Category Archives: Incentives

Who watches the watchmen?

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.


The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.

Source: FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades – The Washington Post

It happened before 2000. There was other evidence in those cases. But still – false testimony from these high levels over decades happened.

It should shake you.

What is preventing us from reading a similar headline in ten more years? How could we make sure this lab has an incentive to tell the truth rather than to ally with their colleagues?

go read

From this Gizmodo’s How a lone coder cloned google reader.

Go Read is a web-based RSS reader.It is designed to be as useful as Google Reader.

When you built your house on sand and then you find your house collapsed, it doesn’t seem so smart to rebuild your house on sand, but taller. So I just wonder about writing your google reader clone in a language designed by google and hosting it on a hosting platform run by google, where the only way to sign in is to use google.

Glenn Beck and the new reality of video distribution

My man Jamie Dubs did a great talk at the XOXO fest on how Glenn Beck is the unloved rockstar of the new media landscape. Jamie did the amazing VHX.TV, worked on Add-Art, started Know Your Meme, led the Internet Famo Class… He’s the Kevin Bacon of my internet, but everyone has a max Jamie number of 3.

Anyway, get your learn on:

Project Idea: Conscience

This is just a sketch of an idea. Help me fill it out.

The elevator pitch

An angel on her shoulder

What if you could have an angel on your shoulder that helped you make purchases that reflected your values? We’d all like to vote with our dollars, but complicated corporate structures and global supply chains have made it difficult to keep track of who is doing what.
Continue reading Project Idea: Conscience

Is your internet provider cheating you?

The FCC has a tool you can use to find out if your broadband provider is advertising better speeds than they provide.Check it out over at

This seems like a nice crowdsourced way to catch cheats. It will work better the more people participate, so go over and take the test.

Also of interest is that they are using open source software to provide the tests – software that can be independently verified.

The country and the country

Geoff over at BLDGBLOG has a great post about how Australia’s strange bid to avoid refugees makes some islands both Australian and not Australian. These islands become strange limbo zones of tortured legality, much like in “The City and The City”.

It’s strange to see them give up sovereignty over land to avoid their own laws about providing safe harbor to refugees. It seems that the self-image of mercifulness is more valuable than the land, but less valuable than actually welcoming in refugees.