Corporate Watch fought a 10-month battle to force the government to hand over the information, finally getting a favourable…

Corporate Watch fought a 10-month battle to force the government to hand over the information, finally getting a favourable judgment in June.

Phil Miller, a researcher with the organisation, said: “It looks like the Home Office is rounding up groups of migrants from particular countries so it can fill a deportation flight, instead of removing people based on their individual immigration cases.”

Officials deporting migrants by nationality ‘to fill chartered planes’ (viaiamdanw)

In the not-too-distant past, contacts were stored not in pocket-sized computers but in pocket-sized address books. Our new…

brucesterling:

archivesofamericanart:

In the not-too-distant past, contacts were stored not in pocket-sized computers but in pocket-sized address books. Our new exhibit gives you a glimpse into the grimy, dog-eared pages of well-known artists’ “little black books.” From Ad Reinhardt’s address book that fits in the palm of your hand, to Holly Solomon’s hulking double rotary Rolodex, these documents help us understand the social networks in which these artists lived and worked.

Little Black Books: Address Books from the Archives of American Art is on view in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery from August 7 - November 1, 2015. 

gif from: Ad Reinhardt’s address book, circa 1950-1965. Ad Reinhardt papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

*Paper.  And they, like, mailed stuff.  About “art.”

In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the…

“In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines. —George Dyson, historian”

Barrat, James. Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era. New York: Thomas Dunne, 2013. (viacarvalhais)

Why Your Rent Is So High and Your Pay Is So Low

economics, rent, labor, capital, inflation, technology

Every economy has to answer two questions: how much to produce and how to distribute that production. Technological advances ensure that each year we can make more stuff with less labor and capital than the year before. This has not changed. What has changed is how we allocate the benefits of progress. Back in the day, workers got the money; today, owners of assets do. Stagnant wages and higher stock prices are two sides of the same coin.

https://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/why-your-rent-is-so-high-and-your-pay-is-so-low-tom-streithorst

For the University of Ulster’s Roy Sterrit, apoptotic computing is a broad-spectrum defense whose time has come: We have made…

“For the University of Ulster’s Roy Sterrit, apoptotic computing is a broad-spectrum defense whose time has come:
We have made the case previously that all computer-based systems should be Apoptotic, especially as we increasingly move into a vast pervasive and ubiquitous environment. This should cover all levels of interaction with technology from data, to services, to agents, to robotics. With recent headline incidents of credit card and personal data losses by organizations and governments to the Sci-Fi nightmare scenarios now being discussed as possible future, programmed death by default becomes a necessity.
We’re rapidly approaching the time when new autonomous computer-based systems and robots should undergo tests, similar to ethical and clinical trials for new drugs, before they can be introduced, the emerging research from Apoptotic Computing and Apoptotic Communications may offer the safe-guard.”

Barrat, James. Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era. New York: Thomas Dunne, 2013. (viacarvalhais)

An amplified jet-stream pattern has produced an unusual doldrum off the West Coast that’s persisted for most of the past 18…

“An amplified jet-stream pattern has produced an unusual doldrum off the West Coast that’s persisted for most of the past 18 months. Daniel Swain, a Stanford University meteorologist, has called it the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” — weather patterns just aren’t supposed to last this long.”

Eric Holthaus, ‘The point of no return: climate change nightmares are already here’ (2015)

Science is not a method

science, pschology, language, understanding, misunderstanding

Contrary to what most scientists themselves appear to believe, science is not a method; it is an approach to knowledge (Stanovich, 2012). Specifically, it is an approach that strives to better approximate the state of nature by reducing errors in inferences. Alternatively, one can conceptualize science as a toolbox of finely honed tools designed to minimize mistakes, especially confirmation bias - the ubiquitous propensity to seek out and selectively interpret evidence consistent with our hypotheses and to deny, dismiss, and distort evidence that does not (Tavris and Aronson, 2007; Lilienfeld, 2010). Not surprisingly, the specific research methods used by psychologists bear scant surface resemblance to those used by chemists, astrophysicists, or molecular biologists. Nevertheless, all of these methods share an overarching commitment to reducing errors in inference and thereby arriving at a more accurate understanding of reality.

