The Indoor Garden That Can Feed an Entire Neighborhood



IKEA has released open source plans for The Growroom, which is a large, multi-tiered spherical garden that was designed to sustainably grow enough food to feed a neighborhood. The plans were made free on Thursday with the hope that members of the public will invest their time and resources to create one in each neighborhood, if not in every person’s backyard.

The tools required to create the spherical garden include plywood, rubber hammers, metal screws and diligence to follow the instructions comprised of 17 steps. The Huffington Post reports that The Growroom isn’t shipped in a flat pack like most IKEA products. Instead, users are required to download the files needed to cut the plywood pieces to size and are encouraged to visit a local workshop where the wood can be professionally cut. The free instructions online walk the builder through the remaining steps.

The Indoor Garden That Can Feed an Entire Neighborhood

Largest Batch of Earth-size, Habitable Zone Planets


Our Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in an area called the habitable zone, where liquid water is most likely to exist on a rocky planet.


This exoplanet system is called TRAPPIST-1, named for The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile. In May 2016, researchers using TRAPPIST announced they had discovered three planets in the system.


Assisted by several ground-based telescopes, Spitzer confirmed the existence of two of these planets and discovered five additional ones, increasing the number of known planets in the system to seven.


This is the FIRST time three terrestrial planets have been found in the habitable zone of a star, and this is the FIRST time we have been able to measure both the masses and the radius for habitable zone Earth-sized planets.

All of these seven planets could have liquid water, key to life as we know it, under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.


At about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles) from Earth, the system of planets is relatively close to us, in the constellation Aquarius. Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets. To clarify, exoplanets are planets outside our solar system that orbit a sun-like star.


In this animation, you can see the planets orbiting the star, with the green area representing the famous habitable zone, defined as the range of distance to the star for which an Earth-like planet is the most likely to harbor abundant liquid water on its surface. Planets e, f and g fall in the habitable zone of the star.

Using Spitzer data, the team precisely measured the sizes of the seven planets and developed first estimates of the masses of six of them. The mass of the seventh and farthest exoplanet has not yet been estimated.


For comparison…if our sun was the size of a basketball, the TRAPPIST-1 star would be the size of a golf ball.

Based on their densities, all of the TRAPPIST-1 planets are likely to be rocky. Further observations will not only help determine whether they are rich in water, but also possibly reveal whether any could have liquid water on their surfaces.

The sun at the center of this system is classified as an ultra-cool dwarf and is so cool that liquid water could survive on planets orbiting very close to it, closer than is possible on planets in our solar system. All seven of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary orbits are closer to their host star than Mercury is to our sun.


 The planets also are very close to each other. How close? Well, if a person was standing on one of the planet’s surface, they could gaze up and potentially see geological features or clouds of neighboring worlds, which would sometimes appear larger than the moon in Earth’s sky.


The planets may also be tidally-locked to their star, which means the same side of the planet is always facing the star, therefore each side is either perpetual day or night. This could mean they have weather patterns totally unlike those on Earth, such as strong wind blowing from the day side to the night side, and extreme temperature changes.


Because most TRAPPIST-1 planets are likely to be rocky, and they are very close to one another, scientists view the Galilean moons of Jupiter – lo, Europa, Callisto, Ganymede – as good comparisons in our solar system. All of these moons are also tidally locked to Jupiter. The TRAPPIST-1 star is only slightly wider than Jupiter, yet much warmer. 

How Did the Spitzer Space Telescope Detect this System?

Spitzer, an infrared telescope that trails Earth as it orbits the sun, was well-suited for studying TRAPPIST-1 because the star glows brightest in infrared light, whose wavelengths are longer than the eye can see. Spitzer is uniquely positioned in its orbit to observe enough crossing (aka transits) of the planets in front of the host star to reveal the complex architecture of the system. 


Every time a planet passes by, or transits, a star, it blocks out some light. Spitzer measured the dips in light and based on how big the dip, you can determine the size of the planet. The timing of the transits tells you how long it takes for the planet to orbit the star.


