Four hours of concentration

work, concentration, practice, 4hr, 10000 hours, cognitive limits

Now we also know that if you study absolute world class, best virtuoso violin players, none of them put in more than about four or so hours of practice in a day, because that’s the cognitive limit. And this limit actually shows up in a lot of different fields where people do intense training, that you really can’t do about more than four or so hours of this type of really mental strain.

http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2013/02/04/four-hours-of-concentration/

Power And The Internet

internt, security, society, power, politics, corporatism, government

All disruptive technologies upset traditional power balances, and the Internet is no exception. The standard story is that it empowers the powerless, but that’s only half the story. The Internet empowers everyone. Powerful institutions might be slow to make use of that new power, but since they are powerful, they can use it more effectively. Governments and corporations have woken up to the fact that not only can they use the Internet, they can control it for their interests. Unless we start deliberately debating the future we want to live in, and information technology in enabling that world, we will end up with an Internet that benefits existing power structures and not society in general.

https://www.schneier.com/essay–409.html

There is so much photography, especially of a ‘seriouss’ [sic!] nature, that ties you up in knots, that seeks to put you into a…

“There is so much photography, especially of a ‘seriouss’ [sic!] nature, that ties you up in knots, that seeks to put you into a particular place in the way that you see and understand it. It’s a kind of photographic correctness, where even though you may agree wholeheartedly with what is being said or shown, the resentment at being forced to agree with the sentiments of the work, the inability of the work to offer even a second dimension or alternative perspective makes one want to disagree with it just for the sake of it. It’s Stupid Photography that doesn’t enlighten or engage, but just shuts things up and makes one long for something that is open and free. Photography isn’t always open or free.”

Colin Pantall

A Short Rant About Working Remotely

work, working remotely, telepresence, collaboration, research

Pretty much all the evidence (rather than anecdote) I can find shows that co-located teams in a single team room environment are the most productive - all other things being equal. (And I’m saying this as somebody who spends a lot of their time working from home, and talking to other folk over Skype, etc. There are reasons for telecommuting - personal preference, getting access to people who cannot co-locate, etc. But for business productivity I’m not seeing much, if any, evidence).

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5145097

Climate change signals the end of the social sciences

climate, climate change, anthropocence, nature, culture, modernism, Latour

This human-nature hybrid is true not just of the climate system, but of the planet as a whole, although it would be enough for it to be true of the climate system. We know from the new discipline of Earth system science that changes in the atmosphere affect not just the weather but the Earth’s hydrosphere (the watery parts), the biosphere (living creatures) and even the lithosphere (the Earth’s crust). They are all linked by the great natural cycles and processes that make the planet so dynamic. In short, everything is in play.

http://theconversation.edu.au/climate-change-signals-the-end-of-the-social-sciences–11722

English plainclothes police officer follows himself for 20 minutes

CCTV, panoptocon, panopticomic, surveilance, autocriminalsation, follow

An undercover police officer in Sussex, England, shadowed a suspicious character through the streets a small market town for 20 minutes, following directions passed to him by a CCTV operator who guided him towards the suspect. After 20 minutes, the CCTV operator realized that the “suspicious character” was the police officer himself.

http://boingboing.net/2012/02/08/english-plainclothes-police-of.html

With New Constitution, Post-Collapse Iceland Inches Toward Direct Democracy

iceland, collapsonomics, post-collapse, economics, politics, consitution, althingi

In late 2009, the Ministry organized a 1,000-member strong national gathering - a drill in collaborative “Where do we go from here?” brainstorming involving randomly selected citizens and a few handpicked prominent thinkers (Magnusson and Jónsdóttir were there). Groups of participants bounced ideas off each other, ultimately formulating a list of shared values. The summit organizers, through Magnusson and his tech-nerd compatriots, took those suggestions and came up with an aggregation of cherished mores in short order. Not long after the discussions finished - thanks to social media crowdsourcing - Iceland had a decent estimate of its moral compass.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/14097-with-new-constitution-post-collapse-iceland-inches-toward-direct-democracy

UBS: Boom in unsubsidised solar PV flags energy revolution

solar, PV, UBS, power, electricity

“We are at the beginning of a new era in power markets,” the UBS analysts write. ”Purely based on economics, we believe almost every family home and every commercial rooftop in Germany, Italy and Spain should be equipped with a solar system by the end of this decade.” It says up to 18% of electricity demand could be replaced by self-produced solar power in these markets, at the expense of centralised generation. Even as soon as 2020, up to 43GW of unsubsidised solar could be installed in Germany, Italy and Spain, replacing up to 9 per cent of electricity demand. This is on top of reduction in demand caused by energy efficiency measures and weak GDP growth.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/ubs-boom-in-unsubsidised-solar-pv-flags-energy-revolution–60218

Ghost Army

theoddmentemporium:

Ghost Army

The Ghost Army was a United States Army tactical deception unit during World War II officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. The 1,100-man unit was given a unique mission within the Army to impersonate other U.S. Army units to deceive the enemy.

