Nerd Alert 126: Do Self-Driving Cars Dream of Analog Pedestrians?


RC: Why printers add secret tracking dots.

Julia: Stardust is a GPU-based data visualization library. These examples look pretty powerful.

Gabe: Jane Solomon used Python to analyze gun emoji pairings for all you linguist nerds. ?

Kay: Populace uses data from social media and other sources to display crowd densities - making it easier to find breaking stories. Read more about it here.

Ben: An update to the survey of newsroom boundary servers I ran a couple weeks back: only five found so far. If you know of any others, please add them to the list.

Inndy: I like the idea of cars talking to each other.


Office Hours today will feature our very own Kay Lima talking about the Google Search Console. Join us at 2 p.m. Eastern on Zoom:


B Cordelia Yu is a content and editorial strategist who is "totes available to join yer product and community teams."

The Personal Democracy Forum was last week and the speaker who excited me most was Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital minister, on stories from the future of democracy. She told us how civic hackers and journalists are using open data to educate about public policy and are building tools for inclusive participation to create the country’s laws†. The speaker before her, Colin Megill, talked about how they’re using machine learning to scale the process.

Normally I’m skeptical of folks touting tech as a solution to social complexity, but Taiwan’s civic hackers, journalists, scholars, and policymakers are coming together to create spaces for direct public participation in policymaking. Coming out of authoritarianism 30 years ago, their journos are sussing out what it means to be a free press in the time of the Internet—without our institutional baggage. So as I watch Taiwan, I wonder what it would mean to evolve our work from broadcasting truth to partnering with communities to discover truth and become bridges to speak to power.

† Is Taiwan a country? It’s complicated.

Be a guest contributor! Read more about that here and shoot us an email at if you're interested. We'd love to hear from you.


Tickets are now on sale for WordCamp for Publishers!

Investigative Reporters and Editors' annual conference is in Phoenix next week, and Julia will be there. Say hi!


A neon sign, red lettering "OPEN" surrounded by a light blue circle.

Last week, we linked to a security article on Source. This week, we get to link to the entire Security Week on Source. It’s got a guide to practical paranoia, an interview with the Director of Newsroom Security at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and a training guide for digital security in newsrooms. Give ‘em a read!


The Coral Project is hiring a Lead Engineer.

National Geographic is hiring a Director of Cartography.

WBEZ is looking for an Interactive Producer.

The Federal Elections Commission seeks an IT Specialist.

If you're looking for general jobs in nonprofit news, check out the main INN newsletter and sign up here to get it in your inbox every Tuesday. Two INN newsletters are better than one!


LISTEN: Beethoven’s Sonata No.29 in B-flat Major, "Hammerklavier" ?

READ: Oil's Pipeline to America's Schools: Inside the fossil-fuel industry’s not-so-subtle push into K-12 education from The Center for Public Integrity.

WATCH: A Ghibli double feature.

EAT: Merguez with herby yogurt.

DRINK: Plenty of water.

A large truck drives along a dirt track until it smashes into a large metal pipe. The bumper goes under the pipe, the hood goes over the pipe, the truck comes to a stop in a cloud of dust.

From 2014, a truck barrier test.
No robots were harmed.