Short Film: Six Apartments

film, decay, six apartments, Reynold Reynolds, 2011

Life is in decay in Reynold Reynolds‘ beautifully shot short film Six Apartments. Six strangers, unaware of each other’s existence, live their lives in isolation, passing their time on Earth listening to the radio, watching TV, scrubbing their feet, feeding their pet snake, etc. All the while they do not notice that their world is slowly decomposing all around them. Depending on your stomach for that kind of thing, some of the decay can be quite grotesque. But, the stunning camera moves and shot compositions are completely wonderful to behold.

http://www.undergroundfilmjournal.com/short-film-six-apartments/

How to lose $172,222 a second for 45 minutes

sotware, devops, bug, HFT, algotrading, losses, knoght capital, fragility

This is probably the most painful bug report I’ve ever read, describing in glorious technicolor the steps leading to Knight Capital’s $465m trading loss due to a software bug that struck late last year, effectively bankrupting the company. The tale has all the hallmarks of technical debt in a huge, unmaintained, bitrotten codebase

http://pythonsweetness.tumblr.com/post/64740079543/how-to-lose–172–222-a-second-for–45-minutes

List of common misconceptions

wikipedia, misconceptions, common knowledge, error, assumptions

This list pertains to current, widely held, erroneous ideas and beliefs about notable topics which have been reported by reliable sources. Each has been discussed in published literature, as has its topic area and the facts concerning it. Note that the statements which follow are corrections based on known facts; the misconceptions themselves are referred to rather than stated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_misconceptions

ClubOrlov: The Sixth Stage of Collapse

orlov, collapse, collapsonomics, economics, environment, governance

I admit it: in my last book, The Five Stages of Collapse, I viewed collapse through rose-colored glasses. But I feel that I should be forgiven for this; it is human nature to try to be optimistic no matter what. Also, as an engineer, I am always looking for solutions to problems. And so I almost subconsciously crafted a scenario where industrial civilization fades away quickly enough to save what’s left of the natural realm, allowing some remnant of humanity to make a fresh start.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.be/2013/10/the-sixth-stage-of-collapse.html

Book of Lamentations

dystopia, fuction, psychiatry, DSM, DSM-5, Borges, review, literature

Just as Borges’s system groups animals by seemingly aleatory characteristics entirely divorced from their actual biological attributes, DSM-5 arranges its various strains of madness solely in terms of the behaviors exhibited. This is a recurring theme in the novel, while any consideration of the mind itself is entirely absent. In its place we’re given diagnoses such as “frotteurism,” “oppositional defiant disorder,” and “caffeine intoxication disorder.” That said, these classifications aren’t arranged at random; rather, they follow a stately progression comparable to that of Dante’s Divine Comedy, rising from the infernal pit of the body and its weaknesses (intellectual disabilities, motor tics) through our purgatorial interactions with the outside world (tobacco use, erectile dysfunction, kleptomania) and finally arriving in the limpid-blue heavens of our libidinal selves (delirium, personality disorders, sexual fetishism). It’s unusual, and at times frustrating in its postmodern knowingness, but what is being told is first and foremost a story.

http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/book-of-lamentations/

Binding Chaos

politics, governance, power, control, oligarchy, anarchy, democracy

If there was ever a need for political representation or a paternalistic and opaque authority it has been removed by technology. Every political system we have tried has proven incapable of protecting human rights and dignity. Every political system we have tried has devolved into oligarchy. To effect the change we require immediately, to give individuals control and responsibility, to bring regional systems under regional governance, allow global collaboration and protect the heritage of future generations, we need a new political model.

https://georgiebc.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/binding-chaos/

on Nicolescu’s Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity

Nicolescu, transdisciplinarity, philosophy, education, knowledge

Transdisciplinarity “concerns that which is at once between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond all discipline,” and its aim is the unity of knowledge together with the unity of our being: “Its goal is the understanding of the present world, of which one of the imperatives is the unity of knowledge.” (44) Nicolescu points out the danger of self-destruction caused by modernism and increased technologization and offers alternative ways of approaching them, using a transdisciplinary approach that propels us beyond the either/or thinking that gave rise to the antagonisms that produced the problems in the first place. The logic of the included middle permits “this duality [to be] transgressed by the open unity that encompasses both the universe and the human being.” (56). Thus, approaching problems in a transdisciplinary way enables one to move beyond dichotomized thinking, into the space that lies beyond.

http://www.esoteric.msu.edu/Reviews/NicolescuReview.htm

Space-Born Jellyfish Hate Life On Earth

space, jellyfish, gravity, perception

A warning for future space colonizers: Babies born in space might not ever figure out how to deal with gravity. Jellyfish babies, at least, have to deal with massive vertigo on Earth after spending their first few days in space. NASA first started sending jellyfish to space aboard the Columbia space shuttle during the early ‘90s to test how space flight would affect their development. As cool as being an astronaut baby sounds, the jellies didn’t develop the same gravity-sensing capabilities as their Earthly relatives.

http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/space-born-jellyfish-hate-life-earth

What Is ‘Evil’ to Google?

