101 Useful Websites
is "a frequently updated list of lesser-known but wonderful websites and cool web apps. Here are some of the most useful websites on the internet that you may not know about. These web sites, well most of them, solve at least one problem really well and they all have simple web addresses (URLs) that you can memorize thus saving you a trip to Google." [more inside]
posted by flex
on Jul 20, 2014 -
This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation
is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools
with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious
on Jul 16, 2014 -
Imagine if you could toss two trained fighters into a ring, give them whatever weapons they want, and and let them go full-on Spartacus on each other without anyone getting seriously injured. With the death element removed, even the most die-hard pacifists would have to admit that it’d be pretty damn entertaining.
With their new carbon fiber damage-measuring armor, that’s exactly what Australian startup Unified Weapons Master wants to do.
posted by shivohum
on Jul 8, 2014 -
"As a matter of science, traditional adoption does not provide a woman with the opportunity to be pregnant.” Reber v. Reiss, 42 A.3d 1131, 1138-39 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2012). Judges Explaining Technology
posted by dzkalman
on Jul 8, 2014 -
For 37 years, Bothwell, a small town in Tasmania, has hosted an international competition to determine who can hand spin the longest 2-ply
thread using 10 grams of wool. [more inside]
posted by tchemgrrl
on Jul 1, 2014 -
"If the phone rang and you were in another room, you had to come running: in that immediate sense, and in a way that now seems comical, your phone controlled you. And before the ‘90s, there was no caller ID, an inconvenience which ensured, for that benighted first century-plus of the instrument’s analog existence, the first premise of phone horror—that you could never know for certain whose voice, or what sound, would issue from the other end of that raised receiver
." - HiLoBrow is in the middle of a series
exploring the tropes and history of Phone Horror. Of particular note is the brief historical connection between the telephone and the world of occult crypto-science
- The Atlantic explains further.
posted by The Whelk
on Jun 25, 2014 -
... You seem to think everyone's worried about robots
. But what everyone's worried about is you
, Marc. Not just you, but people like you. Robots aren't at the levers of financial and political influence today, but folks like you sure are. People are scared of so much wealth and control being in so few hands... Unless we collectively choose to pay for a safety net
, technology alone isn't going to make it happen." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jun 18, 2014 -
HP scaling memristor and photonic computing
: "the device is essentially remembering 1s or 0s depending on which state it is in, multiplying its storage capacity. HP can build these chips with traditional semiconductor equipment and expects to be able to pack unprecedented amounts of memory—enough to store huge databases of pictures, files, and data—into a computer. In theory
, that would remove the need for a conventional slow disk/fast memory system. With the Machine's main chips sitting on motherboards right next to the memristors, they can access any needed information almost instantly..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jun 16, 2014 -
In 2003, Andy "waxpancake" Baio created Upcoming
, "a collaborative event calendar focused on interesting arts and tech events around the world, curated by its community. It surfaced weird and wonderful events that usually fell under the radar of traditional event listings from newspapers and local weeklies." In 2005, it was acquired by Yahoo!, who killed the site last April with little warning, and no way to back up events
. Fortunately, the complete site was saved
by the Internet Archive
. But Upcoming isn't dead yet! Two months ago, Yahoo! offered to sell the domain back to Baio. And now, with a fully-funded kickstarter
, he's planning on "rebuilding it for the modern era using tools and platforms that weren't available when it was first designed." Welcome to the brilliant life, stupid death, and improbable return of Upcoming.org. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 3, 2014 -
Sarah’s abuser gained access to every password she had. He monitored her bank accounts and used her phone to track her location and read her conversations. She endured four years of regular physical and emotional trauma enabled by meticulous digital surveillance and the existing support services, from shelters to police, were almost powerless to help her. “We wish we could just stop the clock because we need to catch up,” said Risa Mednick, director of the Cambridge domestic violence prevention organization Transition House. To fight back, Transition House and others turn to the same methods used by intelligence agencies in order to keep their clients safe.
posted by ChuraChura
on May 9, 2014 -
If you were sitting around in the early years of the Great Depression with $247 burning a hole in your pocket (about $3,800 in today's dollars) and were too lazy to get up and change your records when they finished playing, you might have been tempted by RCA's new Radiola Automatic Electrola RAE-26
. [more inside]
posted by Longtime Listener
on May 9, 2014 -
Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History with Technology.
