More links… pictures, printing, satire, swearing and 1 GREAT story

This is a fascinating series of aerial photos of the Ascaya and Las Vegas lake luxury housing complexes. These complexes were partially constructed in 2008 when the financial crisis took the bottom out of the housing market and the money from these builds specifically, leaving behind strangely fascinating landscapes of human intervention. The scale of construction for luxury housing is laid bare here, with hilltops having been dynamited to oblivion but flattened and shaped for further development that never happened. Attractive images actually but somehow the stalled, presumably permanently, construction brings into question the whole concept in a way that pictures of the finished product would not have achieved.
I rather enjoyed this relatively simple, but beautifully constructed satirical takedown of knee jerk reactions to american shooting tragedies. Whereas this is specifically about mass shootings the message it delivers is applicable to a lot of what gets pushed as commentary in today’s agenda ridden press. Reading the comments is almost as much fun as a number of well meaning individuals struggle with the discourse, largely because they have taken the article’s rant at face value, hence delivering a somewhat awesome meta demonstration of the problem itself.
READ THIS. Bookmark it, print it out or whatever because it’s definitely worth finding the time for this story. A wonderful bit of science fiction short story telling that also delivers a great demonstration of how technology makes big and complex, yet subtle changes to the way we think (except in hindsight of course whereupon those changes appear to be glaringly obvious). Posited in a future that really doesn’t feel as if it’s all that far away, it is cleverly countered by a narrative that runs in conjunction with the main story, tallying the arrival of writing, via missionaries, to the Shangev clan in the 1940’s. To be clear this isn’t a piece that makes solid predictions, although you might disagree with that, but rather does a wonderful job of opening up the potential for thinking about the scale of the significant and fundamental changes that may occur when we adopt, en masse, new fundamental technology.
This is a nice succinct update on the progress of 3D printing from the economist. You might have had different experiences to me but I still haven’t met anyone who has an installed 3D printer at home, which might be because the original hobbyist angle, that was the subject of many a web article, has pretty much not happened. There have been a series of changes within the industrial landscape that are worth catching up on, however, and this piece is a nice quick way to do that.
IBM’s Watson has been gently lobotimised! OK maybe that’s somewhat of an overstatement but it’s kinda true. After being fed the urban dictionary Watson’s language began to change culminating in the delivery of the answer “bullshit” to a researcher’s query. American prudery meant that the urban dictionary was removed from Watson’s memory. I can’t help but feel that that was a mistake. I can only imagine what it might feel like to get such an anthropomoprphised response from a machine, particularly that first time when no-one knew it could happen, hence I feel that that avenue of experience should have been studied not shut down. Quite frankly I worry about the work of any adult that is not adult enough to comfortably hear the word “bullshit”, delivered by a machine and hence void of insulting intention.

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