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clagnut / collective

There are nine people in clagnut’s collective.

Huffduffed (4360)

  1. 42: The Southern Reach Trilogy

    How many forms of uncanny weirdness can you cram into one trilogy? Can the Netflix model of binge consumption work for novels as well as TV shows? And should you settle for a mystery when you could have a mythos?

    The Sometime Seminar discusses Jeff VanderMeer’s just-completed Southern Reach Trilogy of short weird/horror novels: Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance (all 2014).

    http://thesometime.com/seminar/42-the-southern-reach-trilogy/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  2. 25: Inverted World

    The Sometime Seminar discusses Inverted World, an early (1974) work of science fiction by Christopher Priest, along with his more recent writing about the genre.

    http://thesometime.com/seminar/25-inverted-world/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  3. 8: Embassytown

    You got semiotics in my space opera! You got space opera in my semiotics! lightbulb This episode of The Sometime Seminar discusses China Miéville’s 2011 science-fiction novel Embassytown, a space opera informed by Walter Benjamin and the philosophy of language.

    http://thesometime.com/seminar/8-embassytown/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  4. 1977

    It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire … Before those words crawled up movie screens in May 1977, what did people think the future was going to look like? What did pop culture sound like on the eve of Star Wars? With Kurt Andersen, Annalee Newitz, Alyssa Rosenberg, and Chris Taylor. This is part I of a V part series. 

    http://www.imaginaryworldspodcast.org/1977.html

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  5. Our Postmodern Myth: “Star Wars” is Back - Open Source with Christopher Lydon

    Our Postmodern Myth: “Star Wars” is Back

    There’s a big old spoiler alert hanging over this whole radio show. You’ve been warned!

    We’re beginning 2016 by confronting what is already its biggest cultural phenomenon. The Force Awakens, the latest installment of Star Wars, on track to make $3 billion and more around the world.

    What does it mean that this particular, high-capital story survives as a global dream? And maybe the most familiar alternate universe ever created outside a world religion: a Greek pantheon for the modern day?

    Star Wars is full of paradoxes: it’s profoundly flat; imperial filmmaking in celebration of rebels and saboteurs; a forty-year-old hit that remains forever young. The essayist Chuck Klosterman proposes to nationalize Star Wars, turning the franchise into a lucrative public works project for the nation’s out-of-work actors, set dressers, and engineers. (It’s “the only thing America does that everybody likes.”) And our guest Amanda Palmer tells us it was a geek movie that never seemed that geeky, as well as a violent movie that never seemed that violent. In the end, George Lucas‘s creation must have approval numbers that popes and politicians could only dream of.

    Why does Star Wars still mean so much to so many? With a group of our favorite people, we’re counting the ways (with special thanks to Eric Molinsky, host and producer of Imaginary Worlds, who did a five-part series on the cultural significance on the franchise — listen here):   

    It’s a postmodern myth.

    There’s a moment in the original Star Wars, when Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, looks out at the horizon as dusty Tatooine’s two suns set.

    There are no words, but John Williams’s score is working overtime, sounding the note of potential energy: a young person with gifts and a great destiny who’s still just wishing he were anywhere but here. Almost anyone can imagine himself standing on that bluff and watching the sun(s) go down.

    Watch that scene (you have permission to find it corny!) But it’s also got the mystery of Star Wars’s eternal appeal packed into just 36 seconds: another orchestrated, saturated, uncanny image for all time, conjuring not just before — Achilles, Lancelot, and Dante — but after: Spider-Man, the X-Men, Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen and most recently, Rey, the Skywalker stand-in for the latest film.

    It’s (almost) a silent film.Speaking of which, George Lucas always put a lot of stock in the power of Star Wars‘s score and images to get along on their own. So in 1977, he anticipated the globalizing trend that’d hit Hollywood decades later — a move away from repartee and puns and into a world of spectacle and SFX. Watch Star Wars work like a silent film in the famous throne-room finale, in the last scene of the new movie, and in that “I am your father” confrontation:

    It’s a theology for the post-religious — and a political shorthand.

    Yes, there are thousands of people all over the world to check “Jedi Knight” on census forms just to scramble the religious picture of the 21st century. And “The Dark Side” has become a shorthand in politics to be embraced by Dick Cheney and shunned by Larry Lucchino, the outgoing Red Sox president who once labeled the Yankees “The Evil Empire.”

    But there’s something a little deeper and more peculiar in the vague cosmology of “The Force” put forward in the movies: a balance between emotional attachments and inner peace, between individualism and teamwork, between self-interest and philanthropy, that speaks to the unique spiritual drift of the 20th-century consumer.

    It’s a product of the depressed ‘70s — but it still works the same way.

