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Machines are not our masters – but the sinister side of AI demands a smart response
Perhaps OpenAI’s “reluctance” was in part a public-relations stunt – the publicity-hungry, hi-tech billionaire Elon Musk is one of its backers, after all. But there is plainly an issue. Like so much artificial intelligence, GPT2 opens up wonderful new horizons and equally dark pits.
16 hours ago
Microsoft Excel's Hall of Tortured Souls / Boing Boing
A remarkable easter egg from the Windows 95 era, fully anticipating what became of the world's most beautiful operating system.
excel  microsoft  video 
What would happen if Facebook were turned off?
Those booted off enjoyed an additional hour of free time on average. They tended not to redistribute their liberated minutes to other websites and social networks, but chose instead to watch more television and spend time with friends and family. They consumed much less news, and were thus less aware of events but also less polarised in their views about them than those still on the network. Leaving Facebook boosted self-reported happiness and reduced feelings of depression and anxiety.
facebook  socialmedia 
Touch had its own language, and the rules were the opposite of the ones I knew at home. Beijing’s streets were scenes of countless gestures of touch. If people bumped or rubbed arms as they passed in the street there was no need for an apology, not even a flinch. Strangers would lean their whole body weight against one another in a queue. Everyone seemed to have a certain kind of access to anyone else’s body.
china  touch  culture 
Bonsai growers think of trees as their children for good reason
The love expressed by these cultivators who have lost their bonsai reflects the unique place of these trees in horticultural history and the care the practice demands. Growers don’t just plant a tree in a pot and hope for the best. “Bonsai are a long-term commitment… and most take at least a decade to create,” Julian Velasco, the former curator of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s bonsai collection told the AP in 2014. “Some can hardly go a day without some kind of care.”
bonsai  environment 
2 days ago
Michael Wolf photographs the architecture of density
The structural urban fabric of the city of Hong Kong is one of the most astonishingly condensed, populated and vertical in the world, propelling its edifices soaring into the sky to contend with the lack of lateral space. German photographer Michael Wolf — and current resident of the Chinese metropolis — has captured a series of images that acutely acknowledge the landscape’s overwhelming concentration of soaring buildings and skyscrapers. ‘Architecture of Density’ is a collection of large scale works, which focuses on repetition of pattern and form to cause an infinitely complex visual reaction and rediscovers the city scenes by highlighting its forest-like expanse of high rises.
china  photography  hongkong 
2 days ago
The Block Tower
For years I have seen pictures of these public housing/apartment tower blocks being built and knew that they were something I wanted to see and document for myself. Rather than just creating stills from these, I went with the goal of taking abstract videos and displaying them more like art, showing off their true scale.
china  hongkong  architecture  buildings  photography 
2 days ago
Climate strike: Schoolchildren protest over climate change
Students around the country walked out of school to call on the government to declare a climate emergency and take active steps to tackle the problem. "Save our planet" was the message chanted by thousands of people gathered in Parliament Square in London. Organisers Youth Strike 4 Climate said protests were taking place in more than 60 towns and cities across the UK.
environment  children  school  politics 
2 days ago
'The beginning of great change': Greta Thunberg hails school climate strikes
Greta Thunberg is hopeful the student climate strike on Friday can bring about positive change, as young people in more and more countries join the protest movement she started last summer as a lone campaigner outside the Swedish parliament. The 16-year-old welcomed the huge mobilisation planned in the UK, which follows demonstrations by tens of thousands of school and university students in Australia, Belgium, Germany, the United States, Japan and more than a dozen other countries.
environment  children  school  politics 
3 days ago
Five rare and awe-inspiring mountain and river maps
The grandest comparative map of them all has to be the Andriveau & Goujon Comparative Mountains and Rivers Chart. This is where comparative mapping reaches its zenith. On one gigantic sheet, Andriveau & Goujon not only compare and contrast the heights of mountains and the lengths of rivers, but also add a table of waterfalls, show volcanic activity, levels of plant growth and tree lines, and add select cities and European buildings.
maps  history  geography 
3 days ago
The right way to parallel park, step-by-step
The key is to remember that parallel parking is a repeatable thing, it doesn't require judgement, it doesn't require experience, it just requires that you have a space large enough for your vehicle and you repeat the same process over and over again with as little variation as possible.
transport  lifehacks 
3 days ago
NASA's record-setting Opportunity Rover mission on Mars comes to end
Designed to last just 90 Martian days and travel 1,100 yards (1,000 meters), Opportunity vastly surpassed all expectations in its endurance, scientific value and longevity. In addition to exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, the rover traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars – Perseverance Valley.
mars  nasa  space  science 
3 days ago
A dust storm has killed NASA’s longest-lived Mars rover
In 2005, Opportunity overcame a sand trap and the loss of one wheel to arrive at the Victoria crater, a 2,400-foot hole that it explored for two years, finding features at its bottom again shaped by ancient water. It next explored the Endeavor crater, 13 miles away, starting in 2011. Most recently it had traversed a narrow valley leading down into the larger Endurance crater.
space  science  nasa  mars 
3 days ago
Odyssey of the Ear on Vimeo
Go on an epic journey with a trio of musicians into the depths of the human auditory system. A wild tale filled with beasts and storms and strange faceless dancing humans armed with larger-than-life ossicles.
video  science 
3 days ago
Let there be light switches - from dark living rooms to dark ecology
It means the resilient light switch, like the door handle, reveals the accumulated touch of all those gone before, a patina of presence. Juhani Pallasmaa said that the doorhandle is the handshake of the building; is the light switch the equivalent for the room?
design  light 
3 days ago
Chris Mullin · Diary: The Birmingham Bombers
On the evening of 21 November 1974, bombs planted by the IRA in two crowded Birmingham pubs, the Tavern in the Town and the Mulberry Bush, exploded, killing 21 people and injuring at least 170. Many of the injuries were life-changing. None of those responsible has been brought to justice.

