Matt Webb -- gnomic Internet thinker
, mind hacker
, and fictioneer
-- gave a beautiful talk to an Design Critical Theory MA class at London's Goldsmith College, entitled "Sci-fi I like, Fictional Futures, Goldsmiths." It's a 50-slide ramble through the futurism, real and science fictional, that inspires Matt. There are plenty of thought-provoking bits here, and lots of funny gracenotes -- all in all worth a look, even if it is somewhat distractingly set up as fifty pages' worth of material with only a few paras per page (maybe he'll consolidate this into some meatier chunks -- say, five or ten pages in all).
It’s a control room from Project Cybersyn. In 1970–1973, the revolutionary Chilean government managed to recruit Stafford Beer, a cyberneticist who worked on the feedback loops of management in corporations. He was pretty famous at the time. They were designed by Gui Bonsiepe, a German modernist.
Anyway, the Chilean government called him up, and he built what he called “an electronic nervous system” connecting all parts of the country to the government.
It all worked by telex, and there were 7 seats in the control rooms because that was known to be the most efficient. The swivel chairs encouraged creativity.
These rooms would feed complaints, comments and statistics up and down to the government, and it meant a centrally planned economy actually worked, and the government could respond appropriately. Factories installed it on their floors, because they could tell the government what they needed, and it was liked centrally too because they had up-to-date stats the whole time. Feedback loops and cybernetics again!
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]