African tools push back the origins of human technological innovation

Not all researchers supported the view that modernity arose outside of Africa. Writing at the turn of the millennium, archaeologists Sally McBrearty and Allison Brooks complained that this view was Eurocentric and brought about by a profound under-appreciation of the depth and complexity of the African archaeological record. They argued that components of the “human revolution” were to be found in the African Middle Stone Age some 280,000-50,000 years ago. Now, two decades later, Brooks and her colleagues have presented well-dated evidence from the Olorgesailie Basin in Kenya that places the evolution of some of these behaviours much further back in time. They highlight technological change at around 300,000 years ago that likely occurred in response to the effects of long-term, global environmental and climatic change.


“I’ve often struggled to pinpoint the difference between a tool and a machine; it’s not simply a question of scale or…


“I’ve often struggled to pinpoint the difference between a tool and a machine; it’s not simply a question of scale or complexity. Still, the tool and the machine constitute two different branches in the philosophy of technology. For instance Heidegger wrote about tools but had much less to say about machines. Deleuze, for his part, was obsessed with machines, leaving tools by the wayside. Overall, ergodic machines are interesting from a philosophical point of view, given how philosophy tends to privilege presence and being. Categories like energy, heat, power, change, motion, evolution, or process tend to get second billing in philosophy, if they’re addressed at all. To promote them to primary billing, as Foucault did, or Whitehead, or Nietzsche, is something of a radical gesture.”

Anti-Computer | Alexander R. Galloway (via notational)

The First American CRISPR Trial in Humans Will Target Cancer In June 2016, an advisory board of the National Institutes of…

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The First American CRISPR Trial in Humans Will Target Cancer

In June 2016, an advisory board of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave doctors from the University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine), led by Edward Stadtmauer, the initial approval needed to begin human CRISPR trials. According to a post in a directory of ongoing clinical tests, the team is now almost ready to begin their trial.

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From our Spring 2018 Issue: “Wealth”: Paris Meetings, 1943 contains the transcripts of sixty-eight meetings held by Gurdjieff…


From our Spring 2018 Issue: “Wealth”:

Paris Meetings, 1943 contains the transcripts of sixty-eight meetings held by Gurdjieff with students from January 7 through December 20 of that year, dozens more than have previously been made public. Parabolais pleased to present the transcript of the meeting held on December 23, 1943.

Perhaps most striking in the transcript is the plain practicality of Gurdjieff’s teaching. He gives exercises and direction, always emphasizing the need to see deeper: “Make more observations. Collect more material.” Yet this prescribed activity must not happen willy-nilly. “One must never do an exercise without preparation,” he says. “All your functions are automatized. Before any exercise, you must sacrifice five, ten, fifteen minutes to relax and to calm your associations. Whether the exercise is big or little—all exercises.”

“You Must Have an Aim” by G.I. Gurdjieff

Photograph by Ihor Malytskyi

Why Our World is Brimming with Sentience

panpsychism, mind, animism, science, scientism, Whitehead, Patrizi, Bruno, Spinoza, Leibniz, Schopen

Strictly speaking, panpsychism is contrary to scientism rather than to science (if we take science to be a method rather than a dogma). Regardless, panpsychism, as well as transgressing the general scientific paradigm, transgresses the Christian one. Living under the shadow of both science and Christianity should make us wise to the legacy and interaction between the two, which is not always as antagonistic as is often believed. Descartes’ explicit aim in his Meditations on First Philosophy – wherein he divided nature into human souls and the mechanistic environment in which they found themselves – was to carry out the call of Pope Leo X to logically prove that the soul (which Descartes equated to mind) be distinct to the material body, so that life after death (in heaven or hell) be a logical view. Panpsychism per se does not need to make this afterlife claim: the death of the body implies the dissolution of the unifying sentience (the dominant monad, the holon) into its still unified smaller components – but the self as such dies. In panpsychism, mankind has no special status distinct to the other organisms, and as such is generally opposed to Christianity [64] and other Abrahamic religions. Moreover, panpsychism is more akin to the animistic, pagan religions that worshipped nature. Thus in Christendom, panpsychism has been contrary to both the religious and mechanistic ethos, resulting in its being shunned, disdained, and perhaps even purposefully suppressed: the Roman Inquisition burned the panpsychist Bruno on the stake in 1600.


Oh dear, Ursula is dead

Ursula K. Le Guin, RIP


*Well, it had to happen sometime.  All women are mortal, Ursula K. Le Guin is a woman, therefore Ursula is mortal.  So long Ursula, you weird, Taoist creature, you.

