Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information →

Last week, I ran an ad on Facebook that was targeted at a computer science professor named Alan Mislove. Mislove studies how privacy works on social networks and had a theory that Facebook is letting advertisers reach users with contact information collected in surprising ways. I was helping him test the theory by targeting him in a way Facebook had previously told me wouldn’t work. I directed the ad to display to a Facebook account connected to the landline number for Alan Mislove’s office, a number Mislove has never provided to Facebook. He saw the ad within hours.

Lot’s of shady activity by Facebook.

The researchers also found that if User A, whom we’ll call Anna, shares her contacts with Facebook, including a previously unknown phone number for User B, whom we’ll call Ben, advertisers will be able to target Ben with an ad using that phone number, which I call “shadow contact information,” about a month later. Ben can’t access his shadow contact information, because that would violate Anna’s privacy, according to Facebook, so he can’t see it or delete it, and he can’t keep advertisers from using it either.

This is a horrible practice.

Here I am thinking I was so smart by not entering or giving up any real personal information on Facebook, but it doesn’t matter anyway because one of my friends of family members probably unknowingly shared it with Facebook anyway.

Ranch Nation – The New York Times →

Invented in the 1950s, ranch is now far and away the most popular salad dressing in the country, according to a 2017 study by the Association for Dressings and Sauces, an industry group. (Forty percent of Americans named ranch as their favorite dressing; its nearest competitor, Italian, came in at 10 percent.) And it has spread far beyond salad.

It is a routine dip for chicken wings, baby carrots, French fries, tortilla chips and mozzarella sticks. It is incorporated into American classics like macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, potato salad and Thanksgiving-turkey stuffing. And it is drizzled over tacos, Tater Tots, casseroles and — perhaps most controversially — pizza.

I’m sure that I had ranch dressing before I turned 14, but it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. When I transferred schools in 7th grade and made new friends, I noticed that my friends buying hot lunch (school lunch), loading their trays up on what was being served, yet saving a sizable amount of tray space as they got through the line. Once through the line, they darted over to the condiment cart where that void on their lunch tray was filled with ranch. Once seated and ready to eat, EVERYTHING on their tray was dipped in ranch–pizza, burgers, sandwiches, fries, tater tots, salad, veggies, etc. Being the follower that I am/was, I started dipping my lunch items in ranch and it became a food staple all through college and into adulthood.
In fact, it’s the secret sauce to my signature breakfast sandwiches and burritos and barbecue chicken pizza.

Since he was a toddler, my middle child, Ryan, now age 6, eats every lunch and dinner with a side of ranch. EVERYTHING he eats including steak, corn dogs, fish sticks, beef and broccoli, spaghetti, apple slices, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, corn, etc. gets dipped in ranch.

A funny story from a couple of years ago: I came home to him dipping plain tortilla chips in ranch. At first, this looked and sounded awful. When I asked him if he was enjoying what he was eating, he told me that it tasted just like blue Doritos (Cool Ranch). At the ripe old age of 35, it suddenly dawned on me that Cool Ranch Doritos were just ranch flavored tortilla chips. Mind. Blown.

Conan Writers Reveal Their Favorite Moments →

Lots of great memories from the creators, writers, and actors of those early Conan years. I clearly remember a lot of the sketches that were mentioned: Satellite TV, Andy’s sister, Desk Driving, etc. Some of my favorite Conan sketches from the early years, not mentioned in the article, include Pimpbot 5000, Staring Contest, and anytime Robert Smigel would provide the lips and voice of President Clinton, Bush, and celebrities. As cheesy as it was, I loved ‘In the Year 2000’ and the Walker Texas Ranger lever.

One of the things I enjoyed most over the years was Conan involving more of the crew in the bits: Max Weinberg and the band, Joel Godard, Pierre Bernard, etc. Today’s bits with Jordan Schlansky are some of my favorites.

