30% of Belgians not in favour of getting coronavirus vaccine

Up to 30% of Belgians are anywhere from sceptical to strongly opposed to receiving a potential coronavirus vaccine, a new international survey showed. Among the 27 countries, only Turkey and Peru had equal rates of negative attitudes to a potential vaccine, contrasting sharply with Brazilians and Australians (12%), as well as with respondents in China, where opposition to a vaccine plunged to a mere 3%. The survey also showed that 22% of Belgians polled said they would not get a vaccine because “they are against vaccines in general,” landing Belgium among the six countries with the highest number of respondents to hold this view. Overall, Russia and Italy had the highest degree of anti-vaccine responses (30%), followed by France (24%), South Africa (23%) and the United States (20%).

(via https://www.brusselstimes.com/news/belgium-all-news/health/129760/30-of-belgians-not-in-favour-of-getting-coronavirus-vaccine-survey/)

A strange phenomenon has emerged near Amazon.com Inc. delivery stations and Whole Foods stores in the Chicago suburbs:…

amazon, AMZN, gig economy, platform capitalism, automation, hacks, tree, unemployment, logisitics, 2020, USA

A strange phenomenon has emerged near Amazon.com Inc. delivery stations and Whole Foods stores in the Chicago suburbs: smartphones dangling from trees. Contract delivery drivers are putting them there to get a jump on rivals seeking orders, according to people familiar with the matter.

Drivers are competing for fast-delivery Instant Offers, which require an immediate response and typically take between 15 and 45 minutes to complete. Instant Offers are dispatched by an automated system that detects which drivers are nearby through their smartphones. When drivers see an Instant Offer, they have only a few minutes to accept the delivery or lose it to someone else.

The system can detect a smartphone’s location to within about 20 feet. That means a phone in a tree outside Whole Foods’ door would get the delivery offer even before drivers sitting in their cars just a block away.

The phones in trees seem to serve as master devices that dispatch routes to multiple nearby drivers in on the plot, according to drivers who have observed the process. They believe an unidentified person or entity is acting as an intermediary between Amazon and the drivers and charging drivers to secure more routes.

“Amazon knows about it,” the driver said, “but does nothing.”

(via Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work )

Folks, I cannot stress this enough, do not let billionaire capitalists drill holes in your head and stick their tech into your…

IFTTT, Twitter, scalzi

(via http://twitter.com/scalzi/status/1300503432487415808)

6% of people died from covid19 while having no KNOWN comorbidities. 94% died from covid19 IN CONJUNCTION WITH extant…

IFTTT, Twitter, Wolven

(via http://twitter.com/Wolven/status/1300088519185051648)

Terunobu Fujimori’s poesy

Terunobu Fujimori, architecture, design


Terunobu Fujimori (November 21, 1946) is an architect and architectural historian, a lateral thinker and surrealist.

Fujimori is known as a modern eccentric with an architectural sensibility drawn from ancient Japanese traditions and influences of Le Corbusier and Claude Nicolas Ledoux. His architecture is characterized by fantasy and humor, use of natural materials and the subversion of traditional techniques.

A well known author, cultural commentator, and TV host in Japan; as well as a longtime professor of Japanese architecture at the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo. Fujimori came into his design career late in life—he got his first commission at age 44, 27 years ago—but he has since conceived some of Japan’s most startlingly original buildings, on average one per year.

Fujimori basically fell into designing buildings after his native village (a tiny, rural village two hours south of Nagano) commissioned him in 1991 to design a small history museum, Jinchokan Moriya Historical Museum. As he pondered what form the building should take, he felt the weight of all of architectural history bearing down on him. “Since I was a famous architectural historian,” he says, “I thought my architecture should be totally unique, dissimilar to any architecture that came before.”

His peers found the building intriguing. “Terunobu Fujimori has thrown a punch of a kind no one has ever seen before at ‘modernism,’” wrote the architect Kengo Kuma. Encouraged, Fujimori decided to continue designing. With no other clients in sight, he built a house for his family in a Tokyo suburb, the Tanpopo (Dandelion) House with strips of volcanic rock affixed to the facade, and flowers and grass blooming in the grooves between them. While Fujimori admits that his buildings tend to be ecologically sensitive and extremely energy-efficient, he is wary of the contemporary conception of green design. “As an architect, I deal with the visual effects. Energy conservation is an engineer’s work. My intention is to visibly and harmoniously connect two worlds—the built world that mankind creates with the nature God created.”