This Army of AI Robots Will Feed the World

Bloomberg, food, LettuceBot, automation, AI, robotics, Agriculture, 2018

Heraud researched the scourges of agriculture: hypoxic dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and Baltic Sea, the colony collapse of bees, soil degradation, and human health problems from allergies to cancers. “Everything tied back to the blind, rampant, broadcast spraying of chemicals,” Heraud says. He and Redden figured they could teach machines to differentiate between crops and weeds, then eliminate the weeds mechanically or with targeted doses of nontoxic substances. The two first considered hot foam, laser beams, electric currents, and boiling water. They’d market the robot to organic farmers, who spend heavily on chemical-free weeding methods including mechanical tillage, which can be both fuel-intensive and damaging to soil. After months of research, they faced a disappointing truth: There was no way around herbicides. “Turns out zapping weeds with electricity or hot liquid requires far more time and energy than chemicals—and it isn’t guaranteed to work,” Heraud says. Those methods might eliminate the visible part of a weed, but not the root. And pulling weeds with mechanical pincers is a far more time-intensive task for a robot than delivering microsquirts of poison. Their challenge became applying the chemicals with precision.


Amazon faces fines following the death of a second warehouse worker in as many months







Here are just a few more examples of Amazon warehouse worker deaths:

And here’s a close-call:

Fuck Amazon right to Hell. 

“Faces fines” = cost of doing business.

Fines = The American Government’s Cut

UPDATE:Timed toilet breaks, impossible targets and workers falling asleep on feet: Brutal life working in Amazon warehouse

Alan Selby went undercover at the firm’s Tilbury warehouse in Essex where ambulances are regularly called and where workers face the sack if they fail to pack at least two items per minute

kb 6 éve, rövid ideig kezdésként én is dolgoztam egy hasonló helyen (ocado) éjszakai műszakban, “emergency” túlórákkal 14 órát, időzített pisiszünet, hajcsárolás, lelkiterror, recsegő rádióból egész éjjel ugyanaz a top 10 szám üvölt és tilos a fülhallgató, csak megfagyás és megsülés részlegek vannak, agyhalál…  és tényleg kicsinált :) de nem is vártam tőle mást.

viszont ismerek olyat, aki azóta is ott van és elégedett ………………

Amazon faces fines following the death of a second warehouse worker in as many months

IAU Approves 86 New Star Names From Around the World

IAU, Astronomy, star-names, language, culture, 2017

The International Astronomical Union’s Working Group on Star Names formally approved 86 new names for stars, which are now in the IAU stellar name catalogue. The catalogue now contains the approved names of 313 stars. Traditionally, most star names used by astronomers have come from Arabic, Greek, or Latin origins. Now, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Division C Working Group on Star Names (WGSN) has formally approved 86 new names for stars drawn from those used by other cultures, namely Australian Aboriginal, Chinese, Coptic, Hindu, Mayan, Polynesian, and South African.


Sentences on Code Art


While code studies is just burgeoning as a field, poets, digital artists, and hacker/hobbyists have long used the textual and performative qualities of code together as a means of expression. Here are some thoughts on code art and esolangs. For further discussion on what makes something a computer or a programming language, I wrote this piece.

0. Computers are logical systems that arise as often by accident as by design.

1. Their core materiality is logic, not pixels or circuits or bits or other features of their physical implementation. Other implementations are possible.

2. Our engagement with logic is irrational because we are irrational beings. We are incapable of fully asserting our agency through a system that forces us to translate our intentions into logical steps.

3. This central drama of human / computer interaction is experienced most directly at the code level.

4. Bugs are the primary progeny of programmers. We write broken software.

5. Although the machine presents a world of our own making, it rebukes us by not doing what we want, leading to a compulsive cycle of “fixing” and augmenting code (as says Joseph Weizenbaum). We are all “computer bums”.

6. For any definition of the term “programming language,” there is a language that sits on its border.

7. Programmability is not a requirement for programming languages. Theoretical programming languages existed before practical ones. We can create valid languages whose programs are physically unconstructable or whose executors are logically impossible.

8. The ambiguity of human language is present in code, which never fully escapes its status as human writing, even when machine-generated. We bring to code our excesses of language, and an ambiguity of semantics, as discerned by the human reader.

9. We don’t need an irrational idea to follow logically; our irrationality will pollute any attempt at rigor.

A. Banal ideas can be rescued by carrying them out with precision, or even through increased repetition, as it is hard for us to understand even relatively immediate repercussions of our actions in the logical space, bringing us again and again to unexpected places.