Cthulhu in the Kitchen


In a previous experiment, I let a neural network trained on the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft finish phrases from cookbook recipes. Now, I tried it the other way around, in which I gave phrases from Lovecraftian horror to an innocent neural network trained on 30MB of cookbook recipes.

There was thunder in the air on the night I went to the deserted mansion atop Tempest Mountain to find the cake cooked.

I was not alone, for foolhardiness was not then mixed with the ham slices.

Now and then, beneath the brown pall of leaves that rotted and festered in the antediluvian forest darkness, I could trace the sinister outlines of some of the cooking pancakes.

For I, and I only, know what manner of fear lurked on a cookie cutter.

The pitiful throngs of natives shrieked and whined of the unnamable powder served with the flour and red pepper.

Everything seemed to me tainted with a loathsome contagion, and inspired by a noxious alliance with the steamed chicken.

All was in vain; the death that had come had left no trace save the steamed red peppers and chicken broth.

Sometimes, in the throes of a nightmare when unseen powers whirl one over the roofs of strange dead cities toward the grinning chasm of Nis, it is a relief and even a delight to make the soup.

Cooking with Cthulhu


Here’s what you get when you give incomplete cookbook recipes to a neural network trained on the complete works of H. P. Lovecraft:

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 32 minutes. Test corners to see if done, as center will seem like the next horror of Second House.

Whip ½ pint of heavy cream. Add 4 Tbsp. brandy or rum to possibly open things that will never be wholly reported.

Cook over a hot grill, or over glowing remains of tunnel mouth.

With blender on high speed, add ice cubes, one at a time, making certain each cube is the end.

Dice the pulp of the eggplant and put it in a bowl with the vast stark rocks.

NOTE:  As this is a tart rather than a cheesecake, you should be disturbed.

This may be one of the most exceptional souffles you’ll ever serve. The beet color spreads upward from the noisome Great Ones.

Coat apple slices with strange things.

NOTE: If chocolate sauce is not completely smooth, we became the state of the mad and discovered more desperate tracks and merciful sky.

Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Spoon over bizarre eyes.

Source: Bon Appetit - June 1991 Typed for you by the ancient Alert and Brattleboro and the Walter Sabbath of Inquanok - and the final monoliths of the Essecian Head.

Situational Assessment 2017: Trump Edition

Medium, 2017, Trump Insurgency, politics, USA

While many things have changed in the world in the past two years, 2016 saw what looks like a phase transition in the political domain. While the overall phenomenon is global in scale and includes Brexit and other movements throughout Europe, I want to focus specifically on the victory of the “Trump Insurgency” and drill down into detail on how this state change will play out.
This war is about much more than ideology, money or power. Even the participants likely do not fully understand the stakes. At a deep level, we are right in the middle of an existential conflict between two entirely different and incompatible ways of forming “collective intelligence”. This is a deep point and will likely be confusing. So I’m going to take it slow and below will walk through a series of “fronts” of the war that I see playing out over the next several years. This is a pretty tactical assessment and should make sense and be useful to anyone. I’ll get to the deep point last — and will be going way out there in an effort to grasp “what is really going on”.

via https://medium.com/rally-point-journal/situational-assessment–2017-trump-edition-d189d24fc046

Why Each One Should Eat His Own Turtles: Equality in Uncertainty

Medium, skin in the game, risk, Mercury, parable

The origin of the expression is as follows. It was said that a group of fishermen caught a large number of turtles. After cooking them, they found out at the communal meal that these sea animals were much less edible that they thought: not many members of the group were willing to eat them. But Mercury happened to be passing by –Mercury was the most multitasking, sort of put-together god, as he was the boss of commerce, abundance, messengers, the underworld, as well as the patron of thieves and brigands and, not surprisingly, luck. The group invited him to join them and offered him the turtles to eat. Detecting that he was only invited to relieve them of the unwanted food, he forced them all to eat the turtles, thus establishing the principle that you need to eat what you feed others.

via https://medium.com/incerto/why-each-one-should-eat-his-own-turtles-equality-in-uncertainty-e2b2ee3bcddf

Anarchist bitcoin hacker flies to Syria to join a 4-million person anarchist collective the size of Massachusetts


Amir Taaki is a well-known anarchist bitcoin hacker whose project, Dark Wallet, is meant to create strong anonymity for cryptocurrency transactions; when he discovered that anarchists around the world had gone to Rojava, a district in Kurdish Syria on the Turkish border, to found an anarchist collective with 4,000,000 members “based on principles of local direct democracy, collectivist anarchy, and equality for women,” he left his home in the UK to defend it.

