Let’s admit it: Britain is now a developing country

UK, empire, decay, collapsonomics, development, OECD, WEF

How can any nation that came up with the BBC and the NHS be considered in the same breath as India or China? Let me refer you to one of the first lines of The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor, in which a wise old man warns International Monetary Fund officials and foreign dignatories: “India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay.”


green data center | MISFITS’ ARCHITECTURE

green data center | MISFITS’ ARCHITECTURE

People, listen! Our world is being reshaped by these buildings, not by shopping malls, culture centres and opera houses – as architects might like to have us believe. Functional connectivity and function fields are just quaint ideas from the past. Finding new architectural representations for “can you bring me that file please, Miss Jones?” or “come over here and look, feel and buy this!” are concepts as outdated as Miss Jones bringing it or feeling something before you buy it. Complex architecture is said to be needed to represent this new and complex world we live in, but that’s clearly a lie. THESE are the buildings that are making our world new and complex and, as you can see, they don’t care what you think of them. I wouldn’t trust them even if they did. These buildings are the new vernacular of our times. Everything else is just representational retro.

Spy agencies in covert push to infiltrate virtual world of online gaming

NSA, GCHQ, infiltration, WoW, gaming, real time, everything is under control

To the National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors, the situation was clear: their current surveillance efforts were lacking something. The agency’s impressive arsenal of cable taps and sophisticated hacking attacks was not enough. What it really needed was a horde of undercover Orcs.


Farmville Gang Cons Romanian Government for $681,000 (€500,000) “Virtual” Cows Funds

EU, subsidies, con, crime, farmville, game, facebook, scam, Romania

A gang of Romanian Farmville-like enthusiasts insist they never realized that the government funds given for farming are actually for real animals and not fake ones like those on Facebook, deciding that their imaginary cows deserve the same treatment as the other milk-giving animals. In other words, they ripped off authorities using one of the oldest scams in the book, made possible by bureaucracy. The gang claimed they held eight cow farms with a total of 1,860 animals and received subsidies of almost $163 (€120) per cow for three years.






Yodaville is a fake city in the Arizona desert used for bombing runs by the U.S. Air Force. Writing for Air & Space Magazine back in 2009, Ed Darack wrote that, while tagging along on a training mission, he noticed “a small town in the distance-which, as we got closer, proved to have some pretty big buildings, some of them four stories high.”

As one instructor tells Darack, “The urban layout is actually very similar to the terrain in many villages in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (io9)

Homage to the Idols of Idleness

NYT, idleness, doing nothing, time, perception, structure, order, GTD, curiosity

Over the centuries, the illusion of mastering time through obedience to it came into acceptance. Across Europe, the medieval monastery’s bell tolled as a reminder to eat, sleep and pray. But while there must have been some soul’s release in relinquishing earthly sovereignty to that sound, as the clock’s authority spread, we sealed all the gaps through which curiosity might seep into our days. Curiosity, after all, could lure the susceptible way off track, as the Italian poet Petrarch learned in the spring of 1336, when he famously climbed Mont Ventoux, motivated by “nothing but the desire to see its conspicuous height.” One of the texts he carried along was Saint Augustine’s “Confessions,” detailing the moral dangers of such expeditions, when men “go out to admire the mountains,” or the course of the stars, and therein forget themselves. Chastened, Petrarch made his descent in silence.


The tiny Channel Island of Alderney is launching an audacious bid to become the first jurisdiction to mint physical Bitcoins,…

The tiny Channel Island of Alderney is launching an audacious bid to become the first jurisdiction to mint physical Bitcoins, amid a global race to capitalise on the booming virtual currency.

The three-mile long British crown dependency has been working on plans to issue physical Bitcoins in partnership with the UK’s Royal Mint since the summer, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.

It wants to launch itself as the first international centre for Bitcoin transactions by setting up a cluster of services that are compliant with anti-money laundering rules, including exchanges, payment services and a Bitcoin storage vault.

The special Bitcoin would be part of the Royal Mint’s commemorative collection, which includes limited edition coins and stamps that are normally bought by collectors. It would have a gold content – a figure of £500-worth has been proposed – so that holders could conceivably melt and sell the metal if the exchange value of the currency were to collapse.

Today’s Strange Bitcoin Idea, The Gold Backed Bitcoin - Forbes

[Jürgen Aschoff’s] experiments in a disused Munich bunker in the 1960s were the first to reveal the body’s independent…

[Jürgen Aschoff’s] experiments in a disused Munich bunker in the 1960s were the first to reveal the body’s independent sleep-wake cycle in its naked state. For several weeks, Aschoff’s subjects lived in isolation, collecting their own urine and monitoring their body temperatures. Dim lights were entirely under their control, but no time information from the outside world was allowed, and when Acshoff’s staff arrived with supplies, they even randomized the stubble-length on their faces so as not to give away clues.

Out of that gloom emerged the first proof of the body’s independent clock, cementing Aschoff’s standing as a founder of chronobiology. With no sunrise to provide external calibration, his subjects still tended to sleep for about eight hours. However, their waking period stretched slightly beyond 16 hours, revealing an internal clock that ran 20 minutes slower than the 24-hour day. Their days settled into a pattern of about 24.3 hours. And so with each passing day, the bunker residents went to sleep later and later until they were entirely out of sync with the rhythms of German life bustling above their heads.

