Bruce Sterling returns again to the WELL's public "Inkwell" conference for his annual state-of-the-year public interview, in which anyone can join in. It's off to a rollicking start, with plenty of chewy, sometimes gnomic Sterlingian pronouncements:
Some people still think that there's an "Islamo-fascist tyranny"
somewhere that hates our freedoms and can organize Islam-dom into a
coherent fascist state... There's just no way. Al Qaeda and the
Taliban aren't true "fascists." Fascists can at least make trains run
on time. Even Communists were better-organized. The mujihadeen have
no organized army and no industrial policy and they don't know where to
find any. Because God was supposed to handle all that for them.
You're supposed to die nobly in a crowd of unwitting strangers, and
then God's supposed to make that all better. That's the big plan.
But when you blow up the china shop, God doesn't reassemble the plates
for you. Being faith-based doesn't trump reality.
It's pretty good news that Al Qaeda is getting tired and losing its
charisma. They've held center stage more than long enough.
I think "we" in the largest sense, planetary civilization, world
culture or whatever, we're closer to a consensus idea of futurity than
it's been since, say, 1997. It's a green futurity. People don't like
it much, but they know it's coming anyway.
Ten years ago, there was a little Belle Epoque era of good feeling
there when the "Washington Consensus" held its sway... and the thought
among opinion-makers of the time was, you know, let the dot-com Long
Boomers run that show. Everybody knew that what they were saying and
doing didn't make much sense -- but at least there was plenty of pie
there for the Formerly Free World.
Now the Americans have clearly lost the thread... the Americans are
really just horribly out of it, they're like some giant fundie Brazil,
nobody takes their pronunciamentos seriously or believes a word they
say... Whereas the world is much more seriously global now. China and
India are real players, they're part of the show and they matter.
Serious-minded people everywhere do know they have to deal with the
resource crisis and the climate crisis. Because the world-machine's
backfiring and puffing smoke. Joe and Jane Sixpack are looking at
four-dollar milk and five-dollar gas. It's hurting and it's scary and
there's no way out of it but through it.
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
I dote on fidget gadgets — soothing gizmos intended to give your hands something to keep busy with, like modern worry-beads — and while you can’t buy Chris Bathgate’s amazing machined sliders, and the Fidget Cube Kickstarter just closed, there’s still Thinkgeek’s new Jumbo Noah Fidget Toy, which looks like a lot of fun and […]
Nothing is more frustrating than needing to edit or sign a PDF and not having access to the original document. That’s why PDFpenPRO is a must-have app in our books.With this extremely useful app, you can merge, markup, and create PDF documents without ever having to convert your PDFs into word processor file formats. Type directly onto […]
From self-driving cars to stock market predicting software to the recommendations you get on Amazon and Netflix, machine learning is at the core of modern technology. You could find yourself building technology that is literally changing the world with the skills you’ll learn in The Complete Machine Learning Bundle. This bundle of 10 courses includes 406 lessons that will teach […]
This Python Mega Course will help you learn to code by teaching you to build 10 real-world apps that each highlight a unique use of Python.Job prospects for coders are still growing steadily—and with Python being one of the most popular coding languages out there today, it’s important for job seekers to demonstrate a widespread understanding of the […]