Choi argues that our phones are objects unlike almost anything else we’ve ever had. He says that they’re more like prosthetic limbs than they are like wallets or even notebooks. “Our data is deeply imbued with our personhood, and leaving it unguarded leaves our persons unprotected by the Constitution,” he wrote in his paper on the intersection between the fourth and fifth amendments.
Choi argues that evidence the police pull from your phone isn’t like having a friend testify against you. And it’s not like having a bloody shirt or glove presented as evidence. It’s another thing entirely. It would be like someone was able to scan your brain and read your thoughts, and then use those thoughts against you. If we had machines that could actually read minds, and that could extract memories to play for the court, that would be more akin to our cell phones contents than anything else. And Choi thinks that should be protected, in the same way that the memories contained within our fleshy brains are protected.
And this brings us to some questions too about the future search of cell phones. Here’s an analogy: when the police get a warrant to search a house, they often have to specify which parts of the home they want to search, and justify why they want access to those rooms. And if they find evidence in parts of the home they weren’t supposed to be in, that evidence can’t be used in court. So if the police do get a warrant to search a cell phone, should that warrant be limited to certain apps or sections of the phone? Will future warrants be specifically for the photo albums, but exclude the contents of apps like Tinder or WhatsApp?
Or, to bring it back to the border situation, will border guards be given permission to look at your Twitter and Facebook profiles, but not, say, read your emails or text messages? Which rooms of your digital house are they allowed to go into without a warrant? Nobody knows, this is uncharted territory. But I suspect, with all the high profile searches happening right now, we might see a few of these cases in court soon.
Crap Futures were in New York for this year’s Interaction conference. It was uplifting, enlightening, inspiring, and exhausting. Here are the slides from our presentation - somehow we condensed 15 months of Crap Futures thinking into 20 minutes.
Of course design can be and do all of these things, but for the most part it has become so linked to the market and conspicuous consumption that it has essentially become a novelty machine.
This imposes constraints that limit the potential of design as a positive force. In this talk I’ll explore some of these constraints before suggesting ways of re-thinking them.
The first constraint is progress dogma.
Christian Schussele’s Men of Progress - a painting commissioned in 1857 to celebrate some of the key scientists and inventors that had positively altered the course of contemporary civilisation.
Despite powerful criticism - voiced over the past two centuries by Romantics such as William Blake, William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, and avant-garde provocateurs like Dada - the belief that technology will solve our problems remains largely pervasive.
According to Langdon Winner:
Not much has changed: think of Donald Trump’s 2016 meeting of leading technologists (more women than Men of Progress … but not many).
The power of Silicon Valley continues to shape all our futures: familiar utopian dreams made possible by advances in technology - smart everything, automation, robotics and so on.
Of course these things can improve people’s lives, but they can also disrupt enormously. This is the irony of the rise of Trump and the pro-leave EU campaign in the UK - the cry of immigrants taking jobs - that automation is a far more obvious threat but is rarely mentioned in these circles.
According to a 2016 report by the Eurasia Group consultancy, ‘the rise of technologists’ is one of the ‘top risks’ at present - due to the fact that ‘highly influential non-state actors from the world of technology are entering the realm of politics with unprecedented assertiveness’.
Removing the constraint of progress dogma means that we are not simply selling futures but also exploring what could go wrong - an approach we began developing in the early 2000s.
This is the audio tooth implant, developed with Jimmy Loizeau in 2001. Based on the growing ubiquity of mobile telephones we imagined that the next logical step would be for the phone to become part of our body. We pitched this as a semi-real concept at the Science Museum in London.
We sculpted a model tooth and cast it in clear resin with an old computer chip embedded in the middle.
It was broadly disseminated by the popular media - here on the front cover of Time magazine.
But this is an example of the true product here - a thoughtful and considered expert appraisal of what could go wrong - before it’s actually available. This aims to facilitate a more responsible approach to the technological future.
The second constraint is means and ends.
In the 1920s Paul Mazur of Lehman Brothers made the following statement, essentially signalling the rise of conspicuous consumption and the worship of gadgets. Designers were (and still are) complicit in this process.
Albert Borgmann has another way of describing it through his device paradigm: things are inseparable from their context: we engage and interact with them in their worlds. Devices, on the other hand, unburden us of their contexts through the operation of background machinery; the more advanced the technology, the more invisible or concealed the machinery. Borgmann used the fireplace as an example of a thing - it provides a focal point for the household, it links people to local terrains through the gathering of firewood and demands an idea of how much wood is required to get through the winter.
In contrast the central heating system disburdens us of all these other elements as the means become invisible - controlled and managed by others. Designers and consumers alike have become obsessed with the end - glossy glamorous products - whilst the systems behind become increasingly opaque.
This pathway essentially leads to automation - devices satisfying all of our needs as efficiently as possible through techniques such as machine learning, prediction algorithms and so on. Completely invisible, intangible, and operated by others.
Jean Baudrillard was already describing the consequences of automation in the 1960’s.
Removing the constraint of end focus encourages the designer to think beyond the generic solutions and objects of so-called desire to re-engage with local systems - making and materials.
This is an open-source hardware vacuum cleaner designer by Royal College of Art graduate Tom Lynch. All elements sourced or made locally and all documented on the project’s wiki - a fully functional product for under $50. The challenge is to combine the maker ideology with good design - the competition is strong as consumers are programmed to desire sexy products.
The OpenStructures WaterBoiler, originally designed and composed by Jesse Howard in collaboration with Thomas Lommée, provides some inspiration as to how this new aesthetic might be achieved.
Constraint No.3: Future Nudge We can only design what the product could realistically evolve into.
The economist Robert Heilbroner described the way technology (and therefore technological products) evolve - this means that what comes next will be similar to what came before.
The car is a good example. Travel is instrumentalised as we focus on the object rather than the act. It iterates in small steps made possible by advances in specific areas.
This constrains us to design only what the product could conceivably evolve into. Smart products, for example, are usually existing products simply updated with smart technology.
Mobile telephones provide another good example - 7 phones in 7 years - each a small advancement on the previous. Typical progression is derived from Moore’s law - smaller, more powerful, more efficient (more sales, revenue, etc.).
Re-constraining future nudge allows us to imagine what might happen should we step out of the lineage - to focus for example on how we might design for quality experiences.
The Iso-phone was developed in 2003 to re-think the telephone from the perspective of qualitative experience rather than efficiency.
