Happy Friday, all. This is Caitlin O’Hara (@caitlin_oh) and Mark Felix (@mdfelix) with our fifth #mashup. A woman walks down a…

Happy Friday, all. This is Caitlin O'Hara (@caitlin_oh) and Mark Felix (@mdfelix) with our fifth #mashup. A woman walks down a gravel road to get into the village of Rosia Montana. In the other photo, the view from the top of Gwanaksan (#mountain named after a traditional hat) in #Seoul, South Korea.
#서울 #한국 #관악산 #echosight #doubleexposure #rosiamontana #romania #southkorea #hiking by echosight (via https://www.instagram.com/p/BEOiai3JIFA/)

“Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from…

“Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front–”

G.K. Chesterton (viametaconscious)

First came the Breathalyzer, now meet the roadside police “textalyzer”

Ars, Technica, Technology, privacy, distraction, cars

Under the first-of-its-kind legislation proposed in New York, drivers involved in accidents would have to submit their phone to roadside testing from a textalyzer to determine whether the driver was using a mobile phone ahead of a crash. In a bid to get around the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, the textalyzer allegedly would keep conversations, contacts, numbers, photos, and application data private. It will solely say whether the phone was in use prior to a motor-vehicle mishap. Further analysis, which might require a warrant, could be necessary to determine whether such usage was via hands-free dashboard technology and to confirm the original finding.

via http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/04/first-came-the-breathalyzer-now-meet-the-roadside-police-textalyzer/

“A poster bearing the image of a Pakistani girl whose parents, lawyers say, were killed in a drone strike, lies in a field at…

drones, military, extra judicial execution, collateral damage, art, culture, pakistan

“A poster bearing the image of a Pakistani girl whose parents, lawyers say, were killed in a drone strike, lies in a field at an undisclosed location in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. A group of artists in Pakistan are hoping to generate “empathy” among US drone operators by placing giant posters of children in the country’s troubled tribal regions”

(via http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/i-am-on-the-us-kill-list-this-is-what-it-feels-like-to-be-hunted-by-drones-a6980141.html)

Fully automated luxury communism

automation, communism, environment, abundance, work, labour, futures, utopianism, history, Guardian

Located on the futurist left end of the political spectrum, fully automated luxury communism (FALC) aims to embrace automation to its fullest extent. The term may seem oxymoronic, but that’s part of the point: anything labeled luxury communism is going to be hard to ignore. “There is a tendency in capitalism to automate labor, to turn things previously done by humans into automated functions,” says Aaron Bastani, co-founder of Novara Media. “In recognition of that, then the only utopian demand can be for the full automation of everything and common ownership of that which is automated.” Bastani and fellow luxury communists believe that this era of rapid change is an opportunity to realise a post-work society, where machines do the heavy lifting not for profit but for the people.

via http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/18/fully-automated-luxury-communism-robots-employment

Fully automated luxury communism: a utopian critique

automation, communism, environment, abundance, work, labour, futures, utopianism, history, FALC

I believe that it is correct to view luxury communism from a utopian perspective, not in the sense of something that is impossible but in the sense of something that attempts to open up the sense of future possibilities as opposed to a mere repetition of present conditions. Partially this is to act as a critique of the present, partially to act as a spur towards an open future. Indeed, the use of the term ‘communism’ implies a radical alternative future vision, one that is subversive of the present and, yes, even utopian. It is here that I think that fully automated luxury communism, by putting too much faith in capitalist technology overcoming scarcity and the need for labour, fails to imagine a more general transformation of social relations. To avoid this tendency, and to encourage thinking about the overcoming of the paradoxes and miseries of capitalism, we need to seriously engage in utopian experimentation in future possibilities.

via https://libcom.org/blog/fully-automated-luxury-communism-utopian-critique–14062015

The dark side of digital finance: On financial machines, financial robots & financial AI

Suitpossum, finance, automation, digitisation, scale, efficiency, exploitation, labour, Capitalism

But, ‘human interfaces’ are actually quite costly to maintain. People are alive, and thus need food, sick leave, maternity leave and education. They also have a troublesome awareness of exploitation and an unpredictable ability to disobey, defraud, make mistakes or go rogue. Thus, over the years corporate managers have tried to push the power balance in this hybrid model towards the machine side. In their ideal world, bank executives would get rid of as many manual human elements as possible and replace them with software systems moving binary code around on hard drives, a process they refer to as 'digitisation’. Corporate management is fond of digitisation – and other forms of automation – because it is a force for scale, standardisation and efficiency – and in turn lowers costs, leading to enhanced profits.

