Would you like to monetise your social relations? Learn from hostile designs? Take part in (unwitting) data extractions in…

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“Will of the people, weaponised” es la mejor definición del populismo que he leído. Y tiene razón: cuando se ejecute el Brexit y…

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Every year since 2009 the G7 have committed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies Instead, they are providing at least $100 billion…

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Also I kind of had a head explodey moment when I saw the hours on a restaurant in Tokyo listed as “15:00–25:30” to show they…

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Permaculture and the Myth of Overpopulation


Six talking points to use when debunking the myth that overpopulation is the root of the environmental crisis:

1. Rates of population growth are declining: Between 1950 and 2000, the world population grew at a rate of 1.76%. However, between 2000 and 2050, the rate of growth is expected to decline to 0.77%.

2.  Overpopulation is defined by numbers of people, not their behaviors: Industrialized countries, who make up only 20% of the world’s population, are responsible for 80% of the carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere. The United States is the worst offender, with 20 tons of carbon emission per person. Therefore, it is not the amount of people that leads to degradation, but what they are doing. Permaculture design illustrates how humans can have a positive impact on the health of our ecosystems, bringing greater health and equity.

3. Overpopulation justifies the scapegoating and human rights violations of poor people, women, people of color, and immigrant communities: Often times the subtext of “too many people” translates to too many poor people, people of color, and immigrants. This idea has been used to justify such practices as the forced sterilization of 35% of women of childbearing age in 1970′s Puerto Rico, under the control of and with funding from the US government. This is a human and reproductive rights violation. 

4. Overpopulation points the finger at individuals, not systems: This lets the real culprits off the hook. When we look at the true causes of environmental destruction and poverty, it is often social, political and economic systems, not individuals. We see militaries and the toxic legacy of war, corrupt governments, and a capitalist economic system that puts profit over people and the environment.

5. Supports a degenerative mental model of scarcity: Much of this ideology was created by Thomas Robert Malthus, an 19th century English scholar. Malthus gave us the erroneous idea that the reason there is famine is because there are too many mouths to feed. This hides the reality that we have a distribution problem, not a scarcity problem. Malthus’s work has been used as the philosophical bedrock to justify many human rights violations throughout history.

6.  Focusing on overpopulation prevents us from creating effective solutions and building movements for collective self determination: Permaculture teaches us that how we define a problem determines how we design solutions. How does viewing overpopulation as a root problem impact the way we think of and design solutions? What would solutions look like if we viewed people, all people, as an asset? The myth of overpopulation has lead to solutions of population control and fertility treatments, rather than overall health care and women’s rights. The more we blame humans and think we are bad and evil, the harder it is to believe in ourselves, count on each other, and build a collective movement for justice and self determination.

Permaculture and the Myth of Overpopulation

Since people keep asking for it here is a list of books on anarchism in the global south - Anderson, The Age of Globalization:…

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Never underestimate who might want access to your research… Penzance #accesslab signups include marine policy organisations,…

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‘Cyberfeminism is an occult form of warfare. It understands about cyberspace what ’dark forest’ theory understands about the…

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’If the invention of general purpose computation and robotics had occurred in a society much earlier—one founded on the woven…

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From the archives: Spiders appear to offload cognitive tasks to their webs, making them one of a number of species with a mind…

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A Polish environmental group placed a tracker on the back of a stork. The migratory bird traveled to Sudan, where someone found…

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At a wildlife rehab facility I met two crows that said, “caw” in a human accent. They said it like a human reading the word…

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Random Forests workshop at #dinacon today, in which marine dinosaurs were de-extincted & bio-engineered to perform large-scale…

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The Plight of the Humble Bee



The world’s bees are in decline, driving up the price of pollination so high it has spurred a black market of bee rustlers dealing in stolen hives. The almond growers of California’s central valley, who need 1.8 million hives each year, have seen the price to rent them grow over the past decade from $50 to as much as $200—valuable enough for thieves to spirit thousands away each season in the dead of night, to be rebranded and pawned off to different growers. Last year, police uncovered one cache of contraband bees worth close to $1 million.