    Alan Andres reminds us that those first movies opened during American doldrum days, with bad news everywhere in the ether: the Fall of Saigon, Watergate, the fall of Skylab, the Church Committee, Chappaquiddick, and the Iran hostage crisis. The tone of sci-fi was suitably dark: Soylent Green is people! We were a rebel nation that had come to seem like an evil empire (until Reagan came along and declared that the Soviets were the real imperial enemy).

    It may be true that, more than anything, George Lucas wanted to offer a generation of young Americans a different, optimistic story with a batch of good role models in tow. But still he had The Emperor — the bad guy of all Star Wars bad guys — sit in an oval-shaped throne room: Nixon, determined to crush the latest guerrilla uprising.

    It’s militaristic.

    Somehow, underneath the swashbuckling escapes and screwball dialogue, people forget that in Star Wars, the viewer really can’t root for anyone who doesn’t commit mass murder.

    The Empire blows up Alderaan with a weapon known as the Death Star in order to quash organized resistance. But then the heroic Rebels blow up the planet-sized Death Star — along with, it is estimated (!), 843,342 souls in the crew and staff — to stick it to the Empire.

    And that’s just a start! Tell us what Star Wars means to you (and may the Force be with you all in 2016)!

    http://radioopensource.org/our-postmodern-myth/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  6. Ep 38: The Future of Science Fiction, Part 3: Charles Stross

    In this thought-provoking episode we tackle the future of AI, the singularity, racism in science fiction, space opera, and so much more. An interview with Charles Stross. Music: Kevin MacLeod. Blind Panels is the inclusive geek podcast. It’s created by Comics Empower, the comic book store for the blind and the visually impaired. Check it out: ComicsEmpower.com

    ===
    Original video: https://soundcloud.com/user-817263528/ep-38-the-future-of-science-fiction-part-3charles-stross
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:47:52 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  7. Presentable #7: Why Don’t Style Guides Ever Work? - Relay FM

    This week’s special guest is Stanley Wood, design director at Spotify. We talk about how to scale design as companies grow, what it takes to create consistent experiences, and how style guides never work except when they do.

    https://www.relay.fm/presentable/7

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  8. Seth Lloyd: Quantum Computer Reality - The Long Now

    The 15th-century Renaissance was triggered, Lloyd began, by a flood of new information which changed how people thought about everything, and the same thing is happening now.

    All of us have had to shift, just in the last couple decades, from hungry hunters and gatherers of information to overwhelmed information filter-feeders.

    Information is physical.

    A bit can be represented by an electron here to signify 0, and there to signify 1.

    Information processing is moving electrons from here to there.

    But for a “qubit" in a quantum computer, an electron is both here and there at the same time, thanks to "wave-particle duality.”

    Thus with “quantum parallelism” you can do massively more computation than in classical computers.

    It’s like the difference between the simple notes of plainsong and all that a symphony can do—a huge multitude of instruments interacting simultaneously, playing arrays of sharps and flats and complex chords.

    Quantum computers can solve important problems like enormous equations and factoring—cracking formerly uncrackable public-key cryptography, the basis of all online commerce.

    With their ability to do “oodles of things at once," quantum computers can also simulate the behavior of larger quantum systems, opening new frontiers of science, as Richard Feynman pointed out in the 1980s.

    Simple quantum computers have been built since 1995, by Lloyd and ever more others.

    Mechanisms tried so far include: electrons within electric fields; nuclear spin (clockwise and counter); atoms in ground state and excited state simultaneously; photons polarized both horizontally and vertically; and super-conducting loops going clockwise and counter-clockwise at the same time; and many more.

    To get the qubits to perform operations—to compute—you can use an optical lattice or atoms in whole molecules or integrated circuits, and more to come.

    The more qubits, the more interesting the computation.

    Starting with 2 qubits back in 1996, some systems are now up to several dozen qubits.

    Over the next 5-10 years we should go from 50 qubits to 5,000 qubits, first in special-purpose systems but eventually in general-purpose computers.

    Lloyd added, “And there’s also the fascinating field of using funky quantum effects such as coherence and entanglement to make much more accurate sensors, imagers, and detectors.”

    Like, a hundred thousand to a million times more accurate.

    GPS could locate things to the nearest micron instead of the nearest meter.

    Even with small quantum computers we will be able to expand the capability of machine learning by sifting vast collections of data to detect patterns and move on from supervised-learning (“That squiggle is a 7”) toward unsupervised-learning—systems that learn to learn.

    The universe is a quantum computer, Lloyd concluded.

    Biological life is all about extracting meaningful information from a sea of bits.

    For instance, photosynthesis uses quantum mechanics in a very sophisticated way to increase its efficiency.

    Human life is expanding on what life has always been—an exercise in machine learning.

