This post contains loads of articles categorised under Technology, Industry and Science. These are handpicked articles over the course of years for CAT Aspirants. This is the last of 2 posts. Click on the following link to go to the previous post: LINK here.
Every Article will have blurb, either written by me or an extract from the original post (mostly the latter) followed by the link to reach the article.
Should we automate the CEO?
A Mars simulation in an active mine is aiding the quest to uncover life in the distant cosmos.
The dance of the naked emperors
Glimpses of humanity in an unlikely corner of the internet
Effing the Ineffable: A Writer Takes Psilocybin
1,200 Scientists and Professionals Declare: “There is No Climate Emergency”
For decades, the country’s tech triumphs have disguised its seized-up digital systems.
Fossils of Australopithecus in a South African cave are one million years older than previously thought. This challenges the consensus that humans first evolved in East Africa
Why it took us thousands of years to see the colour violet
The fusion record was achieved at the National Ignition Facility at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which ignites fusion fuel with an array of 192 lasers
Some companies offer tests that rank embryos based on their risk of developing complex diseases such as schizophrenia or heart disease. Are they accurate — or ethical?
Research labs are pursuing technology to “reprogram” aging bodies back to youth.
Intensive irrigation and climate change are depleting groundwater reserves in this fast-developing nation.
Welcome to hell, Elon : You break it, you buy it.
Does CBD help with Insomnia?
Consuming alcohol can mess with your emotions the next day by causing stress hormones to spike and sleep to be disrupted overnight.
One of the most useful and interesting things I learned in the last year was not so much a specific subject or skill but a meta-skill. I learned how to learn.
An effective wealth transfer of $2.8 billion from labor to capital in just three months.
The high price we pay for social media. This might resonate (or not) with the Millennial/Gen-Z folks! 🙂
New data show the climate costs of the eating habits of different countries
Facebook’s founder is setting a relentless pace as he pushes his company through a tech transformation during a global economic slowdown.
Questions over how to feed China’s hog herd remain a growing challenge for Beijing and a threat to global food security.
Big firms and wealthy individuals are just as prone to making bad decisions as anyone else
A glimpse into the e-commerce giant’s ruthless efficiency.
A new CRISPR-based map ties every human gene to its function using a tool called Perturb-seq. The work was led by Jonathan Weissman and colleagues at MIT and the Whitehead Institute and is free for other scientists to use.
A bacterium found on a remote Pacific island first became the obsession of a Punjabi microbiologist. It then became a wonder drug that gave hope to millions around the world
Oh… are we still talking about this?
Go and replace “watch” in any YouTube video URL with “wtch” and see what happens. I set out to find why.
The Twitter founder, Block CEO, and Elon Musk buddy is gazing into the future with laser eyes, and he wants you to follow him.
The fact that the dead can literally replace living faculty members is a perfect metaphor for what is happening across higher education.
Last fortnight, Indian upstart Hasura enabled GraphQL hot on the heels of becoming India’s newest DevOps unicorn
An unprecedented heatwave is turning cities into death traps for outdoor workers
The old good email remains the most critical digital communication tool. What makes the venerable email so useful and sustainable over the long time is its openness and standardization.
Medical professionals are embracing the technology to help patients deal with PTSD, anxiety disorders and more
How cellphones transformed life in a women’s prison in Argentina
A temporary measure at the start of the pandemic has become permanent in Argentina, making life easier for both inmates and guards.
Ever Had a Really Long Acid Trip? Now Science Knows Why
A new paper finally reveals the secret of the LSD Trip Gone Far Too Long: The drug binds to receptors in your brain in a fascinating way.
“My Ancestral Home, The Mall
Lil Miquela’s Post-Racial Society”
“The Automation Myth
Robots won’t build the classless society”
“Massive Black Holes Shown to Act Like Quantum Particles
Physicists are using quantum math to understand what happens when black holes collide. In a surprise, they’ve shown that a single particle can describe a collision’s entire gravitational wave.”
“Requiem for a War Robot
An anthropologist explores the brave new world of virtual warfare—and the fraught relationship between humans and machines.”
“Microplastics found in human blood for first time
Exclusive: The discovery shows the particles can travel around the body and may lodge in organs”
“It’s Like GPT-3 but for Code—Fun, Fast, and Full of Flaws
OpenAI’s new tool can autocomplete lines of programming or conjure software from a simple prompt. It could also riddle the internet with even more bugs.”
“I Interviewed AI GPT-3 Davinci-002, and This is What it Said.
The Interview Between A.I. and Myself.”
“Love Is Biological Bribery
Evolution uses all its tricks to make sure we procreate. But love in humans is a many-splendored thing.”
When You’ve Been THIS Stupid, You’ll Never Want To Be Sensible Again.
“NON-FUNGIBLE TOKENS HAVE SPRUNG ONTO OUR FEEDS RECENTLY, CLAIMING TO BE THE NEXT BIG THING. BUT IS THIS AN ONLINE POPULIST UPRISING OR JUST AN ENVIRONMENTALLY DESTRUCTIVE FAD?”
“Bill Gates Invests in Carbon Capture Startup After Tech Breakthrough”
“In an ever-changing landscape, the company needs to move quickly and so if they’re constantly trying to negotiate with third parties or waiting to produce the next blockbuster.”
“We mined roughly 13 bitcoins and then ripped up our private key. We were stupid—but not alone.”
“Thwaites Glacier is crumbling, and fast—if it melts entirely, it could add 10 feet to sea levels. Now Antarctic scientists are racing to survey the damage.”
