The RISKS Digest Turns 30: In February 1985 Adele Goldberg, the President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), published a letter in the Communications of the ACM expressing concern with humanity’s “increasingly critical dependence on the use of computers” and the risks associated with complex computer and software systems. On August 1st 1985 Stanford Research Institute's Peter G. Neumann responded by creating RISKS@SRI-CRL. [more inside]
Famed debunker James Randi (Wikipedia) teams up with Ars Technica to test the AudioQuest Vodka, a $340 Ethernet cable whose superiority to run-of-the-mill Cat 5 cables, as per a review by Audiostream.com, is as plain as day.
Probably this is the first time Bono has ever publicly baptized a long-dead wife-beater into postmortem Irishness at Ellis Island, but honestly I wouldn’t know, because I mostly ignore his activities in his role as The Living Incarnation Of Thirst. Mostly this is just the convenient, and conveniently ridiculous, news peg I am using as an excuse to point out that he is an annoying doofus who has been peddling emptily profoundish, nauseatingly wholesome, sexless Disney World theme music to milquetoast nice bros for longer than I have been alive, and I wish he would quit it.Albert Burneko puts the boot into Bono and U2, along the way taking swipes at John Lennon and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. You might want to calibrate your outrage with his views on cats.
Episode 1: Jedi Party. Episode 2: The Friend Zone. Episode 3: Revenge of Middle Management. And now, Episode 4: Laser Moon Awakens. See also: The smoking and youth biology PSAs. And, of course, this (previously).
Desire. Metaphor. The problem of many (“As anyone who has flown out of a cloud knows, the boundaries of a cloud are a lot less sharp up close than they can appear on the ground”). Implicature ("the act of meaning or implying one thing by saying something else"). Implicit bias. Feminism and globalization. Justice and bad luck. The Human Genome Project. The pineal gland (“a tiny organ in the center of the brain that played an important role in Descartes' philosophy”). Humor (“As he approached the gallows, Thomas More asked the executioner, ‘Could you help me up? I'll be able to get down by myself’”). The “Great Cosmological Debate” of the 1930s and 40s. Voting methods. Zombies.
…Read about all this and more in the remarkable Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which has just celebrated its 20th birthday. [more inside]
…Read about all this and more in the remarkable Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which has just celebrated its 20th birthday. [more inside]
Beijing has been voted as the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, beating Almaty, Kazakhstan. It is the first city to host both the Summer and Winter games. [more inside]
A series of visual tests: can you see which kid is in trouble?
Wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper has died of a heart attack at the age of 61. Piper was one of the great "heels" (villains) of the 1980s wrestling boom, teaming with Paul Orndorff at the first WrestleMania in 1985 to take on Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. [more inside]
All 74 Led Zeppelin Songs, Ranked, A definitive, uncontroversial list from the fine folks at Vulture.
A History of Art in Three Colours (BBC) [Part 1] [Gold] [Part 2] [Blue] [Part 3] [White] Dr James Fox explores how, in the hands of artists, the colours gold, blue and white have stirred our emotions, changed the way we behave and even altered the course of history.
Today's Penny Arcade comic is the last in a 1 2 3 4 5 6 part story that starts here. Set in the world of Nightlight where children's fears come alive and must be dealt with, Grace has to grow up and take her mother's place as protector of the family. Mike Kahulick (aka Gabe), the artist of PA, wrote a nice piece about his father seeing behind the curtain for the first time that discusses some of where this story comes from. [more inside]
The Timmy Brothers: Water Makers (SLVimeo)
Depiction vs. Endorsement and Sexism in GoT: How Game of Thrones presents a sexist narrative when A Song of Ice and Fire doesn’t (spoilers through GoT 5x03 and the books). "The world in which Martin set his A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) is a terribly sexist one. But George R.R. Martin is not sexist. The books are not sexist. The show…is. And here’s why: where Martin actively forces the reader to address the problematic treatment of women in his series head-on as an overarching theme, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss (D&D) actively incorporate sexist tropes and demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the source material." [more inside]
You are first a wife and a mother. Go to the Doll House. Sexism was conceived in 1971 by Carolyn Houger, (interview at link) a resident of Seattle, Washington. With the creation of Sexism, Houger hoped to “bring out the humor in the Women’s Liberation movement.” The idea for the game came to Houger after her four-year-old daughter returned home after playing the card game “Old Maid” with her friends and made the statement, “wouldn’t it be terrible to be an old maid?” [more inside]
An oral history of Wet Hot American Summer. (And, hey, First Day of Camp premieres on Netflix today.)
