“But since 2008, London has been run as a twee austerity nostalgia theme park, with an almost ostentatiously negligent attention to the city’s problems. Worst of all, it doesn’t even work on its own terms, as we now find a mayor addicted to allegedly cheap, corporate-sponsored stunts suddenly, if unsurprisingly, turning to public money to bail them out.”—Boris Johnson has run London like a twee nostalgia theme park
“I remember being in story sessions, and so many times, I would have an idea and I would talk about it. Then the convener of the meeting would say, “And as Jerry was just saying …” and they would remember the idea as coming from a male colleague.”—Jill Abramson:
“Sometimes the CIA or the director of national intelligence or the NSA or the White House will call about a story. You hit the brakes, you hear the arguments, and it’s always a balancing act: the importance of the information to the public versus the claim of harming national security. Over time, the government too reflexively said to the Times, “you’re going to have blood on your hands if you publish X,” and because of the frequency of that, the government lost a little credibility. But you do listen and seriously worry. Editors are Americans too. We don’t want to help terrorists.”—Jill Abramson:
“I taught at Yale for five years when I was managing editor and what I tried to stress for students interested in journalism, rather than picking a specialty, like blogging or being a videographer, was to master the basics of really good storytelling, have curiosity and a sense of how a topic is different than a story, and actually go out and witness and report. If you hone those skills, you will be in demand, as those talents are prized. There is too much journalism right now that is just based on people scraping the Internet and riffing off something else.”—Jill Abramson:
One thing that makes this possible is that truck drivers are explicitly exempted from the Fair Labor Standards Act, so they aren’t legally entitled to overtime pay or other protections designed to prevent their labor from being exploited.
Economist Michael Belzer has compared trucks to ‘sweatshops on wheels’ because of the low rates of pay, long working hours and unsafe conditions. -
Trucking firms today operate on razor-thin margins in a highly competitive industry, and many of them, according to the truckers I’ve interviewed, put tremendous pressure on their employees to break the law by staying on the road too long. Federal safety rules are frequently ignored in service of on-time delivery to the customer.
“This insurer also exemplifies how algorithmic biases can become regressive social forces. From its name to its site design to how its telematics technology is implemented, Drive Like a Girl is essentializing what “driving like a girl” means — it’s safe, it’s pink, it’s happy, it’s gendered. It is also, according to this actuarial morality, a form of good citizenship. But what if a bank promised to offer loan terms to help someone “borrow like a white person,” premised on the notion that white people were associated with better loan repayments? We would call it discriminatory and question the underlying data and methodologies and cite histories of oppression and lack of access to banking services. With automated, IoT-driven marketplaces there is no room for taking into account these complex sensitivities.”—The Lights Are On but Nobody’s Home
“Through the dispersed system of mass monitoring and feedback, behaviors and cultures become standardized, directed at the algorithmic level. A British insurer called Drive Like a Girl uses in-car telemetry to track drivers’ habits. The company says that its data shows that women drive better and are cheaper to insure, so they deserve to pay lower rates. So far, perhaps, so good. Except that the European Union has instituted regulations stating that insurers can’t offer different rates based on gender, so Drive Like a Girl is using tracking systems to get around that rule, reflecting the fear of many IoT critics that vast data collection may help banks, realtors, stores, and other entities dodge the protections put in place by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, HIPPA, and other regulatory measures.”—The Lights Are On but Nobody’s Home
“The ideological premise of the Internet of Things is that surveillance and data production equal a kind of preparedness. Any problem might be solved or pre-empted with the proper calculations, so it is prudent to digitize and monitor everything.”—The Lights Are On but Nobody’s Home
“As my MegaBus (25 quid, bought the night before) sank into the darkness of Calais, I realised that I never, ever want to be an islander. The world is bigger than that, even if you hate flying. Britain is a great country, but alone, it’ll drift away into the Atlantic. In getting lost in Europe, I rediscovered my own dream of a continent, and in doing it by coach, I was reminded that this is a place people still take great risks to be a part of. I saw the sadness in the eyes of those yanked off by border control, and elation in others when Reina Sofia, or the Eiffel Tower, or Westminster Bridge, eased into view. These are the people who want to be part of this continent, and they probably deserve to be. Much more than the miserable fucks who’d be happier living above a Nag’s Head in the Falklands or some other egg ‘n’ chips stalag state.”—Britain’s Miserable Islanders Don’t Get the European Dream | VICE United Kingdom