In a pioneering professional career now spanning almost 30 years, the architect has produced two-legged teahouses suspended 20 metres above the ground; homes whose chimneys are planted with pines and whose roofs are covered in leeks and chives; and guesthouses that perch precariously atop small segments of white wall. Whereas his contemporaries – starchitects like Tadao Ando and Toyo Ito, who he counts as close friends – embrace Japanese simplicity, conceptualism and new materials, Fujimori prefers eccentricity, tradition, character and natural elements local to the sites at which he works (mud, wood, stone, coal, bark, mortar and, often, living plants) evoking sometimes real life Hayao Miyazaki cartoons. “My work is all about keeping the fun of childhood alive,” says Fujimori.


RFC8890: The Internet is for End Users

The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) has published RFC8890, The Internet is for End Users, arguing that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) should ground its decisions in what’s good for people who use the Internet, and that it should take positive steps to achieve that. Why does this need to be said? Is it going too far? Who else could they favour, and why should you care? As author of the RFC and a member of the IAB that passed it, here are my thoughts.

(via https://www.mnot.net/blog/2020/08/28/for_the_users)

Principles for platform regulation


As the EU works through the contours of the new Digital Services Act, my EFF colleagues Svea Windwehr, Christoph Schmon and Jillian York have published a set of four principles for sound digital platform regulation.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/08 /our-eu-policy-principles-user-controls

I. Give Users Control Over Content: Let users decide how their feeds are ordered, mandate interop so that it’s easy for users to install plugins that do this work for them, ban ToS that forbids reverse-engineering and interconnection.

Abandon the idea that platforms have the final word about what is and isn’t objectionable and/or harassing. Let users choose what they want to block and what they want to see, rather than petitioning platforms and hoping they get a hearing.

II: Algorithmic Transparency:Platforms should divulge the criteria they use for recommendation and flagging, and explain in clear terms when/why/how algorithmic systems are used. Allow third-party and regulatory audits of algorithms.

III. Accountable Governance: Make platforms notify, explain and consult on content policy changes, require meaningful consent to new policies and allow for opt-outs, and make policies machine readable and accessible to humans without specialized knowledge.

IV. Right to Anonymity Online: Ditch “real names” proposals aimed at fighting disinformation and respect the will of individuals not to disclose their identities online.

That was my summary, but I urge you to read the original: as befits their prodigious communications skills, it’s a sprightly and eminently readable doc!

Surveillance Capitalism is just capitalism, plus surveillance



You’ve probably heard Zuboff’s excellent coinage “Surveillance Capitalism” and perhaps you’ve read the paper it was introduced in, or the book that it led to.

Today, I’ve published a response to that book, “How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism.”


I wrote “How to Destroy…” after reading Zuboff’s book and realizing that while I shared her alarm about how Big Tech was exercising undue influence over us, I completely disagreed with her thesis about the source of that influence and what should be done about it.

Zuboff calls surveillance capitalism a “rogue capitalism,” a system that has used machine learning to effectively control our minds and shape our behavior so that we can no longer serve as market actors whose purchase decisions promote good firms and products over bad ones.

Because of that, Big Tech has a permanent advantage, one that can’t be addressed through traditional means like breakups or consent decrees, nor can it be analyzed through traditional privacy lenses.


But I think that’s wrong. It’s giving Big Tech far too much credit. I just don’t buy the thesis that Big Tech used Big Data to create a mind-control ray to sell us fidget spinners, and that Cambridge Analytica hijacked it to make us all racists.

So I wrote “How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism,” a short book that delivers a different thesis: Big Tech is a monopoly problem. In fact, it’s just a part of a wider monopoly problem that afflicts every sector of our global economy.

Accidentally and deliberately, monopolies create all kinds of malignant outcomes. If the company that has a monopoly on search starts serving wrong answers, people will believe them - not because of mind control, but because of dominance.

But monopolies have an even graver failure-mode: when a large, profitable industry collapses down to 4 or 5 companies, it’s easy for those companies to agree on what they think policy should be.

And being monopolists, they have lots of spare cash to convert that agreement to actual policy. What’s more, once an industry is monopolized, everyone qualified to understand and regulate it probably came from one of the dominant companies.

Think of how the “good” Obama FCC chairman was a former Comcast exec and the “bad” Trump FCC chair is a former Verizon lawyer.

There’s a name for regulatory outcomes driven by collusion among monopolists whose regulators come from their own ranks.

We call them: “Conspiracies.”

When social scientists investigate conspiracists, they find people whose beliefs are the result of real trauma (like losing a loved one to opiods) and real conspiracies (the Sackler family and other Big Pharma barons suborning their regulators).

