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aries1988 : invention   14

被浪费的危机 - 火枪与账簿

中国无法在晚明主动完成现代化变迁,不是由于某种难以量化的民族性或文化传统,也不完全是因为地缘政治环境带来的竞争性压力不足,更根本的或许是因为这一变迁本身与中国社会之间存在着某种结构性冲突,从而使得围绕着新技术的活动要么未能转化为力量,要么是阻碍而非促进了国家力量的发挥。
book  critic  china  ming  technology  invention  innovation  why 
july 2018 by aries1988
Resilience and ingenuity – a Tajik teacher's hydroelectric station made from Soviet scraps | Aeon Videos
In doing so, the film is both a chronicle of his remarkable life and a robust reminder that genius is not confined to the places where it is most lavishly rewarded and popularly celebrated.
stans  life  soviet  history  engineer  village  electricity  invention  mind 
june 2018 by aries1988
The Left-Handed Kid
By the early 20th century, baihua, or ‘plain speech’, reformers were making arguments that recall Boulez’s line about having to set the Louvre on fire before civilisation can be freed.

Written speech is a negotiation between the visible and invisible worlds, whose governing idea is that what can’t take tangible form can’t exist.
book  china  chinese  invention  language 
march 2018 by aries1988
Why did we start farming?
What if the origin of farming wasn’t a moment of liberation but of entrapment? Scott offers an alternative to the conventional narrative that is altogether more fascinating, not least in the way it omits any self-congratulation about human achievement.

The perfectly formed city-state is the ideal, deeply ingrained in the Western psyche, on which our notion of the nation-state is founded, ultimately inspiring Donald Trump’s notion of a ‘city’ wall to keep out the barbarian Mexican horde, and Brexiters’ desire to ‘take back control’ from insurgent European bureaucrats.
CPR 都市帝国 宫崎市定

His account of the deep past doesn’t purport to be definitive, but it is surely more accurate than the one we’re used to, and it implicitly exposes the flaws in contemporary political ideas that ultimately rest on a narrative of human progress and on the ideal of the city/nation-state.

domesticated goats had begun to eat up the local vegetation – the first step to today’s barren landscape.

although farming would have significantly increased mortality rates in both infants and adults, sedentism would have increased fertility. Mobile hunter-gatherers were effectively limited by the demands of travel to having one child every four years. An increase in fertility that just about outpaced the increase in mortality would account for the slow, steady increase in population in the villages.

Collapse could mean nothing more than the abandonment of the centre and the redistribution of the population into independent settlements, to be followed by the next cycle of annexation.

According to Scott, the period of early states was the Golden Age for the barbarians.
book  agriculture  human  debate  evolution  question  civ  idea  invention  destiny  whatif  history  origin  state  read  instapaper_favs 
february 2018 by aries1988
In 1973, I invented a ‘girly drink’ called Baileys
We were, I suppose, unlikely business partners. Hugh Reade Seymour-Davies was a toff. He was a “gentleman copywriter”, educated at Eton and Oxford, and an unapologetic classicist. He could quote all the Latin and Greek greats with real facility and would “get some Latin in” to documents or labels when I felt we needed to impress some of our more intellectual clients. He was steeped in Shakespeare, admired Beethoven and Mozart certainly, but anything written, composed or painted after about 1830 fell into the category of mid-19th century arrivistes.

We went back to the store, searching the shelves for something else, found our salvation in Cadbury’s Powdered Drinking Chocolate and added it to our formula. Hugh and I were taken by surprise. It tasted really good. Not only this, but the cream seemed to have the effect of making the drink taste stronger, like full-strength spirit. It was extraordinary.
history  business  irish  story  invention  idea 
october 2017 by aries1988
Are We Ready for Intimacy with Robots?

Hiroshi Ishi­guro builds robots. Beautiful, realistic, uncannily convincing human replicas. His quest? Untangle the ineffable nature of human connection.

in Japan: the Advanced Telecommuni­cations Research Institute International in Nara and the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory on the campus of Osaka University.

Hiroshi Ishi­guro

the capacity to imbue such a machine with humanness—that ineffable presence the Japanese call sonzai-kan.

Ishi­guro believes that since we’re hardwired to interact with and place our faith in humans, the more humanlike we can make a robot appear, the more open we’ll be to sharing our lives with it.

He is convinced that human emotions, whether empathy or romantic love, are nothing more than responses to stimuli, subject to manipulation. Through the fluid interplay of its pneumatic joints, the arch of its mechanical brow, the tilt of its plastic skull, the many subtle movements achieved through years of research studying the human template, the android becomes more able to span that gap, to form a perfectly engineered bond with us. An elaborate metaphysical trick, perhaps—but what does that matter, if it fills a need? If it feels real?

Designed with the physical proportions that its human owner prefers, the preferred voice timbre and eye color and personality type, and the ability to recall and riff on its owner’s personal stories and little jokes, android will captivate human.

someone would be left alone in their advanced age to relive the joy of having a child through the cradling of a robot with stunted limbs.

The countless ways in which we judge someone based on their appearance all evaporate in the face of this neutral appearance, as Hiroshi calls the Telenoid’s blank, abstract body. And what is left in its place is that ineffable thing he has been trying to define: a distinctly human presence, free of the uncanny. It is an outsider, like its maker—but one who manages to trigger our affection. While holding the android, it hardly matters that this humanness is emitting from something that barely resembles a human at all.
human  body  android  idea  research  thinking  history  japan  japanese  reportage  interview  invention  story  emotion  office  journalism 
october 2017 by aries1988
How ‘white people’ were invented by a playwright in 1613 | Aeon Ideas

By this criterion, Caliban is part of the prehistory of ‘how the Irish became white’, as the historian Noel Ignatiev put it in 1995. None of this is to say that Caliban is actually any of these particular identities, nor that the Dark Lady should literally be identified as belonging to any specific group either, rather that both examples provide a window on the earliest period when our current racial categorisations began to take shape, while still being divergent enough from how our racialised system would ultimately develop.

there are compelling reasons to think that many in a Jacobean audience would rather understand Caliban as being more akin to the first targets of English colonialism, the Irish.