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01100/full

It is a sad irony, indeed, that those who most need to read it may find The Design of Design entirely incomprehensible. But to…

“It is a sad irony, indeed, that those who most need to read it may find The Design of Design entirely incomprehensible. But to anyone who has ever wondered whether using m4 macros to configure autoconf to write a shell script to look for 26 Fortran compilers in order to build a Web browser was a bit of a detour, Brooks offers well-reasoned hope that there can be a better way.”

https://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2349257

"EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone,…

moon, NASA, EPIC, DSCOVR

“EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere. Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, the camera will provide a series of Earth images allowing study of daily variations over the entire globe. About twice a year the camera will capture the moon and Earth together as the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital plane of the moon.”

http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/from-a-million-miles-away-nasa-camera-shows-moon-crossing-face-of-earth

World’s largest natural sound archive now fully digital and fully online.

cornelluniversity:

“In terms of speed and the breadth of material now accessible to anyone in the world, this is really revolutionary,” says audio curator Greg Budney, describing a major milestone just achieved by the Macaulay Library archive at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. All archived analog recordings in the collection, going back to 1929, have now been digitized and can be heard atwww.MacaulayLibrary.org

image

“This is one of the greatest research and conservation resources at the Cornell Lab,” said Budney. “And through its digitization we’ve swung the doors open on it in a way that wasn’t possible 10 or 20 years ago.”

It took archivists a dozen years to complete the monumental task. The collection contains nearly 150,000 digital audio recordings equaling more than 10 terabytes of data with a total run time of 7,513 hours. About 9,000 species are represented. There’s an emphasis on birds, but the collection also includes sounds of whales, elephants, frogs, primates and more.

image

“Our audio collection is the largest and the oldest in the world,” explained Macaulay Library director Mike Webster. “Now, it’s also the most accessible. We’re working to improve search functions and create tools people can use to collect recordings and upload them directly to the archive. Our goal is to make the Macaulay Library as useful as possible for the broadest audience possible.”

The recordings are used by researchers studying many questions, as well as by birders trying to fine-tune their sound ID skills. The recordings are also used in museum exhibits, movies and commercial products such as smartphone apps.

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“Now that we’ve digitized the previously archived analog recordings, the archival team is focusing on new material from amateur and professional recordists from around the world to really, truly build the collection,” Budney said. “Plus, it’s just plain fun to listen to these sounds. Have you heard the sound of a walrus underwater?  It’s an amazing sound.“ 

Sample some fascinating Macaulay Library sounds:

Earliest recording: Cornell Lab founder Arthur Allen was a pioneer in sound recording. On a spring day in 1929 he recorded thisSong Sparrow sounding much as they do today

Youngest bird: This clip from 1966 records the sounds of an Ostrich chick while it is still inside the egg – and the researchers as they watch

Liveliest wake-up call: A dawn chorus in tropical Queensland, Australia is bursting at the seams with warbles, squeals, whistles, booms and hoots

Best candidate to appear on a John Coltrane record: The indri, a lemur with a voice that is part moan, part jazz clarinet

Most spines tingled: The incomparable voice of a Common Loon on an Adirondacks lake in 1992

Most erratic construction project:the staccato hammering sounds of a walrus under water

Most likely to be mistaken for aliens arriving: Birds-of-paradise make some amazing sounds – here’s the UFO-sound of a Curl-crested Manucode in New Guinea

There are different reactions to the realization that you lost. The first impulse is to give up. Giving up leads to cynicism,…

“There are different reactions to the realization that you lost. The first impulse is to give up. Giving up leads to cynicism, disconnection from social contexts or postponing any action until you“figured things out”. Needless to say this is a dark path. But equally bad is denial of loss. Believing that if you just keep going, the next time you will really show them. It’s just around the corner, just a few more projects away. Just have to try a little harder next time. The longer time passes the more the feeling that it won’t happen keeps creeping up on you. The new projects and ideas seem just a little bit more hollow than the last ones. You should have stopped already a long time ago.”

http://fffff.at/

Postcards from the Futch

Joanne McNeil, The Future, The Futch, prediction, accountability, futurology, futures, present

The futch ignores complexity. The futch denies how the internet amplifies existing hierarchies and upholds structural inequality. The futch is every broken promise of every new app or internet service. There’s always demand for more legible future. Futch-peddling is about as noble a profession as astrologer, and one with about as little accountability.