The combination of real trauma and real conspiracies gives ALL conspiracies explanatory power. This is brilliantly documented in Anna Merlan’s “Republic of Lies,” one of the most important books on the rise of conspiratorial thinking I’ve read.


Surveillance Capitalism is a real, serious, urgent problem, but not because it accidentally led to a working mind-control ray and then turned it over to Nazis.


It’s a problem because it is both emblematic of monopolies (which lead to corruption, AKA conspiracies) and because the vast, nonconsensual dossiers it compiles on us can be used to compromise and neutralize opposition to the status quo.

And Big Tech DOES exert control over us, but not with mind-control rays. Lock-in (and laws that support it) allows Big Tech to decide how we can use our devices, who can fix them, and when they must be thrown away.

Lock-in is an invitation to totalitarianism: the Chinese government observed the fact that Apple alone could decide which apps can run on Iphones, then ordered Apple to remove apps that allowed Chinese people privacy from the state.

I’m sure that the Uyghurs in concentration camps and the Falun Gong members having their organs harvested are relieved that Apple abetted their surveillance for reasons other than mere marketing.

This is the core of my critique, the reason I wrote this book: we should be suspicious of all corporate control over our lives, and should insist on nothing less than absolute technological self-determination.

The idea that “if you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product,” suggests the simplistic solution of just charging for everything. But the reality is that in a monopoly, you’re the product irrespective of whether you’re paying.

We deserve to be more than products.

I am so grateful to Onezero for the incredible look-and-feel of my new book. It’s a free read on their site, with a really fantastic new nav system that will help you pick up where you left off.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the spectacular artwork that Shira Inbar did for the book, and the tireless efforts of my editor, Brian Merchant, who championed it internally and is ultimately responsible for the brilliant package you see before you.

I’m also excited to note that this will be shortly coming out as a print book, doubtless just as beautiful as this digital edition.

I know it’s a longread, but I hope you’ll give it a try.

Big Tech NEEDS a corrective, and that corrective - antimonopoly enforcement - is part of a global movement that addresses deep, systemic problems in every sector. This is a moment for us to seize, but we have to understand where the problem really lies.

Dinosaur Dust | Zoe Childerley



Dinosaur Dust was made between 2014-19 over several trips through the Mojave Desert in California. Subjects become collaborators in this open-ended narrative, both experienced and directed, telling stories of life lived with a heightened sense of mortality and longing in this isolated landscape. The work explores encounters between people and nature, playing with light, impermanence and the faculties of seeing.

Deserts stand as a monumental symbol of emptiness, a seemingly infinite landscape that serves as a powerful incarnation of the sublime. But travel through the boulders and dunes, the washes and the canyons of the Mojave and the image of virgin territory is revealed as a mirage. Just beneath the surface, the sounds and traces of all kinds of activities, experiments, myths and utopias can be heard, tales of exile and promise, temptation and death.

These desert communities offer the opportunity to begin again, providing a blank slate of sorts for people attracted to this fragile environment, to make a new life in a ruthless clime that is nowhere near as empty as it looks. Many women are drawn to the desert, often living alone, building new homes and embracing this formidable wild life. Submit to the great meteorological forces and it’s a reminder of how it feels to be alive, drawn to this edge, like someone experiencing vertigo, with an inexplicable urge to jump into the abyss.




book - ‘Dinosaur Dust’ is our latest photobook release from Another Place Press, just launched for pre-order this week! You can see sample spreads below, and just click on the link to pre-order a copy! It’s available as a standard edition for just £17, or as a limited special edition of 30 for £55, each of which comes with an A4 print signed and numbered by Zoe (see image below).

All images & text © Zoe Childerley

One thing we note a number of times in @howtofuture — it’s not just for business, tech and design — It was also written with…

IFTTT, Twitter, changeist

(via http://twitter.com/changeist/status/1298258776353435648)

Russian-backed organizations amplifying QAnon conspiracy theories

Russia, USA, QAnon, disinfo, memetic-warfare, 2020

“Though Russia is only one foreign actor capable of targeting US political audiences through the QAnon community, its history of operations appear to be the most ideologically aligned with the overarching QAnon theory,” the report said. “Russia also appears to have made the most effort to gain credibility within the community thus far.” QAnon was named by the FBI as a potential instigator of domestic terrorism, and followers have been charged with making a terror threat, murder and other crimes.

