In the News 20.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 20.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 20.11.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Inside Danny Bowien’s Delicious,
Bizarre, SoulCycle-Fueled World of Cool

“It was just like, okay, I’m just going to stop. I guess I’ve always been a bit obsessive like that,” he says. “People are like, do you ever want to drink again? I’m like, I don’t. Because I just don’t want to feel hungover ever again.”

A few weeks ago, Danny Bowien posted a video on his Instagram with a concise caption: “am shred.” In it, a shirtless Bowien strums at an acoustic guitar, his face cropped out so we don’t see his expression, creating a sort of halo effect around the grinning cartoon devil tattooed on his neck. He’s playing an old Saves the Day song, “This Is Not an Exit.” I ask Chris Conley, the lead singer of Saves the Day who plays in NARX with Bowien, if he’s seen the video (yes) and what Bowien’s favorite Saves the Day song is (“Firefly,” he thinks). In conversation, Chris is generous and forthright with his kindness, describing his friend as a “creative genius” with “the spark of life in his heart.” (My friends just call me “dawg.”)

“One time [Danny] called me up out of the blue,” says Conley, who is vegetarian and appreciates that the food at Mission Chinese is adaptable to his needs. “He goes, ‘How do you play that song, “Deciding”?’ which is the first song on our first album. So I talked him through it for about 20 minutes, and I hear him playing it on the other end. And then he’s like, thanks, man! And hangs up.”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ


How Algorithms Are Pushing The Tech Giants Into The Danger Zone


Earlier this month, Facebook announced a new pilot programme in Australia aimed at stopping “revenge porn” – the non-consensual sharing of nude or otherwise explicit photos – on its platform. Their answer? Just send Facebook your nudes.

Yes, that’s right: if you’re worried about someone spreading explicit images of you on Facebook, you’re supposed to send those images to Facebook yourself.

If this sounds to you like some kind of sick joke, you’re not alone. Pretty much everyone I talked to about it did a spit-take at the entire premise. But in addition to being ridiculous, it’s a perfect example of the way today’s tech companies are in over their heads, attempting to engineer their way out of complex social problems – without ever questioning whether their very business models have, in fact, created those problems.

To see what I mean, let’s look at how Facebook’s new scheme is meant to work: if you’re concerned about revenge porn, you complete an online form with the Australia eSafety Commissioner’s office. That office then notifies Facebook that you submitted a request. From there, you send the image in question to yourself using Facebook Messenger. A team at Facebook retrieves your image, reviews it, then creates a numerical fingerprint of it known as a “hash”. Facebook then stores your photo’s hash, but not the photo itself, and notifies you to delete your photo from Messenger. After you’ve done so, Facebook says it will also delete the photo from its servers. Then, whenever a user uploads a photo to the platform, an algorithm checks the photo against the database. If the algorithm finds that the photo matches one reported as revenge porn, the user will not be allowed to post it.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Everything You Wanted To Know About Bitcoin But Were Afraid To Ask

The money has become too much to ignore and so bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are back in the news. You may have heard about Ethereum, a cryptocurrency that has risen in value by more than 2,500% over the course of 2017. Or maybe you’ve heard about one of the many smaller cryptocurrencies that raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the first few days they were on sale, during their “initial coin offering”. Or you’ve just spotted that bitcoin, which made headlines in 2013 for hitting a high of $200, is now worth nearly $7,000 (£5,250), making a lot of people very rich in the process.

Are these cryptocurrencies simply speculative bubbles or will they actually transform our financial system? It’s time to answer a few common questions about this new technology – and assess whether a lot of people have just pulled off the investment of their lifetime or made a huge mistake.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, the first and still the biggest example of its type. At its core, it’s a new form of digital asset, created through a canny combination of encryption (the same technology that protects WhatsApp from eavesdropping) and peer-to-peer networking (which allowed music piracy to blossom in the 00s through services such as Kazaa).

If you own a bitcoin, what you actually control is a secret digital key you can use to prove to anyone on the network that a certain amount of bitcoin is yours.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian


Elon Musk: The Architect of Tomorrow

It’s mid-afternoon on a Friday at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and three of Elon Musk’s children are gathered around him – one of his triplets, both of his twins.

Musk is wearing a gray T-shirt and sitting in a swivel chair at his desk, which is not in a private office behind a closed door, but in an accessible corner cubicle festooned with outer-space novelty items, photos of his rockets, and mementos from Tesla and his other companies.

Most tellingly, there’s a framed poster of a shooting star with a caption underneath it that reads, “When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it’s really a meteor hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you’re pretty much hosed, no matter what you wish for. Unless it’s death by meteorite.” To most people, this would be mere dark humor, but in this setting, it’s also a reminder of Musk’s master plan: to create habitats for humanity on other planets and moons. If we don’t send our civilization into another Dark Ages before Musk or one of his dream’s inheritors pull it off, then Musk will likely be remembered as one of the most seminal figures of this millennium. Kids on all the terraformed planets of the universe will look forward to Musk Day, when they get the day off to commemorate the birth of the Earthling who single-handedly ushered in the era of space colonization.

And that’s just one of Musk’s ambitions. Others include converting automobiles, households and as much industry as possible from fossil fuels to sustainable energy; implementing a new form of high-speed city-to-city transportation via vacuum tube; relieving traffic congestion with a honeycomb of underground tunnels fitted with electric skates for cars and commuters; creating a mind-computer interface to enhance human health and brainpower; and saving humanity from the future threat of an artificial intelligence that may one day run amok and decide, quite rationally, to eliminate the irrational human species.

So far, Musk, 46, has accomplished none of these goals.

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

Don’t Buy Into the Authenticity Scam

Woman taking photo of pumpkin soup with smartphone

This past summer, a controversy broke out in the rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, leading to a consumer backlash about the dangers of authenticity. When Summerhill, a self-described “boozy sandwich shop” launched in August 2017 with a press release showcasing a cocktail in front of a “bullet-hole-ridden wall,” the local community, historically West Indian and African-American, was enraged. The 31-year-old white owner, Becca Brennan, a former attorney and Toronto native, retroactively defended the press release as a “cheeky” branding maneuver. Regardless, she was unable to show protesters any evidence that the pockmarked wall was, in fact, originally damaged by bullets. Residents accused Brennan of racism and cultural appropriation, suggesting that her restaurant was an attempt to appeal to neighborhood gentrifiers.

Similar critiques have been made of other watering holes in big, affluent cities in the United States. In “The Troubling Trendiness of Poverty Appropriation,” July Westhale posits that San Francisco’s hipster destination Butter Bar “prides itself on being a true-blue, trailer park-themed bar, serving up the best in ‘trashy’ cuisine and cocktails,” including Tater Tots, microwaved meals, deep-fried Twinkies, and cocktails made with Welch’s grape soda. Likewise, the drink menu of a bar called Saint Felix in Hollywood recently received viral attention on Twitter for a photograph that showed the $15 price point for a 40-ounce bottle of Colt 45 sold in a brown paper bag.

From Starbucks’ triumph turning the countercultural coffeehouse into a ubiquitous global conglomerate to the mainstream-ification of the farm-to-table “movement,” the consumerist search for the authentic has never been more prevalent.

Adorno and Horkheimer saw mass-produced culture as a deterrent to personal freedom.

Read the rest of this article at: Jstor Daily

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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