The Village and The Village

Baarle-Nassau, Baarle-Hertog, Beglium, Netherlands, border, enclave, territory, iamdanw

The strange perimeter originates from 1198, the result of a series of diplomatic land swaps between the Lord of Breda and the Duke of Brabant. Quite a normal situation throughout Europe in feudal times. Elsewhere in Europe these parcels were consolidated over the years and borders rationalised, a process that Baarle somehow avoided. When the present border between the Netherlands and Belgium was drawn up in the Treaty of Maastricht (the 1843 one, not the 1992 remake) the issue of Baarle’s complex border was put aside. A few maps of the area were attached to the treaty for reference, but in the meantime “%E2%80%9CThe status quo shall be maintained both with regard to the villages of Baarle-Nassau (Netherlands) and Baerle-Duc (Belgium) and with regard to the ways crossing them%E2%80%9D.” Working out the details would be come later.

http://www.iamdanw.com/wrote/what-are-borders-anyway/

How to design a metaphor

Michael Erard, metaphor, design, metaphor design, language, linguistics, psycholinguistics

Pretty much every metaphor designer is inspired by Metaphors We Live By (1980), by the Berkeley linguist George Lakoff and the philosopher Mark Johnson at the University of Oregon. It’s the classic look at how metaphors structure the way we think and talk, and once you’ve read it, you can’t help but agree that, at a conceptual level, life is a journey, and arguments are wars (you take sides, there can be only one winner, evidence is a weapon). However, for the practical metaphor designer, psycholinguistic research turns out to be much more useful than philosophical commentary, because it studies how people actually encounter and process new metaphors.

http://aeon.co/magazine/culture/how-to-design-a-metaphor/

For five years I worked full-time as a metaphor designer at the FrameWorks Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC, whose…

“For five years I worked full-time as a metaphor designer at the FrameWorks Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC, whose clients are typically large US foundations (never political campaigns or governments). I continue to shape and test metaphors for private-sector clients and others. In both cases, these metaphors are meant to help people to understand the unfamiliar. They aren’t supposed to make someone remark: ‘That’s beautiful.’ They’re meant to make someone realise that they’ve only been looking at one side of a thing.”

How to design a metaphor – Michael Erard – Aeon (viaiamdanw)

"The point of the exercise wasn’t really to end up with a t-shirt, rather it was a race to see how quickly I could take…

machine dreaming, flip flop, digital, tumblr, t-shirt feedback loop

“The point of the exercise wasn’t really to end up with a t-shirt, rather it was a race to see how quickly I could take something off the internet, through the physical world and back onto the internet again, re-contextualised as a tumblr post.”

“If I’d been in London I probably could have popped in to pick it up Wednesday, a 3 day turn-around. If SubLab had Google’s Neural Network and a shop front you could probably walk in, say “bee hives” or “honeybadger” and walk out with a custom computer AI generated one-off t-shirt within a couple of hours. This probably already happens somewhere.”

The Google AI Neural Network T-Shirt

“Synthetic biology has the potential to make organisms more resistant to radiation or temperature extremes,” she said. “You can…

“Synthetic biology has the potential to make organisms more resistant to radiation or temperature extremes,” she said. “You can mix and match genes and do all sorts of things that if you were breeding [organisms] would take forever.”
These modified extremophiles can shed light on a variety of astrobiological questions, including whether or not a planet is potentially habitable. “Say we find a planet, and it has a certain pH, temperature, and radiation regime,” Rothschild told me.
“That’s where we take up the challenge and go into the lab,” she continued. “We’ll say, ‘All right, let’s start with this one that can live at low pH and high temperature. Can we add the radiation resistance?’ Then, we can go back to the astronomers and say [habitability] is not impossible, because we just made something in the lab like that last week.”

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/we-might-create-alien-life-in-a-lab-before-we-find-it-in-space
(viam1k3y)

Utrecht start experiment met basisinkomen

UBI, basic income, Utrecht, Netherlands, experiment, basisinkomen

‘We hebben op ambtelijk niveau al gepolst of een experiment met een basisinkomen mogelijk is en hebben nog geen definitief 'njet’ gehoord. Bovendien heeft minister Plasterk van Binnenlandse Zaken, in het kader van de Agenda Stad (een stimulans voor de lokale democratie), aangekondigd dat gemeenten meer ruimte moeten krijgen om buiten de bestaande wet- en regelgeving te experimenteren. Wij vinden het basisinkomen hier heel geschikt voor.’

http://destadutrecht.nl/politiek/utrecht-start-experiment-met-basisinkomen/

Void pantograph

wikipedia, reproduction, void pantograph, copywrongs, security, copy, photocopy

Void pantographs work by exploiting the limitations and features of copying equipment. A scanner or photocopier will act as a low-pass filter on the original image, blurring edges slightly. It will also not be perfectly aligned with the directions of the document, causing aliasing. Features smaller than the resolution will also not be reproduced. In addition, human vision is sensitive to luminance contrast ratio. This means that if a grey region consists of a grid of very small dark dots the filtering will produce a lighter grey, while a region of larger dots will be affected differently (“big-dot-little-dot”). This makes it possible to see a pattern that previously was invisible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Void_pantograph

Biotech firm creates fake rhino horn to reduce poaching

synthbio, fabbing, 3d priting, biotech, rhino, superstition, marketing

Pembient, based in San Francisco uses keratin – a type of fibrous protein – and rhino DNA to produce a dried powder which is then 3D printed into synthetic rhino horns which is genetically and spectrographically similar to original rhino horns.The company plans to release a beer brewed with the synthetic horn later this year in the Chinese market. The Chinese and Vietnamese rhino horn craze has caused an unprecedented surge in rhino poaching throughout Africa and Asia bringing the animal to the brink of extinction. In South Africa, home to 80 percent of Africa’s rhino population, 1,215 rhinos were killed in 2014.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/environment/biotech-firm-creates-fake-rhino-horn-to-help-save-real-rhinos/article/436325

Inceptionism: Going Deeper into Neural Networks

image calsification, google research, neural networks, feedback, perception, classification, classi

One of the challenges of neural networks is understanding what exactly goes on at each layer. We know that after training, each layer progressively extracts higher and higher-level features of the image, until the final layer essentially makes a decision on what the image shows. For example, the first layer maybe looks for edges or corners. Intermediate layers interpret the basic features to look for overall shapes or components, like a door or a leaf. The final few layers assemble those into complete interpretations–these neurons activate in response to very complex things such as entire buildings or trees. One way to visualize what goes on is to turn the network upside down and ask it to enhance an input image in such a way as to elicit a particular interpretation. Say you want to know what sort of image would result in %E2%80%9CBanana.%E2%80%9D Start with an image full of random noise, then gradually tweak the image towards what the neural net considers a banana

http://googleresearch.blogspot.be/2015/06/inceptionism-going-deeper-into-neural.html

The results are intriguing—even a relatively simple neural network can be used to over-interpret an image, just like as children…

The results are intriguing—even a relatively simple neural network can be used to over-interpret an image, just like as children we enjoyed watching clouds and interpreting the random shapes. This network was trained mostly on images of animals, so naturally it tends to interpret shapes as animals. But because the data is stored at such a high abstraction, the results are an interesting remix of these learned features.

http://googleresearch.blogspot.be/2015/06/inceptionism-going-deeper-into-neural.html

Instead of exactly prescribing which feature we want the network to amplify, we can also let the network make that decision. In…

Instead of exactly prescribing which feature we want the network to amplify, we can also let the network make that decision. In this case we simply feed the network an arbitrary image or photo and let the network analyze the picture. We then pick a layer and ask the network to enhance whatever it detected. Each layer of the network deals with features at a different level of abstraction, so the complexity of features we generate depends on which layer we choose to enhance. For example, lower layers tend to produce strokes or simple ornament-like patterns, because those layers are sensitive to basic features such as edges and their orientations.

http://googleresearch.blogspot.be/2015/06/inceptionism-going-deeper-into-neural.html

Icelandic magical staves (sigils) are symbols credited with magical effect preserved in various grimoires dating from the 17th…

chaosophia218:

Icelandic magical staves (sigils) are symbols credited with magical effect preserved in various grimoires dating from the 17th century and later. According to the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, the effects credited to most of the staves were very relevant to the average Icelanders of the time, who were mostly substitence farmers and had to deal with harsh climatic conditions.

Version control, collaborative editing and undo

eve, programming, versioning, dvcs, editing, collaborative editing, time

Eve is designed for live programming. As the user makes changes, the compiler is constantly re-compiling code and incrementally updating the views. The compiler is designed to be resilient and will compile and run as much of the code as possible in the face of errors. The structural editor restricts partially edited code to small sections, rather than rendering entire files unparseable. The pointer-free relational data model and the timeless views make it feasible to incrementally compute the state of the program, rather than starting from scratch on each edit. We arrived at this design to support live programming but these properties also help with collaborative editing.

http://incidentalcomplexity.com/2015/04/22/version-control/

Visions of transhumanism

transhumanism, life extension, extropy, Paul Graham Raven, libertarianism

The proactionary principle, a creation of first-generation transhumanist figurehead Max More, is an attempt to turn the precautionary principle upon its head. Where the precautionary principle declares that research and experimentation should only be undertaken after a consensus has been reached regarding the low probability of risky outcomes, More’s proactionary principle damns such caution as being detrimental to the advancement of the species, and advocates that research priorities and funding be allocated in accordance with the potential rewards, rather than risks. By suggesting that the State is not only intruding upon one’s freedom to conduct business, but also restricting one’s potential maximal lifespan, More hits upon a two-pronged formula that strikes right at the heart of what it is to be a wealthy western man: the plebeian moonbats don’t just want you to fail, they want you to die before you’re done.

http://thelongandshort.org/issues/season-four/visions-of-transhumanism.html