Freedom of speech in the digital age - "Speech that disseminates ideas is more valuable than speech whose purpose is to intimidate others." [more inside]
Electric vehicles – It's not just about the car - "One of the key characteristics of complex systems, such as the world's energy and transport sectors, is that when they change it tends not to be a linear process. They flip from one state to another in a way strongly analogous to a phase change in material science... A second important characteristic of this type of economic phase change is that when one major sector flips, the results rip through the whole economy and can have impacts on the societal scale." (via) [more inside]
An older man who has been watching the entire time approaches me and tells me that he’s sorry that I lost control of my boat and that he’s sure it’ll wash up on the beach somewhere. I assure him that the boat is on autopilot, going exactly where it’s supposed to be going. “And where is that?” he asks. “Hawaii.” [more inside]
Archive dot org and Jason Scott have released the complete collection of Nintendo Power magazines, searchable and readable online.
Breakthrough solar cell captures CO2 and sunlight, produces burnable fuel “The new solar cell is not photovoltaic — it’s photosynthetic”
9 Non-Threatening Leadership Strategies for Women — Should men accept powerful women and not feel threatened by them? Yes. Is that asking too much? IS IT? Sorry I didn’t mean to get aggressive there. (SLCooperReview)
Slate discusses one of the most pernicious extant threats to our electrical grid, one that costs the US millions annually in power outages...Squirrels. (SLSlate)
Is Britney Spears Ready To Stand On Her Own? by Serge F. Kovaleski and Joe Coscarelli [The New York Times] For years, the life of one of the world’s most successful pop stars has been controlled by a court-approved conservatorship, designed for people who cannot take care of themselves. [more inside]
The media frenzies that once surrounded Marcia Clark, Monica Lewinsky, Tonya Harding and Anita Hill all have a pleasant sheen of ‘90s nostalgia about them. Yet their most meaningful lessons remain timeless, as do their most enduring questions—chief among them the mystery of why we are so able, so often, not just to happily watch the story of an abused and marginalized woman unfold in real time, but to see her powerlessness as wicked, shameless strength. The four women whose stories we are reconsidering now—and others still on the horizon—have one thing in common: they indicted America.
The case for optimism on climate change - "I'll finish with this story. When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, 'That's reckless, expensive, may well fail.' But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston. Here's a little-known fact about that: the average age of the systems engineers, the controllers in the room that day, was 26, which means, among other things, their age, when they heard that challenge, was 18." (via; previously) [more inside]
A few weeks earlier, the male elders of their caste had decreed that village women working at nearby meat-processing factories should leave their jobs. The reason they gave was that women at home would be better protected from the sexual advances of outside men. A bigger issue lay beneath the surface: The women’s earnings had begun to undermine the old order. It came as a surprise when seven of the women, who had come to rely on the daily wage of 200 rupees, about $3, refused to stop. The women would have to, the men said, blocking the lane with their bodies. They did not expect the women to go to the police. (SLNYTimes). [more inside]
Mo'Wax is a British record label that was formed in 1992 by teenage school friends James Lavelle and Tim Goldsworthy. The label quickly gained renown for trip-hop, turntablism and other odd beat hip-hop, from the likes of Japanese DJ Krush, Americans Money Mark, Dr. Octagon and DJ Shadow, British Luke Vibert, and their own UNKLE project. The label lasted a solid decade, then petered out as the 2000s wore on. James Lavelle looked back on 21 years of the label (a year late), and is now restarting the label. This effort is being kicked off with releases by a West London artist, Elliot Power. More waxing below the break. [more inside]
UBeam claims to be able to do wireless charging via ultrasound. "UBeam, a high-profile start-up backed by some of Silicon Valley's most prominent investors, has become a tech industry sensation because of the wireless charging technology it says it has developed... But the company, which has never demonstrated a fully-functioning prototype, is now facing an onslaught of questions about whether it can actually deliver the breakthrough it is promising." EEVblog is critical. The demo.
"We should imagine instead a three-way relation of aggressor, victim, and witness" : ruminations on bullying and victimhood from David Graeber.
The Meaning of Serena Williams by Claudia Rankine [New York Times] On tennis and black excellence.
There is a belief among some African-Americans that to defeat racism, they have to work harder, be smarter, be better. Only after they give 150 percent will white Americans recognize black excellence for what it is. But of course, once recognized, black excellence is then supposed to perform with good manners and forgiveness in the face of any racist slights or attacks. Black excellence is not supposed to be emotional as it pulls itself together to win after questionable calls. And in winning, it’s not supposed to swagger, to leap and pump its fist, to state boldly, in the words of Kanye West, ‘‘That’s what it is, black excellence, baby.’’