https://medium.com/message/postcards-from-the-futch–595796d8a45d

Revealing the invisible supports that hold up the world, a chief aim of infrastructuralism, is clearly allied with the feminist…

“Revealing the invisible supports that hold up the world, a chief aim of infrastructuralism, is clearly allied with the feminist project of revealing unpaid and unappreciated labor. (I will resist the temptation to join the current controversy about “wife bonuses” for rich stay-at-home moms!) The infrastructuralist imagination — nice term, by the way — seeks to appreciate all that is essential and off the radar. Without reinforcing a gender binary, the book points to the vast realms of technical history made invisible by the masculinist view of technologies as artifacts that work on matter rather than practices that shape bodies. Technology, as I wrote about one of Google’s more outlandish moves, is womb envy.”

The Anthropoid Condition, an interview with John Durham Peters (vianataliekane)

Do ants really have the largest biomass of all species on earth?

metabolism, biomass, comparative biology, ecology, ants

A million ruby-throated hummingbirds will consume much more food than one African Elephant, even though both have about the same biomass (3,000kg, or 3.3 US tons). Thus, ants, as a group, may actually consume more resources per year than antarctic krill, even though both may have roughly the same biomass, because ants tend to be smaller, and live in warmer environments. Although there may be about 10-15 times the biomass of termites than cows in the world, studies have suggested that termites might produce almost 30,000 times as much methane per year because of their faster metabolism.

http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2010/10/do-ants-really-have-the-largest-biomass-of-all-species-on-earth-laurie-usa.html

What China Has Been Building in the South China Sea

NYT, China, South China Sea, Asia, islands, island building, pirate utopias, infrastructure, marine

The speed and scale of China’s island-building spree have alarmed other countries with interests in the region. China announced in June that the creation of islands — moving sediment from the seafloor to a reef — would soon be completed. “The announcement marks a change in diplomatic tone, and indicates that China has reached its scheduled completion on several land reclamation projects and is now moving into the construction phase,” said Mira Rapp-Hooper, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington research group. So far China has built port facilities, military buildings and an airstrip on the islands. The installations bolster China’s foothold in the Spratly Islands, a disputed scattering of reefs and islands in the South China Sea more than 500 miles from the Chinese mainland.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/30/world/asia/what-china-has-been-building-in-the-south-china-sea.html?_r=0

The speed and scale of China’s island-building spree have alarmed other countries with interests in the region. China announced…

china, south china sea, island, island building, pirate utopias, asia

The speed and scale of China’s island-building spree have alarmed other countries with interests in the region. China announced in June that the creation of islands — moving sediment from the seafloor to a reef — would soon be completed. “The announcement marks a change in diplomatic tone, and indicates that China has reached its scheduled completion on several land reclamation projects and is now moving into the construction phase,” said Mira Rapp-Hooper, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington research group.

So far China has built port facilities, military buildings and an airstrip on the islands. The installations bolster China’s foothold in the Spratly Islands, a disputed scattering of reefs and islands in the South China Sea more than 500 miles from the Chinese mainland.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/30/world/asia/what-china-has-been-building-in-the-south-china-sea.html?_r=0

Hod Lipson at Cornell University’s Computational Synthesis Lab developed software that derives scientific laws from raw data. By…

“Hod Lipson at Cornell University’s Computational Synthesis Lab developed software that derives scientific laws from raw data. By observing a double pendulum swinging, it rediscovered many of Newton’s laws of physics. The “scientist” was a genetic algorithm. It started with crude guesses about the equations governing the pendulum, combined the best parts of those equations, and many generations later output physical laws, such as the conservation of energy.”

Barrat, James. Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era. New York: Thomas Dunne, 2013. (viacarvalhais)

When someone uploaded the monkey selfies to Wikipedia last year, photographer David Slater took issue. It was his camera, so the…

science:

When someone uploaded the monkey selfies to Wikipedia last year, photographer David Slater took issue. It was his camera, so the copyright fell to him, and Wikimedia Commons should take it down, in his opinion. The whole thing ended when the US Copyright Office issued a public draft stating that works created by animals are public domain. So are any works supposedly created by supernatural beings, just FYI, the Copyright Office added. In other words, this photograph is free to share, reblog, deface, print out on a poster with the words “MISSING” and “REWARD 5,000 bananas” and go out into the jungle to show it around, or do anything else with.