“The word game has gone from dozens of players to hundreds of thousands in a few months. It was created by a software engineer in Brooklyn for his partner.”
“Bonus-led traps, penalty-driven drives,endless working hours, accidents and anxiety”
“Everyone from tech companies to churches wants a say in how the EU regulates AI that could harm people.” https://bit.ly/3FsXaMi
“In light of Epic’s vision, the Meta concept is an underwhelming replica”
“From India to Ethiopia, Rest of World breaks down how Facebook’s neglect put millions at risk around the world.”
“What’s bigger? A quarter of a pound? Or a third?”
“This is the rare coding language comparison where there’s an obvious answer, no matter what the context.”
“One of the great mysteries facing humanity is the question of how we sense our environment. The mechanisms underlying our senses have triggered our curiosity for thousands of years, for example, how light is detected by the eyes, how sound waves affect our inner ears, and how different chemical compounds interact with receptors in our nose and mouth generating smell and taste.”
“The most resilient parasite Christopher Nolan’s Inception and viral ideas”
“The Pole Reversal Process Has Begun: What Could This Mean For Our Future? The Earth’s north magnetic pole is on the move.”
“The Notorious MSG’s Unlikely Formula For Success
The “umami” craze has turned a much-maligned and misunderstood food additive into an object of obsession for the world’s most innovative chefs. But secret ingredient monosodium glutamate’s biggest secret may be that there was never anything wrong with it at all.”
“The food wars
Vitamins or whole foods; high-fat or low-fat; sugar or sweetener. Will we ever get a clear idea about what we should eat?”
“Apple’s Double Agent
He spent years inside the iPhone leaks and jailbreak community. He was also spying for Apple.”
“Big Tech call center workers face pressure to accept home surveillance
Workers at one of the world’s largest call center companies said additional monitoring would violate the privacy of their families in their homes.”
“The Jessica Simulation:
Love and loss in the age of A.I.
The death of the woman he loved was too much to bear. Could a mysterious website allow him to speak with her once more?”
“Welcome To The Age Of The All-Electric Hypercar
Boasting up to 2,000bhp with no fuel cap, a trio of new releases from Lotus, Pininfarina and Rimac are here for when your Ferrari just isn’t fast enough”
“World wide open
Deep brain stimulation not only treats psychiatric disease – it changes the whole person, boosting confidence and openness”
“Same or Different? The Question Flummoxes Neural Networks.
For all their triumphs, AI systems can’t seem to generalize the concepts of “same” and “different.” Without that, researchers worry, the quest to create truly intelligent machines may be hopeless. “
“Are you ready for cyborg workers?
Augmented colleagues are coming – but how will HR cope?”
“This Twist on Schrödinger’s Cat Paradox Has Major Implications for Quantum Theory
A laboratory demonstration of the classic “Wigner’s friend” thought experiment could overturn cherished assumptions about reality”
“The $149 Smartphone That Could Bring The Linux Mobile Ecosystem to Life
The low-cost PinePhone isn’t a perfect device, but the nuanced ecosystem it’s going to build for Linux-based smartphones is going to be amazing.”
“Inside Pirelli’s Massive Formula One Tire Operation
When trawling through a Formula One paddock very briefly for the first time back in 2015, my first thought (after I got over the glamour of it all) was, my God there are a lot of tires here”
Super interesting and super detailed article that decodes the possible beginning of SARS-cov19
“Origin of Covid – Following the Clues
Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?”
“The Secret Auction That Set Off the Race for AI Supremacy
How the shape of deep learning—and the fate of the tech industry—went up for sale in Harrah’s Room 731, on the shores of Lake Tahoe.”
When it comes to life-saving, even India’s jingoists take modern medicine for granted. This is how that happened.”
“The Largest Cells on Earth
Deep in the ocean abyss, xenophyophores are worlds unto themselves.”
“Android Becomes Basically Unusable If You Turn Off All of Google’s Tracking
I know, because I tried”
“A Nude ‘Playboy’ Photo Has Been a Mainstay in Testing Tech for Decades
The documentary ‘Losing Lena’ is about the many small ways in which women are told they don’t belong in tech”
“A 23-Year-Old Coder Kept QAnon Online When No One Else Would
Nick Lim provides tech support to the U.S. networks of White nationalists and conspiracy theorists banned by the likes of Amazon.”
“People’s Expensive NFTs Keep Vanishing. This Is Why
“There was no history of my ever purchasing it, or ever owning it,” said one confused NFT buyer. “Now there’s nothing. My money’s gone.””
Super Long & Intersting Read! Must read
“Secrets of the Little Blue Box
“You see, a few years ago the phone company made one big mistake,” Gilbertson explains two days later in his apartment. “They were careless enough to let some technical journal publish the actual frequencies used to create all their multi-frequency tones. Just a theoretical article some Bell Telephone Laboratories engineer was doing about switching theory, and he listed the tones in passing.”
“The Rise of Junk Science
Fake publications are corrupting the world of research—and influencing real news”
“The race to build the world’s first sex robot
The $30bn sex tech industry is about to unveil its biggest blockbuster: a $15,000 robot companion that talks, learns, and never says no”
“Gravitational Waves Probe Exotic Matter inside Neutron Stars
A new analysis of light and gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars helps reveal what’s inside these ultradense objects”
“The Dawn of CRISPR Mutants
An anthropologist dives into the world of genetic engineering to explore whether gene-editing tools such as CRISPR fulfill the hope of redesigning our species for the better.”