The concept used sensory deprivation theory to a facilitate a reduction in sensory input - the only thing the wearer experiences is the voice of someone else arriving from somewhere else in the world. Here’s a short video of the project:
The final constraint is Infrastructure.
I’m going to explore the subject of energy, but infrastructural and legacy constraints inform almost everything we do and everything we design - from food systems to transport, manufacturing to entertainment.
Tesla’s invention of AC current afforded the building of huge power stations built in the countryside, generating power through the burning of fossil fuels.
Radially distributed across nations via grid systems …
Arriving magically at our houses via sockets in the walls. These sockets and the plugs that are inserted into them dictate how all electrical products are used and how all products are designed.
With my Crap Futures co-author Julian Hanna we have been thinking about how to re-constrain energy infrastructure on our home island of Madeira, based on the implementation of renewables.
As a place with ample sun, wind, rain, and sea it would be easy to assume that renewable approaches to energy would be thriving in Madeira. What you see when you fly over the island supports that notion: vast banks of solar photovoltaic panels line several of the exposed hillsides; wind farms are exposed to the full force of the gales blowing in from the Atlantic.
However, beneath the optimistic surface lies a darker reality.
The (oversimplified) problem is this:
Solar PVs only generate energy while the sun shines. Wind farms generate energy when the wind blows. The wind is unpredictable and the sun shines during the day when most people are at work, meaning that energy cannot realistically be consumed in real time. The only viable option at the moment is to sell energy back to the grid; unfortunately this conflicts with the power company’s business model. So while incentives seem to abound, the reality is that these incentives are diminishing. Portugal practices an instantaneous net-metering scheme, meaning that the energy generated by the PV system has to be consumed at the same instant that it is produced to be considered self-consumption. The grid injection tariff is four times lower than the consumption tariff, forcing solar producers to self-consume and not inject any solar power into the grid. As things stand, users of renewables still rely on the grid during dark or windless periods, and therefore utility owners argue - with some reason - that they should pay for grid upkeep.
While the infrastructure battle rages on, what else can be done?
By thinking about what’s beyond the wall - local contexts, landscapes, materials, skills, culture - it becomes possible to develop bespoke solutions. In Madeira that means cliffs and cliff-side communities. Many Madeiran communities are built on cliff-sides with drops ranging from a common 7-8 metres in the centre of Funchal to the 780 metre Cabo Girão on the south coast. These provide one solution to the storage issues that problematise solar panels - gravity batteries. The aim is to use locally sourced and inexpensive parts with minimal complex making.
We’re working on a book of 100 alternative energy ideas …
From small operational prototypes such as this low power gravity battery - exploiting the vertical nature of the island - to more spectacular, ambitious, even crazy concepts such as this huge series of elevators in our capital city of Funchal.
Inspired by the Neo-Gothic splendour of the Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon (1902):
Here’s a more serious prototype that we’re currently testing.
All parts are sourced or made locally. Solar energy lifts the mass during the daytime, storing it as potential energy. Allowing the mass to drop releases the energy when it is needed.
We have a mass - in this case around 15kg that rotates a pulley as it falls. This turns the shaft of a DC motor via a gear box, increasing the revolutions.
And the latest iteration: using a locally found scrap motorcycle engine as the gearbox, ready-made and super efficient, minimises complex making.
Finally, a video of the prototype - it’s a bit rough and ready as we only tested it last week (and I edited it on the plane over).
The best aspect of this design is the tangible relationship with energy that it affords. Turning up the volume makes the mass fall faster, reducing the time available to listen to the music. In the next steps we’re planning to boil a kettle and toast some bread …
Thanks for listening. Find out more by reading the rest of our blog.
*What a fun thing to admire from a suitably huge distance
The way Trump performs greatness, as he understands it, is simply by winning. In order to win, he needs adversaries. This means his administration will be a constant pageant of generating adversaries for the sake of having them. So that then he can try to diminish and defeat them. And be a winner. And thereby be great.
There will never be any calm in this administration, any unity. Trump’s conception of greatness depends on the production of targets for his displays of domination.
From his stint as a consultant he learned something valuable, however. It seemed to him that a big part of a consultant’s job was to feign total certainty about uncertain things. In a job interview with McKinsey, they told him that he was not certain enough in his opinions. “And I said it was because I wasn’t certain. And they said, ‘We’re billing clients five hundred grand a year, so you have to be sure of what you are saying.’” The consulting firm that eventually hired him was forever asking him to exhibit confidence when, in his view, confidence was a sign of fraudulence. They’d asked him to forecast the price of oil for clients, for instance. “And then we would go to our clients and tell them we could predict the price of oil. No one can predict the price of oil. It was basically nonsense.”
A lot of what people did and said when they “predicted” things, Morey now realized, was phony: pretending to know things rather than actually knowing things. There were a great many interesting questions in the world to which the only honest answer was, “It’s impossible to know for sure.” “What will the price of oil be in ten years?” was such a question. That didn’t mean you gave up trying to find an answer; you just couched that answer in probabilistic terms.
That’s the power of parametric design,” he says. “Once all of that is in place, I hit play and it creates a million cells, all different and all based on these parameters. I have 100 percent control over setting up the algorithm, and then I have no more control.
NextMuni data is transmitted via AT&T’s wireless cell phone network. As Muni was the first transit agency to adopt the system, the NextMuni infrastructure installed in 2002 only had the capacity to use a 2G wireless network – a now outdated technology which AT&T is deactivating nationwide. As you may have noticed, we’ve displayed messages on our NextMuni signs in recent months to communicate about upgrades to them.
Simply put, the deactivation work that affects our vehicles started sooner than expected and outpaced our ongoing upgrade of all Muni vehicles to a new communications and monitoring system.
That means Muni vehicles that haven’t been upgraded can’t transmit the data that allows NextMuni screens to predict their arrival. At this point, that’s nearly 70 percent of Muni vehicles, including all Metro trains.
In 1491 , Charles Mann writes that “Europeans tended to manage land by breaking it into fragments for farmers and herders. Indians often worked on such a grand scale that the scope of their ambition can be hard to grasp.”
Indians primary tool for reshaping their environment was fire. During the Civil War, American troops in Virginia’s woods could barely see each other through the dense underbrush. But when Europeans first arrived, they marveled that they could ride a horse straight through a forest. The difference was that Indians had once cleared out the underbrush with fires so large that the earliest colonists watched the burns like they were fireworks .
