In the News 20.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 20.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 20.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Electronic Computers, Part 1: Prologue

As we saw in the last installment, the search by radio and telephone engineers for more powerful amplifiers opened a new technological vista that quickly acquired the name electronics. An electronic amplifier could easily be converted into a digital switch, but one with vastly greater speed than its electro-mechanical cousin, the telephone relay. Due to its lack of mechanical parts, a vacuum tube could switch on or off in a microsecond or less, rather than the ten milliseconds or more required by a relay.

Between 1939 and 1945, three computers were built on the basis of these new electronic components. It is no coincidence that the dates of construction of these machines lie neatly within the the period of the Second World War. This conflict — unparalleled in history in the degree to which it yoked entire peoples, body and mind, to the chariot of war — permanently transformed the relationship between states on the one hand, and science and technology on the other, and brought forth a vast array of new devices.

Read the rest of this article at: Nautilus

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Emotional Intelligence Needs a Rewrite

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You’ve probably met people who are experts at mastering their emotions and understanding the emotions of others. When all hell breaks loose, somehow these individuals remain calm. They know what to say and do when their boss is moody or their lover is upset. It’s no wonder that emotional intelligence was heralded as the next big thing in business success, potentially more important than IQ, when Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence, arrived in 1995. After all, whom would you rather work with—someone who can identify and respond to your feelings, or someone who has no clue? Whom would you rather date?

The traditional foundation of emotional intelligence rests on two common-sense assumptions. The first is that it’s possible to detect the emotions of other people accurately. That is, the human face and body are said to broadcast happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and other emotions, and if you observe closely enough, you can read these emotions like words on a page. The second assumption is that emotions are automatically triggered by events in the world, and you can learn to control them through rationality. This idea is one of the most cherished beliefs in Western civilization. For example, in many legal systems, there’s a distinction between a crime of passion, where your emotions allegedly hijacked your good sense, and a premeditated crime that involved rational planning. In economics, nearly every popular model of investor behavior separates emotion and cognition.

These two core assumptions are strongly appealing and match our daily experiences. Nevertheless, neither one stands up to scientific scrutiny in the age of neuroscience. Copious research, from my lab and others, shows that faces and bodies alone do not communicate any specific emotion in any consistent manner. In addition, we now know that the brain doesn’t have separate processes for emotion and cognition, and therefore one cannot control the other. If these statements defy your common sense, I’m right there with you. But our experiences of emotion, no matter how compelling, don’t reflect the biology of what’s happening inside us. Our traditional understanding and practice of emotional intelligence badly needs a tuneup.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

Harrison Ford on Star WarsBlade Runner, and Punching Ryan Gosling in the Face

“Yeah,” he says. “I was trying to get around that.”

When I interviewed Ryan Gosling for GQ last November, he was in Budapest to film Blade Runner 2049, and he explained how Ford had inadvertently punched him in the face during a fight scene. I wanted to give Ford the opportunity to present his own account of the same incident.

“I punched Ryan Gosling in the face,” Ford confirms. Then he adds, by way of clarification, that “Ryan Gosling’s face was where it should not have been.”

Explain further, if you will.

“His job was to be out of the range of the punch. My job was also to make sure that I pulled the punch. But we were moving, and the camera was moving, so I had to be aware of the angle to the camera to make the punch look good. You know, I threw about a hundred punches in the shooting of it, and I only hit him once.

So he should be grateful?

“I have pointed that out.”

And the one that did connect—that’s 100 percent his fault?

“No.” Ford makes as though he’s carefully weighing this. “I mean, I suppose it’s 90 percent his fault.”

He said you went to his dressing room with a bottle of scotch…

…and poured him a glass, then walked out with the bottle.

“Yeah? What—did he fucking expect the whole bottle? You know, I figured one drink would fix it. That was enough.”

So did that epitomize your working relationship?

