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)

The first bit—let’s call it Bit A — was born on the sensor of a Cannon 5D Mark II camera. A ray of light glancing off a black plastic handle of baby stroller in New York City enters the glass lens of the camera and is focused onto a small sheet the size of a large postage stamp. This dull rainbow-colored surface is divided up into 21 million rectangular dimples. The light photons from the white highlight of stroller handle pass through a mosaic of red, green and blue filters in the camera, and collect in the micro-well of red pixel #6,724,573. Outside, when the photographer trips the shutter button, red pixel #6,724,573 counts the number of photons it has collected, compares it to its green and blue neighbors, and calculates the color it has captured.”

Kevin Kelly: What Bits Want — The Message — Medium

So far, this is my favorite thing on Medium. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve read in a while.

South Korea blocks all Facebook games as part of a government crackdown

playistic:

South Korea is enforcing a new game-rating system, and Facebook games won’t work unless they go through the regulatory process to get an official approval from the government. imagehttp://goo.gl/elDFm9 #Playistic

Reblogged from Playistic
tacanderson:

NASA developing automated air traffic control system for drones.

“One at a time you can make them work and keep them safe,” Parimal H. Kopardekar, a NASA principal investigator, tells the Times. “But when you have a number of them in operation in the same airspace, there is no infrastructure to support it.”

This is something than can be both powerfully enabling as well as powerfully abused. Either through hacking or as a means to exclude people or organizations from participating. It will depend on how this is used. 
h/t GeekWire

tacanderson:

NASA developing automated air traffic control system for drones.

“One at a time you can make them work and keep them safe,” Parimal H. Kopardekar, a NASA principal investigator, tells the Times. “But when you have a number of them in operation in the same airspace, there is no infrastructure to support it.”

This is something than can be both powerfully enabling as well as powerfully abused. Either through hacking or as a means to exclude people or organizations from participating. It will depend on how this is used. 

h/t GeekWire

"Two backpack-laden figures ran laughing over the rooftop of a six-story building across the street, just a few feet above the walkway. They scurried up a ladder to an empty billboard and disappeared around its far side. “I think that was Last Suspect,” Deas told Junior, a friend who was carrying his tripod. “I can tell by the way he dresses.” Last Suspect is a well-known New York City street photographer, part of a community that specializes in combining picture-taking with urban exploration: a tribe of outlaw Instagrammers for whom, every night, New York City becomes a playground and battlefield. They compete to capture the gritty cityscape from unexpected — often aerial — angles while garnering as many likes and follows as possible in the process.  (Like Deas, Last Suspect is an elite of the group, called a “K,” which means he has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram so the last three digits of his follower count are replaced with the letter K.) They can be spotted by the distinctive humpback of their padded photographers’ backpacks and colorful lightweight Nikes, equally effective at gripping rusty ladder rungs and looking cool in a photograph hanging over the city from the edge of a skyscraper’s roof, as if all of Manhattan were just an ottoman.  For them, photography is more performance — or competition — than visual art."

 (via The Outlaw Instagrammers of New York City — NYMag)

Excellent story in New York Mag. I knew nothing of this… and it’s everything I love about people and the fundamental urges that we engage, no matter what technologies are available to engage them with.

"Two backpack-laden figures ran laughing over the rooftop of a six-story building across the street, just a few feet above the walkway. They scurried up a ladder to an empty billboard and disappeared around its far side. “I think that was Last Suspect,” Deas told Junior, a friend who was carrying his tripod. “I can tell by the way he dresses.” Last Suspect is a well-known New York City street photographer, part of a community that specializes in combining picture-taking with urban exploration: a tribe of outlaw Instagrammers for whom, every night, New York City becomes a playground and battlefield. They compete to capture the gritty cityscape from unexpected — often aerial — angles while garnering as many likes and follows as possible in the process. (Like Deas, Last Suspect is an elite of the group, called a “K,” which means he has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram so the last three digits of his follower count are replaced with the letter K.) They can be spotted by the distinctive humpback of their padded photographers’ backpacks and colorful lightweight Nikes, equally effective at gripping rusty ladder rungs and looking cool in a photograph hanging over the city from the edge of a skyscraper’s roof, as if all of Manhattan were just an ottoman. For them, photography is more performance — or competition — than visual art."

(via The Outlaw Instagrammers of New York City — NYMag)

Excellent story in New York Mag. I knew nothing of this… and it’s everything I love about people and the fundamental urges that we engage, no matter what technologies are available to engage them with.

David Weinberger has taught me that knowledge confined in a book at a single address on a shelf is limited.

