So. We’re now in the Jewish month of Elul, the month leading up to Rosh Hashana. It’s a time to traditionally do a deep accounting of the soul, to understand who we are and work to make repairs that must be made.— Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR) August 13, 2018
A thread on this work, useful for anybody (not just Jews).
Everybody loves a commodity good that might, at any moment, eat your face.— Justin Pickard (@justinpickard) August 16, 2018
You can experience my audiowalk+book “It Must Have Been Dark By Then” currently on at #elo2018 in Montreal and will be at @OpenCityDocs 5th-9th Sept in London. The book is also available to buy directly here: https://t.co/XdE3sEkpCS— duncan speakman (@_dspk) August 16, 2018
Text to Image
Latest web-based project from Cristóbal Valenzuela is a simple online text to image generator using neural networks to render a visual from what you type in.
It is very simple but generates very abstract results (as you can see in the video above), and you may generate several variations from the same inputted text.
Try it out for yourself here
An individual tree has roots and, of course, it doesn’t move. But trees, as a species, do move over time. They migrate in response to environmental challenges, especially climate change. Surprisingly, they don’t all go to the Poles, where it is cooler. As it turns out, more of them head west, where it is getting wetter.
Sure, some species, such as evergreens, are heading to the Poles to escape the heat. But others, like certain oaks and maple, are going west in search of rain. For the most part, “tree migrations are moisture related,” said Songlin Fei, associate professor at Purdue’s University’s department of forestry and natural resources, who has studied this phenomenon in recent years. “Precipitation has a stronger near-term impact on species shift than temperature.”
Both trends are a consequence of climate change, which is producing more heat and heavier rainfall, fueling deforestation. This is worrisome, as forests soak up carbon from the atmosphere, and recent evidence suggests that soil is exhaling carbon dioxide faster than trees can take in. The migration of trees may help preserve individual species, but also threatens to destabilize forest ecosystems.
Fei analyzed the movement of 86 tree species from across the Eastern United States between 1980 and 2015 using using field data from obtained from the U.S. Forest Service. He found that 73 percent of tree species shifted to the west, while 62 percent moved poleward.
“The majority of the species move westward are broadleaf species that can better handle flood and drought, and have a large seed mass, which improves the seedling’s ability to survive,” he said. “One example of westward shift species is Scarlet Oak. Miss Scarlett ‘gone with the wind,’ but Scarlet Oak is ‘gone with the rain.’”
Varying levels of illumination and thickness of asperitas clouds can lead to dramatic visual effects. (Photo: WikiRigaou/Wikimedia Commons)
We stare at clouds all the time, whether trying to figure out what they look like or if they’re bringing rain. Yet most of us know very little about clouds, let alone how to identify them.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) keeps a cloud atlas that divides clouds into genera, species and varieties. Some clouds have multiple “varieties” and some have “accessory” clouds that appear with or merge with bigger clouds. Specific conditions can even create special clouds of their own.
In short, clouds are a rich tapestry in the sky that changes every day.
These are the 10 most typical forms clouds take. The WMO notes that the definitions don’t encompass all possible cloud permutations, but they do outline the essential traits to differentiate one cloud genus from another, especially those having similar appearances.
“Putting aside my cynicism for the moment, I wondered: What if we take these companies at their word? What if it is truly impossible to get a handle on the entirety of a supply chain? The thing that still confused me is how reliable supply chains are, or seem to be. The world is unpredictable—you’ve got earthquakes, labor strikes, mudslides, every conceivable tragedy—and yet as a consumer I can pretty much count on getting what I want whenever I want it. How can it be possible to predict a package’s arrival down to the hour, yet know almost nothing about the conditions of its manufacture?”
Just finalising the major project brief for our speculative design course, and I’ve chosen these two Le Guin quotes to set the stage… pic.twitter.com/ArijBF7BvR— anne galloway 🐑 (@annegalloway) August 14, 2018
Heatsick: the computer processor is coerced into attempting to match its own temperature to the temperature recorded at high resolution within a pile of stones in Ancient Messene across 24 hours (May 2018). The attempt lasts longer than 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/9TTeWDOa5r— martin howse (@micro_research) August 14, 2018
Should Rivers Have Rights? A Growing Movement Says It’s About Time https://t.co/HYnNEJEPYp— Every mile is two in winter (@thejaymo) August 14, 2018
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I don’t understand why we’re going ahead with Brexit so I’m going to peacefully sit in Parliament Square and say just that.— Matt Webb (@genmon) August 13, 2018
WEDNESDAY 6.30pm till 8pm
I made a t-shirt and everything. If you’re around, come join me. pic.twitter.com/FcnU6M2Kqs
Our Spitzer Space Telescope is celebrating 15 years since its launch on August 25, 2003. This remarkable spacecraft has made discoveries its designers never even imagined, including some of the seven Earth-size planets of TRAPPIST-1. Here are some key facts about Spitzer:
1. Spitzer is one of our Great Observatories.
Our Great Observatory Program aimed to explore the universe with four large space telescopes, each specialized in viewing the universe in different wavelengths of light. The other Great Observatories are our Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory. By combining data from different kinds of telescopes, scientists can paint a fuller picture of our universe.
2. Spitzer operates in infrared light.
Infrared wavelengths of light, which primarily come from heat radiation, are too long to be seen with human eyes, but are important for exploring space — especially when it comes to getting information about something extremely far away. From turbulent clouds where stars are born to small asteroids close to Earth’s orbit, a wide range of phenomena can be studied in infrared light. Objects too faint or distant for optical telescopes to detect, hidden by dense clouds of space dust, can often be seen with Spitzer. In this way, Spitzer acts as an extension of human vision to explore the universe, near and far.
What’s more, Spitzer doesn’t have to contend with Earth’s atmosphere, daily temperature variations or day-night cycles, unlike ground-based telescopes. With a mirror less than 1 meter in diameter, Spitzer in space is more sensitive than even a 10-meter-diameter telescope on Earth.
3. Spitzer was the first spacecraft to fly in an Earth-trailing orbit.
Rather than circling Earth, as Hubble does, Spitzer orbits the Sun on almost the same path as Earth. But Spitzer moves slower than Earth, so the spacecraft drifts farther away from our planet each year.
This “Earth-trailing orbit” has many advantages. Being farther from Earth than a satellite, it receives less heat from our planet and enjoys a naturally cooler environment. Spitzer also benefits from a wider view of the sky by orbiting the Sun. While its field of view changes throughout the year, at any given time it can see about one-third of the sky. Our Kepler space telescope, famous for finding thousands of exoplanets – planets outside our solar system – also settled in an Earth-trailing orbit six years after Spitzer.
4. Spitzer began in a “cold mission.”
Spitzer has far outlived its initial requirement of 2.5 years. The Spitzer team calls the first 5.5 years “the cold mission” because the spacecraft’s instruments were deliberately cooled down during that time. Liquid helium coolant kept Spitzer’s instruments just a few degrees above absolute zero (which is minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 273 degrees Celsius) in this first part of the mission.
5. The “warm mission” was still pretty cold.
Spitzer entered what was called the “warm mission” when the 360 liters of liquid helium coolant that was chilling its instruments ran out in May 2009.
At the “warm” temperature of minus 405 Fahrenheit, two of Spitzer’s instruments – the Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) and Multiband Imaging Photometer (MIPS) – stopped working. But two of the four detector arrays in the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) persisted. These “channels” of the camera have driven Spitzer’s explorations since then.
6. Spitzer wasn’t designed to study exoplanets, but made huge strides in this area.
Exoplanet science was in its infancy in 2003 when Spitzer launched, so the mission’s first scientists and engineers had no idea it could observe planets beyond our solar system. But the telescope’s accurate star-targeting system and the ability to control unwanted changes in temperature have made it a useful tool for studying exoplanets. During the Spitzer mission, engineers have learned how to control the spacecraft’s pointing more precisely to find and characterize exoplanets, too.
Using what’s called the “transit method,” Spitzer can stare at a star and detect periodic dips in brightness that happen when a planet crosses a star’s face. In one of its most remarkable achievements, Spitzer discovered three of the TRAPPIST-1 planets and confirmed that the system has seven Earth-sized planets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star. Spitzer data also helped scientists determine that all seven planets are rocky, and made these the best-understood exoplanets to date.
Spitzer can also use a technique called microlensing to find planets closer to the center of our galaxy. When a star passes in front of another star, the gravity of the first star can act as a lens, making the light from the more distant star appear brighter. Scientists are using microlensing to look for a blip in that brightening, which could mean that the foreground star has a planet orbiting it. Microlensing could not have been done early in the mission when Spitzer was closer to Earth, but now that the spacecraft is farther away, it has a better chance of measuring these events.
