Porn Companies are Better at Moderation than Facebook

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Publicly Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services state that they cannot control what is posted and moderate it fast enough to make a difference. They argue that the technical solutions are inefficient and almost impossible. However, companies that distribute user generated adult content have effective measures to moderation to the point that they can take pride in their law-abiding. They have technical solutions and other moderation systems in place to ensure that illicit content doesn’t get posted to their sites.

Hopefully this serves as a demonstration that we can change how large social media companies distribute user generated content.

Take the difference in how Silicon Valley and Porn Valley handle user-generated content, for instance. On mainstream social media sites, instant posting is viewed as the norm — whether you’re posting a link to a New York Times piece, a personal update, or a racist invective, your thoughts will appear on the site as soon as you share them. Although some links and words do trigger a basic moderation algorithm that prevents the update from being posted, most moderation is done post hoc, often after problematic content is reported by users.

Aggressive content moderation isn’t the only way that xHamster controls what lands on the site. As the terms of service makes clear, chats between users are also periodically monitored to ensure that they’re in compliance with the site’s policies. That may seem extreme, but there’s a good reason: sites like xHamster literally cannot afford to have content that violates their policies appear on their platforms, even momentarily. The penalties imposed by the government, billing agents, and banks — which can include punishments ranging from being banned from processing user payments to being thrown in prison for years — mean that even the slightest slip up could put a porn company permanently out of business, or worse.

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Be Mundane this Halloween

Today is halloween and, if you’re like many others, you still need to create a costume. Thankfully there’s a Japanese costume trend that is a perfect solution to let you create a fun and entertaining last minute costume. The trend is called jimi halloween (地味ハロウィン), or “mundane Halloween”. It’s a nice concept that explores moments in everyday life that people can relate to.

In 2014, a subculture emerged in Japan called jimi halloween (地味ハロウィン), or “mundane Halloween.” It was started by a group of adults at Daily Portal Z who “kind of wanted to participate in the festivities of Halloween, but were too embarrassed to go all out in witch or zombie costumes.” So instead of the flashy and flamboyant costumes they had been seeing gain popularity in Japan, they decided to dress up in mundane, everyday costumes. The type of costumes that you have to explain to people and then they say, ooooh I get it.

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Cli-Fi is the new Sci-Fi

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If you want to understand current anxieties about the future then all you need to do is turn to science-fiction, and historically this has been true. Sci-Fi isn’t a way to predict the future but it is a way to understand what we think about the current state of humanity. Unsurprisingly, there is so much stress about the climate crisis that enough writers have created a new subgenre called climate fiction. Cli-Fi captures the anxiety we’re collectively experiencing about the environment while also being a useful teaching tool.

Atwood has become a major figure across the cli-fi literary universe. She not only helped the term catch on when she tweeted it in 2012, but her 2013 novel MaddAddam has been a popular teaching tool which largely summarizes the need for the genre in the first place. The book tells the story of a group of environmentalists, known as the gardeners, who rebuild the world after a global pandemic. The novel shows how fragile our global systems are. “People need such stories, because however dark, a darkness with voices in it is better than a silent void,” Atwood writes. The book was part of the curriculum for a course on cli-fi at Brandeis University in 2015.

Another notable book in the genre is Omar El-Akkad’s The American War. The book was listed as required reading in a 2018 freshman-level course entitled “Narrating Climate Change” at New York University. The 2017 novel is set in America’s second civil war when southern states defy a law that outlaws the use of fossil fuels. The book is told through the lens of Sarat Chestnutt, who is from Louisiana and is displaced by the rising waters of the Mississippi River. El-Akkad shows the life of an American climate refugee.

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Heavy Meat Eaters Eat Veggies When Given the Choice

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The meat industry is one of the leading drivers of the recent spat of fires in Brazil, and globally the meat industry is a major factor in the climate crisis. If we’re going to avert catastrophe we’re going to need people to change their diets in one simple way: cutting out meat. If people don’t want to cut out meat entirely, that’s ok, as long as they reduce their meat consumption. As a society we can reduce everyone’s meat consumption very easily by just providing meatless meals in cafeterias.

Emma Garnett and her colleagues at the University of Cambridge, UK, collected data on more than 94,000 meals sold in 3 of the cafeterias at the university in 2017. When the proportion of meatless options doubled from one to two of four choices, overall sales remained about constant. But sales of meat-containing meals dropped, and sales of vegetarian meals, such as “wild mushroom, roasted butternut squash and sun blushed tomato risotto with parmesan”, rose 40–80%.

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Go Ahead and Make Your Kids Work

Raising kids is hard, raising them to be above-average productive members of society is even harder. Indeed, one of those hard things about raising kids is hearing endless advice on how to raise kids “right”; so don’t listen to everyone and their ideas. Instead, listen to the science and collective wisdom of really smart people. It turns out that making kids do chores is a good way to help kids be better adults as it engrains in them a mentality of helping and “pitching-in” when needed.

In the Harvard Grant Study, the longest running longitudinal study in history, (spanning 75 years and counting–from 1938 to the present), researchers identified two things that people need in order to be happy and successful:

The first? Love.

The second? Work ethic.

And what’s the best way to develop work ethic in young people? Based on the experiences of the 724 high-achievers who were part of the study (including people like future-President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, the Watergate-era editor of The Washington Post) there’s a consensus.

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Thanks to Liz!

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