Weekend Thoughts - 6.20.15

Image by  Hugh Manon , courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Image by Hugh Manon, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. Reset.me has a video of a woman giving birth in nature (NSFW). I had seen this video before, and thought it would be good to share here. Fair warning: this is a live birth, which includes nudity and all the other things you would assume would come with birthing a newborn human baby. To me, this demonstrates that it is possible (and potentially a better experience) to give birth outside of the hospital. If you're interested in natural childbirth, I would also suggest watching the documentary The Business of Being Born.

2. Hopes & Fears has a piece about what it is like to be a pro-cannabis lobbyist working to legitimize cannabis in the eyes of the law.

3. This article from The Onion about a new music festival that offers no music, and only a field for doing drugs, had me cracking a smile this week.

4. On the topic of music festivals, the BBC reported that Leicestershire police in the United Kingdom used face-scanning software to identify 90,000 festival attendees at the 2015 Download Festival. The police claim that they were looking for known criminals that may have been in the crowd. This is simultaneously technologically-impressive and worrisome to me. On one hand, it's pretty nifty that this feat is possible nowadays, and I could definitely see how it could be used for good. On the other hand, this just increases the feeling of being perpetually watched everywhere we go.

5. Privacy-focused search engine Duck Duck Go has seen a 600% increase in web traffic since Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA two years ago. That correlates with when I first began using the search engine a few years ago. Based on my positive experience thus far, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Apple Macs and iOS devices offer the service as a selection for default search engine, so you can easily give it a try on your own devices if you so choose.

6. Autonomous (also known as "self-driving") cars have been in the news recently, and an article on Science Daily explores an interesting dilemma: "Will your self-driving car be programmed to kill you if it means saving more strangers?" The article includes an intriguing debate that discusses the meaning behind the terms utilitarianism and deontology. Definitely worth a read and some thought.

7. The sad tale of a quiet farm kid in North Dakota that went missing and was found two months later drowned in a river—shot in the head and wearing a rock-filled backpack. He was apparently murdered for being a confidential informant for the local police. The college he was attending knew that police were busting its students and using them to inform on more powerful drug dealers. Stories like this are very frustrating and upsetting to me, but it's worth sharing it with people who may be unaware of the shady dealings of our police forces.

8. A war photographer that has 10 years of experience in the Iraq War spent a few days capturing some amazing shots of the world's largest paintball game. His pictures are great, and his explanation of the event and comparison to actual combat is worth a read.

9. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great roundup analysis of major technology companies' willingness to and followthrough of protecting customer data from governments that is worth a look.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.