News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Pull up to any intersection in Los Angeles, and you will see a column of illegally posted signs forming a kind of capitalist totem pole. Most advertise services catering to the darker side of life: “Cheap Divorce!” “Fix Your Credit!” “Liquidation Sale!” Even the now-ubiquitous “Sell Your House Fast” calls to mind desperate families collapsing under the weight of a mortgage. Yet over the past couple of years, a more hopeful sign has joined the mix: “Free ADU Consultation.”

The abbreviation needs no explanation in California, where accessory dwelling units have graduated from wonky planning jargon to popular parlance. Variously known as granny flats, mother-in-law units, or casitas, ADUs are small, additional rental units that share a lot with another structure—typically a single-family home.

ADUs can now be found in backyards across the Golden State, providing homeowners with a new source of income and renters with new housing options. Something like 60,000 ADUs have been permitted since 2016, the year they were legalized. It’s a startling figure, but it’s only the beginning. As more states legalize them in response to the ever-deepening housing crisis, ADUs could soon be coming to a backyard near you. This hyperlocal building boom might just spell the end of the American suburb as we know it—in the best possible way.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I have few memories of being four—a fact I find disconcerting now that I’m the father of a four-year-old. My son and I have great times together; lately, we’ve been building Lego versions of familiar places (the coffee shop, the bathroom) and perfecting the “flipperoo,” a move in which I hold his hands while he somersaults backward from my shoulders to the ground. But how much of our joyous life will he remember? What I recall from when I was four are the red-painted nails of a mean babysitter; the brushed-silver stereo in my parents’ apartment; a particular orange-carpeted hallway; some houseplants in the sun; and a glimpse of my father’s face, perhaps smuggled into memory from a photograph. These disconnected images don’t knit together into a picture of a life. They also fail to illuminate any inner reality. I have no memories of my own feelings, thoughts, or personality; I’m told that I was a cheerful, talkative child given to long dinner-table speeches, but don’t remember being so. My son, who is happy and voluble, is so much fun to be around that I sometimes mourn, on his behalf, his future inability to remember himself.

If we could see our childish selves more clearly, we might have a better sense of the course and the character of our lives. Are we the same people at four that we will be at twenty-four, forty-four, or seventy-four? Or will we change substantially through time? Is the fix already in, or will our stories have surprising twists and turns? Some people feel that they’ve altered profoundly through the years, and to them the past seems like a foreign country, characterized by peculiar customs, values, and tastes. (Those boyfriends! That music! Those outfits!) But others have a strong sense of connection with their younger selves, and for them the past remains a home. My mother-in-law, who lives not far from her parents’ house in the same town where she grew up, insists that she is the same as she’s always been, and recalls with fresh indignation her sixth birthday, when she was promised a pony but didn’t get one. Her brother holds the opposite view: he looks back on several distinct epochs in his life, each with its own set of attitudes, circumstances, and friends. “I’ve walked through many doorways,” he’s told me. I feel this way, too, although most people who know me well say that I’ve been the same person forever.

Try to remember life as you lived it years ago, on a typical day in the fall. Back then, you cared deeply about certain things (a girlfriend? Depeche Mode?) but were oblivious of others (your political commitments? your children?). Certain key events—college? war? marriage? Alcoholics Anonymous?—hadn’t yet occurred. Does the self you remember feel like you, or like a stranger? Do you seem to be remembering yesterday, or reading a novel about a fictional character?

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

In 2013, a fire-sprinkler engineer fell five stories from the rafters of a church, shattered 108 bones, and almost died. Then began his battle to walk and live again.

Mike Conner sits in his truck atop a hill in Boring, Oregon, where he can feel the summer breeze through the window and see the sun at its meridian over the fields and the snowcapped tip of a distant Mount Hood poking into a cloud-dotted sky. He sits here and thinks about cutting off his feet.

His legs are barely his anymore—just fused cadaver bone and metal. Nearly half of six-foot-four, 225-pound Mike is steel and titanium: the majority of his legs from his knees down, his shoulder, his elbow, his wrist, his back, and his spine.

The Pain comes from his feet.

It starts in his soles and his mangled toes, which are missing knuckles. It surges up his ankles, which he can barely flex—they’re just bone on bone, no joints, no cushion—up his atrophied legs, where the bones still have holes in them and where one is shaped like an S. It climbs his rebuilt spinal cord, up past a small stimulator fitted near the vertebrae and designed to reduce pain signals that find his brain. They shoot up his legs and spine and, when the battery gets low, find his brain anyway. The Pain: a five-hundred-pound sack of sand on his back, his feet in a bear trap.

“AGHHH!” He stretches his metal feet beside the gas pedal.

Every day, it’s just Mike and the Pain. When he goes to sleep, when he wakes, when he sits up in bed, when he goes to piss, it’s just the two of them: Mike and the Pain. He keeps slippers by the bed, because walking barefoot is like walking on shards of glass.