Ian Bogost, evil, google, morality, ethics, progress, engineering, silicon valley, narcissism

Famous though the slogan might be, its meaning has never been clear. In the 2004 IPO letter, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin clarify that Google will be “a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.” But what counts as “good things,” and who constitutes “the world?” The slogan’s significance has likely changed over time, but today it seems clear that we’re misunderstanding what “evil” means to the company. For today’s Google, evil isn’t tied to malevolence or moral corruption, the customary senses of the term. Rather, it’s better to understand Google’s sense of evil as the disruption of its brand of (computational) progress.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/10/what-is-evil-to-google/280573/

The Future of Europe

Soros, Europe, uncertainty, prediction, understanding, fragility, feedback, interference, economics

By contrast I emphasize the role of misconceptions, misinterpretations and a sheer lack of understanding in shaping the course of events. I focus on the process of change rather than on the eventual outcome. The process involves reflexive feedback loops between the objective and subjective aspects of reality. Fallibility insures that the two aspects are never identical. That is where my framework differs from mainstream economics.

http://www.georgesoros.com/interviews-speeches/entry/the_future_of_europe/

Ecce Animal

art, design, cocaine, diddo, ecce animal, skull

Ecce Animal

Dimension 12 x 18 x 22 cm
Compression molded Cocaine (street sourced) and Gelatin.


“The analysis started with the preparation of the 100% Cocaine standard and sample solution. An amount of standard was dissolved in a mobile phase followed by a series of trial runs to calibrate and identify the HPLC method that gave adequate separation of the standard. After several trail runs the preferred mobile phase consisted of 20% Acetonitrile, 80% water and contained 0,1% Trifluoroacetic Acid (TFA).”

http://bydiddo.com/laboratory

Given the challenges to employing transparency as a check on algorithmic power, a new and complementary alternative is emerging….

Given the challenges to employing transparency as a check on algorithmic power, a new and complementary alternative is emerging. I call it algorithmic accountability reporting. At its core it’s really about reverse engineering—articulating the specifications of a system through a rigorous examination drawing on domain knowledge, observation, and deduction to unearth a model of how that system works.

As interest grows in understanding the broader impacts of algorithms, this kind of accountability reporting is already happening in some newsrooms, as well as in academic circles. At the Wall Street Journal a team of reporters probed e-commerce platforms to identify instances of potential price discrimination in dynamic and personalized online pricing. By polling different websites they were able to spot several, such as Staples.com, that were adjusting prices dynamically based on the location of the person visiting the site. At the Daily Beast, reporter Michael Keller dove into the iPhone spelling correction feature to help surface patterns of censorship and see which words, like “abortion,” the phone wouldn’t correct if they were misspelled. In my own investigation for Slate, I traced the contours of the editorial criteria embedded in search engine autocomplete algorithms. By collecting hundreds of autocompletions for queries relating to sex and violence I was able to ascertain which terms Google and Bing were blocking or censoring, uncovering mistakes in how these algorithms apply their editorial criteria.

All of these stories share a more or less common method. Algorithms are essentially black boxes, exposing an input and output without betraying any of their inner organs. You can’t see what’s going on inside directly, but if you vary the inputs in enough different ways and pay close attention to the outputs, you can start piecing together some likeness for how the algorithm transforms each input into an output. The black box starts to divulge some secrets.