The TRAPPIST-1 system provides one of the best opportunities in the next decade to study the atmospheres around Earth-size planets. Spitzer, Hubble and Kepler will help astronomers plan for follow-up studies using our upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, launching in 2018. With much greater sensitivity, Webb will be able to detect the chemical fingerprints of water, methane, oxygen, ozone and other components of a planet’s atmosphere.

At 40 light-years away, humans won’t be visiting this system in person anytime soon…that said…this poster can help us imagine what it would be like: 


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As a designer, I always felt that objects could not properly respond to the emergencies of our world. Objects and products are…

“As a designer, I always felt that objects could not properly respond to the emergencies of our world. Objects and products are essential to any social actions — banners and musical instruments often used in protests are a part of that category. However, design as a discipline did not render visible what I was most passionate about: revealing power structures and supporting the performance of politics and power shifts in institutions.”

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios launches University of the Underground – a radical rethink of design education (viaiamdanw)

It is odd how the tree has dominated Western reality and all of Western thought, from botany to biology and anatomy, but also…

“It is odd how the tree has dominated Western reality and all of Western thought, from botany to biology and anatomy, but also gnosiology, theology, ontology, all of philosophy …: the root-foundation, Grund, racine, fondement. The west has a special relation to the forest, and deforestation; the fields carved from the forest are populated with seed plants produced by cultivation based on species lineages of the arborescent type; animal raising, carried out on fallow fields, selects lineages forming an entire animal arborescence. The East presents a different figure: a relation to the steppe and the garden (or in some cases, the desert and the oasis), rather than forest and field; cultivation of tubers by fragmentation of the individual; a casting aside or bracketing of animal raising, which is confined to closed spaces or pushed out onto the steppes of the nomads. The West: agriculture based on a chosen lineage containing a large number of variable individuals. The East: horticulture based on a small number of individuals derived from a wide range of “clones.” Does not the East, Oceania in particular, offer something like a rhizomatic model opposed in every respect to the Western model of the tree? André Haudricourt even sees this as the basis for the opposition between the moralities or philosophies of transcendence dear to the West and the immanent ones of the East: the God who sows and reaps, as opposed to the God who replants and unearths (replanting of offshoots versus sowing of seeds). Transcendence: a specifically European disease.”

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (viabelacqui-pro-quo)

Minnelli’s big idea about dreams is that they most of all concern those who are not dreaming. The dream of those who are…

“Minnelli’s big idea about dreams is that they most of all concern those who are not dreaming. The dream of those who are dreaming concerns those who are not dreaming. Why does it concern them? Because as soon as someone else dreams, there is danger. People’s dreams are always all-consuming and threaten to devour us. What other people dream is very dangerous. Dreams are a terrifying will to power. Each of us is more or less a victim of other people’s dreams. Even the most graceful young woman is a horrific ravager, not because of her soul, but because of her dreams. Beware of the dreams of others, because if you are caught in their dream, you are done for.”

Gilles Deleuze,What is the Creative Act? (viabelacqui-pro-quo)

Talking in Circles: Creating the Alien Language of ‘Arrival’


“In the film, the scientists discover that the circles typically represent a full statement, but the statement can be broken up into words. The protagonists eventually create an index of these inky words, so they can write messages to the aliens. In reality, Vermette said he and Villeneuve had their own index of about 100 alien words made in the style that Bertrand designed. As the project moved forward, the pair consulted with real-world linguists and archaeologists to help refine the design. 

Seth Shostak, a scientist at the SETI Institute (SETI stands for search for extraterrestrial intelligence), said some scientists have thought about how humans might translate alien languages. Linguists have shown that there are many redundancies in human languages, which is part of how we are able to comprehend spoken languages at all, Shostak said. For example, studies have shown that if all the vowels are removed from a written document, a person (who has never seen the document in its complete form) can still read most of the words. 

