Sunday Morning 2018-12-09

Algunes lectures potser remarcables d’aquesta setmana.

Xavier Diez: L’amor liberalitzat

De la mateixa manera que el culte a la novetat i la impossibilitat de construir existències sòlides, de poder gaudir d’un mínim d’estabilitat en la vida professional, la inestabilitat emocional també acabava per esdevenir un fenomen lligat al nou model del capitalisme.

Martin Rees, un “mortista antiquat”

Vicent Partal ens explica que Rees, astrofísic, Astronomer Royal des de 1995, va dir a un grup de defensors de la criònica (preservació d’humans a molt baixa temperatura) “que preferia acabar en una tomba bonica d’una església rural anglesa abans que en un refrigerador californià. Reivindicació que va tenir una resposta tan agra com xocant de part dels seus intelocutors… «Em van ridiculitzar com un mortista (deathist) realment antiquat».”

A Russian city is embroiled in protests over Immanuel Kant

Kant va nàixer a Königsberg, Prússia Oriental. Però des de la Segona Guerra Mundial aquesta ciutat és un enclavament rus (actualment entre Polònia i Lituània) i es diu Kaliningrad. Ara, les autoritats locals volen canviar el nom de l’aeroport i el cèlebre filòsof era l’opció que encapçalava una enquesta en línia. A alguns no els ha paregut bé. “Va escriure llibres incomprensibles que ningú dels que sou ací ha llegit ni llegirà mai”, va proclamar el vicealmirall Igor Mukhametshin en una arenga als seus mariners (YouTube). El clàssic elogi viril de la ignorància. Un grup d’exaltats va pintar la tomba de Kant i un piquet es va organitzar per protegir-la.

Facebook Gave Some Companies Special Access to Users’ Data, Documents Show

Continua el degoteig d’informació sobre els documents interns de Facebook (PDF, 250 pàgines) requisats pel parlament britànic. ”Com qualsevol negoci, vam tenir moltes converses internes sobre les diferents maneres en què podríem construir un model de negoci sostenible per a la nostra plataforma.” D’ací deu venir el problema: van crear una empresa (no una organització sense ànim de lucre com la Wikipedia o l’Internet Archive) sense cap model de negoci, i aquesta contradicció va generar els monstres que ara van eixint a la llum.

“It takes a whole village to raise a child”

Quin és l’origen d’aquesta frase? És realment un proverbi africà? Pareix que sí: “Aquest proverbi Igbo i Yoruba (Nigèria) existeix en diferents formes en molts idiomes africans. El sentit bàsic és que l’educació d’un infant és un esforç comunitari.” Em crida l’atenció que en les versions en castellà, o en català, es parli de ‘tribu’ en lloc de ‘poble’. Es diu que a Espanya la va popularitzar J. A. Marina, però abans d’això Hillary Clinton l’havia utilitzada en el títol del seu llibre It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us (1996).

Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don’t call back when asked for evidence

“Hem documentat quaranta-tres casos d’ús de blockchain… Hem trobat una proliferació de comunicats de premsa, white papers i articles escrits de manera persuasiva. Però no hem trobat documentació ni proves dels resultats que se suposava que s’obtenien amb blockchain. Tampoc hem trobat les lliçons apreses o els coneixements pràctics que estan disponibles per a altres tecnologies en desenvolupament.” Mentrestant, com en tota bombolla, els intermediaris van fent caixa: per 10.000 €, Fujitsu et dirà si és bona idea utilitzar blockchain en el teu projecte.

Nigeria’s Buhari denies dying and being replaced by lookalike

El president d’un país desapareix durant mesos, per una malaltia no especificada, i posteriorment reapareix negant que sigui un impostor. El secretisme de les altes esferes s’enreda amb l’afecció a crear o a creure en conspiracions. Els casos de suplantació de la personalitat, real o imaginada, els dubtes sobre la identitat, pròpia o aliena, em fascinen. Desvetlen la meva imaginació filosòfica i literària.

Sunday Morning 2018-12-02

Coses que he llegit aquests darrers dies.

