Today the way we track threats in geosynchronous orbit is by basically points of light, and as we take a picture of the sky and dwell on that part of the sky, [we know] things that are moving are satellites, things that are stationary are stars … Through our points of light and various other means, we make inferences on what a particular [foreign] satellite can do.
A picture is worth a thousand inferences because we can see literally what that [foreign] satellite looks like, and you can effectively reverse-engineer and understand what the capabilities are … to a much greater extent than you can today
“It’s a very romantic notion to want to live some totally off-grid hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but having seen the sheer monotonous toil and graft that some of the local peasantry put into their existence, it really put me off doing the same.”—Edward O’Toole, quoted in a Vice interview / article, Preppers Taught Me How to Eat When the World Ends (via)
“The reason sickness is undesirable is not that it causes distress or discomfort but that it results in what is often called “lost productivity”. This is a sinister and absurd notion, predicated on the greedy fallacy of counting chickens before they have hatched. “Workplace absence through sickness was reported to cost British business £32bn a year,” the researcher claimed in Metro: a normal way of phrasing things today, but one with curious implications. The idea seems to be that business already has that money even though it hasn’t earned it yet and employees who fail to maintain “productivity” as a result of sickness or other reasons are, in effect, stealing this as yet entirely notional sum from their employers.”—
In the US there are companies that take sick days and personal time off from the same pool of days. I had fifteen total in a year, and that’s regarded as pretty generous. Of course, if I actually did have anything that didn’t physically stop me getting in to work, I’d do so - it’s better for me to sit at my desk unproductive (and possibly infecting co-workers) than lose a holiday day.
Well done for reverse incentives there, free market capitalism.
“it would be silly to expect the national-security story of the decade to break in a California business publication. Swisher and fellow panelist Alexia Tsotsis, the co-editor of TechCrunch, spoke of the non-investigative nature of the bulk of their coverage—fundings, job changes, new product features. Tsotsis was especially abject, suggesting that even if she’d received the Edward Snowden documents, she probably “would have succumbed to the pressure of the Obama administration now”; TechCrunch “is just a cheerleader,” she said, and “a lot of tech media is sort of in the pockets of the people we cover … We’re inviting them to our parties. We might be dating some of them. We are right in the middle, in the thick, of the tech industry.””—Benjamin Wallace in New York Magazine, as part of a profile on Kara Swisher, who was also on the panel.
“I hate to be the one to break it to Joe, Nate, and Brian, but prior to the Industrial Revolution, one way people “belonged” to other people was through chattel slavery. Another was through marriages that made women the property of their husbands. It’s less funny than a doodle of a vagina, but perhaps more evocative of the limited viewpoint of the company’s three white, male founders.”—Julia Carrie Wong on the voiceover of the AirBnB video introducing their (not good) new logo.
“Cities used to be villages. Everyone knew each other, and everyone knew they had a place to call home. But after the mechanization and Industrial Revolution of the last century, those feelings of trust and belonging were displaced by mass-produced and impersonal travel experiences. We also stopped trusting each other. And in doing so, we lost something essential about what it means to be a community… That’s why Airbnb is returning us to a place where everyone can feel they belong.”—AirBnB, in the voiceover to their video introducing their new logo, as transcribed by Julia Carrie Wong. I described it on Twitter as “one long ”.
“According to [Jens Nygaard Knudsen] the Red and White spacemen started as Cosmonauts and Astronauts. Later they became red pilots and white explorers, yellow were introduced as scientists/engineers, blue as security/soldiers, black as spies. Pete and I decided mech/walker Pilots should be a new colour. Green!”—
Mark Stafford, in a comment on Pete Reid’s photo of multiple classic Lego space minifigures.
I’d always wondered if the red and white mapped to Soviet and US uniforms. It turns out, yes, they did, kind of.