Why Turkey is bombing the Kurds more than Islamic State - "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bombing campaign — capitalizing on the nationalist, anti-Kurd sentiment that has been steadily growing inside Turkey — could help him regain his AKP party's absolute majority in parliament now that coalition talks have failed and snap elections are likely." [more inside]
Meanwhile in Portland, in an incident Mashable describe as the acockalypse, dildos are appearing on power lines in increasing numbers. The Metro notes that the items are usually paired red and yellow. Speculation persists on where the items came from e.g. "There was Empire Labs that did Clone-A-Willy but that was awhile ago", while Bustle asks "Who knows this dildo man? Where can I find him???" Speigel reports that Unbekannte hängen Hunderte Dildos an Stromleitungen , while the BBC will not directly use the d-word because British, but will replicate some tweets which use it. Death and Taxes thinks this is biblical in nature, while Austria is concerned that "Rätsel um Dildo-Invasion in US-Stadt". And previously in Portland.
Brooklyn Republic recently closed the exhibition Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, a mid-career retrospective, going back 14 years, from Kehinde's early styles to the more well-known mix of young black men in casual attire, recreating traditional portrait scenes, with a backdrop of vivid patterns, as seen in the National Portrait Gallery, among other settings. More recently, he has expanded his street-casting to include African American women, as captured in the PBS Arts documentary, Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace. More videos and critical commentary below the break. [more inside]
Some Paths to the True Knowledge[*] - "Attention conservation notice: A 5000+ word attempt to provide real ancestors and support for an imaginary ideology I don't actually accept, drawing on fields in which I am in no way an expert. Contains long quotations from even-longer-dead writers, reckless extrapolation from arcane scientific theories, and an unwarranted tone of patiently explaining harsh, basic truths. Altogether, academic in one of the worst senses. Also, spoilers for several of MacLeod's novels, notably but not just The Cassini Division. Written for, and cross-posted to, Crooked Timber's seminar on MacLeod, where I will not be reading the comments."
Tesla Powerwall Battery Economics: Almost There - "Elon Musk announced Tesla's home / business battery today. [video] tl;dr: It'll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost effective for a wide market... That said, for large scale grid deployment (outside of the home), it still looks like flow batteries and advanced compressed air are likely to be far cheaper in the long run." [more inside]
German car manufacturer Audi says it has created the "fuel of the future" made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable energy sources.
Last week, two critiques of Kevin Carey's new book, The End of College, coincidentally appeared on the same day in Inside Higher Ed: one by Joshua Kim and the other by Audrey Watters and Sara Goldrick-Rab. [more inside]
David Graeber's The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
Unlike the enormous and comprehensive Debt, Utopia of Rules is mostly argument, not history. It sets out to investigate the problem of "bureaucracy" -- basically, rules, and the simmering threat of violence that underpins them. Hidebound adherence to awful, runaround bureaucracy was always the sin laid at the feet of slow-moving, Stalinist states under the influence of the USSR. Capitalism, we were told, was dynamic, free, and open. But if that's so, why is it that since the USSR imploded, bureaucracy under capitalism has exploded? If you live in a western, capitalist state, you probably spend more time filling in paperwork, waiting on hold, resubmitting Web-forms, attending performance reviews, brainstorming sessions, training meetings, and post-mortems than any of your ancestors, regardless of which side of the Iron Curtain they lived on.[more inside]
Lights Out in Nigeria by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [New York Times]
"LAGOS, Nigeria — WE call it light; “electricity” is too sterile a word, and “power” too stiff, for this Nigerian phenomenon that can buoy spirits and smother dreams. Whenever I have been away from home for a while, my first question upon returning is always: “How has light been?” The response, from my gateman, comes in mournful degrees of a head shake. Bad. Very bad.Previously.
How do we, the public, decide what's in the public interest? Specifically, in the context of eminent domain: In 2005, in Kelo v. City of New London, the concept of eminent domain, or taking of private property to benefit public interest, was expanded to allow governments to take private property and turn it over to private commercial interests, if deemed to benefit the public. Although some states later passed legislation designed to curb abuses of this power, the state of Virginia is now taking it to the next level. [more inside]
The "Women Fashion Power" Exhibit at the Design Museum in London has reignited the discussion regarding fashion as a symbol of power among women. [more inside]
"I am seldom considered liberal, but happily so when regarding the quantity of healthy fat in my coffee. " [more inside]
"A new electricity distribution system being described as the "'Hoover Dam' of the 21st century" will bring wind energy from Wyoming to customers in California—and it will get there by way of a $1.5 billion artificial cave built specifically for storing air inside a salt dome in Utah. " [more inside]
Legendary industrial music pioneers, KMFDM's 30th anniversary this year, saw the release of a live album and tour called "WE ARE". Sascha Konietzko took some time to provide insights about his friendship with Ministry's Al Jourgensen as well as the last thirty years, and his philosophy on making music. [more inside]
uBeam - the wireless charging platform that uses ultrasound to send electricity to devices through the air.