A (very) Concise Creative History of Computers

De les cartes d’amor escrites per un algoritme en un ordinador Mark 1 (1952) a les primeres pàgines web, passant pels primers videojocs o la primera imatge generada per ordinador en una pel·lícula: la visió pixelada de Yul Brynner en Westworld (1973). Amb unes reflexions finals sobre l’arqueologia digital:

La història de la primera pàgina web és típica: publicada originalment l’agost de 1991, es va sobreescriure contínuament fins a març de 1992. Mentre que es coneixen quaranta-vuit còpies de la Bíblia de Gutenberg, impreses fa més de cinc-cents anys, no ha sobreviscut cap mostra de la primera pàgina web, ni tan sols una captura de pantalla […] Fins i tot quan s’ha conservat el codi i els gràfics d’algun dels primers videojocs, aquests ja no es poden veure en el seu entorn original. Els arcaics ordinadors centrals i les primeres consoles ja no es poden fer funcionar. Aquí podem fer una distinció entre arqueologia i arxivística: l’arqueologia considera el problema de la visualització. Un llibre es mostra per ell mateix, però els gràfics d’ordinador, els videojocs i els llocs web són invisibles sense el programari i el maquinari adequats.

YouTube and the music industry are both wrong on Article 13

Julia Reda, eurodiputada pel Partit Pirata d’Alemanya, esciu un nou article sobre els perills de l’infame article 13 de la directiva europea sobre drets d’autor. Considera dos possibles escenaris, ambdós inacceptables: A) que només les “empreses fiables” puguin penjar vídeos (el web com a “televisió per cable 2.0”) i B) que s’acceptin com a mal menor els filtres de càrrega algorítmics (terreny en el qual Google té un avantatge competitiu clar). En tots dos casos, els principals perjudicats seran els usuaris i creadors individuals.

Nike and Boeing Are Paying Sci-Fi Writers to Predict Their Futures

Alternatively referred to as sci-fi prototyping, futurecasting, or worldbuilding, the goal of these companies is generally the same: help clients create forward-looking fiction to generate ideas and IP for progress or profit.

Six myths about children in the digital age

  1. Children are digital natives and know it all.
  2. Parents are digital immigrants and don’t know anything.
  3. Time with media is time wasted compared with real conversation or playing outside.
  4. Parents’ role is to monitor, restrict and ban because digital risks greatly outweigh digital opportunities.
  5. Children don’t care about their privacy online.
  6. Media literacy is THE answer to the problems of the digital age.

TorrentNet

Peer-to-peer sites using BitTorrent and SQLite. The insight here is that if we can tell SQLite to talk torrent-pieces rather than disk-pages, we can essentially query torrents (torrents containing an SQLite database) on demand.

People Who Buy Smart Speakers Have Given Up on Privacy, Researchers Find

Privacy nihilism: despite knowledge of these risks, many people say they’re resigned to the idea that we’re going to be spied on and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Edward Snowden Explains Blockchain to His Lawyer — and the Rest of Us

I wanted to understand blockchains because of the ceaseless hype. Some governments think that Bitcoin is an existential threat to the world order, and some venture-capital types swear that blockchains will usher in a golden age of transparency. But you’re telling me it’s basically a fancy database.

Parliament seizes cache of Facebook internal papers

In another exceptional move, parliament sent a serjeant at arms to his hotel with a final warning and a two-hour deadline to comply with its order. When the software firm [Six4Three] founder failed to do so, it’s understood he was escorted to parliament. He was told he risked fines and even imprisonment if he didn’t hand over the documents.

Una vindicación del hombre moderno

Lo evoco en su gabinete de estudio, como si dijéramos en la torre albarrana de una ciudad, provisto de teléfonos, de telégrafos, de fonógrafos, de aparatos de radiotelefonía, de cinematógrafos, de linternas mágicas, de glosarios, de horarios, de prontuarios, de boletines…

—Carlos Argentino Daneri (1941)

Sunday Morning 2018-11-25

person standing on concrete beam facing mountain

Photo by Natalya Letunova on Unsplash.

Algunes lectures potser remarcables d’aquesta setmana.

Albert Pla: La culpa es de Rufián

Es inaceptable que Rufián diga, por ejemplo, que en el Parlamento español manda el Ibex.

