Newsletter #153: Drones are the Mindkiller

Hello Recompilers,

It hasn’t been an optimistic week to live in the US. It’s hard not to look around, a bit desperately, at all the closed borders and open bars. It’s hard to not look at how every other developed nation has handled covid in comparison to us. Still, the fight continues, and we’ve made social gains in these past two months I never thought we’d see.

If you haven’t yet, check out Recompiler’s Reasons and Strategies for Avoiding Obsolete Terms, which lays out exactly why and how to replace “master/slave” in programming with “primary/replica,” written by Erin Grace. It’s an excerpt from the book The Responsible Communication Style Guide Supplement on Python.


I don’t know if I can point to a single, clearer condemnation of capitalism than this article about the network of hackers who illegally repair ventilators. A few months ago we covered the “all in it together” spirit that had several manufacturers open up their intellectual property, but it clearly wasn’t enough, and we have to break laws and TOSs to save lives.
(Jason Koebler for Vice)

I’ve been as guilty as anyone of spreading concern about the use of police drones at protests, but ironically, with where the technology is at currently, the fear of police drones is probably worse for our movements than the drones themselves. One journalist investigating the matter couldn’t find a single instance of successful drone-assisted facial recognition at a demonstration and also points out that the civilian drones available to most police departments have such short battery lives that you could likely wait under an awning or a tree for half an hour to outlast your pursuit.
(Faine Greenwood for Slate)

If you’re quarantined in a place without easy access to internet and are reliant on a tethered cell phone connection, you might be running into the problem of hotspot throttling. In which case, you might be interested to know the means by which your cell service provider determines what traffic is coming from your phone and what is coming from your tethered computer. Obviously, don’t do anything that might violate your TOS!


Gadget Lab: I Can’t Stop Doomscrolling
Wired senior editor Angela Watercutter joins the podcast hosts to talk about why we scroll endlessly through bad news on social media.

Conference Talk of the Week:

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

This Talk Has Been Disabled

Dawn Collett talks at the February 2020 Melbourne Ruby Meetup about accessibility advocacy


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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 TheOtherKev (PixaBay)