Farmers, beekeepers and biologists have a name for the problem: the “beepocalypse.” It started mysteriously in 2006, when hives began failing en masse across North America, and next spread to Europe. Healthy-seeming bees would simply fly away and never come back, leaving behind combs full of honey and a dying, untended queen. Scientists at the time dubbed the phenomenon “colony collapse disorder” and launched a massive research effort, yet no clear cause of the malady has ever emerged. Stranger still, honeybees continue dying even though colony collapse disorder peaked quickly and has been on the wane. Those classic empty-hive symptoms now appear in less than 5% of failed hives, yet beekeepers continue losing between 30% and 40% of their stock every season.

People badly need bees. Biologists chalk up every third bite of food in the human diet to bee pollination, and in terms of the most popular and nutritious food crops the ratio is even higher; bees visit more than 75% of them.

The Plight of the Humble Bee

New Process worked #🙂- scan a rock, merge/mash the 3D scan with a 3D file extracted from a console video game (found on the 3D…

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“Gretchen: On the International Space Station, you have astronauts from the US and from other English speaking countries and you…


“Gretchen: On the International Space Station, you have astronauts from the US and from other English speaking countries and you have cosmonauts from Russia. And obviously it’s very important to get your communication right if you’re on a tiny metal box circling the Earth or going somewhere. You don’t want to have a miscommunication there because you could end up floating in space in the wrong way. And so one of the things that they do on the ISS – so first of all every astronaut and cosmonaut needs to be bilingual in English and Russian because those are the languages of space. Lauren: Yep. Wait, the language of space are English and Russian? I’m sorry, I just said ‘yep’ and I didn’t really think about it, so that’s a fact is it? Gretchen: I mean, pretty much, yeah, if you go on astronaut training recruitment forums, which I have gone on to research this episode… Lauren: You’re got to have a backup job, Gretchen. Gretchen: I don’t think I’m going to become an astronaut, but I would like to do astronaut linguistics. And one of the things these forums say, is, you need to know stuff about math and engineering and, like, how to fly planes and so on. But they also say, you either have to arrive knowing English and Russian or they put you through an intensive language training course. But then when they’re up in space, one of the things that they do is have the English native speakers speak Russian and the Russian speakers speak English. Because the idea is, if you speak your native language, maybe you’re speaking too fast or maybe you’re not sure if the other person’s really understanding you. Whereas if you both speak the language you’re not as fluent in, then you arrive at a level where both people can be sure that the other person’s understanding. And by now, there’s kind of this hybrid English-Russian language that’s developed. Not a full-fledged language but kind of a- Lauren: Space Creole! Gretchen: Yeah, a Space Pidgin that the astronauts use to speak with each other! I don’t know if anyone’s written a grammar of it, but I really want to see a grammar of Space Pidgin.”

Excerpt from Episode 1 of Lingthusiasm: Speaking a single language won’t bring about world peace. Listen to the full episode, read the transcript, or check out the show notes.

(via lingthusiasm)

Today seems like the right time to do a thread I’ve been thinking about for a while on how to handle the seemingly never-ending…

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‘Perhaps universal history is the history of the diverse intonation of a few metaphors’ [ . ] Illustration from ’The earliest…

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Befunge–93 (25 Years of)



Chris Pressey, esolang pioneer, has posted notes marking the 25 year anniversary of his revolutionary creation, Befunge-93.

The appearance of Befunge, alongside FALSE (by Wouter van Oortmerssen, interviewed here) and brainfuck, all in 1993, proved to be the watershed moment for language experimentalism that would eventually become a movement (joinging INTERCAL which had been recently revived). The term esolang (or even “esoteric programming language”) would appear years later, its first use on the Befunge mailing list, where much of the early discussions of the form took place.