The Google Cemetery

List of dead Google products

It only takes a few seconds for bots to spread misinformation

Why are bots so effective at spreading false information? Study co-author Filippo Menczer attributes their success to so-called “social bias”: the human tendency to pay more attention to things that seem to be popular.

An artist bought a Banksy piece just so he could destroy it

Ron English bought Slave Labour (aerosol on concrete, framed in plain wood: an image of a child hunched over a sewing machine, stitching Union Jacks) to protest the theft and commodification of street art. But he plans to resell it: “Of course I’ll sell the whitewashed painting for a million dollars. I’m crazy but I’m not stupid”.

Ana Bernal-Triviño: Bulos sobre el abolicionismo

Somos el primer país de Europa en consumo de prostitución, el tercero del mundo […] Es decir, no olviden que detrás de este debate hay un sector que cuida por su dinero. Y cuando hay dinero, se ataca a lo que daña al negocio.

Availability of cookies during an academic course session affects evaluation of teaching

Results from end‐of‐course student evaluations of teaching (SETs) are taken seriously by faculties and form part of a decision base for the recruitment of academic staff, the distribution of funds and changes to curricula.

Micro-targeting: How Facebook is selling you to advertisers

…a marketing strategy that involves turning a social media profile into a psychological profile, in order to create specifically targeted advertisements.

Wombat’s cubed-shaped poop could solve a manufacturing mystery

Hu’s lab focuses on solving excretory mysteries of the animal kingdom; three years ago, Hu received an Ig Nobel Prize for his research on the speed of mammal urination.

How I Got Locked Out of the NFC Chip Implant in My Hand

Now all I’ve got to do is decide what to store on the roughly 900 bytes of memory implanted in my hand. Maybe I’ll put a GIF or my contact information, but a part of me wants to leave it blank. After a year of living with a totally useless NFC implant, I kind of started to like it. That small, almost imperceptible little bump on my left hand was a constant reminder that even the most sophisticated and fool-proof technologies are no match for human incompetence.

Enric Juliana: Los cuatro jinetes

El crecimiento demográfico de Madrid le ha dado la vuelta a la historia económica de España. En 1930, Barcelona superaba ligeramente a Madrid en número de habitantes. En 1950, Madrid ya se había colocado por delante […] Estamos hablando de uno de los grandes cambios morfológicos de España, con la decisiva ayuda del Boletín Oficial del Estado y de una obsesiva red radial de transportes.

La coma, usos generals

La coma és, molt probablement, el signe de puntuació que ens genera més dubtes a l’hora d’escriure. En teoria, la seua funció és senzilla: indica gràficament una pausa breu en el discurs.

Sunday Morning 2018-11-18

ruined sink inside house during daytime

Photo by Paco S on Unsplash.

Lectures potser interessants d’aquests dies.

«Qualsevol tecnologia prou avançada és indistingible de la màgia.»

CCCBLAB. Sis visions lliures de la citació de Clarke:

  1. La “màgia” d’Internet — text — Efrain Foglia
  2. Arthur C. Clarke — còmic — Luis Paadín
  3. La Ràfega — relat — Ramon Mas Baucells
  4. 404 — relat — Lucía Litmajer
  5. La tercera llei, — gif — Ferran Esteve
  6. Arthur C. Clarke tenia raó? — interactiu — Oscar Marín

Ears Grown From Apples? The Promise of Plants for Engineering Human Tissue

For Dr. Andrew Pelling at the University of Ottawa, his radical idea came from a sci-fi cult classic called The Little Shop of Horrors […] Growing a human ear out of apples may seem irrational, but Pelling’s key insight is that an apple’s fibrous interior is strikingly similar to the microenvironments usually used in labs to bio-engineer human tissue.

Xavier Diez: La bacanal feixista

L’orgia jurídica d’aquests darrers anys… ens recorda l’escandalosa pel·lícula de Pasolini […] A la pròpia pel·lícula de Pasolini quedava clar. La brutalitat del feixisme s’aguditzava a mesura que s’acostava la seva fi. Trump existeix perquè els nord-americans saben que el 2040 la demografia acaba amb l’hegemonia de l’home blanc, protestant, anglosaxó…

Sunday Morning 2018-11-11

person walking on train tracks during daytime

Photo by Alexey Soucho on Unsplash.

