History of the ellipsis


A couple recent articles about the history of the ellipsis, drawing on the new book Ellipsis in English Literature: Signs of Omission by Anne Toner, which I have not read yet but looks interesting.

From the Guardian:

“There is no play printed before Kyffin’s Andria and listed in WW Greg’s Bibliography of English Printed Drama that marks unfinished sentences in this way. This is not to say that these were the first ellipses in English print. There are appearances of the mark earlier in the 1580s. Henry Woudhuysen has identified dashes in letters printed in 1580 and 1585, where in both cases the mark occurs as part of an informal, conversational style.”

But drama was “especially important” in the evolution of the ellipsis, according to Toner, being the literary form “that is connected in the most concentrated way with speech as it is spoken”. And after its appearance in the 1588 Andria, the punctuation mark quickly caught on. […]

Embraced by writers from Percy Shelley to Virginia Woolf, it was in the novel that the ellipsis “proliferated most spectacularly”, according to Toner. She points to Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad’s use of ellipses more than 400 times in their 1901 novel The Inheritors. Ford said that the writers were aiming to capture “the sort of indefiniteness that is characteristic of all human conversations, and particularly of all English conversations, that are almost always conducted entirely by means of allusions and unfinished sentences”.

From Slate:

In medieval manuscripts, we find a mark—sometimes called subpuncting or underdotting—that is used to indicate the omission of a word or phrase, usually when that word or phrase has been copied erroneously. This omission mark involves placing a series of dots under the word that is to be omitted. The image below shows an erroneous word, blotted out and subpuncted:

In this paper, we demonstrated techniques for generating accessories in the form of eyeglass frames that, when printed and worn,…

face recognition, FDS, machine-learning, ML, DNN, peturbation, adversarial networks, Invisibility with the use of accessories, adversarial images

In this paper, we demonstrated techniques for generating accessories in the form of eyeglass frames that, when printed and worn, can effectively fool state-of-the-art face-recognition systems. Our research builds on recent research in fooling machine-learning classifiers by perturbing inputs in an adversarial way, but does so with attention to two novel goals: the perturbations must be physically realizable and inconspicuous. We showed that our eyeglass frames enabled subjects to both dodge recognition and to impersonate others. We believe that our demonstration of techniques to realize these goals through printed eyeglass frames is both novel and important, and should inform future deliberations on the extent to which ML can be trusted in adversarial settings. Finally, we extended our work in two additional directions, first, to so-called black-box FRSs that can be queried but for which the internals are not known, and, second, to defeat state-of-the-art face detection systems.


“Works for me!”


In the “real world” and the “tech world”, the core problems are still cultural, political and socioeconomic. The bugs in our societies are ones that get patched across generations and governments, the end result of the status quo colliding with new ways of doing, urgent social movements and broad anxieties. While we are more connected with the world, the bonds we once shared in our villages and public squares have broken down. Speaking of our neighbors is often less of an expression of shared community than judgment and speculation of those who happen to be on the other side of social divides we’d rather not cross

via https://medium.com/@nickf4rr/works-for-me–80aa169f2ff0

Robot Shellfish May Tell Us About Climate Change’s Impact on Marine Species



Out in a bed of mussels, off the Monterey coast in California in a space exposed at low tide, a handful of green LEDs blink, indicating the location of a cohort of robomussels.

The little black data loggers, formed from polyester resin, have been precisely engineered by Brian Helmuth and his lab at Northeastern University to mimic the mussels already living there, a few of which researchers plucked out to make space for the fake ones. They’re here for a study of climate change, and, more precisely, its effect on one of the most important species found in the ocean.

Helmuth, a climate scientist, has been the driving force behind more than 70 of these plots, scattered across the globe, over the last 18 years. They’ve been logging information, in 10-minute intervals, on the temperature not of the air or water, but of the actual bodies of the Mytilus californianus mussels that live there. This gives a much more accurate picture of how climate change is affecting the species than the temperature of its surroundings could.

The mussels, which biologists call an “engineering species,” drive biodiversity and create habitat for other animals, says Helmuth, and so the scope of his research extends beyond the state of the intertidal ecosystems where the mussels live and to the way we understand the impacts of climate change on species, and how, and where, mussel farmers put their farms.

Robot Shellfish May Tell Us About Climate Change’s Impact on Marine Species

Earth gets a surge of new ocean sanctuaries


Read the article if you’re interested in more detail about some of the new marine refuges described in this excerpt, and others. Excerpt:

Earth is on the brink of a sea change. Its oceans are still mostly wild, without the obvious human footprint often seen on land, but they’re also increasingly plagued by man-made dangers such as climate change, overfishing and plastic.