Pressey’s notes offer some lesser-known aspects of the language, but also an occasion to newly consider it apart from its influence and legacy. The impetus for Befunge was to design the language most difficult to write a compiler for, similar to brainfuck’s conceit as the Turing Complete language for which the smallest compiler could be written (Turing Complete is essential – the compiler for, say, Unnecessary or other languages that challenge basic assumptions of what’s required to make a language, would be much smaller). Compiling code is the act of translating from a source language into a target language, usually machine code. Befunge challenges this in two ways. First, its most famous feature, it’s a 2D language, so code is not read linearly (left-to-right, top-to-bottom), but sometimes vertically, sometimes backwards, and sometimes off the page on the right side, to appear on the left, like a Pac Man board (thus giving the program space a toroidal topology). While that makes it challenging to do AOT compilation, probably the second feature is even more challenging: it’s self-altering, meaning it changes its own source code as it runs. Writing an interpreter for Befunge, however is far easier; the interpreter written (by Pressey) in VB.NET is concise. An interpreter executes as it runs, taking away this difficulty, although interpreters are often slower (interpreted languages include Javascript and Python).  There are also Befunge pseudo-compilers.


Russian Special Forces Are Turning to Paganism, Church Warns

church, state, Russia, paganism, military, sport, russian-orthodox, religion, 2018

Russia’s athletes and military personnel are increasingly turning to ancient pagan beliefs, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned. The Orthodox church, a strong conservative force closely allied to the Kremlin, has expanded its presence in the Russian military with specially trained priests who are attached to individual units. The patriarch’s words are the latest volley in the church’s long battle against paganism, a tribal pre-Orthodox belief system.

via https://themoscowtimes.com/news/Russian-Special-Forces-Are-Turning-to-Paganism-Church-Warns–61729

1972: The Year That Made 2018 Seem Sane

USA, history, 1970s, 1971, 1972, Leary, Nixon, Black-Panthers, Weather-Underground, counterculture

For those contemplating exactly how out of control America was then compared to now, the most pertinent evidence is the book’s compendium of a near-constant series of terror bombings. The authors describe explosions in New York at National Guard headquarters, police headquarters, and three Manhattan banks; bombings in San Francisco’s Presidio and at a church during a police officer’s funeral; Molotov cocktails tossed in Wisconsin city halls and Connecticut ROTC offices; post offices, courthouses, and draft boards lit up across the country; 81 sticks of dynamite found at a Kansas university; and rocks, bottles, and eggs tossed directly at Nixon and California Gov. Ronald Reagan. According to Bryan Burrough’s 2015 book Days of Rage (Penguin Press), the U.S. suffered nearly five bombings every day during one 18-month period in 1971–72. Hijackings had become so common—33 in 1969 alone—that the president’s family was barred from flying commercial. Leary’s overseas spree (where he found himself continually squeezed as a cash cow by those he relied on) dovetailed with America’s cultural and political chaos. By January 1973, when the feds decided they weren’t going to let aggravating legal niceties hold them back and just kidnapped him in Afghanistan, the violence that had inspired Nixon to prioritize his capture was winding down. But for a while there, it was bad. The modern American populace would likely die of head-exploding embolisms if even a quarter of that sort of madness were common today.

via http://reason.com/archives/2018/06/23/1972-the-year-that-made–2018-s

The rationalist heuristic to figure out root causes for problems is to ask “why?” 5 times. Do not use when feeling stupid. The…

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Blue Boulders Problem 1: More rock climbing routes via neural network


The other day I discovered that neural networks can learn to name rock climbing routes, when I trained one to generate new names for routes in Boulder and Joshua Tree. This week, I learned that they can name rock climbing routes in several languages at once.

UK Climbing saw these results and, to help train an even more capable neural network, sent me their entire database - all 427,000 names. These were the names of climbing routes from all around the world, in dozens of languages, names from the traditional (Muscle Crack, The Gizzard, Problem 21) to the more fanciful (Gandalf’s Groove Direct, Owl and Primroses).

First, for the cleanest dataset possible, I extracted the countries that have mostly english-language route names (about 155k names once I removed duplicates and numbered routes), and the neural net quickly learned to produce one plausible route after another. You might be able to slip this into a casual account of your last climbing trip, and have others nod in vague recognition. “Ah, yes, the Folly Cloud. Climbed that one last week before breakfast.”