Do you own one of the 14 million computers already running Windows 10? If so, it might be a good time to review your privacy settings. [more inside]
It is still possible in Park Slope, for example, to rent a duplex with a garden for $200 a month, a half-block from the subway [...] Hundreds of people are discovering that Brooklyn has become the Sane Alternative: a part of New York where you can live a decent urban life without going broke, where you can educate your children without having the income of an Onassis, a place where it is still possible to see the sky, and all of it only 15 minutes from Wall Street."Brooklyn: The Sane Alternative", Pete Hamill, 1969
Radioactive Trailers! Metafilter's own MST3K Club on Fanfare collects trailers for the zero budget, obscure, cult and bonkers movies you love, from Manos The Hands Of Fate to the Prince Of Space. [via mefi projects]
Personality, and a whole lot more. August always stirs up memories of going back to school for me. This year, I've been scratching the academic itch with some fine online classwork by the University of Toronto's Jordan B. Peterson. If you like Jung, Freud, Personality you might find his youtube channel a profitable place to hang out. [more inside]
10 Common Crimes Against Cheese You Don't Have to Commit - Serious Eats piece by Niki Achitoff-Gray. Previously: 7 Secrets To a Beautiful Cheese Board [more inside]
"When someone like Chris Pratt lands back-to-back roles in some of the biggest movies of the year, that’s headline news. But when a charismatic, quirky actress like Judy Greer does the same, well, blink and you might miss her. The comedic actress—best known for her scene-stealing work in shows like Arrested Development and movies like The Descendants—showed up in four major 2015 films: Tomorrowland, Entourage, Jurassic World, and Ant-Man." Here’s Every Single Line Judy Greer Had in a Movie This Summer.
New Ebola vaccine shows 100% success rate in clinical trial. Today the World Health Organization has announced that the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine had a 100% success rate in preventing onset of the disease if administered within 10 days of exposure (n=4,000). In response to the current outbreak in West Africa that has afflicted over 27,000 and killed over 11,000, this collaborative effort led by the WHO pushed the vaccine through a process that usually takes more than a decade in just 12 months. Official paper from The Lancet here (pdf).
Adnyamathanha and Narungga man Adam Goodes is an Australian Rules football (AFL) player, two times winner of the highest individual award for the fairest and best player, as well as playing in two premiership winning games over his eighteen year career with the Sydney Swans. He works with indigenous youth in detention and co-chairs a foundation (with Michael O'Loughlin) working to empower the next generation of indigenous mentors. Goodes is a former Australian of the Year (2014) who recently said that "If people only remember me for my football, I've failed in life." So why are people booing Adam Goodes? [more inside]
"I do like to believe that people will be inherently good if you offer friendship in the game. ... I communicate entirely through Jazz Hands." A player describes an attempt at a non-violent gameplay in Grand Theft Auto Online (via @TheQuinnspiracy).
Alberto Nisman accused Iran and Argentina of colluding to bury a terrorist attack. Did it get him killed? [more inside]
Warren Buffett’s Family Secretly Funded a Birth Control Revolution
Quietly, steadily, the Buffett family is funding the biggest shift in birth control in a generation. “For Warren, it’s economic. He thinks that unless women can control their fertility—and that it’s basically their right to control their fertility—that you are sort of wasting more than half of the brainpower in the United States,” DeSarno said about Buffett’s funding of reproductive health in the 2008 interview. “Well, not just the United States. Worldwide.”
Nudinits: Tickled Pink, an all-knit stop-motion animation. While the link itself is adorably SFW, the videos YouTube suggests in the sidebar are basically porn, so be forewarned.
The Last True Know-It-All reviews Andrew Smith's biography of Thomas Young - "The Last Man Who Knew Everything (including hieroglyphs). Was Young The Smartest Person Ever? [more inside]
Science Fiction grandmaster Samuel R. Delaney interviewed by SF Signal, with a very long answer in part 2, and by The New Yorker where he talks about race, recent Hugo controversies being nothing new, and the past and future of science fiction.
Meek Mills has finally responded to Drake in their week long feud. Reaction has not generally been kind. Drake's Instagram speaks for itself. Chuck D was not impressed. Toronto Councilor Norm Kelly poured more salt in the wound (after fanning the flames last week). And of course brands are getting in on the action. Other Twitter highlights: 1 2 3 4 5 6
Lost TV Pilot of Clerks has emerged (SLYT). In 1995, Disney (Miramax parent company) under the Touchstone Television brand tried to turn the indie hit of the previous year into a PG-Rated sitcom. The results are exactly what you'd expect. (via AV Club) [more inside]
“I love you so much, I want to carry you around all day in my pocket”. Emily Bernard writes about being the mother of brown-skinned daughters after Ferguson. [more inside]
Six people have been stabbed at Jerusalem's Pride Parade following threats from both a Haredi man just released from prison for a similar knife attack at the 2005 Jersusalem Pride parade, and from Lehava, a right-wing Jewish supremacy organization that also held a protest away from the LGBTQ parade route. These knife attacks are unfortunately not the first time LGBTQ Jews have been killed by other Jews; there was a gun attack on the Tel Aviv LGBTQ youth center in 2009 (previously). [more inside]
A standoff between Greenpeace and Shell Oil is happening right now high above the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. Yesterday, using mountaineering equipment, thirteen protestors lowered themselves down from the magestically large St. Johns Bridge in a bid to prevent the passage of Shell's icebreaking ship MSV Fennica, which had been undergoing repairs in Portland and was scheduled to depart to assist Shell's oil drilling activities in the Arctic. The protesters have supplies to stay awhile. For now, the ship has turned around and a judge has ruled that Greenpeace will be charged $2500 for every hour the protest continues.