The monkey is a Celebes crested macaque from Indonesia.

Boltzmann Brain. Boltzmann brain is a hypothesized self aware entity which arises due to random fluctuations out of a state of…

chaosophia218:

Boltzmann Brain.

Boltzmann brain is a hypothesized self aware entity which arises due to random fluctuations out of a state of chaos. The idea is named for the physicist Ludwig Boltzmann, who advanced an idea that the Universe is observed to be in a highly improbable non-equilibrium state because only when such states randomly occur can brains exist to be aware of the Universe. The Boltzmann brains concept is often stated as a physical paradox. The paradox states that if one considers the probability of our current situation as self-aware entities embedded in an organized environment, versus the probability of stand-alone self-aware entities existing in a featureless thermodynamic “soup”, then the latter should be vastly more probable than the former.

The Boltzmann brains concept has been proposed as an explanation for why we observe such a large degree of organization in the Universe (a question more conventionally addressed in discussions of entropy in cosmology). Boltzmann proposed that we and our observed low-entropy world are a random fluctuation in a higher-entropy universe. Even in a near-equilibrium state, there will be stochastic fluctuations in the level of entropy. The most common fluctuations will be relatively small, resulting in only small amounts of organization, while larger fluctuations and their resulting greater levels of organization will be comparatively more rare. Large fluctuations would be almost inconceivably rare, but are made possible by the enormous size of the Universe and by the idea that if we are the results of a fluctuation, there is a “selection bias”: we observe this very unlikely Universe because the unlikely conditions are necessary for us to be here, an expression of the anthropic principle. If our current level of organization, having many self-aware entities, is a result of a random fluctuation, it is much less likely than a level of organization which only creates stand-alone self-aware entities. For every universe with the level of organization we see, there should be an enormous number of lone Boltzmann brains floating around in unorganized environments. In an infinite universe, the number of self-aware brains that spontaneously and randomly form out of the chaos, complete with false memories of a life like ours, should vastly outnumber the real brains evolved from an inconceivably rare local fluctuation the size of the observable Universe.The Boltzmann brain paradox is that any observers (self-aware brains with memories like we have, which includes our brains) are therefore far more likely to be Boltzmann brains than evolved brains. 

A Sort of Joy — Medium The Museum of Modern Art is full of tombstones. You’ve may have cropped one out of an Instagram photo…

new-aesthetic:

A Sort of Joy — Medium

The Museum of Modern Art is full of tombstones. You’ve may have cropped one out of an Instagram photo lately — they’re the small white signs that list the artwork’s vital statistics: title, artist, date, medium and provenance. Last week, MoMA quietly released their collections database, a vast graveyard full of tombstones, as a GitHub repository. Slightly more than 120,000 artworks are included in the .CSV release, all tightly arranged in rows and columns. […]

It’s 1:32pm. A woman in a black dress leans against the edge of a doorway between rooms in MoMA’s second floor galleries. Swatches of rotating light and the ting-tang of a Gamelan orchestra from the installation behind her bleed past her, out into the room that she’s facing.

“Fuck Off,” she mutters.

A few faces in the crowd turn towards her, but most either didn’t hear, or pretended that they didn’t hear. The woman continues, undeterred.

“Where’s My Fucking Peanut?”

“Shut The Fuck Up.”

“I Shit Crystals for you, David.”

Despite this impressive string of obscenity, the the gallery goers’ attention is mostly directed towards the middle of the room, where a group of five people who have just burst into song.

Over the next forty minutes, this group of six performers will speak (and sing) in a strange language — every word they say will be taken verbatim from the collections database. And yet it will not come off as if they are listing a litany of titles; instead they will engage in complex patterns of call & response, performing a combination of carefully choreographed exchanges and loosely-defined scenes, often balanced at the edge of chaos and absurdity.