The Stuff
Rocket Sheep
Ramp of Lies
Candy Storm
The Dog Sand
Holy Mess
Left Hand Monster
The Scratching One
The Angel’s Crack
Suckstone Gully
The Folly Cloud
Burning Doll
Silver Milk
The Cat Bear
Block of Fred
The Limber
Element’s Chimney
The Space Special
Bear Box
The Peacher
The Sun Mouse
The Bobble Block
The Rib (Stinkley)
Cry Problem 15
Scary Boulder Start
Solo Gallow Wall (STEXXY
The Sole and Elephant
Crag and Be Bloody
Midge Face
Seven Belly
Wine for the Great Free Man

However, I’m happy to report that some of the names were indeed even weirder than your typical route name.

You’re Not Andrew
Master In Your Tea
Bean on the Pocket
Seven Dry Have Ship
Mantlet Butt’s Locket
No Rocks Egg
In Arms if the Lords
Parking Store Substance
Over a Wall No Mover
The Very Seven Steps
Robin Time and The Sheep
Captain Purple and Darkness
The Sun Tin’s Not Your Winds

Next, I trained the neural net on the entire database, just to see what it would make of the non-English names. It definitely struggled more this time - it reported much lower confidence in its results. But it did manage to become multilingual, generating names that were identifiably French, Spanish, or German (these were the most common languages other than English in the dataset, so these were mostly what it learned). Even if many of them didn’t make much sense.

La Grimper - French: The climb
Cascade de l'ange - French: Cascade of the angels
De l'angle de la surplomb - French: From the angle of the overhang
Steines Schwein - German: Stone’s pig
Sin Homble - Spanish: Without Homble
El Pollute - Spanish: The Pollute
Rapute de la vine - Romanian: Rapping of the coming
Danse ton de Barre - French: Dance tone of bar

Sometimes it did end up mixing up the languages, although not as often as I had expected. Maybe it was doing it much more with languages I was less familiar with, and I couldn’t tell.

El Pantes du Petit
La Desire del pierra
Le Chins de Constant (Standing Pub)
El Lope du Pante
Sans Inside Droit
Via de la finger
Les l'Appolena
Placa de Carpet
The Schlang

Its brainpower was spread a bit thin, trying to remember rules for generating multiple languages at once. Unlike human brains, it definitely wasn’t built for compartmentalizing multiple languages. This struggle had an effect on the quality of its English names, which actually I rather like.


Boulder 1, Problem the Gorge
Very Up
Fred birthday
Red 1
Blue Boulders Problem 1
No we and Cheese
The Spooning
Cat of the Shallow
Serpent Mars
End Cow
Escapes of the Beach Brother
The Corner Stand of The Little Heart

There’s a whole category of names that I ended up not including in this blog post, although if you’re familiar with climbing route names you’ll recognize these as totally in the spirit of the originals. You can read them at UK Climbing, whose audience does not include small children, or you can read them (plus a few more bonus names) by entering your email here.

The Pedipulator - Cover illustration by the great Walter Molino featured on the 2 January 1966 issue of Italy’s, La Domenica del…


The Pedipulator - Cover illustration by the great Walter Molino featured on the 2 January 1966 issue of Italy’s, La Domenica del Corriere.

The seven-league boots are going to enter into reality: with the so-called pedipulator which multiplies by six the length of a step, the astronauts or American soldiers will move as if they were motorized and on any terrain. The ‘pedipulator’ is one of many applications of those studies and those experiments which, under the pressure of the space race, are changing the face of civilization. This week our correspondent Giancarlo Masini will report what he saw studied at American laboratories where the future has already begun.

Pitch: seminar course on ‘failed’ technologies across time and space; OLPC, Free Basics, the Qinhuangdao straddling bus, the…

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Stacking WaveNet autoencoders on top of each other leads to raw audio models that can capture long-range structure in music….

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Mulling over writing a parallel review of Wind River (2017) and Winter’s Bone (2010). They’re massively structurally parallel,…

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Summer 2018


I’m currently reading Diane Ackerman’s Natural History of the Senses which, next to Mandy Aftel’s Fragrant may contain my favorite writings about scent to date. Both these authors talk about scent and perfumery with such passion and elucidation, one forgets smell is the one sense that can only be described by reference to the others. Also in rotation is Luca Turin’s Folio (2003-2014), a compilation of perfume reviews that first saw the light of day on the pages of Swiss magazine NZZ Folio. This compilation is a bit of a treasure trove for the traveling sensualist, as Turin is a polymath with the kaleidoscopic cultural subconscious that comes from living across multiple geographies for years and years, nose in everything good.