This month, almost 45 years later, an inquest opens into the deaths. The inquest has been forced on the authorities by the persistence of a small group of bereaved relatives who want to know who made the bombs and who planted them. The coroner has resisted this demand, arguing that it is not the job of an inquest to identify perpetrators. The relatives challenged his decision in the courts: the police, they say, know the names of those responsible and should be obliged to disclose them. The police respond that, although they have their suspicions, they have insufficient evidence to charge anyone. The lower court refused to order the coroner to address the issue, but did conclude that he hadn’t properly considered the matter and referred it back to him. The coroner stuck to his original decision. The relatives then took their case to the appeal court, which found for the coroner. There the matter rests.

I know the names of the bombers.
ireland  journalism 
3 days ago
xkcd: Opportunity Rover
Thanks for bringing us along.
comics  science  space  nasa  mars 
4 days ago
Nasa confirms Mars rover Opportunity is dead
“We had expected that dust falling out of the air would accumulate on the solar rays and eventually choke off power,” Callas said. “What we didn’t expect was that wind would come along periodically and blow the dust off the arrays. It allowed us to survive not just the first winter, but all the winters we experienced on Mars.”
science  space  nasa  mars 
4 days ago
Reading in the age of constant distraction
“I read books to read myself,” Sven Birkerts wrote in The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Birkerts’s book, which turns twenty-five this year, is composed of fifteen essays on reading, the self, the convergence of the two, and the ways both are threatened by the encroachment of modern technology. As the culture around him underwent the sea change of the internet’s arrival, Birkerts feared that qualities long safeguarded and elevated by print were in danger of erosion: among them privacy, the valuation of individual consciousness, and an awareness of history—not merely the facts of it, but a sense of its continuity, of our place among the centuries and cosmos.
books  reading  bookreviews 
4 days ago
The appropriately weird history behind the iconic Talking Heads song ‘Once In a Lifetime’
Music vlogger Polyphonic recounts the its appropriately weird history, noting that the whole series of misheard basslines, measure counts and unusual tempo is responsible for one of the most iconic songs of all time.
music  video  brianeno  talkingheads 
4 days ago
Stunning drone footage of the colorful geometric block towers rising up above Kowloon, Hong Kong
For years I have seen pictures of these public housing/apartment tower blocks being built and knew that they were something I wanted to see and document for myself. Rather than just creating stills from these, I went with the goal of taking abstract videos and displaying them more like art, showing off their true scale.
architecture  china  buildings  hongkong  photography 
4 days ago
A pair of psychiatrists try to out analyze each other in a hilarious 1990 clip from ‘A Bit of Fry and Laurie’
In a hilarious clip from a 1990 episode of the classic British sketch comedy series A Bit of Fry & Laurie, a couple of men sitting in a medical exam room (Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie) emulously try to out analyze each other as they each try to assert themselves as being the only psychiatrist in the room. At the end of this appointment, the identity of the real doctor becomes clear.
video  comedy  humour 
4 days ago
Confessions of a letterhead collector
The design of blogs owes much to the letterhead (and, perhaps more obviously, to the newspaper masthead). Blog posts are, after all, public letters “to whom it may concern”
design  paper 
4 days ago
Fan Ho’s street photography of 50s & 60s Hong Kong
Dubbed the “Cartier-Bresson of the East”, Fan Ho patiently waited for ‘the decisive moment’; very often a collision of the unexpected, framed against a very clever composed background of geometrical construction, patterns and texture. He often created drama and atmosphere with backlit effects or through the combination of smoke and light. His favorite locations were the streets, alleys and markets around dusk or life on the sea.
