Note — Feb 23, 2020

No.114 Asides

  • 🇬🇱 Climate change is rotting away Greenland’s cultural heritage “There are around 6,000 registered archaeological sites all over Greenland — and many thousands more that have yet to be discovered. Stone tent rings, meat caches, foundations, field flowers and cultivated grasses growing where once there was a farm, and even burial sites. These artifacts tell stories that are waiting to be discovered, to be documented, to be understood. But many of these stories will now be lost before they are even found. They are literally being washed away, according to the stark findings of the few archaeologists working in the Arctic.”
  • 🤖 ⚽️ Reuters Uses AI To Prototype First Ever Automated Video Reports. “Developed in collaboration with London-based AI startup Synthesia, the new system harnesses AI in order to synthesize pre-recorded footage of a news presenter into entirely new reports. It works in a similar way to deepfake videos, although its current prototype combines with incoming data on English Premier League football matches to report on things that have actually happened.”
  • 🇵🇷 🤬 Puerto Rico’s Energy Insurrection. “Nearly a year ago, the governor of Puerto Rico signed a law to much fanfare committing the island to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The press emphasized that the system would rely on solar arrays powering distributed microgrids, so that if infrastructure went out on one part of the island, it wouldn’t impact other areas. … But critics say the pledge was smoke and mirrors. Buried in the same legislation was a road map for building out natural gas infrastructure likely to lock in consumption of fossil fuels and a centralized grid for decades to come.”
  • 🇪🇸 Exploring a Sustainable Urban Future in the Mountains of Catalonia. “The monks’ work resonates with one of the goals of the Fab Lab movement: creating a system of globally-connected local production sites. Even hundreds of years ago, the monks in Valldaura produced food, energy, and infrastructure locally while being globally-connected, spreading and developing the necessary knowledge and techniques through the network at the same time.”
  • 💸 Printing money. Another evocative visual by Neal Agarwal; dollars scroll by at different speed, going from Minimum Wage ($7.25/hr) to Amazon Revenue ($32m/hr) to U.S. Deficit Increase ($125 mil/hr).
  • 📚 🍄 😍 Gorgeous upcoming book by a couple of The Alpine Review alumni: John Cage: A Mycological Foray. “[D]raws readers across the idiosyncratic, mushroom-suffused, innermost landscape of celebrated American composer John Cage. Upon the remarkable journey with Cage, one encounters assorted photographs, compositions, and contemplations; all in the very same unexpected fashion one encounters various flora and fungi species while mushroom foraging”