The Internet Didn’t Kill the Middle Class; Laxity and Apathy Did

collapsonomics, emptywheel, decay, manufacturing, employment, labour, capital

It wasn’t the rise of digitization that killed the middle class. It was the insufficiency of protests among U.S. brain power, including publicly-funded academics, failing to advocate for labor and home-grown innovation; their ignorance about the nature of blue collar jobs and the creative output they help realize compounded the problem. Manufacturing has increasingly reduced man hours in tandem with productivity-increasing technological improvements. It wasn’t the internet that killed these jobs, though technology reduced some of them. The inability to plan for the necessary shift of jobs to other fields revealed the lack of comprehensive, forward-thinking manufacturing and labor policies.

Antitrust: Commission confirms unannounced inspections in oil and biofuels sectors

EU, EC, antitrust, price fixing, collusion, derivatives

The European Commission can confirm that, on 14 May 2013, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies active in and providing services to the crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels sectors. These inspections took place in two EU Member States. At the Commission’s request, inspections were also carried out on its behalf by the EFTA Surveillance Authority in one European Economic Area (EEA) Member State. The Commission has concerns that the companies may have colluded in reporting distorted prices to a Price Reporting Agency to manipulate the published prices for a number of oil and biofuel products. Furthermore, the Commission has concerns that the companies may have prevented others from participating in the price assessment process, with a view to distorting published prices.–13–435_en.htm

Multics Emacs History/Design/Implementation

emacs, multics, paleocomputing, history, computing, computers

Multics is no longer produced or offered for sale; Honeywell no longer even makes computers. People edit on computers on their desktop so cheap and fast that not only do redisplay algorithms no longer matter, but the whole idea of autonomous redisplay in a display editor is no longer a given (although autonomous redisplay’s illustrious child, WYSIWYG, is now the standard paradigm of the industry.). There is now no other kind of editor besides what we then called the “video editor”. Thus, all of the battles, acrimony, and invidious or arrogant comparisons in what follows are finished and done with, and to be viewed in the context of 1979 – this is a historical document about Multics and the evolution of an editor. It is part of the histories of Multics, of Emacs, and of Lisp.


OA, open access, research, science, CERN

All research outputs from all fields of science are welcome. In the upload form you can choose between types of files: publications (book, book section, conference paper, journal article, patent, preprint, report, thesis, technical note, working paper), posters, presentations, images (figures, plots, drawings, diagrams, photos) and videos/audio. We do check every piece of content being uploaded to ensure it is research related.

Click to zoom in on this gorgeous visualization of Kowloon’s Walled City, demolished twenty years ago this month. The…


Click to zoom in on this gorgeous visualization of Kowloon’s Walled City, demolished twenty years ago this month. The illustration is from an article from the South China Morning Post, which includes a short history of the place and more stories from people who used to live there:

It was once thought to be the most densely populated place on earth, with 35,000 people crammed into a few tiny apartment blocks and more than 300 interconnected high-rise buildings, all constructed without contributions from a single architect.

Edible Insects: future prospects for feed and food security

food, food security, UN, FAO, insects, diet

The book “Edible Insects: future prospects for feed and food security” was launched at the conference, after years of compiling a database of the insects people eat around the world. The protein in many insects can be about the same as lean red meat or fish, but the insects require far less feed to produce the same quantity of meat as a cow, for example.

Engineering the $325,000 In-Vitro Burger

meat, tissue culture, food, biotech, biology

The hamburger, assembled from tiny bits of beef muscle tissue grown in a laboratory and to be cooked and eaten at an event in London, perhaps in a few weeks, is meant to show the world — including potential sources of research funds — that so-called in-Vitro meat, or cultured meat, is a reality.–325000-in-vitro-burger.html?_r=2&hp=&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1368418364–9BbUl9iWpNavnGGiS9Hqxg&


*Just stumbled over this snapshot of Honor Harger, dressed for her usual day-job as the radiotelescopic thought-leader of the New Aesthetic.

*Somewhere in the futurist quadrant of the 2020s there’s an awesome scenario where grimy hordes of sci-fi fans suddenly take all their fashion cues from globe-trotting tech-art curators like Dr. Harger here. Then the planetary mundane regime just falls without a shot.  There’s nothing left of the War on Terror and the Austerity, the whole dark wicked interregnum just blows away like cigarette ash.