Algunes lectures potser remarcables d’aquests darrers dies.

What if the placebo effect isn’t a trick?

Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don’t. You don’t even have to deceive the patients.

Dead brothel owner wins Nevada state assembly seat

Dennis Hof died last month after celebrating his 72nd birthday. The cause of death is still under investigation. He was elected to the state assembly by more than 7,000 votes.

Seams, Stitches, And The Decline Of The Mac

Now, their only clear product positioning is the iPhone: they present it as the best, most privacy-conscious device for managing your life […] The rest of their line-up, however, is just a jumbled mess […] Given Apple’s inability to commit to making the improvements the Mac and the iPad need to improve as productivity devices and their seeming unwillingness to invest in the Mac, the sensible thing for users to do is to migrate away from using Apple devices for work or for creativity. Apple’s obsession with secrecy means we have no idea what they’re planning to do with the Mac (or, honestly, the iPad). Which wouldn’t be a problem if we could trust that Apple wasn’t planning to abandon us as a target market.

This Tiny Picture on Twitter Contains the Complete Works of Shakespeare

Buchanan explained that Twitter strips most metadata from images, but the service leaves a particular type called ICC untouched. This is where Buchanan stored his data of choice, including ZIP and RAR archives.

Blockchain explained: What it is and isn’t, and why it matters

Podcast transcript with graphics and tables. Five common blockchain myths and six categories of use cases in two areas: record keeping (storage of static information) and transactions (tradeable information).

Robert Gottlieb: “No suelto un texto hasta estar seguro de que es su mejor versión”

Rechazó La conjura de los necios y no se arrepiente; si Lauren Bacall no hubiese sido siete años mayor habrían salido juntos; Bob Dylan fue un merecidísimo Nobel; y Salman Rushdie se ponía furioso por nada.

Sunday Morning 2018-11-04

rusted brown steel door level

Photo by Greta Farnedi on Unsplash.

Algunes coses que hem llegit aquests dies.

The How, Why, and Whether of Custom Digital Avatars That Live on After We Die

The reams of data we’re creating could soon make it possible to create digital avatars that live on after we die, aimed at comforting our loved ones or sharing our experience with future generations.

4 human-caused biases we need to fix for machine learning

  1. Sample bias: data used to train the model is not representative enough.
  2. Prejudice bias: data is influenced by cultural or other stereotypes.
  3. Measurement bias: there’s an issue with the device used to observe or measure.
  4. Algorithm bias: models with high variance can easily fit complexity but are sensitive to noise; models with high bias are less sensitive to variations and prone to missing complexities.

There May Soon Be Three Internets. America’s Won’t Necessarily Be the Best.

As governments push toward a splintered internet, American corporations do little to counteract Balkanization and instead do whatever is necessary to expand their operations. If the future of the internet is a tripartite cold war, Silicon Valley wants to be making money in all three of those worlds.

Sunday Morning 2018-10-28

brown chair in abandoned house

Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

Coses que he llegit aquests dies.

Devil’s interval: What makes music sound scary?

Played in sequence or together, the notes F and B clash in a way that feels twitchy, unnatural, and foreboding… the demonic combo was taboo in medieval Europe and referred to as diablous in musica—literally, ”Satan in music.” But it was later embraced by the likes of Berlioz and Beethoven—and, much later, by Black Sabbath and Metallica.

Trump, stochastic terror and the hate that ends in violence

Back in 2011, an anonymous writer coined the term “stochastic terrorism” to refer to “the use of mass communication to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable,” or, in other words “remote control terror by lone wolf.”

The First Novel Written by AI Is Here—and It’s as Weird as You’d Expect It to Be

Last year, a novelist went on a road trip across the USA. The trip was an attempt to emulate Jack Kerouac—to go out on the road and find something essential to write about in the experience. There is, however, a key difference… This writer is just a microphone, a GPS, and a camera hooked up to a laptop and a whole bunch of linear algebra.

Three Things You May Misunderstand About the Creative Commons Licenses

The creator of a work may prohibit you from attributing them. And private uses of adapted material from SA and ND works are allowed.

