This year's U.S. 5th National Climate Assessment Report opens with a poem by Ada Limón, features an Art + Climate Gallery and an Atlas with 15 national maps that show changes in extreme heat & precipitation. [more inside]
Chris Lewicki recounts a story about how he almost killed a half-billion-dollar Mars rover. Turns out cables are hard.
NYT: Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace - Even a conservative assessment of the reported Gaza casualty figures shows that the rate of death during Israel’s assault has few precedents in this century, experts say.[ungated] [more inside]
The beer garden’s family-friendliness helped to promote beer as a temperance beverage and a “healthy” alternative to spirits. Over the course of the 19th century, the temperance movement had come a long way from promoting moderation to calling for total abstinence of all alcoholic beverages. To German Americans, temperance was more than a mere political issue; it symbolized cultural conflict that threatened their lifestyle and value system. For the brewers, their ethnic interest was greatly reinforced by their economic interest. from A Lager Beer Revolution: The History of Beer and German American Immigration
In 2017, Malaysian artist Fishball began a thrice-weekly autobiographical webcomic about her and her (much taller) boyfriend: My Giant Nerd Boyfriend. Seven years, 2.3 million subscribers, 786 million views, and 912 strips later, this month they officially tied the knot.
How China is tearing down Islam [ungated; viz. cf.] - "Thousands of mosques have been altered or destroyed as Beijing's suppression of Islamic culture spreads."[1,2] [more inside]
Using goats to reduce fire risk by removing weeds. A herd of goats has removed weeds posing a fire risk in inaccessible terrain in a third of the time they were given to get the job done. Now the landowners have bigger ideas.
This is pronouns.page. This is a thread for everyone who feels like they need a place to expand their pronoun usage. Y'all can come here and maybe even feel a little awkward while pretending it's perfectly normal. And then it will BE perfectly normal because you have helped build the future. Need a place to start? Try using new pronouns to talk about your pets: they/them or ki/kin. [more inside]
A World Science Festival youtube vid with Brian Greene, Sébastien Bubeck, Tristan Harris, and Yann LeCun. It's worth watching to hear the protestations, especially from Yann LeCun about how A.I. is the answer to problems. He...seems to not really be hearing the concerns expressed. Video does contain some AI generated content, as an example.
There are a zillion videos like this on the internet. And even this same YouTuber has a bunch of videos labeled some variation of The Hardest Rug Ever. But this 43m epic $1 vs $100,000 Black Carpet! | The Hardest Rug of My Life! is one of those things where you wonder, is it ever going to come clean? What will it finally look like? Completely satisfying at the end, and a testament to how a truly well-made carpet can withstand nearly anything.
Good (non-Hollywood-ish) movies coming down the pipe. Vulture magazine lists over a dozen top movies from the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals.
Web 3 is Going Just Great creator Molly White writes in her Citation Needed newsletter on effective altruism and effective accelerationism: As Sam Bankman-Fried rose and fell, people outside of Silicon Valley began to hear about “effective altruism” (EA) for the first time. Then rifts emerged within OpenAI with the ouster and then reinstatement of CEO Sam Altman, and the newer phrase “effective accelerationism” (often abbreviated to “e/acc” on Twitter) began to enter the mainstream. Both ideologies ostensibly center on improving the fate of humanity, offering anyone who adopts the label an easy way to brand themselves as a deep-thinking do-gooder. [more inside]
It is often taken for granted that the Green Revolution, which introduced new high yield monoculture crops together with chemical fertilisers, was a huge boost to global food production from which there is no going back. This article in the National Academies of Science ISSUES in Science and Technology by environmental scientists Marci Baranski and Mary Ollenburger discusses and critiques that assumption, in particular discussing both how the increased yields were overstated and fragile, and how the narrative and accompanying policies served and continue to serve USA and multinational corporate dominance and centralisation.
The Amazing Digital Circus (Youtube, 26 minutes) is a computer-animated Youtube cartoon about a group of whimsical characters stuck in a whimsical VR world. They're all hugely dismayed by this fact and want to leave it please. In that way it feels a bit like social media. In a month it has gotten 147 million views. Meet the characters (1 minute). It was made by the talented Gooseworx, who also made Little Runmo (16 minutes, previously), a cartoon about a video game character who learns a little too much about the world they live in. CW: general disquietingness. [more inside]
"May the Lord Watch is the definitive story (1:40:06) of Little Brother, the North Carolina rap group composed of rappers Phonte, Big Pooh, and (formerly) producer 9th Wonder, the underground legends that bridged the gap between The Roots and Kendrick, Tribe and Cole, De La and Drake. The film follows the rise, breakup, and reunion of the preeminent 2000s rap group"
"ChatGPT generates fake data set to support scientific hypothesis" "In a paper published in JAMA Ophthalmology on 9 November1, the authors used GPT-4 — the latest version of the large language model on which ChatGPT runs — paired with Advanced Data Analysis (ADA), a model that incorporates the programming language Python and can perform statistical analysis and create data visualizations. The AI-generated data compared the outcomes of two surgical procedures and indicated — wrongly — that one treatment is better than the other." [more inside]
...to give you more 'room' to write in the weekly FREE THREAD. What's the point of 'intentionally blank pages' anyway? [previously, previouslyer]
Among seasteading enthusiasts, the excitement about the crypto ship was intense. A slew of promotional videos and a marketing website promised it would be for “everyone from digital nomads to YouTube influencers, start-up teams and established businesses”. Friedman took to Facebook, boosting Ocean Builders by name and adding: “So glad liberty activism has advanced from Guy Fawkes violence to peaceful exit!” He posted too soon. from The fake hitman, the crypto king and a wild revenge plan gone bad [Financial Times; ungated] [more inside]
The disappearance of the sex scene in American cinema, the suppression of the body under the moral imperative of commodities in neoliberal capitalism, and Verhoeven as antagonizer.
"What would have happened if ChatGPT was invented in the 17th century? MonadGPT is a possible answer. MonadGPT is a finetune of Mistral-Hermes 2 on 11,000 early modern texts in English, French and Latin, mostly coming from EEBO and Gallica. Like the original Mistral-Hermes, MonadGPT can be used in conversation mode. It will not only answer in an historical language and style but will use historical and dated references. This is especially visible for science questions (astronomy, medecine). Obviously, it's not recommended to follow any advice from Monad-GPT." Available to install and run locally -- or you can try it out for free online. [more inside]
The Periodic Table of Tools. (via Kevin Kelly)
Catherine Christer Hennix (1948–2023) was a composer of minimalist, electronic, and drone music. Grounded in maths and sciences, her music adapted ideas from Indian ragas, Arabic music, jazz, and blues. She had a a wide ranging career across academia, writing, painting and sculpture, and intellectual movements from Fluxus to Lacan to Sufi Islam. She studied with Stockhausen, took inspiration from La Monte Young and Pandit Pran Nath, but had a modest commercial showing unlike her contemporaries Philip Glass and Steve Reich. Her music is astonishing. [more inside]
"Picture seeing this turkey. He's, like, magnificent. Like, he's huge. And there's a tranq dart sticking out of him, and he's just walking around with it." [more inside]
For 30 years, writers have been using blogs, social media, and email to do things with words that are difficult or impossible to do inside books. They have immersed us in stories still unfolding, created personas that interact with readers, woven their writing into inboxes and feeds, and used code to write at a distance. The public record of literature in the 21st century is full of gaping holes where these things should be. The missing material is right there on our screens, but it slides past with little formal acknowledgement. While it’s become banal to observe that online life is fully enmeshed with the rest of the world, an imaginary curtain separates online writing from the rest of U.S. literature. It’s time to take that curtain down. from Poets in the Machine
Alan "Draknek" Hazelden is an industrious creator of charming, handcrafted, fiendishly difficult puzzle games with a retro 8-bit feel (most using the open-source, HTML5-compliant Puzzlescript engine). Highlights: Sticky Candy Puzzle Saga - Spikes 'n' Stuff - Spooky Pumpkin Game - Boxes Love Boxing Gloves - Frog Wizard Gem Quest - Train Braining - A Sneeze a Day Keeps the Crates Away - Cyber-Lasso - Mirror Isles - Slime Swap - A Good Tunnel is Hard to Dig - Mouse Wants Cheese - You're Pulley-ing My Leg - I Have No Mouth, And I Must Create Blocks On All Sides Of Me - More? Check out a list of all games (older ones may break), all Puzzlescript games, iOS and Android games. Also check out the homepage for gamedev partnerships, contact info, and more commercial offerings.
It began with robots made to throw up in the air to do stunt work. How Disney Designed a Robotic Spider-Man [7m] Then came free-standing, walking, controlled character actors. Disney Imagineers Develop Cutting-edge, Free-roaming Robotic Actor [1m15s] They began to integrate some self-learning AI features and more real movement. Disney Imagineers Demo New Relatable Robotic Character [1m] But just last month came fully autonomous, self-learning completely adorable little robots. A New Approach to Disney’s Robotic Character Pipeline [1m] Imagineers Test BD-1 Style ROAMING DROIDS in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland [3m30s] A pet AT-ST walking around my house? TAKE MY MONEY!
Joseff Gnagbo is a journalist, academic, and political activist from Cote d'Ivoire who was granted political asylum in the UK and placed in Cardiff, where he learned Welsh and quickly became involved with the Welsh language movement. Now he is the new Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the pressure group that fought via direct action, including serving prison terms, to get legal protection for the Welsh language. Siôn Jobbins interviews him (in English) to discuss his experiences and commonalities he sees between Cote d'Ivoire and Wales.
Al-Nakba A four part video series on the Palestinian ‘catastrophe’ of 1948 that led to dispossession and conflict that still endures. Scroll down for the videos (4X 45 min) First aired in 2008.
The rise and fall of AppHarvest, a startup promising to gainfully employ blue-collar Appalachians, provide sustainable produce, and address the problems of agriculture in a changing climate. In the end, it did none of those things, employing contract migrant workers, letting the work environment reach unsafe temperatures, using considerable amounts of power to control the grow environment, and training their workers so poorly that yields of usable produce were low. (slGrist) [more inside]
Nor does it take a transformative life event to provoke feelings of loneliness. As time passes, it often happens that friends and family who used to understand us quite well eventually fail to understand us as they once did, failing to really see us as they used to before. This, too, will tend to lead to feelings of loneliness – though the loneliness may creep in more gradually, more surreptitiously. Loneliness, it seems, is an existential hazard, something to which human beings are always vulnerable – and not just when they are alone. from Loved, yet lonely
When John Watson was bitten by a crocodile, he knew exactly which plant would help his wound. Scientists now think that plant could lead to a powerful pain relief gel [more inside]
Tomorrow (Saturday November 25) starting at 3pm PT (6pm ET/11pm GMT) and running for approximately 24 hours, Laser Webber of the Doubleclicks (several previouslies, dating back to 2011) and Becca McGlynn (with some special guests) will be participating in a charity livestream that watches Doctor Who in chronological order -- but NOT chronological order of the airdates. This chronology is presented in order of when each event took place, from the perspective of the show's internal universe. [more inside]
Precision formation dancing is one of my favorite things. And I was astonished to see Avantgardey's performances from America's Got Talent and Japan's Got Talent. [22m, performances include judging segments, video is chapter marked for convenient skipping]. This 9m video gave me some background about this thrilling dance troupe. And from Taiwan News just a couple of days ago, Japanese dance troupe Avantgardey's Taipei performance goes viral has an embedded Instagram video of another dance.
Hear 'n Aid (previously) was a 1986 hard rock/heavy metal charity album that raised $3 million for famine relief in Africa. [more inside]
For 7 years, Cercle has been livestreaming DJs and other musicians playing sets from impressive locations around the world: Icelandic Wilderness (Ólafur Arnalds), Hot air balloon above Cappadocia (Ben Böhmer), Guatape Colombia (Above and Beyond), Lapland (Sofiane Pamart) , The Eiffel Tower (Nina Kraviz), Brighton i360 (Fatboy Slim) or Bali (Lee Burridge)... [more inside]
100 years ago this month Buster Keaton released his groundbreaking silent film "Our Hospitality", described as his "...first feature as auteur and his first masterpiece." [more inside]
Bringing up the Bodies: The forensic anthropologists who redress migrant death in Texas, by Caroline Tracey. Related: Archaeologist Jason de León's interdisciplinary Undocumented Migrant Project.
Loneliness is not only a feeling of a gap between oneself and others—it is a feeling of an active separation. The world pulls away and I turn from it, from the feeling of rejection, and step into open space. Arguably, if indeed we are born into loneliness, then one measure of what we call living is the ongoing attempt to overcome that isolation. That’s how we develop intimacy and its profound resolve in the face of that impossible distance. The risk lies in the fact that we might fail. The reward is that we all do, at times, succeed in our attempts to throw bridges out to the unseen shores deep in the hearts of others. from So Fierce Is the World: On Loneliness and Philip Seymour Hoffman [The Paris Review; ungated] CW: loneliness, depression, drugs, alcohol, suicide
Compared to the drastic style and aesthetic changes between decades like the 1960s and 80s, looking back on 2003 it doesn’t seem so different.
From the Guardian: In what has been portrayed as the largest fight in decades to save Sweden’s union model from global labour practices, the powerful trade union IF Metall has been leading a strike across eight Tesla workplaces in Sweden for five weeks. It is the first time workers for the US carmaker have gone on strike. [more inside]
JW Lown was the unlikely, beloved former mayor of conservative San Angelo, Texas. [Archive]. Last week, he passed away one day before his 47th birthday [archive].
A 300-Million-Year-Old Fossil Discovered in Utah Could Be a New Species. Fossilized remains of aquatic creatures are commonly found in Canyonlands National Park, but discovering a land-dwelling vertebrate is incredibly rare.
ambassador Daniel von der Craig trying to decide if the EU is "concerned" or "deeply concerned" [nitter] [more inside]
Today Pet Shop Boys posted the last in their series of Classic Performances [YT playlist, 15 videos], a list which covers performances from 1989 [It's a sin] to 2019 [Go west] and many in between. [more inside]
Although it's first release was a version by Roberta Flack in February of that year, that summer saw Les McCann & Eddie Harris -- Compared to What (Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1969) and that performance put the Montreux Jazz Festival on the map and calender and in history forever. [more inside]