Jessica Gamble looks at the science of how long you would sleep in a world without clocks. Chronobiology is an altogether fascinating field, yielding enormous insight intohow our internal clocks drive us.  (viaexplore-blog)

The kind of thinking that makes a distinction between thought and feeling is just one of those forms of demagogy that causes…

The kind of thinking that makes a distinction between thought and feeling is just one of those forms of demagogy that causes lots of trouble for people by making them suspicious of things that they shouldn’t be suspicious or complacent of.

For people to understand themselves in this way seems to be very destructive, and also very culpabilizing. These stereotypes of thought versus feeling, heart versus head, male versus female were invented at a time when people were convinced that the world was going in a certain direction — that is, toward technocracy, rationalization, science, and so on — but they were all invented as a defense against Romantic values.

Susan Sontag on our culture’s toxic polarities (viaexplore-blog)

How to Burst the “Filter Bubble”

research, arxiv, filter, filter buble, filter failure, clique, algorithmic mediation

Computer scientists have discovered a way to number-crunch an individual’s own preferences to recommend content from others with opposing views. The goal? To burst the “filter bubble” that surrounds us with people we like and content that we agree with.


I just Chased him through a bitcoin tumbler, and when he Came out with 96,000 BTC, I was Waiting for Him

sheep scam, crime, analysis, btc bitcoin, tumbler, bitcoin

I’ve been a very busy boy. All day, we’ve been chasing the scoundrel with our stolen bitcoins through the blockchain. Around lunchtime (UK), I was chasing him across the roof of a moving train, (metaphorically). I was less than 20 minutes, or 2 blockchain confirmations, behind “Tomas”. He was desperately creating new wallet addresses and moving his 49 retirement wallets through them, but having to wait for 3 or 4 confirmations each time before moving them again. Each time I caught up, I “666"ed him - sent 0.00666 bitcoins to mess up his lovely round numbers like 4,000. Then,all of a sudden, decimal places started appearing, and fractions of bitcoins were jumping from wallet to wallet like grasshoppers on a hotplate without stopping for confirmations.


sentient closet-based AI

AI, barbie, games, new uncanny, GLaDOS

This is a game in which a sentient closet-based AI locks four girls in a room (with giant metal barriers) because one of them smudged her make-up, and forces them to repeatedly apply lipstick and eyeliner to freakishly giant doll heads until he is satisfied. That’s not my arch interpretation of events. That’s what actually happens.


I created a data visualization with #processing to show the distribution of selfies across instagram. This was fun and only took…


I created a data visualization with #processing to show the distribution of selfies across instagram. This was fun and only took a couple hours to code up. Massing of form mostly shows geographic popularity and distribution. Large “bubbles” show particularly popular selfies. I took a 1000 image sample size at 11:55PM PST of the latest uploads. Of those 1000, 200 had location data that made them “mappable.” 

I’ll try and make a few more of these with different timestamps and perhaps it will begin to tell a more detailed story?

The Reddit tic-tac-toe bot

bots, bot-making


The Reddit tic-tac-toe bot via Daily Dot

As on Twitter, courting the bot-making community has resulted in a surfeit of novelty. One user created a bot that plays tic-tac-toe in the comments of Reddit threads; another scans the comments for replies with the proper syllable count, then reformats them as a haiku. When it comes to such playful uses, though, the users who moderate subreddits tend to be less tolerant than the site’s administrators. Because Reddit is oriented around topical subreddits, rather than on the Twitter-like option to follow or unfollow other users, the line between novelty and spam quickly grows thin. Thus, when bot-generated jokes lose their novelty or exhibit a tendency to derail discussion, the usual remedy is to ban them from more and more subreddits, until there’s no place left for them to play.

World’s first robot SUICIDE as family return to find Roomba cleaning gadget had turned to ash - Mirror Online


World’s first robot SUICIDE as family return to find Roomba cleaning gadget had turned to ash - Mirror Online

“Somehow it seems to have reactivated itself and made its way along the work surface where it pushed a cooking pot out of the way and basically that was the end of it,” fireman Helmut Kniewasser told The Daily Mail. “I don’t know about the allegations of a robot suicide but the homeowner is insistent that the device was switched off—it’s a mystery how it came to be activated and ended up making its way to the hotplate.”

Forget extra cupholders or power windows: the new Renault Zoe comes with a “feature” that absolutely nobody wants. Instead of…

“Forget extra cupholders or power windows: the new Renault Zoe comes with a “feature” that absolutely nobody wants. Instead of selling consumers a complete car that they can use, repair, and upgrade as they see fit, Renault has opted to lock purchasers into a rental contract with a battery manufacturer and enforce that contract with digital rights management (DRM) restrictions that can remotely prevent the battery from charging at all.”

DRM in Cars Will Drive Consumers Crazy (viaiamdanw)

PhoneSat 2.4: Ready for Launch | NASA


PhoneSat 2.4: Ready for Launch | NASA

For the second time this year, NASA is preparing to send a smartphone-controlled small spacecraft into orbit. The PhoneSat 2.4 mission is demonstrating innovative new approaches for small spacecraft technologies of the future. […]

NASA PhoneSats take advantage of “off-the-shelf” consumer devices that already have many of the systems needed for a spacecraft, but are ultra-small, such as fast processors, multipurpose operating systems, sensors, GPS receivers, and high-resolution cameras.

“It’s tabletop technology,” Petro says. “The size of a PhoneSat makes a big difference. You don’t need a building, just a room. Everything you need to do becomes easier and more portable. The scale of things just makes everything, in many ways, easier. It really unleashes a lot of opportunity for innovation,” he says.