7. Spitzer is a window into the distant past.
The spacecraft has observed and helped discover some of the most distant objects in the universe, helping scientists understand where we came from. Originally, Spitzer’s camera designers had hoped the spacecraft would detect galaxies about 12 billion light-years away. In fact, Spitzer has surpassed that, and can see even farther back in time – almost to the beginning of the universe. In collaboration with Hubble, Spitzer helped characterize the galaxy GN-z11 about 13.4 billion light-years away, whose light has been traveling since 400 million years after the big bang. It is the farthest galaxy known.
8. Spitzer discovered Saturn’s largest ring.
Everyone knows Saturn has distinctive rings, but did you know its largest ring was only discovered in 2009, thanks to Spitzer? Because this outer ring doesn’t reflect much visible light, Earth-based telescopes would have a hard time seeing it. But Spitzer saw the infrared glow from the cool dust in the ring. It begins 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Saturn and extends about 7.4 million miles (12 million kilometers) beyond that.
9. The “Beyond Phase” pushes Spitzer to new limits.
In 2016, Spitzer entered its “Beyond phase,” with a name reflecting how the spacecraft operates beyond its original scope.
As Spitzer floats away from Earth, its increasing distance presents communication challenges. Engineers must point Spitzer’s antenna at higher angles toward the Sun in order to talk to our planet, which exposes the spacecraft to more heat. At the same time, the spacecraft’s solar panels receive less sunlight because they point away from the Sun, putting more stress on the battery.
The team decided to override some autonomous safety systems so Spitzer could continue to operate in this riskier mode. But so far, the Beyond phase is going smoothly.
10. Spitzer paves the way for future infrared telescopes.
Spitzer has identified areas of further study for our upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, planned to launch in 2021. Webb will also explore the universe in infrared light, picking up where Spitzer eventually will leave off. With its enhanced ability to probe planetary atmospheres, Webb may reveal striking new details about exoplanets that Spitzer found. Distant galaxies unveiled by Spitzer together with other telescopes will also be observed in further detail by Webb. The space telescope we are planning after that, WFIRST, will also investigate long-standing mysteries by looking at infrared light. Scientists planning studies with future infrared telescopes will naturally build upon the pioneering legacy of Spitzer.
Read the web version of this week’s “Solar System: 10 Things to Know” article HERE.
Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.
Y'all thought I was kidding when I started talking about sandwich ontology, but nope. The secret about philosophy is that it works best when it’s a lampoon or burlesque. Things are most obviously true when you see them in caricature.— Ian Bogost (@ibogost) August 12, 2018
A demo of lightness perception pic.twitter.com/BSVpgcuIw1— Akiyoshi Kitaoka (@AkiyoshiKitaoka) August 12, 2018
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS: Hostility Blues/The Weight - 7" - HARBINGER SOUND: Brandnew single from this Electronic Noise Punk outfit, including Philip Best (previously also in WHITEHOUSE, SKULLFLOWER and RAMLEH)! “Hostility Blues” is viciously distorted… https://t.co/cQuPD9Bms1— x-mist records (@xmist) August 11, 2018
Plant or animal? Fungus is more animal than plant. Sometimes delicious. Sometimes deadly. Possibly immortal. Possibly the largest organisms on Earth. A single honey mushroom (fungus) specimen in Oregon covers 3.4 square miles and it’s estimated to be around 2,400 years old.— CryptoNaturalist (@CryptoNature) August 11, 2018
Annihilating Space— Lagomorphosis (@onelittlerabbit) August 10, 2018
As cruel as seduction pic.twitter.com/kSKPAhKTci
is this 🦋 solarpunk— Justin Pickard (@justinpickard) August 9, 2018
Climate change is going to change patterns of both migration and displacement. But it’s going to do different things to them. This podcast is a good place to start getting to grips with that: https://t.co/Uj0TNah4za— Alex Randall (@alex_randall) August 9, 2018
’t is:https://t.co/oKNNxBea84— Farmers Manual (@farmersmanual_) August 9, 2018
HUGE plot hole in reality: every person carries around a device with access to the totality of human knowledge and yet people are constantly wrong about everything.— Dice Funk (@austinyorski) August 7, 2018
Counter plot hole: every person carries around a device that gives equal weight to every human opinion and yet people still manage to sometimes be right about things.— Jason Stark (@DisparityGames) August 8, 2018
Beibei, one of five mascots for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, lying among trees (Greg Baker) pic.twitter.com/OhuHx5vmn9— Justin Pickard (@justinpickard) August 7, 2018
“Matt Tomasello with even more bootleg board contraptions and deranged tricks to permanently ruin the activity altogether.”