“It turns out there’s a mathematical law for the redundancy of any language,” Shostak said. “And you can apply that to the sounds made by dolphins or even other critters, like ants. And they follow this same mathematical law. So that suggests that it’s not just noise [the animals are making], there’s actually a language there. So I think that if you picked up a signal coming from aliens, you’d do the same thing.“”

Talking in Circles: Creating the Alien Language of ‘Arrival’

We’re trashing the Arctic. Literally.



Even the places one might assume are pristine, such as the ice-covered Arctic Ocean, are littered with the detritus of human activity, as proven by the growth of a sixth garbage patch in the freezing Barents Sea. The latest evidence of worldwide junk infiltration comes from an observatory west of the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, called HAUSGARTEN, where scientists have constructed a multiyear log of marine debris. In this remote location, more and more litter is appearing on the seabed—almost double the amount was found at one monitoring station in 2011 compared to 2002, they write in Deep Sea Research Part 1. Not only that, but it’s appearing in greater concentrations to the north, possibly due to climate change.

The scientists used a towed camera rig to establish that the density of trash in these Arctic waters is equivalent to that off of Lisbon, Portugal, whose metropolitan area holds 2.8 million people. It’s hard to tell exactly where seaborne waste comes from. Garbage enters the ocean from rivers, polluted coastlines, ships that have accidents or are illegally dumping, and other sources. Once it’s there it can travel vast distances. But after doing some detective work, the scientists at Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute ascribe guilt to local activities.

We’re trashing the Arctic. Literally.

“Romans may have used 20-Sided die almost two millennia before D&D, but people in ancient Egypt were casting icosahedra even…

polyhedra, icosahedron, d20, 304BCE

“Romans may have used 20-Sided die almost two millennia before D&D, but people in ancient Egypt were casting icosahedra even earlier. Pictured above is a twenty-faced die dating from somewhere between 304 and 30 B.C., a timespan also known as Egypt’s Ptolemaic Period.”

(via )

That mystery Go player crushing the world’s best online? It was AlphaGo again

go, DeepMind, AlphaGo, machine-learning, Master, Magister

Over the last week, a number of forum threads have popped up to discuss this mystery debutante who has been thrashing the world’s best players. Given its unbeaten record and some very “non-human” moves, most onlookers were certain that Master and Magister were being played by an AI—they just weren’t certain if it was AlphaGo, or perhaps another AI out of China or Japan. It is somewhat unclear, but it seems that DeepMind didn’t warn the opponents that they were playing against AlphaGo. Perhaps they were told after their games had concluded, though. Ali Jabarin, a professional Go player, apparently bumped into Ke Jie after he’d been beaten by the AI: “He [was] a bit shocked… just repeating ‘it’s too strong.’” Gu Li, as quoted by Hassabis, was a lot more philosophical about his loss to the new version of AlphaGo: “Together, humans and AI will soon uncover the deeper mysteries of Go.” Gu Li is referring to the fact that AlphaGo plays Go quite differently from humans, placing stones that completely confound human players at first—but upon further analysis these strategies become a “divine move.” While there’s almost no chance that a human will ever beat AlphaGo again, human players can still learn a lot about the game itself by watching the AI play. If you want to watch the new AlphaGo in action, a German website has the first 41 games from the 51-game streak, including victories against many of the world’s best human players. At this point it isn’t clear how this new version of AlphaGo differs from the one we saw last year, though some Go observers suggest that this version is making more “non-human” moves than before, indicating that the deep neural network might’ve been trained in a different way.


