This Week in Web #36

Google’s Clever Plan to Stop Aspiring ISIS Recruits

Andy Greenberg, Wired

Google is finding another way to use it’s powerful and omnipresent search system for good. Chat services have been outright banning people who post in support of ISIS, even if they are the most popular YouTuber. Now Jigsaw, a team formerly known as Google Ideas, is directing search terms identified as common to potential ISIS recruits to videos and content curated from the web that is believed to be effective in turning people away from the cult.

If you want to know some other ways that one of our presidential nominees would handle ISIS on the web, try to parse some of these statements.


Dennis Cooper’s blog re-launched after Google censorship criticisms

Mazin Sidahmed, The Guardian

Dennis Cooper, who is an author and artist, has been running his blog for about 14 years, with updates almost every day of the week. Several months ago, Google took down his long-running Blogspot hosted site, after a report from a user on a ten-year-old post, despite that post’s content being hidden behind an adult content notice. An agreement with Google was finally reached where they would provide him data from his site, as well as his Gmail account, which was also disabled, removing a decade of correspondence and a novel that he was working on.

His new site is built with WordPress, and is a good reminder that it’s always best to own your own data.


Chrome is stepping up its war on the unencrypted web

Russell Brandom, The Verge

Chrome is doing more to push sites to move to using basic encryption standards by changing to SSL and HTTPS. This is getting much easier, as well as free, with services like Let’s Encrypt, and the number of sites offering this level of protection has dramatically risen over the past year.

Starting in January for all forms of Chrome (earlier for incognito mode), a notification in the address bar will be displayed on websites with login forms that are not protected with SSL. The goal is to raise awareness for users, and to an extent shame websites into becoming more secure for their visitors.


The Harambe Trolley Problem
The Harambe Trolley Problem

How Harambe Became the Perfect Meme

Venkatesh Rao, The Atlantic

I am very much over Harambe as an anything, and as a meme is the top of that list. In a similar way that “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams” became a lazy shorthand to faux-insiderism, every mention of Harambe has moved away from being about the gorilla and controversy surrounding his death. The image and name is now devoid of meaning, with the ability to stand in for almost any message.

Rao’s take is an interesting one: in a world where only things out of the ordinary can gain any traction at all, Harambe is an example of how meaning can be applied to


Stupid Patent of the Month: Elsevier Patents Online Peer Review

Elliot Harmon and Daniel Nazer, EFF

The future of publicly funded science research should be what is being promised by the EU: free and open access to research and papers if any public money is used. The future of science research should not be patents on online peer review systems, with the intent of tightening a stranglehold of ownership of academic research. This is why websites like sci-hub.cc exist.

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