Cyber roundup

The Cyber is big again. Huge. I think that Trump’s talk about The Cyber at this week’s debate got a bunch of people talking about cyberpunk. At least, that’s what it looked like in my feeds. I noticed a lot of posts about cyberpunk stuff which I’ve collected here:

Someone built an Ono Sendai Cyberspace 7 deck (the computer used by the protagonist in Neuromancer):


They replaced the keyboard on a Commodore 64 case and stuck a Raspberry Pi 3 in it, but the design is obviously the best thing about it.

Someone else is using the cyberpunk aesthetic for designing their computer space:

Cyberpunk VR Battlestation

And of course someone took the time to adapt the concept art from Cyberpunk 2077 for the Trump campaign:

Cyberdrumph 2016

I wonder if cyberpunk is going to have a kind of retro-futurism revival. It is a sad reminder of the unstoppable march of time to think that the thing that was futuristic in high school is now retro. Time to invest in trenchcoat and mirrored sunglasses.

Man Caves and Men

This Guy Studies Man Caves for a Living; Here’s What He’s Learned

There’s a lot of good stuff in here, but the most interesting thing to me was that a man caves are an aspirational space driven by loneliness. If you build it they will come.

Almost every guy tells me he’ll use it to “have people over and entertain.” The conversation gets awkward, though, when I ask him who he’ll have over. Because often, the men will explain, “I don’t have time to have friends over right now. I work a lot and I have children, so I don’t really have friends. But eventually this will be a neighborhood hangout for guys.”

I think it plays into the idea of man caves being a fantasy — a fantasy of male friendship and camaraderie. Research shows that men don’t have as many friends as women, and the kinds of friendships they do have are much less meaningful than those available to women. So maybe part of what they’re building with a man cave is a fantasy of different relationships with men.

Maybe man caves are a symptom of the loss of third places in our lives. We build home bars because our zoning laws prevent us from putting a neighborhood pub actually in a neighborhood. All these people are building a shared space in their home with no one to share it.

The piece also says a bit about the amount of control men feel they have over their spaces as well as their awareness of women’s experience of space in the home.

When I’ve asked straight men what role a man cave plays in their relationship, the most common answer I get is, “I feel like the whole house is hers. And this is a space for me.” When I follow up with, “Okay, but do you think she has spaces in the house as well?” They typically respond, “Absolutely! She has tons of spaces that are essentially hers.” When I press them on which rooms those are, they list off rooms associated with domestic labor, not with leisure — the kitchen, the laundry room, etc.

I think some of this has do with the fact that men feel as though the domestic space isn’t something they have ownership of. I also think it’s a result of men getting more leisure time than women in heterosexual relationships.

Me, I don’t have a man cave. I just have a basement office that I can hang ugly clown paintings, that has my work computer, gaming PC, some various computers I tinker with, a kegerator… OK, but it’s not a man cave because it’s not finished yet…

Photo credit: Cory Doctorow (CC BY-SA)

How Nextdoor reduced racist posts by 75%

In April, Nextdoor started a pilot program to see if it could change its interface to discourage its users from racially profiling people in their posts. A test group of neighborhoods were shown six different variations of the form used to make a “crime and safety” report for their neighborhood.

Some just saw the addition of new language: “Ask yourself: Is what I saw actually suspicious, especially if I take race or ethnicity out of the equation?” Some were asked to say in advance whether they were reporting an actual crime or just “suspicious activity.” Others actually had their posts scanned for mentions of race (based on a list of hundreds of terms Nextdoor came up with) and if a post did mention race, the user got an error message and was asked to submit more information about the person.

via How Nextdoor reduced racist posts by 75% | Fusion

I’ve never noticed any racial profiling on our Nextdoor community, but it’s not very high traffic (due to it splitting our subdivision up and an absentee lead). Still, it’s a really interesting approach when a lot of other social media sites are struggling with bad behavior.

Towards an understanding of technical debt – Laughing Meme

I’ve spent the last few years rather flippantly stating, “Technical debt doesn’t exist.”

What I was trying to say was, “I’m deeply uncomfortable with how our industry talks about this thing, I think it’s probably harmful, but I don’t know quite how to express what I mean. Also, given that everyone seems to be really focused on this tech debt concept, I’m kind of worried that the problem is me, not the term or the industry”.

When I first heard Peter Norvig say, “All code is liability”, that felt closer to right.

via Towards an understanding of technical debt – Laughing Meme


More Consensus on Coffee’s Benefits Than You Might Think

Just last year, a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies looking at long-term consumption of coffee and the risk of cardiovascular disease was published. The researchers found 36 studies involving more than 1,270,000 participants. The combined data showed that those who consumed a moderate amount of coffee, about three to five cups a day, were at the lowest risk for problems. Those who consumed five or more cups a day had no higher risk than those who consumed none.