Master(P) schlägt die Go-Profis 41:0

go, DeepMind, AlphaGo, machine-learning, sgf

Natürlich gibt es Gerüchte, dass es hinter Master(P) niemand anderes als das noch stärker gewordene AlphaGo stecken muss, dass vor einem Wettkampf im ersten Quartal 2017 mal eben noch zeigen wollte, wie hoch der Hammer mittlerweile hängt. Andere Kandidaten wären das koreanische DolBaram-Projekt, das von der Korean Amateur Baduk Association (KABA) und der koreanischen Regierung unterstützt wird, und ein chinesisches Projekt, das Gerüchten zufolge bereits längere Zeit auf AlphaGo-Niveau spielen können soll. DeepZen, das unlängst gegen Cho Chikun 9p angetreten war, scheint es zumindest nicht zu sein, denn das spielte parallel auch recht erfolgreich auf Tygem – aktuell mit einem Score von 159:18, zumeist gegen spielstarke 9d-Spieler mit oder ohne (P)-Zusatz. Aja Huang vom AlphaGo-Projekt kommentierte Spekulationen um die Identität von Mater(P) und AlphaGo auf jeden Fall nur mit einem vielsagenden “interesting”.


Both photographs by Regis Duvignau/REUTERS, A golden eagle grabs a flying drone during a military training exercise at…


Both photographs by Regis Duvignau/REUTERS, A golden eagle grabs a flying drone during a military training exercise at Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. Top, Via. Bottom, Via.

This difference between the body, which gets you in the end, and the spirit, which is actually immortal – that’s really a terrible discrepancy.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder interviewed by Hella Schlumberger for Playboy Germany, April 1978. Via. Via.

The camera basically dehumanizes its subjects and makes them look like zombies by reducing them to their basic biological essence, their heat signature. Among other things, it reads people’s eyes as orbs of viscous black jelly, which makes a mockery of the idea of the eyes being a window to the soul. It really is a deeply sinister technology.

Richard Mosse interviewed by Christian Viveros-Fauné Richard Mosse’s New Film Portrays the Refugee Crisis in Thermal Detail It is set to premiere at London’s Barbican Centre for artnet, February 13, 2017.

Italy creates a UNESCO emergency task force for culture

UNESCO, culture, heritage, looting, art-crime, 2017, italy

The task force #UNITE4HERITAGE will be used where the United Nations organization considers it appropriate to act. “Blue helmets” will assess the risks and quantify the damage to the cultural heritage, devise action plans and urgent measures, perform technical supervision, provide training courses for local staff, assist with the transport of movable objects to safe shelters and strengthen the fight against looting and the illegal traffic in cultural assets. Presently, the project is still at a political stage. To gain a more practical value, some operational issues will have to be resolved.


“The best form of compression for voice data makes use of the structure of speech - the Linear Predictive Filter. The basic…


“The best form of compression for voice data makes use of the structure of speech - the Linear Predictive Filter. The basic idea is that the data is compressed by using an input code word that represents the sound made in the throat by the vocal chords. Then a set of parameters are set in a filter which represents the shape of the mouth and resonant cavities. The parameters are set so that the output matches the sound as well as it can - this is an example of analysis by synthesis, i.e. you analyze a signal by setting up a system that creates it accurately.”

They are learning to speak, and to hear.

Cracking a Skype call using phonemes, via Alfie.

Déphasage #134 – 18.01.17

farmersmanual, music




1/ Olivia Block ‎- Dissolution A (Dissolution/Glistening Examples/Nov 2016)
2/ Mica Levi & Oliver Coates - Bless Our Toes (Remain Calm/Slip/Nov 2016)
3/ Mica Levi & Oliver Coates - Dolphins Climb Onto Shore For The First Time (Remain Calm/Slip/Nov 2016)
4/ farmersmanual - loop der.ii (fsck/Tray/1997)
5/ farmersmanual - klopp01.proc (fsck/Tray/1997)
6/ farmersmanual - frog dies in sunlight (fsck/Tray/1997)
7/ farmersmanual - 364 (fsck/Tray/1997)
7/ farmersmanual - 368 (fsck/Tray/1997)
8/ Spring Heel Jack - Chorale (Masses/Thirsty Ear/2001)
9/ Spring Heel Jack - Salt (Masses/Thirsty Ear/2001)


Olivia Block vit et travaille principalement à Chicago avec 16 oeuvres à son actif, dont les premières remontent à 1998. Chacun de ses travaux propres à ses éléments d’expression, elle dirige ses intérêts sur des spécificités locales ou ethnographiques.