photography  hongkong  china 
4 days ago
String of Pearls posters & prints by Anonymous
An illustration from The String of Pearls, where Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, made his first appearance. The illustration shows the murder of the usurer. C.140.d.6 page 225
art  posters  books 
4 days ago
London: A Pilgrimage posters & prints by Gustave Dore
A dramatic illustration of London rooftops and tenements at night, from William Blanchard's London: A Pilgrimage (1872) which inspired James Thomson's poem 'City of Dreadful Night'.
posters  art  london 
4 days ago
Why the attack on our cameraman was no surprise
President Trump interrupted his speech and checked that Ron was OK. But there was no condemnation. No statement that this was unacceptable. The Trump campaign issued a two-line statement on the incident, but equally did not condemn what happened. What conclusion should we draw from that? What message does it send to people who feel hostile towards the media?
bbc  media  news  politics  trump 
4 days ago
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov, Newsweek, Jan. 21, 1980
culture  society  politics 
4 days ago
To do list, by Brian Bilston
1. Delay with an urgent hesitation.
2. Be unwavering in vacillation.
3. Embrace the art of equivocation.
4. Read a book on procrastination.
poetry  productivity 
4 days ago
Life on the small screen: What children are watching and why - A report for Ofcom (pdf)
What role does live TV play in children’s lives?
Key findings:
Most children viewed live TV as a family ritual, often watching programmes routinely every year (e.g. Strictly Come Dancing, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!)
• Parents welcomed live TV as an opportunity for “family time”, and were often actively encouraging their children to join them for communal TV watching
• Children were often using live TV as ’background noise’ while doing another task or to fill time while they were waiting for something
• Most live TV viewing was on a communal screen or device and therefore usually it was a compromised choice between those watching (e.g. parents and siblings)


The children loved being able to find whatever they wanted, whenever they liked. As YouTube responds to demand, it can offer a seemingly limitless choice of content. YouTube offers everything they could possibly want, and then allows them to easily access more of what they like the most. [...]

Live TV is explicitly thought of by the children and their parents as an opportunity for “family time”, when they all sit down to watch something together. However, the children tended to feel that they weren’t choosing the content themselves, or it was a compromised choice. At other times children put live TV on for a few minutes as a ‘time filler’ while they were waiting for something or had a few minutes to spare. Overall, children seem most attracted to content that they can view on their own device, over which they can exercise maximum choice, and which directly feeds the things that interest them.
children  parenting  technology  television 
4 days ago
Life on the small screen: What children are watching and why
The evidence gives a sense of what attracts them to online video rather than traditional TV – and just how much has changed in the course of a generation.
children  television  parenting  technology 
4 days ago
Tate Modern wins privacy case brought by owners of £4m flats
The judge accepted that there were “a significant number of people who demonstrate a visual interest in the interiors of the flats … Some look, some peer, some photograph, some wave. The occasions of obscene gestures are probably very rare.”

But he ruled that residents had created their own sensitivity by buying flats with floor to ceiling windows in the first place. He said the flats were “impressive” but the advantages of extensive glassed views “in effect comes at a price in terms of privacy”.

In his ruling the judge also said visitors can see into areas of the flats known as “winter gardens”, which were conceived by developers as “sort of indoor balconies” and not part of the living accommodation.

Residents use the area as living accommodation and so had created their own additional sensitivity to internal gaze.