via http://suitpossum.blogspot.be/2016/03/digital-banking-dark-side.html?m=1

What We Talk About When We Talk About What We Talk About When We Talk About Making

community, labour, production, supply, making, maker, culture, technology, complexity, Tim Maly

It is intoxicating to trace materials and people back towards their origins. You start with an iPhone in Brooklyn and end up in an open pit mine in Alaska, Russia, or Peru. You start with Silicon Valley and end up digging a ditch in Thailand. It is great fun, zipping along unexpected pathways to exotic locales. But Beware! Exoticization is one of the hazards of trying to grapple with networks of sublime scale. So are: oversimplification, marginalization, undue emphasis, overcomplication, obfuscation, and tedium. Tim Cook has spent a lot of his professional life trying to grapple with networks of sublime scale. His success has resulted in one of the most powerful and effective supply chains on the planet. In order to accomplish this, he has had to delegate much and abstract away much else. From the perspective of the supply chain, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, a workers’ strike, and an overlong security line at the border are more or less the same thing. Tim must also avoid oversimplification, overcomplication, marginalization, and all the rest of it. When he gets it wrong, there are substantial human costs.

via http://quietbabylon.com/2014/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-making/

Simone Hoang - Ký ức

Simone, Hoang, Photography, interview, memory, NL

‘Ký ức’ is Vietnamees voor herinnering, of eigenlijk het ontbreken ervan. Deze titel dekt voor mij de lading. Niet alleen inhoudelijk, maar ook vanwege zijn abstracte typografische uitstraling. De meeste mensen waar ik mijn werk aan laat zien spreken geen Vietnamees en voor hen blijft de titel, zonder uitleg, ontastbaar. Dat suggestieve komt altijd terug in mijn werk. Ik houd van details die verwijzen naar mijn werkwijze, maar die niet in eerste instantie alles onthullen. Zo heeft het boek een rode omslag van lee filter, die verwijst naar de verpakking van Vietnamese kokosnootsnoepjes die ik als kind at.

via http://www.hpdetijd.nl/2015–08–13/fotoserie-adoptiekind-simone-hoang-herinnert-zich-haar-eerste-levensjaren-in-vietnam/

Dave Morton Is Quitting Everest. Maybe. (It’s Complicated.)

Everest, Chomolungma, adventure, welfare, Juniper, transition

People have been following ghosts up Mount Everest ever since George Mallory and Sandy Irvine vanished on the mountain’s flanks in 1924. A front-row look at death is part of the allure: you climb in order to taste mortality and, should all go according to plan, defeat it. Following many of the highly publicized tragedies, including the deadly Into Thin Air events of 1996, the number of commercial outfitters on the mountain has actually increased. After the 2006 season, in which 11 people died, the number of Everest climbers increased from 447 to 572. “There’s always been a disaster mystique,” said Jennifer Peedom, director of the 2016 documentary Sherpa, who spent three seasons filming on the mountain. “The worse things that happen, the more people come.” The fact that inexperienced climbers could join the parade, given the lack of regulation, only contributed to the chaos, creating a deadly feedback loop.

via http://www.outsideonline.com/2064481/david-morton-and-ghosts-everest?src=longreads

CIA’s Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNA The previously undisclosed relationship with the CIA…


CIA’s Venture Capital Arm Is Funding Skin Care Products That Collect DNA

The previously undisclosed relationship with the CIA might come as some surprise to a visitor to the website of Clearista, the main product line of Skincential Sciences, which boasts of a “formula so you can feel confident and beautiful in your skin’s most natural state.”

Though the public-facing side of the company touts a range of skin care products, Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin, revealing unique biomarkers that can be used for a variety of diagnostic tests, including DNA collection.

Whakaari, also known as White Island, is an active stratovolcano, situated 48 km (30 mi) from the North Island of New Zealand in…


Whakaari, also known as White Island, is an active stratovolcano, situated 48 km (30 mi) from the North Island of New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty. Whakaari is New Zealand’s most active volcano, and has been built up by continuous eruptions over the past 150,000 years. The island is approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter and rises to a height of 321 m (1,053 ft) above sea level.

37°31′S 177°11′E

Instagram: http://bit.ly/1Vdz2nl

Source imagery: DigitalGlobe

I found this amazing little temple being swallowed up by a tree behind one of the Marble Mountains yesterday in Vietnam. Finding…

I found this amazing little temple being swallowed up by a tree behind one of the Marble Mountains yesterday in Vietnam. Finding little random places like this are the reason I love traveling so much!

Found and photographed by @skaremedia who is currently traveling though Vietnam.

#danang #landscape #landscapephotograpy #tree #ancient #wow #amazing #temple #vietnam #atlasobscura by atlasobscura (via https://www.instagram.com/p/BD-TTmZKfcA/)

Why Do Taxonomists Write the Meanest Obituaries?

biology, taxonomy, classification, ICN, ICZN, history, openness, names

This tension between freedom and stability was long ago formalized in two sets of official and binding rules: the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), which deals with animals, and the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). Periodically updated by committees of working taxonomists, these documents set out precise, legalistic frameworks for how to apply names both to species and to higher taxa. (The animal and plant codes operate independently, which means that an animal can share a scientific name with a plant, but not with another animal, and vice versa.) While this freedom opens up a valuable space for amateur contributions, it also creates a massive loophole for unscrupulous, incompetent, or fringe characters to wreak havoc. That’s because the Principle of Priority binds all taxonomists into a complicated network of interdependence; just because a species description is wrong, poorly conceived, or otherwise inadequate, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a recognized part of taxonomic history. Whereas in physics, say, “unified theories” scrawled on napkins and mailed in unmarked envelopes end up in trashcans, biologists, regardless of their own opinions, are bound to reckon with the legacy of anyone publishing a new name. Taxonomists are more than welcome to deal with (or “revise”) these incorrect names in print, but they can’t really ignore them.

via http://nautil.us/issue/35/boundaries/why-do-taxonomists-write-the-meanest-obituaries

Exxon and Shell Double Down to Defeat Climate Change Legislation


This report makes me gag. But, here in the U.S., thanks to the dead guy who used to be on the Supreme Court, Scalia, and his reactionary buddies such as Alito and Thomas and Kennedy and Roberts, corporations are people and people have first amendment rights and so corporations as people are entitled to speak and money is speak. So there. It’s still fucking awful.

If you read this chart slowly and deliberately, it will tell you a terrible story. To understand it a little better, “APPEA” is the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association, a trade association for the oil industry. “WSPA” is the Western States Petroleum Association, another trade association. “API” is the American Petroleum Institute, the mother of all trade associations. 

Link into the article to learn more about the methodology of the research and link into the base report from InfluenceMap.org. But here’s an excerpt:

More significantly, InfluenceMap says, “Extrapolated over the entire fossil fuel and other industrial sectors beyond, it is not hard to consider that this obstructive climate policy lobbying spending may be in the order of $500m annually.”

The group drew particular attention to the sinister lobbying group American Petroleum Institute (API), “one of the best funded and most consistently obstructive lobbying forces for climate policy in the United States,” as InfluenceMap notes:

“With a budget in excess of $200m, we estimate, through a forensic analysis of its IRS filings and careful study of its lobbying, PR, media and advertising activities, that around $65m of this is highly obstructive lobbying against ambitious climate policy. We estimate that ExxonMobil and Shell contribute $6m and $3m respectively to API’s obstructive spending of $65m. Its CEO Jack Gerard received annual compensation of just over $14m in 2013, probably one of the world’s highest paid lobbyists. In the run up to COP21 last year, he dismissed the Paris process as a ‘narrow political ideology.‘”

Exxon and Shell Double Down to Defeat Climate Change Legislation

Note the blue line, which is a record of last winter. The winter peak in March was the lowest since satellite records began,…


Note the blue line, which is a record of last winter. The winter peak in March was the lowest since satellite records began, scientists say, according to an article in EcoWatch. More from EcoWatch:

What’s behind this winter’s low ice extent?

The Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the global average, largely in response to rising greenhouse gases.

