‘One Has This Feeling of Having Contributed to Something That’s Gone Very Wrong’ - VR pioneer Jaron Lanier on internet politics. Meanwhile according to Laura Hudson If you want to know how we ended up in a cyber dystopia, read Ready Player One
Fifteen years ago, when Sando founded Rancho Gordo, he had no food-retailing or farming experience. Now he’s the country’s largest retailer of heirloom beans and a minor celebrity in the culinary world. He’s a side dish who’s become a staple. "The Hunt for Mexico’s Heirloom Beans: Rare varieties discovered by Rancho Gordo’s Steve Sando have turned the humble legume into a gourmet food," by Burkhard Bilger.
He is the Warax, and he speaks for the troops. A retired U.S. Marine who started a joke account as a reaction to the idea that vets are a right-wing monolith, the Warax mostly drinks brake fluid and carps at the "mil-bro community", amassing thousands of followers on the left-leaning #natsec Twittersphere. But then he got serious, talking about how he had belittled and dismissed female Marines, ending with #IWasWrong. [more inside]
Onta is a small village of potters in Japan, who produce distinctive etched ceramics entirely by hand (YT). An episode from Ceramic Treasures of Japan, an NHK World series of 15 minute documentaries, which looks at local ceramic arts in various parts of Japan. Episodes are scattered across youtube; links to 9 episodes are inside. [more inside]
Fake it till you make it: meet the wolves of Instagram. The rise and fall of binary trading and it's associated affiliate marketing on social media in the UK (Plus bonus! It's replacement by cryptocurrency hype)
Marriage is what happens when the state gets involved in endorsing and regulating personal relationships. It's a bad idea.
I’m not sure if this technology-derived algorithmic facticity of taste is better or worse than Meryl Streep-Anna Wintour deciding what I wear, which might be the core concern of this essay. The algorithm suggests that we trust it, but we don’t entirely want to. We crave a more “authentic,” lasting form of meaning...We know the machine doesn’t care about us, nor does it have a cultivated taste of its own; it only wants us to engage with something it calculates we might like. This is boring. “I wonder if, at the core of fashion, the reason we find it fascinating is that we know there’s a human at the end of it.”
Olivia Jaimes is the first female artist for venerable comic strip Nancy in 85 years. She's been drawing strips for over a week now, and the early results are good. [more inside]
Robots successfully assemble an IKEA chair in under 9 minutes. There is additional information and video at IEEE Spectrum, including two attempts from 2013.
'Action Comics' #1000 Is a Historic Superman Comic That Will Make You Cry [Inverse] “At 80 years young, Superman has never looked better. In the landmark 1,000th issue of DC’s Action Comics, available now, a murderer’s row of comic book writers have gathered for an anthology that celebrates the Man of Steel’s place in popular culture. And if you have a beating heart, it will also make you cry over a fictional character famous for wearing red underwear.” [more inside]
An island-wide blackout hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday, nearly seven months after Hurricane Maria. It's the second major outage in less than a week, with the previous one affecting some 840,000 customers. "This is too much," said Luis Oscar Rivera, a 42-year-old computer technician who just got normal power back at his house less than two months ago. "It's like the first day of Maria all over again."
Kodály Method - Keleti Blokk - All tomorrows parties In Budapest there's an incubator/hive/tower (use words what you will) of artists and musos called Keleti Blokk. The linked video was made there by The Kodály Method (not to be confused with the method of musical pedagogy that inspired the name).