A Dictionary of Surrealism and the Graphic Image

book review, surrealism, design, typography, 1920s, 1930s, Rick Poynor

Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design uncovers the presence of an alternative tradition in graphic design. The Surrealist movement of the 1920s and 1930s focused on literature, painting, photography and the object, and the Surrealists’ publishing activities provided only hints of what a fully conceived Surrealist graphic design or typography might look like. Many of the most suggestive early examples came from Czechoslovakia, where Surrealism would become a lasting influence. Subsequently, Surrealist ideas and images had a profound impact on image-makers in every sphere of art and design, and by the 1960s the effects of Surrealism were widely felt in international graphic communication.

Text of SXSW2013 closing remarks by Bruce Sterling

Bruce Sterling, SXSW, 2013, gothic hi-tech, progress, electronic frontier, world changing, nai

It’s always the electronic frontier. Nobody ever goes back to look at the electronic forests that were cut down with chainsaws and tossed into the rivers. And then there’s this empty pretense that these innovations make the world “better.” This is a dangerous word. Like: “If we’re not making the world better, then why are we doing this at all?” Now, I don’t want to claim that this attitude is hypocritical. Because when you say a thing like that at South By: “Oh, we’re here to make the world better” — you haven’t even reached the level of hypocrisy. You’re stuck at the level of childish naivete. The world has a tragic dimension. This world does not always get better. The world has deserts. Deserts aren’t better. People don’t always get better.

Ferran Adrià and experiments in design

food, design, Ferran Adrià, dialogue

Then you can see how old we are, we still have this discourse of separate disciplines of art, design and cinema. I want a dialogue between these disciplines. With regards to innovation, cooking has a very important character, which is its immediateness. If you go to a café and order a coffee, you want it now. When you apply that to innovation, cooking can be brutal. All the designers with whom we have worked at elBulli are very surprised, because we work 10 times faster than they do. In cooking you can’t do things later, you need to do them now. Designers pick up this characteristic from us and that’s achieved through dialogue.

A Cavalier History of Situationism

SI, rhizome, McKenzie Wark, interview, work, marx, creativity, production, culture, critical theory

Well, there is no longer any difference between work and play. There’s no such thing as leisure and non-leisure. We’re all working all the friggin’ time. But when we’re working, we’re goofing off half that time anyway. Does anyone even know when they’re working anymore? I’m talking about in what the Situationists called the ‘overdeveloped’ world. I do all my work in coffee shops, and I see people constantly juggling stuff that’s either work or not work, god only knows what it is. As the grid tightens, it in certain senses becomes more diffuse.

Let’s Cut Through the Bitcoin Hype

bitcoin, security, dan kaminsky

Bitcoin’s resilience comes from a property I refer to as Too Big To Regulate. Put simply, it’s easier to tell ten people to behave, than ten thousand. So if we want a system that’s impossible to regulate, get the power in the hands of ten thousand rather than ten. But there are some factors in Bitcoin that are not Too Big To Regulate. There’s only a few parties that turn bitcoin (which teleports) into dollars (which buy stuff). There can, and will be more, but the quantity of these critical nodes is not set by Bitcoin itself.

Spatzle in space: Fellows Friday with Angelo Vermeulen

HI-SEAS, mars, food, space

The Mars simulation we’re setting up is called Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation or HI-SEAS. It’s primarily a food study. One of the main problems during long-term space travel is so-called menu fatigue. It’s basically astronauts getting tired of their food and losing appetite. By the way astronauts do not eat out of tubes and do not swallow food pills. That’s an old persistent cliché which is still in a lot of people’s minds. It’s almost an archetype of astronaut life. However this dates to the ’50s and ’60s, and has been long abandoned. The food that astronauts currently eat is pretty good, but it’s all pre-prepared. It’s add-water-and-heat, and you have your meal. But even those meals, even when they try to make variations, after a couple of months people get tired of that, and so they start to eat less. As a consequence they might also perform less, and jeopardize the mission.

First Steps Toward Learning the Language of Mycorrhizal Communication

mycorrhizae, communication, plants, signaling, biochemistry

It has been hypothesized that both fungi and bacteria interacting with plant roots do so using similar genetic mechanisms. It has already been shown that rhizobial bacteria – particularly the nitrogen fixing microbes associated with leguminous plants – produce lipochitooligosaccharide (LCO) signals used in the communication with host plants. The authors of this study discovered that the fungus Glomus intraradices, like the nitrogen-fixing bacteria, secretes an array of sulfated and non-sulfated simple LCOs which stimulated the formation of arbuscular mycorrhizae in disparately related plants, such as Medicago (Fabaceae), Daucus carota (Wild Carrot; Apiaceae), and Tagetes patula (French Marigold; Asteraceae). These compounds were found in Glomus intraradices both interacting with plant roots and in free-living resting spores in the soil.