From a few weeks after D-Day, when they landed in France, until the end of the war, they put on a traveling road show, using inflatable tanks, sound trucks, phony radio transmissions and playacting. They staged more than 20 battlefield deceptions, often operating very close to the front lines. Their mission was kept secret until 1996, and elements of it remain classified.

[Image Source]

02012 (366) in review

366_averaged

During the 366 days of 2012 i managed to take at least one photo per day. This collection can be found in the set 02012 (366) and forms a reasonable approximation of what i found interesting to photograph and where i happend to be at various points during the year. With the help of the Flickr API here is something of an overview…

Hypothes.is

annotation, web, information, ope

Hypothes.is will be a distributed, open-source platform for the collaborative evaluation of information. It will enable sentence-level critique of written words combined with a sophisticated yet easy-to-use model of community peer-review. It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books, terms of service, ballot initiatives, legislation and regulations, software code and more-without requiring participation of the underlying site.

http://hypothes.is/what-is-it

Open Annotation Collaboration

annotation, web, online, information, collaboration

The overarching goals of the Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC) are to facilitate to emergence of a Web and resource-centric interoperable annotation environment that allows leveraging annotations across the boundaries of annotation clients, annotation servers, and content collections, to demonstrate the utility of this environment, and to see widespread adoption of this environment.

http://openannotation.org/

What’s causing Australia’s heat wave?

au, australia, temperature, wether, climate, climate change, heatwave

As things currently stand, the first two weeks of January 2013 now hold the records for the hottest Australian day on record, the hottest two-day period on record, the hottest three-day period, the hottest four-day period and, well, every sequential-days record stretching from one to 14 days for daily mean temperatures.

http://theconversation.edu.au/whats-causing-australias-heat-wave–11628

Lessig - Prosecutor as Bully

aaronsw, aaron swartz, MIT, JSTOR, obituary

Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you.

http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully

In its new design, Google’s search engine doesn’t push us outward; it turns us inward. It gives us information that fits the…

“In its new design, Google’s search engine doesn’t push us outward; it turns us inward. It gives us information that fits the behavior and needs and biases we have displayed in the past, as meticulously interpreted by Google’s algorithms. Because it reinforces the existing state of the self rather than challenging it, it subverts the act of searching. We find out little about anything, least of all ourselves, through self-absorption.”

The searchers | ROUGH TYPE (viadesigningforserendipity)

Boil the Frog

music, graph, echo nest, remix, playlist, similarity, frog boiling

Boil the Frog lets you create a playlist of songs that gradually takes you from one music style to another. It’s like the proverbial frog in the pot of water. If you heat up the pot slowly enough, the frog will never notice that he’s being made into a stew and jump out of the pot. With a Boil the frog playlist you can do the same, but with music.

http://static.echonest.com/frog/?src=nurse%20with%20wound&dest=men%20at%20work

While we could subjectively define “vegetal intelligence” as another facet of multiple intelligences, such a definition does not…

“While we could subjectively define “vegetal intelligence” as another facet of multiple intelligences, such a definition does not further our understanding of either intelligence or plant biology. The question, I posit, should not be whether or not plants are intelligent—it will be ages before we all agree on what that term means; the question should be, “Are plants aware?” and, in fact, they are.”

Chamovitz, Daniel.What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses. New York, NY: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. (viacarvalhais)

Dark Ecology | Paul Kingsnorth

collapsonomics, dark mountain, ecology, neo-environmentalists, kingsnorth, kareiva, limits to growth

The green movement, which seemed to be carrying all before it in the early 1990s, has plunged into a full-on midlife crisis. Unable to significantly change either the system or the behavior of the public, assailed by a rising movement of “skeptics” and by public boredom with being hectored about carbon and consumption, colonized by a new breed of corporate spivs for whom “sustainability” is just another opportunity for selling things, the greens are seeing a nasty realization dawn: despite all their work, their passion, their commitment and the fact that most of what they have been saying has been broadly right—they are losing. There is no likelihood of the world going their way. In most green circles now, sooner or later, the conversation comes round to the same question: what the hell do we do next?

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7277/