technology

‘Nothing is so useless as a general maxim.’ —Thomas Macaulay

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“you only have 100k because of ur url.”

“uh no i had 93k before i got this url so excuse u.”

{ New Republic | Continue reading }

art { Ellsworth Kelly, Diagonal lines, 1951 | James Marshall, Untitled 7, 2015 }

Wildlife binoculars, tell me that you want me

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Please notice how the Director of the NSA, unlike the vociferous FBI director, has been relatively silent. With a budget on the order of $10 billion at its disposal the NSA almost certainly has something equivalent to what the courts have asked Apple to create. The NSA probably doesn’t want to give its bypass tool to the FBI and blow its operational advantage.

{ Counterpunch | Continue reading }

Operation Inherent Resolve

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They’re like, “The internet is public.” A lot of things are public, but it doesn’t mean they’re for you. For instance, you can walk down the street and you can look into all of your neighbors’ windows should they have chanced not to draw the curtains. If you really lean in, you can listen to all kinds of conversations that are too quiet for you to just overhear. You can do all kinds of things in public that you should not do. Are you walking down the street, interrupting random twosomes or threesomes of people to add your two fucking sentences? You’re not, so why are you on my Twitter? Why are you talking to me?

{ Sarah Nicole Prickett / Mask | Continue reading }

photo { Leah Schrager }

They say any artist paying six dollars may exhibit

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Experts say fakes have become one of the most vexing problems in the art market. […]

Two years ago, the center, known for its work in bioengineering, encryption and nanotechnology, set about developing a way to infuse paintings, sculptures and other artworks with complex molecules of DNA created in the lab. […]

The new approach, in its formative stage, would implant synthetic DNA, not the personal DNA of the artists, because of privacy issues and because a person’s DNA could conceivably be stolen and embedded, thus undermining the authority of such a marking protocol.

The developers said the bioengineered DNA would be unique to each item and provide an encrypted link between the art and a database that would hold the consensus of authoritative information about the work. The DNA details could be read by a scanner available to anyone in the art industry wanting to verify an object.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

installation { Yayoi Kusama, The obliteration room, 2002-present }

‘The message is, there is no message.’ —James Holmes

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Artificial-intelligence researchers have long struggled to make computers perform a task that is simple for humans: picking out one person’s speech when multiple people nearby are talking simultaneously.

It is called the ‘cocktail-party problem’. Typical approaches to solving it have either involved systems with multiple microphones, which distinguish speakers based on their position in a room, or complex artificial-intelligence algorithms that try to separate different voices on a recording.

But the latest invention is a simple 3D-printed device that can pinpoint the origin of a sound without the need for any sophisticated electronics.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

photos { 1 | 2. Yo-landi Visser photographed by Pierre Debusschere }

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

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By definition, exponential growth means the thing that comes next will be equal in importance to everything that came before. […]

this exponential growth has given us terrible habits. One of them is to discount the present.

{ Idle Worlds | Continue reading }

‘immerse yourself in shake it with fruity rum’ —@lady_products

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An experimental algorithm out of Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab can recognise people in photographs even when it can’t see their faces. Instead it looks for other unique characteristics like your hairdo, clothing, body shape and pose. […]

The final algorithm was able to recognise individual people’s identities with 83 per cent accuracy.

{ NewScientist | Continue reading }

California-based company Face First is rolling out a system for retailers that it says will “boost sales by recognising high-value customers each time they shop” and send “alerts when known litigious individuals enter any of your locations.”

“What facial recognition allows is a world without anonymity,” says Bedoya. “You walk into a car dealership and the salesman knows your name and how much you make.”

Another company, called Churchix is marketing facial recognition systems for churches. Once the faces of a church’s membership have been added to a database, the system tracks their attendance automatically. It also claims to be able to discern demographic data about the entire congregation, including age and gender.

{ NewScientist | Continue reading }

photo { Aaron McElroy }

(they have three microwaves, so their food will always be ready at the same time)

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The future is always stranger than we expect: mobile phones and the Internet, not flying cars. […]

“We’re not funding Mother Teresa. We’re funding imperial, will-to-power people who want to crush their competition. Companies can only have a big impact on the world if they get big.” […]

The dirty secret of the trade is that the bottom three-quarters of venture firms didn’t beat the Nasdaq for the past five years. […] The truth is that most V.C.s subsist entirely on fees, which they compound by raising a new fund every three years. Returns are kept hidden by nondisclosure agreements, and so V.C.s routinely overstate them, both to encourage investment and to attract entrepreneurs. […]

“We live in a financial age, not a technological age.”

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

Adolescence, from Latin adolescere, meaning “to grow up”

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Participants were 152 students (88 women, 64 men; average age 19.7) at a “mid-sized university in the northeastern US.” […]

Texting during class was not acceptable, but 84.7% had done this. Texting in the shower is unacceptable and 34% have done this. Texting during the Pledge of Allegiance is unacceptable and 11.3% have done it. Texting while having sex is unacceptable and 7.4% have done it. Talking to a friend and texting another at the same time is unacceptable and between 79% and 84% have done it. Texting one person in whom you are romantically interested while on a date with someone else is unacceptable and 21.5% have done it. Breaking up by text is unacceptable and 26% have done it. Sending text messages while at a funeral is unacceptable and 10.1% have done it. Texting during a job interview is unacceptable and 2.7% have done it. Fighting with some via text is unacceptable and 66% have done it. Sexting is unacceptable and 42% have done it.

{ The Jury Room | Continue reading }

photo { Danny Lyon, New Year’s Eve on the subway, 1966 }

unrelated { Kids can’t tell the difference between journalism and advertising }

‘We understand that the tragic hero—in contrast to the baroque character of the preceding period—can never be mad; and that conversely madness cannot bear within itself those values of tragedy which we have known since Nietzsche and Artaud.’ –Michel Foucault

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{ IEEE | full story | Thanks Tim! }

The letter R is also just a loop with two legs. Hence, the letters A and R are homeomorphic.

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Snapchat, the photo-messaging app raising cash at a $15 billion valuation, probably isn’t actually worth more than Clorox or Campbell Soup. So where did investors come up with that enormous headline number?

Here’s the secret to how Silicon Valley calculates the value of its hottest companies: The numbers are sort of made-up. For the most mature startups, investors agree to grant higher valuations, which help the companies with recruitment and building credibility, in exchange for guarantees that they’ll get their money back first if the company goes public or sells. They can also negotiate to receive additional free shares if a subsequent round’s valuation is less favorable. Interviews with more than a dozen founders, venture capitalists, and the attorneys who draw up investment contracts reveal the most common financial provisions used in private-market technology deals today. […]

Billion-dollar companies join a club of “unicorns,” a term used to explain how rare they are. But there are more than 50 of them now. There’s a new buzzword, “decacorn,” for those over $10 billion, which includes Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Uber. It’s a made-up word based on a creature that doesn’t exist.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

A dark unfathom’d tide of interminable pride

The ’sex selfie stick’ lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina

The device offers the unprecedented opportunity to be on the phone with someone’s genitals.

{ Independent | Continue reading }