And Aaron Swartz has taught me that content must not be the end game for knowledge. Why does knowledge become an article in a journal—or that which fills a book or a publication—except for people to use it? And only when they use it does content become the tool it should be. Not using knowledge is an offense to it. If it cannot fly free beyond the confines of content, knowledge cannot reach its full value through collaboration, correction, inspiration, and use.

I’m not saying that content wants to be free. I am asking whether knowledge wants to be content.”
If 20 Day Stranger had forked in the collective consciousness of a couple billion people it might have become Somebody (the app) but in fact I think Somebody is all its own. I mean, Miranda July. Say no more. But it makes me happy we didn’t name our experience “there is another” … Which almost happened. Cc @darrellwhitelaw @cheewee2000

If 20 Day Stranger had forked in the collective consciousness of a couple billion people it might have become Somebody (the app) but in fact I think Somebody is all its own. I mean, Miranda July. Say no more. But it makes me happy we didn’t name our experience “there is another” … Which almost happened. Cc @darrellwhitelaw @cheewee2000

This is hard to watch, and then at a certain point, after the camera goes black, it’s almost impossible to listen to.

It’s 6 minutes long, and no one gets ice water dumped on their head.

But if you have to choose between ice bucket challenge videos, and videos like these — and they’re being broadcast with roughly the same frequency — try this one, today.

Interestingly, while the Post has, like most mainstream outlets, typically been reluctant to call methods such as waterboarding “torture” when it was practiced by Americans, the paper had no apparent problem calling what ISIS did to Foley “torture.””

dolly-snow:

Da Vinci’s Demons: Season 1 

rebloggging because the show is good, and because the tumblr is EA1 working with BBC/Starz. And because this is lovely.

check out the show — couple of Emmys, written by David Goyer, no slouch (works with the Nolans on Batman et al) and also it’s a show in which Vlad the Impaler plays a role, and it doesn’t seem out of place. That alone makes it better than almost any show without Vlad the Impaler.

Tumblr here, you can watch the show here.

As the world continues and spin, shake, and catch fire sporadically, as people dump ice water on their heads, as people are decapitated, as some people get shot and killed, and others get paid to do the killing, it’s important to be reminded of what culture is for, which is to produce antibodies.

To allow us to experience stuff that we know is happening, but not to us.

"I personally believe in Jesus Christ as my lord savior, but I’m also a killer. I’ve killed a lot. And if I need to, I’ll kill a whole bunch more," Page said. "If you don’t want to get killed, don’t show up in front of me, it’s that simple. I have no problem with it. God did not raise me to be a coward."

[…]

Page also had some choice words for victims of domestic violence (“Don’t be wasting cops’ time. Just shoot each other and get it over with”) and Muslims (“Passive until they gain parity with you or they exceed you in numbers and they will kill you”) and LGBT people (describing their lifestyle as “sodomy”).

He also expressed disdain for hate crime legislation.

“We have no business passing hate crime laws,” he said, “because we’re setting aside a group of people special.”

— St. Louis/St. Charles, Missouri police Sergeant Major Dan Page. Worked crowd control in Ferguson. For example.

Suspended, because this video exists. So I believe the big lesson for Missouri PD is : don’t make videos.


"These names, Mohamed and Yousef, don’t they sound kinda familiar? Well, you know what? Everyone is — wants to be politically correct. The political correct thing of this whole thing is, we have to find out of allegedly all these Muslim students that are in our country, are they here really studying or are they here for something else.
We know there’s a war by fundamentalists and terrorists to kill us. So we have to be able to profile. And I’m sorry, if I see two guys that look like Aba Daba Doo and Aba Daba Dah, I’m gonna pull ‘em over, and I wanna find out what you’re doing.”


That’s Bo Dietl, newly hired by Cooper Union to “provide comprehensive campus safety services” including “a framework for ongoing training and supervision of guards” and “strike a good balance between more systematic security and a campus environment that feels comfortable to our own community…”

"These names, Mohamed and Yousef, don’t they sound kinda familiar? Well, you know what? Everyone is — wants to be politically correct. The political correct thing of this whole thing is, we have to find out of allegedly all these Muslim students that are in our country, are they here really studying or are they here for something else.

We know there’s a war by fundamentalists and terrorists to kill us. So we have to be able to profile. And I’m sorry, if I see two guys that look like Aba Daba Doo and Aba Daba Dah, I’m gonna pull ‘em over, and I wanna find out what you’re doing.”

That’s Bo Dietl, newly hired by Cooper Union to “provide comprehensive campus safety services” including “a framework for ongoing training and supervision of guards” and “strike a good balance between more systematic security and a campus environment that feels comfortable to our own community…”