A shocking share of the public thinks randomized trials are immoral (Vox)
Randomization is a key tool to learn about the world, but it makes people uneasy

In all of those cases except the last one, people felt the same way. Option 1? Fine. Option 2? Fine. Random assignment between Option 1 and Option 2, for the sake of learning which works better? Not fine.

I’d be fascinated to find out the why around this. Is it because people think it’s “unfair” somehow? I’m kind of at a loss trying to understand.

Blog a Little (Bitsplitting.org)
Over on Twitter today, I was inspired to ask people to write "just one blog post" today. Later, it occurred to me that after 10+ years on Twitter, I am privileged to have a substantial following. I thought I would take the opportunity to help promote some folks who don’t have as much immediate reach.

I think people neglect to write blog posts because the feedback loop is not as tangible as the onslaught of (sometimes mechanical) likes or faves that you can receive on a social network. With blogging, you need a little faith that you will gain an audience. And on the open web, you never know who might come along and expand your audience.

If you want to read the thread this generated, you can find it via the tag on Twitter.

Twitter co-founder Ev Williams says social media will get better ... eventually (Vox)
"There is a better version of social media to be invented," Williams said on the latest episode of Recode Decode with Kara Swisher.

“I think there is a better version of social media to be invented and I don’t know if that will happen incrementally, because there’s lots of smart people trying to evolve these systems at these massive companies,” he added. “Or if it will happen with just completely new paradigms and new ideas that come along.”

I can think of at least one good way to get to the “better version of social media,” but I’m biased. Let’s not leave it to the massive companies.

A Complete Guide to Flexbox | CSS-Tricks (CSS-Tricks)
Our comprehensive guide to CSS flexbox layout. This complete guide explains everything about flexbox, focusing on all the different possible properties for the parent element (the flex container) and the child elements (the flex items). It also includes history, demos, patterns, and a browser support chart.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had to refer to this article over the last several months. Flexbox is amazing, but sometimes it’s not the most intuitive.

How to avoid the corporate takeover of podcasting by Andy
To me, these are the two ways of avoiding the takeover:
  1. Innovate on features and discoverability
  2. Find ways to help podcast producers know more about their listeners
Marco Arment took a nice step on point 1 with his clip feature that he added to the Overcast podcast app. Other innovations might be to support more distributed directories to assist in podcast discovery (OPML inclusion, anyone?). Progress on point 2 might be difficult (requiring collaboration, between podcast app makers and other groups of people), but it might be better to band together to create new standards/processes/protocols than to be “picked off” one by one.

I’m not sure I agree with item 2… I don’t really want podcast producers to know anything about me, and wonder why they need to know anything about me. I’m going to guess it’s mainly to sell ads? If there’s another reason you’re thinking of, please do let me know!

It would – to me –  feel like the slippery slope to the same sort of “data collection/analytics” that led to the tracking and profiling nightmare we are seeing push back against on the web. Effectively swapping one concern (walled gardens) for another (privacy).

I have no problem with podcasters earning revenue, but I do wonder if audience targetting is the way to go. Podcasts have survived and grown thus far with the current model – otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing these predatory encroachments.

But perhaps I’m not thinking about the problem openly enough, and with the lessons of the last few years, something could be built? ?

Mean world syndrome - Wikipedia
Mean world syndrome is a term coined by George Gerbner to describe a phenomenon whereby violence-related content of mass media makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. Mean world syndrome is one of the main conclusions of cultivation theory. Gerbner, a pioneer researcher on the effects of television on society, argued that people who watch television tended to think of the world as an intimidating and unforgiving place. A direct correlation between the amount of television one watches and the amount of fear one harbors about the world has been proven, although the direction of causality remains debatable in that persons fearful of the world may be more likely to retreat from it and in turn spend more time with indoor, solitary activities such as television watching.

Fascist political group plans to infiltrate community councils by an author (The Ferret)
An extreme far right group modelled on Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists plans to put candidates up for community council seats in Scotland.

I think this quote from the article sums it up well enough:

“‘Never again’ was the popular slogan after the second world war against fascism. We should never forget that and never give these dangerous idiots an inch.”