege to support the wrong underdogs. They can deflect accusations of unfairness with, “Hey, we’re underdogs ourselves!” Underdogs underdogs underdogs. (Say it three times really fast.)
  • Finally, Graham Smith of Rock Paper Shotgun writes about a hypothetical history of the past decade of the video game industry, based on the premise of Valve’s Steam service never having existed. It’s actually quite realistic.

That’s it for this week. Tune in next week for a fire-breathing clown!

(Disclaimer: there may not be a fire-breathing clown.)