Having traveled plenty through 2017, and already having visited Japan this spring, it’s likely that my lofty dreams of revisiting Milos, Greece will be pushed off to another year. Visions of the sea, the rough outline of the landscape’s scents perch themselves on the edge of memory, demanding attention as the crispness of their image dulls with time. As such I’ve been thinking about how to represent my time there through scent. A rough accord could contain beeswax, frankincense, myrrh, tarragon, a rock dust note, some musk. There would need to be a feeling of soft luminosity and dry earth.

I’ve seen mention of rock and sand accords in a few perfumes, one of them being El Cosmico by D.S. & Durga, and am endlessly curious about how they are achieved. A rock, not having a smell of its own at room temperature, would only smell if it’s been saturated by something with an odor, and probably I could only rely on contextual notes to suggest a rock. Thoughtful traces of dirt notes (geosmin or vetiver), bird poop (seaweed absolute? ambergris? castoreum?), and starched wood (sandalwood, cedarwood), then, might conjure the image of an oceanic rock.

Also useful, I imagine, is the naive willingness to macerate just about any object in perfumer’s alcohol to see what smell comes off of it over time, as I did before I knew anything about aromachemicals and essential oils. In my stock is a two ounce Boston bottle labeled “Sea anemone on rock/grey rock, 8-9/2014″ which does exactly what it says on the tin. It smells exactly like crushed sea rock, with a diffusive mineral quality and a vague animal sweetness. With the consistency and longevity of water, this won’t do for an actual accord, but one of these days it might be the much needed wild card to add flourish and something a bit weird to a finished perfume.

Photographic liquid emulsion prints on Japanese paper little tactile pieces will be presented in Arles @rencontresarles July….

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Given an adversarial environment I don’t believe you can maintain strong - decentralized - consistency AND have timely…

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I’ve set myself the challenge to: * teach tidal to 8 year olds, in groups of 8 * then record an ‘algorithmic drumming circle’…

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Things that are part of the mecha genre if you accept Neon Genesis Evangelion as a mecha anime: - Ratatouille - Inside Out -…

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Our Cyberpunk Future. CRISPR-engineered Neanderthal stem cells grown into “mini brains” (Neanderoids), then wired into crab-like…

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How markets plundered Free Software’s best stuff and used it to create freedom for companies, not people


Bejamin “Mako” Hill (previously) is a free software developer, activist and academic with a long history of shrewd critical insights into the ways that free software, free culture and the wider world interact with each other.

In his keynote address to the annual Libreplanet conference, Mako traces the history of software freedom and how it changed when it met the forces of relentless commercialization and extraction.

Early free software advocates assumed that working on free software would be centralized and would be a kind of voluntary ideological project that would result in pay-cuts to programmers who wanted to ensure that users of programs got as much freedom as possible, and were willing to sacrifice to achieve this.

But markets discovered free software and turned it into “open source,” figuring out how to create developer communities around software (“digital sharecropping”) that lowered their costs and increased their quality. Then the companies used patents and DRM and restrictive terms of service to prevent users from having any freedom.

Mako says that this is usually termed “strategic openness,” in which companies take a process that would, by default, be closed, and open the parts of it that make strategic sense for the firm. But really, this is “strategic closedness” – projects that are born open are strategically enclosed by companies to allow them to harvest the bulk of the value created by these once-free systems.

So Android (GNU/Linux) is everywhere and Apple was forced by its users insistence on jailbreaking their Iphones to create the App Store and allow programmers to participate in its ecosystem. But both mobile platforms have figured out how to use strategic closedness to lock up users and developers and capture the value and assert control over the system.

Mako suggests that the time in which free software and open source could be uneasy bedfellows is over. Companies’ perfection of digital sharecropping means that when they contribute to “free” projects, all the freedom will go to them, not the public.