Much like the floppy disk save icon has become anachronistic, in ~30 years “parked” will mean a car participating in an orbiting smear of on-demand transport pegged to an optimal mpg with variable velocity instead of “stationary in the local reference frame”. https://t.co/geSDewW6sc— dan hon (@hondanhon) August 5, 2018
“Freed from any commercial considerations, the frontier of coronagraphy can be seen as a bit metaphysical, an almost-gnostic quest for reconciliation between light’s timeless purity and the ephemeral corruptions of matter.”@LeeBillings— honor harger (@honorharger) August 5, 2018
what we make of what we have— Oswald Berthold (@x7557x) August 5, 2018
things strangers tell me: human history a glitch of geology, shame about the chewing gum!— iMetaleptic (@botaleptic) August 4, 2018
hey help me make a list of (and taxonomize?) artworks that engage with twitter as a medium that aren’t bots (i.e., don’t involve automated posting of content)— Allison Parrish | @email@example.com (@aparrish) August 3, 2018
Looking for pop linguistics books or linguistics-related fiction to read, find in a library, ask for as a gift, or give to a language nerd in your life? Here’s an extensive list of books you might be interested in.
Recent general books
- John McWhorter has many pop linguistics books, including notably: The Language Hoax, The Power of Babel, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, What Language Is, Word on the Street
- David Crystal also has many pop linguistics books, including more recently: the history of English spelling, A Little Book of Language (note that Crystal also writes “interesting facts about words” books, so check the description if this is a relevant factor for you)
- The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker (the one style book on this entire list, because he approaches it from a genuinely linguistic perspective: see my review here).
- The Riddle of the Labyrinth by Margalit Fox (about cracking Linear B)
- You Are What You Speak by RL Greene
- The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher (about the history of language)
- How Babies Talk by Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
- In The Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent (my review)
- The Art of Language Invention by David J. Peterson (my livetweet)
- Word by Word by Kory Stamper, who also has a second book coming out! (my livetweet)
- The Prodigal Tongue by Lynne Murphy (my livetweet)
Older general books
(Most of these I read when I was getting into linguistics so I can vouch for them being interesting enough when I read them such that they’ve stuck in my mind many years later, but I’m not sure how they’d stack up on re-reading. Just so you know.)
- Steven Pinker’s pop linguistics books have gotten older but are still classics: The Language Instinct, Words and Rules, The Stuff of Thought
- Older David Crystal books: How Language Works, The Stories of English
- Verbatim (a collection of essays on pop linguistics, edited by Erin McKean - my comments)
- Talk, Talk, Talk by Jay Ingram
- A Mouthful of Air by Anthony Burgess
- Alpha Beta by John Man (about the history of the alphabet)
- Hearing Gesture by Susan Goldin-Meadow
- Talking Hands by Margalit Fox (my comments)
- The Language of Food by Dan Jurafsky
- Babel No More by Michael Erard
- Latin Alive: The Survival of Latin in English and the Romance Languages by Joseph Solodow (my review)
- Predicting New Words by Allan Metcalf
- Shady Characters by Keith Houston (about punctuation marks - my comments)
- Speculative Grammarian’s satirical linguistics book (my review - you should probably already know some linguistics before reading it though)
- An ABC for Baby Linguists (great for linguist parents!)
- The Language Construction Kit by Mark Rosenfelder (conlangs, older)
- How to Keep Your Language Alive and Language Revitalization for Families, both by Leanne Hinton (see also Ola!, and my thoughts on it)
Comprehensive but more friendly than actual textbooks:
Actual textbooks, still at an introductory level:
- Language Files
- Contemporary Linguistics (the fifth edition is also fine, and cheaper)
- iLanguage (previous edition is cheaper)
- Describing Morphosyntax is popular among budding conlangers
Fiction that contains a significant linguistic element, enjoyable for both practising linguists and language enthusiasts:
- Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (my comments)
- The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt (my livetweet)
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (my comments) and Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin, both of which do interesting things with language & gender
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (my livetweet)
- Eunoia by Christian Bök (my comments). It’s entirely online here.