The scene on the ground is somewhat shambolic, and Taaki spent months fighting at the front, watching his friends die to jihadi machine-gun ambushes, before someone figured out that he had special skills relevant to the cause. He was finally transfered to Qamishli, Rojava’s capital, where he worked as a technologist before deciding to return to Britain to finish Dark Wallet in the hopes that strongly anonymous cryptocurrency could be a fundraising tool for anarchist free states.

However, he was arrested and accused of terrorism as soon as he landed. Now, he’s mired in a long, terrible fight with the British government.


2016: You Want It Darker

Dougald-Hine, Dark-Mountain, liminal, liminality, collapse, crisis, uncertainty, ritual, transformat

The concept of liminality was first used to describe the structure of rituals like the one at the centre of The Encounter, but its application as a term for thinking about modern societies is connected to the study of theatre and performance. The anthropologist who made the connection, Victor Turner, distinguished the ‘liminal’ experiences of tribal cultures – in which ritual is a collective process for navigating moments of change – from the ‘liminoid’ experiences available in modern societies, which resemble the liminal, but are choices we opt into as individuals, like a night out at the theatre. This distinction comes with a suggestion that true liminality, the collective entry into the liminal, is not available within a complex industrial society. Now, perhaps this has been true – but here’s my next wild suggestion. The consequences of that very complex industrial society are now bringing us to a point where we get reacquainted with true liminality. To take seriously not just what Dark Mountain has been talking about, but what Monbiot and Harris are touching on, is to recognise that we now face a crisis which has no outside. The planetary scale of our predicament makes it as much a collective experience as anything faced by the tribal cultures studied by Turner and his colleagues. […] To navigate at these depths, you need a different kind of equipment. Facts alone don’t cut it down here.

via http://dark-mountain.net/blog/2016-you-want-it-darker/

Spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year

spiders, biomass, ecology, humans, food

Spiders mostly eat insects, although some of the larger species have been known to snack on lizards, birds and even small mammals. Given their abundance and the voraciousness of their appetites, two European biologists recently wondered: If you were to tally up all the food eaten by the world’s entire spider population in a single year, how much would it be? Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer published their estimate in the journal the Science of Nature earlier this month, and the number they arrived at is frankly shocking: The world’s spiders consume somewhere between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey in any given year. That means that spiders eat at least as much meat as all 7 billion humans on the planet combined, who the authors note consume about 400 million tons of meat and fish each year.

via https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/28/spiders-could-theoretically-eat-every-human-on-earth-in-one-year/?tid=sm_tw

Facial recognition database used by FBI is out of control

facial-recognition, pattern-matching, bias, FBI, USA, policing, errorism

Approximately half of adult Americans’ photographs are stored in facial recognition databases that can be accessed by the FBI, without their knowledge or consent, in the hunt for suspected criminals. About 80% of photos in the FBI’s network are non-criminal entries, including pictures from driver’s licenses and passports. The algorithms used to identify matches are inaccurate about 15% of the time, and are more likely to misidentify black people than white people.

via https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/27/us-facial-recognition-database-fbi-drivers-licenses-passports

Sand patterns are seen here in Salta, Argentina. Salta is situated 3780 feet above sea level in the northwest part of the…


Sand patterns are seen here in Salta, Argentina. Salta is situated 3780 feet above sea level in the northwest part of the country. The palette of colors in the sand is caused for a variety of reasons. The red occurs from large amounts of iron in the sand that have broken down, and stained the sand a rust color. The black presumably occurs following volcanic activity. The white seen in this Overview is snow covering the tops of the mountains.