This comes at the exact moment when the world is being devoured by software, and when software freedom is, more than ever, ineluctably bound up with human freedom – in other words, it’s a crisis of global and historic proportions.

Mako is calling on people to choose sides: to understand the moral dimension of software freedom, rather than its mere utilitarian benefits, and to commit themselves to human freedom.


China has perfected the internet control playbook and now it’s exporting it to the world


After decades of back-and-forth over internet freedom, China has figured out a method for allowing people to use the internet for social and business purposes, but not for political reform – a combination of huge boiler-rooms full of censors, centralization of internet services under tight government control, and control over standards to ensure that surveillance and censorship are always possible.

At the same time, China’s increasing wealth, combined with other large powers’ increased austerity and withdrawal from foreign aid, has enabled it to create large and growing spheres of influence over other states in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, and these trading partners look to China for examples of how to create their own internet policies.

That’s how Tanzania and Vietnam became the vanguard of Chinese-style internet control, creating rules and institutions that closely mirror the Chinese internet ministries and laws, exerting the same surveillance and control over their citizens. They’re the first, but won’t be the last.

Samm Sacks of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (a key player in the creation and maintenance of American commercial-political foreign policy) documents all of this in an editorial in The Atlantic, but misses out on one key aspect: as the internet’s center of power moves towards China, so does China’s ability to effect state espionage on the rest of the world.

Think of how the US suborned its telcoms giants to route global traffic through data-centers that it could plant wiretaps in, or how it practiced “third-party collection,” “fourth-party collection” and “fifth-party collection” – where it placed foreign governments’ surveillance agencies under surveillance (or placed agencies that were surveilling other agencies under surveillance, etc, etc).

The pivot towards balkanized internets with national firewalls and centralized surveillance points are ripe for Chinese state intervention: once a country opts into being a turnkey surveillance state with a couple of chokepoints for government censorship and surveillance, then any other power that subverts those chokepoints will enjoy total control.


1) Religious statements are not epistemic (scientific, literal) claims, but risk-survival heuristics under incomplete…

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China announces crackdown on ASMR videos as pornographic


In the five years since I first wrote about “Autonomous sensory meridian response” (ASMR) a folk-neurological condition that describes the pleasant shivers some people experience when hearing certain soft noises, ASMR has gone mainstream – my ten year old daughter describes the texture of the slime she makes as “really ASMR.”

The Chinese internet, like all the internets, is full of ASMR videos of people chewing ice, clicking lego bricks, whispering, and the like, and China’s internet censors have decided that this is a form of stealth smut.

The Chinese anti-pornography office has announced that some ASMR content should be put into adults-only areas of online services, and has ordered popular video-sharing services to “vigorously clean up ASMR content related to pornography and vulgarity.”


There is a big cultural opening for a new kind of political party: - Life Centric (the politics of gaia) - Transnational…

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The tldr of the talk “crypto courting major record labels and blue chip galleries, and tailoring systems for their deeply flawed…

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In two days, an EU committee will vote to crown Google and Facebook permanent lords of internet censorship [[SHARE THIS!!]]



On June 20, the EU’s legislative committee will vote on the new Copyright directive, and decide whether it will include the controversial “Article 13” (automated censorship of anything an algorithm identifies as a copyright violation) and “Article 11” (no linking to news stories without paid permission from the site).

These proposals will make starting new internet companies effectively impossible – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and the other US giants will be able to negotiate favourable rates and build out the infrastructure to comply with these proposals, but no one else will. The EU’s regional tech success stories – say Seznam.cz, a successful Czech search competitor to Google – don’t have $60-100,000,000 lying around to build out their filters, and lack the leverage to extract favorable linking licenses from news sites.

If Articles 11 and 13 pass, American companies will be in charge of Europe’s conversations, deciding which photos and tweets and videos can be seen by the public, and who may speak.

The MEP Julia Reda has written up the state of play on the vote, and it’s very bad. Both left- and right-wing parties have backed this proposal, including (incredibly) the French Front National, whose Youtube channel was just deleted by a copyright filter of the sort they’re about to vote to universalise.

So far, the focus in the debate has been on the intended consequences of the proposals: the idea that a certain amount of free expression and competition must be sacrificed to enable rightsholders to force Google and Facebook to share their profits.


