ReHacked vol. 226: Google’s nightmare “Web Integrity API”, Scientists Say Recycling Has Backfired Spectacularly, Sinéad O’Connor has died at the age of 56 and more

...many people over-emphasize the recycling aspect of the waste management industry's "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" slogan. --N. Al-Sibai

ReHacked vol. 226: Google’s nightmare “Web Integrity API”, Scientists Say Recycling Has Backfired Spectacularly, Sinéad O’Connor has died at the age of 56 and more
Sinead O'Connor on stage at the Olympic Ballroom in 1988. Photograph: Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI Collection

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The future of the internet

Google’s nightmare “Web Integrity API” wants a DRM gatekeeper for the web | Ars Technica

Google's newest proposed web standard is... DRM? Over the weekend the Internet got wind of this proposal for a "Web Environment Integrity API. " The explainer is authored by four Googlers, including at least one person on Chrome's "Privacy Sandbox" team, which is responding to the death of tracking cookies by building a user-tracking ad platform right into the browser.

The intro to the Web Integrity API starts out: "Users often depend on websites trusting the client environment they run in. This trust may assume that the client environment is honest about certain aspects of itself, keeps user data and intellectual property secure, and is transparent about whether or not a human is using it."

Request for Position: Web Environment Integrity API · Issue #852 · mozilla/standards-positions

Chromium's propotype is currently relying on Play Integrity (, but the specification is clear that it is vendor-neutral. However, I have personal concerns since that while EME in theory is vendor-neutral, in practice there is only three vendors which are widely-recognized: Google Widevine (which is used by Firefox in most platforms plus in Chrome and Android), Microsoft PlayReady (used by Microsoft Edge and Windows plus in some Android devices alongside Widevine), and Apple FairPlay (used in Safari and everything Apple).

It is reasonable that the current situation in EME would translate into this specification. This may hinder users of other browsers since while in theory websites would just try to verify the identity by other means in practice this would lead to websites requiring pre-approved browsers.

Google vs. the Open Web

Using the proposed “Web Environment Integrity” means websites can select on which devices (browsers) they wish to be displayed, and can refuse service to other devices. It binds client side software to a website, creating a silo’d app.

This penalizes platforms on which the preferred client side software is not available.

This is an issue for accessibility and inclusion, in particular when the reason the software is not available is tied to the needs of marginalized groups, such as when poverty makes it impossible to own sufficiently modern devices, etc.

“Web Environment Integrity” is a deeply #antisocial proposal, and goes counter to the design principles of the web.

"Web Environment Integrity" is an all-out attack on the free Internet — Free Software Foundation — Working together for free software

Using a free browser is now more important than ever. We've written recently on this topic, but the issue we wrote about there was minor compared to the gross injustice Google is now attempting to force down the throats of web users around the world. The so-called "Web Environment Integrity" (WEI) is the worst stunt we've seen from them in some time. Beginning its life as an innocuous, if worrying, policy document posted to Microsoft GitHub, Google has now fast-tracked its development into their Chromium browser. At its current rate of progress, WEI will be upon us in no time.

The other news

Collections: How to Roman Republic 101, Part I: SPQR – A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry #history #society #politics #longread

Discussing the Roman Republic after already looking at the normal structure of a polis offers an interesting vantage point. As we’ll see, the Roman Republic has a lot of the same features as a polis: a citizen body, magistrates, a citizen assembly, all structured around a distinct urban center and so on. On the other hand, as we’re going to see, the Romans have some different ideas about the res publica (that’s their phrase which gives us our word ‘republic’). They imagine the republic differently than a polis and that leads to some meaningful differences in its structure and nature, even though it seems to share a lot of ‘DNA’ with a polis and in some sense could be described as an ‘overgrown’ city-state.

FlashMuseum - Flash Museum #fun

FlashMuseum is a project archiving flash games and animations and making them playable again on your browser. On this website, you can explore more than 130,000 flash games and animations. To get you started on your nostalgic journey, you can try the “Hall of Fame” games and animations below.

Font spacing game #fun

EU opens Microsoft antitrust investigation into Teams bundling - The Verge #software #economy

The European Commission is opening a formal antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s bundling of its Teams software with its Office productivity suite. Slack originally filed an anti-competitive complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission in July 2020, just months after a global pandemic began and the Microsoft Teams userbase started to grow rapidly.

The European Commission will now carry out an in-depth investigation into whether Microsoft may have breached EU competition rules by tying or bundling Microsoft Teams to its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 productivity suites.

Scientists Say Recycling Has Backfired Spectacularly #environment #ecology

While recycling campaigns can help limit what heads to the landfill, scientists are now saying that it's masked the glaring problem of over-production and de-emphasized other waste reduction strategies that are far more sustainable.

In a new essay for The Conversation, an interdisciplinary group of researchers out of the University of Virginia that's been studying the psychology of waste found that many people over-emphasize the recycling aspect of the waste management industry's "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" slogan. The result, they say, is a major backfiring as the public has come to mistakenly consider recycling a get-out-of-jail-free card, confusing which goods are actually recyclable in the first place and ignoring the growing waste production catastrophe.

