technology

President Kennedy’s motorcade route through Dallas was planned to give him maximum exposure to Dallas crowds

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The XM-25 denies cover to the enemy in that the operator fires a laser at the target, then selects how close to that impact point he wants the shell to explode.  Once he fires the weapon the 25mm shell explodes over or near where the laser was pointed, rendering most forms of cover ineffective.

{ Quora | Continue reading }

I’ll get a dollar from my mama’s purse and buy that skull and crossbones ring

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Vein geometry is just as unique as irises and fingerprints. The serpentine network of your vascular system is determined by many factors, including random influences in the womb. The result is a chaotic, singular print. Even twins have different vein structure in their hands. Vein patterns don’t change much as you age, so a scan of your palm can serve as biometric identification for the rest of your life.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

Postscript on the Societies of Control

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A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem. Trouble is, we have no idea what it’s talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia’s pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm.

A few years ago, the mathematician Steven Strogatz predicted that it wouldn’t be too much longer before computer-assisted solutions to math problems will be beyond human comprehension.

{ io9 | Continue reading }

photo { Taryn Simon }

‘Wealth — Any income that is at least $100 more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.’ —H. L. Mencken

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Miners earn newly minted bitcoins for adding new sections to the blockchain. But the amount awarded for adding a section is periodically halved so that the total number of bitcoins in circulation never exceeds 21 million (the reward last halved in 2012 and is set to do so again in 2016). Transaction fees paid to miners for helping verify transfers are supposed to make up for that loss of income. But fees are currently negligible, and the Princeton analysis predicts that under the existing rules these fees won’t become significant enough to make mining worth doing in the absence of freshly minted bitcoins.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

In these dancers of Saint John and Saint Vitus we can recognize the Bacchic choruses of the Greeks

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Bitcoin itself may not flourish as a currency, but the underlying technology is beginning to suggest valuable new applications. […]

For example, Namecoin is a system used to create and exchange domain names: the coins contain information about the domain names themselves. Recall that the domain name market has about $3 billion in revenue per year: it’s a good example of a weird, scarce digital resource. And Bitmessage is a Bitcoin-inspired messaging platform that allows for anonymous (or at least pseudonymous) communication. What Namecoin and Bitmessage share is that they allow data to be added to the transaction, making the exchange one not just of perceived value but also of information.

Or take digital art. Larry Smith, a partner at the business architecture consultancy The matix and an analyst with long experience in digital advertising and digital finance, asks us to “imagine digital items that can’t be reproduced.” If we attached a coin identifier to a digital image, Smith says, “we could now call that a unique, one-of-a-kind digital entity.” Media on the Internet—where unlimited copying and sharing has become a scourge to rights holders—would suddenly be provably unique, permanently identified, and attached to an unambiguous monetary value.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

Marty McFly: [seeing a holographic ad for Jaws 19] Shark still looks fake.

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Author profiling is a problem of growing importance in applications in forensics, security, and marketing. E.g., from a forensic linguistics perspective one would like being able to know the linguistic profile of the author of a harassing text message (language used by a certain type of people) and identify certain characteristics. Similarly, from a marketing viewpoint, companies may be interested in knowing, on the basis of the analysis of blogs and online product reviews, the demographics of people that like or dislike their products. The focus is on author profiling in social media since we are mainly interested in everyday language and how it reflects basic social and personality processes.

{ PAN | Continue reading }

photos { Neal Barr, Texas Track Club, 1964 }

I grow gnomic

“At Starbucks I order under the name Godot. Then leave.”

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

On a day of the week with a y in it

He booted up a smartphone in a Moscow café and watched as unidentified attackers immediately began to cyber-assault it.

{ Slashdot | Continue reading }

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub

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“Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard,” Zuckerberg said. “I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.” […] While Zuckerberg promised that thefacebook.com would boast new features by the end of the week, he said that he did not create the website with the intention of generating revenue. “I’m not going to sell anybody’s e-mail address,” he said.

{ Crimson (2004) | Continue reading }

previously:

FRIEND: so have you decided what you are going to do about the websites?
ZUCK: yea i’m going to fuck them
ZUCK: probably in the year
ZUCK: *ear

In another exchange leaked to Silicon Alley Insider, Zuckerberg explained to a friend that his control of Facebook gave him access to any information he wanted on any Harvard student:

ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard
ZUCK: just ask
ZUCK: i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one?
ZUCK: people just submitted it
ZUCK: i don’t know why
ZUCK: they “trust me”
ZUCK: dumb fucks

According to two knowledgeable sources, there are more unpublished IMs that are just as embarrassing and damaging to Zuckerberg. But, in an interview, Breyer told me, “Based on everything I saw in 2006, and after having a great deal of time with Mark, my confidence in him as C.E.O. of Facebook was in no way shaken.”

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

Driver Take Me to O’Block

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After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. […] That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind.

{ No Film School | Continue reading }

Zarathustra descended alone from the mountains, encountering no one

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Now add $1.99 per month subscription to connect Nest to Google services, and you’ve opened a lot more consumers to replacing their “ugly” thermostat, rather than paying the upfront $249 Nest one-off purchase cost. Which could allow Nest to work its way into millions of homes; this means that 56% of all electricity used, the monthly service that we all are forced to pay, will largely be monitored and controlled by one of the most powerful companies in the world: Google. […]

a shift from one-off product sales to services that will become essential to our everyday lives, things that we will pay for over and over again.

{ Pando | Continue reading }

In the idle darkness comes the bite

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{ When a shopper enters Reebok’s flagship store in New York City, a face-detection system analyzes 10 to 20 frames per second to build a profile of the potential customer. The algorithms can determine a shopper’s gender and age range as well as behavioral and emotional cues, such as interest in a given display (it tracks glances and the amount of time spent standing in one place). Reebok installed the system, called Cara, in May 2013; other companies are following suit. Tesco recently unveiled a technology in the U.K. that triggers digital ads at gas stations tailored to the viewer’s age and gender. | Popular Science | full story }