Google Flu Trends, which launched in 2008, monitors web searches across the US to find terms associated with flu activity such as “cough” or “fever”. It uses those searches to predict up to nine weeks in advance the number of flu-related doctors’ visits that are likely to be made. The system has consistently overestimated flu-related visits over the past three years, and was especially inaccurate around the peak of flu season – when such data is most useful. In the 2012/2013 season, it predicted twice as many doctors’ visits as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eventually recorded. In 2011/2012 it overestimated by more than 50 per cent.
enemies of the internet by brucesflickr (via http://flic.kr/p/m1JzMD )
“ Fenêtre sur toit ” by zoercsx (via http://flic.kr/p/kYv27Y )
Hiroh Kikai, A performer of butoh dance
Russell’s teapot, sometimes called the celestial teapot or cosmic teapot, is an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making scientifically unfalsifiable claims rather than shifting the burden of proof to others, specifically in the case of religion. Russell wrote that if he claims that a teapot orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, it is nonsensical for him to expect others to believe him on the grounds that they cannot prove him wrong.
The Gastrograph system uses 18 Broad Spectrum Flavor Categories, and 6 sensations (trigeminal & somatosensory), which together fully encompass gustatory flavor space; such that anything you can taste, you can graph. The GG System allows you to compare amalgamated flavor profiles of consumer and Quality Control based reviews on all of your products, in order to determine Correlates of Quality, consumer preference, and analyze changes in products over time (ageing), all independent of reviewer variables such as socio-economic background, ethnic background, age, sex, and flavor sensitivity.
“The question is a simple one: if in the future robots take most people’s jobs, how will human beings eat?”
–James J. Hughes, ‘Are technological unemployment and a basic income guarantee inevitable or desirable?’ (2014)
“The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work.”
–John von Neumann
. by Shane Lynam (via http://flic.kr/p/fmubQr )
by zuru1024 (via http://flic.kr/p/gvBfyS )
neptune by rumimume (via http://flic.kr/p/aKcCwK )
Two balls dropped from the tower in Pisa replay Galileo’s experiment, November 1974.Photograph by Luis Marden, National Geographic
“But the concept of serendipity can be broadened. A mistaken project does not always lead to something correct: often […] a project that the author believed right seems to us unrealizable, but for this reason we understand why something else was right.”
–Umberto Eco,Serendipities: Language and Lunacy Phoenix, 2000. (viadesigningserendipity)
#144 by Colourful Life (Teresa) (via http://flic.kr/p/kPtqxz )
by (x)99. (via http://flic.kr/p/kRoj1y )
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Maison P (Be) by Martino ~ NL (via http://flic.kr/p/kMWGBg )
“Black tie, long dresses & Surrealists heads.”
26 January, 13.23 by Ti.mo (via http://flic.kr/p/kLJghN )
“Humidity and darkness are very important elements in photography”
Quasicrystals are groups of molecules bonded together in structures that resemble crystals in that they are organized, but unlike crystals, the structures are not nearly as uniform. In fact, they are quite the opposite—though they are locally symmetric, they lack any sort of long distance periodicity. Because of their chaotic nature, quasicrystals tend to feel slippery to the touch, which is why they have been used to coat the surface of non-stick frying pans. The first quasicrystal was made, also by accident, in 1982, by Daniel Shechtman (who later won a Nobel prize for his work). Since then many more of them have been made in various labs, (one was even found to exist in a meteorite) though most of them have had one thing in common, they were all formed from two or three metal alloys. In this latest discovery, the quasicrystals self-formed after the researchers placed a layer of iron containing molecules of ferrocenecarboxylic acid on top of a gold surface. The team was expecting to see a linear group of stable molecules pairing up as dimers, but instead were surprised to find that they had formed into five sided rosettes—it was the rosettes that pushed other molecules into bonding forming crystalline shapes, resulting in the formation of 2D quasicrystals that took the form of several different shapes: stars, boats, pentagons, rhombi, etc., all repeated in haphazard fashion.
