I’ve often heard people say "I don’t understand the finance sector because I’m no good at maths’. Finance, though, is not a…

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Happy #WorldListeningDay everyone. Today, reflect upon who you listen to, and whose voices are turned into noise. Jacques…

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We will solve the climate problem principally by improving the systems in which dysfunctional people operate, and not by…

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Fake news and botnets: how Russia weaponised the web

botnet, russia, estonia, cyberwar, information-warfare, Rastorguev, infrastructure, 2007, 2017, Gera

Once there was a fox that wanted to eat a turtle, but whenever he tried to, it withdrew into its shell. He bit it and he shook it, but he wasn’t getting anywhere. One day he had an idea: he made the turtle an offer to buy its shell. But the turtle was clever and knew it would be eaten without this protection, so it refused. Time passed, until one day there appeared a television hanging in a tree, displaying images of flocks of happy, naked turtles – flying! The turtle was amazed. Oh! They can fly! But wouldn’t it be dangerous to give up your shell? Hark, the voice on television was announcing that the fox had become a vegetarian. “If I could only take off my shell, my life would be so much easier,” thought the turtle. “If the turtle would only give up its shell, it would be so much easier to eat,” thought the fox – and paid for more broadcasts advertising flying turtles. One morning, when the sky seemed bigger and brighter than usual, the turtle removed its shell. What it fatally failed to understand was that the aim of information warfare is to induce an adversary to let down its guard. (In 1998, Sergei P Rastorguev, a Russian military analyst, published Philosophy of Information Warfare, which included a lengthy version of this anecdote)

via https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/02/fake-news-botnets-how-russia-weaponised-the-web-cyber-attack-estonia

trying out Tensorflow inferencing with pre-trained models on an ARM Cortex microcontroller. this STMF32F4 discovery board is…

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The first @_foam / @edenproject #InvisibleWorlds residency begins next week - Rosanna Martin of Brickworks. This is the first…

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We don’t talk enough about takeover-at-the-top disruption patterns. The business disruption model of encroaching from the…

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Whenever someone texts me “ETA?” I always reply "I don’t agree with their violent tactics, but I support the ideal of Basque…

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cosmic horror isn’t scary anymore; meaninglessness of the universe is now the status quo assumption, not a shocking revelation….

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Free PDF downloads of the two-volume Global Encyclopaedia of Informality; a catalogue of gift-giving, bribery, interest-driven…

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The economics of Walkaway


Edgeryders’ Alberto Cottica has published a detailed analysis of the economics of Walkaway, at the micro-, mezzo-, and macroscale. It’s a good, crisp analysis that really captures what I was going for.

Writers are notoriously bad at knowing what they’re doing and why, and good criticism is just as interesting for writers to read as it is for readers.

The economics in Walkaway are my attempt to nail down a bunch of half-formed ideas that have been knocking around in my own thoughts for decades. Cottica’s analysis actually improves on some of what I was able to do, and was a great read.

These statements are important in Walkaway, because they dispose of methodological individualism. The reasoning works like this:

1.    Most people like building things together. As long as the two elements of building and sociality are present, you do not need to obsess too much about incentives. In practice, you can blackbox individual behavior: observe what they do, then build a model in which they do it. No need to derive this behavior as the equilibrium strategy of a problem. This is a position close to behavioral economics.

2.   What matters, instead, are technologies for cooperation. Groups of humans that are better at cooperating will prosper at the expense of other groups that are not as good. Groups of humans get better at cooperating by adopting systems of rules that make cooperation easier. Therefore, humans are subject to evolutionary pressure both at the individual level and at the group level, and the in the group level the pressure is cultural. This is the interpretation proposed by cultural evolution biologists like E.O. Wilson and Joseph Henrich.

3.    It follows that an effective economic theory should not focus on individual behavior as an equilibrium of a set of individual incentives, but on system-level behavior as an equilibrium of interaction protocols.


“Long tails drive everything. They dominate business, investing, sports, politics, products, careers, everything. Rule of thumb:…


“Long tails drive everything. They dominate business, investing, sports, politics, products, careers, everything. Rule of thumb: Anything that is huge, profitable, famous, or influential is the result of a tail event. Another rule of thumb: Most of our attention goes to things that are huge, profitable, famous, or influential. And when most of what you pay attention to is the result of a tail, you underestimate how rare and powerful they really are.”

Tails, You Win

If you were to get a cruise ship in good condition at bargain rates, with financing, and set up a no-profit-no-loss sustainable…

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How Data-Gathering Seals Help Scientists Measure the Melting Antarctic


An ice-loving Weddell seal, equipped with headgear and ready to assist oceanographers. (Brice Loose)


In 2014, Loose was part of a team to help tag elephant (Mirounga leonina) and Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) for a study. The seals weren’t the subjects of the study, though—they were its research assistants. Loose was helping fit the able divers with trackers so that they could collect data on the Amundsen Sea’s temperature and salinity at great depths, which would provide clues into the mechanism of the rapid ice melt in Antarctica. The research was published in Geophysical Research Letters in May 2018.

Currently, scientists theorize that Antarctic melting is partially caused by a warmer, saltier current beneath the ice known as the “circumpolar deep water.” These waters, which are present at depths of 400 meters, are brought to the surface and lick the underside of ice sheets, melting them and enabling sea levels to rise.

“In Pine Island Bay, this is particularly important,” says Helen Mallett, the lead author of the study and a postgraduate researcher at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. “The circumpolar deep water there is melting the unstable, fast thinning Pine Island Glacier, which in turn drains the vulnerable and massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet.” If all the unstable ice in west Antarctica melts, sea levels could rise by up to 10.5 feet globally.

