Musings on Life & Experience

Climbers overnight cliffside huts--Al Forbes--july-24th-2016

This story was written for Sunday Photo Fiction–July 24th, 2016. Each week the host, Al Forbes, provides a picture prompt. The challenge for each member of the group is to write an original story or poem with no more than 200 words, not including the title and inspired by the prompt.

To read the other stories written by group members, just click on the link below, then on the little blue frog in the blue box.

The link to the other stories this week is as follows:

Genre: Sci-fi Fiction

Word Count: 200 Words


My grandfather had disappeared back in 1950 in a complicated machine he called his Time Traveler. No one saw him until he arrived in it in 1955. He was considerably aged and only lived for a year after that.

The first night back he wrote the following message…

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[Statement] End impunity. Stand up for human rights. Uphold due process

Human Rights Online Philippines

End impunity. Stand up for human rights. Uphold due process
SONA STATEMENT of Citizens’ Council for Human Rights

Photo by Arnel Tuazon Photo by Arnel Tuazon

In a little less than a month since his inauguration, President Rodrigo Duterte has delivered on his campaign promise to go after suspected drug pushers and users with little or no regard for human rights and due process.  Units of the Philippine National Police, under the command of his close associate General Ronald (“Bato”) de la Rosa, have turned many low-income neighborhoods in the country into free fire zones.  The bloody encounters taking place daily have polarized the country between those who support the president’s quick and dirty methods of dealing with drugs and crime and those who regard them as illegal, immoral, and self-defeating.

To date, more than 500 people had been killed in intensified anti-drug operations since the May 9 elections in which Duterte emerged as…

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PRESIDENT DUTERTE delivered his first State of the Nation Address before the joint session of Congress last Monday. Some analysts described it as “historic.” In fact, some were saying it was so special, Communications Secretary Martin Andanarhasn’t stopped crying.

Two days before the SONA, Secretary Andanar told the media the President’s speech would “awaken the patriot in every Filipino.” I’m not sure about that but the speech definitely awakened the stand-up comic in President Duterte.

Before Monday’s event, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the draft of President Duterte’s speech made him cry, and added, “May announcement sa SONA na makalaglag-upuan.” This just in: Brillante Mendoza has found a new dramatic actor for his next project.

PNP Chief Ronald ‘Bato’ De La Rosa reported a downward trend in crime in the metro. Of course, that could change – now that Congress is back.

President Duterte opened his speech by…

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Isaiah 5

Arlin Sorensen's Thoughts on Scripture

Isaiah 5 begins with the prophet telling a story about a vineyard.  The owner cleaned it, planted it, tended it, cared deeply for it only to have it yield a harvest that was no good.  What a frustration when one goes to all that work and the outcome is not at all what was expected or should have resulted from the hard work that was done.  Isaiah goes on to translate the story to real life.  “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry”!

It’s a picture of His people and how they have not turned out anywhere close to what was expected based on the love and care God has given them for generations.  They are such a disappointment…

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Start up: the feudal internet, driverless insurance?, Apple swoons, a computer to queue for you!, and more

The Overspill: when there's more that I want to say

Coming soon to a sky near you! Photomontage by Mike Licht on Flickr.

A selection of 10 links for you. They really are. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Power in the age of the feudal internet • CoLab

Bruce Schneier:


On the corporate side, power is consolidating around both vendor-managed user devices and large personal-data aggregators. It’s a result of two current trends in computing. First, the rise of cloud computing means that we no longer have control of our data. Our e-mail, photos, calendar, address book, messages, and documents are on servers belonging to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and so on. And second, the rise of vendor-managed platforms means that we no longer have control of our computing devices. We’re increasingly accessing our data using iPhones, iPads, Android phones, Kindles, ChromeBooks, and so on. Even Windows 8 and Apple’s Mountain Lion are heading in the…

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The motivations of a ghost

I find your flow of thoughts interesting and entertaining. Your thoughts wet one’s appetite for writing.

Bill Pearse

DSC_0213 West coast of Ireland, 2009

When I took my first sabbatical in 2009, I left in July and came back mid-November. With the way it worked, you could go for up to six months and return to your old position but after that, and up to a year, you had to work your way into something comparable by applying, with no guarantee, which seemed like too much stress and ran counter to the feeling of letting go I wanted. So I opted for 4.5 months — July for backpacking, three months in Europe, a couple weeks at the end in the States. On my first day back I had a blow-out on the interstate and had to wait a good hour for the tow truck, and stand there on the shoulder watching how fast people drive, a Monday morning in mid-November with all that rain: the time in Seattle it…

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Start up: Russia and the Democrat hack, Mayer v Yahoo, a CRISPR future, another Brexit price hike, and more

The Overspill: when there's more that I want to say

It’s a phone from China’s top-selling Android OEM in June. Can you name the company? If not, why not? Photo by TechStage on Flickr.

You can now sign up to receive each day’s Start Up post by email. You’ll need to click a confirmation link, so no spam.

A selection of 10 links for you. What fun! I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

All signs point to Russia being behind the DNC hack • Motherboard

Thomas Rid:


two months earlier, in April, the Democrats had noticed that something was wrong in their networks. Then, in early May, the DNC called in CrowdStrike, a security firm that specializes in countering advanced network threats. After deploying their tools on the DNC’s machines, and after about two hours of work, CrowdStrike found “two sophisticated adversaries” on the Committee’s network. The two groups were well-known in the security industry…

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Is the Resource Curse a Myth?

GAB | The Global Anticorruption Blog

Perhaps one of the most surprising and influential findings in development economics research is the so-called “resource curse”: the idea that a large natural resource endowment (and, consequently, a significant role for natural resource exports in the national economy) actually leads to slower economic growth, and lower per capita incomes (at least in the long term). The resource thesis has the appealing feature that although it’s initially counter-intuitive (and so people like me can seem and feel clever when we point it out), one can immediately think of many salient examples that seem to corroborate the idea, and it’s fairly easy to construct plausible stories as to why it would be true. Although such stories originally focused on exchange rate appreciation (so-called “Dutch Disease”), contemporary research (see, e.g., here and here) tends to focus more on the impact of natural resource abundance on institutional quality…

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Reform the CFAA


The Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act is badly in need of reform. It currently criminalizes violations of terms of services for websites, even when those terms of service are written in a narrow way and the violation is being done for the public good.

Specifically, the CFAA keeps researchers from understanding how algorithms work. As an example, Julia Angwin’s recent work on recidivism modeling, which I blogged about here, was likely a violation of the CFAA:

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 7.45.43 AM

A more general case has been made for CFAA reform in this 2014 paper, Auditing Algorithms: Research Methods for Detecting Discrimination on Internet Platforms, written by Christian Sandvig, Kevin Hamilton, Karrie Karahalios, and Cedric Langbort.

They make the case that discrimination audits – wherein you send a bunch of black people and then white people to, say, try to rent an apartment from Donald Trump’s real estate company in 1972 – have clearly violated standard ethical guidelines

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