This year (2018) was my third Electric Daisy Carnival, AKA the largest electronic music festival in the US. But as someone who’s usually more at home on Burning Man’s playa than a garbage encrusted NASCAR racetrack, I wanted to do something more than just go.

I’ve always found the former’s participatory nature far more creatively inspiring than the latter’s spectator sport. To borrow the words of a wise fellow burner:

“Everything at Burning Man is there because someone thought it would be cool to bring it to Burning Man.”

At EDC, the stages are built by the festival. At Burning Man, all of the art installations (aside from the Man and Temple) are there because someone thought it’d be cool to build them there. …

Update (5/23/2018): while the video recording issues seem to have been resolved, there is still no USB audio dongle that works well with this phone, according to the long-running xda-developers dongle testing thread, full of people who are still tirelessly searching for one that does.

Original post (12/1/2017):

I returned a phone for the first time today. And I’ve had every Nexus and Pixel phone since the Galaxy Nexus.

I abided Google’s usual launch issues. The screen complaints, with reports of burn in and significant blue shifting when you look at the phone at an angle.

But two issues took the…

I recently talked to Thorn — a nonprofit that uses technology and data science to find and rescue sexually abused children. It turns out over 75% of child prostitution is advertised online — mostly on backpage.com (essentially, a seedier Craiglist).

Their Innovation Lab here in San Francisco is hiring engineers to help in that mission. Incredibly, thanks to their work, and in collaboration with worldwide enforcement agencies, they’ve brought down the amount of time it takes to rescue children from a period of years to a matter of days.

At our first meeting, I nearly broke down in tears.

Their lead engineer told me a story about a girl recently rescued in Europe. She was being pimped out by her father online. Through a variety of techniques including analyzing the listing’s text and the backgrounds of the associated explicit photos (and determining the hotel room they were taken in) and cross-referencing this data with their existing database, they were able to rescue the girl from her abuser — and also save her little sister, who was not yet old enough to be abused. …


Afik Cohen


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