Thursday, August 10, 2017

Language Arts

Scientists are finding scraps of dead languages in recycled ancient manuscripts. Meanwhile, Trump's reckless, improvised language is also hard to translate.  Maybe Facebook's AI can help.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Guam is a Flat Circle

73 years ago, the United States recaptured Guam and used it as a launch pad for attacks on mainland Japan. Now, North Korea has added Guam to its previous threats to nuke the continental U.S.

Crytpo Urgency

Hackers are ransoming HBO's data for $6 million in Bitcoin. Venezuelans are mining it in droves to survive.  Guess what's now three times the price of gold?

Artificial Intelligence Agency

Fake news as national "computational propaganda". Twitter suspending a bot retweeted by President Trump. Spy plans tracked by Buzzfeed with machine learning. The future is four steps ahead of you in 12D chess.

Homage to Chicagonia

A socialist convention in Chicago in 2012. The Democratic Socialists of America convention in Chicago in 2017. What hasn't changed in five years? Low expectations.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Resilience Is A Hoax, But Also Not Man-Made

Recent studies about climate change (and denialism) in Peru and Southeast Asia may not be promising, but the words "climate change" have left Trump-era government reports altogether...the un-leaked ones, at least.

Third (World) Gender

One example of global transgender awareness? A Pakistani popstar's new trans-awareness single. But some argue the modern movement threatens the country's traditionally-recognized third gender.

Uncritically Correct

Today's unlikely battlefronts in the "is shaming bigotry actually censorship?" debate: Young Adult fiction Twitter and actual adults employed by Google.

Ghost In The Machine

China has ghost subway stops and even whole ghost cities. Now, no one in China is qualified to run a newly-built, state-of-the-art telescope.

Space is Defaced

Orbiting space junk is only getting worse since I wrote about it in 2012.  Now, there's even a broken Chinese space station due to fall back into the atmosphere.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

human immuno-morency virus


Pick your (anti-)poison: CRISPR gene editing or "the neighbor effect".

Take this job and hug it


Which has done more to hurt African-American teen employment: green card recipients, or state governments that raised their minimum wage?

Southbound and Down

As the Turkish government systematically destroys Kurdish monuments in its southeast, China demolishes Tibetan homes in its southwest. Meanwhile, one Indian magazine erased Tibet (and Taiwan) from China's borders altogether amid an escalating Chinese-Indian border (and traditional medicine) dispute.

BRICS of Cashless


The Russian government may be embracing cryptocurrency to sidestep international sanctions, but it's India's ban of large paper bills to stop corruption that's poised to make it an attractive digital economy ripe for global investment.

Avocado Toast Price Index


First, tortillas became too expensive in Mexico. Now, they may have to start importing avocados.

1.324 billion baby drivers


Driverless cars (and millions of dollars of infrastructure) will finally sweep across the United States. But as China sets limits on U.S. tech company involvement at home, India threatens to ban them altogether.

Machine Yearning


Facebook recently shut down some experimental chatbots for communicating in their own made-up language. Now, Tencent QQ has shut down its chatbots for criticizing the Chinese Communist Party.

It's not a vacation if you're President


As U.S. President Trump crashes (yet another) wedding at one of his golf courses, Russian President Putin leaves his shirt at the Kremlin (yet again) to go spearfishing.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Quick Update

Hi, there will be regular posts again.

Some will be long. Most will be short in the style of my favorite link blogs. Hence the new look.

See you soon.




Thursday, April 6, 2017

Donald See, Donald Do: Syrian Boogaloo


Plenty has been said about Trump's televised theatrics and addiction to cable news, to the point where critics can track which particular news segment aired right before a corresponding tweet of his.

What struck me about his recent condemnation of Assad over reports of a chemical weapons attack on a town in the Syria's Idlib province is the visually potent way he described what he surely saw footage of beforehand:
Yesterday's chemical attack, a chemical attack that was so horrific in Syria against innocent people, including women, small children and even beautiful little babies, their deaths were an affront to humanity.
Some have also called out his about-face on Assad, criticizing it as incoherent signalling to confused allies (and enemies). Even Russia has openly demanded that Trump say what exactly he'd do in response.

But as we've repeatedly learned over these first three months of his presidency, Trump is a man of impulsive reaction, regardless of long-term strategy.

The lesson we should all take away? Powerful visual stories shape our president's knee-jerk perspective.

Until the next story comes along.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Children of Marx and Pepsi-Cola

By chance, a young, pretty celebrity falls for a charming, politically-conscious young man amid the modern cacophony of consumer culture, pop music, and a galvanized Left.

Pepsi's now-retracted Kendall Jenner advertisement?

Or the plot of Jean-Luc Godard's 1966 film, Masculin, FĂ©minin?



Also a plausible synopsis of this album ad music video from The Chemical Brothers:

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