Double Genocide: Lithuania wants to erase its ugly history of Nazi collaboration - by accusing Jewish partisans who fought the Germans of war crimes.
"After Lithuanians got independence,” he told me, “we hoped that Lithuania would give us help.” But it was not to be. In one of its very first independent actions, before even fully breaking free of Moscow, Lithuania’s parliament formally exonerated several Lithuanian nationalists who had collaborated in the Holocaust and had been convicted by Soviet military courts after the war. The right-wing paramilitaries who had carried out the mass murder of Lithuania’s Jews were now hailed as national heroes on account of their anti-Soviet bona fides.
Cesena is a small town up in northern Italy, that until yesterday was pretty-well unknown to the world. That changed this morning when a guy called Fabio Zaffagini presented to the Internet his year long-project of getting one thousand musicians to gather in a field and play Foo Fighter's Learn To Fly, with the sole objective of convincing the band to go and do a show in their town. You have to watch it.
Who is the greatest person who has ever lived? Those ranking by deaths prevented have put forth Norman Borlaug (over 1 billion), Viktor Zhdanov (300 million), Haber and Bosch (2.7 billion, but then there's the war crimes thing), and, of course, Stanislav Petrov (everyone). Lists of the most important people are often decided by popular vote, with Gutenberg, Einstein, and Darwin generally doing well, but don't count yourself out. More recently, as Cass Sunstein entertainingly covers, there have also been quantitative attempts to measure the most important person., including, most recently, a detailed algorithm by a computer science professor and a Google engineer that tells us that the most important people are, in order: Jesus, Napoleon, Shakespeare, and Muhammed. Smithsonian magazine commissioned them to come up with a special list of the most important Americans. You can also play a historical importance version of the who's hotter game using their algorithm.
The Role of Writers in a STEM Obsessed Society
“As writers, it’s easy to think of how we matter to literature classrooms, but what the appointment of writers-in-residence in hospitals, history classrooms, foreign language learning spaces, and cooking schools reminds us is that we are relevant wherever there is humanity—which is to say, wherever humans are with their stories. Writing is healing. Writing is art. Writing is learning. As such, writing across the disciplines matters. Many models of artist residencies depend upon the retreat model, wherein the artist sequesters herself away with a small community of other artists. While these models have value, especially when considering how solitude relates to the creative process, it’s heartening to me to see more models catch on that value the place of the writer in society, rather than hidden away from it.”
Since it folds in three dimensions, we could store all of the world’s current data—everyone’s photos, every Facebook status update, all of Wikipedia, everything—using less than an ounce of DNA. And, with its propensity to replicate given the right conditions, millions of copies of DNA can be made in the lab in just a few hours. Such favorable traits make DNA an ideal candidate for storing lots of informations, for a long time, in a small space.But how stable is DNA? The Reed-Solomon method, long used to error-check data transmission and duplication, is now being explored as an adjunct to the long-term archiving of information encoded in DNA. A post by Alex Riley at the PBS Science blog NOVA/NEXT.
"When we use the phrase, what we seem to be trying to say is that there should be a lot of room for intelligent disagreement around aesthetics – and that we don’t feel comfortable about asserting the superiority of any one style or approach over any other. It implies an acute sensitivity to conflict and a fear of being rude or mean to others. However, by resorting to the phrase, what we actually do is unleash a stranger and more reckless situation: what we’re in effect stating is that nothing is ever really more beautiful – or uglier – than anything else. This suggestion then has a way of implying that the whole subject is essentially trivial. After all, we’d never say that truths about the economy or justice were in the eyes of beholders only. We know that big things are at stake here – and over time, we’ve come to positions about the right and wrong way of approaching these topics, and are ready to discuss and defend our ideas. We wouldn’t ever say that ‘the treatment of the poor is just a subject best left entirely to the eyes of beholders’ or ‘the best way to raise children is in the eyes of beholders,’ or ‘the future of the environment is in the eyes of beholders.’ We accept that there are dangers to arguing in aggressive and unfruitful ways; but we are confident that there are sensible and polite ways to advance through these tricky yet vital debates. The same should feel true around beauty."
Jessica Gentile has compiled a brief-but-interesting listicle for Pitchfork: “Songs about PMS and Periods”
Karen Gaffney (TEDxPortland) speaks on history and present state of the value of people with Down syndrome. Gaffney (previously 1, 2), is the first living person with Down syndrome to receive an honory PhD and the president of an eponymous foundation dedicated to inclusion and advocacy. [more inside]
Hell, damn and bitch are especially popular in the south and southeast. Douche is relatively common in northern states. Bastard is beloved in Maine and New Hampshire, and those states – together with a band across southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas – are the areas of particular motherfucker favour. Crap is more popular inland, fuck along the coasts. Fuckboy – a rising star* – is also mainly a coastal thing, so far. from Strong Language via Kottke [NSFW language, natch]
A decade ago, Susan Smillie bought a classic ketch, moored it on the Thames and moved aboard. Now hipster landlubbers squeezed out of the property market are taking to the water in droves. So what are the joys and challenges of a river residence? (No, it’s not cold in winter. Yes, she can only buy ebooks.) (slGrauniad)