Scientists know the warm current exists in the Amundsen Sea, but they need to know more. To get a complete picture, scientists need to answer some basic questions: Where are the warm waters, exactly? How thick is the layer of warm water ? How does it vary from winter to summer?

For this, they turned to the enormous marine mammals with large puppy dog eyes.

Seals are known for their impressive diving skills, with some species torpedoing down to depths of 2,000 feet even in sub-zero temperatures. These skills made them the perfect partners for collecting temperature data at the seafloor. Researchers had not collected any winter data in this region because the conditions are too harsh for humans.

“We could see that seals dive at these extreme depths and go these vast distances,” says Mike Fedak, a seal biologist at the University of St. Andrews in the UK who has been tagging animals for the past 39 years. “These animals go where we can’t.”

How Data-Gathering Seals Help Scientists Measure the Melting Antarctic

Drought and Drone Reveal ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Signs of Ancient Henge in Ireland


Not all consequences of a drought are bad……..

Signs of a henge, a man-made enclosure from thousands of years ago thought to serve as a gathering place, were photographed by a camera-enabled drone on Monday.CreditAnthony Murphy


It took an unusually brutal drought for signs of a 5,000-year-old monument to suddenly appear in an Irish field, as if they had been written into the landscape in invisible ink.

On Monday, Anthony Murphy, an author and photographer, sent a camera-enabled drone high above the Brú na Bóinne archaeological landscape, a Unesco World Heritage Site about 30 miles north of Dublin. He suspected that recent dry conditions might reveal evidence that a henge — a man-made enclosure from thousands of years ago thought to serve as a gathering place — had once been there.

What he and a friend saw in the images shocked him: a series of discolorations in the farmland, caused by differences in soil, spread about 150 meters wide in a perfectly circular pattern. He had flown the drone over the same field many times before and never saw a hint of what was now perfectly clear, he said.

It has been more than 40 days since the Dublin area has had significant rainfall, and the dearth of water had left the field, which is on privately owned land, scorched by the sun.

The drought also revealed the sites of ruins in Wales. From ABC News:

Cropmarks of a large prehistoric enclosure in the Vale of Glamorgan with the faint footings of a probable Roman villa within.Supplied: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW)

Cropmarks of a large Bronze Age barrow cemetery on the Llyn Reninsula, Gwynedd. Supplied: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW)

Drought and Drone Reveal ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Signs of Ancient Henge in Ireland

Just to be very clear, I want to live in the open-source hackable networked sex toys queer cyberpunk world, and not the…

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Worker bees are pansexual nonbinary creatures who give a good rub to both pistils and stamens which we clumsily talk about as…

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The rise of clean energy is dramatic proof that the choice between political/social activism and science/engineering/innovation…

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But the environmental movement also probably played a big role in pushing huge numbers of scientists, engineers, and…

IFTTT, Twitter, Noahpinion

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More extreme cardboard prototyping @_foam kernow style - the photo interrupter (IR LED and photo-transistor sensor) can…

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1- Communicates theory through fictive devices — not philosophical fiction, but fictive philosophy. 2- Practices theory outside…

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The Republic of Ireland becomes the world’s 1st country to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies The state’s €8bn…

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Sign up for for the #OpenPlantForum & satellite events from 23–26 July @JohnInnesCentre. We’ll explore the latest in plant…

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German cave diver Nick Vollmar who joined the Thailand cave rescue mission: “If we could cooperate globally in every aspect like…

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New publication -> Visualising the urban green volume: Exploring LiDAR voxels with tangible technologies and virtual…

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"This is not to say that popcorn is going to completely transform robotic actuation or anything, but it’s weird enough that it…

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Yes, it was me who smuggled a large seabird into the plenary and launched it at the speaker’s head with the words "Actually this…

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The SkyGuardian, a Predator drone variant by US nuclear specialists General Atomics, is currently flying over the UK on the…

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I’m putting together a reading list of theory-fiction and looking for more examples. What would you recommend? Playing loose…

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Biomimicry in architecture is a risky proposition to begin with, but I wish people who are going to do it wouldn’t always be…

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C is a cool programming language where if you want to return a string from a function you have to set up an entire…

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Decentralization = Distribution of Power and Control You can distribute your architecture across as many different layers and…

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Bruno Latour’s Borgesian micro-story at the beginning of On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods says almost everything there…

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the DCASE Bird Audio Detection challenge is hotting up! Four teams have now surpassed 80% in preview scores. Can’t wait to find…

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‘Unless we introduce a different business model, we will end up with more of the same. It is time to try a mixed economy in…

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A lot of apparent stupidity is actually smart people being maliciously lazy. It’s like selective amnesia but for reasoning. You…

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Shocked that a webgl program written in scheme can compile itself and run in a static html file that embeds all it’s code,…

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The biggest organism in the world is a mycelium that spreads across 3.8 km (2,384 acres) in Oregon’s Blue Mountains. It’s called…

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The most ironic thing about Ayn Rand isn’t that she was on welfare at the end of her life, it’s that she gave a bunch of scared…

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One of my favorite papers ( https://t.co/B6sFKUuHyn ) started a line of work that tries to formalize some related intuitions; it…

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this is called “dada” and it first emerged in the wake of the first world war out of the belief that a society which could…

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Enough about beach bodies. I want a forest body, with soft moss where my armpit hair should be. Or a prairie body, emotions a…

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I am unilaterally declaring today, July 5th, Interdependence Day. Today is a day to celebrate our communities, large and small;…

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