Not every part of North America was transformed in this way, but in many areas, Mann writes, “Indians retooled whole ecosystems to grow bumper crops of elk, deer, and bison…. Millennia of exuberant burning shaped the plains into vast buffalo farms.”
Much of what European explorers saw as rich, untamed wilderness was actually what Mann calls “the world’s largest garden.”
“It was an altered landscape,” Dr. George Milner explains. “But Europeans didn’t recognize it as such.”
*Moral leader attempted to fight stupidity; is already in jail and soon to be hanged
We were urged by everyone to hire a big advertising agency and do traditional posters. ‘When can we discuss our posters?’ I was asked constantly by people who would then try to explain to me their creative ideas (‘we need another Labour Isn’t Working, Dominic, I’ve got an idea for a picture of the globe and arrows…’). One of the few reliable things we know about advertising amid the all-pervasive charlatanry is that, unsurprisingly, adverts are more effective the closer to the decision moment they hit the brain. Instead of spending a fortune on an expensive agency (with 15% going to them out of ‘controlled expenditure’) and putting up posters to be ‘part of the national conversation’ weeks or months before the vote, we decided to 1) hire extremely smart physicists to consider everything from first principles, 2) put almost all our money into digital (~98%), 3) hold the vast majority of our budget back and drop it all right at the end with money spent on those adverts that experiments had shown were most effective (internal code name ‘Waterloo’). When things are digital you can be more empirical and control the timing. The world of advertising agencies and PR companies were sure we had screwed up because they did not see what we were doing. (Tim Bell told everybody we were doomed because we hadn’t hired one of his companies.) This points to another important issue – it is actually hard even for very competent and determined people to track digital communication accurately, and it is important that the political media is not set up to do this. There was not a single report anywhere (and very little curiosity) on how the official Leave campaign spent 98% of its marketing budget. There was a lot of coverage of a few tactical posters.
Mary Robinson: On the expectations that people would live up to, what would the new oath for immigrants potentially do?
Dame Louise Casey: It is in the same territory, really. Again, we feel that there needs to be a greater emphasis on this. Rights and wrongs of immigration are for other people to judge, but what is clear is that we ought to be more about integration—we should have been and need to be.
I hope the Chairman will not mind my saying this, but we were jointly in a meeting in his constituency. I felt at the meeting that we were kind of explaining the rules of the game to some of the people there who were from eastern Europe, who had never really been engaged with in that way before. It was with a local MP, and they had me, but I thought it was interesting that they said nobody had talked to them about this. They arrived and didn’t get jobs when they thought they were getting jobs. They hadn’t been treated that well, as it happens, and on we go from there. But also, nobody had talked to them about our way of life here, or about when to put rubbish out.
Let us take a real detail that would be a real issue for a local authority: if you put rubbish out on the wrong day, it costs a lot of money. So there were basics that we had not even run through. Nobody told them to queue. Nobody told them to be nice and all those sorts of things. We hadn’t been on it. As part of the package, that would be no bad thing.
Circus Tree: Six individual sycamore trees were shaped, bent, and braided to form this.
Actually pretty easy. Trees don’t reject tissue from other trees in the same family. You bend the tree to another tree when it is a sapling, scrape off the bark on both trees where they touch, add some damp sphagnum moss around them to keep everything slightly moist and bind them together. Then wait a few years- The trees will have grown together.
You can use a similar technique to graft a lemon branch or a lime branch or even both- onto an orange tree and have one tree that has all three fruits.
As a biologist I can clearly state that plants are fucking weird and you should probably be slightly afraid of them.
On that note! At the university (UBC) located in town, the Agriculture students were told by their teacher that a tree flipped upside down would die. So they took an excavator and flipped the tree upside down. And it’s still growing. But the branches are now the roots, and the roots are now these super gnarly looking branches. Be afraid.
But Vi, how can you mention that and NOT post a picture? D:
I am both amazed and horrified of nature as we all should be
I love how trees are like “fuck it, I’ll deal” at literally everything. Forest fire? Cool, my seeds’ll finally grow. Upside down? Branches, suck, roots, leave. What’s this new branch? Eh, welcome to the tree buddy.
I need to be more like tree
I continue to fear and respect out arboreal overlords.
what kind of professor did these students have that they needed to prove him wrong so badly that they literally dug up a tree, flipped it and put it back in the ground?
Sounds like y’all’ve never heard about the Tree of 40 Fruits. Well, it’s exactly as it sounds. Sam Van Aken, an artist based in New York, decided to try his hand at grafting (e.g. the process by which you attach the branches of a different tree to a host tree).
As artists are inclined to do he decided to push some limits and over the course of a few years he grafted over 40 different fruit onto the host “
including almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum varieties.”
It has a fruiting period lasting from July to October and this is what it looks like when blossoming.
Shit’s tight yo.
Also we have a group called the Guerrilla Grafters. A group who started in San Fransisco with the goal of grafting fruiting branches onto non-fruiting trees of the same type.
Most cities have fruit trees that simply don’t produce fruit because having all these would be a mess and inadvertently providing unregulated food to people comes with a lot of legal risks I suppose. These grafters seem to think otherwise and have taken it upon themselves to try and bring fruit trees back to urban areas.
Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, the annual festival of stuff not made by Apple. This year’s big themes include drones and home automation, but there’s an ocean of bizarre, obviously-nightmarish Internet of Things crapgadgetry. And they found all of it.
If you do shrink the screen, though, you get the other problem: the resolution of modern VR headsets is terrible. Text is only legible if it’s blown up fairly large, and even then, you aren’t going to be reading anything in complicated fonts or a language with an unfamiliar character set. This, more than anything else, is why I ended up with a splitting headache. It felt like reading drunk.
The first train departed Yiwu in eastern Zhejiang province on Jan. 1 and will cover more than 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) in about 18 days before reaching London, China Railway Corp. said in a statement Monday. The service, carrying garments, bags and suitcases among other items, will pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France.
“Look at that. I haven’t even hit a button and it’s automatically populated the page with answers to the query: ‘Do blacks commit more crimes?’ And look, I could have been going to ask all sorts of questions. ‘Do blacks excel at sports’, or anything. And it’s only given me two choices and these aren’t simply search-based or the most searched terms right now. Google used to use that but now they use an algorithm that looks at other things. Now, let me look at Bing and Yahoo. I’m on Yahoo and I have 10 suggestions, not one of which is ‘Do black people commit more crime?’
