A Time Capsule to Outlast Earth

photography time space longnow trevor-paglen art artifacts

Consumed by the idea that these technological monuments will outlive us — and after years of discussion with scientists, philosophers, artists, and anthropologists — Paglen compiled a list of 100 images culled from human history and etched them onto an ultra-archival silicon disc. The disc was designed by materials scientists at MIT and Carleton College, and has now been affixed to a communications satellite, EchoStar XVI, whose launch was set for this month from the Baikanour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but was delayed due to a rocket failure in August. The satellite – located at the 61.5 orbital location and containing 32 Ku-band transponders, to offer HD transmissions […] But its productive lifespan is a mere blip in the deep time of space compared to Paglen’s little golden disc, which will wait patiently, bearing its curated record of the human race, for unknowable millennia.


http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/9/21/pics-or-it-humanity-didn-t-happen-trevor-paglen-made-a-time-capsule-to-outlast-earth

Correlation does not imply causation: How the Internet fell in love with a stats-class cliché.

statistics slate correlation causality cliches interweb

In the decades to come, the phrase correlation does not imply causation made its way into textbooks and academic journals, while the social sciences were made over with newfangled statistics. By the 1940s, economists had devised a name for the insufficiency of correlations: They called it the “identification problem.” A flood of numbers in the postwar years may have made the anxiety more acute until its apotheosis in the present day, when Google, Amazon, and the other data juggernauts belch smoggy clouds of information and spit out correlations by the ton. “That may be as deep a sense of causation as they care about,” Porter says. “To them, perhaps, automated number-crunching stands for the highest form of knowledge that civilization has ever produced.” In that sense, the admonitory slogan about correlation and causation isn’t so much a comment posted on the Internet as a comment posted about the Internet. It’s a tiny fist raised in protest against Big Data.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/10/correlation_does_not_imply_causation_how_the_internet_fell_in_love_with_a_stats_class_clich_.single.html

The 100 Most Iconic Artworks of the Last 5 Years (2007–2012)

art 2012

What are the most resonant works of art from the recent past? From among the thousands of individual works that pass through galleries and museums, which have affected the conversation in some significant way? Amid all of contemporary art’s chaotic installations and ephemeral gestures, which images have some staying power? These are the questions that ARTINFO set out to answer with its list of “100 Most Iconic Artworks From the Last 5 Years.”

http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/826311/the–100-most-iconic-artworks-of-the-last–5-years

Pigeons may ‘hear’ magnetic fields

biology, navigation, mesmerism, magnetism, pigeons

Pigeons’ remarkable navigational feats have long been pegged to the birds’ ability to sense magnetic fields, but pinning down how they do so has frustrated scientists for years. Work published today in Science shows that individual cells seem to encode information on a magnetic field’s direction, intensity and polarity1. The work also suggests that these signals come from a part of the inner ear called the lagena, further complicating matters for researchers in the field.

http://www.nature.com/news/pigeons-may-hear-magnetic-fields–1.10540

The universe will fly like a bird

technology blindness, technolgy, futurism, humanities, singularity, ai, spaceweaver, rene

I admire Ray Kurzweil’s advocacy of radical ideas. However, like so many scientists and tech mavens he has never been able to frame the essential humanistic components of his master plan in a compelling way. When you promote powerful notions of human transformation it obviously becomes important not to portray humanity as something that must be overcome. Therefore it would seem to be essential to include a Future Humanities department as part of the Singularity University’s curriculum.

http://spacecollective.org/rene/4708/The-universe-will-fly-like-a-bird

Amidst all the attention given to the sciences as to how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of…

“Amidst all the attention given to the sciences as to how they can lead to the cure of all diseases and daily problems of mankind, I believe that the biggest breakthrough will be the realization that the arts, which are conventionally considered“useless,” will be recognized as the whole reason why we ever try to live longer or live more prosperously. The arts are the science of enjoying life.”

