In psychology there is the term of affordances. It’s the concept that an object affords different actions for someone interacting with it. Most objects in this world have a plethora of things you can do with them, many are not even intended by the designer of that object. … What I find interesting about that concept is that most of the time the actions that you can perform on an object are heavily shaped by your state of mind and environment.
A similar thing applies to the enforcement of rules.
I’m not going to discuss whether digital enforcement is a good thing or not, more that when you take such a strong stance on an issue it’s important to not just consider the situations in which everything goes by design. … When implemented properly, encryption is a very binary enforcement: there is no way around it.
Source: Unintended Affordances (or why I believe encrypting everything is a bad idea) | Armin Ronacher’s Thoughts and Writings
And why automobile engineers know that’s the wrong question.
If all you do is give me numbers, I can’t understand you. [The engineer], in giving him numbers, had effectively responded: If I don’t give you numbers, how do we know what to care about?
Source: How Do We Build a Safer Car? – The New Yorker
Social change in the U.S. appears to follow a pattern: A few pioneer states get out front before the others, and then a key event—often a court decision or a grassroots campaign reaching maturity—triggers a rush of state activity that ultimately leads to a change in federal law.
Source: This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind | Bloomberg Business – Business, Financial & Economic News, Stock Quotes
The futures exchange wrote to Sarao on the day of the flash crash, telling him to stop spoofing, and he called them back “and told em to kiss my ass.” And then regulators pondered that reply for five years before deciding that they’d prefer to have him arrested in London and extradited to face criminal spoofing charges.
But the FBI’s and CFTC’s theory here is far more troubling: It suggests that existing algorithms are not just dumb enough to give spoofers some of their money, but dumb enough to give spoofers so much of their money that they destabilize the financial markets. It’s not especially confidence-inspiring to read that a guy with a spreadsheet can trick everyone into thinking that the market is crashing, and thereby cause the market to crash.
Source: Guy Trading at Home Caused the Flash Crash – Bloomberg View
The right wing finds a new target for its ire.
Why are conservatives more hostile to Muslims and Islam today than they were in the terrifying aftermath of 9/11? And why have American Muslims, who in 2000 mostly voted Republican, apparently replaced gays and feminists as the right’s chief culture-war foe?
Sadly, McCarthyism is not the only precedent in American history for this type of demonization: hyper-nationalist politicians went after German Americans during World War I and Japanese Americans during World War II. Similarly, today, with conservatives frustrated by America’s failed wars in the Middle East and the increasing unassailability of their traditional domestic foes, they are turning on American Muslims for the simplest of political reasons: because they can.
Source: The New Enemy Within – The Atlantic