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Vittoriale degli Italiani - The Light cruiser Puglia by *Checco* (via http://flic.kr/p/7UptoK )
Erased Symphony (2013) :: Carlos Amorales & Klangforum Wien
“A cultural point of view is like a crystal: you have an amorphous cultural medium which at certain temperatures will form a crystal of cultural convention, if you will, and within the geometry of that crystal certain things make sense and certain things are excluded from making sense.”
Iceland by Andri Elfarsson (via http://flic.kr/p/71bc62 )
“It’s not the subject of calculus as formally taught in college,” Droujkova notes. “But before we get there, we want to have hands-on, grounded, metaphoric play. At the free play level, you are learning in a very fundamental way—you really own your concept, mentally, physically, emotionally, culturally.” This approach “gives you deep roots, so the canopy of the high abstraction does not wither. What is learned without play is qualitatively different. It helps with test taking and mundane exercises, but it does nothing for logical thinking and problem solving. These things are separate, and you can’t get here from there.”
Sound Choreography Body Code is a performance collaboration between choreographer and performer Kate Sicchio, and researcher and live coder Alex McLean. The work creates a feedback loop through code, music, choreography, dance and back through code. We spoke with Kate and Alex to ask them about the work, and the thinking behind such a multimedia, multi-disciplinary piece.
Photography has become so fundamental to the way we see that “photography” and “seeing” are becoming more and more synonymous. The ubiquity of photography is, perhaps ironically, a challenge to curators, practitioners, and critics. Why look at any particular image, when they are literally everywhere? Perhaps “photography” has become so all-pervasive that it no longer makes sense to think about it as a discreet practice or field of inquiry. In other words, perhaps “photography,” as a meaningful cultural trope, is over.
Benjamin Gaulon, Corrupt.epub [aka KindleGlitcher] (2012)
«Corrupt.epub is an online data corruption software allowing users to load and glitch electronic books (epub format aka electronic publication). Following the project KindleGlitched [Hardware Glitch], KindleGlitcher corrupt electronic publications on a software level [Data Bending].
Go to kindleglitcher.benjamingaulon.com to upload and corrupt an EPUB file (Max 2Mbyte, NOTE: Corruption can take a really long time, 5 minutes is nothing! Check the log of your epub to see how far it is). The last 3 uploaded books are available for download on the project page.
This project was commissioned by Jeu De Paume for the online exhibition “Erreur d’impression. Publier à l’ère du numérique” at Le jeu de Paume (Paris) 2012, curated by Alessandro Ludovico.
by albino_octopus (via http://flic.kr/p/k81sDv )
In 1936, Alan Turing wrote On Computable Numbers with an application to Entscheidungsproblem. In this paper, Turing formalised the concept of an algorithm by imagining it as a ‘mechanical processes’ that could be taught to machines, which have since come to be known as Turing machines. There are…
monday. by (x)99. (via http://flic.kr/p/kFanX6 )
No Pacemakers by justinpickard (via http://flic.kr/p/kDf9zZ )
“There are some cases where a group of people can do a better job of solving certain kinds of problems than individuals. One example is setting a price in a marketplace. Another example is an election process to choose a politician. All such examples involve what can be called optimization, where the concerns of many individuals are reconciled. There are other cases that involve creativity and imagination. A crowd process generally fails in these cases.… Creativity requires periodic, temporary ‘encapsulation’ as opposed to the kind of constant global openness suggested by the slogan ‘information wants to be free.’ Biological cells have walls, academics employ temporary secrecy before they publish, and real authors with real voices might want to polish a text before releasing it. In all these cases, encapsulation is what allows for the possibility of testing and feedback that enables a quest for excellence. To be constantly diffused in a global mush is to embrace mundanity.”
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The mill by Alksnyte (via http://flic.kr/p/kCaVda )
Stillness is the third space between spaces of action and reflection. A space that vanishes if life becomes too frictionless and reliably provisioned.