“They have moved more of their living activities into a quasi-balcony area and provided more to look at. Had they not done that, there would have been less worth looking at – less to attract the eye – and fewer living activities to be intruded upon.”
art  architecture  london  privacy 
4 days ago
Guillermo del Toro: The most radical and rebellious choice you can make is to be optimistic
History and fable have both proven that nothing is ever entirely lost. David can take Goliath. A beach in Normandy can turn the tide of war. Bravery can topple the powerful. These facts are often seen as exceptional, but they are not. Every day, we all become the balance of our choices—choices between love and fear, belief or despair. No hope is ever too small. [...]

The American writer Theodore Sturgeon once said: ”Ninety percent of everything is crap” and I believe he was right. But surely that also means that “Ten percent of everything is worth the damn effort.”
culture  politics  society 
5 days ago
May you live in interesting times
Fred R. Shapiro who is the editor of “The Yale Book of Quotations” has noted that: “No authentic Chinese saying to this effect has ever been found”. 1 In addition, Ralph Keyes stated in “The Quote Verifier” that nobody has ever been able to confirm the Chinese origin claim. 2

The earliest strong match known to QI appeared in a March 1936 newspaper report in “The Yorkshire Post” of West Yorkshire, England. The expression was used in a speech by an influential British statesman.
china  leeds  yorkshire  quote 
5 days ago
Chinese blacklist an early glimpse of sweeping new social-credit control
What it meant for Mr. Liu is that when he tried to buy a plane ticket, the booking system refused his purchase, saying he was "not qualified." Other restrictions soon became apparent: He has been barred from buying property, taking out a loan or travelling on the country's top-tier trains.

"There was no file, no police warrant, no official advance notification. They just cut me off from the things I was once entitled to," he said. "What's really scary is there's nothing you can do about it. You can report to no one. You are stuck in the middle of nowhere."
china  politics  surveillance 
5 days ago
In China, facial recognition tech is watching you
More than 40 municipal police forces, known locally as Public Security Bureaus, have purchased surveillance systems from SenseTime. The company says its tech has helped Guangzhou police identify more than 2,000 suspects, arrest more than 800 people, and solve close to 100 cases since it was deployed in the city last year.

Megvii, meanwhile, supports the state’s nationwide surveillance program, which China, with troubling inferences, calls Skynet. Launched in 2005, Skynet aims to create a nationwide panopticon by blanketing the country with CCTV. Thanks to Face++, it now incorporates millions of A.I.-enhanced cameras that have been used to apprehend some 2,000 suspects since 2016, according to a Workers’ Daily report.
china  surveillance  society  privacy 
5 days ago
Leeds Live: Roads closed near Quarry Hill after man falls from footbridge over A64 - latest updates
A spokesman said: "At 10:14am today police were contacted by the ambulance service who were attending an incident where a man had fallen from a footbridge over the A64 near to Quarry House, Leeds.
leeds  transport 
5 days ago
How to make automatic calendar in Excel
Creating a new calendar each month is a waste of time, but many people do as they think they need to rebuild it to get correct weekends and public holidays. But in fact, with few formulas, 2 conditional formatting rules, 1 dropdown list and 5 lines of VBA code, you can create an automatic calendar.
excel  spreadsheet  calendar 
5 days ago
The bleak reality of the Instagram experience
Still, I found it difficult to feel particularly joyful in the Happy Place. I don’t think I was alone in this sentiment either. After moving through the room with the duckys, I entered the next area and found a three-dimensional XO sign not unlike the popular Toronto sign that sits outside city hall. I watched one woman climb inside the middle of the O, which was shaped like a heart, prop her feet upward and flash a smile worthy of a toothpaste ad. “Sorry, you can’t sit in the heart,” a timid employee announced. “I saw someone do it on Instagram yesterday,” the woman snapped back, and she proceeded with her photoshoot. When she was finished, she stormed away with her arms crossed.

