News 11.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 11.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 11.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 11.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Beneath our feet is an ecosystem so astonishing that it tests the limits of our imagination. It’s as diverse as a rainforest or a coral reef. We depend on it for 99% of our food, yet we scarcely know it. Soil.

Under one square metre of undisturbed ground in the Earth’s mid-latitudes (which include the UK) there might live several hundred thousand small animals. Roughly 90% of the species to which they belong have yet to be named. One gram of this soil – less than a teaspoonful – contains around a kilometre of fungal filaments.

When I first examined a lump of soil with a powerful lens, I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. As soon as I found the focal length, it burst into life. I immediately saw springtails – tiny animals similar to insects – in dozens of shapes and sizes. Round, crabby mites were everywhere: in some soils there are half a million in every square metre.

Then I began to see creatures I had never encountered before. What I took to be a tiny white centipede turned out, when I looked it up, to be a different life form altogether, called a symphylid. I spotted something that might have stepped out of a Japanese anime: long and low, with two fine antennae at the front and two at the back, poised and sprung like a virile dragon or a flying horse. It was a bristletail, or dipluran.

As I worked my way through the lump, again and again I found animals whose existence, despite my degree in zoology and a lifetime immersed in natural history, had been unknown to me. After two hours examining a kilogram of soil, I realised I had seen more of the major branches of the animal kingdom than I would on a week’s safari in the Serengeti.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 11.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It’s getting late on a Saturday afternoon in Denver when I lean back and take in the full weirdness of what I’m doing. I’m seated at a long plastic folding table against the wall in a windowless room, a Discord server open on my laptop. Pizza crusts and empty potato chip bags are piled up around me, evidence of the feverish hours I’ve spent hacking together a project with a trio of blockchain developers. I’m not a programmer, just a journalist with a law degree. Yet somehow I’ve gotten swept up in creating my own DAO—a decentralized autonomous organization, a favorite concept among the starry-eyed proponents of Web3—and it’s supposed to launch tomorrow.

No doubt you have questions. So do I. Like: What happened to me? Three days ago I was a crypto skeptic who could barely figure out how to buy ether. Now I’m speaking in complete sentences about multisig treasuries and quadratic voting. The devs have almost integrated our site with non-MetaMask wallets, and I’ve just dropped $85 for a domain on the Ethereum Name Service despite having no clear use for it. And rather than feeling exasperated or baffled, I seem to have caught the same thrill, however fleetingly, as everyone around me.

I am among the estimated 10,000 people who arrived in Colorado a few days ago for this year’s ETHDenver conference, the biggest and oldest event in the world of Ethereum and Web3. Most of these folks came here to be among their people. I came to try to understand them. And I think I finally do.

The term Web3, as you may or may not have noticed, emerged from obscurity last year, buoyed by rising cryptocurrency prices and some canny marketing by venture capitalists. Its meaning is hard to pin down. In the media and on Twitter, Web3 has become a catchall for anything having to do with blockchains and cryptocurrency: People paying tens of thousands of dollars for digital collectibles known as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, with neither practical nor aesthetic value, then flipping them for even ungodlier sums. “Play-to-earn” video games that lure gamers into flimsy virtual worlds with the promise of riches. Celebrities shilling crypto exchanges during the Super Bowl. A ceaseless parade of scamshacks, and frauds.

But to a core of true believers, Web3 stands apart from the garish excesses and brazen misbehavior of the flashing-neon crypto casino. If cryptocurrency was originally about decentralizing money, Web3 is about decentralizing … everything. Its mission is almost achingly idealistic: to free humanity not only from Big Tech domination but also from exploitative capitalism itself—and to do it purely through code.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

The iPod grew out of Steve Jobs’ digital hub strategy. Life was going digital. People were plugging all kinds of devices into their computers: digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players.

The computer was the central device, the “digital hub,” that could be used to edit photos and movies or manage a large music library. Jobs tasked Apple’s programmers with making software for editing photos, movies and managing digital music. While they were doing this, they discovered that all the early MP3 players were horrible. Jobs asked his top hardware guy, Jon Rubinstein, to see if Apple could do better.

An Illustrated History of the iPod

Rubinstein spent a few weeks on the project but concluded the technology wasn’t yet there. Either it would be big and bulky, or the battery would suck, or it would have limited memory. He was just about to give up when he made a routine visit to Toshiba, one of Apple’s hard drive suppliers. At the end of a meeting, the Toshiba executives offhandedly showed him a new, 1.8-inch hard drive they had just prototyped. They didn’t know what to do with it. Rubinstein immediately recognized it as the key technology for the first iPod.

The name “iPod” came from a freelance copywriter, Vinnie Chieco. As soon as he saw the pure white device, Chieco thought of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and the immortal line: “Open the pod bay doors, Hal.” Steve Jobs was talking a lot about the iMac and iLife, so adding the “i” prefix was a natural thing to do. Jobs initially rejected the iPod name, but later came around to it.

