I'm really enjoying playing a new, nearly 8-bit graphics indie game called "BaBa is You" on the Switch. Programmers will appreciate it, I think.

In video conferences & calls, "Mute" is an easy-to-implement but inhumane technology. Really we should have a "distant" or "far away" button that sends oneself or (in the case of moderated forums, someone else) into the distance. You shouldn't be able to "turn off" another person in a community setting--loud protest is a valuable signal that can be incorporated in our online world. Also, I have seen no end to confusion regarding whether someone is "muted" or the technology is at fault.

New form of intra-brain communication discovered:

"Durand and his team observed a wave “leap” across a cut they had made in brain tissue slice—a phenomenon they conclude could only be explained by the electric field coupling."


"Peek underneath and see 16 smaller steel robots scooping up strawberries with spinning, claw-like fingers, guided by camera eyes and flashing lights.

Growers say it is getting harder to hire enough people to harvest crops before they rot.

Fewer seasonal laborers are coming from Mexico, the biggest supplier of U.S. farmworkers. Fewer Americans want to bend over all day in a field, farmers say, even when offered higher wages, free housing and recruitment bonuses."


"Why should society help you when you're not willing to do the bare minimum to be a part of it?"

"Society has enclosed the land that once was commons I could escape to, to get away from society. Society has violated the Lockean Proviso."


Duane J boosted

Half-formed thought about how all the small towns in the American interior, that are dying because their one factory or one mine closed down, are the American equivalent of the old European empires' resource-extraction colonies, which (as opposed to their settlement colonies) were set up as giant single-crop plantations, never got any infrastructure investment or economic diversification, and remained some of the poorest places in the world even after they achieved independence

"FBI finds no specific motive in Vegas attack that killed 58." I think this shooter is a clear example of a form of suffering we as a people have forbidden the US government to try alleviate, i.e. destitution of meaning in life


A coworker and I speculate that as AI improves, and more and more sophisticated CAPTCHA tests are defeated, the test will evolve towards the essence of the issue: are "you" (the being on the other end of the terminal) an ethical being? (for laughs: next-gen CAPTCHA will be an iteration of the trolley problem: "Would you pull the lever in this situation?" heh)

Growing tissue and cancer cells in a lots-of-hidden-variables medium might explain why lab results from vitro haven't translated to breakthroughs in vivo. theatlantic.com/science/archiv

This is a fascinating new form of steganography that uses CycleGAN to create an encoding. I think the future of enhanced cryptography is somewhere in this direction. techcrunch.com/2018/12/31/this

On second thought, maybe not a great idea. The unscrupulous could start using photos of real people and then claim it isn't really the person because they can generate the person with XYZ params. Hmm.

After seeing this incredible new generative adversarial network for faces, it makes me wonder if there's a business for "given this picture of someone, find the parameters that generate him/her." youtube.com/watch?v=kSLJriaOum

Great visualization of Reddit. My Little Pony appears to be an island unto itself. Learned there's a shit-reddit-says (SRS) cluster. Anyone know of a more recent map?


Deep reflections on life science after AlphaFold:

"But in part due to the canonicalization of CASP, protein structure prediction effectively has a two-year clock cycle, where separate research groups guard their discoveries until after CASP results are announced."

"It is an indictment of the laughable “basic research” groups of [pharma] companies, which pay lip service to fundamental science but focus myopically on target-driven research"


How much does Airbnb's reputation system contribute to its success against long-term renters? As a landlord, I cared very much about preserving value, and short-term rentals attached to reputation let me do that. Would long-term renters benefit from a similar system? (Context: Dublin housing crisis theguardian.com/cities/2018/no)

There is no such thing as identity, only correlation management.

Some of you here might be interested in a new tech/political discussion forum called etherean.org. It was announced at Ethereum DevCon4 this week and I felt a connection with the instigator's ideas.

Duane J boosted

"Over time, this leads to what you might call tribal epistemology: Information is evaluated based not on conformity to common standards of evidence or correspondence to a common understanding of the world, but on whether it supports the tribe’s values and goals and is vouchsafed by tribal leaders. “Good for our side” and “true” begin to blur into one." vox.com/policy-and-politics/20

How do you predict Western culture will change when it becomes technically possible to send and store content-addressable, decentralized files that can't be removed? e.g. IPFS, Swarm

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Refactor Camp

Mastodon instance for attendees of Refactor Camp, and members of various online/offline groups that have grown out of it. Related local groups with varying levels of activity exist in the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Austin.

Kinda/sorta sponsored by the Ribbonfarm Blogamatic Universe.

If you already know a few people in this neck of the woods, try and pick a handle they'll recognize when you sign up. Please note that the registration confirmation email may end up in your spam folder, so check there. It should come from administrator Zach Faddis.