November 29, 2011
Siri Can't or Won't Search for Certain Things Is this on purpose? You decide
"Carrier IQ is used to understand what problems customers are having with our network or devices so we can take action to improve service quality."
CarrierIQ, a data-logging software present on most new Android, Blackberry and Nokia phones, secretly records keystrokes, dialed numbers and text messages. It also can't be turned off. Trevor Eckhart, the Android user who discovered and recorded it, labelled CarrierIQ a rootkit (you can read Eckhart's further analysis here). CarrierIQ sent Eckhart a cease-and-desist letter (PDF here), but has since backed off. Eckhart's findings confirm earlier rumors.
In 2009, Urumqi, China exploded in riots. The assessment of Western media was on-going ethnic clashes. Behind the scenes, Beijing now stands accused of The Xinjiang Procedure, ground zero for the organ harvesting of political prisoners. [more inside]
Protesters vs. Supreme Council of Armed Forces Tahrir Square: "For five straight days, nearly 120 continuous hours, thousands of protesters, most of them young men and women, did battle with security forces. Police used live ammunition, rubber bullets, shotgun cartridges, and an astonishing amount of tear gas. Protesters fought back mostly with rocks and sometimes Molotov cocktails." [more inside]
A recent PNAS paper (Kee and Farid 10.1073/pnas.1110747108) proposes a standardised (1 - 5) metric for photo retouching. The authors suggest that, for the sake of public health and wellbeing, that published retouched photos should disclose the amount of retouching undertaken.
"Skyrim is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to Skyrim. [...] Lately, one of my favorite parts of Skyrim are the in-game books. At any time, you can pull a book off the shelf, and get a nice fresh slice of lore to go along with your hearty adventures. I’ve even gone so far as to break into houses in the middle of the night just to read their books." — So says the blogger who decided to extract all 1000+ pages of text contained in the books of Skyrim and format them for EPUB and Kindle. (Skyrim previously)
On July 26, 1965, at the Antibes Jazz Festival, the John Coltrane Quartet made its only public performance of A Love Supreme. (previously) [more inside]
Swedish dreams: Jan Johansson was an amazing Swedish jazz musician and composer, author of the ground-breaking Jazz på Svenska, where Swedish folk music was combined with jazz improvisation. He inspired other European artists, like Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen. But for younger Europeans, his most important achievement is the creation of the Pippi song. If you grew up with this, no wonder you like melancholic jazz.... [more inside]
Page 23. [SYLT] Apparently, life isn't as perfect as you would assume for the immaculate models living inside the IKEA catalog. With this amusing short, Jeroen Houben, Tim Arts and Stefan van den Boogaard show us the real-life drama that goes on beyond what we can see from the outside. The four minute short won the juryprize and audience award at the 48 Hour Film Project in Utrecht (Netherlands). [Via: Adverblog]
When you're the 44th largest university in the UK, how do you set yourself apart and gain some attention in the era of viral video? You release a short film showing an alien invasion and your student body's reaction to it. And, yes, that is the voice of Locutus of Borg (he is the University's Chancellor).
Drew McWeeny muses at length on Muppets, Avengers, and Life In The Age Of Fanfiction.
"You can imagine the effect of feeling that if you open your mouth you will sound wrong, that you are somehow thinking wrongly in your own head. Instilling such a feeling is one of the most fundamental ways to control a population. Now imagine what happens when the feeling stops – that miracle." - writer Al Kennedy (Oranges are not the only fruit) in the Guardian talks about Scottish cultural identity, especially relevant in terms of possible Scottish Independence.
For twenty years, the fastest known algorithm to multiply two n-by-n matrices, due to Coppersmith and Winograd, took a leisurely O(n^2.376) steps. Last year, though, buried deep in his PhD thesis, Andy Stothers discussed an improvement to O(n^2.374) steps. And today, Virginia Vassilevska Williams of Berkeley and Stanford, released a breakthrough paper [pdf] that improves the matrix-multiplication time to a lightning-fast O(n^2.373) steps. [via] [more inside]
MeFi's own Alan Taylor brings us another crop of stunning aerial imagery from Google Earth, inviting you to guess what you're looking at. Now with multiple choice! (previously)
Animator James Curran has created an unofficial title sequence for Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, "featuring elements from each of the 24 books." Evidently Spielberg likes the work and has offered Curran a job on a future film.
The Voynich Manuscript (many previously) has been uploaded in its entirety online for your leisurely perusal by Yale's Beinecke Rare Book Library. [via]
Soft robotics are inspired by animals which don't have hard internal skeletons, like squid, worms, and starfish. Developed at Harvard, with funding from DARPA, this particular soft robot, "not only walks, it knows several different gaits and can deflate to stuff itself through tiny little gaps." Another design here, and another (also), and another. In addition to movement, soft robotics can also be used for grip. More information about the Harvard lab is available here (with a student describing the research here).
Girl Walk // All Day (previously), an epic dance video featuring Girl Talk's album All Day (previously) as the soundtrack, is finally premiering at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple on 12/8. Don't fret if you can't make it to the free dance party though, because the entire film is being released in 12 parts for free over the next six weeks starting today. Here's part one, School's Out.
As the Occupy protests spread, the latest phenomenon to emerge is the Stealthy Wealthy. Sensitive to negative perceptions of extreme wealth inequality in hard times, and concerned about the possibility of history repeating itself, the super-rich have been swapping their limousines for nondescript-looking yet luxuriously outfitted cargo vans.
Comedian Patrice O'Neal passed away on Monday evening, following a stroke suffered in October. A few clips. Rest easy, Big Man.
Portrait of a Handmade Artisan: Korehira Watanabe The Sword Maker (one of a number of films by Etsy) [more inside]
"Primitivism is the pursuit of ways of life running counter to the development of technology, its alienating antecedents, and the ensemble of changes wrought by both. This site is an exploration into primitivist theory, as well as various works that contribute to an understanding of the tendency." [more inside]
Berg London's Little Printer is a small, net-connected printer for your home that will print you a small, daily newspaper with content you add or subscribe to via a phone app.
November is not just about Movember - we're now firmly into Wovember, the month-long campaign by knitters to celebrate wool fibres and denounce misleading marketing. But what do we mean when we talk about 'wool'?
A woman has been arrested after a swearing, racist rant (YouTube) on a tram in Croydon, London trended on Twitter. Daily Mail reports with comments switched off, far right EDL member declares her a patriot to be proud of. Satire site The Daily Mash weighs in sardonically.