people should be able to choose their own way of consuming content, even when that content is produced by others
DRM, proprietary data formats, and other needless complicating factors get in the way of that


the super cool thing about computers is that they can transform and filter data efficiently and I think it's a shame when the immense resources poured into their creation is wasted on providing companies a platform where they fight to pull users into their walled garden and/or enslave their attention to generate ad revenue.

· brutaldon · 4 · 14 · 22

I hope that explains to the non-programmer people reading the timeline why I consider libre software important

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I've talked before about how I think we'll see "digital nations" and "digital citizenship" within my lifetime.

As we spend more and more time online and these internet cultures come into play, I think that eventually where you cyber-live at online will become super important to your identity.

Like one of the main issues I have with the way we do citizenship and stuff in the "real world" is that it is pretty much locked in by what country you plopped out of at and your parents.


But in a huge digital nation you would have the freedom to not be locked in by the geographic and parental circumstances of your birth.

Thus you would have the freedom to move about and settle as you saw fit.

In practice this would give people an incredible amount of freedom to develop their own natural and cultural identity that does not depend on geopolitical bullshit.


And the 10% or so "global elite" would fucking hate this with a passion.

Because it would overtime make their power structure and control over cultural and national destiny irrelevant.

It's going to be hard to go to war when the people in your "real world" country exist in and have deep friendships with tons of people that live in that other "real world" country you want to go to war with.

@Tau_Leonis Easier communication across physical boundaries could definitely help in weakening those boundaries, which would be super rad because right now Some People are really way too fucking into borders and nationalities.


I think part of that is just a natural fear reaction. This is the first time in global history that this has occurred.

Like up until the invention of trains in the early 19th century it was common for people to never go more than 20 miles from the place they were born at.

And with the invention of the car and affordable intercontinental flights the world has only gotten smaller.

And now you don't even need to physically travel in person.

The globe is shrinking (continued)


And I think some people are not ready to handle that.

And now that we have so much access to information and ability to communicate with others it is making people challenge traditional sources of authority.

Like the majority of stuff I know about oppressed people I would not know if it weren't for the Internet. Because it sure as hell is not going to be shown in mainstream news, TV, media, etc. as these only perpetuate the existing power structure and reinforce it.

@Tau_Leonis Yup. But when you only get your news from Facebook, that's even worse. At least traditional media can't optimize itself to addict you to timed dopamine hits.

@Tau_Leonis This is why Mastodon is super rad, because it's just people talking about stuff, instead of a popularity contest on one end and an ad revenue contest on the other.


Right, I love how I have to go out of my way to find out how many times a post was favorited or boosted on Mastodon.

And the people selling stuff on Mastodon tend to be awesome people doing their own arts and crafts stuff and not stupid corporate ads targeted at me because an AI bot thought I fit some "profile".


Speaking of getting news only from Facebook, I've been chatting with some of my friends in education about how the new digital era makes it to where it is critically important to teach Students how to consider sources, credibility, bias, tone, etc. when they read news (and not just on the Internet this goes for print and TV media as well) oh and make sure they understand things like the Scientific Method and Historical Method and Literary Criticism.

@Tau_Leonis oh hey this reminds me
@Shamar you remember when you did that thing where you talked about crypto and stuff with kids? Me and my sis came up with the idea that I should do one for her class, can you give some pointers??


Sure, what's the target age?
How many hours do you have?
What about a mailing list and git repo to work on this?

I'm very happy to help you design the lessons. I have very little content ready but that's in Italian, so it needs translation and rework.
Note however that I didn't have a strong track, I moved around the class and followed the stream of questions a lot borrowing from my experience of #Informatics.... and kids.


@grainloom @Tau_Leonis

I mean the lesson had a track, but when someone asked about hackers (because I said I'm a hacker myself) I talked about curiosity, law, crackers, science in 700... it took 20 minutes totally unplanned, but their attention was incredibly high.

Similar when we talked about robots and cyborg touching freedom, automomy, and the difference between a law and a program.
The teachers were surprised by the silence in the room...

@grainloom @Tau_Leonis

I mean always follow your instinct. The goal is to turn them to hackers, to simulate their natural curiosity, so that they will try to dwell deeper by themselves.

@Shamar @Tau_Leonis 13-14 year olds, don't know about the hours yet, I guess a 45 minute pilot lecture could work for a start, we'll see if they wanna continue afterwards. I made a repo quickly:

(nothing in it yet)

@grainloom @Tau_Leonis

A 45 minutes pilot with 13-14 yo is an interesting challenge.

The problem is to engage them while still giving them useful informations.

I started from the name of the course that was "#Informatics #Elementary" (it was in an elementary school to 10yo). So most of the first lesson was to explain what informatics is all about.

I gifted each of them a cheap address notebook to let them write their personal hacker dictionary starting from those in

@grainloom @Tau_Leonis

#Hackture is another interesting title for a course.

It's about #hacker #culture, from the very beginning.

The problem is how to engage them?

You could teach them my (slightly modified) One Time Pad algorithm to crypt and decrypt messages, but without a proper context, it's just a show of your knowledge.

When and why it is important to encrypt messages? When noise is even more important? How much you can encrypt? What about metadata?


@grainloom @Tau_Leonis

An interesting approach (to some) might be starting the conversation with something like "Hi guys, I'm Rain, I'm a hacker and I'm here to turn you to an hacker too. Do you want to become a hacker?"

The teachers might be scared, though (if they take you seriously, give a shit about the kids and understand what you just said).

Also to some people hackers are about computers, to engage some kids showing your super powers might be more engaging.


@grainloom @Tau_Leonis

For example you might hack the teachers with some social hacking tricks, sending them out for something and THEN tell them you just hacked the teacher and explain them how and what is social hacking (basically breaking people assumptions).

