Granted, most artists do not produce individual works of enduring significance. But art is not the product of individual…

“Granted, most artists do not produce individual works of enduring significance. But art is not the product of individual geniuses; it is the product of an artistic community that collectively produce something of great value. Without mediocre artists this community could not exist. The idea that we are only justified in pursuing an activity if we are doing something irreplaceable is silly. Human communities do not depend on this kind of perfectionism but rather on people making a contribution even if it not maximal.”

3quarksdaily: Attacking the Value of Art is Not a Good Strategy for Altruists

Workers of the World, Faint!

work, religion, fainting, cambodia, neak ta, spirits, mass fainting, industrial action, inaction, an

These days, when neak ta appear on the factory floor — inducing mass faintings among workers and shouting commands at managers — they are helping the cause of Cambodia’s largely young, female and rural factory workforce by registering a kind of bodily objection to the harsh daily regimen of industrial capitalism: few days off; a hard bed in a wooden barracks; meager meals of rice and a mystery curry, hastily scarfed down between shifts. These voices from beyond are speaking up for collective bargaining in the here and now, expressing grievances much like the workers’ own: a feeling that they are being exploited by forces beyond their control, that the terms of factory labor somehow violate an older, fairer moral economy.

Color Flood II

color, animation, js, d3.js, canvas

First, Wilson’s algorithm generates a uniform spanning tree of the 960×500 canvas. (This is a computationally-expensive process and is run in a background worker.) Then, a breadth-first traversal of the spanning tree floods the canvas with color. Compare this to Prim’s algorithm.

Maker Faire Shenzhen highlights the global politics of the “maker movement”

gvoss, maker, DIY, corporatism, supply chains, hacking, making, manufacturing, China, R&D, absorbti

In ‘Maker to Market’ spaces, things can get even messier. Several of the companies on this path depend on ‘open innovation’ models that allow them to engage with keen communities, providing ongoing feedback and mass customisation. This also allows customers to be used as a cheap form of R&D; a practice common in the creative and culture industries, described by Miya Tokumitsu as ‘Do what you love’ where a volunteer workforce works for passion and social capital rather than actual hard cash.

The inspiration for the design was based on different aspects: we had to keep the logistics in mind and had a very short time to…

The inspiration for the design was based on different aspects: we had to keep the logistics in mind and had a very short time to build the station – only four months. From the beginning, we had to think about how to transport the building materials to Antarctica, and what sort of containers to use. And then we thought, why not use shipping containers as the actual building blocks of the structure?

So, the basic or primary structure of the Bharathi station is made of 134 shipping containers. We used high-cube containers because of the height of the rooms. Ordinary containers would have been a bit low. We used these containers as the primary construction. But if you only use containers, like Lego stones (that’s the basic idea), you miss the insulation and aerodynamic approach. That’s the reason we wrapped a facade around the containers. The idea was to use the containers like suitcases to transport further building materials, such as the facade, to Antarctica. Once you arrive, you take out the facade and wrap it around the container as insulation, like a second skin.

IceLab: Building the Indian research station Bharathi in Antarctica | British Council Voices (viaiamdanw)

Cargo scanning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Cargo scanning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gamma-ray radiography systems capable of scanning trucks usually use cobalt-60 or caesium-137 as a radioactive source and a vertical tower of gamma detectors. This gamma camera is able to produce one column of an image. The horizontal dimension of the image is produced by moving either the truck or the scanning hardware. The cobalt-60 units use gamma photons with a mean energy 1.25 MeV, which can penetrate up to 15–18 cm of steel. The systems provide good quality images which can be used for identifying cargo and comparing it with the manifest, in an attempt to detect anomalies. It can also identify high-density regions too thick to penetrate, which would be the most likely to hide nuclear threats.

The American Oligarchy

US, USA, government, corporatism, democracy, oligarchy, power, infuence, wealth, Princeton

What kind of oligarchy? As Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan explains, Gilens and Page’s findings provide support for two theories of governance: economic elite domination and biased pluralism. The first is pretty straightforward and states that the ultra-wealthy wield all the power in a given system, though some argue that this system still allows elites in corporations and the government to become powerful as well. Here, power does not necessarily derive from wealth, but those in power almost invariably come from the upper class. Biased pluralism on the other hand argues that the entire system is a mess and interest groups ruled by elites are fighting for dominance of the political process. Also, because of their vast wealth of resources, interest groups of large business tend to dominate a lot of the discourse.

Plant Breeders Release First ‘Open Source Seeds’

groworld, seeds, open source, seed sharing

At an event on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, backers of the new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including carrots, kale, broccoli and quinoa. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses or any other kind of intellectual property. In fact, any future plant that’s derived from these open source seeds also has to remain freely available as well.

