Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mandatory EU referendum post

For anyone thinking of voting tomorrow, it's really important to cut through the rhetoric of whatever filters through the media hyperbole, and realise exactly what impact the vote might have on the country.

This FT article is a great look at some of the main arguments and evidence (yes, actual data) being put forward.

For further reading, https://fullfact.org/europe/ is a great resource for digging into issues more as well.

Obviously everyone needs to make their own mind up, but more information is always better. (Personally, I've concluded that leaving the EU would be national suicide.) Feel free to share the links above with anyone you agree or disagree with, or who would just like to find out more.

The 6000-year rise of cities

I think this visualisation of the emergence of cities over time is possibly one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a while:



In particular, it really shows off the longitudinal line of early development north of the equator, and the part where everything explodes around 1900 is like a firework display.

Via vox.com - click for background and more info about data used.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Announcing: Postcards from Cloud Land

Rapid chain of thoughts. Semantic settling. Code hack. Command lines all round. Androids in the palm of the hand.

New project, new feed: Postcards from Cloud Land. Irregular images, chunks of text mauled from the world around me. Post-postal electronic postcards, following a delivery-only model that rallies against the open archive, the static webpage. Subscribe-heavy, opt-in via email or RSS only. More info at the link.

Sibling feed of the pebbles newsletter. Will convert this to the same model. No homepage, only delivery. No traces except the arrival. Stop leaving things lying around.

Is it a good idea? It's an idea. Subscribe or be damned. Let me know?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Believe nothing?

Crazy video showing CGI these days.



If we can't trust what we see any more in our media streams, then what do we do?

Option 1 is to turn sceptical detective. Always check provenance, sources, authenticity. What's the link between "reality" and what you're seeing now? Can you digitally sign an authentic capture? Verify against multiple sources. Validate those sources. Run cluster analysis on them for network heterogeneity checks.

It's a lot of work.

Option 2 is to believe nothing. Accept that authentic data capture was a fad, permitted only by a lack of technical progress, and that golden era of "default to real" is gone. "Default to fiction" - everything. News outlets join the ranks of sci-fi writers and surrealist artists. Citizen journalism as collective hallucination.

I'm tempted by this option. Our info feeds are tainted to the point of entropy. What does it mean though? Is it a form of reclusiveness, or of rebirth?