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Naked Data
Issue #267 || Dewey Suem and Howe Edition || 2021-11-29
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Dictators, fraudsters, and politicians take note: A great way to fight the free press and stop those annoying journalists from cutting into your profits is to simply sue them. The shocking news that the court case against Rappler’s Maria Ressa in the Philippines was found guilty of libel has sent chilling reverberations around the world. Much closer to home, a “lawfare” attack on independent publication GroundUp and Raymond Joseph facing frivolous cases that, while they have little chance of success, bog the journalists and publishers down, and of course cost a lot of money. If you can, please support GroundUp here, Rappler here, or your favourite local independent news publisher.(JNY)

# Don't Miss

Fighting fakes on the India/China border, from above

Remember when two nuclear powers led by twitchy ultra-nationalists at the brink of war used to be an epoch defining moment that would dominate world politics for decades? Ah, the good old days before Coronavirus we guess. Nevertheless, there’s still good call to be nervous about what’s happening on the border between India and China since around 60 soldiers died in a face-off a couple of weeks ago in the Galwan Valley, fought with batons and rocks, as firearms and explosives are banned in the area. Journos at Al-Jazeera take a look at satellite images of troop build-ups ahead of that clash, and Reuters has discovered a great deal of activity in the valley before the clash, which you can explore here. The BBC’s version also includes a slider. Meanwhile, the Beeb also has a list of misinformation that originates from social media, news media and state media in the region. Eep. (AO and JNY)

Six ways to classify Coronavirus

How are different countries coping with the lifting of lockdown regulations? The Guardian has an interesting take on it, cross-referencing daily infections with restriction rates in the 45 countries with more than 25 000 cases. It’s come up with six ways to categorise progress, from Relaxing and Rising (US, Ukraine, Iran) to Reising Despite Lockdown (Bolivia, Kuwait and China). The group of Relaxing and Recovering is depressingly small. (AO)

Can I speak to your manager?

Let’s take some pressure off the Karens in the world, and spread the memes to similar names, like Kathy, Deborah, and Cheryl. The Pudding finds names that have had that spike that put Karens in a very particular space and time, giving them that memeability. (No accounting for Karen hair, though.) It also hunts out Karens of the future, and apparently I’ll be Karen in 20 years time. (JNY)
Read it now…

# Happenings

Growing AfricaR communities

In hindsight, February may not have been the best time to launch a network of Meetup groups dedicated to R programming across Southern Africa. Kudos to Forwards, the R Foundation taskforce for underrepresented groups, for doing it anyway. Chair of Forwards Dr Heather Turner has much to say about the successes and struggles so far, from SatRday workshops in Kampala and R-Ladies, to the inevitable charting of coronavirus. Read her words here. (AO)

# Finally

Miniaturised quantum entanglement on a cubesat in space

It’s either the title of a next James Bond film or a remarkable piece of physics designed by a group of scientists from Singapore, the UK and Australia. Good news – it’s the latter. This paper in Optica describes the process of throwing a tiny 2.5kg cubesat out of the International Space Station, and then using it to demonstrate quantum entanglement between particles on Earth and in orbit. Remarkable, and – the researchers speculate – possibly the future of encryption via quantum key distribution. (AO)

Who the hell is Jason Norwood-Young?

Journalist, developer, community builder, newsletter creator and international man of mystery, Jason was one of the first South Africans to really grasp the importance of data in the newsroom and has remained one step ahead of the trends in the field all the way. Even Naked Data was conceived before email newsletters were cool again. But what does that tell you about the measure of the man? Nothing, that's what. He hides the superman CV behind a truly mild-mannered and overly modest persona and is best described as "one of the nicest guys in the business". When he's angry, it is righteously so, and his anger always wears velvet mittens. The true signs of his genius include the ability to create multilingual puns on demand (witness the alternative Naked Data strap "Putting the heita in to data") and the fact that he offered me a job. (AO)

Who the hell is Adam Oxford?

Adam combines the best features of his Britishness — polite, sincere, witty, and pasty-white — with the best of South Africanness — enthusiastic, involved, socially conscious, underpaid and overly committed. He wears an incredible amount of hats , including the driving force behind Hacks/Hackers Jo’burg; an "innovation agent" with access-to-justice accelerator HiiL; an editor; a technology journalist; a data journalist; and a budding machine learning and AI expert. His latest gig with Naked Data is a natural progression for a gent that brings a sense of excited purpose to all of his myriad projects. (JNY)

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