Également familière des eaux académiques, elle est cité dans de nombreuses grandes écoles de musique à Chicago et anime par intermittence quelques conférences en université. Lors de concerts elle installe le principe de «cinéma sans visuels», place des auditeurs assis dans une pièce sombre, devant un écran noir, avec seul l’ouïe comme sens stimulé.

L’observation de la communication humaine face à l’essor des technologies passées ou présentes semblent constituer les motivations de Olivia Block pour le projet. Radio à ondes courtes, communications captées par ondes, bulletins municipaux et fragments de cassettes, sont touchés du doigt pour traiter l’échange humain dans sa chronologie.

Plus la désintégration de ces matériaux opère, plus les voix et les environnements se ressemblent. Des voix hésitantes, effrayées, pressées, frustrées, politiques ou professionnelles finissent par précéder ronflements, sifflements, clic et échos. Ceux-ci sont prix en mouvement dans un flux oscillant entre simple matières sonore et éléments anecdotiques.

Essayer de répertorier les éléments de «Dissolution», c'est comme essayer de reconstituer une image d'une civilisation contemporaine à partir de ses traces déjà ruinées; Il semble que tous ces miettes brisées de ces communication devraient se rassembler pour former une image cohérente. La couverture d’album est une maison partiellement éffrondrée; à prendre comme métaphore apte à décrire cette musique sur plus d’un aspect : le sentiment de familiarité au milieu des ruines; le remodelage de la mémoire déclenchée par le quotidien ordinaire souvent ennemi de la création.


Utiliser un instruments comme le violoncelle aujourd’hui dans une composition relève d’un sacré défi pour arriver à extirper un tant soit peu d’intérêt sonore et musicale, sans tomber dans le pathos gratuit. Pourtant les deux artistes de ce soir ont à eux deux en solo et en duo réussi la prouesse d’attirer les oreilles en quête de nouveautés. Mica Levi et Oliver Coates, tout deux britanniques issues d’une formation classique, mais comme à l’accoutumée, les sujets de sa majesté aiment sortir des sentiers battus (et là je fais un clin d’oeil à l’académisme mortifère français).
La première évolue aussi bien dans la sphère pop de traverse avec son groupe Micachu & The Shapes que dans la composition de bande-originale, du film Under The Skin par exemple où elle utilise justement les cordes d’une manière inouïe dans un contexte pseudo électronique. C’est d’ailleurs là qu’elle rencontra Oliver Coates, violoncelliste et compositeur de BO également, faisant partie du London Contemporary Orchestra qui a travaillé avec Radiohead pour leur dernier album.

Autant dire que les deux ensemble donnent un résultat qui transcende toutes les étiquettes, mais qui crée pourtant son identité. On est enfin sorti du Modern Classical, on ne veut plus de Noise ni de Drone, encore moins de Techno et de House démodées, du Minimalisme peut être mais pas trop. Ce que l’on veut c’est déconstruire tout cela, ce que l’on veut c’est un son d’aujourd’hui, un son de 2017, et « Remain Calm » peut très bien en être un bel exemple.


Collectif audiovisuel Viennois formé au début des années 90, farmersmanual, sans espaces ni majuscule (pour une meilleure intégration internet), cultive le mystère, même dans le contexte d’anonymat général qui règne alors sur la musique électronique.

Touché par la fascination collective de cette période pour l’informatique à l’aube de son explosion, le collectif multimédia propose une musique énigmatique, tout en fragmentation, au caractère accidentel, voir incontrôlé, que l’on devine issue de complexes processus aléatoires.

L’utopie internet, ce nouveau territoire vaste et virtuel qui excite alors, inspire et fait rêver, intangible jungle chiffrée où tout semble permis, est encore vierge des gros propriétaires, qui finissent aujourd’hui sa déforestation brutale et sa privatisation.

