In every case, these AIs are designed to seamlessly take care of things for you: to answer questions, schedule meetings, provide directions, refill the milk in the fridge, and so on. So in addition to frightening ramifications for privacy and information discovery, they also reinforce gendered stereotypes about women as servants. The neutral politeness that infects them all furthers that convention: women should be utilitarian, performing their duties on command without fuss or flourish. This is a vile, harmful, and dreadfully boring fantasy; not the least because there is so much extraordinary art around AI that both deconstructs and subverts these stereotypes. It takes a massive failure of imagination to commit yourself to building an artificial intelligence and then name it “Amy.”
Anna Maria Barry-Jester: How MSG Got A Bad Rap: Flawed Science And Xenophobia (FiveThirtyEight)
That MSG isn’t the poison we’ve made it out to be has been well-established. News stories are written regularly about the lack of evidence tying MSG to negative health effects. (Read here and here, for example. Or here, here, here, here and here.) Still, Yelp reviews of Chinese restaurants tell tales of racing hearts, sleepless nights and tingling limbs from dishes “laden with MSG.” Even when the science is clear, it takes a lot to overwrite a stigma, especially when that stigma is about more than just food.
Roberto A. Ferdman: How Americans pretend to love ‘ethnic food’ (The Washington Post)
There is ample evidence that we treat these foods as inferior, as Krishnendu Ray, the chair of nutrition and food studies at New York University, writes in his new book "The Ethnic Restaurateur." Ray points to the comparatively low price ceiling for various "ethnic cuisines," as a telling sign. Despite complex ingredients and labor-intensive cooking methods that rival or even eclipse those associated with some of the most celebrated cuisines — think French, Spanish and Italian — we want our Indian food fast, and we want it cheap.
Who among us hasn’t logged into Twitter only to find friends one-upping each other with meta-meta-meta-ironic jokes about something that happened five minutes ago, and no longer is anyone actually mentioning the thing they’re joking about? Who among us has not followed someone because of a really excellent viral photo or tweet, and then hundreds of posts later it’s like Oh my God, stop talking about your cat, or your car, or your loneliness?
Ian Welsh: The Market Fairy will not solve the problems of Uber and Lyft
The market will not miraculously produce a capital replacing living wage. If it does so in any particular market it is happenstance; luck, not social physics.
This is a social action problem; a race to the bottom issue. It makes sense, individually, to race to the bottom. Company execs and investors get rich, consumers get cheaper rides and drivers get money they need. But this isn’t win, win, win. It is win, win, lose over the not very long run.
The cheaper wages paid to drivers, and thus the cheaper rides, also drive business with capital structures which make social sense out of business. They can’t compete with “drive your car into the ground, make less than minimum wage”.
As we age, our hearing slowly but surely slips away. Time turns down the decibels. But what, exactly, does that aging-of-the-ears sound like? What would it sound like to go, in an instant, from the hearing of a 20-year-old to the hearing of a 90-year-old? In the vocabulary of frequencies and decibels, what does normal hearing loss sound like? After finding a set of hearing data available online,1 we decided to develop a small web-based simulator to help you experience, in realtime, the results of natural hearing loss.
A tower of walkways on top of a mountain in Czech Republic.
A unique 55 meter high building near the cottage Slaměnka at Dolni Morava, Czech Republic. Sky walk is located very close to the cottage Slaměnka, at the top station of chair lift Sněžník, at an altitude of 1,116 meters above sea level. Its height is 55 meters and the summit can be easily reached along a wooden path with strollers and wheelchairs. More adventurous visitors can use unique 101 m long stainless slider with windows.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Case for Reparations (The Atlantic)
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration (The Atlantic)
American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they've failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent.
Todd Van Luling: The Michael Jackson Video Game Conspiracy (Huffington Post)
Jackson toured the facility. "He didn't moonwalk," Hector said. "He was walking around on crutches and he was apologetic about that -- he said 'I'm really sorry' and all that. But he didn't have to apologize. We were just happy to have him."
Then, as Hector tells it, one of the Sonic 3 developers asked whether Jackson would like to write the music for the new game.
What happened next is still in dispute.
so quite a lot of people expressed interest in a guide to lion dance! and since the lunar new year is coming up in a couple weeks, which means everyone’s exposure to lions is probably going to increase, i figured i’d go ahead and make it! right click + open in new tab to fullview, etc etc, i hope it’s helpful, although if you only take one thing away from this powerpoint, it’s this: lions are not dragons
An Amazon.com Wishlist by Erica Joy (@ericajoy) with books about black America.
