Newsletter #146: Our Masked Selfies are Training Facial Recognition

Hello Recompilers,

Another week! Maybe things are opening up where you’re at, maybe they’re not. Maybe you’re itching to carefully go interact with the world, maybe you take one look at the actual numbers and say nope. Myself, still in this cabin! Fixed and broke my solar again. Turns out you shouldn’t use butt end connectors to join 4ga wire and 10ga wire. Also? Turns out propane regulators on camp stoves aren’t really designed to hold back a 20lbs tank’s worth of pressure indefinitely. But I’m okay and everything is on the mend.


We’re settling into a new normal, and of course the surveillance state is rushing to catch up to the changes. Companies are training AI to recognize faces despite masks, and our masked selfies are getting used for the job.

Contact tracing seems to sit on the horizon as always. Privacy concerns have been paramount, of course, but the success of an app also depend on a belief that the app is effective. Thanks to some governments’ lackluster testing, the concept of a contact tracing app might not catch on, which of course, only minimizes its efficacy further.

The uncomfortable merging of police and military in the US continue, and new documents reveal that police used military surveillance tech for their operations against striking UC Santa Cruz workers last year. Police militarizing to act against labor organizing has a long history of going very badly for everyone.


Ologies: Architectural Technology (COMPUTER PROGRAMMING) with Iddris Sandu
It’s no secret that I love Ologies and I’d listen to Alie Ward interview more or less anyone, but on this episode she talks about computer programming.

Oh, and The Tolkien Experience Podcast interviewed me about my experience as an artist who draws on the works of Tolkien so if you want to hear me rant about his xenophobia and what we can still get from Lord of the Rings, you can do so.

Conference Talk of the Week:

This talk is part of our “Favorite Talks” YouTube Playlist. Check it out and subscribe! 

Achieving Inclusivity Through Remote Work

Jameson Hampton at RailsConf Couch 2020 talks about how remote work enables a more diverse workforce and the advantages that entails.


Recompiler is hiring editors and designers.

Do you know an upcoming conference or CFP that should be included in this newsletter? Email leads to

This newsletter compiled by Margaret Killjoy (@magpiekilljoy). Margaret is an author, activist, and musician based in Appalachia. Her most recent book series is the Danielle Cain novella series, which starts with The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion.

Image by Engin_Akyurt (Pixabay)