Much remains unclear. Does “critical design” have “users” or an “audience?” Does it have “patrons” or a “viewership?” Is it a craft, or some form of activism? It’s also unsettled whether its main concerns are, or should be, functional prototypes, diegetic special FX, speculative online videos, design-museum dioramas, or performance art and/or experiential happenings. It’s hard to believe that any designer, however Eamesian and polymathic, will ever be good at doing all these things at once.
22 January, 09.17 by Ti.mo (via http://flic.kr/p/kadG5x )
Niente zucchero nel caffè by Lorenzo Carnevali (via http://flic.kr/p/kxTdgC )
24 January, 22.44 by Ti.mo (via http://flic.kr/p/kyRoS5 )
Writing from photographs seems as though it should produce the same effect, sharpening the way we convert experiences and events into prose. I suspect that it also changes not only what we write but how we write it. It’s no coincidence that the rise of the selfie coincides with the age of autobiography.
The system, eerily reminiscent of the telescreens evoked in George Orwell’s 1984, was used for experiments in automated facial recognition, to monitor GCHQ’s existing targets, and to discover new targets of interest. Such searches could be used to try to find terror suspects or criminals making use of multiple, anonymous user IDs. Rather than collecting webcam chats in their entirety, the program saved one image every five minutes from the users’ feeds, partly to comply with human rights legislation, and also to avoid overloading GCHQ’s servers. The documents describe these users as “unselected” – intelligence agency parlance for bulk rather than targeted collection.
Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, 29/10/2011 by STML (via http://flic.kr/p/kwpd83 )
A trip to Mars, with its invisible technology and vast, unprecedented distance from home, could estrange or alienate a crew to an unprecedented degree. Such a distance could produce an entirely new kind of boredom, impossible to imagine on Earth.
2014027 (via http://flic.kr/p/kw7aBr )
Oenococcus oeni is the main lactic acid bacterium that carries out the malolactic fermentation in virtually all red wines and in some white and sparkling wines. Oenococcus oeni possesses an array of metabolic activities that can modify the taste and aromatic properties of wine. There is, therefore, industrial interest in the proteins involved in these metabolic pathways and related transport systems of this bacterium. In this work, we report the characterization of the O. oeni ATCC BAA-1163 proteome.
To date, there has been relatively little consumption of alcohol in space and on the Moon, but that could be set to change. With space tourism taking off, new lunar missions on the horizon and manned expeditions aiming further into space – with all its stresses – could a new era of zero gravity libations be next? Join Sam Bompas of Bompas & Parr and David Lane of The Gourmand for a speculative look and the past, present and future of alcohol in space. From Buzz Aldrin’s legendary Holy Communion on the Moon to sherry experiments aboard Skylab and ceremonial ‘vodka’ consumption aboard the ISS, we’ll discuss the secret history of a slightly tipsy space age and ask what role our favourite poison will play in the future colonisation of the moon.
untitled by mzwarthoed (via http://flic.kr/p/kuM7YT )
While the bleeding process is clearly better for the crabs than the outright harvesting that used to occur, the study shows that there’s no such thing as free horseshoe crab blood.
I very much enjoy reading the “What Is…?” column in the Notices of the AMS. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no index to this column. I have therefore created this one in the hope that it’ll be helpful to others as well.
Horace Bristol - Shinto Shrine Melee, Japan, 1946
“The history of invention is not the history of a necessary future to which we must adapt or die, but rather of failed futures, and of futures firmly fixed in the past. We do not have a history of invention, but instead histories of the invention of only some of the technologies which were later successful”
–David Edgerton in’The Shock of the Old‘
Apple Glass (via https://twitter.com/kekness/status/305786709105336321)
The cryptocurrency craze spun into a new realm of ridiculous with Kanyecoin, Dogecoin, Ron Paul Coin and the bounty of other clone-coins that sprung up to ride the Bitcoin wave. But the latest altcoin to enter the market, Auroracoin, wants to take the futurist trend back to its cryptoanarchist roots. The altcoin was designed specifically for Iceland, and the creator plans to give every citizen of the Nordic country a digital handful of Auroracoins to kickstart their use. Auroracoin is the brainchild of cryptocurrency enthusiast Baldur Friggjar Odinsson, and he’ll be the one distributing pre-mined coins to the entire population of Iceland at midnight on March 25 in a countrywide “airdrop.” Each Icelandic citizen—all 330,000 of them—will receive 31.8 AUC through a digital transaction. Citizens all have a national ID number available through a public database, which will be used to verify their identity.