“What Pornhub and Peloton Have in Common With FacebookAn online speech expert explains why no online platform will be spared from content-moderation controversy”
“TikTok and the Sorting Hat
The 2010’s were a fascinating time to follow the consumer tech industry in China. Though I left Hulu in 2011, I still kept in touch with a lot of the team from our satellite Hulu Beijing office, many of whom scattered out to various Chinese tech companies throughout the past decade. On my last visit to the Hulu Beijing office in 2011, I was skeptical any of the new tech companies out of China would ever crack the U.S. market.”
“Asian rivers are turning black. And our colorful closets are to blame Textile dyeing is one of the most polluting aspects of the global fashion industry, devastating the environment and posing health hazards to humans.”
“Everything You Should Know About Sound
We think of sound as something we hear—something that makes noise. But in pure physics terms, sound is just a vibration going through matter.”
“The Mystery Of India’s Plummeting COVID-19 Cases”
“A Movie of the Evolving Universe Is Potentially Scary
The Vera C. Rubin Observatory will reveal all sorts of short-term changes in the cosmos—and some could have dire consequences for humanity”
“The Most Famous Paradox in Physics Nears Its End
In a landmark series of calculations, physicists have proved that black holes can shed information, which seems impossible by definition. The work appears to resolve a paradox that Stephen Hawking first described five decades ago.”
“Back-up brains: The era of digital immortality
These largely un-interrogated questions also begin to touch on more fundamental issues of what it means to be human. Would an emulated brain be considered human and, if so, does the humanity exist in the memories or the hardware on which the simulated brain runs? “
One last article for 2020 is here!
“The rise and fall of Flash, the annoying plugin that shaped the modern web
Before 1996, the web was a static, dull place. But the accidental creation of Flash turned it into a cacophony of noise, colour, and controversy, presaging the modern web”
“A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction.
Complex natural systems defy standard mathematical analysis, so one ecologist is throwing out the equations.”
“The extra materials and energy involved in manufacturing a lithium-ion battery mean that, at present, the carbon emissions associated with producing an electric car are higher than those for a vehicle running on petrol or diesel – by as much as 38%, according to some calculations. Until the electricity in national grids is entirely renewable, recharging the battery will involve a degree of dependence on coal or gas-fired power stations.”
“Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record
After 44 years, there’s finally a better way to find approximate solutions to the notoriously difficult traveling salesperson problem.”
“Hopefully, this attention to them can also bring about a sense of humility, which will surely benefit a species brought to its knees not by alien invaders, but by a coronavirus spread through microscopic droplets.”
“How Facebook and Other Sites Manipulate Your Privacy Choices
Social media platforms repeatedly use so-called dark patterns to nudge you toward giving away more of your data.”
“Cryptography Pioneer Seeks Secure Elections the Low-Tech Way
Ronald Rivest helped come up with the RSA algorithm, which safeguards online commerce. Now he’s hoping to make democratic elections more trustworthy.”
“Can the Internet Survive Climate Change?
How a warming world is sparking calls for a greener web”
“The Big and the Small”
“Mitochondria May Hold Keys to Anxiety and Mental Health
Research hints that the energy-generating organelles of cells may play a surprisingly pivotal role in mediating anxiety and depression.”
“For Math Fans: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Number 42
Here is how a perfectly ordinary number captured the interest of sci-fi enthusiasts, geeks and mathematicians”
“Coffee Rust Is Going to Ruin Your Morning
Coffee plants were supposed to be safe on this side of the Atlantic. But the fungus found them.”
“Pharma Companies Argue That Lower Drug Prices Would Mean Fewer Breakthrough Drugs. Is That True?”
“‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism
Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world. Observer tech columnist John Naughton explains the importance of Zuboff’s work and asks the author 10 key questions”
“Why Guerrilla Games stubbornly built its amazing game engine from scratch
Meet Decima, the engine that birthed several of your beloved games”
In continuation from yesterday’s article, we go one step back and look at how GPT-2 worked.
“How this A.I became a communist
This A.I was able to change his understanding of life after reading communist books.”
“A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?
We asked GPT-3, OpenAI’s powerful new language generator, to write an essay for us from scratch. The assignment? To convince us robots come in peace”
“Catastrophes and calms Evolution is extraordinarily creative in the wake of a cataclysm. How does life keep steadily ticking over in between?”
“How a Tiny Bacterium Called Wolbachia Could Defeat Dengue Scientists are immunizing mosquitoes against disease with the help of a common microbe”
“The Life-Saving Car Technology No One Wants Safety features that would make vehicles far less lethal to pedestrians exist right now. Why aren’t they required?”
“Extra DNA May Make Unlikely Hybrid Fish Possible The unintentional creation of “sturddlefish” hybrids may illuminate the genomic mechanisms that govern whether species can interbreed.”
“Mathematicians Will Never Stop Proving the Prime Number Theorem
Why do mathematicians enjoy proving the same results in different ways?”
“My Pacemaker Is Tracking Me From Inside My Body
Cloud-connected medical devices save lives, but also raise questions about privacy, security, and oversight. An Object Lesson.”
“Android Phones Might Be More Secure Than iPhones Now
What the market for zero-day exploits tells us about our phones”
“The Brave New World of Chemical Romance
How love drugs will shape the future of our relationships.”
“How to safely reopen offices, schools and other public spaces while keeping people six feet apart comes down to a question mathematicians have been studying for centuries.”
“You Can’t Kill the Bloomberg Terminal. But If You Were Going to Try, Here’s How. Bloomberg is one of the best software companies in history, so good luck and best wishes”
Brilliant experiential writing on Youtube algorithm form a Individual POV.
