NETWORKS + NEW TOWNS is an extended site study of Jonathan, Minnesota and related areas. The suburban neighborhood of Jonathan was one of the first “totally planned communities” in the Midwest, born during the short-lived “New Town” movement of the late 1960’s. It grew up during an era characterized by great faith in the power of urban planning and the transformative potential of communications technology. This work uses Jonathan as a microcosm to understand the ways that we augment the earth with matter and data in an ongoing pursuit of better living.
Mat Honan wrote about the experience of riding in Google’s cute self-driving cars.
The first time I rode in a fully autonomous car, what really impressed me was when the car saw something that I could not. As I rode down a residential street in Mountain View, the car slowed, for no apparent reason. Yet in the front seat, a laptop showed everything the car could “see.” And up ahead, there was a man, in the street, standing behind a double-parked vehicle. He was concealed from my eyes, but the car detected him. And it slowed down, anticipating that he might step out unexpectedly.
It anticipated this because each and every one of Google robot cars has experienced the totality of everything all its siblings have experienced. Google’s cars have driven a total of 1.2 million miles on the roads. We tend to think of this as combined experience — an aggregate number. But what it really means, effectively, is that every single car has driven that distance, has experienced it. This is a machine that learns. And in addition to that on road time, the cars log, Google said yesterday, 3 million miles every day running scenarios.
This car is a better driver than me, or you, or any of us.
From Michael Luo’s 2011 series on guns and public safety, this gets at the heart of the political limitations on doing research into the health risks of guns in America.
C.D.C. financing for research on gun violence has not stopped completely, but it is now mostly limited to work in which firearms are only a component.
The centers also ask researchers it finances to give it a heads-up anytime they are publishing studies that have anything to do with firearms. The agency, in turn, relays this information to the N.R.A. as a courtesy, said Thomas Skinner, a spokesman for the centers.
Invariably, researchers said, whenever their work touches upon firearms, the C.D.C. becomes squeamish. In the end, they said, it is often simply easier to avoid the topic if they want to continue to be in the agency’s good graces.
Emphasis added. I’m curious if these circumstances have changed much in the past 4 years.
The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why. As the police cleared the bodies from the Virginia Tech engineering building, the cell phones rang, in the eccentric varieties of ring tones, as parents kept trying to see if their children were OK.
Gopnik’s Comment piece ends just as strong.
There is no reason that any private citizen in a democracy should own a handgun. At some point, that simple truth will register. Until it does, phones will ring for dead children, and parents will be told not to ask why.
Also, here is Michael Luo’s Medium post about his role in provoking Oregon’s state legislature to restrict public access to gun license records.
I had planned to cross-match the data of license holders with other records on criminal convictions. But Oregon officials repeatedly delayed turning over the records, and I wound up focusing instead on the licensing process in North Carolina, where officials released the gun permit data to me right away. I discovered that about 10 percent of permit holders in North Carolina over a five-year period had gone on to commit felonies or misdemeanors. Perhaps more disturbingly, I found that the authorities had failed to revoke the permits of many of those who had been convicted of felonies.
Stone-walling journalists from uncovering these kinds of legislative oversights is dangerous—not just in the rhetorical sense—it is literally endangering citizens.
The video was directed by Erik Wernquist and the photography is credited to “NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio,” which kinda makes me want to track down the originalsources.
And then around 10:15, I woke up, suddenly, to a crunching noise. Crunch, crunch, crunch. I opened my eyes to the five inches or so of space between the ground and the vestibule of my tent, and — woah. Four big paws. Interesting. I was still fighting my way out of sleep and halfway processing those paws when I looked up to the wall of my tent, which was lit up from the almost-full moon. And there, silhouetted perfectly against the fabric, was a bear head.
President Obama’s speech is worth watching in its entirety. Starts at 23:18.
We are not the only country on earth that has people with mental illnesses, or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on earth that sees these mass shootings every few months.
Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response, here at this podium, ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it, we’ve become numb to this.
Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports.
My friends Taeyoon and Roon have been working on a project called In Search of Personalized Time. Last year they were collaborating remotely, with Taeyoon working on-site at a festival in Seoul coordinating with Roon here in New York on a very different timezone.
It was, as if, we are living in someplace else—in-between New York and Seoul—and doesn’t completely belong to either of those two places.
Similarly, in our perceptions, those conference calls were happening not in New York or Seoul’s local time, but possibly elsewhen—sometime else, that the participants from both places share momentarily.
Perhaps, we could create a time device, that shows your personal time, so that you can interact with it without syncing back with the GMT. Then perhaps, we could network these devices, and think about how to negotiate these personal times from person to person. then perhaps, we could create an alternative time-system, a consensus time, the bottom up approach towards deciding what time it is now.
After syncing the devices to their personal clocks, the volunteers were asked to spend the afternoon on a “scavenger hunt for time,” taking the Art Book Fair as an opportunity to begin new conversations about their sense of lived time and the significance of publication as an act of preserving a particular moment.
I recently upgraded my phone and discovered that the new version of iOS was running way too slow on my iPhone 5. But the new San Francisco font sure does look nice. I suffered with a slow ass phone for a few days, and then decided to just burn it all down and reinstall everything from scratch with iOS 8.
It worked! My phone is much faster, and I got rid of dozens of apps that I never use in the process.
As I was deciding which things to re-install, I came across Robin Sloan’s Fish in the (embarrassingly long) list of app store previous downloads. It had been a while, so I tapped through it again. It is still so good! If you have never tried it—and if you have an iPhone, I think it may only work on iPhones—you should absolutely install it.
Or if you haven’t in a while, give it another read.
My podcast is alive to the entire prospect. I focus on the ephemeral and the perishable, and the immemorial. I’m in the show-business of negative capability. I cover things that are about to occur without warning, as well as things that are subtly absent, and things that are silently waving goodbye.