“And people don’t question this. Google isn’t just offering a suggestion. This is a negative suggestion and we know that negative suggestions depending on lots of things can draw between five and 15 more clicks. And this all programmed. And it could be programmed differently.”
Extra spending on reducing mental illness would be self-financing, the researchers added, because it would be recovered by the government through higher employment and increased tax receipts together with a reduction in NHS costs from fewer GP visits and hospital A&E admissions.
Add to that, on ISPs specifically, an incoming UK law is set to place an obligation on Internet service providers to collect and store website access data for all customers for a full year — as part of government attempts to expand state security agency and policing powers, under the controversial Investigatory Powers bill.
Should that requirement pass into law this year as intended, UK ISPs are likely to become an even more attractive target for hackers given the additional sensitive data they will be legally required to store, as indeed critics of the bill have warned — including the former UK ICO.
Regardless of the reason that Dyn suffered the attack, the incident impressed cyber-criminal communities and it justifiably inspired fearful discussions in cybersecurity and legislative communities.
In his written testimony before the Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce, Bruce Schneier stated,“In many ways, the Dyn attack was benign. Some websites went offline for a while. No one was killed. No property was destroyed. But computers have permeated our lives. The Internet now affects the world in a direct physicalmanner. The Internet of Things is bringing computerization and connectivity to many tens of millions of devices worldwide. We are connecting cars, drones, medical devices, and home thermostats. What was once benign is now dangerous.”
In the wake of theattack on Dyn, MalwareTech.com setup a Twitter account (@MiraiAttacks) that live tweets Mirai attack instructions from honeypot systems. The automated live tweets include the botnet used, the type of traffic, the duration of the attack, the target IP address, and the port targeted. At the time of publication of this report, at least 70 distinct Mirai botnets are monitored by the accountand the number of adopters increases daily…
When the botnet named
Mirai first appeared in September, it announced its existence with
dramatic flair. After flooding a prominent security journalist’s website
with traffic from zombie Internet of Things devices, it managed to make much of the internet unavailable
for millions of people by overwhelming Dyn, a company that provides a
significant portion of the US internet’s backbone. Since then, the
number attacks have only increased. What’s increasingly clear is that
Mirai is a powerfully disruptive force. What’s increasingly not? How to
Mirai is a type of malware that automatically finds Internet of
Things devices to infect and conscripts them into a botnet—a group of
computing devices that can be centrally controlled. From there this IoT
army can be used to mount distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks
in which a firehose of junk traffic floods a target’s servers with
malicious traffic. In just the past few weeks, Mirai disrupted internet
service for more than 900,000 Deutsche Telekom customers in Germany, and infected almost 2,400 TalkTalk routers in the UK. This week, researchers published evidence that 80 models of Sony cameras are vulnerable to a Mirai takeover.
These attacks have been enabled both by the massive army of modems
and webcams under Mirai’s control, and the fact that a hacker known as
“Anna-senpai” elected to open-source its code in September. While
there’s nothing particularly novel about Mirai’s software, it has proven
itself to be remarkably flexible and adaptable.
As a result, hackers can develop different strains of Mirai that can
take over new vulnerable IoT devices and increase the population (and
compute power) Mirai botnets can draw on.
“It’s accelerating because there’s a wide-open, unprotected landscape
that people can go to,” says Chris Carlson, vice president of product
management at Qualys. “It’s a gold rush to capture these devices for
Internet of Bots
The rise of Internet of Things malware is reminiscent of the viruses,
worms, and intense email spam that plagued early internet users. Most
PCs weren’t adequately secured, and companies racing to join the dot-com
bubble didn’t necessarily understand the importance of internet
security. The same is true now, but with webcams and routers instead of
What’s distinctly different in this tech generation, though, is how
users interact with infected devices. An infected PC often malfunctions,
slows down, or notifies users (either through operating system security
alerts or through the malware itself in the case of something like
ransomware). All of this encourages people to act. It’s standard
practice to install some sort of security software on enterprise PCs,
and anti-virus measures are popular at home as well.
IoT devices like routers, though, are workhorses that are meant to
function indefinitely, with minimal direct user interaction. One reason
Mirai is so difficult to contain is that it lurks on devices, and
generally doesn’t noticeably affect their performance. There’s no reason
the average user would ever think that their webcam—or more likely, a small business’s—is
potentially part of an active botnet. And even if it were, there’s not
much they could do about it, having no direct way to interface with the
“The early 2000s web security called and they want their lack of
security back,” says Rick Holland, vice president of strategy at the
cybersecurity defense firm Digital Shadows. “It’s not like this
population of total vulnerable devices is going to be going down. It’s
going to be increasing.”
But Mirai is the main go-to for now because it’s easily accessible and adjustable, with different strains
for different campaigns. Holland says that Digital Shadows researchers
have observed a growing community of Mirai users asking for help (even
bad actors need tech support sometimes!) and offering each other tips
Perhaps it’s a bit premature to start that meme, but you can see it coming. Gasoline stations began offering self-service pumps in the late sixties. The first self-checkout for groceries was patented in 1984. In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com and started selling books online. In the early 2000′s, self-checkout was catching on, not just in grocery stores, but hardware stores and big-box retailers. Borders, the international brick and mortar bookseller that operated around 700 stores and employed nearly 20,000 people in the U.S. alone, filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Now Amazon has announced Amazon Go.
It’s not just happening in retail. McDonald’s has announced a new restaurant format in which you will order your food at an automated kiosk. Uber has autonomous vehicles taxiing passengers right here in Pittsburgh, and their self-driving truck made its first delivery—50,000 beers—this past October. Foxconn, the Chinese company that supplies the likes of Apple and Samsung, replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots back in May.
This is more than just a trend. Artificial intelligence and automation technologies are becoming more capable and more affordable at an accelerated rate. A report published by Deloitte and Oxford University predicts that 35% of UK jobs will be at risk over the next 20 years.
Forget about minimum wage, job retraining programs, immigrants, and outsourcing for a minute, and consider this: what do we do when there just aren’t jobs for everyone? What happens when the majority of the population is unemployed, not because they are unskilled or uneducated, but because they are unnecessary—because machines are far more efficient, reliable, and affordable? Capitalism just may not work anymore. When do we stop trying to figure out which jobs are future-proof and start planning for the world we see represented in Star Trek?
