Bellwether: a very cool podcast of speculative journalism

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A few months ago I got a sneak listen to the pilot episode of Sam Greenspan’s podcast of speculative journalism called Bellwether. Sam was a producer at 99% Invisible and he knows how to tell a great story. The thing I love about Bellwether is how Sam did real reporting (about the driverless car fatality that took place last year) and presents it as a piece of history from the future. I got chills when I heard it. The soundtrack is great, too!

Here’s the pilot episode. It’s a must-listen:

The good news is that Sam is Kickstarting the series, so there will be more episodes coming. I can’t wait to find out what happens in the metastory.

If you support the Kickstarter at a level of $20 or above, you get a cassette of music from Bellwether, produced by Beaunoise. Read the rest

Podcast: Adversarial Interoperability is Judo for Network Effects

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In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my essay SAMBA versus SMB: Adversarial Interoperability is Judo for Network Effects, published last week on EFF’s Deeplinks; it’s a furhter exploration of the idea of “adversarial interoperability” and the role it has played in fighting monopolies and preserving competition, and how we could use it to restore competition today.

In tech, “network effects” can be a powerful force to maintain market dominance: if everyone is using Facebook, then your Facebook replacement doesn’t just have to be better than Facebook, it has to be so much better than Facebook that it’s worth using, even though all the people you want to talk to are still on Facebook. That’s a tall order.

Adversarial interoperability is judo for network effects, using incumbents’ dominance against them. To see how that works, let’s look at a historical example of adversarial interoperability role in helping to unseat a monopolist’s dominance.

The first skirmishes of the PC wars were fought with incompatible file formats and even data-storage formats: Apple users couldn’t open files made by Microsoft users, and vice-versa. Even when file formats were (more or less) harmonized, there was still the problems of storage media: the SCSI drive you plugged into your Mac needed a special add-on and flaky driver software to work on your Windows machine; the ZIP cartridge you formatted for your PC wouldn’t play nice with Macs.

MP3 Read the rest

I love TS Eliot and Andrew Lloyd Weber but the ‘Cats’ trailer scares me

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Gerontion
BY T. S. ELIOT

Thou hast nor youth nor age
But as it were an after dinner sleep
Dreaming of both.

Here I am, an old man in a dry month,
Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.
I was neither at the hot gates
Nor fought in the warm rain
Nor knee deep in the salt marsh, heaving a cutlass,
Bitten by flies, fought.
My house is a decayed house,
And the Jew squats on the window sill, the owner,
Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,
Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London.
The goat coughs at night in the field overhead;
Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds.
The woman keeps the kitchen, makes tea,
Sneezes at evening, poking the peevish gutter.
I an old man,
A dull head among windy spaces.

Signs are taken for wonders. ‘We would see a sign!’
The word within a word, unable to speak a word,
Swaddled with darkness. In the juvescence of the year
Came Christ the tiger

In depraved May, dogwood and chestnut, flowering judas,
To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk
Among whispers; by Mr. Silvero
With caressing hands, at Limoges
Who walked all night in the next room;

By Hakagawa, bowing among the Titians;
By Madame de Tornquist, in the dark room
Shifting the candles; Fräulein von Kulp
Who turned in the hall, one hand on the door.
Vacant shuttles
Weave the wind. I have no ghosts,
An old man in a draughty house
Under a windy knob.

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Shipping container converted into a large format camera, darkroom, and gallery

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UK educator and photographer Brendan Barry converted a shipping container into a large format film camera. Inside is a self-contained darkroom to develop the photos along with a gallery to display them. He describes it as “the world’s biggest, slowest, and most impractical Polaroid camera.”

Above is Exploredinary’s documentary about the Container Camera. And you can read more about the project at PetaPixel.

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Overwatch’s next hero is Sigma, a scientist who controls gravity

See the original posting on The Verge

Overwatch Sigma

Blizzard has revealed the 31st hero to join the ranks of Overwatch. Today, the company released a short animated trailer that showcases Sigma, a scientist who appears to have survived some sort of dramatic event that left him with the ability to control gravity in some fashion. “Gravity is a harness,” Sigma says in the trailer. “I have harnessed the harness.” Blizzard also describes him as “an eccentric astrophysicist who hopes to unlock the secrets of the universe, unaware that he is being used as a living weapon.”