“See Zeynep Tufekci, in the New York Times: “Given its billion or so users, YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century.” And Kevin Roose’s extraordinary front-page Times article “The Making of a YouTube Radical.””
“What Happened When I Switched From Mac to Windows
Fed up with the rising cost and declining quality of Apple laptops, I migrated to Microsoft. It has been both a total joy and a complete pain in the neck.”
“How a Defense of Christianity Revolutionized Brain Science”
The Walkman, Forty Years On
The gadget that taught the world to socially distance.”
“The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates
Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.”
“What’s wrong with WhatsApp
As social media has become more inhospitable, the appeal of private online groups has grown. But they hold their own dangers – to those both inside and out.”
Brilliant longform article!
“Move Mirror: An AI Experiment with Pose Estimation in the Browser using TensorFlow.js
Pose estimation, or the ability to detect humans and their poses from image data, is one of the most exciting — and most difficult — topics in machine learning and computer vision. Recently, Google shared PoseNet: a state-of-the-art pose estimation model that provides highly accurate pose data from image data. This is the story of the experiment that prompted us to create this pose estimation library for the web in the first place.” https://bit.ly/2AgO0X4
“The rating game: how Uber and its peers turned us into horrible bosses.
Soon, you’ll be able to go to the Olive Garden and order your fettuccine alfredo from a tablet mounted to the table. After paying, you’ll rate the server. Then you can use that tablet to hail an…”
“Apple Just Crippled IDFA, Sending An $80 Billion Industry Into Upheaval”
“A Deadly Mosquito-Borne Illness Is Brewing in the Northeast
EEE kills almost half of its victims, and cases are on the rise”
“Each night I lay in my bed beside my boyfriend with one eye closed against the pillow and with the other, wheeled down Instagram’s infinite scroll. Each morning, I woke up to my phone alarm and rolled over to tap it off and, if I had time, looked at Instagram while still half-asleep. I easily spent an hour on it a day – in bed, on the subway or at my desk during lunch. Compared with the hours I spent elsewhere on the internet, it felt like nothing.”
“How Time Is Encoded in Memories
Rats and equations help researchers develop a theory of how our brains keep track of when events took place.”
“In March 2017, Loeb caused a media frenzy by suggesting that FRBs could actually be of alien origin – solar-powered radio transmitters that might be interstellar light sails pushing huge spaceships across galaxies.”
“In his first year at university, Li was extremely shy. He came up with a personal algorithm for making friends in the canteen, weighing data on group size and conversation topic to optimise the chances of a positive encounter. The method helped him to make friends, so he developed others: how to master English, how to interpret dreams, how to find a girlfriend. While other students spent the long nights studying, Li started to think about how he could apply his algorithmic approach to business. When he graduated at the turn of the millennium, he decided that he would make his fortune in the field he knew best: education.”
“Two weeks back, Zoho Corporation sued Freshworks for copying its trade secrets. I wrote a report on comparing the two businesses during my MBA as part of a course requirement. In the wake of recent developments, I believe it will be an interesting read: attaching below, a version of the essay.”
“As my colleagues Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer have reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed and distributed a faulty test in February. Independent labs created alternatives, but were mired in bureaucracy from the FDA. In a crucial month when the American caseload shot into the tens of thousands, only hundreds of people were tested. That a biomedical powerhouse like the U.S. should so thoroughly fail to create a very simple diagnostic test was, quite literally, unimaginable. “I’m not aware of any simulations that I or others have run where we [considered] a failure of testing,” says Alexandra Phelan of Georgetown University, who works on legal and policy issues related to infectious diseases.”
“What if I open a program (an Internet-browsing “app,” say), swipe it away, and then open it again? If that program is already running, the system will bring that program to the front again—but shouldn’t I know whether it’s maximizing an already-opened program, or starting it anew? And what if I want to open a second instance of that program instead? These operating systems treat us like we’re children, and I don’t appreciate it.”
“So why is the fatality rate close to 4%?
If 5% of your cases require intensive care and you can’t provide it, most of those people die. As simple as that.”
“If you’re wondering whether it’s an overreaction to cancel large gatherings and public events (and I love basketball), here’s a useful primer as to why these measures can slow the spread of the virus and save lives. We have to look out for each other. – Barack Obama”
“Hospitals filled with Covid-19 patients won’t just strain to care for those patients — doctors may also have to prioritize them over others. “Right now there’s always a doctor available when you need one, but that may not be the case if we’re not careful,” Landon said.”
“Today, China uses almost half the world’s concrete. The property sector – roads, bridges, railways, urban development and other cement-and-steel projects – accounted for a third of its economy’s expansion in 2017. Every major city has a floor-sized scale model of urban development plans that has to be constantly updated as small white plastic models are turned into mega-malls, housing complexes and concrete towers.”
““Cancer,” Bryson reports, “is above all an age thing. Between birth and the age of forty, men have a just one in seventy-one chance of getting cancer and women one in fifty-one, but over sixty the odds [rise] to one in three for men and one in four for women.” With cancer come the complications of radiation and the nightmare of chemotherapy. At what age does one decide to forego treatment and give up the ghost? A gastroenterologist I used to see on occasion showed me a letter one day from a patient, a man of seventy-one, who had decided to forgo any efforts to stave off his recently discovered stomach cancer, preferring death to treatment. He had, he wrote in the letter, “had enough of life.””