But while someone can certainly make the case that an AK–47, or any other kind of gun or rifle is designed, nothing whose…

“But while someone can certainly make the case that an AK–47, or any other kind of gun or rifle is designed, nothing whose primary purpose is to take away life can be said to be designed well. And that attempting to separate an object from its function in order to appreciate it for purely aesthetic reasons, or to be impressed by its minimal elegance, is a coward’s way of justifying the death they’ve designed into the world, and the money with which they’re lining their pockets.”

In Praise of the AK–47 — Dear Design Student — Medium (viaiamdanw)

A performance by the Chicago rapper Chief Keef — or rather, his likeness, beamed live via hologram from California — was shut…

new-aesthetic:

A performance by the Chicago rapper Chief Keef — or rather, his likeness, beamed live via hologram from California — was shut down by the police on Saturday night in Hammond, Ind., after warnings from the mayor’s office that the performer could not appear, even digitally, promoters said on Sunday. The surprise appearance of Chief Keef at Craze Fest, a hip-hop festival in Hammond, about 25 miles outside of Chicago, was scheduled after a series of canceled hologram performances by the rapper, born Keith Cozart. Last weekend, a Chicago theater called off a similar show after representatives for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office deemed Chief Keef “an unacceptable role model,” whose music “promotes violence” and whose presence via hologram “posed a significant public safety risk.”

Hologram Performance by Chief Keef Is Shut Down by Police - The New York Times [Image via Chicago Tribune]

Yanis Varoufakis full transcript: our battle to save Greece

Greece, EU, Eurozone, debt, power, legality, extra-egality, Eurogroup

There was a moment when the President of the Eurogroup decided to move against us and effectively shut us out, and made it known that Greece was essentially on its way out of the Eurozone. … There is a convention that communiqués must be unanimous, and the President can’t just convene a meeting of the Eurozone and exclude a member state. And he said, “Oh I’m sure I can do that.” So I asked for a legal opinion. It created a bit of a kerfuffle. For about 5-10 minutes the meeting stopped, clerks, officials were talking to one another, on their phone, and eventually some official, some legal expert addressed me, and said the following words, that “Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group.” So what we have is a non-existent group that has the greatest power to determine the lives of Europeans. It’s not answerable to anyone, given it doesn’t exist in law; no minutes are kept; and it’s confidential. So no citizen ever knows what is said within. … These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody.

http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/07/yanis-varoufakis-full-transcript-our-battle-save-greece

If Good’s original disbelief in God had remained 100 percent, no amount of data, not even God’s appearance, could change his…

“If Good’s original disbelief in God had remained 100 percent, no amount of data, not even God’s appearance, could change his mind. So, to be consistent with his Bayesian perspective, Good assigned a small positive probability to the existence of God to make sure he could learn from new data, if it arose.”

Barrat, James. Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era. New York: Thomas Dunne, 2013. (viacarvalhais)

Infrastructure Cyborgs: Part One

Paul Graham Raven, infrastructure, cyborg, urbanisation, tea, supply chain, globalisation

In the simple ritual of making tea, I have already marshalled two vast technological systems which exist only to fulfil my desires - and that’s without thinking about the convoluted global supply chain through which I acquired the tea (which involves not only the agricultural systems used to grow and prepare the tea leaves, but also the packing, distribution and stock management systems used to get the tea from where it was grown to where it will be consumed, and the global markets of trade and finance through which its ownership and value must pass), or where the fuel for some of those power stations might have originally come from. I have accomplished all this with a few movements and gestures, so simple and untaxing that they can reproduce themselves almost unbidden through even the fiercest of hangovers.

http://futureeverything.org/news/infrastructure-cyborgs-part-one/

In the 20th Century photography existed on a printed page, mimicking in the perspectival organisation of its elements the…

“In the 20th Century photography existed on a printed page, mimicking in the perspectival organisation of its elements the hierarchical organisation of a centrally governed society, with its focal point located in the subjectivity of the observer. In the 21st Century this arrangement is just as quaint as piecemeal production in the age of conveyer belt assembly. The photographic print disappeared everywhere apart from some galleries and nostalgic photography departments. In its place there is now a luminous screen that has one of its sides facing the human, bathing her in blue light, and its other side remotely plugged into an unimaginably large stream of data, constantly worked and reworked by algorithms that are written and re-written by invisible and unknown puppet masters – our real rulers.”

Daniel Rubinstein, ‘What is 21st Century Photography?’ (2015)