Yet despite our inertia on many terrestrial issues like air pollution or deforestation, we’re actually building some momentum for saving the seas. It’s just a drop in the bucket so far, but the recent pace of ocean protection is promising nonetheless.

The latest big marine refuge was created Oct. 28, 2016, when 24 countries and the European Union struck a deal to protect 600,000 square miles of Antarctica’s Ross Sea. That’s about twice the size of Texas, and makes this the largest nature preserve on Earth. The move bans commercial fishing to protect a rich array of marine life.

Beyond Antarctica, the past few years have brought a surge of new marine sanctuaries to other parts of the world, including sprawling reserves near New Caledonia and Hawaii that each cover about 500,000 square miles. The nations of Gabon, Kiribati and Palau have all made waves with huge new refuges off their coasts, and the U.K. recently approved a 322,000 square-mile reserve around the Pitcairn Islands. Conservationists are now working to string together an array of protected areas to create the 30,000-island Pacific Oceanscape.

In September 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama also unveiled the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument will protect 4,913 square miles of marine ecosystems off the coast of New England from commercial activity and development. According to the White House, this includes “three underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon, and four underwater mountains known as ‘seamounts’ that are biodiversity hotspots and home to many rare and endangered species.”

Along with another recent expansion of a U.S. marine monument (see below), world leaders have protected nearly 2 million square miles of ocean so far in 2016. That’s a sizable increase from the previous record of 730,000 square miles protected in 2015.

Earth gets a surge of new ocean sanctuaries

Negative capability: The Posture of Systems Thinking(ers)


Perhaps the ambiguity of the term, and what it might imply for navigating complexity with a spirit of openness and creativity, is what makes it so tantalizing and intriguing to those of us who deal with the unpredictability of socio-technical change and the vagaries of human relations. Negative capability, as it’s been widely interpreted, suggests a uniquely human capacity for living with and tolerating ambiguity and paradox and opens a space for counterintuitive non-action. So, what is this capability that is negative and yet a source of ‘tolerance’, ‘openness’, acceptance of mystery, uncertainty and doubt. Is it a skill, a gift, an ability or something altogether different?

via https://medium.com/@wolfenden.dave/negative-capability-the-posture-of-systems-thinking-ers-e48f13b7096

In the middle ages, migration, vagabondage, and the rise of crimes against property were part of the resistance to…

“In the middle ages, migration, vagabondage, and the rise of crimes against property were part of the resistance to impoverishment and dispossession; these phenomena now took on massive proportions. Everywhere–if we give credit to the complaints of contemporary authorities–vagabonds were swarming, changing cities, crossing borders, sleeping in the haystacks or crowding at the gates of towns–a vast humanity involved in a diaspora of its own, that for decades escaped the authorities’ control. A massive reclamation and reappropriation of the stolen communal wealth was underway. In pursuit of social discipline, an attack was launched against all forms of collective sociality and sexuality including sports, games, dances, ale-wakes, festivals, and other group-rituals that had been a source of boding and solidarity among workers. What was at stake was the desocialization or decollectivization of the reproduction of the work-force, as well as the attempt to impose a more productive use of leisure time. The physical enclosure operated by land privatization and the hedging of the commons was amplified by a process of social enclosure, the reproduction of workers shifting from the open field to the home, from the community to the family, from the public space, to the private.”

Sylvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch (viacatalytic-chamber)

Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops



An extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification at the same time the United States and Canada were embracing it. Comparing results on the two continents, using independent data as well as academic and industry research, shows how the technology has fallen short of the promise.

Canada and Western Europe grow different varieties of rapeseed (canola), but Canadian farmers have adopted genetically modified seed, while European farmers have not. Still, the long-term yield trend for both areas is up:

In the last three decades, corn yields in Western Europe have largely kept pace with those in the United States.

Meanwhile, in the last decade sugar beet yields in Western Europe have increased more sharply than those in the United States.

G.M.O.s Were Supposed to Lessen Pesticide Use. Manufacturers also said that genetically modified crops would reduce the need for pesticides. In France, where G.M.O.s are not permitted, pesticide use has significantly declined.

But in the United States, while the use of insect- and fungus-killing chemicals has declined, farmers are using even more weed killers.

Much of the growth in the use of weed killers has come in Monsanto’s Roundup, in which the active ingredient is glyphosate.

Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops

Blade Runner: anatomy of a classic


Reaching back four decades into the past to help imagine a future four decades hence, the film’s visual reference points include Edward Hopper’s iconic 1942 painting Nighthawks, Miss Havisham’s clutter-strewn bedroom in David Lean’s classic Dickens adaptation Great Expectations, and Joan Crawford’s vampish outfits in Mildred Pierce. The film’s rousing score by Vangelis throbs with strident analogue electronica, but also lonely jazz saxophones and bluesy echoes from the past. Blade Runner is saturated in melancholy, overshadowed by death and peopled by ghosts. Visually and sonically, it is awash with hauntological whispers.

via https://medium.com/british-film-institute/blade-runner-anatomy-of-a-classic–7a0732cc8315

Postcapitalism [in Amsterdam]


Lecture delivered at De Balie, 25 October 2016
We’re living through the most exciting period of technological innovation for at least 200 years — and the worst ten years of economic history since the 1930s. The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, put it starkly in March at the G20:
“The global economy risks becoming trapped in a low growth, low inflation, low interest rate equilibrium.”
The only thing to disagree with there is the word equilibrium. Economic crisis spilled over into social crisis; now we have a crisis of multilateral institutions

via https://medium.com/mosquito-ridge/postcapitalism-in-amsterdam–3d8848a9f275

These Photographs From Space Show What Humans Have Done to the Earth



Space travelers have struggled to explain exactly what it is about seeing the planet as a pale blue dot that evokes this feeling. Yet artists, filmmakers and other Earth-bound creatives have been inspired by what the astronauts can share. Author Benjamin Grant, who just released a book, Overview: A New Perspective of Earth, that draws on the rich photographic resources collected by satellites, is the latest person striving to convey the feeling.

Here are a few of the photos:

Gemasolar Thermasolar Plant, 37.560755°, –5.331908° This image captures the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant in Seville, Spain. The solar concentrator contains 2,650 heliostat mirrors that focus the sun’s thermal energy to heat molten salt flowing through a 140-metre-tall (460-foot) central tower. The molten salt then circulates from the tower to a storage tank, where it is used to produce steam and generate electricity. In total, the facility displaces approximately 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. (All images in this gallery are reprinted with permission from Overview by Benjamin Grant, copyright © 2016. Published by Amphoto Books, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Images © 2016 by DigitalGlobe, Inc.)

Iron Ore Mine Tailings Pond, 46.407676°, –87.530954° Tailings are the waste and by-products generated by mining operations. The tailings seen here were pumped into the Gribbens Basin, next to the Empire and Tilden Iron Ore Mines in Negaunee, Michigan, USA. Once the materials are pumped into the pond, they are mixed with water to create a sloppy form of mud known as slurry. The slurry is then pumped through magnetic separation chambers to extract usable ore and increase the mine’s total output. For a sense of scale, this Overview shows approximately 2.5 square kilometres (1 square mile) of the basin.

Arlit Uranium Mine, 18.748570°, 7.308219° The Arlit Uranium Mine is located in Arlit, Niger. French nuclear power generation, as well as the French nuclear weapons programme, are both dependent on the uranium that is extracted from the mine—more than 3,400 tonnes per year.

These Photographs From Space Show What Humans Have Done to the Earth

New images of complex microbiome environments visualized by Berkeley Metagenomics Lab and Stamen Design.


It’s easy to think that we’ve discovered most of the species on the planet. In fact, the booming field of metagenomics is using big data to help scientists better understand new and vast unexplored regions of the natural world: the microbiome. In the last few years, the price of genetic sequencing has plummeted to the point where scientists can now study ecosystems in their entirety, not just the parts of it that they already know how to identify.
This new way of working relies on the visualization of truly enormous sets of interrelated data about organisms that often are new to science.
The Banfield Lab at Berkeley recently collaborated with Stamen to bring this data to life, using advanced data interaction and interactive visualizations to make it easier to understand these vast new landscapes of genetic diversity.

via https://hi.stamen.com/uc-berkeley-metagenomics-lab-releases-new-images-of-complex-microbiome-environment-discovered-a80000770c93

The caption is made to constrain the photograph into a single state rather than open it up to amplification. If a photograph is…

photography, 1000 words, caption, aboutness

“The caption is made to constrain the photograph into a single state rather than open it up to amplification. If a photograph is said to be a worth a thousand words, very few of those words generally come to mind after a caption tells the reader what the photo is supposed to be about.”