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
- New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani (review from @superlinguo)
- Native Tongue trilogy by Suzette Haden Elgin
- “The Story of Your Life” (short story) by Ted Chiang (the movie based on it is called Arrival and stars a linguist)
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- Embassytown by China Miéville
- The Lord of the Rings books
- See also more recommendations on the #lingfic hashtag and this list at conlang.org
Anyone else have pop linguistics books (or #lingfic) to recommend, or reviews to link to? I’ll try to keep this list updated as I hear of and review other books, old and new, so make sure to check out the source post and my books tag if you’re viewing it as a reblog. There are some great additions in the extensive reblogs by Stan Carey and Superlinguo.
- Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer (my livetweet)
- The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (my two livetweets)
- Pygmalion and My Fair Lady are classics, although real linguists aren’t nearly as keen on “proper” English as Henry Higgins
- The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis features a philologist
I’m also writing a pop linguistics book about internet language for Penguin! It’s not out till 2019, but you can see more information here and sign up for email updates if you want to know when it’s available!
Revised and updated to add recent book livetweets!
The genes of sweet potatoes reveal that there was contact between Australasia & The Americas at least 500 years before Columbus.— James Wong (@Botanygeek) August 2, 2018
What is even cooler? You can also show this voyage across the Pacific just by plotting local names of the crop on a map. pic.twitter.com/8ocS2uX6NY
It’s more than 15 years since Portugal decriminalised all drugs, & transferred all the money they used to spend on shaming, arresting & punishing ppl with addictions, into turning their lives around. The result? Huge fall in addictions, injecting drug use, & overdose deaths.— Johann Hari (@johannhari101) August 2, 2018
There is a detailed vocabulary used to describe organisms which defy classification and a system of nomenclature to denote confidence limits on probable or speculative affinities, but they are generally grouped together as “problematica”. A handy grab-bag of misfits that have exasperated or eluded scientists, ready for future generations to have a go at. In museums, problematica specimens reside in drawers and cabinets equivalent to the ubiquitous drawer of odds and sods that most people have in the kitchen.
Hacking the Flavor of Food With Electric Chopsticks
“Some sort of pressure must exist; the artist exists because the world is not perfect. Art would be useless if the world were perfect, as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simply live in it. Art is born out of an ill-designed world.”
― Andrei Tarkovsky
The giant hands bridge is the new astonishing attraction near to the Bà Nà Hills resort, in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam. This structure is sustained by two enormous stonemade hands, which have been weathered with cracks and moss to look like an archeological relique. The attraction has already seduced a lot of curious tourist who can admire a unique landscape from the golden bridge.
If you write out the basic facts of trees, but framed as technology, it sounds like impossible sci-fi nonsense. Self-replicating, solar-powered machines that synthesize carbon dioxide and rainwater into oxygen and sturdy building materials on a planetary scale.— CryptoNaturalist (@CryptoNature) July 30, 2018
If straws can lead people to create a bigger zone of accountability for big companies and single-use culture, there’s a chance. But single-action bias can cut against momentum. My sense is there’s enough up-side uncertainty to justify the effort, and less downside. https://t.co/gSAoOmpwWc— Andrew Revkin (@Revkin) July 31, 2018
Hacking the Flavor of Food With Electric Chopsticks https://t.co/TdWhxXMyRU— Jennifer Ouellette (@JenLucPiquant) July 31, 2018
interfrag— every non-word (@nondenotative) July 31, 2018
tried synthetic fossilization (future fossilising) of eukaryotic cell samples (onion) immersed in sodium silicate/pcb contaminated water mix in one Berlin leg of https://t.co/4InSjFEXXi— jonathan kemp (@xxnorguk) July 30, 2018
(silicization is one part of fossilization through sedimentation) pic.twitter.com/Ho9P2In9pt
Cornelia Parker, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, (1991).
