Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-06-19

Don’t scar on the first cut — Signal v. Noise Policies are organizational scar tissue. They are codified overreactions to situations that are unlikely to happen again. They are collective punishment for the misdeeds of an individual. This is how bureaucracies are born. No one sets out to create a bureaucracy. They sneak up on companies slowly. They are created one policy?—?one scar?—?at a time. So don’t scar on the first cut. Don’t create a policy because one person did something wrong once. Policies are only meant for situations that come up over and over again. The worst thing I read this year, and what it taught me… or Can we design sociotechnical systems that don’t suck? | … My heart’s in Accra how do we help smart, well-meaning people address social problems in ways that make the world better, not worse? In other words, is it possible to get beyond both a naïve belief that the latest technology will solve social problems and a reaction that rubbishes any attempt to offer novel technical solutions as inappropriate, insensitive and misguided? Can we find a synthesis in which technologists look at their work critically and work closely with the people they’re trying to help in order to build sociotechnical systems that address hard problems? …. Many hard problems require you to […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-06-12

Glitch City – BLDGBLOG Sites of urban infrastructure and other industrial facilities integral to municipal management, from fire stations to fuel depots, appear to be the target of deliberate erasure in Baidu’s street maps. Nick Bostrom: ‘We are like small children playing with a bomb’ | Technology | The Guardian The axes of daunting-looking graphs in his papers will be calibrated on closer inspection in terms of “endurable”, “crushing” and “hellish”. In his introduction to Superintelligence, the observation “Many of the points made in this book are probably wrong” typically leads to a footnote that reads: “I don’t know which ones.” Does he sometimes feel he is morphing into Douglas Adams? These May Be the Only People Who Want Yahoo to Thrive – Bloomberg The world’s biggest oil traders take price slumps, trade sanctions and natural disasters in stride. The decline of a vintage Internet company has them quaking. Yahoo! Inc.’s Messenger has for almost 18 years been the default communication tool for the men and women who each day move billions of dollars’ worth of crude oil and petroleum products around the planet. _9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9: the mysterious tale terrifying Reddit | Technology | The Guardian Reddit makes a fascinating platform for community-oriented fiction, and a perfect one for this slow-building and creepy invention, which fans have started calling “The Interface […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-06-05

Poemage Poemage is a visualization system for exploring the sonic topology of a poem. We define sonic topology as the complex structures formed via the interaction of sonic patterns — words connected through some sonic or linguistic resemblance — across the space of the poem. Poemage was developed at the University of Utah as part of an ongoing, highly exploratory collaboration between data visualization experts and poets/poetry scholars. Additional details are provided in the companion paper [to appear in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics]. anypixel.js AnyPixel.js is an open-source software and hardware library that makes it possible to use the web to create big, unusual, interactive displays out of all kinds of things. Anyone can fork the code and the schematics to create their own display at any scale. h/t Andrew I


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-05-29

New York Mets complain to MLB about Los Angeles Dodgers’ use of electronic device The Dodgers did not deny using something similar to a global positioning system (GPS), or a laser range finder similar to what might be used during a round of golf, to establish points on the outfield, but flatly denied that electronic assistance is used during games. Blind pencil seller | Library of Congress Blind pencil seller We R Cute Shoplifters  | GOOD Unicorn-Lift actually discovered the community through an anti-lifting post, written by someone enraged by the existence of the “shoplifting fandom.” She showed Barbie, and the pair found themselves drawn into the Liftblr world. They wanted to be part of it and earn a “lift” title. The only way to do that was to steal something. Unicorn-Lift, also 15 years old, hit the local Wal-Mart. Barbie found herself at the Dollar Tree. Shannon Conners: A Lifetime of Personal Data | Quantified SelfQuantified Self Not content to let her data be incomplete, she has used novel sources for filling out her data sets, like going through her baby books for weight check-ins. Having a picture of her data that is comprehensive gives her a unique view. By adding annotations of major life events, she can see the vicissitudes of life reflected in her data.


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-05-22

New Study Finds Citizen Scientists Can Be Very Accurate | Mental Floss A new analysis of the work of these citizen scientists shows that trusting untrained strangers with scientific data isn’t a terrible idea. As the study in Conservation Biology notes, overall, volunteers classified 98 percent of the images accurately, based on a comparison with expert answers.  dy/dan » Blog Archive » The Difference Between Sketching and Graphing Desmos just added sketching into its Activity Builder. That was the result of months of collaboration between our design, engineering, and teaching teams. That was also the result of our conviction that informal mathematical understanding is underrepresented in math classes and massively underrepresented in computer-based mathematics classes. We want to help students express their mathematical ideas and get feedback on those ideas, especially the ones that are informal and under development. That’s why we built sketch before multiple choice, for example. I’m stating this commitment publicly, hoping that one or more of you will help us live up to it. ITP ITP is a two-year graduate program located in the Tisch School of the Arts whose mission is to explore the imaginative use of communications technologies — how they might augment, improve, and bring delight and art into people’s lives. Perhaps the best way to describe us is as a Center for […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-05-15