And it’s this reason that the Happy Place does not seem very happy. Unlike the aesthetics of happiness that Fetell Lee outlines in her book, all of which can be found in the world at little to no cost, the Happy Place appropriates the aesthetics of happiness but offers few personal moments of joy. Everything has been carefully planned, directed, and timed, and the idea of happiness has been completely commodified. The result is an experience of vapidness.
instagram  photography  culture 
6 days ago
How to import a calendar from Excel to Outlook
Before we can create the calendar upload template, we need to know what fields Outlook uses in their calendars. Here is a list of the most commonly used fields that are available in Outlook:
microsoft  data  calendar  outlook 
6 days ago
Marvel launched a delightful, retro website to promote Captain Marvel
The result is absolutely delightful. The website taps into the nostalgia for the 1990s that we’ve seen in the film’s trailers, and features a ton of components that were mainstays of the web almost a quarter of a century ago: random animations, zany photo editing, HTML frames, brightly-colored fonts, and of course, a guestbook and hit counter.
movies  webdesign  nostalgia  retro  html  internet 
7 days ago
How Rembrandt and Van Gogh mastered the art of the selfie
Next time someone gives you a hard time for spending 15 minutes fussing with filters on your selfie, remind them that Rembrandt spent a full 10% of his career perfecting selfies.
art  painting  vangogh  rembrandt 
7 days ago
Art at arm’s length: A history of the selfie
In some way, selfies reach back to the Greek theatrical idea of methexis—a group sharing wherein the speaker addresses the audience directly, much like when comic actors look at the TV camera and make a face. Finally, fascinatingly, the genre wasn’t created by artists. Selfies come from all of us; they are a folk art that is already expanding the language and lexicon of photography. Selfies are a photography of modern life—not that academics or curators are paying much attention to them. They will, though: In a hundred years, the mass of selfies will be an incredible record of the fine details of everyday life. Imagine what we could see if we had millions of these from the streets of imperial Rome.
art  photography  phones  portraits 
9 days ago
Microsoft really doesn’t want you to use Internet Explorer anymore
While most consumers are likely using Chrome, Firefox, or Edge, a number of businesses still rely on Internet Explorer for older web apps that haven’t been modernized. Microsoft has tried many different ways to push businesses to improve their older web apps, but IT admins have naturally taken the easy route of using Internet Explorer and its various compatibility modes over the years.
microsoft  internet  security 
9 days ago
Keanu Reeves Created a New Kind of Action Star in The Matrix
When we look at the most towering examples of Hollywood action stars — from the jaunty elegance of Errol Flynn, to the muscle-bound machismo of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, all the way down the line to the less distinct, glossy statesmen of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe — Keanu Reeves remains an outlier.
9 days ago
Competition 12 results – International Garden Photographer of the Year
Jill’s image has proven that even old techniques are still capable of relevance, originality and immense beauty. Her knowledge and passion for the process has resulted in an extraordinary exposure of the Allium, adding complex textures and colour profiles analogous to the pioneering botanical cyanotype prints by English botanist and photographer Anna Atkins in the first half of the 19th century. The resulting exposure clearly draws from this rich and interesting heritage, but is unmistakably different in its approach and execution, making an image fit for the modern age in both its ability to communicate the beauty and importance of plant life as well as its capacity to represent the empowerment of women in art and science.
photography  nature  environment 
9 days ago
Winners of the 2019 International Garden Photographer of the Year competition
British photographer Jill Welham has been announced as the overall winner of this year's International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition. The North Yorkshire photographer beat 19,000 entrants from more than 50 countries to scoop the top prize of £7,500 with her photogram print entitled Fireworks, below. The image shows Allium flower heads from her garden.
photography  nature  environment 
9 days ago
11 facts about Blazing Saddles on its 45th anniversary
3. BLAZING SADDLES WAS THE FIRST MOVIE TO INCORPORATE AUDIBLE Flatulence "Blazing Saddles, for me, was a film that truly broke ground. It also broke wind … and maybe that’s why it broke ground,” Brooks once said. Having noticed that that cowboys in traditional westerns generally subsisted on a diet of canned beans, Brooks argued that, “you can only eat so many beans without some noise happening there.” (He had a point.) The resulting fart scene, in which a gang of thugs pass gas around a campfire, made movie history. Brooks knew this gag would get a big reaction, so he deliberately “made the farts louder” to prevent the audience’s laughter from drowning them out. However, despite his foresight, the offending noises were muted in the Blazing Saddles TV release.
movies  food  humour 
10 days ago
Hand of the Desert rises from Chile's Atacama desert
Driving through the desert can be disorienting, and, at first, weary travelers may mistake its most unusual monument for a mirage. It rears up from the ground as if a giant is drowning in quicksand, reaching an outstretched hand in a desperate last plea for help. But on closer inspection, visitors will see that the "Mano del Desierto" -- "Hand of the Desert" -- is, in fact, very real.
sculpture  chile  desert 
10 days ago
EE data breach ‘led to stalking’
Despite being given assurances that EE would investigate, she said it was not until she started publically tweeting about the problem that the company started taking it seriously.

