_Vanity Fair_ looks back at 2000 election coverage of Al Gore. “[A]s the 2000 election heated up, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other top news outlets kept going after him, with misquotes (“I invented the Internet”), distortions (that he lied about being the inspiration for Love Story), and strangely off-the-mark needling[.]”

Brian Fleming says The 2008 campaign will be no different. “Maddeningly idiotic reporters […] will lazily type out a narrative they think they are “discovering” in the campaign but are actually being manipulated into presenting. Their tiny minds will be so persuaded by the narrative they are typing that they will alter quotes and invent pleasing ‘facts’ to help support it. There’s no question that they did this in the 2000 campaign. In the Vanity Fair story, even the perpetrators have no defense for their bizarre behavior.”

They’re going to begin testing “credit cards” “embedded” into cell phones in Australia. I think this is a great idea — if you can use an RFID chip or something similar to perform transactions from a device with a screen and keyboard, you’re in a great spot. You can verify the merchant and the amount and authorize the transaction, perhaps even type in a PIN code or use a biometric scanner, all from a device that you own and can trust. As long as the communication is properly signed and encrypted, this could dramatically reduce credit card fraud. Of course in reality they’re probably just slapping a chip onto the phone and making it act like a normal credit card, but hey, one can dream.

A little while back I was On the Media with Bob Garfield, after which he wrote a couple pages for his forthcoming book. Garfield called one of my comments “vaguely creepy” and I responded in a comment clarifying my point. I thought he had ignored my response, but then Yoni informed me yesterday that Garfield did follow up, in a round-about way in an August 22 post. Sadly, he still doesn’t seem to understand what I’m saying (or doesn’t want to).

While it is interesting to watch the trainwreck that is CBS’s _Kid Nation_ keep piling up, all these investigations and lawsuits and various outcries are having the effect of making me *less* interested in the actual show. The more that _Kid Nation_ becomes everyone’s punching bag, the more I remember that this is just another “reality” game show, and I hate “reality” shows.

I told Sebastian that once he got two posts up I’d link to him, so here is his blog “My pain, your gain, which documents interesting, strange, and/or frustrating Linux problems. This sort of thing is good karma, and I’m going to try and post similar things here when I discover things of note.

Bruce Sterling’s fictional future from last month’s _Wired_, “Dispatches From the Hyperlocal Future,” is pretty interesting in its explorations of a world full to brimming with location-aware network-connected devices. The read, though, is really confusing and seems utterly out of order. I figured out by the time I got through it that the best way to read it is to jump down to the July 10, 2017 entry, read from there to the bottom, then go to the top and keep reading. The dates don’t seem to line up but the connected narrative makes a lot more sense and seems to be in order. I don’t know if it is a structure problem or an editing mistake or what, but something is wonky about the entries as presented.

A few datum points: “The word data is the plural of Latin datum, ‘something given,’ but it is not always treated as a plural noun in English. The plural usage is still common, as this headline from the _New York Times_ attests: ‘Data Are Elusive on the Homeless.’ Sometimes scientists think of data as plural, as in _These data do not support the conclusions_. But more often scientists and researchers think of data as a singular mass entity like information, and most people now follow this in general usage. Sixty percent of the Usage Panel accepts the use of data with a singular verb and pronoun in the sentence _Once the data is in, we can begin to analyze it_. A still larger number, 77 percent, accepts the sentence _We have very little data on the efficacy of such programs_, where the quantifier very little, which is not used with similar plural nouns such as facts and results, implies that data here is indeed singular.”

Ethan makes a good point about “Web 2.0” by showing how the many collaborative, user-generated content apps that have become so popular have the dual uses of letting normal people post about normal things (look at my cat!) as well as allowing people in oppressive environments to post about more important things (look at those beatings!). Because these subversive ends are achieved through general purposes means, governments are less likely to censor the outputs and the citizenry is more likely to notice such censorship when it occurs.