What are the best ambient / electronic / experimental music podcasts you know of? (Actual podcasts with RSS feeds, not Mixcloud accounts - I love Secret Thirteen as much as you do but it doesn’t go in a podcast app)— Wᴀʀʀᴇɴ Eʟʟɪs (@warrenellis) July 29, 2018
“A celebration of those who maintain different parts of our world, recognising the often hidden work done in repair, custodianship, stewardship, tending and caring for the things that matter.” Looks great! https://t.co/2t29DIaw8w— Superflux (@Superflux) July 29, 2018
When last we met the Four Thieves Vinegar collective – a group of anarchist scientists who combine free/open chemistry with open source hardware in response to shkrelic gouging by pharma companies – they were announcing the epipencil, a $30 DIY alternative to the Epipen, Mylan’s poster-child for price-gouging and profiteering on human misery.
It’s been two years since the epipencil and Four Thieves has been been busy.
Michael Laufer is one of the founding Four Thieves, and he’s just presented a wide-ranging look at the Collective’s technical accomplishments at HOPE, the Hackers on Planet Earth conference held every two years at New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania.
Their main accomplishments involve the Apothecary Microlab, a DIY automated chemistry robot that you download and 3D print and assemble, using common hardware, electronics, and chemistry components. With the Microlab and the right chemicals, you can synthesize a variety of lifesaving drugs.
Home pharma manufacturing is not without risks – you could easily end up making poison instead of medicine. But as Daniel Oberhaus points out in his Motherboard profile of Laufer, the Four Thieves have made amazing strides in harm reduction in drug synthesis. Using a database from a startup called Chematica, they mined 250 years’ worth of organic chemistry history to find the safest-possible synthesis paths to the molecules they were trying to synthesize (unfortunately, Merck bought out Chematica and took the database proprietary, though there’s a darkweb site with a password-protected, leaked version of the Chematica database that Laufer would like your help in breaking).
Right now, the Microlab can produce five drugs, including Naloxone (which saves the lives of people dying of opiod overdoses, and which uses oxymorphone bought on the street as a precursor, “making medicine from poison”); and cabotegravir (an experimental drug that prevents the spread of HIV from needle-sharing, which the collective makes available to heroin dealers to cut their products with).
They’ve got all kinds of ambitious plans, too. They’re investigating using books as a medium for growing GM mycelia that could devour the cellulose in the paper and produce precursors; these books could be mailed at media rates between biohackers in a postal P2P system they call “biotorrents” (they’re also thinking of using CDs as petri dishes, taking advantage of standard mailers and packaging). They’re planning a work-focus on rare and orphan disease, and blockbuster drugs like Solvadi, the $84,000, one-shot Hep C cure.
The whole thing has the ring of OG hacker groups like Cult of the Dead Cow, as brilliant at media as they were at tech.
““There are some companies we’ve talked to, where they say, ‘Are you kidding? If we told them how we were using their data, they’d never give it to us in the first place,’” Straight says. “I’m kind of like, ‘Yeah, that’s sort of the point.’””
The future belongs to the people who can see “now” from a long-term perspective.— Greg McKeown (@GregoryMcKeown) July 27, 2018
To everyone writing about adverts, microtargeting, the law, Turkey, racists, Jo Cox today, never forget this graph. It’s absolutely key. To everyone who says “Does advertising work?” Yes. Yes, it does. pic.twitter.com/h3DQPBNL92— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) July 27, 2018
Earth is in the midst of a 40-year-long accelerated warming trend spurred on by human-caused climate change, and 2018 isn’t helping.
Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and Columbia University showed this week that the average surface temperature on Earth between January and June this year was the third hottest half-year on record, since good record keeping began long ago, in 1880.
But the trend goes much deeper than that.
The first half of the last four years — 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 – all take the top four hottest-recorded January to June periods ever documented.
A single record-breaking month or year can be telling, but it’s not nearly as scientifically meaningful as these longer-term trends.
“When a record is broken once, it’s a fluke. When it happens again, it’s a coincidence. When it happens three times, it’s a trend, but when it happens every single year, it’s a movement,” Sarah Green, an environmental chemist at Michigan Technological University, said over email.
As NASA’s maps show, this heating trend is occurring all over the planet, showing how the entire global climate has been disrupted by potent heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, notably carbon dioxide.“
In a stable climate, one place is warmer than normal while another is colder,” said Green. “The GISTEMP global maps show that is no longer the case; it’s hotter pretty much everywhere.”