John Maeda

Resiliency, Risk, and a Good Compass: Tools for the Coming Chaos

resilience, joi ito, compass, systems, failure, principles, risk, education, learning, innovation

There are nine or so principles to work in a world like this: Resilience instead of strength, which means you want to yield and allow failure and you bounce back instead of trying to resist failure. You pull instead of push. That means you pull the resources from the network as you need them, as opposed to centrally stocking them and controlling them. You want to take risk instead of focusing on safety. You want to focus on the system instead of objects. You want to have good compasses not maps. You want to work on practice instead of theory. Because sometimes you don’t why it works, but what is important is that it is working, not that you have some theory around it. It disobedience instead of compliance. You don’t get a Nobel Prize for doing what you are told. Too much of school is about obedience, we should really be celebrating disobedience. It’s the crowd instead of experts. It’s a focus on learning instead of education.

http://www.wired.com/business/2012/06/resiliency-risk-and-a-good-compass-how-to-survive-the-coming-chaos/

Distance 01: “What Designers Know” by Jon Whipple

research, design, dsign

Because we already know a great deal, we can move research from a step in the design process to an ongoing, agency-wide activity: we can adopt a distributed research model. This model would result in better, more focused work, allowing us to spend more of our energy on specific issues relevant to the project at hand. It would also help us meet deadlines, because we can capitalize on the experience of the designer and community while maintaining a good relationship with the client. In this essay, I’ll describe how research is built and distributed across teams, and how it can benefit all of us to focus on institutional knowledge.

http://distance.cc/issues/01/01b-Jon-Whipple.html

Urban guides for cyberflâneurs

Maria Popova, Adam Greenfield, Ben Hammersley, utopia, urbanism, architecture, review, books, urbane

Upon opening A smart Guide to Utopia, the first statement you read claims that cities are the true natural habitat of the human race: “Cities are where we are best, where individuals become communities.” Even if we don’t agree with such a manifesto, it is bold enough to catch our attention and hold our interested while discovering the 111 projects from across Europe presented in the book. Nearly all the projects can be described under the motto of tactical urbanism and bottom-up practices. Each chapter starts with a brief essay — “open your mind” — on the future of the city by a selection of writers and researchers including Ben Hammersley, Maria Popova and Adam Greenfield.

http://www.domusweb.it/en/book-review/urban-guides-for-cyberflaneurs/

n+1: Leave Your Cellphone at Home

surveillance crypto appelbaum trackers phones NSA FBI NYPD

Cell phones are tracking devices that make phone calls. It’s sad, but it’s true. Which means software solutions don’t always matter. You can have a secure set of tools on your phone, but it doesn’t change the fact that your phone tracks everywhere you go. And the police can potentially push updates onto your phone that backdoor it and allow it to be turned into a microphone remotely, and do other stuff like that. The police can identify everybody at a protest by bringing in a device called an IMSI catcher. It’s a fake cell phone tower that can be built for 1500 bucks. And once nearby, everybody’s cell phones will automatically jump onto the tower, and if the phone’s unique identifier is exposed, all the police have to do is go to the phone company and ask for their information.

http://nplusonemag.com/leave-your-cellphone-at-home

Approachably Reclusive: I Hate Snark

snark culture rhetoric argument literature

Snark is the universal solvent of cultural conversation. Someone mentions Hemingway; you mention cross-dressing, drinking, and short choppy sentences. Not only did you not have to read Hemingway, you have one-upped the other person by not having read it; you know more about it than they do because you know the important thing, that Hemingway doesn’t need to be read. Star Wars has a plot straight out of a comic book, the indescribable beauty of an athlete’s best moment is just ritualized combat, any given religion is a collection of three or fewer especially silly-sounding superstitions, all academic subjects are useless hazing intended to keep the wrong people from being hired, […] Occupy Wall Street is rebels without a clue (itself a plagiarized phrase), the Tea Party is scared old people, and nothing in the wide world matters compared to the general wonderfulness of the observer.

http://thatjohnbarnes.blogspot.be/2011/12/i-hate-snark.html?zx=ea57257b86fa8c40