“This comfort with group assessment of femininity in turn reminds me of the ease with which women’s choices regarding their bodies, futures, health, sex, and family life are up for public evaluation. Women are labeled as good or bad, as moral or immoral, by major religions and “closely held corporations,” whose rights to allow those estimations to dictate their corporate obligations are upheld over the rights of the women themselves by high courts.”—I Don’t Care If You Like It
“The accuracy of the Times analysis was then formally assessed, using a random set of 385 points—enough for a 95 percent confidence level with a plus or minus 5 percent confidence interval where the distribution of the data is unknown—generated in ArcGIS through Hawth’s Analysis Tools. The points were visually inspected to ensure spatial randomness, and further tested using spatial density analysis. Overall accuracy of the analysis was around 80 percent for both image years. However, wetlands accuracy for both years was around 66 percent, and errors were largely of commission—calling something a wetland that wasn’t. Errors were primarily misclassifications of certain kinds of agriculture—i.e. sugar—and misclassifications of wetlands forest types that share similar spectral characteristics of non-wetlands forest types. Relying on only the Times analysis would be a mistake, based on several factors. Using single date imagery for wetlands change detection has been found many times over to be less accurate than using multi-date imagery, owing partly to seasonal changes in wetlands (Lunetta and Balogh (1999), Ozesmi and Bauer (2001), Reese et. al (2002)). And, the two image years use different sensors—Landsat 5 TM for one, and Landsat 7 ETM+ for another—which creates some sensor-based differences that can’t be extracted or accounted for.”—True Facts, Maybe - Learning - Source: An OpenNews project
Now, take a picture of that tree from space and do the same thing. Given a powerful enough sensor, you will be able to see it. You’ll be able to describe it in meaningful ways. You can say things about the leaves, or the size of the tree. But, there are thousands of feet of atmosphere between the tree and the sensor. There are changes in the air density and makeup, in particulate matter in the air, in cloud cover. All of those things—and more—can alter the data recorded by the sensor and analyzed by you. Greens aren’t as bright, infrared radiation values get skewed, what you know about the tree changes, if only slightly. You will perceive the tree differently than you will standing next to it. Those descriptions may be true in the light of the data you have, but they are not True in the way being able to touch the tree makes them True. They will not match the sensor values you got standing next to it. It’s the consequence of the remote part of remote sensing.
In other words, remotely sensed data will tell us things about the world that are broadly true, but they will never be True. They can’t be. There’s too much distance between the object and the sensor. Too much to go wrong. But that doesn’t make what the sensor tells us wrong. It makes it something else. It introduces doubt.
“As was noted in an episode of the BBC television series Coast, radio transmissions from Prospero could still be heard on 137.560 MHz in 2004 (though the signals used in the episode were actually from an Orbcomm payload, rather than Prospero). Prospero had officially been deactivated in 1996, when the UK’s Defence Research Establishment decommissioned their satellite tracking station at Lasham, Hampshire, but the satellite had been turned on in past years on its anniversary. It is in a low Earth orbit, and is not expected to decay until about 2070, almost 100 years after its launch.”—Prospero (satellite) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Many of the phones sold today are 14-day phones: phones which were returned by European customers within 14 days of purchase, which retailers buy at a discount and sell on.”—Inside Hong Kong’s favourite ‘ghetto’
“Prof Mathews estimates that in 2008, about 20% of mobile phones in use in sub-Saharan Africa had been sold in Chungking Mansions, although that number has since decreased.”—Inside Hong Kong’s favourite ‘ghetto’
“The Pride Parade the next day was a different sort of electric. I donned a TwitterOpen t-shirt and walked with our rented trolley-bus, dancing along to the music spun by our rented DJ, and started to feel a little leased myself. I had fun, to be sure, and went into the parade expecting a mile-long dance party. I failed to prepare for corporations capitalizing gleefully on said mile-long dance party. Walmart had a contingent, clad in corporate blue. Eventbrite’s employees carried big orange logo signs. I took the train home alone, surrounded by inebriated straight people in Giants jerseys.”—Pining for the fjords
In order to achieve an unprecedented level of stealth, the team changed all antennas on the aircraft to signature control variants and the air data boom on the nose of Taranis was removed. Following these modifications Taranis used a specially-designed system which allowed the aircraft to generate a full set of flight data, without the use of an external probe or boom.