More people are taking Facebook breaks and deleting the app from their phones – The Verge →

I’m nine months in to a planned year hiatus from Facebook. Having Facebook as part of my daily web browsing routine since 2004-5, I wanted to see how I would get along without it. The nine months without it has been enjoyable although I do miss a couple of things. There were a lot of reasons why I decided to take a break: primarily the ugliness of ‘friends’ during the 2016 election and continued ugliness into 2017 and the on-going revelations of Facebook’s corrupt business practices (e.g. tracking users/non-users, the misuse of personal data, discrimination/racial profiling, etc). In the last nine months, more has been revealed regarding Facebook’s malicious practices, the outside influence of social media posts in swaying the 2016 election, its standards for objectionable content, and overall, the lack of responsibility to prevent malicious use of its platform, which further my reasons for taking a break.

By mid-2017, I was on my way to reducing my use of Facebook–I had deleted the app from my phone and tablets and primarily relied on viewing it through the mobile interface. On January 1, 2018, I made my last post and permanently logged out.

Given Facebook’s presence on the web, it’s been challenging to completely avoid it. I still encounter links to posts, articles, videos, and photos that are posted only to Facebook. Sometimes it’s public content that can be viewed without logging in. When it’s not and requires a login, I have opted not to view it and try to find it elsewhere. I still encounter some articles on the web that rely on Facebook’s comment system so I’m occasionally exposed to the train wreck of Facebook comments.

What I miss most about Facebook:

  • My wife’s posts: she shares a lot of funny posts and pictures about our boys that I miss out on. I usually find out about her posts days or weeks later through co-workers, family, and friends. She’s been cross-posting pictures on Instagram and uploading more of her videos on YouTube, so I still get my fill.
  • Updates on my friends and family: Specifically, the happenings, updates, and photos of my friends and family. I believe this is what made Facebook so fun early on. It was a way to stay connected and informed of what was going on. Over the years, the content algorithm and non-chronological timeline butchered this experience. Viewing friend and family content became a chore. Filtering was either on or off and not content-based. Toward the end, I felt like I was just scrolling through shared or linked content. To find original content and photos, I would have to visit a specific friend’s profile.

One question I keep asking myself is if taking this break from Facebook has been worth it? Nine months in and I’m still not sure. I can say with 100% certainty that life is a lot better without friends posing arguments or opinions, hearing another Sean Hannity or Bernie Sanders soundbite, or seeing another one of those Tasty videos.

Land Seizure in South Africa, Nationalism in America – The Atlantic →

Carlson’s deceptive reporting—his sly incitement of racial resentment—was intended to mislead poorly informed, credulous, and racially prejudiced viewers. And unfortunately, one of those poorly informed, credulous, and racially prejudiced Carlson viewers happens to be the president of the United States.

Love this.

How Millennials Killed Mayonnaise – Philadelphia Magazine →

LeVaux interviewed a professional taster who, he says, considers Hellmann’s “a member of an exclusive group of products that are so refined and sophisticated that it’s hard for the average palate to break them down into their component flavors.” You don’t taste egg in Hellmann’s, the taster explained. You don’t taste oil, or vinegar: “All the flavors blend together. They’re balanced. Nothing sticks out. Everything is appropriate.”

Hellmann’s/Best Foods is the perfect condiment for sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. It turns any ordinary food and makes it ten times better.

About 22 years ago, when I was in 8th grade, I used to sell the ham sandwiches my mom packed for my lunch to my friend Shaun. It wasn’t that I was trying to make money or that I didn’t enjoy the sandwiches, I knew that Shaun absolutely LOVED the sandwiches my mom made. He’d give me his lunch money, anywhere from $3 to $5, for each sandwich, which was enough for me to go buy a school lunch and have change afterwards for the soda machine.

At the time I knew what made those sandwiches so good, but I had a ready, willing buyer and didn’t want to share the secret sauce. Shaun’s family was a Kraft mayo family.

NASA astronaut Ellison Onizuka’s soccer ball that survived the Challenger explosion →

A really great article by Tonya Malinowski and a soccer ball that survived the Challenger explosion.

“Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds … to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation. Your vision is not limited by what your eye can see, but what your mind can imagine. If you accept these past accomplishments as commonplace, then think of the new horizons that you can explore. … Make your life count, and the world will be a better place because you tried.” – Ellison Onizuka

Beautiful.