A handsome youth with shoulder-length golden hair sits in a London garret, pondering. He is composing his first book—a work he believes will transform him from a penniless foreigner into a literary cause celebré. But first he must answer a self-imposed question: what do Taiwanese aristocrats eat for breakfast? "George Psalmanazar," laudanum, constructed languages, human sacrifice, and an 18th-century hoax [more inside]
On the anniversary of the April 18, 1906 devastating San Francisco Earthquake, long lost photos and footage have come to light providing new looks at the devastating aftermath. Meanwhile, according to the New York Times: San Francisco lives with the certainty that the Big One will come. But the city is also putting up taller and taller buildings clustered closer and closer together because of the state’s severe housing shortage. Now those competing pressures have prompted an anxious rethinking of building regulations. Experts are sending this message: The building code does not protect cities from earthquakes nearly as much as you might think. [more inside]
“As any owner of a taxi medallion can tell you, reducing the value of a product or service can have serious repercussions — for the workers themselves and for the wider society they help comprise. When it comes to freelance writing, I fear that low prices have already begun to cost us. Talented writers walk away from the industry, plutocrats are free to pick stories and choose writers even when they don’t own the outlets, and the quality of the work declines. All of that looks to worsen over time.“ How Much Is a Word Worth? - Malcolm Harris - Medium Feature Story
Loud restaurants aren’t just irksome — they’re a public health threat, especially for the people who work at or regularly patronize them. Being exposed to noise levels above 70 to 80 decibels — which many restaurants subject you to these days — causes hearing loss over time. Why restaurants became so loud — and how to fight back
"This story starts with my dog taking a shit on the bathroom floor, and ends with me cleaning out a meth house. [TWITTER] Hold up, I need a beer." Along the way: a footprint in that poop, the car mysteriously parked outside, and a box of ashes. [ThreadReader (all in one) link here] [more inside]
"If all young girls and women committed such treason, patriarchy would collapse." Reema Zaman on the truth behind the perfect photos taken when she was a model and actress and her life since. CW: abuse, rape.
Insect farms gear up to feed soaring global protein demand - "Layers of squirming black soldier fly larvae fill large aluminum bins stacked 10-high in a warehouse outside of Vancouver. They are feeding on stale bread, rotting mangoes, overripe cantaloupe and squishy zucchini." [more inside]
"But it [machine learning algorithms] doesn’t always work well. Sometimes the programmer will think the algorithm is doing really well, only to look closer and discover it’s solved an entirely different problem from the one the programmer intended. For example, I looked earlier at an image recognition algorithm that was supposed to recognize sheep but learned to recognize grass instead, and kept labeling empty green fields as containing sheep." - Janelle Shane [more inside]
"There were rumors that she favored abortion rights, but she made it clear that she supported her husband and would not say whether she was comfortable with his anti-abortion stand. She was vocal, however, in championing causes of her choosing. Literacy was one, and so was civil rights; she had been an early supporter of the movement."
Sitting before the Stars and Stripes, another flag pinned to his lapel, former president Barack Obama appears to be delivering an important message about fake news — but something seems slightly...off. As the video soon reveals, the man speaking is not the former commander-in-chief, but rather Oscar-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele with a warning for viewers about trusting material they encounter online. [more inside]
Beast Mode - Colin Dickey reviews Peter Sahlins' book 1668: The Year of the Animal in France. Read an excerpt from the book on LitHub: How a History of Two Pet Chameleons Made a Case for the Animal Soul. And here are two interviews with the author: Five Minutes with Peter Sahlins and Dogs in 1668.
A Little More Love is a standout track from Juliana Hatfield's new album of Olivia Newton-John covers. I Honestly Love You and Please Mr. Please also kick ass. And I mean, Xanadu, geez. Come on. [more inside]
NPR newscaster Carl Kasell has died at the age of 84. Kasell made his name as the steady voice of Morning Edition, then had a remarkable second act as the hilarious judge, official scorekeeper and contest prize for Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Listen to some of the outgoing answering machine messages he left as a prize for listeners at the obituary. Peter Sagal shares his thoughts.
"You may have seen the video of Washington Capitals’ Brett Connolly trying to give a little girl a puck, only to be intercepted twice by a man standing behind her. We asked Keelan Moxley for her side of the story."
The Chinese Workers Who Assemble Designer Bags in Tuscany There was a note of jealousy to the Pratans’ complaints, as well as a reluctant respect for people who had beaten them at their own game. Elizabeth Krause, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has written about the changes in Prato. She told me, “While I was there, people would say to me, ‘Eravamo noi i cinesi’ ”—“We were the Chinese.”