(via https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-qanon-russia/russian-backed-organizations-amplifying-qanon-conspiracy-theories-researchers-say-idUSKBN25K13T)

Nontransitive dice



Today in his excellent new newsletter “The Magnet,” Mark Frauenfelder discusses “transitive dice” - D6s with the weird property that while Die A has an advantage over Die B and Die B has an advantage over Die C, Die A LOSES to Die C on average.


That is to say, if you give an opponent the choice of any of the three dice, one of the remaining two dice will always beat it. This is some pretty eldritch probability stuff (and an example of how counterintuitive propability can be).

The key is in understanding the probability distributions. Die A has five “4” sides and one “6” side. Die B has five “3” sides and one “6” side. Die C has three “5” sides and three “2” sides.

That means: “A beats B 25 out of the 36 possibilities. C beats A 21 out of 36. C beats A 21 out of 36.”


Frauenfelder notes that Warren Buffet is obsessed with nontransitive dice, which makes sense. After all, Buffet has repeatedly, publicly proclaimed that he only invests in companies that are in noncompetitive markets.


For example, here’s why he bought a huge stake in Moody’s: “I know nothing about credit rating. The only reason I bought it is because there are only three credit rating agencies and they serve the whole country, and they have pricing power.”

His ideal company is one with a monopoly so secure, “even your idiot cousin could run it.” Presumably, you could teach that same idiot cousin to memorize which die beats each of the others, too.

Wow. Huge if true. "According to a machine learning analysis of dozens of languages […], the meaning of words does not…

IFTTT, Twitter, juspar

(via http://twitter.com/juspar/status/1297496903039549440)

All facilities have independent supplies in all areas as well as a climate system independent of the outside world. The…

swisscows, data center, IT, infrastructure, internet, CH, diagram

All facilities have independent supplies in all areas as well as a climate system independent of the outside world. The construction is resistant to any military or civilian threat. The access control is very restrictive. Various areas are only accessible to selected employees. The 24-hour operation is constantly monitored by a double-guided OperationCenter. All operating processes are subject to the dual control principle.

Multi-level protection measures in the area of network and IT reduce every conceivable risk to the absolute minimum. All sites have constant video and fire monitoring. Two facilities are connected by a dedicated fiber link. The SWISS FORT KNOX is operated by SIAG Secure Infostore AG, which is certified according to ISO27001. The concept represents a huge investment volume and is considered the safest data center in Europe.

(via https://swisscows.com/en/datacenter )

Parisian Permission to Vegetate



Paris Encourages All Citizens to Become Urban Gardeners

Parisians can garden anywhere in the city limits according to the “permis de végétaliser” (greenery permit) in an effort to make the French capital more green and plant-friendly.

7 February 2020

Hörn Arnarsdóttir

It’s a simple strategy with a big impact: give every citizen the right to plant, grow and harvest on any free plot of urban land. The recently passed law “permis de végétaliser” is one of many green initiatives that the current mayor Anne Hidalgo has introduced. By 2020, she wants to meet her target of adding hundred hectares of green space to the cityscape of Paris by offering easier access to gardening and gardening materials to its dwellers.

Residents can apply for a three-year permit, which can easily be renewed, to garden in their local area whether it is on their rooftop or creating a vertical garden on their building wall. Permit-holders are asked to sign a charter to ensure that pesticides are avoided and sustainable gardening methods are used instead. The planting of bee-friendly plants is encouraged and urban gardeners can even request a planting kit including topsoil and seeds to help them get started with greening their local areas….

This is brilliant… A German university is offering “idleness grants” to applicants who are seriously committed to doing…

IFTTT, Twitter, hautepop

(via http://twitter.com/hautepop/status/1296768102756167680)

Google acquires major stake in ADT

nest, google, monopoly, pluralistic, internet of shit, surveillance


Google sucks at IoT so, in the time-honored tradition of monopolists, it bought a successful company, Nest, bricked much of its existing gear, failed catastrophically to integrate it for YEARS, exposing users to hacks, shuffled it around and around the corporate structure…

Locked out competing devices, hid secret microphones in new, “microphone-free” devices, and now…

…they’ve bought a $450m stake in home security giant ADT, which will turn ADT customers into nonconsensual Nest customers.


Under the deal, ADT customers’ security cameras will be “upgraded” to Nest devices whose videos will be sent to Google for long-term storage and machine-learning analysis.