"I spent countless hours at the police station and missed days at work," she said. "He had access to everything: my sort code, my account number, a photocopy of my driver's licence.
privacy  dataprotection  phones 
10 days ago
How can I back up my bookmarks and access them online?
There’s also the excellent Pinboard, which now costs $11 a year. Pinboard is run by its founder, Maciej Cegłowski, who bought the remains of Delicious. Guardian Technology used Pinboard for a few years for linkbucket blog posts.
internet  bookmarks 
10 days ago
India man to sue parents for giving birth to him
I ask him if he is unhappy being born.

"I wish I was not born. But it's not that I'm unhappy in my life. My life is good, but I'd rather not be here. You know it's like there's a nice room, but I don't want to be in that room," he explains.
10 days ago
This typewriter repairman was told computers were king. Twenty years later, he’s still in business
But Quezada’s admiration for the machine is clear. The Underwood and its kind “are like Mercedes, like Rolls Royces,” he said. They belong to an era before planned obsolescence, when people did not just replace, but repaired, what they owned.

Unlike the pager, the PDA, the floppy disk and the VCR, the typewriter has escaped the heap of gadgets defunct and disused. The reason, according to Steve Soboroff, president of the Los Angeles Police Commission and typewriter collector: Its slow pace is meditative, not frustrating, an exercise in deliberateness closer to engraving than typing on a computer.
10 days ago
Nancy Pelosi and the sarcastic point clapback heard round the world
At Tuesday’s State of the Union, Pelosi took the dark art of performative piss-take to another level when she literally clapped back at the president’s face by way of rebuttal for Trump’s disingenuous call for comity and unity.
trump  twitter  politics 
10 days ago
The joyful defiance of the Congresswomen in white at the State of the Union
Not far into his speech, Trump began, somewhat ironically, to salute the recent gains made by American women. “No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled fifty-eight per cent of the new jobs created in the last year,” he said. The congresswomen in white looked at one another dubiously. Was this even true? They started to stand up. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got to her feet. They were going to take Trump’s statement as a compliment. Some of them shimmied, and pumped their fists in the air. Trump, risking an ad-lib, joked, “You weren’t supposed to do that.” More women are in the workplace than ever, he went on. “And we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before.” Nancy Pelosi, stirring to life, stood and extended her hands to the bloc in white, as if to say, Screw the d.j., but he’s playing our song! The congresswomen again leapt to their feet. A robust, surprising “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” chant started up in their honor. Maybe it was a case of positive cultural appropriation, or subversion, that macho cheer given some new meaning. Anyway, for once, Trump had spoken the truth.
politics  usa  trump 
11 days ago
How Facebook and Google threaten public health – and democracy
The sad truth is that Facebook and Google have behaved irresponsibly in the pursuit of massive profits. And this has come at a cost to our health. By Roger McNamee
facebook  google 
11 days ago
How to fix Facebook—before it fixes us
An early investor explains why the social media platform’s business model is such a threat—and what to do about it. By Roger McNamee.
advertising  facebook  politics 
11 days ago
Zucked – Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe
The story of how a noted tech venture capitalist, an early mentor to Mark Zuckerberg and investor in his company, woke up to the serious damage Facebook was doing to our society and set out to try to stop it.
books  facebook  socialmedia 
11 days ago
How an army of farcical fakes ruined Turning Point UK's big day
The result was a surreal farrago of misunderstanding and noise. Fake accounts would call out Turning Point’s genuine handle as a fake set up by antifa extremists, and sometimes would even go as far as exposing other fellow fakes as fakes. It was fakes calling out convincing-looking fakes as fakes in order to reroute Twitter’s attention to other fakes.
twitter  satire  politics  usa 
11 days ago
Four men with a ladder: the billboard campaigners battling Brexit
It all began, as most good ideas do, in the pub. They were talking about the infamous David Cameron tweet – “Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice – stability and strong government with me or chaos with Ed Miliband” – which was doing the rounds again after Theresa May cancelled the vote on her deal in December. And someone said: why don’t they slap it on a billboard, make it the tweet you can’t delete?
twitter  satire  humour  politics  brexit 
11 days ago
The library of the future: a vision of 1983 from 1883
Far from a wild utopian dream, today Cutter’s library of the future appears basic: there will be books and there will be clean air and there will be good lighting. One wonders what Cutter might make of the library today, in which the most basic dream remains perhaps the most radical: for them to remain in our lives, free and open, clean and bright.
future  libraries 
11 days ago