I certainly don’t want to live in the alternative.
Fugate was in his office with state meteorologist Ben Nelson and members of the Florida National Guard, color-coding infrastructure loss on a map — green for operating, yellow for affected, and red for destroyed — and the group decided to take a look at some of the damage, and try to find a meal.
“They went to a Waffle House and noticed they had a limited menu, with nonperishable items,” Alexa Lopez, FEMA’s press secretary, told me. “The next day, they were driving around and they went to a different Waffle House, and the same thing happened, a limited menu.”
So, she said, the group was inspired first to rank Waffle Houses in the same way: green for fully operational, yellow for a limited menu and red for closed. “Which is pretty bad, because Waffle House is always open,” Lopez added. And, second, to use those observations as a proxy for how much a disaster disrupts a community. Fugate has since been quoted as saying: “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”
More than 900,000 customers of German ISP Deutsche Telekom (DT) were knocked offline this week after their Internet routers got infected by a new variant of a computer worm known as Mirai. The malware wriggled inside the routers via a newly discovered vulnerability in a feature that allows ISPs to remotely upgrade the firmware on the devices. But the new Mirai malware turns that feature off once it infests a device, complicating DT’s cleanup and restoration efforts. (((That’s pretty good, eh? Sneak in and lock the door shut behind you!)))
Security experts say the multi-day outage is a sign of things to come as cyber criminals continue to aggressively scour the Internet of Things (IoT) for vulnerable and poorly-secured routers, Internet-connected cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs). Once enslaved, the IoT devices can be used and rented out for a variety of purposes — from conducting massive denial-of-service attacks capable of knocking large Web sites offline to helping cybercriminals stay anonymous online.
An internet-wide scan conducted by Shodan.io suggests there may be more than five million devices vulnerable to the exploit that caused problems for so many DT customers this week.
This new variant of Mirai builds on malware source code released at the end of September. That leak came a little more a week after a botnet based on Mirai was used in a record-sized attack that caused KrebsOnSecurity to go offline for several days. Since then, dozens of new Mirai botnets have emerged, all competing for a finite pool of vulnerable IoT systems that can be infected.
Until this week, all Mirai botnets scanned for the same 60+ factory default usernames and passwords used by millions of IoT devices. But the criminals behind one of the larger Mirai botnets apparently decided to add a new weapon to their arsenal, incorporating exploit code published earlier this month for a security flaw in specific routers made by Zyxel and Speedport.
These companies act as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that specialize in building DSL modems that ISPs then ship to customers. The vulnerability exists in communications protocols supported by the devices that ISPs can use to remotely manage all of the customer-premises routers on their network.
According to BadCyber.com, which first blogged about the emergence of the new Mirai variant, part of the problem is that Deutsche Telekom does not appear to have followed the best practice of blocking the rest of the world from remotely managing these devices as well.
“The malware itself is really friendly as it closes the vulnerability once the router is infected,” BadCyber noted. “It performs [a] command which should make the device ‘secure,’ until next reboot. The first one closes port 7547 and the second one kills the telnet service, making it really hard for the ISP to update the device remotely.” [For the Geek Factor 5 readership out there, the flaw stems from the way these routers parse incoming traffic destined for Port 7547 using communications protocols known as TR-069]. (((Good thing that all 5 million Germans with routers in their houses are hip to that. Blame the lazy user, that’s my philosophy.)))
DT has been urging customers who are having trouble to briefly disconnect and then reconnect the routers, a process which wipes the malware from the device’s memory. The devices should then be able to receive a new update from DT that plugs the vulnerability.
That is, unless the new Mirai strain gets to them first. (((Nice further twist to the tale.))) Johannes Ullrich, dean of security research at The SANS Technology Institute, said this version of Mirai aggressively scans the Internet for new victims, and that SANS’s research has shown vulnerable devices are compromised by the new Mirai variant within five to ten minutes of being plugged into the Internet.
Ullrich said the scanning activity conducted by the new Mirai variant is so aggressive that it can create hangups and crashes even for routers that are are not vulnerable to this exploit.
“Some of these devices went down because of the sheer number of incoming connections” from the new Mirai variant, Ullrich said. “They were listening on Port 7547 but were not vulnerable to this exploit and were still overloaded with the number of connections to that port.” (((It’s an accidental DDOS created by guys who want to turn your machine into a DDOS machine.)))
Allison Nixon, director of security research at Flashpoint, said this latest Mirai variant appears to be an attempt to feed fresh victims into one of the larger and more established Mirai botnets out there today….
We recently spoke to one of Uber’s earliest London drivers, who declined to be named. He told us that to survive he had to forge a driver syndicate which collectively owns the underlying car capital. With more drivers than cars to hand, the cars can be fully utilised 24 hours a day improving the return on capital invested. To economise further, the drivers take turns with shifts, step-in for each other if and when they need leave and recruit temporary staff if and when they find themselves under staffed. They also mutualise the costs and the insurance. Yet, even then, he said “it’s really hard to make the economics work” and that “when Uber increased its margin from 20 per cent to 28 per cent it knocked our profitability in half”.
What this amounts to, of course, is the re-constitution of the very economies of scale which Uber inadvertently demolished when it went about its atomising driver process. But if a quasi professional corporate structure like this can’t make ends meet within the Uber network, what hope does any single driver have? Uber is surviving on plain old worker naivety.
That deposition — 170 transcribed pages — offers extraordinary insights into Trump’s relationship with the truth. Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did.
Hundreds of dwellings - all painted in a vibrant red color - make up Larung Gar, the world’s largest Buddhist institute. The settlement is located in a remote valley in Tibet and contains a population that has grown to approximately 20,000 people since its founding in 1980. In recent years, the Chinese government has started to systemically demolish homes and force thousands of occupants out of Larung Gar, claiming the settlement is too crowded and unsafe. They have also closed off the area to all foreigners. Many Tibetans fear the erosion of their language, traditions, and ways of worship in the midst of these incursions by the Chinese government.
And yet Obama dismissed the notion that the Republicans had captured the issue of inequality. “The Republicans don’t care about that issue,” he said. “There’s no pretense that anything that they’re putting forward, any congressional proposals that are going to come forward, will reduce inequality… . What I do concern myself with, and the Democratic Party is going to have to concern itself with, is the fact that the confluence of globalization and technology is making the gap between rich and poor, the mismatch in power between capital and labor, greater all the time. And that’s true globally.