Home automation and home security have become the shittiest end of the Internet of Shit. On the one hand, you have Ring, who turn your home security system into part of a warrantless, off-the-books mass-surveillance grid for local cops:


On the other, you have devices sold through “partnerships” with cable monopolists that are unceremoniously bricked when the deals end:


Then there were the internal empire-builders at Google that kept Nest from being properly secured, leading to a rash of voyeurs who spied on and terrorized Nest owners by screaming obscenities at them and their kids:


None of this should be happening. For decades, America’s competition law operated on the presumption of “structural separation” - the idea that companies should not be allowed to form vertical monopolies:


These monopolies are inevitably not just inefficient, plagued by “the curse of bigness,” but they also crowd out GOOD companies with superior products, by using the vertical integration to keep them from getting into the market.

La 20ème Commune

Leegbeek, BXL, antikraak, manifesto, uberization

De 20 ˢᵗᵉ gemeente wordt ondersteund door organisaties die werken rond tijdelijk gebruik. Ze hebben een maatschappelijk doel: ze engageren zich om de lege gebouwen in Brussel open te stellen voor de Brusselse gemeenschap. Ze willen dat burgers de stad maken. Wij waarschuwen voor het creëren van een parallelle sub-huurmarkt waar de rechten van bezetters worden uitgehold. Wij verzetten ons tegen actoren die enkel financiële winst als doel hebben. Wij vragen de overheid om Leegbeek, de 20ˢᵗᵉ gemeente, te beschermen tegen de uberisering. Wij vragen dat de oppervlakte van Leegbeek wordt gewijd aan het zoeken naar oplossingen voor de dringende behoeften van onze samenleving.

(via https://nl.leegbeek.brussels/about)

A massive compass rose is painted onto dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base in Kern County, Southern California. With a…


A massive compass rose is painted onto dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base in Kern County, Southern California. With a diameter of more than 4,000 feet (1,220 meters), the compass is almost perfectly aligned with magnetic north and is used by aircraft to test navigation equipment. At the top of this Overview is the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, NASA’s premier site for aeronautical research.

See more here: https://bit.ly/2Q4RnVi

34.954060°, -117.873340°

Source imagery: Maxar



Locks are pretty rubbish. The lock on your door is more of a “keep out” sign than an actual way to keep someone who wants to get in from coming in. My daughter was 5 or 6 when I first took her to Defcon and she learned to pick locks in an hour.

So can you! Try Toool, The Open Organization of Lockpickers, and go to town. It’s a super fun, soothing way to pass the day. Like knitting, but simultaneously more and less practical.


Once you’ve learned to pick locks, you get a profound realization about security: there are billion-dollar companies whose products are just GARBAGE and always have been, who, despite this, have been in business for decades or even centuries.

You also realize why: security is hard. Making locks that can be easily opened with a key, not easily opened without the key, can be serviced and mass produced? That’s just hard.

Moreover, the materiality of locks - the fact that they’re made from STUFF, and that STUFF has its own characteristics, flaws and behaviors, makes those problems a million times gnarlier.

For years, we’ve known that amateur lockpickers can reproduce your keys by taking pictures of them. There are even grocery store machines that take a picture of your key and duplicate it. The shape of your key is itself a security vulnerability.

But it turns out it’s not just the SHAPE of your key, it’s the SOUND. Spikey is an exploit from a NUS Comp Sci team lead by Soundarya Ramesh, laid out in this (paywalled) ACM Hotmobile paper.


Spikey is an acoustic attack on traditional six-pin locks. It analyzes a sound recording of a key entering the keyway and hitting the pins and infers what the key must look like based on the sounds.


The actual inference part works really reliably! Here’s Ramesh demoing the technique:


The hard part isn’t the analysis, it’s obtaining the recording. You need to get a smartphone to within a few centimeters of the key as it enters the lock, which is pretty obvious. On the other hand, it may be possible to capture the audio by hacking a “smart” doorbell’s mic.

Speaking as an author of technothrillers, this is a fantastic bit. (attn: John Rogers).

What’s more, it dispenses with the need for lockpicking altogether: obtain an advance recording, infer the key, make the key, enter the premises.

Ramesh speculates that a generic defense against this attack can be found in subtle alterations in the geometry of the key - by making the ridges smoother, it could dampen the sounds they make when hitting the pins, frustrating attempts to infer the pin configuration.

If you want to learn lockpicking (and I think you should try!), I recommend the picks and practice locks from Sparrows Tools, which have never steered me wrong.