Crowdworking is often hailed by its boosters as ushering in a new age of work. With the zeal of high-tech preachers, they cast it as a space in which individualism, choice and self-determination flourish. “CrowdFlower, and others in the crowdsourcing industry, are bringing opportunities to people who never would have had them before, and we operate in a truly egalitarian fashion, where anyone who wants to can do microtasks, no matter their gender, nationality, or socio-economic status, and can do so in a way that is entirely of their choosing and unique to them,” asserts Lukas Biewald, the CEO of CrowdFlower, in an e-mail exchange. (CrowdFlower claims to have “among the largest, if not the largest, crowd” available, with roughly 100,000 workers completing tasks on any given day.) But if you happen to be a low-end worker doing the Internet’s grunt work, a different vision arises. According to critics, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk may have created the most unregulated labor marketplace that has ever existed. Inside the machine, there is an overabundance of labor, extreme competition among workers, monotonous and repetitive work, exceedingly low pay and a great deal of scamming. In this virtual world, the disparities of power in employment relationships are magnified many times over, and the New Deal may as well have never happened. As Miriam Cherry, one of the few legal scholars focusing on labor and employment law in the virtual world, has explained: “These technologies are not enabling people to meet their potential; they’re instead exploiting people.” Or, as CrowdFlower’s Biewald told an audience of young tech types in 2010, in a moment of unchecked bluntness: “Before the Internet, it would be really difficult to find someone, sit them down for ten minutes and get them to work for you, and then fire them after those ten minutes. But with technology, you can actually find them, pay them the tiny amount of money, and then get rid of them when you don’t need them anymore.”
Crowdworking is often hailed by its boosters as ushering in a new age of work. With the zeal of high-tech preachers, they cast it as a space in which individualism, choice and self-determination flourish. “CrowdFlower, and others in the crowdsourcing industry, are bringing opportunities to people who never would have had them before, and we operate in a truly egalitarian fashion, where anyone who wants to can do microtasks, no matter their gender, nationality, or socio-economic status, and can do so in a way that is entirely of their choosing and unique to them,” asserts Lukas Biewald, the CEO of CrowdFlower, in an e-mail exchange. (CrowdFlower claims to have “among the largest, if not the largest, crowd” available, with roughly 100,000 workers completing tasks on any given day.)
But if you happen to be a low-end worker doing the Internet’s grunt work, a different vision arises. According to critics, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk may have created the most unregulated labor marketplace that has ever existed. Inside the machine, there is an overabundance of labor, extreme competition among workers, monotonous and repetitive work, exceedingly low pay and a great deal of scamming. In this virtual world, the disparities of power in employment relationships are magnified many times over, and the New Deal may as well have never happened.
As Miriam Cherry, one of the few legal scholars focusing on labor and employment law in the virtual world, has explained: “These technologies are not enabling people to meet their potential; they’re instead exploiting people.” Or, as CrowdFlower’s Biewald told an audience of young tech types in 2010, in a moment of unchecked bluntness: “Before the Internet, it would be really difficult to find someone, sit them down for ten minutes and get them to work for you, and then fire them after those ten minutes. But with technology, you can actually find them, pay them the tiny amount of money, and then get rid of them when you don’t need them anymore.””