“Brain decoding took off about a decade ago1, when neuroscientists realized that there was a lot of untapped information in the brain scans they were producing using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). That technique measures brain activity by identifying areas that are being fed oxygenated blood, which light up as coloured blobs in the scans. To analyse activity patterns, the brain is segmented into little boxes called voxels — the three-dimensional equivalent of pixels — and researchers typically look to see which voxels respond most strongly to a stimulus, such as seeing a face. By discarding data from the voxels that respond weakly, they conclude which areas are processing faces.”
“Winston discovered he had millions of Chinese fans who had never even been on YouTube. He was constantly approached by Chinese fans explaining that they saw his videos on Chinese streaming sites. “This is how China works,” says Winston, “they take your property and make it their own.” Even fewer Westerners are on Chinese social media than Chinese are on Western social media so there is little chance of thieves ever being discovered and, while intellectual property and creative content theft is common in China, the theft is always going towards China, not away.”
“How does it know? There are no dials and settings on the Pot. As far as you can tell, there is only a heating element beneath. There doesn’t look like room for anything else to hide. How does the Pot know how long to cook the rice? It is a mystery of the Orient. Don’t ask questions you don’t need the answers to. The point here is to save you some time and money. If you want gourmet cooking, you aren’t going to learn about it here.”
“His only hope of seeing his father resurrected is to live to see the Singularity — the moment when computing power reaches an “intelligence explosion.” At this point, according to transhumanists such as Kurzweil, people who are merged with this technology will undergo a radical transformation. They will become posthuman: immortal, limitless, changed beyond recognition. Kurzweil predicts this will happen by the year 2045. Unlike his father, he, along with those of us who are lucky enough to survive into the middle of this century, will achieve immortality without ever tasting death.”
“Amazon “generates meager profits,” electing to keep prices low while “choosing to expand at a speed and scale that is pushing it into the red,” she writes. It has risen to become the world’s second most valuable firm, worth about $1 trillion, because it is “at the center of e-commerce” and owns “essential infrastructure for a host of other businesses that depend upon it.””
“It doesn’t matter that its shatterproof windows aren’t very shatterproof at all, or that, based on its design, the Cybertruck sucks at being an actual truck. Seemingly, the Cybertruck is a physical manifestation of Musk’s hubris: He’s built a fandom of nerds so vast and so wealthy, he believes he can sell them a $40,000 truck that looks like an extra from the video game Twisted Metal.”
“The flavor industry is highly secretive. Its leading companies will not divulge the precise formulas of flavor compounds or the identities of clients. The secrecy is deemed essential for protecting the reputations of beloved brands. The fast-food chains, understandably, would like the public to believe that the flavors of the food they sell somehow originate in their restaurant kitchens, not in distant factories run by other firms. A McDonald’s french fry is one of countless foods whose flavor is just a component in a complex manufacturing process. The look and the taste of what we eat now are frequently deceiving — by design.”
“A popular trope about Silicon Valley involves its skill of regurgitation. Its companies vie to replace public services or brick-and-mortar businesses, after deeming these business models inefficient. Then they dress up those same models and spit them back out as their own revenue plans. In 2017, Lyft rolled out Shuttle, where commuters wait at designated locations to share rides: a bus service. MakeSpace raised millions of dollars for its product: “Cloud storage for physical stuff” – or storage lockers. Apple’s human curators of news are editors. WeLive’s co-living spaces are hostels and dorms. Uber Health is the ambulance.”
“The Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program, founded in 2007, took a two-pronged approach, pairing novice speakers with older speakers who were fluent in the Chickasaw language, and using technology to reach a wider audience. Language learners were paired with expert speakers in a master/apprentice program for immersive lessons that lasted several hours a day, five days a week. Hinson credits his ability to learn so much of the language in just a few years to this type of approach and to his own dogged determination. Under Hinson’s direction, the tribe also built an online television network with six different channels that include language lessons, cultural events, and oral histories.”
“Ian Malcolm’s web page stayed up for several months. Stu-Bot would periodically replace the old paper titles with sometimes plausible (and often hilarious) new ones. I don’t know how many people came across this site and actually believed it was real. When the higher-ups at SFI finally got wind of it, they declared it inappropriate and quickly shut down the site.”
“A visit to Chatroulette usually begins with a few rushed clicks of the “Next” button, either out of a sense of danger—do you really want to engage with that empty-eyed guy lounging in bed?—or out of curiosity about what’s around the corner. The majority of Chatroulette users are male and under thirty-five, and many of them are trolling for girls, so they “next” each other at barbaric rates. When you do decide to stop and engage, things can get a little awkward. On one of my first Chatrouletting attempts, I found myself talking to a man from Lyons, who had muted the sound. We watched each other typing and reacting to the words that scrolled next to our images, co-stars in a postmodern silent film.”
“With its cheap geothermal energy and low crime rate, Iceland has become the world’s leading miner of digital currency. Then the crypto-crooks showed up.”
“She hadn’t had much Airbnb experience when she and her daughter decided to book a place in Marina del Rey, California, this past spring, she said. But as a criminal defense attorney, she figured she had a pretty good barometer for bullshit.Just before check-in, Patterson had gotten a call that was almost exactly the same as the one I had received. The man on the other end of the line said that the property’s bathroom wasn’t working, but that he was able to put them up in a much bigger place until a plumber could fix the problem.”
“Thanks to his clever use of social media, he was dubbed the first prime minister of the Instagram age – but after four years in power, cracks in his image have started to show.”