“The prescription that some offer, which is stop trade, reduce global integration, I don’t think is going to work,” he went on. “If that’s not going to work, then we’re going to have to redesign the social compact in some fairly fundamental ways over the next twenty years. And I know how to build a bridge to that new social compact. It begins with all the things we’ve talked about in the past—early-childhood education, continuous learning, job training, a basic social safety net, expanding the earned-income tax credit, investments in infrastructure—which, by definition, aren’t shipped overseas. All of those things accelerate growth, give you more of a runway. But at some point, when the problem is not just Uber but driverless Uber, when radiologists are losing their jobs to A.I., then we’re going to have to figure out how do we maintain a cohesive society and a cohesive democracy in which productivity and wealth generation are not automatically linked to how many hours you put in, where the links between production and distribution are broken, in some sense. Because I can sit in my office, do a bunch of stuff, send it out over the Internet, and suddenly I just made a couple of million bucks, and the person who’s looking after my kid while I’m doing that has no leverage to get paid more than ten bucks an hour.”
Floodwatch is a Chrome extension that tracks the ads you see as you browse the internet. It offers tools to help you understand both the volume and the types of ads you’re being served during the course of normal browsing, with the goal of increasing awareness of how advertisers track your browsing behavior, build their version of your online identity, and target their ads to you as an individual. We want to assemble the largest amount of advertising data we can — and then not give it to the advertisers.
Since the Brexit vote, UK household wealth has fallen by $1.5tn. Wealth per adult has already dropped by $33,000 to $289,000 since the end of June. In fact, in US dollar terms, 406,000 people in the UK are no longer millionaires.
Some of this is really simple and it’s the thing that Mitch McConnell figured out on Day One of my Presidency, which is people aren’t paying that close attention to how Washington works,” he said. “They know there are lobbyists, special interests, gridlock; that the powerful have more influence and access than they do. And if things aren’t working, if there’s gridlock, then the only guy that they actually know is supposed to be in charge and supposed to be helping them is the President. And so the very deliberate strategy that Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party generally employed during the course of my Presidency was effective. What they understood was that, if you embraced old-fashioned dealing, trading, horse-trading, bipartisan achievement, people feel better. And, if people feel better, then they feel better about the President’s party, and the President’s party continues. And, if it feels broken, stuck, and everybody is angry, then that hurts the President or the President’s party.
a group of anonymous urban activists known as the San Francisco Transformation Agency erected a set of protected bike lanes using traffic cones. Usually such guerrilla interventions are temporary. They raise awareness but ultimately get taken down by municipal authorities. But when the same group recently (and illegally) installed a set of soft-hit posts alongside Golden Gate Park, the city reacted by moving to make the change official.
In May of 2015, I gave an opening keynote at Thingscon, an Internet of Things conference. Given that the internet’s been fucked this week largely because a million crappy IoT products got hacked, I was reminded of that fun day in Berlin. And, well, I’m not cheerful today and I have a tv script to rewrite, so: here’s the text of that keynote. See you next week. Unless 2016 comes for me too.
Here we are at the beginning of a conference about things. Which sounds vaguely like the top of an episode of COMMUNITY. Ladders 101, Advanced Breath Holding, Conference About Things. But we mean the Internet Of Things, which is the phrase we use to point at the idea of networked environments and objects. This contains the idea of “smart homes.” “Smart” is a loanword for us, one of those invasive American things, like squirrels or a preference for anal sex, that’s sneaked into English off a cargo boat and eaten the native counterpart. Smart means clever now. Smart used to mean well-dressed, back in the days where living in crappy blue jeans and a t-shirt off CafePress was a sign of concern and a cry for help rather than a uniform for an entire class.
Language has taken a turn. The term “Internet Of Things” is a desperate attempt to make a pointer for a field that barely exists yet. We do this a lot these days. We use the word “television” to point at a field of industry that doesn’t particularly use television sets anymore. We use the word “telephone” for a class of mobile devices that we very rarely use telephonically anymore. And we act like the term “Internet Of Things” makes sense for the field we’re trying to define. And, unless the modern internet was originally biological in nature, it was always an internet of things. I always got my internet out of boxes of various kinds. Didn’t you? If you think Internet of Things is a good name, did you previously obtain your connection through whalesong or echolocation? Did you pour Soylent on your Internet Lobe to get online? Did you send your packets by raven? It’s always been an internet of things, and you people have never been any good at naming stuff, and that’s how we ended up with “tweets.”
I have to confess something. The conference organisers brought me here with the specific brief to shout at you. Probably because a lot of you are too interested in building crap. Too many of you just shrug when you hear that a smarthomes service has shut down overnight. You even use the word “service” without really understanding it. You don’t really want to have to handle customers, “customer” being the word for human beings who have expressed trust in your expertise and conscientiousness using their own money. Many of you have never done time in retail, and learned the principles of delighting the customer, nor utilities, where you will never hear from a customer until something goes wrong and the victory condition is silence. There’s no dopamine hit in utilities. Don’t do utilities if you want to be loved. Don’t do retail if you can’t handle having the insanity of the human race rubbed in your face every day.
Some of you are quite relaxed right now, because you have no intent of doing either. Some of you just want to build a gadget or a process, soft launch it, get your story on Techcrunch, wrangle the thousand people you’ve gulled into buying it via Get Satisfaction dot com and wait until someone buys you out. Look around. There are people in this room who are just doing it for the exit. And, when they get it, suddenly a thousand people will discover that their lightbulbs no longer work, or they can’t heat their home, or they can’t get into their front door.
These are perhaps minor stakes, to you. And, yes, there is probably something wrong with anybody who outsources the operation of their front door to three gormless children in a Mission District startup who spend most of their seed capital on Uber and artisanal toast. They probably got the idea over three of those awful IPA beers from Portland. Uber for front doors! Dude, we’re geniuses. Order more toast.
But they’re not minor stakes to the people outside this room. In order to pursue this field, you will inevitably be asking for entrance into people’s homes. You can’t just allow yourself to be invited in, and then fuck around in my fusebox for an hour, set the fridge on fire, take a shit on my floor and shrug and say “oh, well, that didn’t work out! Move fast and break things, right?” and leave. I mean, not without me murdering you and composting your body, crap t-shirt and all.