    —Stewart Brand

    http://longnow.org/seminars/02016/aug/09/quantum-computer-reality/

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  9. The Economist asks: How has DNA shaped the human race?

    Jason Palmer, editor of the Espresso daily-briefing app, is joined by geneticist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford to get to the bottom of the stories told by human DNA. They discuss the genetics of sprinters, the misguided nature v nurture debate and how promiscuous humans’ forebears were.

    ===
    Original video: https://soundcloud.com/theeconomist/the-economist-asks-how-has-dna-shaped-the-human-race
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Sat, 20 Aug 2016 09:36:21 GMT Available for 30 days after download

    —Huffduffed by adactio

  10. Cory Doctorow on legally disabling DRM (for good)

    The O’Reilly Security Podcast: The chilling effects of DRM, nascent pro-security industries, and the narrative power of machines.In this episode, I talk with Cory Doctorow, a journalist, activist, and science fiction writer.

    We discuss the EFF lawsuit against the U.S. government, the prospect for a whole new industry of pro-security businesses, and the new W3C DRM specification.Here are some highlights from our discussion around DRM:

    How to sue the government: Taking on the DCMA

    We [Electronic Frontier Foundation] are representing [Bunny Huang and Matthew Green] in a case that challenges the constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA. The DMCA is this notoriously complicated copyright law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that was brought in in 1998. Section 1201 is the part that relates to bypassing digital rights management (DRM), or digital restrictions management as some people call it. The law says that it’s against the rules to bypass this, even for lawful purposes, and that it imposes very severe civil and criminal penalties. There’s a $500,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence for a first offense provided for in the statute. The law’s been on the books, obviously, for a very long time—since 1998. Given that all digital technology works by making copies, it’s hard to imagine a digital technology that can’t be used to infringe copyright; no digital technology would be legal.

    Recent changes add urgency

    A couple things changed in the last decade. The first is that the kinds of technologies that have access controls for copyrighted works have gone from these narrow slices (consoles and DVD players) to everything (the car in your driveway). If it has an operating system or a networking stack, it has a copyrighted work in it. Software is copyrightable, and everything has software. Therefore, manufacturers can invoke the DMCA to defend anything they’ve stuck a thin scrim of DRM around, and that defense includes the ability to prevent people from making parts. All they need to do is add a little integrity check, like the ones that have been in printers for forever, that asks, "Is this part an original manufacturer’s part, or is it a third-party part?" Original manufacturer’s parts get used; third-party parts get refused. Because that check restricts access to a copyrighted work, bypassing it is potentially a felony. Car manufacturers use it to lock you into buying original parts.

    This is a live issue in a lot of domains. It’s in insulin pumps, it’s in voting machines, it’s in tractors. John Deere locks up the farm data that you generate when you drive your tractor around. If you want to use that data to find out about your soil density and automate your seed broadcasting, you have to buy that data back from John Deere in a bundle with seed from big agribusiness consortia like Monsanto, who license the data from Deere. This metastatic growth is another big change. It’s become really urgent to act now because, in addition to this consumer rights dimension, your ability to add things to your device, take it for independent service, add features, and reconfigure it are all subject to approval from manufacturers.

    How this impacts security

    All of this has become a no-go zone for security researchers. In the last summer, the Copyright Office entertained petitions for people who have been impacted by Section 1201 of the DMCA. Several security researchers filed a brief saying they had discovered grave defects in products as varied as voting machines, insulin pumps and cars, and they were told by their counsel that they couldn’t disclose because, in so doing, they would reveal information that might help someone bypass DRM, and thus would face felony prosecution and civil lawsuits.

    When copyright overrides the First Amendment

    There are some obvious problems with copyright and free speech. Copyright is a government monopoly over who can use certain combinations of words or pictures, or convey certain messages in specific language, all of which seems to conflict with First Amendment rights. In both the Eldred and Golan cases, the Supreme Court said the reason copyright is constitutional, the reason the First Amendment doesn’t trump copyright, is that copyright has these escape valves. One is fair use. The other is what’s called the traditional contours of copyright, which determine what is and isn’t copyrightable (i.e., copyright only covers expressions and not ideas, copyright doesn’t cover non-creative works, and so on). But the DRM situation is urgent. Because DRM can be used to restrict fair use, because it can trump the traditional contours, and because it has criminal penalties, we were able to bring a challenge against it. When there are criminal penalties, you don’t have to wait for someone to sue you. You can sue the government.

    Related resources:

    EFF is suing the US government to invalidate the DMCA’s DRM provisions (BoingBoing)

    America’s broken digital copyright law is about to be challenged in court (The Guardian)

    1201 complaint in full

    https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/cory-doctorow-on-legally-disabling-drm-for-good

    —Huffduffed by adactio

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