Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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All entries tagged current events.

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Aug 2020

  • These weeknotes are coming in late in the day because of reasons. (The reasons being laziness and procrastination.) Actually, I feel like I’ve been kind of phoning in the weeknotes over the past few weeks, they’ve mostly been “hey, I’ve been busy, so nothing of significance happened, but here are some things I watched/played.” Supposedly one of the side effects of writing regular updates is that you tend to look out for more interesting things to do so you have something to write about, even on an unconscious level.

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  • Weeknotes 2020-08-09

    Still kind of busy, although there’s a bunch of things I hope I can finally wrap up this week, so I can move on to the long list of other things I want to be doing. The world continues to be bleak, so I’m still hiding from it. My stuff: Forty-two. I thought about just merging these into a single post for the day, but nah, this seems better. Reworking the old charity side project still ongoing.

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  • Weeknotes 2020-08-02

    Kind of a busy week for me again, so the week kind of passed me by quickly. It’s August! In one month it will be (PH) Christmas season! It feels like July went by more quickly than other quarantine months. My stuff: A bit of consulting work. Reworking the old charity side project still ongoing. I was hoping to finish all the changes last week and next week would be testing and deployment, but stuff got in the way (and estimates may have been a bit off), but the spillover is small and we should still be fine for finishing everything next week.

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Jul 2020

Jun 2020

May 2020

  • ABS-CBN, Bias, and Press Freedom

    A bit of brouhaha a couple of weeks ago after the National Telecommunications Commission ordered the country’s biggest broadcaster ABS-CBN to cease operations because Congress had been remiss in renewing their franchise.. This despite the NTC earlier promising they can operate provisionally while the franchise renewal is being processed, a change of heart apparently due to a legal opinion by the SolGen. Some thoughts: “Bias” The speaker of the house says:

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    Posted by under post at #philippines #current events
    Also on: mastodon twitter / 1 / 1081 words
  • I mean, that’s true in general of course. But it certainly seems much more true in these pandemic times. Before all of this waves hands arounds frantically, people had a general sense of routine and predictability about their daily lives. It varied person by person of course, but many people had regular things like a steady job that kept them occupied for most of the week, a school where their kids could go off to most days, maybe a favorite bar or restaurant they visit every week or so, church on Sundays, friends you saw every other weekend or so, malls or stores they would pass by regularly, and so on and so forth.

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    Posted by under post at #current-events #covid19
    Also on: mastodon twitter / 4 0 / 1207 words

Apr 2020

  • Privacy and 'Nothing to Hide'

    I was reading this post about how to respond to the “Nothing to Hide” argument against the concept of privacy. The quoted DuckDuckGo blog post lists some pretty good reasons, but I thought I’d expound on some thoughts as well. The core of the “Nothing to Hide” argument is that if you, personally, have nothing incriminating or illegal to hide, then you don’t need to worry about privacy intrusions. The argument is used mainly to justify things like state-sponsored surveillance, but might also be applicable to data collection activities by large corporations such as Facebook or Google.

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Mar 2020

Nov 2019

  • The Costs of Corruption

    A quick follow-up to something I mentioned in yesterday’s post: It is a cultural problem too. Even we the citizens have little respect for rules and laws and try to skip around them when we can. This is why we have fixers, and connections, and patronage. We trade on favors to get us out of trouble. I’m not sure if needed to be said, but I wasn’t saying that literally every single person participates in fixing and patronage to get around the rules.

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    Posted by under post at #philippines #current events
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 582 words
  • Laws Not Men

    In yet another example of what is wrong with this country, the PNP are planning to arrest vape users after Duterte’s directive, despite there actually being yet no law or executive order banning vaping. Thus, the arrests are meaningless and merely another form of harassment. PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac explained that while violators would be apprehended, they would be released immediately after the incident is recorded in the police blotter.

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    Posted by under post at #philippines #current events
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 524 words
  • Grab Overpricing

    So the Philippine Competition Commission recently fined rideshare provider Grab P23M for overcharging their customers. Apparently only P5M of that is meant to go back to the affected riders, which seems like a piddly amount considering the number of riders in the Philippines. We’ll see how of that I actually get credited back, if any. Grab pricing has been steadily increasing since Uber exited the market early last year. The other day Grab wanted to charge me a bit over P400 for a 13km ride to a commercial area, which seemed insane.