Study shows glyphosate impairs learning in bumblebees #nature #environment

The Konstanz scientists demonstrate that bumblebees chronically exposed to glyphosate cannot associate a possible threat (aversive stimulus) with a visual cue during a differential learning task. "As far as we can see, they don't learn at all anymore," Nouvian says.

In contrast, a control group of bumblebees that had not been exposed to glyphosate showed good aversive learning abilities. "The ability to associate a noxious stimulus with particular cues is a fundamental pre-requisite for survival," says Nouvian.

"Through this adaptive behavior, animals have a better chance of avoiding encounters with poisons, predators and parasites. This is why the learning impairment that we have demonstrated, caused by exposure to glyphosate, could substantially increase the mortality rate of foragers. Such depletion of the workforce would have an obvious impact on colony success, although this remains to be confirmed experimentally," she says.

‘Put learners first’: Unesco calls for global ban on smartphones in schools | Unesco | The Guardian #society #technology #learning

Smartphones should be banned from schools to tackle classroom disruption, improve learning and help protect children from cyberbullying, a UN report has recommended.

Unesco, the UN’s education, science and culture agency, said there was evidence that excessive mobile phone use was linked to reduced educational performance and that high levels of screen time had a negative effect on children’s emotional stability.

It said its call for a smartphone ban sent a clear message that digital technology as a whole, including artificial intelligence, should always be subservient to a “human-centred vision” of education, and never supplant face-to-face interaction with teachers.

Home Taping Is Killing Music: When the Music Industry Waged War on the Cassette Tape During the 1980s, and Punk Bands Fought Back | Open Culture #copyrights #history

British record collectors will no doubt remember this campaign that started in 1981, another business-backed “moral” panic. And funnily enough it had nothing to do with dubbing vinyl.

Instead, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) were taking aim at people who were recording songs off the radio instead of purchasing records. With the rise of the cassette tape in popularity, the BPI saw pounds and pence leaving their pockets.

Sinéad O’Connor, acclaimed Dublin singer, dies aged 56 – The Irish Times #promemoria

Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor has died at the age of 56, her family has announced.

In a statement, the singer’s family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”

The acclaimed Dublin performer released 10 studio albums, while her song Nothing Compares 2 U was named the number one world single in 1990 by the Billboard Music Awards. Her version of the ballad, written by musician Prince, topped the charts around the globe and earned her three Grammy nominations.

The First Room-Temperature Ambient-Pressure Superconductor #science #engineering

For the first time in the world, we succeeded in synthesizing the room-temperature superconductor (Tc≥400 K, 127∘C) working at ambient pressure with a modified lead-apatite (LK-99) structure. The superconductivity of LK-99 is proved with the Critical temperature (Tc), Zero-resistivity, Critical current (Ic), Critical magnetic field (Hc), and the Meissner effect. The superconductivity of LK-99 originates from minute structural distortion by a slight volume shrinkage (0.48 %), not by external factors such as temperature and pressure. The shrinkage is caused by Cu2+ substitution of Pb2+(2) ions in the insulating network of Pb(2)-phosphate and it generates the stress. It concurrently transfers to Pb(1) of the cylindrical column resulting in distortion of the cylindrical column interface, which creates superconducting quantum wells (SQWs) in the interface. The heat capacity results indicated that the new model is suitable for explaining the superconductivity of LK-99. The unique structure of LK-99 that allows the minute distorted structure to be maintained in the interfaces is the most important factor that LK-99 maintains and exhibits superconductivity at room temperatures and ambient pressure.

The age of average — Alex Murrell #society #economy #world

Over 11 days the researchers at Marttila & Kiley Inc. asked 1,001 US citizens a series of survey questions.

What’s your favourite colour? Do you prefer sharp angles or soft curves? Do you like smooth canvases or thick brushstrokes? Would you rather figures that are nude or clothed? Should they be at leisure or working? Indoors or outside? In what kind of landscape?

Komar and Melamid then set about painting a piece that reflected the results. The pair repeated this process in a number of countries including Russia, China, France and Kenya.

Each piece in the series, titled “People’s Choice”, was intended to be a unique a collaboration with the people of a different country and culture.

But it didn’t quite go to plan.

Describing the work in his book Playing to the Gallery, the artist Grayson Perry said:

“In nearly every country all people really wanted was a landscape with a few figures around, animals in the foreground, mainly blue.”

Despite soliciting the opinions of over 11,000 people, from 11 different countries, each of the paintings looked almost exactly the same.

20 Years On: The Rise and Fall of the Hipster #history #subculture

2003 felt like an in-between sort of year. The worst of the financial crash was over. The initial shock of 9/11 had curdled into something steadier and more sinister. The millennium had been and gone, with no Y2K “bug” to speak of. In hindsight, however, youth culture in particular was in the middle of a significant shift. The camera phone had just been made widely available outside of Japan. Myspace, a social networking site, launched that summer. And the word “hipster” – a term now so dead it belongs in history books – had just began to sit casually on acerbic tongues across the globe. If you lived in these areas, you definitely weren’t immune: Williamsburg and Bushwick in New York, Shoreditch and Hoxton in London, Berlin’s Kreuzberg, Stockholm’s Södermalm, LA’s Silver Lake.

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