Monopoly is back: Barry Lynn on the concentration of American economic power — and how we can restore fairness. Highlights: [more inside]
Ladypockets! "true story: I met Kirsten Gillibrand in 2006, when she was running for office against John Sweeney. I was getting a haircut in a salon in Saratoga Springs, New York and it was just me and the stylist in there, after the store had already closed for the day, just hanging out waiting for the foil in my hair to do its thing. This panicked-looking woman with a bluetooth and a clipboard knocked on the window and asked to be let in. She explained that she was the assistant of a woman who was running for office, they’d been asked to do a last-minute live TV appearance, and she’d left the house without wearing makeup that day; could we help? "
UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
DoYogaWithMe.com is a free, constantly expanding resource of online yoga videos created by a passionate group of experienced instructors. Our yoga videos include classes, poses, breathing techniques and anatomy videos. Search their entire collection by difficulty, length, style, and teacher or start in the Beginner's Studio. Yoga has a unique way of strengthening and toning your body, improving flexibility and enhancing your sense of well being.
Clear some of your floor, put on some comfy clothes, turn off your other electronics and turn on a video. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of that great journey for you!
Mothers in law have long been a focal point of Indian society. With the modernization of Indian culture, their roles are changing for better and for worse.
Ever wanted to know why the Bluetooth symbol looks like it does, or what the deal is with the logo on the Command button on Apple keyboards? This link, which tells the story behind the design of many common user interface symbols, has got you covered.
OBEY is a glitchy, psychedelic look at the rise of the corporate state and the future of obedience in a world of unfettered capitalism, inequality, and climate change, based on Chris Hedges' Death of the Liberal Class.
Installed solar capacity is growing by leaps and bounds, led by Walmart and Apple, and helped by bonds backed by solar power payments,[*] which have sent industry stocks soaring, even as molten salt and new battery technologies come on line to generate storage for use when the sun doesn't shine. Of course we could always go to geostationary orbit -- or the moon -- as well we may (if politics allow it) as thirst from the developing world grows beyond the earth's carrying capacity. [more inside]
"While DC continues to race through San Francisco power lines at nearly the speed of light, it does so anonymously. You’ll find no reference to DC power distribution in PG&E’s annual reports or on its websites. Even some utility engineers are unaware of its existence, which raises a curious question: Why is the inheritor of this legacy, the mighty and sophisticated PG&E, still bothering with DC distribution 133 years later?" [more inside]
"I saw the conversation we were about to have like a long, familiar tunnel, and I turned around and walked away, done with riffing forever."
A few months ago there was a list of links to classic video game emulators posted. Very recently, I'm pleased to report, those links all came true. The Internet Archive bespoke upon aforementioned consoles, computers, and mileposts on our way to the tech utopia of today, (seriously, where's my flying car?) and they asked us to do something: Imagine every computer that ever existed, literally, in your browser. And it was so. I have absolutely no affiliation with jscott, btw. Thought I should disclose that.
The thing about being an unstoppable force is that you can really only enjoy the experience of being one when you have something to bash yourself against. Allie Brosh is in fine form in the latest Hyperbole and a Half, which is oddly appropriate for almost-Halloween. Previously. Previouslier. Previouslierer. Previousliererer.
Canada has lost its famous politeness. With oil and gas now accounting for approximately a quarter of its export revenue, over the last decade Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate.
Aereo is a web service that allows subscribers to watch broadcast TV on their computers or mobile devices. The broadcast networks are furious. Aereo is ready for a PR fight, and is currently winning the legal battle. Variety wonders: Is Aereo Actually a Good Thing? [more inside]
Engineering question: say you only had one generator with multiple places that needed power in real time. How to get power to them? Caveat: do it mechanically with no electricity. Low Tech Magazine brings you the Jerker Line System and the Stangenkunst, for all your post-apocalyptic / steam punk power distribution needs. Some are still in operation: Jerkerline Field wheel near Oil Springs Ontario (video), and Oklahoma (video).