BBC Sound Effects is a collection of over sixteen thousand sound effects that the British Broadcating Corporation has collected and made through the years. The archive is fully searchable, and you can listen to it all on the site or download them as wav-files. The breadth of the material is too extensive to give any kind of overview, but as examples you can listen to a beggar singing on Portobello Road, a conversation in a restaurant in France, lions roaring while crickets chirp and the sounds made when dialing a phone in China in the 1960s. [all example links are to wav-files]
Last week, the internet lost its damn mind over Heinz "Mayochup," a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup that seemed like a cruel prank on those of us who've long debated the individual merits of each. […] For those who dreamed of such a product, the reality was crueler still: It was only available to consumers in the Middle East. Yes, the type of condiment one might find on tap at Guy Fieri's home bar remained just out of reach, so we did what we do best as Americans: We complained on Twitter. And it looks like we're getting our way.
Neil Gaiman and N.K. Jemisin in conversation, on comics writing, Sandman, queer characters, adaptations and representation. Bonus link: Neil Gaiman on canonicity, fan fiction and updating characters sexuality after the fact.
Bully Hunters organizers shut down campaign after disastrous first stream [Polygon] “In just under 72 hours, the vigilante gaming group Bully Hunters went from an idealistic anti-harassment campaign to a prime example of what can happen when seemingly good intentions go wrong. Bully Hunters is an initiative produced by marketing agency FCB Chicago, composed of an all-female organization made up of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players trying to raise awareness of in-game harassment. The Bully Hunters website described the collective as a “vigilante hit squad of elite female gamers” who will enter CS:GO games when called upon, evaluate the situation and take out an offending player if the case is determined to be severe enough. A debut livestream, which reportedly featured pre-recorded, staged gameplay footage and specially branded SteelSeries headphones used for charity giveaways, aired Thursday night. Reporters and other industry members criticized the group’s harassment countermeasures before the livestream ever kicked off.” [more inside]
Let’s buy some parking lots, in-fill them with walkable neighborhoods, and make a profit - Andrew Alexander Price lays out a proposal to create dense, human scale neighborhoods by following traditional urban planning schemes. (PDF)
To kick off a brand new series for sports dorks called, appropriately, Dorktown, SB Nation editor and fan favorite Jon Bois and friends ask a simple question - what would happen if Shaquille O'Neal missed every free throw? (SLYT) [more inside]
Three years ago, the left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP) achieved a shocking victory in Alberta (previously). One year ago, the NDP won in British Columbia and formed a government with the support of the Greens. But now the two provinces, united by party, find themselves divided by the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. [more inside]
How to get rich quick in Silicon Valley Corey Pein took his half-baked startup idea to America’s hottest billionaire factory – and found a wasteland of techie hustlers and con men
Featuring some of the most crisp production on any of their albums, the album that Rush released in 1984 (their 10th studio album) was personal and political, deeply influenced by the Cold War, with allegorical SF elements. Grace Under Pressure [YT playlist ~40m] Side A Distant Early Warning [video], Afterimage [video], Red Sector A, The Enemy Within (Part I Of "Fear") [more inside]
Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. wins the Pulitzer. Called “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” DAMN. is the first album to win that isn’t a jazz or classical album.
a barbed-wire backdrop, a mugshot mockup for new clients, and prison bars at the entrance to the workout room:
If many women are taught to clutch their keys and walk the other way if they encounter such a group [of men of color] on the way home at night, ConBody counts on the fact that in the safety of a boutique studio, these same women will pay to exercise with the people they’ve been socialized to fear.
The Maraschino Mogul’s Secret Life: First the red bees arrived; then the Brooklyn cherry factory’s dark secret came to light. This New Yorker story had so many unexpected twists that I had to stop every few paragraphs to search for more information on some tangentially related topic. I hope you enjoy it too. [more inside]
How would the Earth's biomes be different if it rotated in the opposite direction?