You Give Up a Lot of Privacy Just Opening Emails. Here’s How to Stop It | WIRED

“[Email tracking] tech is pretty simple. Tracking clients embed a line of code in the body of an email—usually in a 1×1 pixel image, so tiny it’s invisible, but also in elements like hyperlinks and custom fonts. When a recipient opens the email, the tracking client recognizes that pixel has been downloaded, as well as where and on what device. Newsletter services, marketers, and advertisers have used the technique for years, to collect data about their open rates; major tech companies like Facebook and Twitter followed suit in their ongoing quest to profile and predict our behavior online…

…To prevent third-parties from leaking your email, meanwhile, Princeton’s Englehart says “the only surefire solution right now is to block images by default.” That is, turn on image-blocking in your email client, so you can’t receive any images at all.”

—Brian Merchant. “How Email Open Tracking Quietly Took Over The Web.” Wired. December 11, 2017.

As discussed in my post A Text Only World there is no surefire way to stop this kind of tracking. Even if you use text only email, which isn’t a bad idea, you will still be tracked if you follow links and so forth. But, sticking with text over HTML is often a more secure and less convenient option.

Recomendo

“Every week Mark, Claudia and I encounter great podcasts, bingeable video series, amazing people to follow, memorable destinations, perfect tips, and many other types of things besides tools we’d like to recommend. Thus was born Recomendo a year and half ago. Conceived as a weekly email, Recomendo now has about 15,000 subscribers. (Sign up here, free.)

We thought that after 73 weeks of 6 recommendations per week, we’d make Recomendo even better by compiling a categorized version on the web. So Claudia rounded up the past issues and sorted all the recommendations by subject. 

The Recomendo website now offers all the travel tips, or cleaning techniques, or browser hacks in one place. Check it out, it’s pretty neat. The links have been rechecked and updated. This compendium can serve as an alternative way to refresh what we’ve raved about recently, or it is also a perfect way to inform a friend about our collective recommendations. Over 450 great tips and recommendations of cool stuff.” h/t Cool Tools.

The SCP Foundation

“Operating clandestine and worldwide, the Foundation operates beyond jurisdiction, empowered and entrusted by every major national government with the task of containing anomalous objects, entities, and phenomena. These anomalies pose a significant threat to global security by threatening either physical or psychological harm.

The Foundation operates to maintain normalcy, so that the worldwide civilian population can live and go on with their daily lives without fear, mistrust, or doubt in their personal beliefs, and to maintain human independence from extraterrestrial, extradimensional, and other extranormal influence.
Our mission is three-fold:
[Secure, Contain, Protect].”
About The SCP Foundationhttp://www.scp-wiki.net.

Wikipedia might be the better source in this instance:

“The SCP Foundation is a fictional organization that is the subject of a web-based collaborative writing project of the same name. The stories generated by the project describe the exploits of the Foundation, supposedly responsible for containing individuals, entities, locations, and objects that violate natural law (referred to as SCPs). The main written works on the SCP Foundation website are articles written in the style of structured internal documentation about the contained SCPs. The website also contains thousands of “Foundation Tales”, short stories set within the universe of the SCP Foundation…

…The SCP Foundation series has received praise for its ability to convey horror through its scientific and academic writing style, as well as for its high quality standards.”

SCP Foundation,” in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia; available from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCP_Foundation; Internet; retrieved 19 December 2017.

Finally, some “fake news” that is at least interesting and differently horrible.

Letterboxing

“Letterboxing is an intriguing ‘treasure hunt’ style outdoor activity. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. There are about 50,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber stamp and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox’s logbook.”

—”Getting Started.” Letterboxing North America. Accessed December 12, 2017.

Against Amazon

“Unlike Facebook and Google, that have to wrestle with the possibility that your name and data may be false, and do all they can to get your telephone number because they didn’t request it when you opened your account, from the very start Amazon has all your data—real, physical and legal. Even your credit card number. Perhaps they don’t have such ease of access to your emotional and intellectual profile as Google or Facebook do, but, conversely, they do know almost everything about what you read, eat or give as presents. It is then simple enough for them to deduce the profile of your heart or brain from the goods you buy. And this empire was born from the items that enjoy most cultural prestige: books. Amazon appropriated the prestige of books. It built the world’s biggest hypermarket behind a huge smokescreen shaped like a library.”

—Jorge Carrión. “Against Amazon: Seven Arguments, One Manifesto.” Translated by Peter Bush. Literary Hub. November 15, 2017.

Xmas in Frisko on SomaFM

“For people tired of traditional holiday music. From the offensive, raunchy and nasty to the silly and childish, a mix of music for Hanukkah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice and of course Christmas. You’ll probably get in trouble if you listen out loud at the office, but it might be worth it just to offend your annoying co-workers.”

Xmas in Frisko on SomaFM

To get the flavor, something you are likely to hear on Xmas in Frisko: Back Door Santa.

The Other in the Academy

“The theory that a political debate can only be won by silence should sound strange in the mouths of people who toil in the realm of ideas.  Alas, it isn’t strange at all.  I have a friend who compares his academic work today to ‘a mine-clearing operation’:  at any moment, you might step on a hidden sensitivity and blow up.  The once-rowdy American university has become a place of conformism and fear…In a real sense, it was a victory for intellectual openness over the dogmatic impulse and fear of taboo. The whole affair nonetheless felt more like pathology than politics: another psychotic episode in the strange ongoing breakdown of the American mind.”

—Martin Hurried, “The Other at Bard College.” thefifthwave.WordPress.com. October 31, 2017.

The Oldest Treasures From 12 Great Libraries – Atlas Obscura

In the history of writing, bound books as we know them today arrive fairly late, so there are no actual “books” on this list. Instead, this is a wondrous collection of illuminated manuscripts, papyrus scrolls, and clay tablets. Some of these items you can even see in person, if you pay a visit.

—Sarah Laskow. “The Oldest Treasures From 12 Great Libraries.” AtlasObscura.com. October 26, 2017.