Taranis also used a cutting edge communications system to ensure it was able to stay in touch with its mission commander without giving away its position to the enemy.
“It is absolutely true. I happened to be in the cloakroom at the World Economic Forum in Davos, getting my coat and I bumped into Lakshmi Mittal. It was the first time in my life that I’d met him. I said hello and we had a very friendly conversation that lasted approximately 45 seconds. In that time I explained the idea and he said: “Great, I’ll give you the steel.” That was the beginning of a conversation that went on for many months. ArcelorMittal gave considerably more than the steel, and I’m very, very, very grateful because without that private donation it’s perfectly obvious that this thing could never have happened.”—Boris Johnson – ArcelorMittal
Within months, Heaton was journeying through the desolate southern stretches of Egypt and into an unclaimed 800-square-mile patch of arid desert. There, on June 16 — Emily’s seventh birthday — he planted a blue flag with four stars and a crown on a rocky hill. The area, a sandy expanse sitting along the Sudanese border, morphed from what locals call Bir Tawil into what Heaton and his family call the “Kingdom of North Sudan.”
There, Heaton is the self-described king and Emily is his princess.
“In a historic district like Oakwood, the preservation guidelines discourage attempts to build new Victorians and instead support contemporary design. This reflects the prevailing view of historic preservationists who frown on the practice of designing new buildings to look as if they’re old. And indeed, Ms. Wiesner’s arduous efforts to save Oakwood from the Cherry-Gordon house aren’t garnering the support of those whom she claims to speak for — the historic preservationists.”—Don’t Like Your Neighbors’ House? Sue Them. - NYTimes.com
“I have yet to see it myself, but I have heard that the ultimate wind calamity—a geodesic dome rolling across the lake bed like a massive steel tumbleweed destined to wrap itself around a SUV—is a hell of a sight.”—Burning Man Is Grey
The glitch, it turns out, originated with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation during a transfer of nearly 400,000 records to the Selective Service. A clerk working with the state’s database failed to select the century, producing records for males born between 1993 and 1997 — and for those born a century earlier, PennDOT spokeswoman Jan McKnight said Thursday.
‘‘We made a mistake, a quite serious selection error,’’ McNight said.
The Selective Service didn’t initially catch it because the state used a two-digit code to indicate year of birth, spokesman Pat Schuback said. The federal agency identified 27,218 records of men born in the 1800s, began mailing notices to them on June 30, and began receiving calls from family members on July 3. By that time, it had sent 14,250 notices in error.
‘‘It’s never happened before,’’ Schuback said.
The men are almost certainly all dead, given that the youngest would be turning 117 this year. Families of those men who received the notices can simply ignore them, he said. Their files will be deactivated and they shouldn’t receive additional communications from the Selective Service. The agency also posted a notice and an apology on its website Thursday.
“He lived in San Francisco, worked in tech and made lots of money. He was always ‘slammed’ at work. He had subscribed to a DNA mapping service that predicts how you might die, the results of which are posted to an iPhone app, so that your iPhone knows how likely you are to get heart disease.”—London Review of Books
“In the 1960s and ’70s hover transport looked like the future. A British invention that embodied the “white heat of technology” spirit, it seemed to make so much sense.”—BBC News | UK | Well worth the bover?