-22.821924, -65.030245

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2nFQ6qS

Source imagery: DigitalGlob

For more identity, not less

Medium, Dan Hill, identity, nationality, multiplicity, estonia, digital services, post-national

2016 was a year in which modern notions of identity were shut down for short-term political gain. Yet in actual rather than alternative fact, how we live and who we are continues to unfold, dovetail and joyously entwine. Already complex identities, drawn over millennia of trade, migration and social experimentation, become yet more complex with each passing day. Binding that glorious mess to anachronistic approaches to decision-making and identity, rooted in some mythical simpler times, it’s little surprise we are allegedly tearing ourselves apart. The 2016 American presidential election and Brexit referendum results reveal countries apparently rent in two, systems that carelessly allow an almost insignificantly small majority to be described as ‘clear mandates’, by shredding those rich tapestries such that they are perceived instead as crude, diametrically opposed camps. The seams of those political systems are badly misaligned with the reality of how and where we live, clearly foregrounding the concerns of rural voters over urban, a design derived from a previous age of feudal landowners yet still in place.

via https://medium.com/dark-matter-and-trojan-horses/for-more-identity-not-less-e5e85422e4e9

Dear Tech, You Suck at Delight

Medium, Sara Wachter-Boettcher, AI, UI, tech, Apple, siri, partial automation

What we’ve found, over and over, is an industry willing to invest endless resources chasing “delight” — but when put up to the pressure of real life, the results are shallow at best, and horrifying at worst. Consider this: Apple has known Siri had a problem with crisis since it launched in 2011. Back then, if you told it you were thinking about shooting yourself, it would give you directions to a gun store. When bad press rolled in, Apple partnered with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to offer users help when they said something Siri identified as suicidal. It’s not just crisis scenarios, either. Hell, Apple Health claimed to track “all of your metrics that you’re most interested in” back in 2014 — but it didn’t consider period tracking a worthwhile metric for over a year after launch.

via https://medium.com/@sara_ann_marie/dear-tech-you-suck-at-delight–86382d101575

GroWorld – FoAM

Medium, FoAM, groworld, Fourth door review, plants, patabotany, culture, permaculture, animism, viriditas, thalience

At the intersections of culture, gardening and technology we can start to see how plants can become organisational principles for human society in the turbulent times of the 21st century. Although we may need to scavenge at the fringes of contemporary society, we can observe many healing effects that humans can have on their surroundings through a symbiotic collaboration with plants. Some fight desertification and remediate industrial wastelands through natural farming and permaculture. Others design whole lifecycle, closed-loop technological and architectural systems inspired by natural processes, based on the art and science of biomimicry. Yet, these are scattered examples. We still don’t have widespread methods to improve wasteful, often counter-productive human behaviours. How do we encourage broader, longer-term cultural changes? What varieties of culture would be capable of forging symbiotic relationships between postindustrial human societies and the rest of the earth? How do we compost bitterness to grow beauty?

via https://medium.com/@foam/groworld-c777f5c09c4f

Lossy Futures

Medium, changeist, futures, flatpack futures, lossy futures, narrative

So, while flatpack futures attempt to deliver a whole world, system or universe embedded in one short vignette, lossy futures — be they artifacts, simple scenarios, wireframes of speculation, rich prompts, brief vignettes or some other material object — give us the scaffolding and ask or allow us to determine the details ourselves. In doing so, they transmit the critical data, the minimum viable future, and give us the opportunity to fill in the gaps we think are important to understanding, or have a dialogue around what these gaps may mean. The irony here is that flatpack futures are often high fidelity productions, complex, if flawed, narratives. They are beautiful renderings, but submerge engineering, social, business model, ethical or spiritual problems in favor of presenting a glossy face. Lossy futures are lo-fi, and intentionally omit detail as a feature, not a bug.

via https://medium.com/phase-change/lossy-futures–285e310bbf21


monika bielskyte, VR, AR, MR, shamanism, Experience Design, possibility, 2017

As we go into this future without screens, we must pay attention to the context that our ‘innovations’ shall be set in: we have been witnessing the loudest voices on the internet, in the media, & in politics screaming for alienation vs communication, enclosure vs openness, fear vs curiosity. In the light of recent events, I cannot help but admit I have been somewhat troubled by how narrowly we have been approaching our work, even we — even this very group of people that calls themselves innovators & explorers. Our work is never just entertainment or marketing or science or technology, we are, in fact, creating culture.

via https://medium.com/@monikabielskyte/virtual-reality-as-possibility-space–24a8600a59ff

Why Teams?