After Photography

Fred Ritchin


The Brain’s Now

Medium, Long Now, neuroscience, perception, time, memory, David Eagleman

Is “now” expandable? Why do you seem to experience time in slow motion in a sudden emergency, like an accident? Eagleman’s (terrifying) experiments show that in fact you don’t perceive more densely, the amygdala cuts in and records the experience more densely, so when the brain looks back at that dense record, it thinks that time must have subjectively slowed down, but it didn’t. “Time and memory are inseparable.” This also explains why time seems to speed up as you age. A child experiences endless novelty, and each summer feels like it lasted forever. But you learn to automatize everything as you age, and novelty is reduced accordingly, apparently speeding time up. All you have to do to feel like you‘re living longer, with a life as rich as a child’s, is to never stop introducing novelty in your life.

via https://medium.com/@stewartbrand/the-brains-now-ec0440c7fcdb

How to Run Text Summarization with TensorFlow

Medium, text, text summarisation, machine learning, tensorflow

Text summarization problem has many useful applications. If you run a website, you can create titles and short summaries for user generated content. If you want to read a lot of articles and don’t have time to do that, your virtual assistant can summarize main points from these articles for you. It is not an easy problem to solve. There are multiple approaches, including various supervised and unsupervised algorithms. Some algorithms rank the importance of sentences within the text and then construct a summary out of important sentences, others are end-to-end generative models. End-to-end machine learning algorithms are interesting to try. After all, end-to-end algorithms demonstrate good results in other areas, like image recognition, speech recognition, language translation, and even question-answering.

via https://medium.com/@surmenok/how-to-run-text-summarization-with-tensorflow-d4472587602d

Le Soir édité

Medium, Le Soir édité, Belgium, Belgique, bots, Julien Deswaef, edits, changelog, rédactions

L̶e̶ ̶S̶o̶i̶r̶ édité (@lesoir_diff) est un twitter bot qui tente de capturer les changements et corrections d’articles publiés en Une du site du journal Le Soir. On le sait, l’information de nos jours court plus vite que le temps qu’on a pour la lire. Les rédactions se sont complètement informatisées et connectées de l’écriture à la publication. Ce qui permet évidemment beaucoup de choses: autant d’offrir un article à ses lecteurs dès qu’il est écrit, que de pouvoir le corriger ou de le compléter alors qu’il est déjà publié. Cela arrive aussi parfois que des articles soient même supprimés, comme l’a repéré la RTBF avec cette intox sur un adolescente qui aurait attaqué ses parents en justice à cause de photos publiées sur Facebook.

via https://news.labdavan.ac/le-soir-%C3%A9dit%C3%A9-cc2452dd45e7

An exciting new idea in Basic Income

Medium, economics, UBI, basic income, citizens dividend, deflation, technology

In a painstaking analysis, Gada drills down on the insight that economists have entirely missed a crucial feature of the modern world called “technological deflation”. While the concept is nuanced, the basic point of technological deflation is that technological things (like, say, iPhones) have the funny habit of becoming “almost free” very quickly. Remember that fancy new iPhone 6 you bought for $600 back in 2013? How much is it worth now? Well, today if you are so inclined, you can get a brand-new one for $150. One fourth the cost in three short years. Remember, we aren’t talking about buying a used iPhone 6, these are brand new. In another two years, you’d be hard pressed to give one of these away.
You don’t see this kind of price deflation everywhere. In fact, in our modern society, we tend to expect to see prices rise over time. Oranges, for example, cost more today than they cost in 2012. Same with milk. A new Eames Chair from Knoll costs a solid $5,000. The same chair brand new cost a mere $310 in 1956. And if you want to ask “how much is that in today’s dollars” you are hitting the point: we are so very used to inflation that we intuitively think of the money itself as different. And yet, a brand new iPhone 6 today costs only one fourth as much as the same phone three years ago. Technological things are, quite vigorously, swimming against the inflationary current.

via https://medium.com/emergent-culture/an-exciting-new-idea-in-basic-income-b1b7bf622845

The Quantum Experiment That Simulates A Time Machine

Medium, Physics, QM, quantum mechanics, complexity, closed time like curves, timetravel, David Deutsch, arxiv

So much for classical objects and time travel. But what would happen if a quantum particle entered a closed time-like curve? In the early 90s, the physicist David Deutsch showed that not only is this possible but that it can only happen in a way that does not allow superluminal signalling. So quantum mechanics plays havoc with causality but in a way that is consistent with relativity and so prevents grandfather-type paradoxes. Deutsch’s result has extraordinary implications. It implies that closed time-like curves can be used to solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time and to violate Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.