The Extempore philosophy

programming, live coding, REPL, dynamic flexibility, lisp, scheme, xtlang

Extempore is a programming language and runtime environment designed with live programming in mind. It supports interactive programming in a REPL style, compiling and binding code just-in-time. Although Extempore has its roots in ‘live coding’ of audiovisual media art1, it is suitable for any task domain where dynamic run-time modifiability and good numerical performance are required. Extempore also has strong timing and concurrency semantics, which are helpful when working in problem spaces where timing is important (such as audio and video).–08–07-extempore-philosophy.html

Free exchange: On the origin of specie

the economist, money, currency, history, exchange, economics

MONEY is perhaps the most basic building-block in economics. It helps states collect taxes to fund public goods. It allows producers to specialise and reap gains from trade. It is clear what it does, but its origins are a mystery. Some argue that money has its roots in the power of the state. Others claim the origin of money is a purely private matter: it would exist even if governments did not. This debate is long-running but it informs some of the most pressing monetary questions of today.

In Search of a Concrete Music

Pierre Schaeffer, music, history, musique concrete, frieze

Recorded sound was first imagined as long ago as 1552. In the fourth book of François Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, there’s a tale about crossing the Frozen Sea where, the previous winter, there had been a battle between two warring tribes. The noise of combat had turned to ice but, as the sea unfroze, so too did the sounds, pouring forth in a torrent of war cries, whinnying horses and clashing weapons. This ‘cryosonic’ notion of sound as a solid, retrievable object appealed so much to Pierre Schaeffer that, in 1952, he created a piece called Les paroles dégelées (Thawed Words), in which he altered the timbre of a voice reading Rabelais’ work aloud by various tape manipulation techniques – a process he had already dubbed musique concrète.

Tracking whole colonies shows ants make career moves

ants, entomology, science, tracking, superorganism

The team reared six colonies of carpenter ants (Camponotus fellah) in the lab and tagged each worker with paper containing a unique barcode-like symbol. The colonies — each comprising more than 100 ants — lived in flat enclosures filmed by overhead cameras. A computer automatically recognized the tags and recorded each individual’s position twice per second (see video below). Over 41 days, the researchers collected more than 2.4 billion readings and documented 9.4 million interactions between the workers.–1.12833

Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly

science, organic, food, drosophila, experiment, health

The research, titled “Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster,” tracked the effects of organic and conventional diets on the health of fruit flies. By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce.

Dronestagram: The Drone’s-Eye View

drones, networks, legibility, james bridle, instagram, drone stickes, warface, warfare

Dronestagram posts images from Google Maps Satellite view to Instagram, and syndicates this feed to Tumblr and Twitter, along with short summaries of each site. You can follow Dronestagram at any of these locations. Most of the records of strikes so far are drawn from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which compiles reports from Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

Unmanned Aerial Ecologies

drones, art, honor harger, hh, bozar, talk, Marko Peljhan, bitplane, trevor paglen, kate rich, nat

Today, a new generation of practitioners his emerged who are monitoring and critiquing the use of drones not only for military purposes, but also for civilian activities. Their hallmark is a playful curiosity, about how these technologies may be integrated into our daily lives. Working in parallel to the growing movement of UAVers, the ham radio operators of the drone world, these artists and makers, are hacking freely available UAV technology to create unusual aerial antics. But whilst these blithe, inquiring actions are needed and valid, in the meantime, the drone-war continues, with hundreds of civilians killed each year, its remit ever expanding. It would seem that now more than ever, robust critical, tactical media interventions, are urgently required.

Two sciences separated by a common language

language, jargon, communication, boundaries, interdiscipline

One thing that gets in the way of this communication is jargon. Jargon is shorthand that helps people in a field communicate with each other. Needless to say, it can be a huge problem when communicating with the public. But jargon can also be a problem when you’re talking to other scientists. Not only is some of this niche speak meaningless outside its specific field, but in other fields it can sometimes mean something else entirely.