Medium, Yaneer Bar-Yam, complexity, teams, collaboration

The advantage of working together is to get a complex task right, to be successful at making the right decision. The higher the complexity, the more specialists cannot be successful, but teams can be. This is important in healthcare in addressing complex diseases and conditions that can interact with each other. It is also generally important in dealing with complex tasks of all kinds. The cost of having such a team in place might seem high, but for complex cases such a team will prove to be more effective and less costly than the alternative. The challenge is making sure the teams work together smoothly and efficiently. This will yield better results than specialists working separately.

via https://medium.com/complex-systems-channel/why-teams-c0a8c6c9acf7

Let Robots Handle Your Emotional Burnout at Work

Medium, emotional labor, burnout, robots, deep acting

Deep acting, according to research, allows a worker to perform emotional labor with reduced emotional dissonance. Studies on administrative assistants and hotel service providers cite lower levels of stress, exhaustion, and cynicism in those who use the technique. While surface acting has been associated with job burnout and depression, those who practice deep acting tend to feel a greater sense of personal accomplishment at work.
But while this and other recommendations to try mindfulness practice, meditation, and exercise may help laborers better manage problem customers and stressful jobs, they squarely place the responsibility of dealing with the rigors of emotional labor on the “victim.” Customers are never told to take ownership for the way they treat those serving them, or encouraged to practice their emotional intelligence when interacting with service representatives. As Laurie Penny writes about turning the ideology of self-care into a politicized anecdote to systemic issues: “Essentially, if we are sick, sad, and exhausted, the problem isn’t one of economics. There is no structural imbalance, according to this view — there is only maladaptation, requiring an individual response.”
We can’t, however, shelve the unintended consequences of entirely replacing human service professionals with machines. Specifically, since the professional service industry is mostly comprised of women and, for some paid out on an hourly basis, those with less education. Assuming such work becomes automated in the future, these people may not have to perform the emotional labor associated with their previous professions — but they could find themselves out of a job. If robots begin to replace occupations for specific demographics, this will quickly become a political issue, even if we can get the technology right.

via https://howwegettonext.com/let-robots-handle-your-emotional-burnout-at-work-e09babbe81e8

Synesthesia and Chinese characters


Language Log has an interesting discussion up on synesthesia in Chinese characters, starting with the following reader question: 

I’m curious to know whether, in your years studying and teaching written Chinese, you’ve ever come across synaesthesia as applied to Chinese characters (zi) or words (ci)?

The most common form of synaesthesia (~1% of people, I think) involves the systematic assignment of colours to letters, numbers or (sometimes) whole words. I have this ‘grapheme-colour’ quite strongly: when I hear a phone number or see a number written on a page, for example, I automatically sense it as bands of colour. Much the same for words: it literally bothers me when I don’t know how to spell someone’s name, as their associated colours can be so different […] Sounds a bit loopy to people who don’t do this, but it’s a very useful mnemonic trick when learning French vocab or Latin verb conjugations and noun declensions.

As far as I know, though, most of the research on synaesthesia has involved subjects who use the Latin alphabet – not sinograms.

The comments, which are also worth reading, also start getting into how synesthesia works for new writing systems that one acquires in adulthood. 

For me, I’ve never tried to learn Chinese characters, but I do have synesthesia for the Greek alphabet and the IPA, which I learned fairly young and which have a lot of similarities to the Latin alphabet. (One peculiarity I’ve noticed is that lowercase nu (ν), which looks like v, has the colour of v when I’m not thinking about it but I can “convince” it to take on the colour of n when I concentrate, kind of by thinking of it as a sloppily written n. On the other hand, eta (Η η) which in uppercase looks like H and in lowercase like n, simply won’t take on the colour of e.) 

I’ve also spent some time with the Arabic alphabet and Japanese hiragana, but not enough that I can sight read them, and I find any colour associations there to be weak and unreliable. (Kaf ك and lam ل have the colours of k and l, but they also have similar shapes to them. Most of the other symbols are murkier than that.) I wonder if this would change if I became more fluent, as some people in the Language Log comments describe

Any other synesthetes want to weigh in? 

(Please note that seeing the “wrong” colours associated with particular graphemes, even just by mention, is uncomfortable for some synesthetes, myself included, so I’d greatly appreciate if people could keep their discussion abstract, as in “the colour of b” or “b has a colour” so that those of us who are bothered by this can simply substitute in our own “b” colour. Note that the Language Log post does contain specific grapheme-colour mentions.)

Synesthesia and Chinese characters

Synergy in Ethereum

Medium, Ethereum, ETH, dapps, blockchain

Beyond just another trading instrument, ether is a means to run many services on the Ethereum blockchain, like fuel for energy. Smart contracts when deployed can provide many different use cases. Even as we write, we are already seeing many decentralized applications making use of smart contracts to provide a myriad of services on Ethereum. Below is just a small non exhaustive list of examples.

via https://medium.com/@codetractio/synergy-in-ethereum–52eb8fd6fa2e

Beautiful Racket

programming, language-design, racket, lisp, scheme, DSL, book, textbook

The idea of a pro­gram­ming lan­guage that can be molded by its users—I like the phrase lan­guage exten­si­bil­ity—is almost as old as our old­est pro­gram­ming lan­guages, given the his­tory of macros in Lisp. So why isn’t every­one already using macros to extend lan­guages? Like garbage col­lec­tion, macros may seem like a cool idea in prin­ci­ple, but with too much over­head to be prac­ti­cal (but with the over­head in pro­gram under­stand­ing, instead of pro­gram exe­cu­tion). Like first-class func­tions, macros add an extra dimen­sion to code that may seem too mind-twist­ing for an aver­age pro­gram­mer. And like a type sys­tem, the the­ory behind hygienic macros may seem too daunt­ing to be worth the extra guar­an­tees that hygiene pro­vides. Maybe so. But Beau­ti­ful Racket makes the case that the time for lan­guage exten­si­bil­ity has come. That’s why this book is impor­tant. It’s not an abstract argu­ment about the ben­e­fits of macros or a par­tic­u­lar style of macros. Instead, this book shows you, step by step, how to use Racket’s macro sys­tem on real prob­lems and, as a result, get a feel for its ben­e­fits.

via http://beautifulracket.com/foreword.html

Starting with the man introduced in television series Bewitched with little or no explanation, Dick Sargent. Dick, when did Mego…

pitchfork, Dick Sargent, farmersmanual, MEGO, jump the shark

Starting with the man introduced in television series Bewitched with little or no explanation, Dick Sargent. Dick, when did Mego jump the shark? 

Well, Ted, I’m going to go with the highly ambitious but ultimately impenetrable and boring Farmers Manual RLA DVD set, compiling nearly four days worth of audience fuckery audio files, all live. Christ, there were MP3s on that over three hours long! What were they thinking?


“Otra Nation is the shared co-nation open to citizens of both Mexico and the United Stated and co-maintained by respective…

Otra, USA, Mexico, bi-national socio-ecotone, post-westphalia, nationalism, borders

“Otra Nation is the shared co-nation open to citizens of both Mexico and the United Stated and co-maintained by respective governments. Physical land and the initial investment will be provided by both countries and the infrastructure and services will be built with a workforce of 50% Mexico and 50% American. Otra Nation is the worlds’ first continental bi-national socio-ecotone.

The 19th century brought us boundaries, the 20th century we built walls, the next will bridge nations by creating communities based on shared principles of economic resiliency, energy independence and a trust based society.”

(via http://www.otranation.com/proposal)

The future of the open internet — and our way of life — is in your hands

Medium, open internet, technology, history, net neutrality, enclosure, commons, corporatism

The war for the open internet is the defining issue of our time. It’s a scramble for control of the very fabric of human communication. And human communication is all that separates us from the utopia that thousands of generations of our ancestors slowly marched us toward — or the Orwellian, Huxleyan, Kafkaesque dystopia that a locked-down internet would make possible.
By the end of this article, you’ll understand what’s happening, the market forces that are driving this, and how you can help stop it. We’ll talk about the brazen monopolies who maneuver to lock down the internet, the scrappy idealists who fight to keep it open, and the vast majority of people who are completely oblivious to this battle for the future.
In Part 1, we’ll explore what the open internet is and delve into the history of the technological revolutions that preceded it.
In Part 2, we’ll talk about the atoms. The physical infrastructure of the internet. The internet backbone. Communication satellites. The “last mile” of copper and fiber optic cables that provide broadband internet.
In Part 3, we’ll talk about bits. The open, distributed nature of the internet and how it’s being cordoned off into walled gardens by some of the largest multinational corporations in the world.
In Part 4, we’ll explore the implications of all this for consumers and for startups. You’ll see how you can help save the open internet. I’ll share some practical steps you can take as a citizen of the internet to do your part and keep it open.

via https://medium.freecodecamp.com/inside-the-invisible-war-for-the-open-internet-dd31a29a3f08

Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break

Medium, unicorn, zebra, capitalism, post-capitalism

We believe that developing alternative business models to the startup status quo has become a central moral challenge of our time. These alternative models will balance profit and purpose, champion democracy, and put a premium on sharing power and resources. Companies that create a more just and responsible society will hear, help, and heal the customers and communities they serve.

via https://medium.com/@sexandstartups/zebrasfix-c467e55f9d96

Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would…

DMT, war on some drugs, prohibition, flowers, Floral Emblem, AU, Australia, OZ

“Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as“controlled plants”. DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal”


SimSunrise  “The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each…

LLNL, nuclear test, film, US, nuke, sun, Now I am become Death the destroyer of worlds

video link


“The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. These are the declassified films of tests conducted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. These are the declassified films of tests conducted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.“

(via https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvGO_dWo8VfcmG166wKRy5z-GlJ_OQND5 )

Welcome to Glitch!

Medium, programming, coding, glitch, IDE, collaboration

If you’re already a coder: Glitch makes every other development environment feel lonely and old-fashioned, as coding starts to feel more like simultaneous editing in Google Docs and less like the chore of reviewing pull requests. Everything you create is automatically deployed in realtime onto cloud servers, so there’s no provisioning of servers or management of infrastructure, just the joy of creating. If you’ve never coded before: Glitch is the place to start. We’ve got a friendly and welcoming community (we don’t tolerate people being jerks) and you start by remixing apps that already work, running on real web servers that you don’t have to learn how to manage. If you do get stuck, anyone in the Glitch community can come in and offer to help, just as easy as raising your hand.

via https://medium.com/glitch/welcome-to-glitch-fe161d0fc39b

Vortex rings are ubiquitous in nature, showing up in droplet impacts, in propulsion, and even in volcanic eruptions….


Vortex rings are ubiquitous in nature, showing up in droplet impacts, in propulsion, and even in volcanic eruptions. Understanding the interaction and breakdown of multiple vortices with one another is therefore key. The image above shows a circular disk that’s being oscillated up and down (in and out of the page). As the disk moves and changes direction, it generates vortices that interact with one another. Here some of those interactions are visualized with fluorescent dye. The overlapping vortices form complex and beautiful shapes on their way to breakdown. (Image credit: J. Deng et al., poster, paper)

Washington Post and Jigsaw launch a collaborative pop-up dictionary of security jargon


Information security’s biggest obstacle isn’t the mere insecurity of so many of our tools and services: it’s the widespread lack of general knowledge about fundamental security concepts, which allows scammers to trick people into turning off or ignoring security red flags.

Explaining these concepts isn’t easy, but it can be done. To that end, Jigsaw – Google’s online safety division – and the Washington Post are creating a collaborative, visual pop-up dictionary that explains difficult security concepts with analogies, metaphors and images.

The glossary is called the Sideways Dictionary, and its analogies are crowdsourced and then moderated by the site’s staff. You can browse the glossary on the Sideways Dictionary site (albeit only if you have nearly perfect vision, as the text is light grey on slightly less grey), but it’s also embeddable as a set of popups for news articles, which appear when readers hover over highlit words.

This is a wonderful, thoughtful project that is badly needed. Analogies are never perfect, and these concepts are, to a certain extent, intrinsically abstract. But by delivering the information at the moment in which a reader is encountering them in context – say, because they were just hacked and are trying to figure out how bad it was or what to do next – it may be able to overcome that abstractedness with salience.


Digital Privacy at the U.S. Border: Protecting the Data On Your Devices and In the Cloud

EFF, privacy, security, travel, US, USA, data, borders

The U.S. government reported a five-fold increase in the number of electronic media searches at the border in a single year, from 4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016.1 Every one of those searches was a potential privacy violation. Our lives are minutely documented on the phones and laptops we carry, and in the cloud. Our devices carry records of private conversations, family photos, medical documents, banking information, information about what websites we visit, and much more. Moreover, people in many professions, such as lawyers and journalists, have a heightened need to keep their electronic information confidential. How can travelers keep their digital data safe? This guide (updating a previous guide from 20112) helps travelers understand their individual risks when crossing the U.S. border, provides an overview of the law around border search, and offers a brief technical overview to securing digital data.

via https://www.eff.org/wp/digital-privacy-us-border–2017

Chatbot that overturned 160,000 parking fines now helping refugees claim asylum

asylum, automation, bots, chatbot, DoNotPay, legal

The creator of a chatbot which overturned more than 160,000 parking fines and helped vulnerable people apply for emergency housing is now turning the bot to helping refugees claim asylum. The original DoNotPay, created by Stanford student Joshua Browder, describes itself as “the world’s first robot lawyer”, giving free legal aid to users through a simple-to-use chat interface. The chatbot, using Facebook Messenger, can now help refugees fill in an immigration application in the US and Canada. For those in the UK, it helps them apply for asylum support.

via https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/06/chatbot-donotpay-refugees-claim-asylum-legal-aid

“Poets – inventors, makers, artists, storytellers, mythologists – are not makers of actualities, but makers of possibilities……

“Poets – inventors, makers, artists, storytellers, mythologists – are not makers of actualities, but makers of possibilities… They do not “fit” into society, not because a place is denied them, but because they do not take their “places” seriously. They openly see its roles as theatrical, its styles as poses, its clothing costumes, its rules conventional, its crises performed…”

Finite and Infinite Games, James P. Carse (viabryannamillis)

“Beat doesn’t mean tired or bushed, so much as it means beato, the Italian for beatific; to be in a state of beatitude, like St….


“Beat doesn’t mean tired or bushed, so much as it means beato, the Italian for beatific; to be in a state of beatitude, like St. Francis, trying to love all life, trying to be utterly sincere with everyone, practicing endurance, kindness, cultivating joy of the heart. How can this be done in our mad modern world of multiplicities and millions? By practicing a little solitude, going off by yourself once in a while to store up that most precious of goals: the vibrations of sincerity.” 

―Jack Kerouac, born March 12th in 1922

Innate Talents: Reality Or Myth?

talent, practice, habit, excellence, training, experiences, preferences, opportunities, habits

Talents that selectively facilitate the acquisition of high levels of skill are said to be present in some children but not others. The evidence for this includes biological correlates of specific abilities, certain rare abilities in autistic savants, and the seemingly spontaneous emergence of exceptional abilities in young children, but there is also contrary evidence indicating an absence of early precursors for high skill levels in young people. An analysis of positive and negative evidence and arguments suggests that differences in early experiences, preferences, opportunities, habits, training and practice are the real determinants of excellence.

via http://cogprints.org/656/1/innate.htm

Library of the Printed Web, an archive of web-to-print artists’ publications founded by Paul Soulellis in 2013, has been…


Library of the Printed Web, an archive of web-to-print artists’ publications founded by Paul Soulellis in 2013, has been acquired by The Museum of Modern Art Library (@momalibrary).

The mission of Library of the Printed Web is to provide an in-depth view of network culture, artistic practice, and the printed page. The collection is an important resource for the study of print-based experimental publishing in the early 21st century.

Included in MoMA’s acquisition are 244 items by 130 artists publishing in 17 countries: artists’ books, zines, newsprint, loose sheets, folios, prints, postcards, and other materials. A comprehensive catalogue is forthcoming, with contributions by David Senior and Sarah Hamerman of MoMA Library, and artist Sal Randolph.

Library of the Printed Web enters MoMA Library as a self-contained archive that will be preserved in its entirety for years to come. It is now available for institutional loan, and accessible to the general public at the museum’s midtown Manhattan location for viewing and research (by appointment). Many of the works are rare or no longer available. Most are self-published, including handmade, one-of-a-kind, limited editions, as well as print-on-demand works.

Library of the Printed Web was founded by Paul Soulellis in 2013 to investigate web-to-print artistic practice and the increasingly fluid relationship between screen and printed page. It quickly attracted the attention of artists, scholars, and media, and become the subject of exhibitions, workshops, research, and discourse. In 2014, Soulellis began publishing artists’ publications through Library of the Printed Web (Printed Web 1–5 and Printed Web Editions), which are also included in the collection. Soulellis continues to publish, curate, and actively participate in the growth and care of Library of the Printed Web at MoMA.


“A Chinese office lady has risen to internet stardom in China for making viral videos documenting her novel yet bizarre ways of…

food, cooking, improvisation, china, pancakes, popcorn, CPU, Little Ye in the Office

video link

“A Chinese office lady has risen to internet stardom in China for making viral videos documenting her novel yet bizarre ways of preparing meals at her workplace. In each video, Little Ye improvises her meal preparation equipment using things commonly found around the office.”

(via http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2078368/no-more-sad-desk-lunch-chinese-woman-shows-how-fry-food-cpu-grill )

Exploring a Post-Citizenship Future

Medium, Natalie Kane, Changeist, Futures, citizenship, EU

What does citizenship look like in ten or 20 years time? Will it be determined by borders and nationality, or a social group or activity? What are the forces that currently, and may exist that influence, transform and manipulate or current understanding of borders and what it means to belong? This February, Changeist were invited by Time’s Up to deliver a three day workshop as part of their Futuring Exercise for the 2017 Maltese presidency of the Council of the EU, with the support of Arts Council Malta and the Valletta 2018 Foundation. We chose to take a keener look at citizenship, migration and borders as it may develop over the next few decades, using Europe as the territory for our speculative “map”.

via https://medium.com/phase-change/exploring-a-post-citizenship-future–98aa307f9d42

Is ‘Mulholland Drive’ a ‘Twin Peaks’ Movie?

Medium, Cinema, David Lynch, Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive, The Black Lodge

It has always seemed to me that Twin Peaks was a turning point in the career of David Lynch, a point at which he developed the themes and ideas that would ripple through the rest of his work. Twin Peaks feels like Lost Highway feels like Mulholland Drive feels like Inland Empire in ways his earlier work doesn’t share. There are currents of duality, dream states, dubious identities, the symbiotic relationship between sex and violence, and betrayal in each of these films, but two in particular I’ve come to believe share more than thematic similarities. Brace yourselves: I think Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and Mulholland Drive all exist in the same universe, because I think Mulholland Drive, like those other works, is ultimately about The Black Lodge.

via https://filmschoolrejects.com/fan-theory-mulholland-drive-f80c481945e8

The world is louder than ever, and it’s causing ‘schizophonia’

Medium, noise, sound, acoustic ecology, soundscape, noise pollution

During the noisiest time in history — when the age of the automobile butts up against the era of electronics and gets smashed into dense urban populations — hearing loss is only a portion of what’s at stake. The field of “acoustic ecology” aims to reverse the noise pollution of today’s technology-driven world, but more importantly, to consciously create living environments that actually sound beautiful. The father of acoustic ecology is a composer and pedagogue named Murray Schafer. His 1977 book, The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, shaped a new dialogue around reducing and protecting certain sounds. He asked two big questions: What is the relationship between man and the sounds of his environment and what happens when those sounds change? And which sounds do we want to preserve, encourage, multiply?

via https://timeline.com/acoustic-ecology-e0386f57dfa6

The concepts ‘system’, ‘apparatus’, ‘environment’, immediately imply an artificial division of the world, and an intention to…

“The concepts ‘system’, ‘apparatus’,‘environment’, immediately imply an artificial division of the world, and an intention to neglect, or take only schematic account of, the interaction across the split. The notions of ’microscopic’ and ’macroscopic’ defy precise definition. So also do the notions of ’reversible’ and ’irreversible’. Einstein said that it is theory which decides what is ’observable’. I think he was right - ’observation’ is a complicated and theory-laden business. Then that notion should not appear in the formulation of fundamental theory. Information? Whose information? Information about what? On this list of bad words from good books, the worst of all is ’measurement’. It must have a section to itself.”

John Stewart Bell

Anti-Social ‘Shybot’ Rolls Around the Sonoran Desert, Running Away From Humans - Motherboard According to Norma Jeane’s…


Anti-Social ‘Shybot’ Rolls Around the Sonoran Desert, Running Away From Humans - Motherboard

According to Norma Jeane’s artist’s statement, Shybot’s weeklong sojourn in the American southwest was their “fantasy of the desert sublime: the machine is let loose in the landscape, free of the human determinism that thus far framed its existence, and we, in turn, are free to imagine a world liberated from the indeterminacy of us.”