Iconic celebrities pose with their younger selves in a wonderful time traveling Photoshop series
Dutch photoshopper Ard Gelinck has created a wonderful series of images depicting celebrities from music, film and television as they appear in recent times, posing with their much younger selves.
photoshop  photography  celebrity 
11 days ago
Donald Tusk: Special place in hell for Brexiteers
Mr Tusk said the Irish border issue and the need to preserve the peace process remained the EU's "top priority". "The EU is first and foremost a peace project," he said. "We will not gamble with peace or put a sell-by date on reconciliation. This is why we insist on the backstop."
politics  europe  brexit 
11 days ago
Facebook partners with Snopes and Associated Press to tackle fake news
The update will make it easier for users to report hoax stories and also bring in third-party fact checking to investigate and flag reported stories. Facebook will also be looking at how many people share articles after they've read them and combine this data with disputed flags to push fake stories to the bottom of news feeds. Fact-checkers at ABC News,, the Associated Press, Snopes and Politifact will be using a tool created by Facebook to help evaluate the truthfulness of stories that have been flagged as fake news.
facebook  facenews  socialmedia 
12 days ago
Addressing hoaxes and fake news
We believe providing more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share. We’ve started a program to work with third-party fact checking organizations that are signatories of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles. We’ll use the reports from our community, along with other signals, to send stories to these organizations. If the fact checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why.
facebook  fakenews  socialmedia 
12 days ago
Facebook, Snapchat and the dawn of the post-truth era
The post-internet generation, weaned almost since birth on touchscreens and fractious digital media, navigates this raucous world with an equanimity that we dinosaurs beholden to a dead-tree age find impossible to muster. It is a different world, one where the universally acclaimed expert or editor has been replaced by internet-enabled rumor and hearsay arbitrated only by algorithms. There are some dominant media outlets with a claim to primacy, just as every village has a particularly well-informed local gossip, but the capital-T Truth, so beloved by the French encyclopedists, will no longer exist across a broad spectrum of society.
facebook  truth  socialmedia 
12 days ago
How Facebook's design has changed over the last 10 years
September 2006, a major development: Mini-Feed and News Feed debuted. These additions shook up the look of Facebook by shifting emphasis away from the profile and towards the actions people took on Facebook, moving the service from a directory to a feed. And people were not happy.
facebook  socialmedia 
12 days ago
Facebook news feed changed everything
Looking back, it’s clear that news feed is one of the most important, influential innovations in the recent history of the Web. News feed forever altered our relationship to personal data, turning everything we do online into a little message for friends or the world to consume. You might not like this trend—or, at least, you might claim you don’t like this trend. But the stats prove you probably do. News feed is the basis for Facebook’s popularity, the thing that initially set it apart from every other social network, and the reason hundreds of millions of us go back to the site every day.

But news feed is bigger than that. Either directly or indirectly, it’s the inspiration for just about every social-media feature that has come along since. News feed paved the way for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Flipboard, and Quora—for every site that thrives off of the communities created by lots of people’s individual contributions. News feed changed the media (it’s hard to imagine BuzzFeed without it), advertising, politics, and, to the extent that it altered how we all talk to one another, society itself.
facebook  socialmedia 
12 days ago
Life and death on a superyacht: 'If something goes wrong, they can just raise the anchor and leave'
While it is a dream job for some, other deckhands and chefs have horror stories of working punishing hours. Accidents, injuries and deaths are also commonplace, with union leaders believing working on superyachts to be more dangerous than life on oil rigs; over the past few years at least three young Brits have died while serving their billionaire bosses. Because many superyachts continually float around the world (this is marketed to some as a way to avoid being registered in any country and hence to avoid paying tax), their crews may not be afforded the same legal protections as those on land. Families complain about a lack of assistance and sympathy from owners and those in charge of the vessel. None of the owners attended the three British men’s funerals.
culture  yachts 
12 days ago
The long history of the mind-bending ‘Tiny Planet’ panorama
However, linear perspective was limited in focusing on a single view of a landscape. Creative artists, in the subsequent years, found innovative ways to play with multiple views in perspective; but in general, if an artist bound themselves to realism, landscape painting could only show a single frame in front of the viewer.