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  • Posted by under post at #current events #hong kong
    Also on: twitter / 1 0 / 417 words

Sep 2019

  • The Climate Strikes Back

    This past weekend was supposedly some global climate strike, led by young activists. I don’t actually know if there was a local counterpart to these activities, as obviously I did not participate. Good for the young though. Between the climate activists and HK protesters, the modern youth still give me some hope for humanity. Anyway, I’m gonna step into the melee here and start rambling about things I may or may not be fully informed about, feel free to correct me or tell me I’m being an idiot or whatever.

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    Posted by under post at #current events
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 960 words

May 2019

Apr 2019

  • Justice vs Vengeance

    via /u/haveanicedayreddit on reddit: The very fact that our nation’s highest court is weighing in on the amount of cruelty we can inflict upon those we put to death suggests we’ve taken a wrong turn. And yet the very subject invites some to ask why we should even care about the feelings of rapists or murderers. Here’s why we need to care. We need to care because our justice system demands it.

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Mar 2019

  • Daily news reading is a habit I inherited from my father, who tends to read the morning newspaper at the dining table during breakfast every morning and most other meals as well, even to this day. Some would say a bad habit, especially when among company. These days my morning newspaper consists mostly of Flipboard articles, then the local newspaper during lunch and dinner if I am at home. Aside from mealtime readings, I also regularly take breaks to check what is going on in social media and my RSS reader.

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    Posted by under post at #current events
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 337 words

Feb 2019

  • EDSA

    The EDSA revolution was a promise. “Never again.” They cried. But the scope was never clear. Never again to a dictator? Okay, but if not that, then what? What of corruption, of patronage, of poverty, of oligarchy, of ignorance? We thought the job finished and patted ourselves on the back and assumed everything would go back to normal, without regard to what “normal” needed to be. The same evils took different guises, and today the forces of darkness and dictatorship are almost close to fulfilling their return.

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    Posted by under post at #current events #Philippines
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 176 words
  • Speaking truth to power

    According to Wikipedia, Speaking truth to power is a non-violent political tactic, employed by dissidents against the received wisdom or propaganda of governments they regard as oppressive, authoritarian or an ideocracy. I always had the general sense of it before, but not that it was specifically for use against oppressive or authoritarian governments. It is believed the phrase has origins in a Quaker pamphlet published in 1955. I was reminded of this phrase today and looked it up because it seems relevant again recently, at least in the Philippines.

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    Posted by under post at #current events #Opinions
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 423 words
  • In late 2017, the US moved to ban Kaspersky antivirus from use by federal agencies, because of suspected influence from the Russian government. In late 2018, the US and other countries have either banned or are considering banning the Chinese tech giant Huawei and its telecoms products, for security reasons. Both companies are under scrutiny for their perceived ties to their governments, both of which happen to have authoritarian leanings. From a certain POV, the bannings may be unfair, as they are “preventive” in nature, i.

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    Posted by under post at #current events #Opinions
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 393 words

Jan 2019

  • Xenophobia

    In a recent episode of The Orville, captain Ed Mercer of the Union is stuck debating with a member of the Krill, a fanatic and xenophobic race in conflict with Earth’s multi-species Planetary Union. He says: “Look, from what we’ve seen, when planets first achieve space travel and they venture out into the galaxy and discover that they’re just one single species among a vast diversity of lifeforms, they usually react in one of two ways: they embrace and adapt to the fact that they’re no longer the center of the universe, or they ratchet up their xenophobia.

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    Posted by under post at #current events #Pop Culture
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 337 words

Dec 2018

  • Notes on Facebook

    Facebook is in hot water again, over controversial deals it made in the past that compromised user privacy. I have been considering for a long time to leave Facebook. These are the challenges: For many people, Facebook is the only way I have to contact them I don’t have a better place to share family pictures (again most of the family is on Facebook) certain follows/groups relevant to my interest are Facebook only Basically the network effect.

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    Posted by under post at #Current Events #Tech Life
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 438 words
  • On Trump and Zuckerberg

    Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg are different people in vastly different positions, but I find it interesting the uncanny parallels their stories have taken them through. Like many non-Americans, I’m acutely aware of the shenanigans of Donald Trump, the current US president. It would be a fascinating story, if only it weren’t so bad for the world. His character arc is of someone who rose to the level of this own incompetence.

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    Posted by under post at #Current Events #Opinions
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 495 words
  • Social Credit System

    China is setting up some kind of large-scale “social credit system” to rank and monitor the behavior of their citizens. Citizens with low scores can get penalized in various ways like being denied travel or access to top-tier schools and so on. It’s quite creepy, and the mere idea evokes the dystopian Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” where people use an app to rate other people. China’s social credit system might be even worse than the Black Mirror one because:

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    Posted by under post at #Current Events #Tech Life
    Also on: twitter / 0 / 516 words

Aug 2010