via https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-quantum-experiment-that-simulates-a-time-machine–185a7cc9bd11

Rockets of India

Medium, Anab Jain, Space, space programme, design, India

A while back I roamed the streets of India with tiny Mars probes, speaking to strangers about space missions, aliens, climate change and nationalism. It was the start of a thrilling adventure exploring the history and future of India’s space program within the context of global geopolitics, militarization and cultural imperialism. From astronauts to afronauts, from cosmonauts to vyomanauts, how can deep space exploration inspire us to create more democratic future visions?

via https://medium.com/@anabjain/rockets-of-india-f043c5b39b34

Crash: how computers are setting us up for disaster

algorithms, automation, human-error, A330, 447, paradox-of-automation, reliability, practice, attent

This problem has a name: the paradox of automation. It applies in a wide variety of contexts, from the operators of nuclear power stations to the crew of cruise ships, from the simple fact that we can no longer remember phone numbers because we have them all stored in our mobile phones, to the way we now struggle with mental arithmetic because we are surrounded by electronic calculators. The better the automatic systems, the more out-of-practice human operators will be, and the more extreme the situations they will have to face. The psychologist James Reason, author of Human Error, wrote: “Manual control is a highly skilled activity, and skills need to be practised continuously in order to maintain them. Yet an automatic control system that fails only rarely denies operators the opportunity for practising these basic control skills … when manual takeover is necessary something has usually gone wrong; this means that operators need to be more rather than less skilled in order to cope with these atypical conditions.”
The paradox of automation, then, has three strands to it. First, automatic systems accommodate incompetence by being easy to operate and by automatically correcting mistakes. Because of this, an inexpert operator can function for a long time before his lack of skill becomes apparent – his incompetence is a hidden weakness that can persist almost indefinitely. Second, even if operators are expert, automatic systems erode their skills by removing the need for practice. Third, automatic systems tend to fail either in unusual situations or in ways that produce unusual situations, requiring a particularly skilful response. A more capable and reliable automatic system makes the situation worse.

via https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/11/crash-how-computers-are-setting-us-up-disaster

The People Paradox: Self-Esteem Striving, Immortality Ideologies, and Human Response to Climate Change


  • Ernest Becker’s Ideas on Denial of Death and the Symbolic Self
  • “A recent paper by the biologist Janis L Dickinson, published in the journal Ecology and Society, proposes that constant news and discussion about global warming makes it difficult for people to repress thoughts of death, and that they might respond to the terrifying prospect of climate breakdown in ways that strengthen their character armour but diminish our chances of survival(14). There is already experimental evidence suggesting that some people respond to reminders of death by increasing consumption(15). Dickinson proposes that growing evidence of climate change might boost this tendency, as well as raising antagonism towards scientists and environmentalists. Our message, after all, presents a lethal threat to the central immortality project of Western society: perpetual economic growth, supported by an ideology of entitlement and exceptionalism.” - Monbiot, Death Denial

The People Paradox: Self-Esteem Striving, Immortality Ideologies, and Human Response to Climate Change

The Great Silence by Ted Chiang

Medium, ted chiang, non-human, communication, other, parrots, interspecies communication, SETI, STI, Fermi Paradox, The Great Silence

Ted Chiang’s very short story, “The Great Silence” adds another set of questions to these speculations. Why, he asks, are we so interested in finding intelligence in the stars and so deaf to the many species who manifest it here on earth? And also: why have we demanded that, as proof of intelligence, non-human animals communicate to us in human language, and then dismissed those creatures that actually do so?

via https://electricliterature.com/the-great-silence-by-ted-chiang-e72e05eb8a0e

What $50 Buys You at Huaqiangbei, the World’s Most Fascinating Electronic Market.

Medium, capitalism, china, consumer electronics, Shenzen, HQB

We’ve long been fascinated by the Huaqiangbei electronics market area of Shenzhen. (Hereafter, we’ll just call it HQB.) If you need some bit of electronics or a phone accessory, you can find it in HQB. There is an entire multi-floor shopping mall that sells nothing but phone cases. There’s one that specializes in smartwatches. There’s a mall that sells cellphones wholesale. There’s one just for surveillance cameras. And then there are the component markets. Need a chip? Or 250,000 chips? Somebody there can get them for you.

via https://shift.newco.co/what–50-buys-you-at-huaqiangbei-the-worlds-most-fascinating-electronics-market-f0384d9fca32