A community made up of American ex-pats deep in the South American hills of Chile – far away from America’s annoying taxes, healthcare mandate, and legal abortions — was supposed to be a libertarian paradise of rugged individualism. Instead it cost many of the people who bought into it almost everything, and now is buried under lawsuits — a reminder that everything that glitters is not inflation-proof, Ron Paul-backed gold.

It seems pretty obvious that basing one’s society on a single work of (poorly written) fiction is folly, but for many adherents of Ayn Rand and her seminal book of Objectivist allegorical grandstanding, Atlas Shrugged isn’t just any book. It’s about as close to the Bible that many libertarians have — apart from the Bible, of course. It’s influenced an astounding number of conservative public figures — from Ron Paul to Rand Paul to Ronald Reagan. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s Rand-loving running mate and probable 2016 presidential contender, said it was his favorite book growing up.”
#sketchinginbio

#sketchinginbio

Jargon aside, what exactly differentiates “an Alfred” from a plain old personal servant is not entirely clear. Perhaps it’s the fact that “Alfreds” apparently come unburdened by individual names of their own. Which is nice, because real names can be hard to remember and disconcertingly humanizing, like when you go to a fancy restaurant and they serve your fish with the head still on.”

Don’t ask me anything about it and don’t look anything up. Just travel to the Boston ICA to see the Ragnar Kjartansson piece there. Just go.

sovietbuildings:

Poland, Wrocław, 1974, Communal building
Designed by Witold Jerzy Molicki

sovietbuildings:

Poland, Wrocław, 1974, Communal building

Designed by Witold Jerzy Molicki

Reblogged from Scrapbook

sixpenceee:

fluxmachine:

itscolossal:

Artist Kevin Weir Creates Ghostly Animated GIFs Using Archival Photos from the Library of Congress [Sponsor]

I was featured on colossal today, very exciting.

Woah this is amazing. 

Reblogged from §

poldberg:

While there is a lot of appropriate rage about Ferguson right now, the killing of John Crawford, III is getting less attention than it deserves. I put Shaun King’s tweets and history lesson on the matter in chronological order for easier consumption.

Links:

Autopsy and video show John Crawford shot from behind in Wal-Mart

Witness in murder of John Crawford changes story

You really should be following Shaun King on Twitter.

Wait I thought all this got resolved when Ferguson MO stopped being so fucking anxious. I can’t believe oh wait I do believe.

Reblogged from Final Boss Form
And then there is the dying. In a rare moment of what may pass for levity Eberstadt allows himself the following chapter subtitle: “Pioneering New and Modern Pathways to Poor Health and Premature Death.” Russians did not start dying early and often after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “To the contrary,” writes Eberstadt, what is happening now is “merely the latest culmination of ominous trends that have been darkly evident on Russian soil for almost half a century.” With the exception of two brief periods—when Soviet Russia was ruled by Khrushchev and again when it was run by Gorbachev—death rates have been inexorably rising. This continued to be true even during the period of unprecedented economic growth between 1999 and 2008. In this study, published in 2010, Eberstadt accurately predicts that in the coming years the depopulation trend may be moderated but argues that it will not be reversed; in 2013 Russia’s birthrate was still lower and its death rate still higher than they had been in 1991. And 1991 had not been a good year.

Contrary to Parsons’s argument, moreover, Eberstadt shows that the current trend is not largely a problem of middle-aged Russians. While the graphs seem to indicate this, he notes, if one takes into account the fact that mortality rates normally rise with age, it is the younger generation that is staring down the most terrifying void. According to 2006 figures, he writes, “overall life expectancy at age fifteen in the Russian Federation appears in fact to be lower than for some of the countries the UN designates to be least developed (as opposed to less developed), among these, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Yemen.” Male life expectancy at age fifteen in Russia compares unfavorably to that in Ethiopia, Gambia, and Somalia.”
The solar system is not in the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way galaxy is not in the center of the universe. And in case you are one of those people who think that the edge may be a special place, we are not at the edge of anything either.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson (via whats-out-there)
Reblogged from Ronen Reblogs
Remember the year 2000? In the United States, a pound of bacon only cost $3 and a gallon of gas set people back $1.26. The iPhone was still 7 years away from being introduced. But on September 2, 2000, some hearty adventurers, tired of being tied to an office cubicle day after day, launched Geocaching.com. The adventure to inspire outdoor play through GPS technology began.”

There were three things that led to asking Frank Lantz if he wanted to start up Area/Code together in 2004. Geocaching was one of them.

I did it that first year, in 2000, with a handheld GPS receiver I had to buy from Best Buy; it took 3 minutes to get a satellite lock. My first experience took me to the northern tip of City Island in the Bronx, where the East River breaks over the rocks. It changed my life.

I knew then that GPS would transform everything — everything — but was most interested in how it would change how we play. If that feels tired, old hat, status quo in 2014, it’s worth remembering that 24 satellites write the world, but what they say is up to us.

[Algorithms and heuristics] are very important in cybernetics, for in dealing with unthinkable systems it is normally impossible to give a full specification of a goal, and therefore impossible to prescribe an algorithm. But it is not usually too difficult to prescribe a class of goals, so that moving in some general description will leave you better off (by some definite criterion) than you were before. To think in terms of heuristics rather than algorithms is at once a way of coping with proliferating variety. Instead of trying to organize it in full detail, you organize it only somewhat; you then ride on the dynamics of the system in the direction you want to go.

These two techniques for organizing control in a system of proliferating variety are really rather dissimilar. The strange thing is that we tend to live our lives by heuristics, and to try and control them by algorithms. Our general endeavor is to survive, yet we specify in detail (‘catch the 8:45 train’, ‘ask for a raise’) how to get to this unspecified and unspecifiable goal. We certainly need these algorithms, in order to live coherently; but we also need heuristics — and we are rarely conscious of them. This is because our education is planned around detailed analysis: we do not (we learn) really understand things unless we can specify their infrastructure. The point came up before in the discussion of transfer functions, and now it comes up again in connection with goals. […] Birds evolved from reptiles, it seems. Did a representative body of lizards pass a resolution to learn to fly? If so, by what means could the lizards have organized their genetic variety to grow wings? One has only to say such things to recognize them as ridiculous — but the birds are flying this evening outside my window. This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.”

Stafford Beer, “Brain of the Firm,” 1972. 

1972, folks. “This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.”

There are so many reasons I am grateful to work with the Playful group here … but today’s reasons include @gregab turning me onto this 1972 Stafford Beers that would still be radical if someone wrote it next year.  (at MIT Media Lab)

There are so many reasons I am grateful to work with the Playful group here … but today’s reasons include @gregab turning me onto this 1972 Stafford Beers that would still be radical if someone wrote it next year. (at MIT Media Lab)