This Overview shows the terminus of Bering Glacier at Vitus Lake in southeastern Alaska. Combined with the Bagley Icefield,…


This Overview shows the terminus of Bering Glacier at Vitus Lake in southeastern Alaska. Combined with the Bagley Icefield, where the snow that feeds the glacier accumulates, Bering is the largest glacier in North America. Both the glacier and Vitus Lake are named after Vitus Bering, an 18th century cartographer and explorer who led expeditions along the Arctic coast of Siberia and North America.

See more here: https://bit.ly/2DULlnY

60.241353°, -143.555744°

Source imagery: Planet

Mr Cook, Tear Down That Wall


You’ve probably heard that Fortnite publishers Epic are suing Apple over the right to sell software to Iphone owners without cutting Apple in for a 30% vig on every sale. Epic wants a court to order Apple to allow software vendors to offer direct sales.

Apple apologists insist that Apple should have the right to both lock its devices so that Apple customers can only get their software through the App Store, AND that Apple should be able to cream off 30% of every sale in the store.

There’s been some smart commentary on this. In particular, I recommend Jay Freeman’s long thread on whether the App Store is monopolistic (it most certainly is) and whether that’s good for users or software developers (it most certainly is not).


I’ve made my own contribution to the debate. In a new article for Slate’s Future Tense, I talk about the role that interoperability could and should play in safeguarding user rights and blocking monopolistic conduct.


True believers in Apple’s business model argue that Apple customers don’t even WANT to buy software elsewhere (similar to how they argue against the Right to Repair by insisting that Apple customers are happy to be limited to getting repairs from Apple).

This is a frankly bizarre argument. Apple isn’t spending millions are hiring entire buildings full of lawyers to block right to repair or independent app stores on general principle - the only reason to block these things is because you think your customers would use them.

As my EFF colleague Mitch Stoltz says, the argument that Apple users don’t want flexibility is like the argument that the Berlin Wall isn’t there to keep East Germans IN, it’s there to keep the bourgeoisie out of the Worker’s Paradise.

If the DDR really believed that people were happy to be behind the wall, they could easily test the proposition: just install a gate that anyone could pass through and see whether anyone stayed.

Likewise, if Apple’s convinced that no one wants independent repair or third-party app stores with more dev-friendly policies, it can just put a gate in ITS walled garden and see what its customers do.

The Apple version of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy (“You’re not a true Iphone owner if you object to the company you gave $1000 to for a phone charging software vendors a 30% commission”) was always absurd.

But it would be fascinating to find out how many “true” Iphone users there are by those lights. If we were to allow owners of Iphones to treat them as their property, to use without regard to the shareholders of a $1T corporation, what would they do?

Apple probably won’t unilaterally disarm its DRM arsenal. That’s why EFF is suing the US government to overturn the law that makes it a crime to bypass DRM.


The Community Foundation in Messina, Sicily, has such an unfamiliar approach to local development that it might as well come…

IFTTT, Twitter, alberto_cottica

(via http://twitter.com/alberto_cottica/status/1294930746071822337)

Sand Struck by Lightning The strange looking sand formation above is called a fulgurite. Also known as petrified lightning,…


Sand Struck by Lightning

The strange looking sand formation above is called a fulgurite. Also known as petrified lightning, fulguritesare formed when lightning instantaneously melts the mineral grains in sand and fuses the grains together.The result is ahollow glassy tube with a root-like appearance.The estimated temperature required to create a fulgurite varies, but it is believed to be between 1500°C to 4000 °C. Their size can range from just a few centimeters to several meters long. The longest fulgurite on record is 4.9 meters. 

source 1, 2

photo by Ken Smith, National Geographic

Last decade was Earth’s hottest on record as climate crisis accelerates


Excerpt from this story from The Guardian:

The past decade was the hottest ever recorded globally, with 2019 either the second or third warmest year on record, as the climate crisis accelerated temperatures upwards worldwide, scientists have confirmed.

Every decade since 1980 has been warmer than the preceding decade, with the period between 2010 and 2019 the hottest yet since worldwide temperature records began in the 19th century. The increase in average global temperature is rapidly gathering pace, with the last decade up to 0.39C warmer than the long-term average, compared with a 0.07C average increase per decade stretching back to 1880.

The past six years, 2014 to 2019, have been the warmest since global records began, a period that has included enormous heatwaves in the US, Europe and India, freakishly hot temperatures in the Arctic, and deadly wildfires from Australia to California to Greece.

Last year was either the second hottest year ever recorded, according to Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the third hottest year, as recorded by the UK Met Office. Overall, the world has heated up by about 1C on average since the pre-industrial era.

