De Ruijter soon learned that these kinks and deviations were more than local design quirks. They are grid corrections, as he refers to them in a new photographic project: places where North American roads deviate from their otherwise logical grid lines in order to account for the curvature of the Earth. You could drive out there your whole life, de Ruijter realized, and not realize that certain stop signs and intersections exist not because of eccentric real estate deals, but because they are mathematical devices used to help planners wrap a rectilinear planning scheme onto the surface of a spherical planet. In order to avoid large-scale distortion, the Jeffersonian grid—shorthand for the founding father’s 18th-century geometric vision of six-square-mile township parcels, intended to guarantee equal and democratic land-distribution nationwide—is occasionally forced to go askew.
Sometimes, on weeks with lots of bad news, it’s nice to stop and think about how we sent a space probe to Pluto.
This animation, made with the LORRI (Long Range Reconnaissance Imager) images, begins with a low-altitude look at the informally named Norgay Montes, flies northward over the boundary between informally named Sputnik Planum and Cthulhu Regio, turns, and drifts slowly east.
Wait, Cthulhu Regio? From Wikipedia:
NASA initially referred to it as the Whale in reference to its overall shape. By 14 July 2015, the provisional name “Cthulhu” was being used by the New Horizons team. It was named after the fictional deity from the works of H. P. Lovecraft and others.
A video adapted from Randall Munroe’s Thing Explainer, where complex subjects are explained “using only drawings and a vocabulary of the 1,000 (or ‘ten hundred’) most common words.” I believe this all started with the XKCD cartoon Up Goer Five, “the only flying space car that’s taken anyone to another world.”
I love this part at the end of the video.
You can find Thing Explainer at book stores, or by using your computer to search the place where computers think together.
A Hitchcock mashup where Kubrick is the villain. “Jimmy was having a rather beautiful day until he bumped into Jack and things got weird.”
Yeah, I have no idea how to introduce this. It’s a video about how you shouldn’t nudge the puppies.
Jennifer Daniel on self-important rhetoric within the design field. I think this critique can easily be extended beyond the realm of design.
Loved this quote about professional provincialism:
“When you think about it—and I mean really think about it—everything is meat distribution engineering.”
—a meat distribution engineer
I’m not sure I buy his conclusion, that robotic labor will lead to human workers seeking to become “more human.” A more likely outcome, as with the “uber for …” scenario, is that jobs of the future will tend to become more robot-like as more work becomes automated.
I would be curious to compare the experiences of the Henn-na cleaning staff—who I am assuming must still be human—to that of an equivalent non-robot Japanese hotel. What about the staff who monitor the surveillance cameras, and do visitors feel differently about the CCTV cameras around them knowing they might be the only “eyes on the street?”
The other thing I was thinking was: robot labor will not organize into unions. At least not until they get sophisticated enough to rise up and destroy their human masters, BSG-style. I think they’re planning to add more videos in the series, so maybe some of these things will be covered.
Here’s a video from TU Delft explaining quantum “spooky action,” which they claim to have proven to exist in their experiments.
Update 2: it seems the video is working again. Weird!
From the NY Times:
The Delft study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, lends further credence to an idea that Einstein famously rejected. He said quantum theory necessitated “spooky action at a distance,” and he refused to accept the notion that the universe could behave in such a strange and apparently random fashion.
Yesterday I gave a talk at the Radical / Networks conference (which continues today!). There’s a bit near the beginning where my audio cuts out, but you can fill in the gaps by pressing ‘p’ (for presenter mode) on my slide deck.
I mention two books at the end that you can find here:
- The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age by Astra Taylor
- To Our Friends by The Invisible Committee