“According to the civil service code of conduct, civil servants “serve the government, whatever its political persuasion, to the best of your ability in a way which maintains political impartiality”.”—Civil service job document attacked by minister
“Possible paths to pursue: A “design for one” stream of prosthetic devices made for one user’s self-identified wish or need. An ongoing partnership with any of a number of schools or clinics in the Boston area where provisional and low-tech assistive devices could make education more responsive to children’s up-to-the-minute developmental needs. Short-term residencies and workshops with critical engineers and artists working with technology and public life. Public, investigative performances and installations that address issues of ability, dependence, and the body in the built environment.”—studio : lab : workshop
“Travis Tygart, the head of the USADA and the man most directly responsible for bringing him down, openly despised Armstrong for his lack of faith. “If I personally was on the brink of death and went through a terrible situation and came out of that as an atheist,” he sniffed to one reporter, “I’d have no moral constraints.””—Lance Armstrong in Purgatory: The After-Life
“And does so today, in the era of Blackwater/Academi: just weeks ago, the imbroglio called the Costa Concordia has just been passed off to a Florida-based salvage company, TITAN, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime, who will drag the eyesore to Genoa, to be scrapped and melted down to make forks or struts that will pointedly not bear the name of their source. It is hard not to think that the profits turned on selling the scrap as scrap of the Costa Concordia, rather than anonymous materials covering its tracks, would be tremendous, especially in this span of years so obsessed with “reclaimed” materials and “architectural salvage” that can name its provenance.”—Salvage, Without the Punk
“This conversation takes place in a spare mansion loaned by one of his many millionaire friends, an absurdly lavish place with six garages and a loft concealed behind a bookshelf.”—Lance Armstrong in Purgatory: The After-Life
“Last spring, he even got kicked out of a local swim meet. This was six months after the USADA—the United States Anti-Doping Agency—issued the lifetime ban against him competing in any sport “under the Olympic umbrella,” which includes pretty much anything anywhere. (The cyclists who testified against him, most of whom were just as guilty, got six months.) But he figured a little Austin swim race would be okay. It’s Austin, for chrissakes, his refuge, and the organizer said it was fine, he could swim—but then one guy had a problem and the calls went from Austin to Florida to Switzerland and finally the answer came back: No, Lance Armstrong can’t even compete in a local swim meet. “Anything I try to do, any sport, even archery and volleyball, I can’t do it,” he says.”—Lance Armstrong in Purgatory: The After-Life
“We wanted to distinguish ourselves and have the space feel like an extension of our brand,” explains co-founder and chief product officer Joe Gebbia of the listing rooms. “So we thought: What if we brought our brand physically into the space?”—Airbnb offices replicate rental listings
“According to British law, the Secretary of State may deprive a British citizen of their citizenship “if such deprivation would not render a person stateless,” and they believe that deprivation would be “conducive to the public good.” While he had never held an Egyptian passport, Mohamed Sakr was believed to be technically eligible for one and so would not be lawfully considered stateless—by the British government, anyway. (It’s one of the odd effects of citizenship law that it starts to perform readings of, and make judgments about, the laws of other countries.) His family contests this, and it appears that, whatever the possible legal recourse, he was made effectively stateless.”—The Siege on Citizenship — Magazine — Walker Art Center
“The committee added: “We conclude that the use of Diego Garcia for US rendition flights without the knowledge or consent of the British government raises disquieting questions about the effectiveness of the government’s exercise of its responsibilities in relation to this territory.””—Files on UK role in CIA rendition accidentally destroyed, says minister
The White House and the CIA are working on final redactions to a 481-page executive summary of a classified report by the US Senate committee on intelligence on the rendition programme prior to its publication, possibly in September. The full 6,300-page report is said to be scathing of the way in which the CIA resorted rapidly to the abduction and torture of al-Qaida suspects after the attacks of 2001.
There have been a number of reports suggesting that allies of the US, including the UK and Poland, and been lobbying to ensure that all reference to their own involvement is removed from the summary before it is published. The Foreign Office refused to comment on these reports.
“When Tyrie asked the Foreign Office (FCO) to explain which government department keeps a list of flights which passed through Diego Garcia from January 2002 to January 2009, FCO minister Mark Simmonds replied: “Records on flight departures and arrivals on Diego Garcia are held by the British Indian Ocean Territory immigration authorities. Daily occurrence logs, which record the flights landing and taking off, cover the period since 2003. Though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage.””—Files on UK role in CIA rendition accidentally destroyed, says minister
“The paradox of that invisibility, which I have been exploring for some time, is that while the digital defaults to illegibilty, it also renders that operation more legible to those who can read it, who do have access, because its logical nature, the nature of its operation, means it must be written down. Unlike previous forms of power, intention must be explicitly encoded into the machine. This intention can be hidden, but it’s always present. Neither good nor bad, nor neutral; invisible, but never wholly illegible.”—Homo Sacer | booktwo.org
“The hologram is the ultimate 21st Century worker: fully virtualised, pre-programmed, untiring, spectacular. People stop and photograph them, marvel at their uncanny glow, and even when this reaction is one of bewilderment and disorientation, it is enough: the message gets through. But the hologram is a blank: you can’t talk back to it, it is the final conversion of discourse into direct power. A recorded announcement which tells you that this is how it is, with a digital smile.”—Homo Sacer | booktwo.org