16 February 2015

Link Dump 5

  • How to get free money by pretending to be a charity: The worst charity in America operates from a metal warehouse behind a gas station in Holiday. Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families. Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids. Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity's operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations. In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity's founder and his own consulting firms. No charity in the nation has siphoned more money away from the needy over a longer period of time. But Kids Wish is not an isolated case
  • 'Washington Is a Cesspool of Faux-Experts Who Do Bad Research' by +Conor Friedersdorf: Sweet validation! I've often suspected that official Washington is populated by enough disingenuous, misinformation-spreading hucksters to fill an underground container of organic waste. No one has better standing to render this judgment than Klein, whose earnest, tireless embrace of deep-in-the-weeds wonkery is unsurpassed in his generation. He wouldn't assert a whole cesspool of intellectual waste product without having seen plenty of specific examples.
  • How Gangs Took Over Prisons by +Graeme Wood: Originally formed for self-protection, prison gangs have become the unlikely custodians of order behind bars—and of crime on the streets.
  • 3D Printed Peristaltic Pump by +Eric Evenchick: One nice thing about this design is that it is printed preassembled. Pop it out of the printer, add some tubing, and you’re ready to pump fluids. On top of the isolated fluid path, this pump gives accurate volume measurement.
  • 3 keys to open source success by +Phil Johnson: A new study of GitHub data reveals characteristics of successful open source projects
  • The Rise of Open Source Hardware by +Rachel Nuwer: Part of the reason software has led the open source charge is that it has the advantage of being “lightweight,” Petrone explains. “It’s a case of atoms versus bits.”
  • Want to Reform the NSA? Give Edward Snowden Immunity by +Yochai Benkler: Edward Snowden's disclosures led to the introduction of dozens of bills in Congress, a judicial opinion, and two executive-branch independent reviews that demanded extensive reforms to surveillance programs...The single most important lesson of Snowden's disclosures is that even well-designed and well-intentioned systems of checks and balances become corroded and subverted over time...Because it is practically impossible for outsiders to check the national-security system, protecting insider whistleblowers is especially critical.
  • Learnable Programming by + Bret Victor: Because my work was cited as an inspiration for the Khan system, I felt I should respond...How do we get people to understand programming? We change programming. We turn it into something that's understandable by people. This essay presents a set of design principles for an environment and language suitable for learning.
  • The Future Could Work If We Let It by +Farhad Manjoo: One persistent criticism of the tech industry is that it no longer works on big ideas...Matt Rogers and Stefan Heck...put forward the ultimate optimist's case for why the tech industry might substantially improve most of our lives...With the right incentives, the future could be fantastic. Just beware of the pesky humans getting in the way.

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