History of the iPod: The timeline

Two decades after its launch, the iPod’s influence on mobile devices — and Apple’s fortunes — continues to be felt. This timeline tracks the iPod’s development and evolution over the past 20 years.

Read the rest of this article at: Cult of Mac

News 11.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 11.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Thirty years ago this week, Los Angeles was burning amid riots that ultimately killed 63 people, injured 2,383, and destroyed hundreds of businesses. And perhaps the last person in the city that anyone could reasonably expect to call for calm, comity, and forbearance—the person with more fresh cause than anyone else to be furious at the city—was Rodney Glen King.

Yet on May 1, 1992, King called a press conference in hopes of stopping the death and destruction. “I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” he implored everyone watching. “Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?”

Little more than a year prior, after fleeing a traffic stop at high speeds to avoid a drunk-driving charge that would have violated his parole, King had been savagely kicked and clubbed by four Los Angeles Police Department officers who inflicted skull fractures, broken bones, and shattered teeth––a beating that a man in a nearby apartment happened to capture on his camcorder. Today, cellphone videos of police killings are common, so it is hard to convey the sensation caused by footage of the King beating being shown on television. But watching it at age 11, I knew I had seen real-life evil for the first time, and would never again presume that the cops in any given encounter were the good guys.

King was still suffering more than a year later, on April 29, 1992, when a Simi Valley jury failed to convict any of the police officers who’d beaten him. Outrage at the verdict was immediate and widespread; many Angelenos could not abide that the beating caught on camera might go unpunished. As Reverend Cecil Murray of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church put it, “Depravity and insanity always stun you. You just think that rational beings would at least be semi-rational.” He added, “To come back whitewashing something that the whole world witnessed, telling us that we in fact did not see brutalizing—this is a brutalization of truth.”

Within hours, the riots began. There was looting, vandalism, and assaults, with some civilians pulled from their cars and trucks by crowds that beat them as savagely as the LAPD had beaten King. By day two, arson was widespread, Koreatown was under attack, and a curfew had been imposed.

Despite having as much reason as any of the rioters to feel angry at and betrayed by his city, King came forward to urge an end to the violence. “This is just not right,” he said at his press conference. “It’s not right. And it’s not gonna change anything.” Almost immediately, local television and radio stations were broadcasting his plea of “Can we all get along?” over and over. City residents could not only quote it, but hear King’s anguished tone in their mind. And if that were the whole story, we would still find his statement extraordinary, even all these years later, for the way it elevated the common interest and the well-being of innocent Angelenos—a duty we once expected of our elected leaders, but that King took on voluntarily.

A fuller version of King’s backstory, as told in his 2012 autobiography, The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption, renders that stirring call for peace even more impressive.

King was born on April 2, 1965, in Sacramento, California. At age 7, while swimming in a reservoir with his two brothers, he was called the N-word for the first time by older white boys who surrounded them, threatened to hang them, and drove them from the water by throwing rocks at their heads.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

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News 11.05.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

After the Soviet Union crumbled, dozens of Russian businessmen enriched themselves by buying up stakes in Russia’s commodity industries at rock-bottom prices. In later years, these men protected their wealth by cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Then, these oligarchs did what any self-respecting billionaire would do: They bought large, beautiful boats. Russian oligarchs, who now own about 10 percent of all superyachts, have boats with helicopter pads, swimming pools, “infinite wine cellars,” and hot tubs stabilized against the motion of the waves. And now all their boats are belong to us.

Or at least, that’s the idea. Ukraine’s allies are scrambling to seize the oligarchs’ yachts in order to punish Putin for invading Ukraine, by putting the squeeze on his buddies. Sadly, though the yacht-seizing is undoubtedly the most badass element of Putin’s global castigation, it has also proved to be more complicated, and less gratifying, than it sounds.

I was hoping for exciting nighttime combat on the high seas, but the process of detaining a yacht is rather boring. Most of the 16 yacht “seizures” that have occurred so far have been more like freezes, according to Alex Finley, a writer and former CIA officer who has been tracking the seizures. First, a country will notice that a large, majestic vessel is parked in one of its shipyards and attempt to ascertain its true owner—a process that requires cracking open shell company after shell company, a nesting doll of paperwork, if you will. If the yacht is indeed connected to an oligarch, the country’s port authority simply forbids the yacht to move. The yacht remains at the dock, and the oligarch can’t use it for a while. The owners aren’t usually on their yachts when the boats are seized, Finley told me, so there are unfortunately no images of carabinieri dragging away tuxedoed men as they curse in Russian. Nor are the boats chained to the docks with comically large padlocks, as I had hoped. “They just are not given permission to leave,” Finley said.

Some countries are deregistering the yachts, negating their insurance, which discourages the boat from sailing off. An Italian official who was not authorized to give reporters his name told me that the boats are simply floating in the harbor, with no one allowed to get on. This person then sent me some videos of Italian officials walking around a dock in a calm and unhurried manner.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

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