Rage Against the Algorithms - Nicholas Diakopoulos - The Atlantic (vianew-aesthetic)

The Viridian Years

viridian, green, design, bruce sterling, landline, obsolesence

On October 14, 1998, science fiction author Bruce Sterling stood on the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and announced his plans for the new millennium. Y2K was going to come and go, he predicted, and then in early January, journalists were going to be desperate for novelty. A new millennium needed new ideas and as a noted science fiction author, he expected they’d be ringing his phone off the hook (phones were on hooks back then — in 1998, everyone still had a landline)

https://medium.com/weird-future/84f454e7aa7f

TED talks are lying to you

salon, creativity, business, Peenemünde

And yet nobody wanted to add Peenemünde, where the Germans developed the V-2 rocket during the 1940s, to the glorious list of creative hothouses that includes Periclean Athens, Renaissance Florence, Belle Époque Paris and latter-day Austin, Texas. How much easier to tell us, one more time, how jazz bands work, how someone came up with the idea for the Slinky, or what shade of paint, when applied to the walls of your office, is most conducive to originality

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/13/ted_talks_are_lying_to_you/

Robin Friend | on Tumblr - Formations

artchipel:

Robin Friend | on Tumblr - Formations

The shaft of light streaming though the crack reminds me of a Baroque painting. The challenge of creating a photograph in complete darkness in a mine is a testing experience. Ropes, harnesses and inflatable dinghies are needed and very long exposures with the help of a hand held torch were used to make this particular image.

Why Microsoft Word Must Die

stross, MS, microsoft word, rant, writing, typesetting, broken by design, LCD

I hate Microsoft Word. I want Microsoft Word to die. I hate Microsoft Word with a burn­ing, fiery pas­sion. I hate Microsoft Word the way Win­ston Smith hated Big Brother. Our rea­sons are, alarm­ingly, not dissimilar.… Microsoft Word is a tyrant of the imag­i­na­tion, a petty, unimag­i­na­tive, incon­sis­tent dic­ta­tor that is ill-suited to any cre­ative writer’s use. Worse: it is a near-monopolist, hav­ing nearly 80 per­cent of the word pro­cess­ing field to itself. Such dom­i­nance has bru­tal­ized the minds of soft­ware devel­op­ers to such an extent that few can imag­ine a word pro­cess­ing tool other than as a shal­low imi­ta­tion of the Red­mond Behe­moth. So what’s wrong with it?

http://www.sprintbeyondthebook.com/why-microsoft-word-must-die/

Storyboard 75: The big book of narrative

narrative, storytelling, journalism, writing, archive, stories

Since the first stirrings of the Nieman Foundation’s narrative writing program nearly 20 years ago, the staff has tended a treasure trove of resource material devoted to excellence in journalistic storytelling. Much of that material went online first via the Nieman Narrative Digest and, in 2009, here at Nieman Storyboard. Storyboard 75 represents some of the most popular posts* from our archive so far.

http://www.niemanstoryboard.org/2013/10/03/storyboard–75-the-big-book-of-narrative/

Every time I met eyes with someone wearing this non-object, I felt paranoid and exposed, and not only because I was stoned at a…

“Every time I met eyes with someone wearing this non-object, I felt paranoid and exposed, and not only because I was stoned at a large party. I’ve been stoned at plenty of large parties, but this was the first large party at which people were wearing glasses with which they could photograph me just by looking at me and tapping the sides of their heads. And yet at the same time, I felt strangely unseen, because though the wearer of these glass-less glasses might appear to be looking right at me, they might also be looking at their email, or a live-stream from someone else’s Google Glass of a different party, somewhere else.”

Emily Weinstein, » The Goog {superlefty} (viaphotographsonthebrain)

When does a physical system compute?

arxiv, computation, unconventional computing, physical systems, computing

Computing is a high-level process of a physical system. Recent interest in non-standard computing systems, including quantum and biological computers, has brought this physical basis of computing to the forefront. There has been, however, no consensus on how to tell if a given physical system is acting as a computer or not; leading to confusion over novel computational devices, and even claims that every physical event is a computation. In this paper we introduce a formal framework that can be used to determine whether or not a physical system is performing a computation. We demonstrate how the abstract computational level interacts with the physical device level, drawing the comparison with the use of mathematical models to represent physical objects in experimental science. This powerful formulation allows a precise description of the similarities between experiments, computation, simulation, and technology.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.7979

Prediction markets

prediction, prediction markets, gwern, decisions

Writing down precise predictions is like spaced repetition: it’s brutal to do because it is almost a paradigmatic long-term activity, being wrong is physically unpleasant, and it requires 2 skills, formulating precise predictions and then actually predicting. (For spaced repetition, writing good flashcards and then actually regularly reviewing.) There are lots of exercises to try to (calibrate yourself using trivia questions obscure historical events, geography, etc.), but they only take you so far; it’s the real world near term and long term predictions that give you the most food for thought, and those require a year or three at minimum.

http://www.gwern.net/Prediction%20markets