“The thing is Thor is not just a comic character. He’s real mythology. Sure, Marvel’s version of Thor is not meant to follow the original nordic pantheon 100% but it’s still the equivalent of deciding to make Morgan Le Fay into a man or Zeus into a woman. A lot of people also forget there are “real pagans” today who still worship the old gods and old goddesses. Christians would get offended if Christ was gender-bent yet older religions seem to be “fair game” for this kind of random derpitude.”—Lucien Deshade in the comments on Newsarama’s story, Thor Drops The Hammer, a new female Thor takes his place.
“Bay really thinks the world is obvious. Fighting is gigantic boxers pummelling one another. War is explosions and buildings collapsing and air superiority. Love is the kiss between the stick-thin supermodel in hot pants and a handsome young body-builder whose job is racing race-cars. There’s nothing else.”—Adam Roberts on Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction for Strange Horizons.
“If highly paid teams of suits sitting in air-conditioned rooms in LA have really decided that the best way to make new movies is to rip off Prometheus, of all films, then something has gone very wrong somewhere.”—Adam Roberts reviewing Transformers: Age of Extinction for Strange Horizons.
“Published in his collection of essays Travels in Hyperreality (1986), Eco links football “with the absence of purpose and the vanity of all things” questioning the corrosive banality of its punditry, its inherent prejudice and exclusivity and its (a)political morality. The essay concludes with Eco asking rhetorically “Is the armed struggle possible on World Cup Sunday…Is revolution possible on a football Sunday?””—I Don’t Love Soccer Because Soccer Has Never Loved Me
“[Mincing Lane] was for some years the world’s leading centre for tea and spice trading after the British East India Company successfully took over all trading ports from the Dutch East India Company in 1799. It was the centre of the British opium business (comprising 90% of all transactions), as well as other drugs in the 18th century.”—
Wikipedia’s entry on Mincing Lane in the City of London. The article continues:
“Back in the late 90s, when Internet dating was still new, I interviewed the founder of a UK site called Cybersuitors. He was a network academic and told me he deduced that a dating site needed a minimum of 144 people to create interesting possible pairings—“the same number of people you’d need to populate a multigenerational starship headed to Alpha Centauri,” as he joked. The number is probably a lot higher than that, but you get the point.”—Clive Thompson in How Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe hacked Metcalfe’s Law.
“We have people all the time that we know have been involved in robberies, rapes and murders. We haven’t been able to prove our cases, but we’re in court with them for second-offense possession of marijuana. What do you think we’re going to do?”—
The tiles were extremely industrial objects, but usually, in the late 20C industrial framework, if you have several thousand similar industrial things, they’re interchangeable – that’s kind of the point. Not the tiles. They were made for particular spots on the orbiters, and each one has a binder – so the legends say – recording how it was made, anything that might have influenced its quality, who attached it to the orbiter body, its inspections before and after every mission, sketches of damage, and so forth.
… So the obvious thing is a big viz. Take every tile that flew, draw its lifetime as a line, align it to all the others on its orbiter, mark everything that happened to it, and print it all up big. We can imagine the horizontal lines formed by especially rough launches and reëntries, the cut-offs of the disasters, call-outs showing which tiles lasted the longest, and so forth. This seems like a difficult project but in a fun way.
“The new Bay Bridge raises several important considerations for policy analysts of megaprojects. … It is important to recognize that the pursuit of the technological sublime may derail public processes and negatively affect a project’s design, budget, and schedule. Participants may be blinded by an overly optimistic belief that design and engineering can overcome the technical complexities and risks associated with implementing large-scale projects.”—Pursuing the Technological Sublime: How the Bay Bridge Became a Megaproject by Karen Frick in Access.
“Microphones changed everything. Rather than spraying the balcony with emotion (or using a simple megaphone for amplification) the act of performance became more intimate, the singer more vulnerable. In time, the tinnier carbon microphones (as in the telephone) gave way to condenser microphones. Far more vocal subtlety could be transmitted. The dynamics of entertainment allowed for quiet. A different sort of voice found its place on stage and in recordings: the crooner.”—How Bing Crosby and the Nazis Helped to Create Silicon Valley, by Paul Ford for the New Yorker.