And Furious Despite Refutations

2 years ago

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What a response! We gave away all the tickets we had to the Real Future Fair in 48 hours. For those outside the Bay or who didn't get a ticket, we'll stream as much of the program as we can. Follow here and you'll get a notification when the stream goes live. (Prep: "Failure to imagine the future may have lost the Democrats this election.")

Unrelated, I have a quixotic offer for a small group of us. I'm headed up to the Dutra Museum, a by-appointment-only spot that covers the history of dredging and the transformation of the Sacramento Delta and Bay into their modern forms. I need to go for reporting purposes, but they can take about 10 of us, so I thought I'd open it up to y'all. The appointment is Sunday at 11am. It's about an hour drive from SF/Oakland. If you'd like to go, reply to this email, and we'll work out logistics.


1. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

"Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign. Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, the sources said... In a biography submitted when he testified before Congress, he listed among his recognitions that he had been featured in a Greenpeace 'Field Guide to Climate Criminals,' dubbed a 'misleader' on global warming by Rolling Stone and was the subject of a motion to censure in the British House of Commons after Ebell criticized the United Kingdom’s chief scientific adviser for his views on global warming."

2. But will they?

"Facebook Inc. will have to contend with mounting dissatisfaction over its role as the most widely used news filter in history. Forty-four percent of American adults get their media through the site, many consuming news from partisan sources with which they agree. The proliferation of fake news on Facebook has also been a problem: false stories about the Clinton family committing murder and Huma Abedin being a terrorist flew fast and furious despite refutations from responsible news organizations."

3. The destabilization of digital artifacts proceeds apace.

"At a live demo in San Diego on Thursday, Adobe took a digitized recording of a man saying 'and I kissed my dogs and my wife' and changed it to say 'and I kissed Jordan three times.' The edit took seconds and simply involved the operator overtyping a transcript of the speech and then pressing a button to create the synthesized voice track."

4. A remarkable story about how an obsessive map collector is helping scholars make sense of California (among other places).

"Meanwhile, Stanford political scientist Clayton Nall has been using Berlo’s map collection to study the politics behind the development of the U.S. highway system and to investigate how the expansion of highways may have contributed to the urban-rural divide in American politics. A team of research assistants has so far spent about 3,000 hours digitizing Berlo’s Rand McNally road maps, which go back to 1926. Once the maps are digitized and processed, they can be used for statistical analysis—to look, for example, at whether more miles of highway were built in counties that had more representatives in their state legislature, or whether urban areas with more extensive highway systems saw more white flight in the second half of the 20th century."

5. If researchers focus their efforts, specialized autonomous vehicles could help people with mobility problems.

"The scooter trial at MIT also demonstrated the ease with which the researchers could deploy their modular hardware and software system in a new context. 'It’s extraordinary to me, because it’s a project that the team conducted in about two months,' Rus says. MIT’s Open House was at the end of April, and “the scooter didn’t exist on February 1st,” Rus says. The researchers described the design of the scooter system and the results of the trial in a paper they presented last week at the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems."

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And Furious Despite Refutations

5it by Alexis Madrigal
Fairview Park Oakland, CA 94618 USA
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