Machine learning, deep-fat fryers, and community cultivation


Maciej Cegłowski's (previously) speech at the Library of Congress, "Deep-Fried Data," describes the way that data begs to be analyzed and how machine learning is like a deep-fat fryer -- a fryer makes anything you put in it "kind of" delicious, and machine learning "kind of" finds insights in your data-set. Read the rest

Jo Walton's "Informal History of the Hugos" coming July 2017


Tor will collect Jo Walton's excellent series of essays on the winners and nominees of the past Hugos in a book called An Informal History of the Hugos coming in July 2017. Read the rest

Visualizing the latent emotional and bureaucratic labor in our material world


Work, today's XKCD installment, hypothesizes the latent, invisible human effort that went into the everyday things around us, from the hours of meeting-time to decide upon the length of the stem of a goose-neck lamp to the career-ending engineering argument over where to put its switch. It's a kind of preview of what augmented reality could bring, the embodiment of the spime idea, where the full costs and histories of the things around us cluster around them in complicated, emotional clouds -- an idea that's been around since at least 2006, but that is feeling increasingly likely with the passage of time. Read the rest

Everything Change: free anthology of prizewinning climate fiction


Arizona State University's Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative held a short story contest to write "climate fiction," judged by Kim Stanley Robinson and others; now the best stories have been collected in a free downloadable ebook that includes a forward by Robinson, and an interview with Paolo Bacigalupi. Read the rest

The Slider: an alluring, machined-metal worry-stone


Machinist/sculptor Christ Bathgate (previously) can't keep up with demand for his latest "pocket sculpture," a kinetic piece that's designed to be soothing to fidget with. Read the rest

EFF to court: don't let US government prosecute professor over his book about securing computers


In July, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Dr Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute Assistant Professor of Computer Science; now the US government has asked a court to dismiss Dr Green's claims. A brief from EFF explains what's at stake here: the right of security experts to tell us which computers are vulnerable to attack, and how to make them better. Read the rest

On a Sunbeam, a science fictional webcomic


On a Sunbeam is a science fiction webcomic from competitive figure skater/comics creator Tillie Walden. Next year, Firstsecond will publish a memoir about her 12 years as a skater; if On a Sunbeam is representative of her work, it's a book to watch for. Read the rest

Kickstarting a second volume of Hugo Award nominees


Following on last year's successful campaign to produce a giant anthology of Hugo Award-nominated short fiction, David Steffen is once again raising funds for a second volume. Read the rest

AT-AT cardigan

70% cotton/30% nylon, sized S-XXL, $40 from Thinkgeek. Read the rest

Dice so nerdy, they make other dice seem not nerdy


Eric Harshbarger's weird, laser-engraved dice are a tour-de-force: a pair of D6s for figuring out where to go for dinner in NYC; another D6 to figure out which die you should roll; an all-20s critical hit D20; Sicherman D6s that have different faces to a normal D6 pair, but the same probability distribution; punctuation mark dice (I've had students who were definitely using these); dice for indecisive people, and so on. Read the rest

An ethnographic interview with an AI


Tech anthropologist Genevieve Bell (previously) delivered one of the keynotes at last week's O'Reilly AI conference in New York City, describing how you could do anthropology fieldwork on an AI -- specifically, how you could do an ethnographic interview with one. Read the rest

2600 Magazine offers $10K for Trump's tax return


2600: The Hacker Quarterly -- a venerable and storied source of hacker mischief and wonder -- has publicly offered a bounty of $10,000 (payable in "dollars, bitcoin... or rubles") for the first look at Donald Trump's tax return. Read the rest

Scenes from Wasteland, the annual Mad Max tribute event in the Mojave desert


In 2009, we covered a "one time only 'Road Warrior Weekend' campout" -- now, seven years later, it's an annual event called Wasteland, and it's better than ever. Read the rest

The Doonesbury Trump retrospective proves that Garry Trudeau had Drumpf's number all along

On September 14, 1987, Garry B Trudeau ran the first Doonesbury strip that mentioned Donald Trump, in which his characters marvel that New York's "loudest and most visible asshole" had floated a political trial balloon, hinting that he would run for president; thus began 30 years of marveling at, mocking, and skewering Der Drumpf, so rattling the Short-Fingered Vulgarian that he felt the need to issue a series of wounded denunciations. Now, just in time for the election, Trudeau has released a collection of his Trump-themed strips, Yuge: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump, just the thing to put the Republican nominee on tilt.

Women as sinister seductresses in video games


The latest Tropes vs Women in Video Games (previously) is as on-point, smart, and deep as ever. Read the rest

O'Reilly's holding a security conference in NYC, Oct 30-Nov 2


I've been going to O'Reilly conferences since the first P2P conference in 2001; for 15 years, they've been blowing my mind. Read the rest

Kid makes a diorama of her neighborhood disguised as an RPG rulebook


Jim Jones writes, "I have been playing The Warren, Marshall Miller's role playing game about being rabbits, with my three kids for a little over a month. We play in an area based on our suburban neighborhood. My second grade daughter chose to do a diorama of a suburb for school so she could talk about our game and we built it so that it appeared in the rule book for the role playing game itself." Read the rest

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