Added to GoodReads here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/3519627-matthew-mcvickar?shelf=erica-joy-woke-list&view=table
Makerbase was built to allow anyone to edit it — here’s how we’ve tried to stop abuse of that power before it starts.
The biggest lesson here is that it is possible to build social platforms where abuse and harassment are not the norm.
Chantal Jandard: Facebook and How UIs Twist Your Words
Designers must be aware of their role in social UIs and give the same thought to social dynamics that they would to legibility, scalability and others. They must be aware of what social friction they are introducing or reducing, and they need to ask themselves, “How will this UI make my user look to others?” and “How will this UI affect the quality of social interactions?”
Love hertz: Scientists find fatal attraction 'sex' frequency to lure male mosquitoes to their death
Scientists have hit upon the fatal attraction frequency that mimics the sound of a deadly disease-carrying female mosquito's wings beating, in order to lure the male of the species to their death.
Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine researchers Brian Johnson and Scott Ritchie discovered a tone of 484 hertz, the frequency of a female Aedes aegypti's wings flapping, attracted male mosquitoes of the species in large numbers.
Tahirah Hairston: What ‘Making A Murderer’ is teaching white people (Fusion)
But it seems that Making A Murderer is teaching white people around the country—from reporters for mainstream media, to Facebook friends, to co-workers—to see. The crime series focuses on the invisibility that comes with being white, poor and lower class—a position that, in many ways, parallels the invisibility that comes with being a person of color. It allows white people in denial of the injustices of the judicial system and police enforcement to become aware of (and informed about) what people of color have known all of their lives.
Inspiration for Kyle Van Horn’s cameramail, which inspired me.
Between 1990 and 1996, over 200 pieces were sent to/from P22. From altered junk mail to minimally cryptic addressing, Each piece has some purpose to both test the post office and also keep an artistic discourse going between its collaborators. The postal service almost always came through. Recently, because of the desire to completely automate, even the slightest variations from standard Postal Rules gets the piece either returned or lost forever. This page is a testament to the golden age of P22 postal art. Mail Art has no commercial value. To our knowledge, none of our mail art has ever sold.
fuzzy notepad: Shut Up, Paul Graham: The Simplified Version
This is tautological, unless you have a definition of “success” other than “be worth a lot of money”.
Which raises the question of whether that should be the measure of success. A great many creators are scraping by on merch sales and now Patreon, devoting themselves to making the things they love full-time. If they do it consistently and garner an audience who loves their work, is that not success? You might even call them small businesses… and yet, they don’t have stock worth a lot of money.
But the investment model doesn’t leave any room for that kind of success, because the primary thing investors want is to get richer. You provide an incredibly useful service that everyone uses and loves? Great. How much money does it make? How much money do I make? Did you try putting ads on it?
Consider writing THAT essay. What is wrong, Mr. Graham, with REDUCING income inequality by taxing EXCESS wealth, and spending it on public services to maintain or even (gasp) improve social mobility? Because that’s what those “hunters” are really talking about.
There’s an old saw about the web that says that when the web democratized publishing, everyone should have become a writer, but instead most of us became consumers. (Nevermind that email and SMS have most people writing more in a day than their Victorian ancestors wrote in their entire lives.) There’s more than a hint of disparagement and elitism in that saying: everyone should have taken up writing, which is obviously superior to reading or watching or (gasp!) consuming. And I worry that that same sentiment creeps in when we argue the supremacy of text over image on the web. Writing is an important and valuable skill, but so are many other things.
Here’s another way to think about it: over the past year, video after video has emerged showing cops shooting unarmed black people. Those videos have been shared on the web, and while they haven’t yet led to anything resembling justice for the victims, they have contributed to profound discussions around race, militarized police forces, guns, and more. They are not sufficient to bring about desperately needed social change—and there’s an argument to be made about whether they are at risk of becoming mere spectacle—but I think it would be hard to deny that they are an important element in the movement, that they have had a major impact.
I worry that the push to keep the web defined to words, while pragmatic and reasonable in many ways, may also be used to decide what stories get told, and what stories are heard. Many more people are using their tiny computers to record video and audio and take pictures than are writing; as much as I may love writing, and as much as I know that transmitting writing via cables and air is a hell of a lot easier and cheaper than transmitting video, I’m not sure I can really stand here and say that the writing is—or should be—primary.
One of the design principles of the web is to pave the cowpaths: it looks to me like there are some new paths opening up, ones we may not have expected, ones that aren’t going to make many of our jobs easier. Maybe instead of putting up signs saying there are better paths elsewhere, it’s time we see where these ones take us.