But the unintended – and utterly foreseeable – consequences are even more important. Article 11’s link tax allows news sites to decide who gets to link to them, meaning that they can exclude their critics. With election cycles dominated by hoaxes and fake news, the right of a news publisher to decide who gets to criticise it is carte blanche to lie and spin.

Article 13’s copyright filters are even more vulnerable to attack: the proposals contain no penalties for false claims of copyright ownership, but they do mandate that the filters must accept copyright claims in bulk, allowing rightsholders to upload millions of works at once in order to claim their copyright and prevent anyone from posting them.

That opens the doors to all kinds of attacks. The obvious one is that trolls might sow mischief by uploading millions of works they don’t hold the copyright to, in order to prevent others from quoting them: the works of Shakespeare, say, or everything ever posted to Wikipedia, or my novels, or your family photos.

More insidious is the possibility of targeted strikes during crisis: stock-market manipulators could use bots to claim copyright over news about a company, suppressing its sharing on social media; political actors could suppress key articles during referendums or elections; corrupt governments could use arms-length trolls to falsely claim ownership of footage of human rights abuses.

It’s asymmetric warfare: falsely claiming a copyright will be easy (because the rightsholders who want this system will not tolerate jumping through hoops to make their claims) and instant (because rightsholders won’t tolerate delays when their new releases are being shared online at their moment of peak popularity). Removing a false claim of copyright will require that a human at an internet giant looks at it, sleuths out the truth of the ownership of the work, and adjusts the database – for millions of works at once. Bots will be able to pollute the copyright databases much faster than humans could possibly clear it.

I spoke with Wired UK’s KG Orphanides about this, and their excellent article on the proposal is the best explanation I’ve seen of the uses of these copyright filters to create unstoppable disinformation campaigns.


With regards to AI I can’t stop thinking about Bruce Blumberg’s synthetic creatures assertion that tech should behave like a…

IFTTT, Twitter, tezcatlipoca

(via http://twitter.com/tezcatlipoca/status/1009107638976700416)

Here’s the one thing everyone should understand about clean energy: the learning curve. Every time the amount of solar in the…

IFTTT, Twitter, tsrandall

(via http://twitter.com/tsrandall/status/1009185870052843520)

The first #InvisibleWorlds residency begins in July: Rosanna Martin will be doing microscopic examination and material…

IFTTT, Twitter, _foam

(via http://twitter.com/_foam/status/1008668130934181888)

Meatspace is increasingly full of people doing insane shit driven by the invisible logic of conspiracy theories. At least with…

IFTTT, Twitter, vgr

(via http://twitter.com/vgr/status/1008560515474264069)

If Earth had Saturn’s Rings



From an excellent post by Jason Davis

From Washington, D.C., the rings would only fill a portion of the sky, but appear striking nonetheless. Here, we see them at sunrise.

From Guatemala, only 14 degrees above the equator, the rings would begin to stretch across the horizon. Their reflected light would make the moon much brighter.

From Earth’s equator, Saturn’s rings would be viewed edge-on, appearing as a thin, bright line bisecting the sky.

At the March and September equinoxes, the Sun would be positioned directly over the rings, casting a dramatic shadow at the equator.

At midnight at the Tropic of Capricorn, which sits at 23 degrees south latitude, the Earth casts a shadow over the middle of the rings, while the outer portions remain lit.

via x

I didn’t know I wanted earth to have rings but now I know and am sad

First helicopter drops of cane toad sausages prompt design tweakStinky sausages made of cane toad flesh have been scattered from…

cane-toad, sausages, Australia, environment, management, invasive-species, 2018, taste-aversion

First helicopter drops of cane toad sausages prompt design tweak

Stinky sausages made of cane toad flesh have been scattered from helicopters in a wide-scale trial that researchers hope will give native animals a fighting chance. The sausages were air-dropped across a remote Kimberley cattle station just ahead of the cane toad frontline. They were developed as part of a taste aversion program to try to prevent native species like quolls from being killed by the toxic toads.

via http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-16/toad-sausages-dropped-from-helicopters/9857520