Maintenant le flou artistique sur leurs méthodes de travail, les membres du collectif insistent sur la partie informatique de leur production, considérant par exemple leur site comme une émanation aussi importante de leurs efforts que la musique elle-même. La musique de fsck est faite par les machines, autant qu’avec elle. Elle n’a pas de forme prédéterminée, pas de durée précise, pas de début ni de fin logique, il s’agit d’un flux intarissable dont ils présentent quelques courts extraits au public, sous la forme de disques ou de concerts, quelques moments capturés et rendus audibles, tandis que se poursuit en interne son déroulement sans sommeil.

Explorant les possibilités du format CD-rom, nouveauté élue, promis à un brillant avenir, ils ajoutent à leurs albums des contenus multimédia, et jouent des possibilités de l’index numérique comme sur Explorer’s we, indexé arbitrairement toutes les soixantes secondes, qui encourage à la lecture aléatoire. Leur site internet bénéficie également d’un soin particulier, avec de nombreuses possibilités d’interaction et une attention donnée au graphisme.

La musique de fsck, faite de glitch et de bruits, de breaks squelettiques déconstruits au delà du rythme, a su résister à l’épreuve du temps, du fait de son étrangeté singulière et de la capacité qu’elle a eu à s’infuser dans la suite de l’histoire de la musique électronique.

En revanche, le reste du discours artistique de farmersmanual fait rétrospectivement penser au park d’attraction de Prypiat, ou aux innombrables mondes virtuels des jeux massivement multijoueurs qui tombent désormais à l’abandon. Incroyablement vide et statique, et d’une tristesse ahurissante, qu’il s’agisse du gris du béton irradié, de la peinture écaillée d’une grande roue qui ne tournera plus, ou d’un programme sénile qui se répète en boucle encore et encore, animant un dernier personnage de pixel mal défini jusqu'à ce que son support physique finisse enfin par mourir.

Le site de farmersmanual, dont la dernière mise à jour date de 2007, est un témoin nostalgique et figé d’une antiquité numérique dorée, victime d’une obsolescence ultrarapide. Pendant ce temps, toujours, partout, continuent de naître et de mourir les illusions, les utopies et l'innocence dans les yeux des enfants.


Spring heel jack est un duo anglais qui a vu le jour dans les années 90 et qui fit ses balbutiements dans la sphère drum'n'bass et jungle de l'époque. Après plusieurs albums le duo change radicalement de direction avec Masses, sorti en 2001 sur le label Thirsty ear.

Les rythmes foisonnants et les lignes de basses épaisses sont mis de cotés, on quitte alors les quatre murs délimitant une surface destinée à laisser s'exprimer la fougue de nos membres pour un espace beaucoup plus vaste. La création de cet album s'est déroulé suivant deux étapes. D'abord Ashley Wales et John Coxon ont concocté de longues plages sonore volontairement épurées, où évoluent des textures granuleuses, parsemées de sons concrets plus ou moins dégradés, nous donnant à entendre une matière en proie à une lente décomposition. Ils ont ensuite invité quelques grandes figures du Jazz contemporain a venir improviser sur ces morceaux s'apparentant à des pages partiellement vierges. On retrouvera entre autres : Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Tim berne, ainsi qu'Evan Parker, fervent défenseur de la musique improvisée et fondateur de l'ElectroAcoustic Ensemble. Se dessine alors un free jazz mutant, où l'immédiateté du discours improvisé et le développement plus réfléchi des manipulations électroniques forment un équilibre périlleux. Chacune des pistes nous dévoile une ambiance propre, tantôt intimiste, tantôt électrique, proposant à l'auditeur une palette de couleurs riche et varié. Libéré des contraintes imposé par le dance-floor, Spring Heel Jack & Cie court-circuitent le temps en injectant la chaleur primitive du free jazz à l'implacable précision de la musique électronique, donnant à chacune un nouvel angle d'admiration, pour le plaisir de nos gourmands tympans.