To implement a collision-based computer using DNA objects, we used DNA origami nanorobots as described previously. These robots…

“To implement a collision-based computer using DNA objects,
we used DNA origami nanorobots as described previously. These robots are controlled by a gate that opens in response to a correct combination of protein cues, which bind a sensing strand, typically an aptamer, and displace it from its complementary strand. Upon displacing the gate strands from each other, the robot undergoes a drastic conformational shift, exposing the payload inside it and making it available to engage target cells”

A Broken Place: The Spectacular Failure Of The Startup That Was Going To Change The World

Better Place, Shai Agassi, EV, solutionism, electric cars, world without oil

Better Place was born to be revolutionary, the epitome of the kind of world-changing ambition that routinely gets celebrated. Founder Shai Agassi, a serial entrepreneur turned rising star at German software giant SAP, conceived Better Place “on a Davos afternoon” in 2005 when he asked himself, “How would you run a whole country without oil?” Four years later, onstage at the TED conference, Agassi, a proud Israeli with a bit of a Steve Jobs complex, wore a black turtleneck and promised, with the confidence of a man who has known the future for some time but has only recently decided to share his findings, that he would sell millions of electric vehicles in his home country and around the world. He implied that converting to electric cars was the moral equivalent of the abolition of human slavery and that it would usher in a new Industrial Revolution.

Surveillance is the Business Model of the Internet

Schneier, Surveillance, data feudalism, Google, Facebook, NSA, Corporatism, metadata

Data is currency, and consumers are willing to hand over their information in exchange for “free or convenience,” Schneier said. Companies such as Facebook and Google want the data so that they can sell more stuff. Users hand it over to play games, to get email, or some other benefit. “I like to think of this as a feudal model. At a most fundamental model, we are tenant farming for companies like Google. We are on their land producing data,” he said. By handing the data over, users have an expectation of trust that Google, Facebook, and other data brokers will do the right thing with the personal data. However, this becomes a power play when governments get involved. Governments don’t need to collect the data themselves when corporations are already doing it. “The NSA woke up and said ‘Corporations are spying on the Internet, let’s get ourselves a copy,’” Schneier said. Most NSA surveillance “piggybacks” what the companies are already doing, he said.

How To Waste Time Properly

time, inspriation, distraction, procrastination, doing nothing, hedonic adaptation

Brent Coker, who studies online behavior at the University of Melbourne in Australia, found that people who engage in “workplace Internet leisure browsing” are about 9 percent more productive than those who don’t. Last year, Jonathan Schooler, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara published with his doctoral student Benjamin Baird a study called Inspired by Distraction. It concluded that “engaging in simple external tasks that allow the mind to wander may facilitate creative problem solving.”

Lucid dream [is] a phenomenon in which the dreamer becomes aware they are dreaming and can potentially control their actions as…

Lucid dream [is] a phenomenon in which the dreamer becomes aware they are dreaming and can potentially control their actions as well as the content and context of the dream. Lucid dreams are generally understood to occur exclusively during REM, the final phase of the sleep cycle that is most closely related to wakefulness and the one generally associated with dreams. Research on the prevalence of lucid dreamers suggests that if you’ve never had a lucid dream, you may be in the minority.


[Studies indicate] that practicing a physical activity during a lucid dream could improve performance in waking life.


The strategy laid out for actively training yourself to lucid dream [in the] 1991 book,Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming … boils down to are identifying discrepancies from reality that can help you realize you are dreaming and, hopefully, gain conscious control of your dream. The first step, therefore, is to spend a few weeks recording your dreams and identifying these themes.

The Atlantic’sTiffanie Wen exploresthe latest research on lucid dreaming. Pair with thisanimated explainer of how it works, then dive deeper with Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. (viaexplore-blog)

So does Tamiflu work? From the Cochrane analysis – fully public – Tamiflu does not reduce the number of hospitalisations. There…

“So does Tamiflu work? From the Cochrane analysis – fully public – Tamiflu does not reduce the number of hospitalisations. There wasn’t enough data to see if it reduces the number of deaths. It does reduce the number of self-reported, unverified cases of pneumonia, but when you look at the five trials with a detailed diagnostic form for pneumonia, there is no significant benefit. It might help prevent flu symptoms, but not asymptomatic spread, and the evidence here is mixed. It will take a few hours off the duration of your flu symptoms. But all this comes at a significant cost of side-effects. Since percentages are hard to visualise, we can make those numbers more tangible by taking the figures from the Cochrane review, and applying them. For example, if a million people take Tamiflu in a pandemic, 45,000 will experience vomiting, 31,000 will experience headache and 11,000 will have psychiatric side-effects. Remember, though, that those figures all assume we are only giving Tamiflu to a million people: if things kick off, we have stockpiled enough for 80% of the population. That’s quite a lot of vomit.”

What the Tamiflu saga tells us about drug trials and big pharma (viaiamdanw)

Japanese Robots In Danger Of Being Replaced By Human Workers

robots, robotics, work, labour, toyota

Citing a need to “become more solid and get back to basics,” and “to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them,” Toyota CEO Mitsuru Kawai wants humans to take the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process.–1561280442/+georgedvorsky