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Twitter’s Future

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Twitter, is by all accounts, the best source of information on ongoing crisis. It needs to stop there.

In November of last year, when I was pulling a gargoyle (Snow Crash) and providing real time analysis of events unfolding in Mumbai, user levels were such that it was still manageable for readers to rely on the flow + hash tags.

However, the tripling of traffic (partly due to that coverage) has made the presentation layer obtuse and burdensome (essentially useless). The signal to noise ratio is extremely low. The right play is for Twitter to save the dollars its wasting on the presentation layer and just shut it down. Instead, it should just provide its firehose data flow (driven by distributed tweet inputs) for processers and front end developers.



-Shlok
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Tinkering In Response to Local Threats

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Stephen Ganyard has a great op-ed in the NYT today on how disasters are local and ‘flat’ training exercises (flat as in zero overhead and broad participation) can generate tinkering activity that can be used to create “$25 solutions to multimillion dollar problems.” I’m as much a fan of Golden Phoenix as anyone, but it needs to be said: this is an inefficient way of solving a broader problem.

Think of each one of these exercises as a point on a timeline, where information transfer takes place that enables that tinkering (key to any kind of success). Any innovation that occurs beyond the actual exercise (Ganyard’s example of Angel Flight West and Project K.I.D.) is residual. You’re much better off seeing a trendline rather than isolated points. (Sure you can connect the dots, but that’s a classic federal government trick to lie to everyone.)

Information platforms actually provide a way to maintain strong information links that enable strong information transfer over time. By building those information platforms from the bottom up rather than top down (i.e. fusion centers that I can’t access for some byzantine reason) we can see this same type of tinkering activity occur as a function of leadership rather than a residual byproduct.



-Shlok
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Idea: CraigsBlackList

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
6 Comments   

A layer: a parasitic website that is underpinned entirely by another, that allows functionality that is not in the host.

For predators that otherwise may be easily targeted (such as say drug dealers on Craigslist), a layer would allow an avenue of approach that the host would be unaware of or unable to cope with.  This strategy is more likely to take hold in situations where the underlying site is an open platform.

Consider a layer, call it CraigsBlackList, that essentially modifies the way you look at and access Craigslist (among the flattest, most robust platforms on the internet).

You open up CBL, and it looks exactly like CL. Once you login however, (a login you received from a friend – fellow predator – via an invite only, reputation based system normal, seemingly benign ads for legitimate goods – vehicles, fruit, apartments – transform into the thriving black market ecosystem. (System-handled codewords reveal drug sales, prostitution rings, weapons trades and the like.)

Meanwhile, users of Craigslist see the CBL ads as well, but to them, the ads are benign legitimate market items. To CL administrators, the illicit ads are impossible to distinguish from legitimate without penetrating the predator social network. (Unlikely given gang/cartel/mafia enforcer involvement.)

Essentially, CL was just parasitically absorbed by CBL.



-Shlok
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Illicit Trade Platform

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Craigslist is already a top performing P2P trading platform for any and all goods and services (from sports tickets to amateur pornography).

Which way is this (largely) legitimate platform going to lean as the going gets increasingly tough (D2)? Will it remain as is (or will it even be allowed to remain as is) or will it broaden to encompass the already prevalent illicit market in a more real and meaningful way?



-Shlok
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The 4,000 kWh Stack

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Shlok Vaidya  -  
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Here’s a smart metric to keep in mind when packaging a governance platform. Baseline electricity requirement for optimum human development is 4,000kWh annually per person.  The report.



-Shlok
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