New study claims data harvesting among Android apps is “out of control”

…information shared by these third-party apps can include age, gender, location, and information about a user’s other installed apps… Google and Facebook are the biggest beneficiaries.

Doctors in Montreal will start prescribing visits to the art museum

“In the 21st century, culture will be what physical activity was for health in the 20th century.”

Your Poop Is Probably Full of Plastic

…of the ten types of plastic that the researchers screened for, nine were detected. On average, the researchers turned up 20 particles of microplastic per quarter pound of poop… “Everywhere we look for microplastics we find them.”

iPhone = Leica

Think about it—in the early days of Leica the little cameras were a) low in prestige compared to larger, more “serious” cameras; b) technically inferior; c) not taken seriously by initiates and cognoscenti; quick and stealthy and not often noticed or given much regard; yet d) capable of “good enough” results. The pictures were often “better” in terms of being visually dynamic and lively rather than in bourgeois technical fastidiousness or perfection. Leica photography was (or could be) iconoclastic, disruptive, subversive.

Sunday Morning 2018-10-21

abandoned building

Photo by Terra Evans on Unsplash

Lectures potser remarcables d’aquests darrers dies.

Digital immortality: How your life’s data means a version of you could live forever

[Hossein Rahnama] is building an application called Augmented Eternity; it lets you create a digital persona that can interact with people on your behalf after you’re dead.

We can now customize cancer treatments, tumor by tumor

But can any company afford to manufacture one-off medical care?

Mocadorà

And so it is that every year on October 9, in conjunction with celebrating Valencian identity, lucky lovers find themselves unwrapping an explosive history of peace, war, and love.

Chinese city ‘plans to launch artificial moon to replace streetlights’

According to an account in the People’s Daily, the artificial moon is “designed to complement the moon at night”, though it would be eight times as bright. The “dusk-like glow” of the satellite would be able to light an area with a diameter of 10-80km, while the precise illumination range could be controlled within tens of metres – enabling it to replace streetlights.

Rhythm in Web Typography

Just like in music, where order is more pleasurable to our ears than chaos, so is a well-designed text with an established rhythm easier to read and more enjoyable to consume by our eyes.

Public Projects – Michael Pederson

Conceptual, street art. Warning Signs and Other Humorous and Unexpected Interventions by Michael Pederson

There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute

In conclusion, the two expressions “there’s a fool born every minute” and “there’s a sucker born every minute” both had anonymous attributions initially. Over time they were reassigned to prominent individuals of the time period. However, only the fame of P. T. Barnum has endured.

EtherTweet – Microblogging on the Ethereum Blockchain

This repository contains the code of a decentralized microblogging service running on the Ethereum blockchain.

python_blockchain_app

Tutorial for implementing a mini blockchain application implemented in Python from scratch.

Quimi Portet: «Lo que yo siempre he hecho es música popular contemporánea»

Yo habría sido el superraro y Manolo el superpachanguero. Pero la gracia del encuentro placentero entre la pachanga y el underground fue lo que hizo a la banda. No fue un choque, y ninguno renunciaba a nada. Simplemente nos limitamos el uno al otro.

Sunday Morning 2018-10-14

brown chair in abandoned house

Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

Algunes lectures d’aquests dies.

The History of Philosophy summarized & visualized

This is my summary of the history of (Western) philosophy showing the positive/negative connections between some of the key ideas/arguments of the philosophers.

The surprising truth about loneliness

Five counterintuitive findings from the BBC Loneliness Experiment:

  1. Younger people feel lonelier than older people
  2. 41% of people think loneliness can be positive
  3. People who feel lonely have social skills that are no better or worse than average
  4. Winter is no lonelier than any other time of year
  5. People who often feel lonely have higher levels of empathy than everyone else

Neither Paper Nor Digital Does Active Reading Well

The cognitive effort to actively and intelligently read a text in depth is, if not equal to, then on the same order of magnitude as the effort to write about a complex subject. But we only have full-featured tools to help us with writing.

Banksy Painting Self-Destructs After Fetching $1.4 Million at Sotheby’s

But suspicious minds wondered whether Sotheby’s was completely taken by surprise.