2014026 (via http://flic.kr/p/kuoQtx )
by Julia Borissova (via http://flic.kr/p/8Krp2J )
Maze (Astroba nuda) by Arne Kuilman (via http://flic.kr/p/e71Z2b )
“Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice… No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh
Casper Mounts-Southern View by giovanni paccaloni (via http://flic.kr/p/5NJ4u1 )
cableguys by jonathan_pui (via http://flic.kr/p/5uEGp5 )
The belief that agency can be distributed is hard to internalize even after you’ve been intellectually convinced. I nodded along as I read Mike’s posts last year, but I keep catching myself acting in violation of these beliefs. As an example but without intending to get bogged down in politics, it’s easy to read about congressional corruption and gain a sense that all congressmen are bad people. Then you might read a story about a specific congressman and think, “hmm, he wasn’t so bad.” Ok, so maybe he’s an exception. Or today’s congressmen are more corrupt. But there’s a third possible synthesis that the mind shies away from: perhaps the system made them that way. Perhaps sequences of simple actions that are each beyond reproach can cause the group as a whole to grow hostile toward the people who form it or who caused it to be formed.
What can we learn by mapping pace against panarchy? Picture a stack of adaptive cycles, with frantic fashion at the bottom, and nature’s biophysical processes, broad and slow, at the top. Reaching from each cyclic layer down to the next is an arrow labeled “remember,” for memory is an important influence that slower cycles exert on faster ones. And stretching from each cycle up to the next is the arrow “revolt,” representing the actions that, in the time of the back loop – of release and subsequent renewal – can enact structural shifts in the cycles above.
The loss of ecological resilience (Holling 1973, 1996) tests the adaptive capacity of the human dimensions of the system. Patterns of abrupt change (Gunderson 2003) are described, in a handful of heuristics, by (1) an adaptive cycle, (2) panarchy, (3) resilience, (4) adaptability, and (5) transformability. The first two describe the dynamics of systems within and across scales, whereas the last three are the properties of social-ecological systems that determine these dynamics. Each is described in the following sections, and together they provide the foundation for the subsequent propositions.
The problem that crops up in all discussions of this kind, however, is the ambiguity of the term “work,” particularly in a capitalist society. It has at least three distinct meanings that are relevant. One, it can mean activity that is necessary for the continuation of human civilization, what Engels called “the production and reproduction of the immediate essentials of life.” Two, it can mean the activity that people undertake in exchange for money, in order to secure the means of continued existence. Three, it can mean what Gourevitch is talking about, an activity that requires some kind of discipline and deferred gratification in pursuit of an eventual goal. These three meanings tend to get conflated all the time, even though they all appear seperately in reality. This is the point I’ve tried to make going back to my earliest writing on this topic. “Work” manifests itself in all eight possible permutations of its three meanings.
The difficulties and ambiguities in discussing wages for facebook stem from the reduction of wages for facebook to a thing, a lump of money, instead of viewing it as a political perspective. The difference between these two standpoints is enormous. To view wages for facebook as a thing rather than a perspective is to detach the end result of our struggle from the struggle itself and to miss its significance in demystifying and subverting the role to which we have been confined in capitalist society.
Science has also provided the world with images of sublime beauty: stroboscopically frozen motion, exotic organisms, distant galaxies and outer planets, fluorescing neural circuitry, and a luminous planet Earth rising above the moon’s horizon into the blackness of space. Like great works of art, these are not just pretty pictures but prods to contemplation, which deepen our understanding of what it means to be human and of our place in nature. And contrary to the widespread canard that technology has created a dystopia of deprivation and violence, every global measure of human flourishing is on the rise. The numbers show that after millennia of near-universal poverty, a steadily growing proportion of humanity is surviving the first year of life, going to school, voting in democracies, living in peace, communicating on cell phones, enjoying small luxuries, and surviving to old age. The Green Revolution in agronomy alone saved a billion people from starvation. And if you want examples of true moral greatness, go to Wikipedia and look up the entries for “smallpox” and “rinderpest” (cattle plague). The definitions are in the past tense, indicating that human ingenuity has eradicated two of the cruelest causes of suffering in the history of our kind.