“Pretty much. No, he was fun to work with. I like him a lot. He’s a smart guy. I mean, he’s a fucking Mouseketeer—he’s been doing this since he was 6 years old or something. He knows what he’s doing.”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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AI Will Turn Graphic Design On Its Head | Backchannel

Graphic design used to require physical work. To compose letterheads, business cards, brochures, magazines, books, and posters, you hunched over a desk or a light table. You cut and pasted paper or assembled metal type on a printing press. You processed 35mm film by hand, developing pictures in a darkroom with chemicals.

In 1984, Apple’s Macintosh arrived and changed everything. Layout software such as Aldus PageMaker and its successors enabled designers to make changes with a click. Graphic design transitioned from the workbench to the computer screen, in what we came to call the desktop publishing revolution. Design work moved from the laborious world of hands-on creativity to the freer but more abstract digital realm, where you can see the results of choices instantly—but each decision carries less weight, because you can undo it with a single command.

Today, we’re on the verge of another revolution, as artificial intelligence and machine learning turn the graphic design field on its head again. The vision is, to quote one project’s slogan, “websites that just make themselves.” Software will evaluate your text content, line of business, and imagery, and spit out finished pages without your having to lift a finger. These kinds of automated tools will arrive on the web first, but print design will change, too, as design-software makers inject machine learning into their layout tools and apps.

For all the noise about AI-driven graphic design, however, today’s reality lags stubbornly behind the grand vision. Many of the products now available will disappoint users expecting miraculous results from AI genies. That’s a letdown, for sure, but it also gives us some time to think about what kind of design work we want machines to do for us, and what roles we should be reserving for human beings.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

Finds of an Amateur Diving Club in Holland


On August 22, 2014, three members of an amateur scuba-diving club were exploring a shipwreck in the Wadden Sea, a few miles off the coast of Texel, the southernmost barrier island in the archipelago that curls around the northwestern coast of the Netherlands. The wreck, which lay at a depth of about nine metres, was one of a dozen that the club has discovered since its founding, nearly fifty years ago. The divers first came upon the ship in 2009, following a tip from a fisherman. At the time, much of the wreck was still covered in sand and clay, and the divers’ finds were modest: wooden cups and bowls, lanterns, clay pipes. By 2014, more of the wreck had been churned out of the sandbar and the club began to identify the ship’s cargo: crates of majolica pottery; of resin; of anise, its licorice scent still so strong that the divers claimed they could smell it underwater.

The visibility in the Wadden is poor—fifty centimetres on a good day—and the three men, who dive at least twice a week, spring through fall, had waited for a slack tide and calm currents. Swimming in the murky water, they made out a large wooden crate, wedged between the deck beams near the central mast, half buried in sand. It was too heavy and fragile to lift, so Teunis van den Bor, the group’s strongman and treasurer, stuck his hand inside it until he felt something that had the texture of paper. He pulled it out and stuffed it in his net bag. The divers then rose to the surface, and sailed back to port.

Outside the clubhouse, Gerrit Jan Betsema, a fifty-seven-year-old carpenter, emptied out the contents of the bag. It was a folded parcel of some sort, encrusted in sand and silt. Van den Bor, a thirty-six-year-old who works as a road paver, sprayed the bundle with a garden hose and discovered that it was an old dress. “We weren’t that interested in clothes,” Hans Dijker, the club’s former chairman, who started the first pizza-delivery service on the island, told me last summer, when I went to visit the divers. They carried the dress inside their clubhouse, stuck it on a hanger, and left it to dry alongside a wetsuit, on a mirror.

A few weeks later, the Texel Diving Club held its annual barbeque at the clubhouse. Among the invitees was Corina Hordijk, the manager of The Kaap Skil Maritime and Beachcombers Museum, in the fishing-harbor town of Oudeschild. At the barbecue, the divers beckoned Hordijk inside. “It was so surrealistic,” she recalled recently. “I stepped in and saw the dress, and I directly saw that it was the treasure of the century.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @mylondonfairytales; @rosielondoner; @davidgandy_official

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