An in-depth discussion of tear gas.

Before I repost this Twitter thread in toto, I'd like to say a few things.  First, Zander is an old friend of mine (pushing 20 years at this point).  Second, while he might bill himself as "an amateur chemist," his scientific expertise has been helpful to me numerous times over the years, so I feel that I can vouch for his knowledge as well as his assessment of the situation.  I asked him if I could repost this research earlier and he gave his permission.  For clarity I've made minor edits to add punctuation.  I've also reposted the images he …

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The 2016 election and weird patterns on Twitter.

You've already read my opinion of the 2016 election's outcome so I'll not subject you to it again. However, I would like to talk about some weird stuff I (we, really) kept noticing on Twitter in the days and weeks leading up to Election Day.

As I've often spoken of in the past, a nontrivial portion of my Exocortex is tasked with monitoring global activity on Twitter by hooking into the back-end API service and pulling raw data out to analyze. Those agents fire on a stagged schedule, anywhere from every 30 minutes to every two hours; a couple of …

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A couple of thoughts on microblogging.

The thing about microblogging, or services which allow posts that are very short (around 140 characters) and are disseminated in the fashion of a broadcast medium is that it lends itself to fire-and-forget posting. See something, post it, maybe attach a photograph or a link and be done with it. If your goal is to get information out to lots of people at once leveraging one's social network is criticial: Post something, a couple of the users following you repost it so that more people see it, a couple of their followers repost it in turn... like ripples on the …

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Twitter begins censoring content based upon account and point of origin.

Last week, the addictively simple social networking site Twitter announced that it would be adding the capability to selectively censor tweets based upon where the viewer appears to be sourcing from. Like most websites, when handed a properly acquired takedown notice they're pretty snappy about making certain things disappear (note that some of the taken down posts are reprinted in the takedown notices) but this is, as they say, a whole 'nother smoke. This change of policy means that if you post something that the government of a different country doesn't like (like this), they can request that Twitter make …

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Wikileaks, Cablegate, the media, and you.

I've been waiting to put together an article about Wikileaks and Cablegate (the gradual release of a quarter-million diplomatic cables written and archived by the United States diplomatic corps). Mostly, everyday life has prevented me from doing so: the holiday season is here once again and, all things being equal, work and cleaning up the apartment with Lyssa have taken priority. I also didn't want to vent my spleen on the Net without having a coherent idea of what I was going to say. Turing knows, enough of that is happening right now and I won't fall prey to it …

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