When my Internet Thing stops working, I can go downstairs, put some music on and read a book until it comes back on. When my Internet House stops working, that’s a different story. The stakes are exponentially higher than providing a web or app based service. “Buyer, beware” is a warning to the consumer about mindful purchasing, not an operating principle for a company to live by.
And, like I say, there are people in this room who don’t care. You will meet other people in the same general field who don’t care. They’re looking for the exit. And they will be the people who strangle this field in its crib. Same people who put Augmented Reality into a cellular coma for five years by using their skills to provide ways for estate agents to sell you houses. Have you noticed how the term B2B, business-to-business, has crept back after apparently dying in the bubble-burst of 2000? I did a tech conference panel in 2000 about online narrative forms – it was me and a guy from Aardman Animation – and someone stood up and said, “What are the B2B applications?” The moderator, bless him, said, no, we’re talking about storytelling. And that someone and about half the room stood up and left. That’s coming back. It’s easier than running a utility.
It’s hard. Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s hard. And Samsung and Apple and several other large corporations want in on it. On the bright side, that will give you lots of exit opportunities, and soon you could be drinking cocktails in Bali while Amazon deals with the backlash from the smart doorlock you sold them that still doesn’t work properly. And they’ll spend the money on iteration until the device either goes away or starts working properly, and the users will have to buy Amazon Prime membership for their houses. And then someone will hack your house through the buggy wifi thermostat you bought, and your house will start ordering DOWNTON ABBEY downloads and you’ll come home to find it’s 40 Celsius indoors and the sink is flooded and your fridge has been turned into a porn spambot and you’ll realise that your house is masturbating to DOWNTON ABBEY.
If you can get in the front door.
The state of the internet of house things is that most of it doesn’t work. It’s still easier to get up and operate a light switch than it is to operate a smart light from your phone, and, like most things that are interesting to me right now, special skills are still required to set most things up. And that’s an important point. If you are intending to think about and build networked home devices, they by definition are for the people who are not in this room. Nobody is going to learn to code just to operate their house lights. There is no necessary learning curve for lights. If I need electrical skills beyond plugging in a lightbulb, then I’m afraid it’s not me, it’s you. This is a traditional sticking point for the tech community, not least because there’s a traditional lack of understanding going on about how service industries work. When was the last time you ordered a coffee and the barista told you to come behind the counter and learn how to operate the coffee machines yourself because you need to understand the system in order to appreciate it? That said, this is Berlin, so that might have happened. STILL. I stand by the metaphor. As you go forward into today, be aware that people should not have to be Torvalds or Tesla to make your processes work.
You’re talking about entering people’s homes, today. That’s big. That’s complex. For most people, allowing new objects into their homes is a real decision. And if it makes living in their homes harder and more frustrating, they just toss that shit out. You all know that, because you do it too, but thinking about IOT can make you forget. And your expertise can lead you into the illusion that things that are easy for you are easy for everybody. We don’t let just anyone into our homes. We have to be convinced of their value and safety.
Imagine that we’re talking about an Internet of Homes. Let that focus you. The English word “home” comes from a proto-Germanic word that meant both home and village, and an Old Norse word that meant both home and world. Don’t be flippant about the move towards people’s homes. I’ve been flippant enough this morning for all of us. Making a world out of someone’s home is big, because their home means the world to them.
What you’re doing is big. What you’re doing is important, and we need it to work. The ideas you will bring to bear will change the way we live. This is a wonder. This may be the last thing in the current consumer technological cycle that has meaning. You are taking a position of bringing forth a future that really has only lived in science fiction, like the flying car or the jetpack, and making it concrete and wonderful and commonplace. You’re inventing an entire field and an entire way of living in private. That’s an amazing thing. When Edison iterated that tiny thing that changed the way we live, the cheap and simple mass-produced electric light bulb, people called him a wizard. He was the actual Wizard Of Menlo Park, and he turned the world on its head to the degree that, he said, henceforth “only the rich will burn candles.” You are gathered here today to do the work of wizards, and draw down a future where light switches will only be flicked by the servants of the wealthy as a sign of their fortune. Wouldn’t that be an interesting place to live? Where the way we live now was preserved only as a pretension of the aristocracy? A Downton Abbey of heaters that don’t know when you’re home and having to start the slow cooker by, my god, TOUCHING it like a fucking cave dweller. Archaic, museum-quality rooms that are so antiquated that they can’t even see you.
Being wizards, by the way, doesn’t give you a good reason to be arcane. Secret wizards are no use to anybody. I’m not going to sacrifice a chicken to my wifi router for you or anybody. Carry this with you today: most of your users will be as stupid as me. That’s a difficult bar, because I am really quite stupid. But that’s your challenge. Imagine a middle-aged man who wants to hit people when they say “playful learning” and views anyone who shows up with a breadboard and circuitry as either dangerous or deficient. Who scowls at his tv remote, on the rare occasions that he’s allowed to watch television unsupervised. I haven’t finished learning English yet, so I’m not going to learn Ruby. I get angry at vacuum cleaners. I own a tumbledryer so old that it is haunted. Laugh at me. Mock me. Understand that I have disposable income and am interested in your products and services. I am your worst nightmare: I am your most likely customer and I delete apps from my phone when they require more than three taps to achieve one action.
The glorious, valuable thing you’re going to do is invent this field and then tame it for the rest of us. Doing half the job is going to be much, much worse than not doing it at all. Most people, in most tech fields, only do half the job. You are going to do better. We need you to be brave in your thinking and engineering, but, more, we need you to be committed. And you’re going to. You’re here in the room. You’re surrounded by people who have, generally, the same goal. And the ones who don’t share that goal? You will detect them quickly, and together we can burn their bodies outside. We can murder them and burn them as an offering to the wizards of old, who just wanted to make the future so simple and affordable and ordinarily magical that everyone could have it and hold it and use it.
We need you to do that. We’re relying on you to get it right. So get to work.
By the 1950s, Rock provided test subjects by giving the pill to his patients in Massachusetts under the guise of a fertility study. He did not inform his patients that the pill was designed to prevent them from getting pregnant. Many women dropped out of the initial Massachusetts study because they couldn’t tolerate the side effects: bloating, potentially fatal blood clots, and mood changes.