Last decade was Earth’s hottest on record as climate crisis accelerates

Renewables generate more energy than fossil fuels in Europe for the first time

Over a fifth of Europe’s energy was generated by solar panels and wind turbines in the first half of 2020. Solar and wind energy generation was higher in some European countries. Denmark came out on top, generating 64 per cent of its energy from these renewable sources, closely followed by Ireland (49 per cent) and Germany (42 per cent), according to the report from independent climate think-tank Ember. In a half-year review released in July by the think tank, all renewables - including wind, solar, hydroelectricity and bioenergy - were found to have exceeded fossil fuel generation for the first time ever. They produced 40 per cent of the EU’s power from January to June with fossil fuels contributing 34 per cent.

(via https://www.euronews.com/living/2020/08/14/renewables-generate-more-energy-than-fossil-fuels-in-europe-for-the-first-time-ever)

Renewables generate more energy than fossil fuels in Europe for the first time

energy, renewables, EU, 2020, Ember

Over a fifth of Europe’s energy was generated by solar panels and wind turbines in the first half of 2020. Solar and wind energy generation was higher in some European countries. Denmark came out on top, generating 64 per cent of its energy from these renewable sources, closely followed by Ireland (49 per cent) and Germany (42 per cent), according to the report from independent climate think-tank Ember. In a half-year review released in July by the think tank, all renewables - including wind, solar, hydroelectricity and bioenergy - were found to have exceeded fossil fuel generation for the first time ever. They produced 40 per cent of the EU’s power from January to June with fossil fuels contributing 34 per cent.

(via https://www.euronews.com/living/2020/08/14/renewables-generate-more-energy-than-fossil-fuels-in-europe-for-the-first-time-ever)

Types as axioms, or: playing god with static types

A common perspective is that types are restrictions. Static types restrict the set of values a variable may contain, capturing some subset of the space of “all possible values.” Under this worldview, a typechecker is sort of like an oracle, predicting which values will end up where when the program runs and making sure they satisfy the constraints the programmer wrote down in the type annotations. Of course, the typechecker can’t really predict the future, so when the typechecker gets it wrong—it can’t “figure out” what a value will be—static types can feel like self-inflicted shackles. But that is not the only perspective.

(via https://lexi-lambda.github.io/blog/2020/08/13/types-as-axioms-or-playing-god-with-static-types/)

Baghdad’s record heat offers glimpse of world’s climate change future


Excerpt from this story from the Washington Post:

This city roars in the summertime. You hear the generators on every street, shaking and shuddering to keep electric fans whirring as the air seems to shimmer in the heat.

Iraq isn’t just hot. It’s punishingly hot. Record-breakingly hot. When one of us returned here last week, the air outside felt like an oven. The suitcase crackled as it was unzipped. It turned out that the synthetic fibers of a headscarf had melted crispy and were now stuck to the top of the case. A cold bottle of water was suddenly warm to the lips. At our office, the door handle was so hot it left blisters at the touch.

Baghdad hit 125.2 degrees on July 28, blowing past the previous record of 123.8 degrees — which was set here five years ago — and topping 120 degrees for four days in a row. Sitting in one of the fastest warming parts of the globe, the city offers a troubling snapshot of the future that climate change might one day bring other parts of the world.

“It’s getting hotter every year,” said Jos Lelieveld, an expert on the climate of the Middle East and Mediterranean at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. “And when you are starting to get above 50 degrees Celsius [122 degrees Fahrenheit] it becomes life threatening.”

Baghdad’s record heat offers glimpse of world’s climate change future

This situation—a single company controlling web standards—is what everyone freaked out about in the Windows 95 era, but the…

IFTTT, Twitter, Pinboard

(via http://twitter.com/Pinboard/status/1293623586071044096)

Satellite Study Reveals Enormity of Melting Ice Shelves in Antarctica


Mapping Antarctica’s Hidden Melt. Much of Antarctica’s ice loss is happening underneath the surface–where ice that hangs off the edge of the continent touches ocean water. The more these ice shelves shrink, the faster ice on land can travel out to sea, increasing the potential for sea level rise. Notes: Ice sheet data from 2010–2018; temperature data mostly from 1990s-present
Sources: Susheel Adusumilli, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Matthew R. Siegfried, Colorado School of Mines; Nature Geoscience

Excerpt from this story from the Wall Street Journal:

The ice that hangs off the edge of Antarctica and floats on the ocean is melting faster than it is being replenished, even in pockets of East Antarctica typically thought to be less vulnerable to climate change, according to a study published Monday.