“So far, though, Silicon Valley’s response has been sluggish at best. The tech giants claim immunity under a law that likens social media companies to newsstands rather than to publishers responsible for the content on their platforms. In other words, they argue, social media companies don’t create the offensive material that ends up on their pages, so they can’t be held liable. The law is the subject of fierce debate inside DC’s Beltway and is at the heart of many battles over the publication of hate manifestos, terror screeds, sex ads, fake news, and, more recently, drugs.”
“Purdue Pharma, owned by the Sacklers, marketed the drug so heavily that they were eventually convicted of felony “misbranding.” They said it was non-addictive, abuse-proof. Purdue bought and sold doctors to over-prescribe the medicine across America, bringing in billions of dollars in profits. Rich and poor, black and white, Purdue Pharma bought lunches and dinners and weekends on yachts for the doctors who prescribed the most pills to the most humans. Reps were given bonuses for getting doctors to prescribe more pills and higher doses.”
“Intuit also continues to use “dark patterns” — design tricks to get users of its website to do things they don’t necessarily mean to do — to ensure that as many customers as possible pay, former employees say. A marketing concept frequently invoked at Intuit, which goes by the acronym “FUD,” seeks to tap into Americans’ fear, uncertainty and doubt about the tax filing process.”
“On the great dividing line of first- and second-world influence, anticommunist émigrés living in Western Germany provided a reliable stream of local content. Since the Soviet propaganda machine worked overtime spreading anti-American rumors and disinformation, the broadcasters working for the various U.S.-sponsored “Radio” properties in the Eastern bloc often improvised material to combat the communist threat. Journalists working for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty cherry-picked interviews with recent defectors or accepted unsubstantiated rumors as fact.”
Advice from 1982 on how and why one should buy a computer. “I can hardly bring myself to mention the true disadvantage of computers,” Fallows writes, “which is that I have become hopelessly addicted to them.”“My computer has a 48K memory. Since each K represents 1,024 bytes of information—each byte representing one character or digit—the machine can manipulate more than 49,000 items of information at a time. In practice, after allowing for the space that The Electric Pencil’s programming instructions occupy in the computer’s memory, the machine can handle documents 6,500 to 7,500 words long, or a little longer than this article. I break anything longer into chunks or chapters and work with them one at a time.”
“The MQ-1B Predator drone, or the “Pred,” as its crews call it, is flown from here. Underground and underwater fiber-optic cables link these trailers—ground-control stations, really—to Europe, where a satellite dish makes the connection directly to every Predator in the air over Baghdad, and along the Afghan-Pakistani border, and wherever else they are needed. Local airfields get them into the air, then Las Vegas takes over.”
“TikTok-famous teens, the envy of their generation, are all too aware that their fame could go away at any moment. What goes unspoken is that there is always someone funnier or prettier or more likable or who works harder, and that soon their own face may show up less and less on strangers’ screens. That so many people will become TikTok-famous or Instagram-famous or Twitter-famous that it will cease to mean quite so much; that someday there will be simply too many influencers and not enough eyeballs and money. That if everyone is a little bit famous, no one is.”
“We are given only the noisy half of probability that its cause is located inside of ourselves and never the quiet part of probability that cancer’s source pervades our shared world. Our genes are tested: our drinking water isn’t. Our body is scanned, but not our air. We are told it is in the error of our feelings or told it is in the inevitabilities of our flesh. We are told there is a difference between illness and health, between what is acute and what is chronic, between living and dying, too.”
“My belief is the distinguishing characteristic of humanity is this keystone ability to have descriptions with which we construct stories. I think stories are what make us different from chimpanzees and Neanderthals. And if story-understanding is really where it’s at, we can’t understand our intelligence until we understand that aspect of it.”
“There’s a lot of people that will teach you how to make money. It’s just, the thing is, like, an information product in that niche, is, I mean, how tangible is that information? What is someone going to do with what you tell them. Most people won’t do anything with it. You know, 90% of the people who get that information product, really aren’t going to do anything with it. It’s no different than when our country tells people to go to college for, you know, eight years, four years, like I did and expect a job when they come out. And then there’s no job.”
“But at some point, each of them looked up and noticed the same strange thing: the tiny light beside their webcam glowing. At first they figured it was some kind of malfunction, but when it happened repeatedly—the light flicking on, then off—the girls felt a chill. One by one, they gazed fearfully into the lenses, wondering if someone was watching and if, perhaps now, they were looking into the eye of something scary after all. Nila, for one, wasn’t taking any chances. She peeled off a sticker and stuck it on the lens.” http://bit.ly/2m4YHEH
“Once upon a time” refers to relatively recent years (2001-2006), during which I wrote several books and published more than 50 pieces of magazine journalism and criticism – a total output of, give or take, 4,500 manuscript pages. I rarely felt very disciplined during this half decade, though I realise this admission invites accusations of disingenuousness. Obviously I was disciplined. These days I have read from start to finish exactly two works of fiction – excepting those I was also reviewing – in the last year. These days I play video games in the morning, play video games in the afternoon and spend my evenings playing video games.””
“And this job is just about the only game in town, like it is in lots of towns, and eventually will be in more towns, with US internet retail sales projected to grow 10 percent every year to $279 billion in 2015 and with Amazon, the largest of the online retailers, seeing revenues rise 30 to 40 percent year after year and already having 69 giant warehouses, 17 of which came online in 2011 alone. So butch up, Sally.”
“The story of the Max is ultimately the story of the Darwinian business cycle where mature companies like Boeing face constant threats from new products, new competitors, and the search for new growth. Sometimes this motivates them to new heights of innovation and progress. Other times, it prompts them to pull everything back in the name of cost-cutting.”