How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist — Medium This is far more than “technology” . . . The “most empowering” menu is different than the menu that has the most choices. But when we blindly surrender to the menus we’re given, it’s easy to lose track of the difference: growth & development – gangster disciples 12. HOW MANY STEPS TO GANGSTA CITY? 63 13. HOW MANY BACK? 36 WHY? YOU ARE LOOKING IN A MIRROR. 14. WHAT’S UNDER THE DRAGON’S RIGHT FOOT? A 6-POINT STAR 15. HOW DO YOU KILL THE DRAGON? WITH A BLUE SWORD 16. WHERE IS GANGSTA CITY LOCATED? IN THE SKY BEYOND THE NORTH STAR 17. WHATCHA CLAIMING? 63 IGD OR 63 BGD Programming Doesn’t Require Talent or Even Passion — Medium * I actually hate programming, but I love solving problems. * There are people who actually like programming. I don’t understand why they like programming. * I’m not a real programmer. I throw together things until it works then I move on. The real programmers will say “Yeah it works but you’re leaking memory everywhere. Perhaps we should fix that.” I’ll just restart Apache every 10 requests. To train future ed-tech leaders, higher ed needs new discipline, some say “The report also called for colleges to train […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-05-08

Encouraging the Impulse to Annotate – Todd’s Brain Glossing with social media involves the creation of conversational “layers” which adhere to the original text and produce a richer cultural artifact so that the original text is not obscured, but enhanced. Gloss suggests the multiple veneers that adolescents create to make texts their own. Glossing also denotes the slipperiness of the online world—the Internet being a frictionless distribution system. A Video Game That Tailors Its Terrors to Your Anxiety “Affectiva’s emotion-sensing software watches the player’s facial expressions for signs of emotional distress. The heart rate sensors, on the other hand, pick up indications of physiological distress.” So, in a way, it’s a different experience, and you could combine both for an even more responsive game. In Oracle v. Google, a Nerd Subculture Is on Trial | Motherboard “The G part stands for GNU?” Alsup asked in disbelief. “Yes,” said Schwartz on the stand. “That doesn’t make any sense,” said the 71-year-old Clinton appointee. Introduction :: Eloquent JavaScript There will be times when reading this book feels terribly frustrating. If you are new to programming, there will be a lot of new material to digest. Much of this material will then be combined in ways that require you to make additional connections. It is up to you to make the necessary effort. When you […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-05-01

BBC – Future – Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard The numbers of the dead on Facebook are growing fast. By 2012, just eight years after the platform was launched, 30 million users with Facebook accounts had died. That number has only gone up since. Some estimates claim more than 8,000 users die each day. At some point in time, there will be more dead Facebook users than living ones. Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard. RetroFab: A Design Tool for Retrofitting Physical Interfaces using Actuators, Sensors and 3D Printing | Autodesk Research RetroFab, an end-to-end design and fabrication environment that allows non-experts to retrofit physical interfaces. SVG beyond mere shapes – OpenVis talk really nice work and in reveal js and on github Ocean Fleets Ltd. 1974/75 – Context is Half the Work The conflict adversely affected Levantis’ relationship with the rest of the crew. Reflecting on the whole experience, a representative of Ocean Fleets said that the presence of an artist was indeed well received, but had no lasting effect on the company, noting: “If we had wanted some kind of sociologist aboard, I’d have hired a sociologist.” Making work into an artform | Little AtomsArtist Placemennt Group In 1966, whilst working as a part-time lecturer at Central Saint Martins School of Art, he […]


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-04-24

The Lost Wanderers — Anthropology and Algorithms — Medium Neurath condemns the third wanderer for his “pseudo-rationalist” pretensions: in the interest of appearing rational, he has forced a conclusion out of insufficient evidence “on the basis of inadequate premises of whose deficiencies he is unaware.” Even worse, because he thinks he has decided rationally, he is supremely confident in his decision, even though it is no more justified than any other. The hero of the story for Neurath is wanderer number four, who recognizes the limits of her rationality and supplements it with an auxiliary motive—an arbitrary aid to making decisions among options that, rationally speaking, are all equivalent.


Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-04-17

The powerful hacker culture ~ Stephen Downes If you want progress, Lemire argues, “you need people who thrive when they solve hard practical problems.” Hackers thrive by getting something done. “And once it is done, academics will take the credit.” – h/t Downes Harvard. I Mean, Really. | HESA The largest ever university capital campaign was concluded in 2011 at Stanford University, which raised $6.2 billion.  Naturally, when Harvard launched its campaign in 2013, it set a target of $6.5 billion ($8.1 billion Canadian), of which it raised $2.8 billion during the “quiet” phase.  Last week the Crimson broke the story that the $6.5 billion target had been reached.  The University declined to comment, noting that it only announces updates every October, but if true this means that with two years to go, the campaign is on track to raise something on the order of $10 billion by the time it finishes in 2018. elnuevomuseo.org | MUSEUM Nuevo Museo de Arte Contempora?neo (NuMu) is the first and only contemporary art museum in Guatemala, dedicated exclusively to supporting, exhibiting, and documenting contemporary art. Founded in 2012, NuMu is an artist-run space, co- founded and directed by artists Jessica Kaire? and Stefan Benchoam.