Dan Phiffer Dan Phiffer builds websites, makes art, and teaches in NYC

Could a Bank Deny Your Loan Based on Your Facebook Friends?

Facebook recently filed a rather unsettling patent application describing (among other things) a hypothetical social-graph-based credit scoring system. What level of freaked out would be an appropriate response?

Facebook makes its money by encouraging people to have large friend networks and create lots of content for it to show ads against. And given that that’s the primary profit driver for Facebook, as a practical manner, it would really surprise me if they decided to get into the credit-scoring business, just because I think that’s going to make people feel panicked and uncomfortable. If I were them, I would not be in a giant rush to do that.

This makes me wonder if a lot of people suddenly started blocking ads, would companies like Facebook move quickly to adopt more dystopian business models? Or would they be more likely to start embracing those business models much earlier—quietly, secretly, mischievously—in anticipation?

Link via Ingrid

Ray Bradbury 1963

A 25 minute video on Ray Bradbury from The Atlantic.

I love that he lived in Los Angeles but didn’t drive a car. There’s also this moment at 4:25 where you see a sign above his desk “DON’T THINK.” Seems like sound advice for how to conduct yourself behind a keyboard, so I’ve added a similar one to my own desk.


Why you should fear Mitt

All this talk about “Amercia” is a distraction:

Gaffes stick when they reinforce an existing criticism of a candidate. Is anyone really worried that Mitt Romney, whose personal crest may as well be a spreadsheet, is insufficiently obsessed with details?

Here is Jay Smooth explaining why the Romney “meh” response is dangerous:

Also, my site was down for a while earlier today. It’s all fixed now.


Twenty years after the Soviet

Today’s In Focus shows the fall of the Soviet Union, culminating in the dissolution of the Communist Party on December 25th, 1991. The post includes an essay by Alain-Pierre Hovasse, Chief Photographer for the Agence France Presse, who was on assignment in Moscow.

We really had a notion that life here was changing dramatically, almost every day. Being a child of the Cold War, I remember feeling elated and privileged to be there at that time, to witness the apparent demise of this repressive political regime.

AP Photo/Boris Yurchenko