The team began to have difficulty getting clinical trials off the ground in America, partially because contraception was still illegal in most states and partially because of the high drop out rate from their smaller studies. So Pincus and Rock looked to Puerto Rico, where concerns about overpopulation fueled in part by the eugenics movement meant there were no birth control restrictions and abortion was legal on the island. In fact, many Puerto Rican women were sterilized without their consent or knowledge in a procedure that was colloquially known as “La Operacion” in the 1950s and 60s. Pincus and Rock assumed that they would find a large, compliant population of test subjects. They believed that if poor, uneducated Puerto Rican women could use the pill, anyone could.
We’ve reached a point that security researchers have long warned is coming: Insecure embedded devices connected to the Internet are routinely being hacked and used in attacks. The push by device manufacturers to connect things such as refrigerators or “smart” light bulbs to the Internet is largely done without consideration for security implications or an overhaul of outdated practices. As a result, the number of easily hackable embedded devices is growing fast.
This part of Google’s home hub announcement sums up the problem with our computing paradigm and mindset as these things start to bleed out into our homes. From Engadget:
“Additionally, the device accesses Google Assistant and your Google account for information about your daily schedule with a feature called My Day.”
I don’t live alone. How will it handle a home with 2-4 Google accounts? Does it recognize different voices and associate them with different accounts? Or is this another myopic device that caters to a single person?
What happens when it mixes up accounts? Or when it reveals something I want to keep private to my entire home and guests? If I have it linked to my account, and a guest says “Ok Google, what’s on today?” and it gives them my personal information.
Tech companies need to start realizing that single account and insecure devices don’t work when the device is inherently shared. The problem exists for all of these voice control hubs, but also on things like iPads etc…
Information Technology and Services | Kinneret Area, Israel, IL
I have been working as a contract technical writer at Intel Israel since 2003. In addition to writing documentation for complex, technical systems, I am responsible for updating the intranet sites for several products, and have provided user experience input at the relevant stages of product development. I do not require much in the way of direction or supervision. Once I know what I need to do, I do what it takes to get the right information from the right people (I’m not scared to look foolish by asking “stupid” questions), and then go heads-down to get the documentation done. I’m used to working in a team, but also enjoy the parts of the job that can only be done alone. I’m pretty tech-savvy—I’ve been involved with computers and technology since I was 11. Although I’m a technical writer, I have also picked up some web and programming skills along the way, and have built several websites. But my keen interest in the user experience field means that I always keep the end user and their needs in mind, whether I’m helping the developers figure out the layout of a screen or the flow of an interaction, or whether I’m writing the documentation that the user will turn to when they need to do something that they don’t know how to do yet.
2016 - Present
Technical Writer / Nagra Kudelski
Technical Writer / IFN Solutions
Technical Writer / Intel
Documenting several complex internal systems and regularly generating updated HTML and PDF versions of the documentation, for several different user types. This includes documentation for:
o Intel's grid computing system o The grid system’s API o Intel's storage management and replication system o A cache management system o A GUI application for submitting and tracking jobs in the grid system
I write documentation using both Adobe Framemaker (unstructured), WebWorks ePublisher, and DITA XML (using XMLMind XML Editor and the DITA Open Toolkit). I have also created and narrated a number of video tutorials.
Designing parts of the interface for:
o An internal file storage management system o A dashboard application for displaying data about Intel's grid computing system
It begins to look as if we might have been wrong. All those predictions driving us forward throughout history have brought us finally to the unexpected realisation that the future is, suddenly, no longer what it used to be. Oops.
James Burke is a living legend. Or, as he put it, “No-one under the age of fifty has heard of me and everyone over the age of fifty thinks I’m dead.”
He is a science historian, an author, and a television presenter. But calling James Burke a television presenter is like calling Mozart a busker. His 1978 series Connections and his 1985 series The Day The Universe Changed remain unparalleled pieces of television brilliance covering the history of science and technology.
Before making those astounding shows, he worked on Tomorrow’s World and went on to become the BBC’s chief reporter on the Apollo Moon missions.
His books include The Pinball Effect, The Knowledge Web, Twin Tracks and Circles.
In the latest London IA Podcast we host a wide-ranging conversation with Cennydd Bowles on moving from user experience design to digital product designer, what it takes to develop visual design skills, freelancing, A List Apart, writing a book, conference speaking and of course that legendary animal of European folklore.
Hosted by Matthew Solle and Andrew Travers. Produced by Will Myddelton and Matthew Solle.
Lately, Augmented Reality (AR) has come to stand for the highest and deepest form of synthesis between the digital and physical worlds. Slavin will outline an argument for rethinking what really augments reality and what the benefits are, as well as the costs.
Rather than considering AR as a technology, we will consider the goals we have for it, and how those are best addressed. Along the way, we’ll look at the history and future of seeing, with a series of stories, most of which are mostly true.
AR may be where all this goes. But how it gets there, and where there is, is up for debate. This is intended to serve to start or end that debate, or at a minimum, to bring the conference to a close by pointing at the future, perhaps in the wrong direction.
Kevin Slavin is the Managing Director and co-Founder of area/code. He has worked in corporate communications for technology-based clients for 13 years, including IBM, Compaq, Dell, TiVo, Time/Warner Cable, Microsoft, Wild Tangent and Qwest Wireless.
Slavin has lectured at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the Parsons School of Design, and has written for various publications on games and game culture. His work has received honors from the AIGA, the One Show, and the Art Directors Club, and he has exhibited internationally, including the Frankfurt Museum für Moderne Kunst.
As the times accelerate and we face ever more kaleidoscopic careers, a crucial meta-skill is the ability to learn new skills extremely rapidly, extremely well. That practice has no better exemplar and proponent than Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid-Fat Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. Not surprisingly, he has made himself adept at compelling presentations, this one prepared especially for the Long Now audience.
Jarrett Walker talks to Gerry Gaffney about human transit, in a discussion that has many parallels for UX practitioners. "Think about the question," Jarrett tells us, "before you fall in love with a technology." He describes the need for ongoing education to help planners and residents understand that good transit promotes not just community building, but "the freedom and joy of individual humans." (August 2011.)
Languages are Parallel Universes
"To have a second language is to have a second soul," said Charlemagne around 800 AD. "Each language has its own cognitive toolkit," said psychologist/linguist Lera Boroditsky in 2010 AD.
Different languages handle verbs, distinctions, gender, time, space, metaphor, and agency differently, and those differences, her research shows, make people think and act differently.
In this episode, Paul talks with Paul Romer, Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center for International Development and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. They discussed Romer's path as an academic turned entrepreneur, who returned to Stanford to explore how the startup dynamic could potentially be applied at the level of developing countries.