On Wednesday, the Legislative Committee of the European Union narrowly voted to keep the two most controversial internet censorship and surveillance proposals in European history in the upcoming revision to the Copyright Directive -- as soon as July Fourth, the whole European Parliament could vote to make this the law of 28 EU member-states. Read the rest
Wednesday's vote to press ahead with mandatory copyright filters for the European internet is catastrophic for the web: starting a new business just got $60-100 million more expensive, because building filters for every kind of copyrighted work ain't cheap.
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Enjoy this surprisingly dramatic and gripping YouTube mini-documentary about one of gaming's strangest and most obsessive cults: racing around Mario Kart 64's Choco Mountain track. Thanks to glitchy shortcuts, racers winnowed times down to just a few seconds. But getting the trick right for all three laps of a time trial? 20,000 attempts later... Read the rest
Many people have equated Stewart Brand to the mythical “World’s Most Interesting Man,” who was featured for years in those Dos Equis commercials. Enough people that the comparison’s a bit of a cliché. But like many clichés, there is something to it.
Stewart was among the most culturally catalytic people in the turbulent years of the late 1960s - although back then, he did a lot of his catalyzing behind the scenes. He went on to become a rather visible founding figure of the environmental movement of the early 70s. Later, he created one of the earliest and most influential online communities, which he named The Well. He convened history’s first hacker’s conference, then later co-founded one of the world’s premiere centers of truly long-term thinking. He’s still running that today, and is also helping the renowned bioengineer and genomicist George Church resurrect extinct species, like the wooly mammoth.
If this makes you think Stewart might be something of a historic figure, you’re not alone. He showed up for his interview at my apartment with a production crew, who were filming a documentary about his life. Meanwhile John Markoff - who for decades at the NYT was among the world’s most influential and well-regarded tech journalists - is writing a biography about Stewart.
For the same reasons that Stewart attracts this sort of attention, I’m taking an unusual approach to this episode. Rather than focusing solely on a single deep and complex aspect of his work, Stewart and I speak broadly about the sweep of his experiences, and the unique perspective they’ve given him on technology, the environment, and our prospects of navigating the coming century. Read the rest
Now that's a pretty comet. ESA:
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Enjoy this compilation of with the last images taken by Rosetta’s high resolution OSIRIS camera during the mission’s final hours at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. As it moved closer towards the surface it scanned across an ancient pit and sent back images showing what would become its final resting place. Browse all images via the Archive Image Browser: https://imagearchives.esac.esa.int
The Community Microscope is a fully-funded, crowdfunded open source microscope hardware kit built around a digital camera: it costs $39 and snaps together in 15 minutes.
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Lo, how the mighty have fallen. Read the rest
Dan Mancina of Livonia, Michigan began to lose his sight as a teenager due to two disorders of the eye. Now he's 95 percent blind. And he's a killer skateboarder. From a Red Bull interview with Mancina:
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Can you speak a bit about your goal of helping people build more parks for visually-impaired people?
My new kind of goal I'm working towards is having a skatepark built entirely for the blind, using techniques I use, like tactile things on the ground, audio speakers within objects to help orientate yourself and things hanging from the ceiling that can help let you know where you are.
I would love to have it fully equipped with skateboards and pads to help bring blind people in and introduce them to skateboarding.
One of the biggest allures of skating is the ability to have your own freedom, choose your tricks and your style. I'd love to try to spread that to other blind people, to give them a chance to try that out.
On display in Copenhagen, Denmark's Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum is this glass display case filled with noses of myriad shapes and sizes. Why?
According to curator Anne Marie Nielsen, noses on 19th century statues are notoriously fragile and would frequently break off. So the owners of the statues (or perhaps even prior museum curators) would replace them with marble or plaster replicas. Nowadays though, the museum removes any replacement noses because they only want to display the original sculptures, faults and all.
“About 20 years ago, the museum had a box filled with noses [in our archives], and we weren’t sure what to do with them,” Nielsen tells Smithsonian.com. “We decided to group them together and put them [on display].”
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Over at Mondo 2000, our old pal RU Sirius interviewed Douglas Rushkoff, Jake Dunagan, and I about the "The Biology of Disinformation," a new research paper we wrote for Institute for the Future about how media viruses, bots and computational propaganda have redefined how information is weaponized for propaganda campaigns. While technological solutions may seem like the most practical and effective remedy, fortifying social relationships that define human communication may be the best way to combat “ideological warfare” that is designed to push us toward isolation. From Mondo 2000:
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R.U. Sirius: In a sense, you’re offering a different model than the one most of us usually think in, as regards memetics. Instead of fighting bad memes with good, or their memes with ours, are you suggesting that we look at memes themselves as viruses attacking us? Is that right?
Douglas Rushkoff: Yeah, that’s the simplest way of looking at it. That’s why I called memes in media “media viruses.” Even if they end up forcing important ideas into the cultural conversation, and even if they ultimately lead to good things, they do infect us from the outside. They attack our weak code, and continue to replicate until we repair it, or until we come to recognize the “shell” of the virus itself.
I think what makes our analysis unique, compared with a lot of what’s out there, is that we’re not proposing yet another technosolutionist fix. Mark Zuckerberg wants to fight fake news with artificial intelligence. Great.
Piers attempts to embarrass UK reality TV star Hayley of "Love Island" by asking her, "Do you know Pythagoras's theorem to the nearest five decimal place?" Um... wut?
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Reality Winner, 26, is the whistleblower accused of releasing an NSA document on Russia's attack on U.S. voting systems to reporters at The Intercept. Read the rest
Donna Minkowitz wrote one of the most important pieces about the murder of Brandon Teena, the transgender man depicted in the film Boys Don't Cry. A quarter century later, she does what few journalists have the courage to do: she acknowledged the botched the story with biased reporting. Read the rest
Artist David Bowen (previously) has produced a new video of his expanded tele-present wind project, where indoor plants in Spain are moved by an outdoor plant buffeted by winds in Minnesota. Read the rest
The recent Trump-Kim man-child summit in Singapore was already awkward and now Bad Lip Reading has made it even more so by redubbing some of their conversations.
Previous Bad Lip Readings on BB Read the rest
Last winter, Samm Sheperd took another stab at skiing with a propeller backpack (his first try overheated). The first four minutes show the build for those who want to jump to the testing. Read the rest