Middleton’s play indicates the coalescing of another racial pole in contrast to blackness, and that’s whiteness – but which groups belonged to which pole was often in flux.
history  ethnic  race  invention  mentality  theater  human  identity  racism 
october 2017 by aries1988
What we get wrong about technology
Instead, when we try to imagine the future, the past offers two lessons. First, the most influential new technologies are often humble and cheap. Mere affordability often counts for more than the beguiling complexity of an organic robot such as Rachael. Second, new inventions do not appear in isolation, as Rachael and her fellow androids did. Instead, as we struggle to use them to their best advantage, they profoundly reshape the societies around us.

Paper had been invented 1,500 years earlier in China and long used in the Arabic world, where literacy was common. Yet it had taken centuries to spread to Christian Europe, because illiterate Europe no more needed a cheap writing surface than it needed a cheap metal to make crowns and sceptres.

Paper caught on only when a commercial class started to need an everyday writing surface for contracts and accounts. “If 11th-century Europe had little use for paper,” writes Mark Kurlansky in his book Paper, “13th-century Europe was hungry for it.”

The American west was reshaped by the invention of barbed wire, which was marketed by the great salesman John Warne Gates with the slogan: “Lighter than air, stronger than whiskey, cheaper than dust.”

the simple invention prevented free-roaming bison and cowboys’ herds of cattle from trampling crops.

this plunge has been driven less by any great technological breakthrough than by the humble methods familiar to anyone who shops at Ikea: simple modular products that have been manufactured at scale and that snap together quickly on site.
invention  technology  productivity  industry  history  future  creativity 
july 2017 by aries1988
Generating naming languages

First off, the majority of words in Mandarin have two syllables. This gives it a very clear rhythmic quality. Secondly, the syllable structure is pretty much constant. Each syllable consists of a single consonant, a vowel or two, and then optionally either /n/ or /ŋ/ (written ng). So 'shan' is a valid Mandarin syllable, but 'stan' and 'nash' are not.

In real languages, words are built out of units called 'morphemes', which are the smallest units of language which still carry meaning. Some words are single morphemes (e.g. 'happy', 'sad', 'platypus'), and some can be divided up into smaller units (e.g. 'un-help-ful', 'rest-less', 're-consider-s'). The relationship between syllables and morphemes, both of which combine to form words, is hazy at best.

Fortunately, we're making up our language, so we can make it as simple as we like. One syllable equals one morpheme.
game  language  invention  howto  comparison  primer  python  map  algorithm 
january 2017 by aries1988
Marconi forged today's interconnected world of communication | New Scientist
He may not have had Einstein's orginality, but Marconi pioneered the modern communication systems that led to cellphones and the internet

After Marconi’s death, Franklin wrote of his boss with a mixture of respect and criticism: “His scientific knowledge was weak, his engineering knowledge was weak, but he had a damned lot of intuition and common sense. He may have initiated the beam system but he didn’t know a thing about it.”
book  leader  communication  italia  engineering  radio  invention 
august 2016 by aries1988
Obituary: Artur Fischer, German inventor - FT.com
Artur Fischer, who has died aged 96, was the German inventor of the camera flash bulb, the plastic wall plug and the Fischertechnik construction toys that inspired generations of engineers. Fischer secured 1,100 patents in his long life, a score
engineering  invention  deutsch  toy  buy  children 
february 2016 by aries1988
How to Cultivate the Art of Serendipity
A surprising number of the conveniences of modern life were invented when someone stumbled upon a discovery or capitalized on an accident: the microwave oven, safety glass, smoke detectors, artificial sweeteners, X-ray imaging. Many blockbuster drugs of the 20th century emerged because a lab worker picked up on the “wrong” information.

While researching breakthroughs like these, I began to wonder whether we can train ourselves to become more serendipitous. How do we cultivate the art of finding what we’re not seeking?

Most interesting were the “super-encounterers,” who reported that happy surprises popped up wherever they looked. The super-encounterers loved to spend an afternoon hunting through, say, a Victorian journal on cattle breeding, in part, because they counted on finding treasures in the oddest places. In fact, they were so addicted to prospecting that they would find information for friends and colleagues.

That’s why we need to develop a new, interdisciplinary field — call it serendipity studies — that can help us create a taxonomy of discoveries in the chemistry lab, the newsroom, the forest, the classroom, the particle accelerator and the hospital. By observing and documenting the many different “species” of super-encounterers, we might begin to understand their minds.
discovery  invention  serendipity 
january 2016 by aries1988
Le Nobel de chimie récompense l’invention de « nanoscopes »
Alors qu'un microscope classique voit des cellules ou des bactéries, les nouvelles techniques développées par les lauréats depuis le milieu des années 1990 permettent de voir des virus, des protéines, les pelotes d'ADN, la dynamique de la machinerie moléculaire au cœur des cellules… Pour marquer la transition, certains parlent désormais de " nanoscopie ". D'autres techniques avaient précédemment atteint de telles précisions mais seulement sur des surfaces et non dans des environnements biologiques.
science  future  invention  today  biology 
october 2014 by aries1988

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