Newsletter No.13 — Nov 26, 2017

Sentiers No.13

Heads up: For a couple of reasons related to early writing methods, the first forty-five issues archived here are “pre last review” and haven’t been fully re-reviewed yet. Please forgive typos and miscellaneous mistakes if you see them! They are also less structured than more recent issues and thus haven’t been split into multiple notes. (Yet?)

Apologies if you are getting this on Monday, I finished up this issue just before dinner on Sunday my time. Nothing much else to say in lieu of intro except that my new favorite expression is Irony poisoning.

Two Million Wondrous Nature Illustrations Put Online by The Biodiversity Heritage Library | Open Culture

Rebecca Traister on #MeToo, female rage, and Anita Hill’s legacy (Audio)
Highly, highly recommended. You’ll be thinking of this long after. Super important perspective on sexual harassment, inequality, power and “coded male” politics.

In this conversation, Traister traces this moment back to Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas — a “turning point” that changed American politics. We talk about Bill Clinton’s complex legacy, and Traister’s view that there would be no #MeToo moment without Trump. We talk about why the Weinstein allegations were able to set off such a chain reaction — and also how this is a more fragile movement than many realize, and the various ways in which Traister fears it could collapse.

A Radical Shift of Perspective: Work, Business, and The Future
Stowe Boyd, who thinks and writes a lot about The Future of Work, realizes that he won’t be able to focus simply on those details, he has been “radicalized” into including a much broader, more systemic, perspective at the influence of business, beyond its intricacies. Good shift.

[T]he increasingly broken world we are living in is not an unfortunate, inadvertent consequence of otherwise principled actions taken by unwitting business people. No, our world is a fabric woven by the sphere of business, which as an institution has come to dominate, pushing aside the influence of religion, the state, unions, art, and science. Therefore, business must take responsibility for the mess we find ourselves in: a world on fire, divided on itself, and tottering toward an extinction event that threatens us all.

Fully Automated Green Communism
This seems overly optimistic in parts and pessimistic in others but an interesting read for the “capitalist realism” view and the dual globalisms he describes.

What matters, for post-capitalists, is whether or not we bend the arc of history to ensure that the dividend of these technologies redounds to the emancipation of all of us – not enhancing the profits of a tiny few.

The Network
To Save Net Neutrality, We Must Build Our Own Internet
I agree. Although probably not as easy as he makes it sound but I love the Motherboard ‘mission statement’ at the end. Also, this is a US centric article, I’d argue it’s as important to lessen American control of the internet.

A future in which ISPs are owned by local governments, small businesses, nonprofit community groups, and the people they serve are the path forward and the only realistic way of ending big telecom’s stranglehold on America.

Network Neutrality Can’t Fix the Internet
It can’t be fixed because, according to Bogost, there’s another “layer” of control with Big Tech and neutral pipes would still be overlaid with the outrageous domination of the GAFAM.

Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and others manage access to most of the content created and delivered via broadband and wireless networks. Google appears to handle over 63 percent of searches, and it is projected to control 80 percent of the search ad market by 2019. Facebook exerts enormous control over access to news online, and its unmanaged ad network appears to have torn democracy asunder.

++ Who Filters Your News? Why we built
Interesting expriment re-inventing our feeds and making it possible to stretch and deform our own filter bubble.

Gobo retrieves posts from people you follow on Twitter and Facebook and analyzes them using simple machine learning-based filters. You can set those filters – seriousness, rudeness, virality, gender and brands – to eliminate some posts from your feed. The “politics” slider works differently, “filtering in”, instead of “filtering out” – if you set the slider towards “lots of perspectives”, our “news echo” algorithm will start adding in posts from media outlets that you likely don’t read every day.

Ice Apocalypse
This is frightening. New models showing a possible 11 feet sea rise much quicker than previously thought.

Together, they act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans — an amount that would submerge every coastal city on the planet.

++ If you liked the Cambrian Explosion, you’ll love the Ordovician Radiation
“Life went nuts 450 million years ago, when oxygen levels rose in the seas.”
By the always interesting Annalee Newitz.

New global survey reveals that everyone loves green energy — especially the Chinese
“Long story short: The whole world wants more green energy (and less coal).”

The Churn
Bitcoin Mining Now Consuming More Electricity Than 159 Countries Including Ireland & Most Countries In Africa

If it keeps increasing at this rate, Bitcoin mining will consume all the world’s electricity by February 2020.
One assumes this is mostly from non renewable sources right now so the ‘rebel’ Bitcoin is just doing the same things as the financial system; speculation for the few with massive, unchecked and unreflected upon externalities.

++ Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled

When Android devices are connected to a WiFi network, they will send the tower addresses to Google even if they don’t have SIM cards installed.

++ Twitter, It’s Time to End Your Anything-Goes Paradise
Twitter suckage and a potential “fix” by using badges for good.
For what it’s worth, I have very little hope for Twitter to ever get their act together on any kind of meaningful change.

First interstellar #asteroid wows scientists: “From a faraway star system, shaped like nothing we’ve ever seen.
On seeing that asteroid, I had the same reaction as Jason:

Um, folks…that looks like a rocket. How do we know this “asteroid” isn’t actually an ancient alien ship that’s become encrusted with rock over millions of years? Or an ancient weapon gone awry? We’ve all seen the first Star Trek movie, right? (I am only a little bit kidding about this.)

++ Ancient data, modern math and the hunt for 11 lost cities of the Bronze Age
Translating and extracting numbers from 12 000 clay tablet with cuneiform inscription, and then analyzing the data, a historian and three economists find potential locations for 11 lost cities.