Vegard Skjefstad

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Why Deepfake Technology Must Be Banned

On Friday, Samsung revealed that they are now able to create deepfake videos from a single photo. With that came another good reason why the technology must be banned.

Imagining seeing a politician in a viral video saying something absolutely outrageous. In today’s political landscape that shouldn’t be too hard. But in this case, it’s totally out of character for this particular opposition politician. What they are saying is incriminating, morally reprehensible, and an obvious political suicide. What the hell!? You can’t vote for this person now!

The problem with the viral video is that it isn’t real. Even though it looks authentic, it’s a fake video. It’s created by the current political leader’s campaign office, doctored to quickly spread false rumors about the opposition. And it works. They fall like a rock in the polls. Even if the video is later debunked as fake, the damage is irreversible. The video continues to spread like wildfire across the internet. It’s not only popular on niche political sites, but on main stream social media sites as well. And even if they know the video is fake, the main stream sites refuse to remove it.

If you think that this is a thing of a dystopian alternate future, I’m sorry to report that this is the present.

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The Rebirth of Webrings

Will the rebirth of webrings save your personal website from the corporate web?

Back in the 1990s social media was still a distant nightmare. If you wanted people to know about your personal website, you couldn’t just tweet about it to your loyal Twitter followers, or post to Facebook. Instead, you had to manually add your website to search engines like Yahoo! and Lycos, use a ping service, try to get on to someone’s blogroll1, or join a webring.

A webring is – or rather was – a collection of websites linked together in a circular fashion. If you joined a webring, you had to add the ring’s navigation bar to your site, and the bar contained links to the previous and next site in the ring. Most webrings were organized around a specific theme, like personal websites, comics, and movies.

The webrings were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, but as search engines became better at indexing the world wide web, and the social media beast awakened, webrings became obsolete. One of the main webrings sites was WebRing.com, which, through various acquisitions, landed in Yahoo!’s lap in 1999. Unfortunately, their attempt to streamline the site ended in a veritable dumpster fire, and Yahoo! stopped supporting WebRing.com in April of 2001.

Since then, the webring concept has been pretty much dead in the water. A few webring sites, like WebRing.org and RingSurf, are still online, but most their webrings contain sites that went offline a long time ago.

Perhaps the ongoing rebirth of the personal website also means the rebirth of webrings?

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Norlan Presents: The Vawe Highball Glass

The geniuses at Norlan take another profound stab at redefining the whisky drinking experience with the Vawe highball glass.

If you’re a regular reader of this fine site, you’re familiar with Norlan by now. I first mentioned the brand when their massively successful whisky glass Kickstarter took off back in 2015. The Norlan whiskey glass combined design, science and ritual for the perfect whisky drinking experience.

The glasses were my go-to whiskey glasses until Norlan revealed the Rauk heavy tumbler late last year. The tumbler looks simply amazing, and at 575 grams (~1.26 lb) of glass and leaded crystal, the Rauk feels like you’re drinking whiskey from a solid rock.

Now Norlan has introduced a new member of the Norlan family of whisky glasses: The Vawe highball glass.

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The Oil Fund: How Norway’s Dirty Money Should be Used

Let me tell you how Norway should use it’s big pile of dirty Oil Fund money.

Norway was traditionally a land of farmers, fishermen, loggers, and miners. Our industry was mostly based on processing these natural resources, and towards the end of the 1960’s Norway’s GDP was comparable to that of Greece.

Today, Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world per capita. We also score consistently well in the World Happiness Report, and in general, Norwegians live a carefree, good life.

There are many reasons this change happened. First and foremost, Norway is located in a relatively quiet and stable part of the world. The population of Northern Europe is for the most part of the same ethnicity. We’re also on the same frequency in terms of political and religious views. The wealth is relatively evenly spread among the population, and our part of the globe is usually spared of the most devastating natural disasters. Without armed conflicts fueled by ethnic violence or religious nonsense, and without the need to rebuild the country every time it’s ruined by a natural disaster, we’ve been able to focus is economic growth.

In 1969, Norway got a major boost on it’s way to the top of the prosperity food chain. The Ekofisk oil field was discovered in the North Sea, and Norway joined an exclusive club of oil producers. The country went from an economy mainly based on processing renewable resources, to one exploiting non-renewable oil and gas resources. I’m not saying Norway wouldn’t have been were we are today without the Ekofisk discovery. Our Scandinavian neighbors are proof of that. Sweden, Denmark, and Finland all have a generally happy population, and a high GDP.

But the black gold sure helped.

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Early Access: UNDER The SAND

UNDER the SAND takes you on a beautiful, low-poly, 1980’s post-apocalyptic desert road trip in search of the sea.

I usually don’t throw myself at Steam Early Access titles. While many turn into finished games, there are piles of examples of titles that never made it out of Early Access. For various reasons, the developers abandon their half-finished projects, leaving the players – who paid for the game – behind.

But with IndieMaxUNDER the SAND, I’ve made an exception, and shelled out for an Early Access title. Global warming has turned the whole world into an endless desert. In the post-apocalyptic, alternative 1980’s world, you set out on a road trip. The goal is to fulfill the last request of your late father: To find the sea. The developer describe UNDER the SAND as a “post-apocalyptic road trip game, look like Jalopy and Overland“.

The game is in an early stage of development, with an estimated 3 to 5 months left before it will leave Early Access. But UNDER the SAND is already very much playable. You have access to a car, a garage, and the first map areas. On your trip through the desert, your car will deteriorate, and you’ll have to find parts by scavenging roadside car wrecks, and searching through abandoned buildings. The items you find can be used to keep your car running, or sold at saloons along the road.

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