Friday News: the sad state of NY Public Libraries, security risks of biometrics, representing diversity, and the infamous Cheryl’s birthday problem
But the effort to modernize the city’s libraries has prompted one fiscal expert to question whether officials should also be looking at whether they could, or should, downsize in some cases, given the move toward a digital age and e-books that take up no room.
“They may be getting what they own into shape, but the question is, do they need all this space?” said Charles M. Brecher, consulting co-director of research for the Citizens Budget Commission, a government watchdog group. “It’s like the firehouse question: Do we need every firehouse they built 75 years ago?” –New York Times
The biometric boom raises some well-known privacy concerns. It also raises some less-known security concerns.
David Cowan with Bessemer Venture Partners is an investor. He’s put over $100 million into digital security companies, but he refuses to invest in biometrics.
“Either a password or a biometric can be stolen,” he says. “But only the password can be changed. Once your fingerprint is stolen, it’s stolen forever, and you’re stuck.” –NPR
If essentialism is the pernicious idea that categories are more real than people, strategic essentialisms are a rhetorical technique when you’re aware that the essentialism in question is bullshit but you temporarily accept being identified with a category in order to achieve something, even if that something is just making a point. There are all sorts of good, practical reasons to collectivize identity in this way, but I think it works best when it’s goal-oriented and time-bound. Because when it’s not, then it can also mean just signing up to be reduced to a category for somebody else’s convenience.
This is a high-risk high-reward rhetorical move, in other words. To name a thing is to bring it into existence as a theory-object, and it’s difficult to dispel it after that, never mind to control how it gets used or who else it might get used on. –VAJRA CHANDRASEKERA
Albert and Bernard just became friends with Cheryl, and they want to know when her birthday is. Cheryl gives them a list of 10 possible dates.
May 15, 16, 19
June 17, 18
July 14, 16
August 14, 15, 17
Cheryl then tells Albert and Bernard separately the month and the day of her birthday respectively.
Albert: I don’t know when Cheryl’s birthday is, but I know that Bernard does not know either.
Bernard: At first I didn’t know when Cheryl’s birthday is, but I know now.
Albert: Then I also know when Cheryl’s birthday is.
So when is Cheryl’s birthday? –Education Week