This includes Earth’s expansive oceans, which are much more absorbent that Earth’s rocky surface. Over 90 percent of Earth’s accumulating heat gets trapped by the seas.“
The inexorable heating of the oceans is especially worrying,” said Green. “Land temperatures fluctuate with a shift in the wind direction or a passing cloud, but the increasing temperature of the surface ocean shows that greenhouse gasses are trapping more and more heat on Earth.“
Stop worrying whether or not this or that is caused by global warming. The globe is warming. It’s all caused by global warming. All of it.— Tim Morton (@the_eco_thought) July 26, 2018
Worms frozen in permafrost for up to 42,000 years come back to life + join other freshly awoken ancient species in pursuing exciting opportunities in parasitism. They start a professional network on LinkedIn + leave voicemails of the joyous screams of their new hosts. Apply now.— m1k3y (@m1k3y) July 27, 2018
Have you thought about adopting Scott Aaronson’s press policy? It would probably hurt the world if you did, but it might conserve your sanity— You and 52 others (@kragen) July 26, 2018
Salt deposits marble the shoreline of Lake Coipasa in Bolivia’s Sabaya Province. At an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet (3,657 m), the lake is fed by the Lauca River, which drops dark volcanic sediment along its northwestern shore. That sediment, shown on the right side of this Overview, contrasts sharply with the light blue water and white salt crust.
Source imagery: DigitalGlobe
Krivi PUT— Vlatka Horvat (@vlatkahorvat) July 26, 2018
Unnamed Road, 53271, Krivi Put, Croatiahttps://t.co/6gpEMtrg7L
Last year [Italian postal police, who investigate online crime] shut down a Facebook page that organised “measles parties” so that parents could expose their children to the disease in an attempt to immunise them naturally. “Unfortunately it’s a fact that Italy has a coverage of measles that is similar to Namibia,” said Roberto Burioni, a professor of microbiology and virology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan.
Caps Lock is not a substitute for a coherent foreign policy.— Mike Levin (@MikeLevinCA) July 23, 2018
The climate transition will be about 10x more brutal and happen about 3x faster than most people are thinking.— Venkatesh Rao (@vgr) July 24, 2018
Excited to announce I’ll be speaking at:— Every mile is two in winter (@thejaymo) July 24, 2018
Coded Matter(s): Terra Fiction; an evening programme about art, sci-fi and imagining future worlds and sustainable living on earth and beyond.
27 September 2018 - Amsterdam https://t.co/DcUfAZJGcE
Anybody up for some sumo wrestling? pic.twitter.com/lvD2KILJZM— Brett Scott (@Suitpossum) July 22, 2018
I AM AN ALT-ALT RIGHT COUNTERREACTIONARY ACCELERATIONIST EVOLAN SUPERFASCIST. I HAVE RISEN ON THE STRENGTH OF EAGLES AND SEEN BEYOND THE VEIL THROUGH DELEUZIAN NON-LINEAR TIME INTO OUR GLORIOUS ELDRITCH MACHINE FUTURE AND RETURNED TO BRING YOU THE GOOD NEWS— Jessica Evans (@Alephwyr) July 23, 2018
If this sounds positively Pynchonian, you’re not wrong. I first came across octonions in “Against the Day” by Pynchon, where he did more than hint at the centrality of their role in unlocking the mysteries of matter and the universe. (4/8)https://t.co/qiLXMVFVMJ— honor harger (@honorharger) July 22, 2018
A photo essay by Kevin Faingnaert on the The ZAD (officially, ‘zone d’aménagement différé’, renamed by protesters as 'zone à défendre’), the largest protest squat in Europe, opposing the building of an airport in western France, near Notre-Dame-des-Landes. https://t.co/bBz7rLehEz pic.twitter.com/zvFeSaAxC1— C.C. O'Hanlon (@ccohanlon) July 22, 2018
🚡 (Aerial tramway) has been the least used emoji for 77 days— Least Used Emoji Bot (@leastUsedEmoji) July 21, 2018
One of my friends just pointed me at two amazing quotes, the latter from Benny Hill:— Dan Kaminsky (@dakami) July 22, 2018
“Never pet a burning dog”
“Just because nobody complains doesn’t mean all parachutes are perfect”
Looking to build an #AI Radiologist? The @NIH Clinical Center releases “DeepLesion” dataset of 32,000 CT images, measured and marked with clinically meaningful findings https://t.co/ntO6bfNb8r #xMed #MachineLearning #Radiology pic.twitter.com/vOwq29C8k8— Daniel Kraft, MD (@daniel_kraft) July 21, 2018
I’m on the moderation team of a different academically-focused subreddit, and we have similar policies. Our subreddit is large and doesn’t attract nearly as much Nazi propoganda, but we do get plenty of people who stubbornly refuse to engage with facts - sometimes because they’re replaced facts with racist or sexist prejudices, or even alt-right conspiracy theories. We often ban those ones. We no longer even wait until they’re real trouble on our subreddit; we’ll look at their user history and ban them based on past comments elsewhere. I used to feel uncomfortable with this. I value free debate and inquiry highly, and it seemed contrary to it. But they aren’t interested in free debate or inquiry; on an academic subreddit, they don’t care what can actually be supported with facts and argument so long as it disagrees with their personal prejudices or political beliefs. All they do is drag the level of discussion down. And allowing them to post their bullshit just lends credibility to their views, because they’re being debated on an academic forum.