“AGHHH!” He arches his half-locked ankle.

Read the rest of this article at: Esquire

News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In 1977, David Mills, an eccentric engineer and computer scientist, took a job at COMSAT, a satellite corporation headquartered in Washington, D.C. Mills was an inveterate tinkerer: he’d once built a hearing aid for a girlfriend’s uncle, and had consulted for Ford on how paper-tape computers might be put into cars. Now, at COMSAT, Mills became involved in the ARPANET, the computer network that would become the precursor to the Internet. A handful of researchers were already using the network to connect their distant computers and trade information. But the fidelity of that exchanged data was threatened by a distinct deficiency: the machines did not share a single, reliable synchronized time.

Over decades, Mills had gained wide-ranging expertise in mathematics, engineering, and computer science. In the early seventies, as a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, he’d written programs that decoded shortwave radio and telegraph signals. Later, largely for fun, he’d studied how the clocks in a power grid could wander several seconds in the course of a hot summer’s day. (The extent of their shifts depended not just on the temperature but on whether the grid used coal or hydropower.) Now he concentrated on the problem of keeping time across a far-flung computer network. Clock time, Mills learned, is the result of an unending search for consensus. Even the times told by the world’s most precise government-maintained “master clocks” are composites of the readings of several atomic clocks. The master clocks, in turn, are averaged to help create international civil time, known as Coördinated Universal Time and initialized as U.T.C.

To solve the problem of time synchronization on the ARPANET, Mills built what programmers call a protocol—a collection of rules and procedures that creates a lingua franca for disparate devices. The ARPANET was experimental and capricious: electronics failed regularly, and technological misbehavior was common. His protocol sought to detect and correct for those misdeeds, creating a consensus about the time through an ingenious system of suspicion. Mills prided himself on puckish nomenclature, and so his clock-synchronizing system distinguished reliable “truechimers” from misleading “falsetickers.” An operating system named Fuzzball, which he designed, facilitated the early work. Mills called his creation the Network Time Protocol, and N.T.P. soon became a key component of the nascent Internet. Programmers followed its instructions when they wrote timekeeping code for their computers. By 1988, Mills had refined N.T.P. to the point where it could synchronize the clocks of connected computers that had been telling vastly differing times to within tens of milliseconds—a fraction of a blink of an eye. “I always thought that was sort of black magic,” Vint Cerf, a pioneer of Internet infrastructure, told me.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

Follow us on Instagram @thisisglamorous

News 10.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Recently, at a fancy arts complex in Manhattan, the billionaire Frank McCourt led a three-day series of talks and workshops about the future of the internet—part of his expensive effort to “fix technology, save democracy.”

In the lobby, attendees networked in a cocktail bar created by the superstar restaurateur Danny Meyer; in front of the main stage, they held up blue and orange glow sticks to record their votes in polls like “Which will kill us first?” (AI or climate change) and “Who would you rather take care of your children?” (a surveillance robot or TikTok stars). The agenda for this conference, Unfinished Live, was almost random in its diversity: Attendees could learn about how Indigenous communities were using decentralized technology to create their own maps, and they could also learn about importing products into the metaverse, starting with a sweater that has a microchip in it. (This allows the sweater to “accrue value based on who owned it last.”) The Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen invoked several times the necessity of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving for social media. Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founding member of Pussy Riot, vaped onstage and responded coolly to questions about how blockchain tech is used to fund the defense in Ukraine. “There’s nothing particularly magic about cryptocurrency,” she said. “It’s a tool, like a road or a gun.”

The disparate threads could all be tied to the same point of origin: It feels like things have gone wrong on the internet. Decades removed from the gonzo highs of blinging GIFs and wacky blogs, the web is now a place where many people feel exploited, manipulated, and tracked; where freedom of speech is being tugged around in a strange culture war; and where the rich get richer.

Among this set, one solution seems to be the consensus favorite. If these problems are intrinsically linked to consolidated tech giants like Meta, Google, and Amazon, why not embrace technologies that decentralize power? This has become a key issue for Brewster Kahle, the 61-year-old founder of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit and digital library created in the late 1990s. (You might know it from the Wayback Machine, which has crawled and snapshotted billions of webpages for posterity.) When I introduced myself to him at a morning workshop on water scarcity, he was wearing a Jansport backpack and black shoes that appeared to be nonslip, possibly appropriate for work at a high-volume restaurant, and he was open to sitting down immediately for a 90-minute conversation about the major problems facing the web.

Kahle would remake the web as an endless library, which could hold copies upon copies of everything you’d want to know and mimic “the robustness that we have in the physical world.” Today, the tech giants have tremendous authority over the information that passes through their platforms. These platforms can remove any data on a whim; they might do this intentionally, for their own obscure purposes, or they can be subject to copyright takedownsgeopolitical demands, and other outside threats. They collect and track personal details and target content against them. Centralization, the logic goes, makes all of this possible, and leads to all of the problems that result.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

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