The fourth book from the digitalculturebooks
imprint of the University of Michigan Press, Pastplay
includes a wide range of essays, all available online
for free. T. Mills Kelly reflects on his historical methods course which resulted in a historical hoax, “the last American pirate,” declared one of the 10 biggest hoaxes in Wikipedia’s first ten years. Matthew Kirschenbaum discusses if board games work better than computer games for teaching history. The book's chapters cover successful combinations of play, technology, and history. Yet, many are wary, as a "playful approach to teaching and learning with technology can seem like the worst of all possible worlds: the coupling of strategies developed for entertainment with tools created for commerce." [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi
on May 4, 2014 -
Following on the heels of Phonebloks
, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara
. The Verge
recently interviewed Paul Eremenko
, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Apr 25, 2014 -
is "a comedic satirical sci-fi pop-musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists. It’s the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with the technological singularity, as told through as series of cinematic tweets." [more inside]
posted by mysticreferee
on Apr 20, 2014 -
Teaching The Camera To See My Skin.
An essay by photographer Syreeta McFadden on "photography's inherent bias against dark skin."
"Photography is balancing an equation between light and documentary. Beauty and storytelling. Honesty and fantasy. The frame says how the photographer sees you. I couldn’t help but feel that what that photographer saw was so wildly different from how I saw myself."
posted by sweetkid
on Apr 4, 2014 -
Carrier Access Codes
are a largely dated*, though still functional service to select your long-distance telephone carrier per phone call. In the United States
, these "dial-around codes
" reached a (commercial) peak in the late 1990s, as seen with ads featuring such semi-notables as Marla Gibbs, Christine Taylor and Reginald VelJohnson
, Harry Anderson
, John Lithgow
, Tony Danza
, Doug Flutie
, and even Alf and some well-known friends
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Mar 29, 2014 -
The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution
- "[Charles Percy Snow
] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 15, 2014 -
“The good news is that there are solutions. The weakness of mass surveillance is that it can very easily be made much more expensive through changes in technical standards: pervasive end-to-end encryption can quickly make indiscriminate surveillance impossible on a cost-effective basis. The result is that governments are likely to fall back to traditional, targeted surveillance founded upon an individualized suspicion. Governments cannot risk the discovery of their exploits by simply throwing attacks at every “endpoint,” or computer processor on the end of a network connection, in the world. Mass surveillance, passive surveillance, relies upon unencrypted or weakly encrypted communications at the global network level.
Edward Snowden submits written testimony to an EU committee investigating mass surveillance, and answers questions.
The testimony takes place 3 days ahead of his highly anticipated SXSW appearance, to take place later today. Snowden is expected to speak about privacy, security, mass surveillance programs, free speech and whistle-blowing in a rare remote video appearance before a live audience.
Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo finds this “deeply troubling” in a letter he's sent to the organizers of the conference.
Meanwhile, people who wish to #asksnowden questions can use the hashtag on Twitter. The talk is to take place at 12pm PT, today.
posted by fantodstic
on Mar 10, 2014 -
Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie
- "The lettuce, peppers, and broccoli—plus a melon and an onion, with a watermelon soon to follow—aren't genetically modified at all. Monsanto created all these veggies using good old-fashioned crossbreeding, the same technology that farmers have been using to optimize crops
for millennia. That doesn't mean they are low tech, exactly. Stark's division is drawing on Monsanto's accumulated scientific know-how to create vegetables that have all the advantages of genetically modified organisms without any of the Frankenfoods ick factor." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Mar 8, 2014 -