Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Russia was behind several hacking incidents, including the infamous email breach of the Democratic National Committee last year that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blames for her electoral loss. Hacking, however, was only part of the equation. The use of social media bots to spread fake news was part of a larger disinformation campaign to help Trump get elected. But now that the United States’ election is over, where are they?
Posts tagged 2016
Some species of moths and bees have evolved to land on mammalian eyelids (including humans) and drink our tears. In times of relentless human tragedy and environmental catastrophe, are we creating the perfect conditions for these tear-drinking insects to flourish? What do these insects want from our tears anyways?
Until a few years ago, machine learning algorithms simply did not work very well on many meaningful tasks like recognizing objects or translation. Thus, when a machine learning algorithm failed to do the right thing, this was the rule, rather than the exception. Today, machine learning algorithms have advanced to the next stage of development: when presented with naturally occurring inputs, they can outperform humans. Machine learning has not yet reached true human-level performance, because when confronted by even a trivial adversary, most machine learning algorithms fail dramatically. In other words, we have reached the point where machine learning works, but may easily be broken.
Our foundation of Earth knowledge, largely derived from historically observed patterns, has been central to society’s progress. Early cultures kept track of nature’s ebb and flow, passing improved knowledge about hunting and agriculture to each new generation. Science has accelerated this learning process through advanced observation methods and pattern discovery techniques. These allow us to anticipate the future with a consistency unimaginable to our ancestors. But as Earth warms, our historical understanding will turn obsolete faster than we can replace it with new knowledge. Some patterns will change significantly; others will be largely unaffected, though it will be difficult to say what will change, by how much, and when.
After spending so much time researching CRISPR, I thought I’d save everyone else the time, write a summary of why I think it’s a big deal, and then curate some of the best content on the subject I found.
Report of the Annexation of Switzerland as a Border by the K.R.E.V KonungaRikena Elgaland-Vargaland, Zürich main station, 14.05.2016
With Adrian Notz, Leif Elggren, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Dave Phillips as special guest and the people of Zürich and beyond.
VNS Matrix celebrates the 25th anniversary of their Cyberfeminist Manifesto with “a tender hex for the anthropocene”. 2016
The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty. The Guardian’s analysis of the files reveal that children are vastly over-represented in the reports. More than half of the 2,116 reports – a total of 1,086 incidents, or 51.3% – involve children, although children made up only about 18% of those in detention on Nauru during the time covered by the reports, May 2013 to October 2015. The findings come just weeks after the brutal treatment of young people in juvenile detention in the Northern Territory was exposed, leading to the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announcing a wide-ranging public inquiry. The files raise stark questions about how information is reported on Nauru, one of Australia’s two offshore detention centres for asylum seekers who arrive by boat. They highlight serious concerns about the ongoing risks to children and adults held on the island. They show how the Australian government has failed to respond to warning signs and reveal sexual assault allegations – many involving children – that have never been previously disclosed. The most damning evidence emerges from the words of the staff working in the detention centre themselves – the people who compile the reports. These caseworkers, guards, teachers and medical officers have been charged with caring for hundreds of asylum seekers on the island.
People playing the popular smartphone game Pokémon Go in Bosnia have been urged to avoid areas littered with unexploded mines left over from the 1990s conflict. “Today we received information that some users of the Pokémon Go app in Bosnia were going to places which are a risk for (unexploded) mines, in search of a pokemon,” the NGO Posavina bez mina said on its Facebook page. “Citizens are urged no to do so, to respect demarcation signs of dangerous mine fields and not to go into unknown areas,” it added. The new mobile app, which is based on a 1990s Nintendo game, has created a global frenzy as players roam the real world looking for cartoon characters.
A group of Australian scientists claim they have pulled off a world first by reviving the yeast of a 220-year-old beer salvaged from a shipwreck. A detailed DNA analysis of the yeasts was undertaken to find out if the yeasts were present because of contamination. The brewer’s yeast brettanomyces was found. It is not used in modern commercial brewing, but was used everywhere in old-style brewing. Also present was the brewer’s yeast Saccharomyces, but not like it had ever been seen before. The yeast was a hybrid that sat closest on the family tree to Trappist ale, made by monks in Belgium.
“When we pass by landscapes they appear fixed in time, but they change around us constantly. The idea behind this film is to reveal this change by returning to the same camera positions over the years.”
© Keith Loutit 2016
As much as my Wired archive is a document of its era’s aspirations, it’s also a record of what people once hoped technology would be—and, in hindsight, a record of what it might have become. In early Wired, a piece about a five-hundred-thousand-dollar luxury “Superboat” would be followed by a full-page editorial urging readers to contact their legislators to condemn wiretapping (in this case, 1994’s Digital Telephony Bill). Stories of tech-enabled social change and New Economy capitalism weren’t in competition; they coexisted and played off one another. In 2016, some of my colleagues and I have E.F.F. stickers on our company-supplied MacBooks—“I do not consent to the search of this device,” we broadcast to our co-workers—but dissent is no longer an integral part of the industry’s ethos.
In de Wulf - May 2016 (via http://flic.kr/p/FXkc2J )
In de Wulf - May 2016 (via http://flic.kr/p/GPMR5N )
Tippling Club - March 2016 (via http://flic.kr/p/GSPrWv )
Last week entrepreneur Amanda Chantal Bacon was in the news for her unbelievable lifestyle. She sells something at Urban Outfitters called “Moon Juice Brain Dust.” The product is described thusly: “Moon Juice Brain Dust is an adaptogenic potion that lights up your brain and increases mental flow by feeding neurotransmitters and brain tissue. Neuron velocity and vision are fine tuned by toning the brain waves, in particular the alpha waves that connect to creativity.”