In March 2016, nearly all of the Arctic Ocean experienced exceptionally warm conditions, says the NSIDC report, with air temperatures about 3,000 feet above the surface typically 2 to 4C higher than the long term average.

This is consistent with what scientists have been seeing for the last few months.

Monitoring sea ice thickness can tell us about the age of the ice that’s left in the Arctic, as well as how it’s changing over short timescales. The oldest ice—more than five years old—is now at record low levels, making up just 3 percent of the total ice cover, according to the NSIDC report.

Of the sea ice in the Arctic basin, 70 percent is first-year ice (which means it’s melting and refreezing each year) while only 30 percent is lasting through one summer without melting.

The map below shows the age of sea ice across the Arctic for a week at the start of March. Red is the very old (5+ years) ice in the western Beaufort Sea, while dark blue is first year ice.

Generation Anthropocene

environment, literature, Anthropocene, WIPP, longnow, Solastalgia, semiotics

The New Mexico facility is due to be sealed in 2038. The present plans for marking the site involve a berm with a core of salt, enclosing the above-ground footprint of the repository. Buried in the berm will be radar reflectors, magnets and a “Storage Room”, constructed around a stone slab too big to be removed via the chamber entrance. Data will be inscribed on to the slab including maps, time lines, and scientific details of the waste and its risks, written in all current official UN languages, and in Navajo: “This site was known as the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Site) when it was closed in 2038 AD … Do not expose this room unless the information centre messages are lost. Leave the room buried for future generations.” Discs made of ceramic, clay, glass and metal, also engraved with warnings, will be embedded in the soil and the shaft seals. Finally, a “hot cell”, or radiation containment chamber, will be constructed: a reinforced concrete structure extending 60 feet above the earth and 30 feet down into it

via http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/01/generation-anthropocene-altered-planet-for-ever

How David Hume Helped Me Solve My Midlife Crisis

David, Hume, history, Philosophy, Buddhism, Catholicism, Siam, Tibet, enlightenment, Alison, Gopnik

This story may help explain Hume’s ideas. It unquestionably exemplifies them. All of the characters started out with clear, and clashing, identities—the passionate Italian missionary and the urbane French priest, the Tibetan king and lamas, the Siamese king and monks, the skeptical young Scot. But I learned that they were all much more complicated, unpredictable, and fluid than they appeared at first, even to themselves. Both Hume and the Buddha would have nodded sagely at that thought. Although Dolu and Desideri went to Siam and Tibet to bring the wisdom of Europe to the Buddhists, they also brought back the wisdom of the Buddhists to Europe. Siam and Tibet changed them more than they changed Siam and Tibet. And his two years at La Flèche undoubtedly changed David Hume.

via http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/10/how-david-hume-helped-me-solve-my-midlife-crisis/403195/


It isn’t robots at the moment. It’s scripts, processes, procedures, automation of all kinds:

A ‘Brief’ History of Neural Nets and Deep Learning

history, machine-learning, machinelearning, neural-nets, deep-learning, AI, computing

This is the first part of ‘A Brief History of Neural Nets and Deep Learning’. In this part, we shall cover the birth of neural nets with the Perceptron in 1958, the AI Winter of the 70s, and neural nets’ return to popularity with backpropagation in 1986.

via http://www.andreykurenkov.com/writing/a-brief-history-of-neural-nets-and-deep-learning/

On Social Sadism - China Miéville

China, Miéville, culture, history, politics, sadism, power, Capitalism

this is about social sadism – deliberate, invested, public or at least semi-public cruelty. The potentiality for sadism is one of countless capacities emergent from our reflexive, symbolising selves. Trying to derive any social phenomenon from any supposed ‘fact’ of ‘human nature’ is useless, except to diagnose the politics of the deriver. Of course it’s vulgar Hobbesianism, the supposed ineluctability of human cruelty, that cuts with the grain of ruling ideology. The right often, if incoherently, acts as if this (untrue) truth-claim of our fundamental nastiness justifies an ethics of power. The position that Might Makes Right is elided from an Is, which it isn’t, to an Ought, which it oughtn’t be, even were the Is an is. If strength and ‘success’ are coterminous with good, what can their lack be but bad – deserving of punishment?

