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I’m deleting my Google+ account. It was a great experiment in “Facebook for serious scientific conversation/socialization” but nothing really happened there when I did post, I get plenty of scientific and tech interaction on Twitter and physically having to block spammers and fake users every single day to keep from being in their circles is a waste of my time. Another big reason for nuking my account is this:

NYT: The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google

Google Plus may not be much of a competitor to Facebook as a social network, but it is central to Google“s future ” a lens that allows the company to peer more broadly into people“s digital life, and to gather an ever-richer trove of the personal information that advertisers covet.

… The reason is that once you sign up for Plus, it becomes your account for all Google products, from Gmail to YouTube to maps, so Google sees who you are and what you do across its services, even if you never once return to the social network itself.

Before Google released Plus, the company might not have known that you were the same person when you searched, watched videos and used maps. With a single Plus account, the company can build a database of your affinities.

I have no idea if posts by friends who use only Google+ will be viewable any longer, but as previously stated, the low signal-to-noise ratio is not worth it.

The following are memorable links I shared there over the past 2.5 years and my comments on them, if any.

AGU Blogs: The Fundamentals Of Science That American Students Are Not Learning

AAPG Explorer: Work Force Shifts Create Manpower Needs  The folly of using field work as a lure for students today becomes even more apparent when considering the bulk of the professional jobs they ultimately will take on, for the most part, require staying indoors in front of a computer. We need to encourage the students who are good in math and other core sciences by showing them the technical aspect of [geology], [Sharon Mosher] said, and how these subjects are used to solve real world problems.

BoingBoing: Meritocracies become oligarchies  THIS – the hope that a civilized “society will have mechanisms that act as a sort of pump, constantly ensuring that the talented and hard-working are propelled upward, while the mediocre trickle downward” – is why I became an American and now watch the USA turn into India and Kuwait, with their shameful caste systems and all. The best thing you can do for society is to give your kids a great education but let them come up on their own after that.

The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to The Office  “This is where Gervais has broken new ground, primarily because as an artist, he is interested in the subjective experience of being clueless. For your everyday sociopath, it is sufficient to label someone clueless and work around them. What Gervais managed to create is a very compelling portrait of the clueless, a work of art with real business value.”

Infrasound Huntress: What is infrasound?

PLOS Blogs: Crap futurism, cruftiness, and walled gardens: A Download the Universe roundtable on e-reading  “My choices are now to bow down to the power of Amazon and work directly with them, on their terms, or to enter that DRM-free wilderness where Doctorow has wandered for years.”

NASA’s Eyes on the Earth  It’s Java-based, but very nice on the eyes.

sci-ence: This Is My Prayer Bump  Just discovered my gamer/interpretation mark because I never thought to look. Completely taken with it.

Judaism without God? Yes, say American atheists  Can Judaism survive without God? I like to think it’s how Hinduism survived five millennia, with good traditions & God ultimately meaning understanding yourself.

The Agile Geoscience toolbox  In the process of making a “colophon” like this for my own vast media empire.

Spatially Adjusted: My Personal GIS Stack  One more for the production notes.

slight paranoia: Two honest Google employees: our products don’t protect your privacy  From November 3rd, 2011!

The Atlantic: Why Facebook and Google’s Concept of ‘Real Names’ Is Revolutionary  “Let’s not pretend that what Google and Facebook are doing has long-established precedents and therefore these companies are only doing what they’re doing to mimic real life. They are creating tighter links between people’s behavior and their identities than has previously existed in the modern world.” Tempted to create a G+ account with the name Bhel Puri, Sambar Shaadham, Braun Schweiger or Mirliton Bisque to see if they catch on.

Slashdot: MS-DOS Is 30 Years Old Today  Which would have made me 6 when I started playing with Professor DOS.

Mashable: How Much Do Artists Earn Online?  A few observations: 1) Self-pressed CDs is the way to go, apparently, but welcome to the streaming internet. 2) Wow, iTunes and Napster gouge the artist a lot more than a royalty deal with a label does. 3) You need 4.6 million plays per month on Spotify vs. 1.5 million plays on last.fm to earn the same amount?

Weebl’s Stuff: DJ Pie Safety  This is relevant to my interests.

JMLA: The impact of free access to the scientific literature: a review of recent research [Warning: I’m a bit pissy about access today following the whole Swartz-MIT thing.] So, let me get this straight. Researchers in the sciences do not see THEIR access to scientific literature as an especially important problem. But more research needs to be done to see if there is enough access by non-scientists (who probably made a large part of this research possible through their tax dollars) and if people are talking about material in scientific literature outside the ivory lab enough to warrant a crisis. [Also, isn’t the JSTOR download kerfuffle a counter-example?]

CNN Religion Blogs: In Texas, young Hindus want to Americanize ancient faith I get this and I don’t. On the one hand, Hindu-Americans as a demographic are way past arriving, Hinduism is understood in the west mostly as a hippy chew toy and many who were raised in Hindu families here find the religion obtuse and irrelevant. And, on the other, there is the American Judeo-Christianization and viral marketing of a decidely non-Abrahamic philosophy. What ever happened to creation is illusion, i.e. the crux of Hinduism, and all that? Not that this is what is happening here (this is more a linearization than extremism), but the fundamentalization of religions across the world relies on a singular and major failing of most religious people: their sheer inability to question and research the things they have been told they should believe in order to be considered a good Hindu, Muslim, Christian, etc. Because of this, religion evolves to fit the needs of those in or seeking power at any given time and is never the static reference we think it is. Another thing: There’s a fine line between questioning and even parodying religion and gratuitously bashing people who are religious. If you’re going to play this game, be very aware of which side of it you are on.

Charlie’s Diary: Three arguments against the singularity Weeks later, I continue to re-read this Charlie Stross essay. It is the finest analysis on super-intelligent AI I’ve come across in a while and addresses many of the arguments D and I had while watching Battlestar Galactica and Caprica.

What I said right after activating my Google+ account: Different modes of conversation are good; not everyone communicates the same way online or in real life. There doesn’t need to be and should not be one social media outlet to rule them all. It then just becomes a matter of how many different places you and the people you communicate with are willing to log in to, and how much of the provider’s bullshit and your own faffing about you can tolerate.

Yup. See ya, Google+.

Update: Of course, the day I cancelled the G+ account I needed it for my first Hangout ever. Hangout is much better than Skype, but again, not worth it for occasional use.


Image ganked from Thomas Geraghty’s blog.

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