October 30, 2012
From Linda's diary
Monday - Funny, today both Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown sent me an email to wish me a happy birthday and remind me to vote for them. I wonder who they are and how they got my birthdate and email address. Wish Fred would do the same.
Tuesday - I got sick this morning and had to run to class without breakfast. Lucky there's no lack of junk food on campus. Then on my way to the clothes shop where I got a job under my university "earn to learn" program, I tried to call Fred on my smartphone and got a warning on diabetes prevention from the campus medical office. Leave me alone. Has Bloomberg become Mayor of Cambridge?
Wednesday - Last night my phone battery went dead, again. Dick beat Fred to lending me his own. I do not like his toothy smile but he is real nice to me and his parents' estate is gorgeous. Well I googled Obama and got a drop down menu mentioning "birth certificate", someone called "Jeremiah something" and what not. On my phone, I get "Obama 2012 campaign", not to mention "presidency achievements" and the like. Weird.
Thursday - Guess what. I was checking my Facebook news feed during a class break and got a link to Planned Parenthood in Boston. Hey, it's right across the Charles, I didn't know. But why? At any rate I'm glad I no longer get all those ads from dating sites. What made them stop?
Saturday - Friday turned out to be a rotten day. But I did finish my paper on the King of Rome and could leave in time for a week end at Dick's parents' spread. Dick was a bit sour about it but he did invite Fred after all. Such a nice view from my room. I wonder how many gardeners you need to care for these topiaries. Never saw so many at once, all with such amazing shapes. Do they have the same in Paris? In Rome?
When I googled "Rome" yesterday I was inundated with information about traveling to Rome. Off by a thousand miles. And off by some 2,500 years too, when I typed "Rome King". I should have known better. At least Google's answers were about Rome. With "Nancy King", no way to get to Nancy, the city, let alone Stanislas, the former king (1). Welcome to hundreds of fancy Nancy's peddled by Facebook and LinkedIn.
So I had to retype the whole thing, "King of Rome", for Google to give me just one good link on its first page. Still I could not finish in time and went to my French history class without my report. My professor allowed me to email it before the end of the day. Nice of her but what a rush. At least when I went back to search for "King of Rome", I got all kinds of relevant links about Napoléon and his poor son (2). Google learns fast.
It even suggested I buy some books from its bookstore. No Amazon listing on the first page though, not even on the second page if you except an ad. Jeff Bezos must be furious. Here he is, paying his competitor yet getting no better than second best. A bit like poor Dick I'm afraid. Should I tell him about Fred and me tomorrow?
In the office of Mr Magnon, Google's Chief Relevancy Officer
- Boss, I just spoke to one of Almunia's mignons... Yes, I told him again Google is ready for "more clear labeling when [our] own offering like Google Shopping appears in a search result", just as Steve Lohr reported in the New York Times (*). Ah, ah! What Neanderthals in Brussels!...
- What do I mean? They do not understand that our relevancy algorithm has gotten so complex, nobody can prove "Google manipulates search results to favor its own products". It's not as if our own services were visibly irrelevant, like Apple Maps. And if we blow it, it is the public's fault, like with the affair Nicholas Kulish wrote about a month ago, the "Bettina Wulff escort" sticky, stinky tag, remember (**)(3). Or we blame it on being bombed by the bad guys, which forces us to modify our selection criteria. Or if all else fail we fire the designated rogue programmer...
- By the way boss, have you read Natasha Singer and Charles Duhigg's article? It details how deep the two presidential campaigns are into using consumer information for targeting voters. "Over the month of September, Evidon identified 76 different tracking programs on barackobama.com [...]. It found 40 different trackers on mittromney.com" (***). When all elected office seekers depend on violating eprivacy, don't people understand neither law nor rule in America will ever force us to really respect privacy?...
- You're right boss. I never thought about it. Except that we mint money, we're like the Greek, . Here too, because they profit from the status quo, "politicians have shrugged off their responsibilities [...] while the justice system looked the other way" (****). What Kerin Hope does not say is that, unless Europe takes over Greece from the Greek, there is no hope in sight. Pronaocracy scales up the joy of self-regulation to a whole nation....
- Did you say the Greek "arrested [a whistleblower] on charges of violating data protection laws"? Because he published the names of Greek tax evaders? Ah! Ah! Hilarious! We know who's pregnant in the US before the lady herself but we would not be so rude as to publish her name. Same with those who eat out of vending machines. Never shame names overtly for free, just let it be known you know everything and rake the money in.
Somewhere on an anonymous island (bids are accepted from any country in good UNO standing interested in sending a message there)
- Congratulations comrade for having planted this trojan at Google. Read Michael S. Schmidt and Christine Hauser (*****). "The House Intelligence Committee recommended [...] the United States governmnent be barred from doing business with two Chinese telecommunications firms and American companies should avoid buying their equipment". It's clearly a case of their closing the barn door once our horse is safely in...
- In keeping with our policy, your next target is the Defense Advanced Projects Agency "Robotics Challenge". According to John Markoff (******), it is "a contest testing the performance of robots that could be used in emergencies like the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan".
America's challenge is our mission. With infected Google Androids, we control information. Infect American humanoids, we will control action.
- (*) ........... F.T.C. To Prepare For Lawsuit Vs. Google, by Steve Lohr (New York Times) - October 13, 2012
- (**) ......... As Google Fills Blank, A German Cries Foul, by Nicholas Kulish (New York Times) - September 19, 2012
- (***) ....... Tracking Clicks Online To Try to Sway Voters, by Natasha Singer and Charles Duhigg (New York Times) - October 28, 2012
- (****) ..... Greek editor arrested over list of alleged tax evaders, by Kerin Hope (Financial Times) - October 29, 2012
- (*****) ... U.S. Panel Cites Risks In Chinese Equipment, by Michael S. Schmidt and Christine Hauser (New York Times) - October 9, 2012
- (******) . Pentagon Offers A Robotics Prize, by John Markoff (New York Times) - October 29, 2012
- (1) see la Place Stanislas on wikipedia
- (2) see Napoléon II, King of Rome, on wikipedia
- (3) on October 30, 2012, typing Bettina Wullf into Google still adds the "escort" and "prostituierte" tags automatically. Ms Wullf is "not feeling lucky".