“I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” he said tensely. The only solution was using unscratchable glass instead. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.”After one executive left that meeting, he booked a flight to Shenzhen. If Mr. Jobs wanted perfect, there was nowhere else to go.
“To celebrate the Exposition Universelle held in Paris in 1900, a number of French artists were commissioned to produce a series of cigar box cards on the theme ‘En l’an 2000’. They came up with some fantastic imagery: in the future world they portrayed there was clearly going to be a great deal of aerial warfare and submarine sport, and a lot of electricity. The denizens of the year 2000 would put on their makeup with electricity, they would farm with electricity, and travel everywhere by electricity.” http://bit.ly/2HbQ3vZ
“Technology companies engage in “data relations,” which turn our daily lives into a highly profitable “data stream.” This process enacts “a new form of data colonialism, normalizing the exploitation of human beings through data, just as historic colonialism appropriated territory and resources and ruled subjects for profit.” Ultimately, they believe, data colonialism “paves the way for a new stage of capitalism whose outlines we only glimpse: the capitalization of life without limit.””
“His models bear striking resemblance to the one-dimensional cellular automata—life-like lattices of numerical patterns—championed by Stephen Wolfram, whose search tool Wolfram Alpha helps power the brain of Siri on the iPhone. Nonconformist biologist Craig Venter, in defending his creation of a cell with a synthetic genome—“the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer”—echoes Barricelli.”
The term Beats by Dre” was already coined through the failed collaboration, and SLS had come up with a rough prototype headphone that would shape the entire lineup though the present day: giant ear cups, a thick, streamlined headband, and enough gloss for a Formula 1 car. ”
Facebook’s response would be to adopt a “mature role”, not “shunning” but “advocating” the new rules. For a company that has fiercely resisted new laws, Clegg’s message aimed to persuade us that the page had turned. Yet his remarks sounded like Newspeak, as if to obscure ugly facts.
In a relatively coherent set of texts by a single author, a writer’s idiosyncratic linguistic choices leave a mark analogous to a fingerprint. In order to recognize that fingerprint, you need a reasonably large, reasonably similar set of texts to compare with the one you’re curious about, and the one you’re curious about should be long enough to exhibit the fingerprint patterns.
Facebook, in short, is here to help. The immensely arrogant assumption baked into this project, of course, is that the world’s unbanked need access to financial services, much less those furnished by Facebook and its partners like Mastercard and Uber.
Small but super interesting article. Answered one long standing question I had in my life. Where in life is ever something like fourier transform being used. Must Read. “The Fourier transform also tells you how much of each note contributes to the song, so you know which ones are essential. The really high notes aren’t so important (our ears can barely hear them), so MP3s throw them out, resulting in added data compression. Audiophiles don’t like MP3s for this reason—it’s not a lossless audio format, and they claim they can hear the difference.”
New vendors will offer free samples and price-match guarantees to establish their reputation. Promotional campaigns are rife on April 20, also known as Pot Day, the darknet’s equivalent of Black Friday. (The date of Pot Day comes from the North American slang term for smoking cannabis which is 4/20.) “It’s not anonymity, Bitcoins, or encryption that ensure the future success of darknet markets,” writes Jamie Bartlett, author of The Dark Net. “The real secret of Silk Road is great customer service.”
“Dyson had been given £1,000 for travel costs in 1918 (about $75,000 today). During wartime, that was an enormous grant – he decided he could stretch that money to cover expeditions to both sites, important insurance against bad weather or other mishap, dramatically increasing the chance of success.””
“The paper tells you how to make small crystals of the alpha form, which is not too bad, as long as you keep it moist and in the dark, and never, ever, do anything with it. You can make larger crystals, too, by a different procedure, but heed the authors when they say: “This procedure is only recommended on a small scale, since crystalline α-Hg(N3)2 is very sensitive to impact and friction even if it is wet. Heavy detonations occur frequently if crystalline α-Hg(N3)2 is handled in dry state”.”
“And yet, the meaning of “deep” in this context comes simply from the fact that these neural networks have more layers (12, say) than do older networks, which might have only two or three. But does that sort of depth imply that whatever such a network does must be profound? Hardly. This is verbal spinmeistery.””the bridging act not only should maintain clarity, but also should give a sense for the flavor, quirks, and idiosyncrasies of the writing style of the original author”
“Aging has no point; it is the infuriating absence of a point. Having reproduced ourselves externally, we fall down on replicating ourselves internally. The processes of cellular replication that allow us to be boats rebuilt even as they cross the ocean cease acting efficiently, because they have no evolutionary reward for acting efficiently. They are like code monkeys in a failing tech business: they can mess up everything, absent-mindedly forget to code for the color of our hair or the elasticity of our skin, and no penalty is exacted for the failure. We’ve already made all the kids we are going to make.”
I loved reading this article on the other side of Disney World. Fantastic piece of writing. Must read!”This is the story Americans have been sold: the one that pardons the powerful and makes us pay for our own numbness. We submit to a story that tells us we will be good—that we will be made good, and therefore safe—as long as we follow the rules, as long as we forget that there are rules. We enter the castle gates because there can be no danger here, no cruelty, and no adulthood, for as long as we believe: we will be saved not just from the harm that comes to those who are of no value here, but from the knowledge that they even exist. The dream still works, and it will work for at least a little longer. Buy a ticket. See if it’s worth the price.”
