Note — Mar 10, 2019

No.70 Asides

  • 📚 Lots of great details in How American Cities Got Their Libraries. “A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.”
  • ✍🏼 Stone Age Cave Symbols May All Be Part of a Single Prehistoric Proto-Writing System. ”The ability of humans to produce a system of signs is clearly not something that starts 40,000 years ago. This capacity goes back at least 100,000 years.”
  • 🍅🐑 What Is a Vegetable? Do They Even Exist?. Good post but it’s the second part that drew my attention. ”The French word for the served food lived alongside the Germanic word for its source. When Anglo-Saxon chickens were slaughtered, they became poultry for the Normans to eat. Food and animal were class-divided döppelgangers: Anglo-Saxon sheep, cows, swine, and doves were transformed into French mouton (mutton), boeuf (beef), porc (pork), and pigeons (pigeons).”
  • 🇨🇳 China bans 23m from buying travel tickets as part of ‘social credit' system. ”According to the National Public Credit Information Centre, Chinese courts banned would-be travellers from buying flights 17.5 million times by the end of 2018. Citizens placed on black lists for social credit offences were prevented from buying train tickets 5.5 million times.”
  • 🤖🤚🏼 The first dexterous and sentient hand prosthesis has been successfully implanted. [T]titanium implants were placed in the two forearm bones (radius and ulnar), from which electrodes to nerves and muscle were extended to extract signals to control a robotic hand and to provide tactile sensations. This makes it the first clinically viable, dexterous and sentient prosthetic hand usable in real life.” (Via Rick Liebling’s Adjacent Possible.)
  • 🗑 is this just fantasy. Amazon is hollowing out our high streets and replacing human-facing shop jobs with warehouse drudgery that leaves workers mere servants to a machine. It is hollowing out our material culture into price-arbitraged Alibaba drop-shipped disposable trash. And the media that might object to this turns instead to affiliate links and “service journalism” to stay afloat. An entire section of New York magazine is just an Amazon catalogue now. High street shops shutter and people stay away and the decline accelerates.”
  • 🇩🇪🐻 Berlin Plans for Huge Investments in Public Transit. ”Berlin is committing a remarkable €28.1 billion, or just under $32 billion, to transportation projects.”
  • 🐡 Heatwaves sweeping oceans ‘like wildfires’, scientists reveal. Some frightening visuals in there.