These structures, known as ice shelves, shed nearly 4,000 gigatons of their mass between 1994 and 2018, according to the new research, which leveraged nearly 25 years of satellite measurements of ice thickness. It echoes findings of numerous previous studies reporting the retreat and destabilization of Antarctic ice shelves but goes further, helping scientists understand the processes driving the melt around the entire continent over longer time periods and with high spatial resolution.

Antarctic ice loss can reverberate across the entire planet, changing global weather patterns, the researchers and other experts said.

The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, is part of a relatively new scientific discipline that aims to understand how the ocean interacts with ice sheets. Ice sheets are massive swaths of ice that cover Antarctica and Greenland. The edges of ice sheets can spill over onto the ocean, forming ice shelves.

Ice-shelf meltwater doesn’t directly contribute to sea-level rise. Instead, the structures slow down the movement of ice flowing from the interior of the continent out to sea. The smaller they are, the less they hold back the flow and the faster ice on land can reach the ocean. That extra ice is what drives increases in sea levels.

Satellite Study Reveals Enormity of Melting Ice Shelves in Antarctica

Satanic Abortions cut through unconstitutional abortion laws


States across the US have enacted cruel, unconstitutional abortion laws that require doctors to sexually assault women seeking abortions and lie to them about the health impacts of abortion. Some laws require funerals for foetal remains.

These laws were pushed by ALEC, the corporate-backed “legislative exchange” that pushes “model legislation” through a network of slick lobbyists in state-houses across the country. ALEC purports to be in favor of “liberty” and “small government.”

Enter the Satanic Temple, a federally recognized religion whose members do not believe in Satan or supernatural phenomena. They believe “that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition.”

The Temple has a fantastic schtick. They go to places where christofascists have gotten laws passed that shove their weird, apostate version of “Christianity” down everyone else’s throats and point out that the First Amendment requires nondiscrimination among faiths.

Wanna put a giant stone Ten Commandments in front of your courthouse? Sure. But they’re gonna put a giant statue of Baphomet right next to it. The court challenges they mount aren’t cheap, but they’re slam dunks. The US Constitution is pretty clear on this.

Now, in 1993, Chuck Schumer sponsored the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” which lets Americans sue governments over laws that “substantially burdens a person’s exercise of religion.”


Religious maniacs LOVE the RFRA and its progeny, like SCOTUS’s Hobby Lobby decision, which broadened the RFRA’s provisions and allowed corporations to claim exemptions from Rendering Unto Caesar where that interfered with the owners’ faith.


Guess what you get when you combine the RFRA, ALEC’s restrictive abortion laws, and the Satanic Temple?



A Satanic Abortion is a religious ritual that is totally indistinguishable from a normal, medical abortion, except that the participant says a few self-affirming words about her bodily autonomy.

Oh, also: the ritual absolutely forbids, as a bedrock matter of religous conviction, any waiting periods, the withholding of medically necessary advice, mandatory counseling, required readings, and unnecessary sonograms.

Also forbidden: mandatory fetal heartbeat listening sessions and compulsory fetal burials.

If you want an abortion and the doctor tries this bullshit, hand them one of these exemption letters explaining how the law doesn’t apply thanks to the RFRA.


Now, the religious right could fight this. But if they win…they overturn the RFRA, and Hobby Lobby has to provide its employees with contraception and all the other theocratic exemptions go poof, too.

The Temple is pretty amazing. Here’s some highlights of their previous campaigns:

“Publicly confronted hate groups, fought for the abolition of corporal punishment in public schools, applied for equal representation when religious installations are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy, exposed harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners in mental health care, organized clubs alongside other religious after-school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations, and engaged in other advocacy in accordance with our tenets.”

It would also support the in-progress “interesting aircraft is about to fly over me” mobile app, small things like the tar1090…

IFTTT, Twitter, lemonodor

(via http://twitter.com/lemonodor/status/1291504574465941505)

“Great set” is far from the banal compliment it appears to be. Post-performance noise lifers are in fact mutually hailing “Great…

IFTTT, Twitter, frozenreeds

(via http://twitter.com/frozenreeds/status/1291057485193904130)

Atlas of Surveillance


With the Atlas of Surveillance, EFF aggregates 5300 datapoints about US police forces’ use of surveillance technology and maps them, providing an at-a-glance/searchable data on everything from Ring partnerships to shotspotters to fusion centers to drones.


Hundreds of community groups, university labs and other institutions contributed to the database:


If your region is blank, that means no one has done the work to figure out how your local law enforcement is spying on you. You can fill that gap! Here’s how: