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Being "always on" is being always off, to something.

challenging times ahead
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:33 am EST, Jan 27, 2016

danah boyd:

We must learn how to ask hard questions of technology and of those making decisions based on data-driven tech. And opening the black box isn't enough. Transparency of data, algorithms, and technology isn't enough. We need to build assessment into any system that we roll out.

How do we get people to look beyond their hopes and fears and actively interrogate the trade-offs?

P.W. Singer:

The word 'cyber' appears in the Congressional record 715 times in October alone, 5 times the number for all of 2014.

Michael Burry:

It will always be seductive, but that's the devil that wants your soul.

Mike Rogers:

We've got some challenging times ahead of us, folks.

Brad Smith:

This issue is about the future of technology.

Mark Warner:

Let's get the experts in the room.

An exchange:

David Perrera: There are federal officials who say they believe a technological solution can be found -- something that keeps our devices secure while allowing law enforcement to get access when they need it. You're saying there's absolutely none?

Matt Blaze: I appreciate their faith in my field, but I don't share it.

Corinne Purtill:

Corporate boards, the US Congress, and global gatherings like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, are all built on a simple theory of problem solving: Get enough smart and powerful people in a room and they'll figure it out.

This may be misguided.

what's wrong with the world as it is
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:30 am EST, Jan 27, 2016

Tim O'Reilly:

We have to understand what's wrong with the world as it is, because only then can we envision the world we want to create, and think about how to get there.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

Our current sprawling megapolis of prisons was a bipartisan achievement. Obamacare was not. Sometimes the moral course lies within the politically possible, and sometimes the moral course lies outside of the politically possible.

Zygmunt Bauman:

Our democratic institutions were not designed for dealing with situations of interdependence. The current crisis of democracy is a crisis of democratic institutions.

the project of history and remembering
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:29 am EST, Jan 27, 2016

David Lowenthal:

History is often hard to digest. But it must be swallowed whole to undeceive the present and inform the future.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

I have spent the past two years somewhat concerned about the effects of national amnesia, largely because I believe that a problem can not be effectively treated without being effectively diagnosed. I don't know how you diagnose the problem of racism in America without understanding the actual history.

Andrew G. Celli Jr.:

We are not limited to a choice between celebrating historical figures uncritically and adding names and stories to the mix for "balance." There is always the option, indeed the obligation, of more speech about the people we have decided, for better or for worse, are worth remembering.

Why not leave the names of such "great Americans" on the buildings, but find the ways and means to tell the fuller, darker story as well? Every such building should include, in its lobby or near its entranceway, a prominent and well-sourced exhibit that explains -- not as a historical footnote, but as central to the story -- how and why the person honored with a naming failed to live up to our nation's highest ideals. No one should enter the Washington Monument, for example, and not be confronted with the fact that George Washington -- the "indispensable man" of the early Republic, and almost certainly our greatest president -- bought, sold, and owned human beings. Visitors need to know who those human beings were, what they suffered, and what Washington had to say about it. It is core to the project of history and remembering.

C.S. Lewis:

If we do not believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is, we believe in decency so much -- we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so -- that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility. For you notice that it is only for our bad behaviour that we find all these explanations. It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.

David Cole:

It is disappointing, if not surprising, that [James Comey and Robert Hannigan] see a need for public debate only when new technologies may impair their ability to monitor us, and not when such technologies enhance their monitoring.

what do you do?
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:29 am EST, Jan 27, 2016

Barack Obama:

Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, and turning against each other as a people? Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together?

Changes in our political process -- in not just who gets elected but how they get elected -- that will only happen when the American people demand it. It will depend on you. That's what's meant by a government of, by, and for the people.

I see you. I know you're there. I see your quiet, sturdy citizenship all the time.

I believe in you.

Rave Sashayed:

"What do you do?" "What do you do?" "What do you do?" "What do you do?" The question haunts you. Everywhere you go. Outside a brunch place you've never seen before, an infant in a $6000 stroller turns its giant head to you. What do you do? it asks with its eyes. Its mother gives it a piece of organic Swedish flatbread to gnaw on. "What do you do?" she asks you, tilting her head slowly like a bird. Her tone holds no real interest. It is as dead as the flatbread.

"What do you do?" you ask a baby. "Policy," it says in a grown man's deep voice.

our sense of our place in the world
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:20 am EST, Jan  8, 2016

Pagan Kennedy:

How do we cultivate the art of finding what we're not seeking?

String is everywhere for the taking, if you have the talent to take it.

Gene Tracy:

Technology is simply a tool that can open a new window. What we see while peering through the window, how we absorb it into our internal sense of things, how it shifts our sense of our place in the world, that fuller act of seeing with new eyes requires a lively imagination.

John Clare:

The simple catalogue of things
That reason would despise
Starts in the heart a thousand springs
Of half-forgotten joys.

A Christmas Present, Or Two, Or Ten
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:09 pm EST, Jan  8, 2014

"It's okay, you can admit it ..."

A Christmas Present, Or Two, Or Ten

Midday Traffic Time Collapsed and Reorganized by Color: San Diego Study #3
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:09 pm EST, Jan  8, 2014

Cy Kuckenbaker:

The San Diego Studies is a series of short videos that collapse time to reveal otherwise unobservable rhythms and movement in the city.

The source footage for this video is a 4-minute shot from the Washington Street bridge above State Route 163 in San Diego captured at 2:39pm Oct 1, 2013.

My aim is to reveal the color palette and color preferences of contemporary San Diego drivers in addition to traffic patterns and volumes. There are no CG elements, these are all real cars that have been removed from one sample and reorganized.

Midday Traffic Time Collapsed and Reorganized by Color: San Diego Study #3

Data Portraits: Connecting People of Opposing Views
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:43 am EST, Dec  3, 2013

Eduardo Graells-Garrido, Mounia Lalmas, Daniele Quercia:

Social networks allow people to connect with each other and have conversations on a wide variety of topics. However, users tend to connect with like-minded people and read agreeable information, a behavior that leads to group polarization. Motivated by this scenario, we study how to take advantage of partial homophily to suggest agreeable content to users authored by people with opposite views on sensitive issues. We introduce a paradigm to present a data portrait of users, in which their characterizing topics are visualized and their corresponding tweets are displayed using an organic design. Among their tweets we inject recommended tweets from other people considering their views on sensitive issues in addition to topical relevance, indirectly motivating connections between dissimilar people. To evaluate our approach, we present a case study on Twitter about a sensitive topic in Chile, where we estimate user stances for regular people and find intermediary topics. We then evaluated our design in a user study. We found that recommending topically relevant content from authors with opposite views in a baseline interface had a negative emotional effect. We saw that our organic visualization design reverts that effect. We also observed significant individual differences linked to evaluation of recommendations. Our results suggest that organic visualization may revert the negative effects of providing potentially sensitive content.

Data Portraits: Connecting People of Opposing Views

No Birdsong
Topic: Society 7:39 am EDT, May 28, 2013

Jon Lanchester:

In Westeros, seasons last not for months but for years, and are not predictable in duration. The climate change aspect of this is obvious to the contemporary audience, but there's something more subtle and subtextual at work here too: another economic metaphor, another kind of difficult climate. Westeros is like our own world, in which hard times have arrived, and no one feels immune from their consequences, and no one knows how long the freeze will last. It's a universe in which nobody is secure, and the climate is getting steadily harder, and no one knows when the good weather will return.

The Guardian:

What everyone remembers about that morning: it was a beauty. A beautiful, calm, clear Tasmanian summer morning. A cloudless sky; no wind to speak of. Not too hot, yet. Something else they remember: there were no birds. At least, none they could hear. No birdsong. That was odd. Eerie, even. Like something was holding its breath.

Christopher C. Burt:

The summit of Mt. Washington is also enjoying a pleasant opening to summer with a high of 29° on Saturday accompanied by freezing rain and snow.

Rachel Monroe:

On the last night of our course, we firefighter trainees put on our bunker gear and stood in a field as our instructors set real things on fire -- a strange metal tree, a propane tank, a beat-up old Lincoln -- which we then tried to extinguish. The event had been advertised in the local paper, so families came out to watch. There were bleachers, and a taco truck.

As far as I can tell, most of the work of a small-town Texas fire department consists of filling out forms, testing hydrants, giving stickers to second graders, rolling up hoses, putting old pumps on new trucks, and learning how to refill tanks using water from a stock trough. Actual fires are rare, and when they do happen—when something in a dumpster ignites, or when a hay bale catches, or when lightning strikes a patch of freeze-dried grass and someone’s ranch is suddenly burning—putting them out is business, not pleasure.

Which is a shame, because controlled fire is one of the best-ever things for looking at.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

When I was about 6 years old, I started collecting model trains with my father. I had books on model trains, and books on actual trains. Both kinds showed pictures of big mountains parted by trains, small towns bisected by trains, and trains adorning white Christmas-scapes.

It is from those books that I built an imagination and acquired my earliest notions of heaven -- a highland where it snows often and when it doesn’t snow, it rains, where summer seems always in retreat. There is a big lake. Behind that lake is a mountain. Between the lake and the mountain, there is a village.

The village exists. Its name is Corseaux. It sits in the Riviera region of Switzerland, sandwiched between Lake Geneva and the Bernese Alps. I was there in April, reeling at how the postcards of my childhood fantasies had materialized into fact. On a clear day, across the still, black water, I could see France demarcated by white, snowy mountains. There was only one clear day.

The Centrifuge Brain Project, by Till Nowak
Topic: Science 7:40 am EST, Feb 11, 2013

Dr. Nick Laslowicz, Founder and CEO of the Institute for Centrifugal Research:

Our confidential field-studies and covert experiments have confirmed: To the best of our knowledge, everything is possible. And if it is not, what the Hell, we try it anyway.

Jesse Hicks:

Wherever there's a system, an established order, someone will have an incentive to uphold it. And someone else will have equal incentive to break it.

Nick Bilton:

It is in everyone's interest that we move from unscientific fears to real scientific testing.

Rafiq Kathwari:

The world is vast. Plumb
your own universe.

The Centrifuge Brain Project, by Till Nowak

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