I’m a lot less uncomfortable with it now.
I’m on the moderation team of a different academically-focused subreddit, and we have similar policies. Our subreddit is large and doesn’t attract nearly as much Nazi propoganda, but we do get plenty of people who stubbornly refuse to engage with facts - sometimes because they’re replaced facts with racist or sexist prejudices, or even alt-right conspiracy theories. We often ban those ones. We no longer even wait until they’re real trouble on our subreddit; we’ll look at their user history and ban them based on past comments elsewhere.
I used to feel uncomfortable with this. I value free debate and inquiry highly, and it seemed contrary to it. But they aren’t interested in free debate or inquiry; on an academic subreddit, they don’t care what can actually be supported with facts and argument so long as it disagrees with their personal prejudices or political beliefs. All they do is drag the level of discussion down. And allowing them to post their bullshit just lends credibility to their views, because they’re being debated on an academic forum.
Farmers Manual’s one off Brunel Tunnel durational piece now up to stream on the archive:
“I am going to give what I will call an elementary demonstration. But elementary does not mean easy to understand. Elementary means that very little is required to know ahead of time in order to understand it, except to have an infinite amount of intelligence. There may be a large number of steps that hard to follow, but to each does not require already knowing the calculus or Fourier transforms.”
–Richard P. Feynman
Wow. This has made my week. This is from the government’s *own* publication about the history of government communications. They mistakenly included a Scarfolk poster which encourages the killing of children. Clearly, nobody thought it was too extreme. (via @CraigHeap) pic.twitter.com/PITafePTKe— Scarfolk Council (@Scarfolk) July 20, 2018
One of our collections was just reprocessed, but my favorite piece of archival description, “Rock, unknown significance, undated” was kept. I really love introducing people to the Rock of Unknown Significance.— Kathleen A Monahan (@K_A_Monahan) July 19, 2018
The best libraries + antilibraries are secrets or surprises.— Bushra Farooqui (@startuployalist) July 21, 2018
Feed 19 repetitions of the word “dog” to Google Translate and ask it for a Maori conversion and you get this: “Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve. We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus’ return.”
There’s lots more where this came from, especially when translating into languages with small corpuses like Maori or Somali, and no one’s exactly sure why. The smart money is on “neural machine translation,” which is producing the literary equivalents of the furry animals that appear in images that are repeatedly processed through Deep Dreaming.
“Environmentalism is really about seeing our place in the world in a way that humans have always known up until very recently - that we are part of nature - utterly dependent on the natural world for our well being and survival.”
— David Suzuki
Best possible centrist policy would be ‘eat the rich but let the blockchain decide who’s eaten so the process is decentralized’.— brenton (@placiddingo) July 20, 2018
Too Many Tyrannosaurs, Not Enough Fragmentation Grenades— Charlie Stross (@cstross) July 20, 2018
Takeaway: “Outside of cryptocurrencies, POW (proof of work) is already obsolete. Of the more than 160 companies developing energy blockchain applications, not one is building with Bitcoin. And those using Ethereum are poised to switch to a more efficient network” https://t.co/6X7vFReHwQ— samim (@samim) July 20, 2018
If Satoshi Nakamoto was from 2038 and traveled back in time with a scheme to slow AI research and avert the singularity by creating a counter-market for GPUs, that would explain a lot.— Eric Jonas (@stochastician) July 17, 2018