via http://salvage.zone/in-print/on-social-sadism/

Myanmar’s military goes to ‘democracy school’ with new civilian MPs

Myanmar, Burma, workshop, democracy, education, UN, parliament

It is an undeniably odd sight: a member of Myanmar’s military sitting in uniform taking notes on the basics of democracy. Next to him sit former political prisoners and human rights activists who now hold a majority in the country’s first credible parliament. Aung San Suu Kyi won a landmark general election last year, making her the de facto head of government. But her team of neophyte legislators, many of whom were locked up for years by the junta, are in need of a class in how to run the country. […] And so the former enemies sat down last week at desks in parliament to attend a United Nations-led intensive course on how to carry out the job of being an MP in a modern democracy.

via http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/26/myanmar-generals-democracy-school-new-civilian-mps

Radio Kootwijk

Radio, Kootwijk, Netherlands, history, telegraph, telephony

The station initially operated under the name Radio Assel, but also became known under the name Radio Hoog Buurlo. ‘Kootwijk Radio’ was the international call sign for radio traffic. Queen Emma brought about the first telephone connection in 1929 with the Dutch East Indies with the legendary words: “Hello Bandoeng Hello Bandoeng! Can you hear me?“. The first conversations, which invariably concluded with the Dutch national anthem Wilhelmus, were free as it was still in an experimental phase. Subsequently, people had to pay considerable amounts for a phone call to family members overseas.

via http://www.hierradiokootwijk.nl/p/english

A spiritual successor to Aaron Swartz is angering publishers all over again

sci-hub, openaccess, publishing, academic-publishing, arstechnica, piracy, Elsevier

I started the website because it was a great demand for such service in research community. In 2011, I was an active participant in various online communities for scientists (i.e. forums, the technology preceding social networks and still surviving to the present day). What all students and researchers were doing there is helping each other to download literature behind paywalls. I became interested and very involved. Two years before, I already had to pirated many paywalled papers while working on my final university project (which was dedicated to brain-machine interfaces). So I knew well how to do this and had necessary tools. After sending tens or hundreds of research papers manually, I wanted to develop a script that will automate my work. That’s how Sci-Hub started.

via http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/04/a-spiritual-successor-to-aaron-swartz-is-angering-publishers-all-over-again/

How an Army of Ocean Farmers are Starting an Economic Revolution

aquaculture, farming, food, sea, seafood, environment

After my farm was destroyed, it was clear to me that I had to adapt because I was facing a serious threat to my livelihood. I began to re-imagine my occupation and oyster farm. I began experimenting and exploring new designs and new species. I lifted my farm off the sea bottom to avoid the impact of storm surges created by hurricanes and started to grow new mixes of restorative species. Now, after 29 years of working on the oceans, I’ve remade myself as a 3D ocean farmer, growing a mix of seaweeds and shellfish for food, fuel, fertilizer, and feed.

via https://medium.com/invironment/an-army-of-ocean-farmers-on-the-frontlines-of-the-blue-green-economic-revolution-d5ae171285a3#.qzo4a6dj9

Largest leak in history reveals world leaders and businesspeople hiding trillions in offshore havens


An anonymous source has handed 2.6TB worth of records from Mossack Fonseca, one of the world’s largest offshore law firms, to a consortium of news outlets, including The Guardian.

The dump includes 11.5M files, whose contents reveal a complex system of tax evasion that implicates some of the richest, most powerful people in the world, from Vladimir Putin to former members of the UK Tory government and the father of UK Tory prime minister David Cameron.

Putin is implicated in $2B worth of offshore accounts, in a scheme that also implicates his top cronies. Also implicated are Nawaz Sharif, the PM of Pakistan; Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko; Icelandic prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, and former Iraqi PM Ayad Allaw, as well as current and former members of China’s politburo. There’s even a member of Fifa’s ethics committee!

The company’s internal documents reveal that they view 95% of their work “consists in selling vehicles to avoid taxes.”

The Prime Minister of Iceland stormed out of an interview where he was questioned about his offshore holdings. Opposition leaders are calling for a snap election, which could bring the Pirate Party to power, a remarkable circumstance that would have major political implications around the world – for one thing, the Icelandic Pirates have previously lobbied for their government to extend an Icelandic passport and asylum to Edward Snowden.

As Snowden himself wrote, “Biggest leak in the history of data journalism just went live, and it’s about corruption.”