Postmodernism and “post-truth”

Postmodernism, post-truth, facts, reality, psychology, Philosophy, Raven

The point of postmodernism is not and was never “there are no facts”, the denial of an objective reality. The point is that facts are unevenly distributed across a metamedium which distributes half-facts and falsehoods with equal facility. The point is that the whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth objective reality is by definition inaccessible to the subjective experience of individuals; there is far too much to know for any one individual to know it all. The point is that he who controls the distribution of stories controls the stories themselves.


We must make our freedom by cutting holes in the fabric of this reality, by forging new realities which will, in turn, fashion…

Graeber, freedom, change, reality, revolution

“We must make our freedom by cutting holes in the fabric of this reality, by forging new realities which will, in turn, fashion us. Putting yourself in new situations constantly is the only way to ensure that you make your decisions unencumbered by the inertia of habit, custom, law, or prejudice—and it is up to you to create these situations Freedom only exists in the moment of revolution. And those moments are not as rare as you think. Change, revolutionary change, is going on constantly and everywhere—and everyone plays a part in it, consciously or not”

David Graeber

Facebook Plans to Rewire Your Life.

dystopia, socialmedia, facebook, 2017, power, control, culture

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto, penned clearly in response to accusations leveled at the social network in the wake of the bitter U.S. election campaign, is a scary, dystopian document. It shows that Facebook – launched, in Zuckerberg’s own words five years ago, to “extend people’s capacity to build and maintain relationships” – is turning into something of an extraterritorial state run by a small, unelected government that relies extensively on privately held algorithms for social engineering.


“Over time, even the repairs will be destroyed,” Sussman stated. “They will be walked on and scuffed, and eventually…

Rachel Sussman, Sidewalk Kintsukuroi, art, alchemy, Kintsugi

“Over time, even the repairs will be destroyed,” Sussman stated. “They will be walked on and scuffed, and eventually overwritten with something else. Such is the transient nature of everything in the universe. All the more reason to value the time we have.”

(via )

On Firing Myself

Medium, transition, work, purpose, collaboration, organisation, Alanna (Krause) Irving

Death and change are essential to growth and evolution. The bird has to leave the nest. New trees spring up in the forest where old trees decay. A species only acquires adaptive traits with new generations. The old must make space for the new; anything else is stagnation. This is especially true of purposeful work. Because you’re there for more than just a job, achieving the larger mission in the future can require the end of something in the present.


Scientists make huge dataset of nearby stars available to public

astronomy, space, MIT, data

Today, a team that includes MIT and is led by the Carnegie Institution for Science has released the largest collection of observations made with a technique called radial velocity, to be used for hunting exoplanets. The huge dataset, taken over two decades by the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, is now available to the public, along with an open-source software package to process the data and an online tutorial. By making the data public and user-friendly, the scientists hope to draw fresh eyes to the observations, which encompass almost 61,000 measurements of more than 1,600 nearby stars.





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Weaponized Narrative Is the New Battlespace

weaponized-narrative, narrative, military, politics, tactics, culture, 2017

Weaponized narrative seeks to undermine an opponent’s civilization, identity, and will by generating complexity, confusion, and political and social schisms. It can be used tactically, as part of explicit military or geopolitical conflict; or strategically, as a way to reduce, neutralize, and defeat a civilization, state, or organization. Done well, it limits or even eliminates the need for armed force to achieve political and military aims. The efforts to muscle into the affairs of the American presidency, Brexit, the Ukraine, the Baltics, and NATO reflect a shift to a “post-factual” political and cultural environment that is vulnerable to weaponized narrative.


To Flavour Our Tears – The Center for Genomic Gastronomy

Genomic-Gastronomy, food, art, tears, moths, domestication, 2016

Some species of moths and bees have evolved to land on mammalian eyelids (including humans) and drink our tears. In times of relentless human tragedy and environmental catastrophe, are we creating the perfect conditions for these tear-drinking insects to flourish? What do these insects want from our tears anyways?


My new article on Middle-Aged skateboarders has just been published in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport. The…

skating, subculture, sport, temporal capital, social capital


My new article on Middle-Aged skateboarders has just been published in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport. The research explores the meaning of skateboarding beyond its common reproduction as a youth culture.