“When British manufacturers installed power looms in their factories, workers lost their jobs, and the unemployed masses, desperate for work, dragged down wages for everyone. Those who remained, produced more in less time, earning greater profits for their bosses even as wages slipped. Mechanization simply meant workers spent a greater fraction of their day producing value for someone else.”
“The Earth is, in some ways, in a precarious spot in the solar system. There’s a range of orbital distances inside which a planet can have both liquid surface water (which is believed to be necessary for life) and enough atmospheric CO2 to carry on photosynthesis. This range is called the photosynthesis habitable zone. The Earth orbits barely within the sun’s zone. Some scientists estimate that the inner edge lies just 7.5 million kilometers away, which is only 5 percent of the distance between the Earth and the sun.”
“With eight movie ratings (of which two may be completely wrong) and dates that may have a 14-day error, 99% of records can be uniquely identified in the dataset.” The research showed that for many people, much less information is required to establish unicity: “For 68% [of users], two ratings and dates (with a three-day error) are sufficient.””
“The high-powered cameras send what they see to 16 monitoring centers in Ecuador that employ more than 3,000 people. Armed with joysticks, the police control the cameras and scan the streets for drug deals, muggings and murders. If they spy something, they zoom in.This voyeur’s paradise is made with technology from what is fast becoming the global capital of surveillance: China.”
“At night, I would read and take notes on the device in bed, in a tent, on a train. It was an incredible user experience, full of perceived value, delightful in its absurdity. Most importantly, using the device in these ways felt like an investment in the future of books and reading. Each Kindle book I bought was a vote with the wallet: yes – digital books! Every note I took, every underline I made was contributing to a vast lattice collection of reader knowledge that would someday manifest in ways beautiful or interesting or otherwise yet unknowable.”
“This has the potential to have very destructive fallout for the open source world,” Zitzman says. “When a corporate giant like AWS doesn’t play fair, they are actually shooting themselves in the foot, as they will eventually find themselves without open technologies to roll out.”
“The problem is that, online, we think we’re reconnecting to that smaller grid—we follow our IRL friends, like their posts, and watch their stories! —when that connection is really mediated by a corporate entity less human than the magazine editors or television producers of the past. We are in the grid of social-media users created by that 21st-century bogeyman, the Algorithm. Loosely defined, the Algorithm—Twitter’s, Facebook’s, Spotify’s, Amazon’s, Google’s, so on and so forth—mediates what we read, watch, and listen to online, encouraging us to consume whatever appears on the screen. It regulates how often we get updates from our friends, whose unpopular posts or opinions we might not see if we don’t seek them out. Based on the data it collects, it can tell when we’re flush, lonely, engaged, or pregnant and then sell us products accordingly.”
“When the execs are extremely smart people making ten times what you do, there’s a tendency to give them the benefit of the doubt.”
“The moment she stepped off the elevator, she was met by co-worker after co-worker who needed and wanted to talk to her — one about a health concern, another about his kid excelling at school, another about a disintegrating marriage. She comforted, celebrated with, and listened to each one in turn. She didn’t, however, price the product.”
Article 6 “YouTube doesn’t give an exact recipe for virality. But in the race to one billion hours, a formula emerged: Outrage equals attention. It’s one that people on the political fringes have easily exploited, said Brittan Heller, a fellow at Harvard University’s Carr Center. “They don’t know how the algorithm works,” she said. “But they do know that the more outrageous the content is, the more views.””
“Personally, I feel as if I have suddenly gained all that I want in life and no longer have anything to fear. I am perfectly content both mentally and emotionally. All the tension slips from my body and I feel warm and utterly comfortable, as if I were sitting beside a roaring fire, wrapped in a delicate cashmere blanket, rocking gently back and forth. Communication is pleasant but unnecessary. Under the influence of oxycodone, no companionship is needed. I accept myself and the world just as we are, not begrudgingly, but eagerly, ecstatically even.”
“Today, electric vehicles look like the best way to slash both sorts of pollution, another place where the goals of a healthy climate and healthy bodies converge. Electricity by itself is no guarantee of climate friendliness. But it is a necessary prerequisite to powering cars from clean sources such as wind and solar.”
“But, of course, companies design for performance and sales, not life span. They make money when they sell more units, and they’re not financially responsible for disposing of products when consumers are finished using them. Nadim Maluf, the founder of the battery consultancy Qnovo, told me that a decade ago, he went to big tech companies telling them he could help them double the longevity of their products, by extending the life of the lithium-ion batteries they were beginning to use. “No one really cared,” he told me. “Extending product life wasn’t consistent with growth on the financial side.””
“Since 2012, Chinese GDP has grown at an annual rate of 6-8 per cent – weaker than in the pre-crisis period (growth peaked at 14 per cent in 2007) – but still strong enough to support the growth of the Chinese middle class and stimulate the economies of its major trading partners. The US recovery has been slow by historic standards but growth in 2018 (2.9 per cent) was buoyed by Donald Trump’s tax cuts, which dramatically inflated corporate profits. Japan’s growth has been low but stable – unsurprising in view of its rapidly falling population (which declined by 449,000 in 2018). Only the eurozone has continued to struggle, growing by just 1.8 per cent in 2018.”
“Looking at this incredible flurry of funding and activity, it’s worth asking: These companies have done so much—upended labor markets, changed industries, rewritten the definition of a job—and for what, exactly?””The haves and the have-nots might be given new names: the demanding and the on-demand.””For centuries, a woman’s social status was clear-cut: either she had a maid or she was one” “What the combined efforts of the Uber-for-X companies created is a new form of servant, one distributed through complex markets to thousands of different people.”
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