Bourrit’s illustration of the 360-degree view of Mont Buet. GENEVA LIBRARY/PUBLIC DOMAIN
While on the summit of Mont Buet, de Saussure had an idea to resolve this conflict:

“Following the method I have employed, the Designer paints the objects exactly as he sees them by turning the paper in proportion to how he turns himself. And those who after his work wish to form an idea of the objects he has defined have but to arrange themselves as though they are placed in the center of the design, adding by the imagination what they see in the middle of the center, and making, by turning the design, the review of all its parts. They see successively all the objects outlined among them, and absolutely what it presents to an Observer situated on the summit of the mountain.”
maps  drawing 
12 days ago
'Willful ignorance.' Inside President Trump's troubled intelligence briefings
Citing multiple in-person episodes, these intelligence officials say Trump displays what one called “willful ignorance” when presented with analyses generated by America’s $81 billion-a-year intelligence services. The officials, who include analysts who prepare Trump’s briefs and the briefers themselves, describe futile attempts to keep his attention by using visual aids, confining some briefing points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible.
politics  trump 
12 days ago
Adam Kirsch reviews Robert Alter's landmark translation of the Hebrew Bible
Likewise, he tries to preserve the simplicity and directness of Hebrew grammar, which often proceeds by parataxis—clauses connected by “and”—rather than turning it into more complicated English. The beginning of Exodus 4, where Moses disputes with God about his worthiness to be a lawgiver, consists in Alter’s version of seven sentences in a row that start with “And”:

And Moses answered and said, “But, look, they will not believe me nor will they heed my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” And the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” And He said, “Fling it to the ground.” And he flung it to the ground and it became a snake and Moses fled from it. And the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and grasp its tail.” And he reached out his hand and held it and it became a staff in his grip.

The JPS version, by contrast, cuts five of the seven “ands” and turns one into a “but,” leaving just one intact. This results in a passage that reads more like modern narrative prose—but, Alter insists, less like the Bible itself. “The assumption of most modern translators,” he writes, “has been that this sort of [paratactic] syntax will be either unintelligible or at least alienating to modern readers, and so should be entirely rearranged as modern English.” But he argues that “parataxis is the essential literary vehicle of biblical narrative: it is the way the ancient Hebrew writers saw the world.” Preserving it is a philological principle that is also an aesthetic choice.
bookreviews  bible  religion 
12 days ago
The lonely life of a yacht influencer
“Nah, I’m nobody you’d know,” he assured me. “I’m here to take some pictures and post some video stories of the yacht, which a brokerage group is trying to sell. The watch is a loaner from a friend. I wear it, take a picture of my wrist and tag his company on my Instagram account. It’s just a small part of the hustle.”
socialmedia  yachts 
12 days ago
Pi clacks
In 2003 mathematician Gregory Galperin of Eastern Illinois University offered a remarkable way to calculate π: Launch two masses toward an elastic wall, count the resulting collisions, and you can generate π to any precision, at least in principle.
pi  maths 
12 days ago
The clock on Bolivia’s congressional building runs counterclockwise. Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said the “clock of the south” had been adopted to affirm the country’s “southernness” and to encourage Bolivians to question norms and think creatively.
clocks  time 
12 days ago
'Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe,' by Roger McNamee
I can't stop reading my just-out-today hardcover copy of Roger McNamee's new book, 'Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe.' I pre-ordered 'Zucked' last week on my phone when I was out for coffee with my friend Mike Backes (buy his book!), who was so enthralled with it he couldn't put his pre-release copy down, and he carried it with him that day. I stopped what I was doing when the Amazon delivery guy handed it to me a few hours ago. I'm a couple hundred pages in to 'Zucked' now. I get it.
books  facebook 
12 days ago
The collective madness behind Britain’s latest Brexit plan
On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May demanded that her party reject her own Brexit plan so she could go back to negotiations with the European Union and dismantle an agreement that her government reached with the continent, on an impossibly fast timeline, during talks that have already been ruled out. On every level, it is an insane way to behave. The British government is actively sabotaging the work it has spent the past two years completing and then doing a victory dance.
12 days ago
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