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

Meet the Company That Secretly Built ‘Cuban Twitter’

the atlantic, zunzuneo, state, security, NSA, US, surveillance, politics, business, cuba, tunisia

If ZunZuneo looks ridiculous in retrospect, it’s because 2011 is a different country. We now know U.S. security apparatus may threaten the “open Internet” as much as an oppressive government, if not more. Clinton’s speeches as secretary of state dwell on freedom of expression but not freedom from surveillance, and now—following the NSA revelations—we have a good idea why. Beyond all this, as sociologist Zeynep Tufecki writes, it’s likely that the failure of ZunZuneo will threaten online activism abroad, even if it’s not associated with the U.S. government.

The answer to yesterday’s Hump Day Head Scratcher:


The answer to yesterday’s Hump Day Head Scratcher:

“I went to the railway station followed by two photographers who, with Polaroid cameras, documented by journey moment by moment. They photographed me while I was getting my ticket, buying a newspaper, having my shoes shined, getting on the train, getting off and taking a taxi. Once at the Galleria 2000 I started putting up the pictures on the wall and I put my ticket in the box attached to the opposite wall especially for this purpose. The two photographers carried on taking pictures and the new ones were then added to the others. In this way, the exhibition was self-constructing, self-generating. Whoever came to see the exhibition was immediately incorporated, multiplied, recorded, caught in unrepeatable instants, and this destroyed the space of contemplation to open it up to action. At a certain point I took back my ticket and left.”

Franco Vaccari
Exhibition in real time n.2 Journey + rite, 1971

To cover their tracks, they decided to have a company based in the United Kingdom set up a corporation in Spain to run ZunZuneo….

twitter, Cuba, ZunZineo, infowar

To cover their tracks, they decided to have a company based in the United Kingdom set up a corporation in Spain to run ZunZuneo. A separate company called MovilChat was created in the Cayman Islands, a well-known offshore tax haven, with an account at the island’s Bank of N.T. Butterfield& Son Ltd. to pay the bills.

A memo of the meeting in Barcelona says that the front companies would distance ZunZuneo from any U.S. ownership so that the “money trail will not trace back to America.”

US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest (viaiamdanw)

Speculative Design and Contemporary Food Cultures

food, food design, spectacle, culture, fibre culture, Carl DiSalvo

Although public interest in food is not new, there seems to be a reinvigorated attentiveness to food in contemporary society. Multiple factors are at play in this. In part this reinvigorated attentiveness to food stems from an increasing awareness of the connection between kinds of food, modes of food production, and health. In part it stems from the topic of sustainability and the realization that changes in agricultural practices could help foster a more sustainable society. For some, this attention to food is as an act against previous paradigms of domestic convenience. And, in part this reinvigorated attentiveness to food stems from access to a greater diversity of food and thereby an ability to experiment with different foodstuffs and cuisines.–142-spectacles-and-tropes-speculative-design-and-contemporary-food-cultures/

This is one reason merchant seafaring is still, by some accounts, the world’s second-most-dangerous occupation, after commercial…

“This is one reason merchant seafaring is still, by some accounts, the world’s second-most-dangerous occupation, after commercial fishing. According to Imperial College London, 200 supertankers and container ships have sunk in the past two decades due to weather. Wolfgang Rosenthal, a scientist at the European Space Agency, which studies sea conditions via satellite, estimates that two “large ships” sink every week on average. Most of these, he says, “simply get put down to bad weather.’ “”

Monsterwellen (viaiamdanw)

The House of the Octopus

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The House of the Octopus: Essays on the Real-Life ‘Cthulhu Cult’ of the Pacific edited by Jason Colavito.

imageJason Colavito The House of the Octopus

Well, who knew? Jason Colavito has unearthed some late-19th-century accounts of cults involving an actual octopus god in the South Pacific. The sources are proto-anthropologists and scholar-missionaries, whose accounts often acquire the tone of a travelogue, and come close to the narrative tone used by some of Lovecraft’s scholarly protagonists. There is nothing here to contradict “The Call of Cthulhu,” and the notion of a sleeping-not-slain cephalopod deity is practically confirmed by these pages.

Of particular note is the Samoan temple ruin referenced in the title of the volume. The “House of the Octopus” (O le Fale o le Fe’e) was evidently distinctive for its stone vertical supports, a design otherwise absent in the island environment where plenty of trees were to hand for building pillars. Although the cuttlefish god continued to be reverenced, this site was already in long disuse by the 19th century, and the writers represented here had the opportunity of discovering it as a “lost” site (with the aid of knowledgeable locals).

Colavito has provided a rather minimal editorial service here, pulling the five source essays together into a single, brief volume that he has issued through His foreword provides little more than a reassurance that the materials are in factual earnest. He seems sure that Lovecraft didn’t know about the Samoan cuttlefish cult, but I have to wonder. See, for example, the reference to the Australian Buddai in “The Shadow Out of Time” for evidence of HPL’s study in this sort of material.

