Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

  • “As described by Dinets et al. (2013), Mugger crocodiles Crocodylus palustris in India and American alligators Alligator mississippiensis in the USA have both been observed to lie, partially submerged, beneath egret and heron colonies with sticks balanced across their snouts. Birds approach to collect the sticks for use in nest building and… well, let’s just say that it doesn’t end well for the birds. If the crocodylians really are using the sticks as bait to attract their bird prey, this is tool use, since the sticks are objects that are being employed for a specific function.”

    tags: animal crocodile tools tool science adaptation weekly

  • “More than a technique, PCR is a concept, that enables molecular biologists to think in new ways of their object of study, DNA, to ask genes new questions. Opening the way to new experiments, it literally frees the imagination. Some even use PCR machines as fridges. After all a thermocycler is nothing but an intelligent heating and cooling block. It can be set on 4ºC for 48 hours, to conserve the result of an experiment over the week-end.

    How meaning comes to technology: PCR at 30 “More than a technique, PCR is a concept, that enables molecular bio… http://t.co/UGp2ZxGu86

    — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) November 30, 2013

    tags: IFTTT Twitter weekly technology pcr imagination culture tweet

  • “TED videos, often seasoned with cheery platitudes, become viral for the same reason that grumpy cat pictures do. They don’t ask us to think critically — just to enjoy, or be amused and enlightened without the time-consuming labor of skepticism and doubt clouding our clicks. Why do we want to share these stories? Because in some sense they are not open to interpretation. You don’t have to worry whether your friends will wonder why you shared this – it’s obvious.

    The same goes for viral journalism on the other side of my chart. These stories, like explainers, how-to guides, Mythbusters-style debunkery, and truth-telling investigative journalism, are in some ways the opposite of a stupid video or a LOLcat. They are about truth, rather than amusement. But in fact, they go viral for exactly the same reason LOLcats do. They are not open to interpretation.”

    “Most of all, we don’t want to say something that we didn’t intend. And that is the danger with any story that falls into the valley of ambiguity. We can’t be sure how people will take it. We don’t want to risk our reputations on a story that can be taken more than one way.”

    Viral Journalism and the Valley of Ambiguity “TED videos, often seasoned with cheery platitudes, become viral f… http://t.co/60vkB2saF7

    — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) November 30, 2013

    tags: IFTTT Twitter truth lies black white journalism ambiguity weekly tweet nuance

  • “Although photographing abandoned buildings is a rarified hobby, urban explorers, who number about 20,000 globally, have created online forums devoted to the sights of history’s waste and the stories we construct around them. Sigmund Freud said the psychoanalyst acts as an archaeologist, unearthing buried memories. When they surface, the new facts might conflict with the old ones, but they form a new narrative we have to face.

    Ruin porn resonates with us today because it is an unmediated experience in a mediated culture. We experience the past directly, not through a book, museum, TV, or newspaper. The old and decayed buildings are not cleaned up or packaged, frozen as time capsules. They poke through the patina of tourism; there are no postcards here. History is present in our minds, stirring our memories. We are alive in the ruins.”

    Capturing the “Ruin Porn” of Berlin – Issue 7: Waste – Nautilus “Although photographing abandoned buildings is … http://t.co/yKDzqRitPJ

    — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) November 30, 2013

    tags: IFTTT Twitter photography weekly ruins freud archaeology socialmedia narrative tweet media history

  • “Chaim, it turned out, was Chaim Pikarski, an Orthodox Jewish man with a wispy red beard who seemed amused at my attempt to understand his business. He also knew his Hipe speaker would appeal to me, because that insight–knowing what people are searching for on Amazon–is at the core of what he does. He has an entire team of people who read reviews on Amazon, looking for moments when people say, “I wish this speaker were rechargeable.” Pikarski then makes a rechargeable version. Hipe exists, in essence, because enough people think like me. It’s a profitable trick: C&A Marketing does “in the nine figures” in sales every year, Pikarski says, and grows at about 30% annually.”

    h/t SuperPunch

    tags: weekly amazon reviews social

  • ““I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth,” the pope wrote.

    tags: weekly pope free freedom tweet

  • “Ink used for digital printing is one of the most precious substances in the world. A single gallon of ink costs over four thousand dollars and this is one reason why digitally printed books are so expensive. However, the price of a book is not calculated according to the amount of ink used in its production. For example, a Lulu book of blank pages costs an artist as much to produce as a book filled with text or large photographs. Furthermore, as the number of pages increases, the price of each page decreases. A book containing the maximum number of pages printed entirely in black ink therefore results in the lowest cost and maximum value for the artist. Combining these two features, buyers of The Black Book can do so with the guarantee that they are getting the best possible value for their money.

    The Black Book by Jean Keller (Paperback) – Lulu … “Ink used for digital printing is one of the most precious… http://t.co/pimy9XbQOp

    — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) November 28, 2013

    tags: IFTTT Twitter weekly ink value statement tweet

  • Kickstarter, copyright, Stanford, and the Beastie Boys . . . with a side of viral video and a lawsuit.

    tags: reality truth copyright weekly kickstarter

  • “Unless we talk to ourselves, we are not ourselves.”

    tags: thought voice weekly meta

  • “All of this activity would have remained under the radar, of course, all part of the silent non-human web. Except something went awry. For some reason, Olivia got stuck in a weird loop, and the metabot kept spawning spambots that chose to follow her over and over, relentlessly.

    tags: spam twitter bots weekly

  • “Twenty years ago, 11,000 people planted 11,000 trees on an artificial mountain near Ylöjärvi, Finland. The trees were planted in a mathematical pattern based on the golden section; in time they will grow into a virgin forest each tree of which has a designated custodian. The trees can change ownership, but they can never be removed from the forest, and the mountain itself can never be owned or sold.”

    tags: tree mountain math weekly golden art trees

  • This level of analysis goes into where to put food in a grocery store. Consider what would really be needed to handle education.

    tags: algorithms business numbers economist math weekly

  • tags: weekly language rules black white true false

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