Informatics is about information that exist only in human minds but can be represented as data to be transferred, stored and so on (from Latin "datum", that means "given"): social hacking is just hacking directly applied to minds.


@grainloom @Tau_Leonis

Basically, you open a pandora box. 😉

There is so much to say that this is not the proper channel to.

What about a mailing list on (or anywhere else... just not something that is #GAFAM based)?

@Shamar @Tau_Leonis I requested a list on FreeLists, gotta go do uni stuff right now, I'll share the list signup url thingy once it's been approved.


I really have to clean up the kitchen, now.. I will subscribe as soon as possible.



I subscribed but... what's the list email?

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@Shamar @grainloom @Tau_Leonis Yeah but I have nothing to add in this context, I need something more specific.


You might give a look at and challenge my definitions or propose new one to be introduced.

@Shamar Amusement or Fun are good things to add to that list.

In spanish makes more sense:
Divertir: lat. divertĕre 'go through many paths'.


The same root of "diverge".

In Italian "Divertimento" (having fun) is always used in a positive meaning, but I usually make people note that it might also mean "to be distracted": ancient Rome's emperors used to use "panes et circenses" (bread and free public games) to keep the people under control.

The English "entertainment" somewhat retain this meaning: it keeps you inside

@Shamar You can add that, because hackers are curious because it's funny for them.
That may mean many things.

For instance, that is something to understand and have under control... In my case it's breaking my mind so... I have to control and understand it.

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The shit they peddle on TLC, History Channel, and Discovery Channel is living proof that we are not teaching Students how to properly evaluate sources and information.

Fuck, in a decade or two we're going to have Students who think that the American Revolution was started by a debate between two Alien Species over how to best make a clone from Benjamin Franklin's semen and this semen reacted with ancient Egyptian Alien DNA to manifest itself as the Statue of Liberty.

@Tau_Leonis I haven't seen much TLC but the way reality shows exploit the people on the fringes of society is pretty disgusting. Teaching kids empathy should be paramount.


Yeah those are disgusting too.

I was thinking more of those "Ancient Aliens" type shows.

Where clearly, these ancient people needed help to make these things and couldn't possibly have figured it out themselves.

It even subtly reinforces white supremacy if you think about it. Because according to those shows, everyone except white European peoples lived in grass mudhuts or something until the Aliens appeared and taught them shit.

@Tau_Leonis Ah ye, although that's probably in other documentaries as well. Also the way some people seem to equate documentaries with actual scientific data. Like, someone told me they saw a documentary on some ghost thing, ergo that ghost thing is totally real.
But that's not so much about the medium but that lack of critical thinking practice.


Also people aren't taught how to research names of institutions and academic credentials.

Like anyone could write a fuckton of pseudo-science garbage and then publish it on a website called "New Haverbrook Institute for Science and Technology" and a lot of people would fall for it.

Here's a good article I was reading on it last night:

@Tau_Leonis @grainloom sounds like actual education, I guess there is a silver lining :)
@Tau_Leonis @grainloom this is the kind of thing I was thinking about when I started writing about “virtual private nations”; kind of the same thing but with crypto so we don’t have to start by building the network ourselves :)

@Tau_Leonis @grainloom

> And now you don't even
> need to physically travel in
> person.

This is only partially true, though.

Talking in person is not the same of discussing over the internet on a wide variety of dimensions.

Smell for example.

This might seem irrelevant or a joke, but if you think we belong to mammals it should be obvious it's a wide reduction of our communication channels.

Also, the #data you can read on the #Internet might in-form false #Informations in your mind.


@Tau_Leonis @grainloom

When you realize that, given Gödel's incompleteness theorems, you cannot rely on #Information to decide if an Information is true but just if it's coherent with the rest you know, you understand how the illusion of travelling without moving is... just an illusion.

That's why I stressed so much in my #Informatics lessons to kids about the difference about Information and its representation (aka #data): understanding such difference is fundamental when using a #computer.

@Tau_Leonis @grainloom

It goes beyond using different news sources.

It means understanding that #source code might be wrong, even if it builds fine, whatever the language.

That #code is #data that represent the information in the programmer mind (known as algorithm), that bugs are just a special case of #GIGO (where the garbage is injected in the source code), that #protocols are not a computer things but a human one, and so on...

@Tau_Leonis Yeah, some tribalism is already very noticeable, even here on the fediverse.

@jbob @grainloom @gemlog @Tau_Leonis I had my lawyer look into this a while back. The only practical use is to make it easier to create (shell) companies in Estonia. It won't actually make you a dual citizen of Estonia.

@drwho @jbob @grainloom @Tau_Leonis
Ah. It sounded cool, but I wasn't sure how it would be useful.

@gemlog @Tau_Leonis @grainloom @drwho

It was interesting if only because it’s cool that any “real” country is doing anything like this.

@jbob @grainloom @drwho @Tau_Leonis
I didn't realize the guy had died and the party was over. I thought you were referencing
Long history of pirate radio too.

Computers are really good at filtering information and it's not healthy to take away control of the filtering from the people
@grainloom One of the original ideas for the web was to have the content and the display separate, with the way things are displayed in the browser definable by the user, not the publisher. Commercial interests eventually scuppered that.
@bob @grainloom

All true. That is why HTML was *supposed* to only indicate the relative importance of text and it was *supposed* to be left up to the browser how it would interpret tags like <H1> and <em>, etc.

But now we have CSS which says “use this font at this size with this spacing”, etc.

@jonw @grainloom @bob This. This. This. Exactly this.

I have tried my best to minimise the CSS on my blog exactly for this:

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