Unfortunately, the animated clip is mostly a teaser that doesn’t actually show Sigma in the game, so we don’t know anything about his special abilities or even what class of hero he is.

Sigma follows the release of the combat…

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What Republicans are getting wrong about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

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congress

congress

We finally put Vox Media’s The Vergecast and The Weeds into one show — and, of course, it’s about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Vox senior correspondent and host of The Weeds Matt Yglesias talks to Verge editor-in-chief and host of The Vergecast Nilay Patel to explain what Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act really means and how members of Congress may be misinterpreting it.

Below is a lightly edited excerpt of Patel and Yglesias getting into — you guessed it — the weeds on Section 230. You can hear this and more in the latest episode of The Vergecast.

Matt Yglesias: I have been hearing more and more from Republican members of Congress about something called Section 230, which they think is a big problem…

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Google Cloud makes it easier to set up continuous delivery with Spinnaker

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Google Cloud today announced Spinnaker for Google Cloud Platform, a new solution that makes it easier to install and run the Spinnaker continuous delivery (CD) service on Google’s cloud. Spinnaker was created inside Netflix and is now jointly developed by Netflix and Google. Netflix open-sourced it back in 2015 and over the course of the […]

#Vanlife: Camping California’s coast — the Pismo Beach Oceano Campground

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This is post is part of a series of reviews of Federal, State, and County provided campsites along California’s amazing coastline.

I’ve visited the Oceano Campgrounds at Pismo State Beach several times this summer. Conveniently located right off the 101 highway along the central coast of California, Pismo is a great place to take a break.

There are other State-run campsites at Pismo, Oceano is not ‘Oceano Dunes,’ nor is it ‘the Pismo North Campground.’ Oceano sits on a lovely, bird-filled lagoon about 2 short blocks from the State beach. The sites are very typical of Cal State camping, picnic tables and fire rings. I’ve stayed in both sites with RV hookups and tent camping sites. I felt situated a little closer to other campers than I’d have liked for a several-day visit, but as a convenient overnight place to stop, cook and shower? Oceano kicks ass.

The hosts and rangers are also very nice people here and are super helpful.

There is a Mexican restaurant right outside the very modern and nice Visitor Center, however I have not tried it. The hamburger shack about 1 block towards the beach, Adam’s Burgers, is fantastic. Enjoyed by both my daughter and I. There is also a small market, and a coffee shack that’ll sell you t-shirts and stickers as well.

There were a lot of RVs set up for lengthier stays. Most folks had dune buggy type cars, but nothing as cool as Wonderbuggy. Oceano Dunes is one of the last places folks can hoon around in the sand. Read the rest

Tough apple watch band doubles as a case

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This rugged watch band acts as a case to protect my Apple Watch as I fall all over myself.

Hiking, fishing, falling down — these are a few of my regular things. I am not particularly clumsy but I tend to space out spatially and will occasionally walk into a tree, or stumble over a rock. It gets worse when I have a 125lb dog pulling my right arm in the opposite direction of the 20lb dog on my left. Smashing the face of your Apple Watch is more expensive, thus far, than smashing my own face.

This band takes a licking and the watch keeps on ‘ticking.’

I am hopelessly addicted to my watch, so a band that protects the device from me is pretty nice.

This band fits the 42mm Series 3 watch I wear. SUPCASE also has bands for the other sizes and models.

SUPCASE [Unicorn Beetle Pro] Case for Apple Watch 3, Rugged Protective Case with Strap Bands for Apple Watch Series 3 2017 Edition [42mm, Compatible with Apple Watch 42mm 2015 2016 ] (Black) via Amazon Read the rest

It’s hard to find public trash cans in Tokyo

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It’s not easy to find public trash cans in Tokyo (other than bottle-and-can recycling bins next to drink vending machines). Even so, there’s hardly any litter on the ground. When I travel to Japan, I always keep a plastic bag in my knapsack to store trash until I come across a rare public gomibako (Tip: There’s one in front of the Kiddy Land toy store in Harajuku). In this video, That Japanese Man Yuta challenges tourists to find a trash can in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Read the rest

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