At some point, optical character recognition (OCR) was used to gather these texts, and they have suffered for it. Insufficient care was taken to eliminate artifacts like “rougli” for “rough,” and “cither” for “either” (both on p. 5, with many more to come). The cover design is attractive and appropriate, featuring a detail from an Enoch Arden engraving of 1869, and the book is a slim, convenient digest for the use of latter-day Miskatonic University students. [via]

Originally posted on The Hermetic Library Blog at

Big data: are we making a big mistake?

big data, analytics, google, flu, correlation, theory, theory-free

Four years after the original Nature paper was published, Nature News had sad tidings to convey: the latest flu outbreak had claimed an unexpected victim: Google Flu Trends. After reliably providing a swift and accurate account of flu outbreaks for several winters, the theory-free, data-rich model had lost its nose for where flu was going. Google’s model pointed to a severe outbreak but when the slow-and-steady data from the CDC arrived, they showed that Google’s estimates of the spread of flu-like illnesses were overstated by almost a factor of two.–11e3-a09a–00144feabdc0.html#axzz2xS1VXiUc

Processing —


#Processing —

Original photo:

Lindsey Wixson on the set of i-D Wink! Photographed by Beto Cabrera

Passionate beliefs produce either progress or disaster, not stability. Science, even when it attacks traditional beliefs, has…

“Passionate beliefs produce either progress or disaster, not stability. Science, even when it attacks traditional beliefs, has beliefs of its own, and can scarcely flourish in an atmosphere of literary skepticism. … And without science, democracy is impossible.”

Timeless wisdom fromBertrand Russell onhuman nature, education, the root of progress, and the heart of the good life.  (viaexplore-blog)

No, Nasa Does Not Think Civilization Is About To Collapse

collapsonomics, Nafeez Ahmed, collapse, reductionism, problems

A model with this few equations will always provide egregious predictions about “industrial collapse”. Anyone who spends more than two minutes looking on Gapminder will recognise that inter-country differences are so vast that using eight equations to accurately model humanity is like replicating the Sistine Chapel using a crayon.

Seeing Machines

Trevor Paglen, seeing machines, photography

Seeing machines is an expansive definition of photography. It is intended to encompass the myriad ways that not only humans use technology to “see” the world, but the ways machines see the world for other machines. Seeing machines includes familiar photographic devices and categories like viewfinder cameras and photosensitive films and papers, but quickly moves far beyond that. It embraces everything from iPhones to airport security backscatter-imaging devices, from electro-optical reconnaissance satellites in low-earth orbit, to QR code readers at supermarket checkouts, from border checkpoint facial-recognition surveillance cameras to privatized networks of Automated License Plate Recognition systems, and from military wide-area-airborne-surveillance systems, to the roving cameras on board legions of Google’s Street View” cars.

Scripts (for Seeing Machines)

Trevor Paglen, seeing machines, photography

21st Century “photography” has come to encompass so many different kinds of technologies, imaging apparatuses, and practices that the kinds of things we easily recognize as photography (cameras, film, prints, etc.) now actually constitute an exception to the rule. I proposed a much broader definition – seeing machines. The point of having such an expanded definition is to help us notice and recognize the myriad ways in which imaging systems (including traditional cameras), and the images they produce, are both ubiquitous, and actively sculpting the world in ways that were unimaginable just a few decades ago.

Jon asked various colleagues to manage lists like all those names ending in .com, and others ending in .org, etc. He maintained…

“Jon asked various colleagues to manage lists like all those names ending in .com, and others ending in .org, etc. He maintained a list, called the root, of those names. It was Jon who agreed to create .uk for those interested in United Kingdom-themed domain names. When he realized that domain names were taking on real meaning to people, he looked for other ways to create names rather than just deciding on his own. (For countries, he found a list of country names maintained by the International Standards Organization and stuck to it—creating names for lots of peoples whose governments hadn’t formally asked for them.) And when disputes came up, he looked for consensus to settle them, such as when there was objection over the person originally entrusted to maintain names under .pn, for Pitcairn Island, population 50. (The objection was lodged by the entire adult population of Pitcairn Island, with the exception of the trustee and his wife.) It took years to settle the issue.”

U.S. Withdraws from ICANN: Why It’s No Big Deal | New Republic (viaiamdanw)

an· i· so· tro· py : the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties…

robotics, 3dprinting, anisotropic, geometry, sculpture, architecture, form, aesthetics

video link


an· i· so· tro· py : the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties in all directions. Anisotropic Formations is a proto-architectural exploration of anisotropic aesthetics and structures through vector based 3d printing. Taking inspiration from 3d printed fashion, composite sail manufacturing and experimental application of 6-axis robotics, the project takes the anisotropic approach as both an aesthetic and a fabrication logic. Anisotropic geometry is vector-based and is directionally dependent. Combinations of these vectors result in rich surface and 3d qualities of varied densities, hierarchies and multi-directional layering. There was an imperative to pursue this design research in a post-digital platform, stepping out from the Euclidean flatness of the computer screen onto the non-Euclidean platform of the physical. Plastic extrusion provided direct access to vector geometry in physical space, enriching it with material agency. Flexibility of the scaffold allowed for multiple configurations and other possibilities. The project was realized through a series of iterations that subjected the design agenda to a series of different machining workspaces and digital-to-physical workflows. From Cartesian workspace of a conventional 3d printer to spherical workspace of multi-axis collaborative robotics and from vector based workflows of 3d modeling to motion based work flows of animation. Anisotropic Formations_SCI-Arc 13FA_Testa ESTm Vertical Studio Team: Salvador Cortez / Cheng Lu / Avra Tomara / Nikita Troufanov Instructor: Peter Testa
 Robot Lab Coordinator: Jake Newsum Anisotropic Formations Nikita Troufanov