I was fortunate to have the participation of a diverse selection of middle aged skateboarders across the world who gave their time to explain what skateboarding meant to them and what it is like being a skateboarder later in life. Throughout the research I was struck by how generous and enthusiastic my informants were, frequently directing me towards videos of blogs that echoed their passions and interests. I was similarly fortunate to have J. Grant Brittain provide permission for the reproduction of his legendary Animal Chin ramp photos. Thanks to all those who have helped.

In addition I develop some theoretical perspective on the value of age as a form of social capital, or ‘temporal capital.’ This suggests that subculturally older skateboarders can be valued, and can find value because of the time invested in skateboarding. Thus, in the face of ageing and injured bodies, older skateboarder are still able to carve out legitimacy and forms of authenticity.

To provide a little taste of the content of the article I include a few quotes to provide some context.

On what skateboarding teaches…

I made friends with people that I would possibly not have otherwise made friends with, so there’s a social mobility there that I’m getting to know people that we have something in common, and it’s a passion, and then finding out something else about some people, that’s growing up, that’s empathising I guess. It’s trying to figure out who you are and who is everybody else… We met people from other towns. This is not something you do as a working class person, you don’t really even meet people from the next school unless it’s for the purposes of combat… I’ve always said that skateboarding was a fabulously democratic activity because of these reasons. It’s not an expensive, but very sophisticated activity.

On the meaning of skateboarding…

I’ve got 31 years of experience behind me at this point, so it’s obviously not the same. But it feels a lot more like it did when I first started. It feels a lot more pure. It feels a lot more, almost integrated into me as a person… when I talk about skateboarding in this sense and what it means to me as a person in 2016 as a 42-year-old, it’s when language really starts to break down… It’s something that’s beyond language and words.

On the community…

Skateboarding seems to be able to hold that complexity you know, like people are allowed to be dysfunctional in skateboarding in a way that they’re not in other activities. I mean it’s like a fucking community centre sometimes when you’re at the skate park…like a social security office.

When Good Intentions Backfire

Medium, danah boyd, intent, purpose, good vs evil, malice, hacker mindset

I find it frustrating to bear witness to good intentions getting manipulated, but it’s even harder to watch how those who are wedded to good intentions are often unwilling to acknowledge this, let alone start imagining how to develop the appropriate antibodies.[…] I have learned that people who view themselves through the lens of good intentions cannot imagine that they could be a pawn in someone else’s game. They cannot imagine that the values and frames that they’ve dedicated their lives towards — free speech, media literacy, truth — could be manipulated or repurposed by others in ways that undermine their good intentions.


I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you.

Medium, privacy, security, state surveillance, USA, authoritarianism, search and destroy, borders, border security, law, lawnessness

How many potentially incriminating things do you have lying around your home? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably zero. And yet police would need to go before a judge and establish probable cause before they could get a warrant to search your home. What we’re seeing now is that anyone can be grabbed on their way through customs and forced to hand over the full contents of their digital life.


STS’s detailed accounts of the construction of knowledge show that it requires infrastructure, effort, ingenuity and validation…

post-truth, STS, knowledge, social constructivism

“STS’s detailed accounts of the construction of knowledge show that it requires infrastructure, effort, ingenuity and validation structures. Our arguments that ‘it could be otherwise’ (e.g. Woolgar and Lezaun, 2013) are very rarely that ‘it could easily be otherwise’; instead, they point to other possible infrastructures, efforts, ingenuity and validation structures.”

Sergio Sismondo, ‘Post-truth?’ (2017)

SEOUL: The assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in broad daylight at an international airport sounds…

Kim Jong-nam, LOL, assassin, DPRK, North Korea

SEOUL: The assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother in broad daylight at an international airport sounds like a scene from a spy movie, featuring a fugitive high-profile figure and undercover agents in action.

The two female assassins – presumed to be highly-trained special agents – seem to harken back to the 20th century when purging individuals by guns and poison was not uncommon in the political arena.

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