Wild Times, 32
October 20, 2017
1 – The Coming Software Apocalypse – James Somers @ The Atlantic
"Using the same model as the Camry involved in the accident, Barr’s team demonstrated that there were actually more than 10 million ways for the onboard computer to cause unintended acceleration. They showed that as little as a single bit flip—a one in the computer’s memory becoming a zero or vice versa—could make a car run out of control. The fail-safe code that Toyota had put in place wasn’t enough to stop it. 'You have software watching the software,' Barr testified. 'If the software malfunctions and the same program or same app that is crashed is supposed to save the day, it can’t save the day because it is not working.'"
2 – The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial – Venkatesh Rao
"Premium mediocre is the finest bottle of wine at Olive Garden. Premium mediocre is cupcakes and froyo. Premium mediocre is “truffle” oil on anything (no actual truffles are harmed in the making of “truffle” oil), and extra-leg-room seats in Economy. Premium mediocre is cruise ships, artisan pizza, Game of Thrones, and The Bellagio."
3 – How to Get Away With Murder in Small-Town India – Ellen Barry @ The New York Times
"In India, there is no vote in the name of doing something good. The vote is in the name of caste, family, community."
4 – The lives of bitcoin miners digging for digital gold in Inner Mongolia – Zheping Huang @ Quartz
"Over half the world’s major bitcoin mining pools—groups of miners who agree to add up their resources to improve their odds of finding bitcoin—are located in China"
5 – So You Want To Fight White Supremacy – Ijeoma Oluo @ The Establishment
"If you are one of the many who are now saying, “This has gone too far, what can I do?” If you have the strong suspicion that counter-marches aren’t quite enough, but you don’t know where to take it from there, I’m here to help. Here are some things you may need to know first:"
6 – How Civilization Started – John Lanchester @ The New Yorker
"Our closest animal relative, the chimpanzee, has a colon three times as large as ours, because its diet of raw food is so much harder to digest. The extra caloric value we get from cooked food allowed us to develop our big brains, which absorb roughly a fifth of the energy we consume, as opposed to less than a tenth for most mammals’ brains. That difference is what has made us the dominant species on the planet."
Good reads from 3 or more months ago
1 – The lost genius of the Post Office – Kevin Kosar @ Politico
"The Postal Service—once one of the most impressive and fast-moving information networks ever devised—may end up as a lesson in how not to meet the future."
2 – Social Activism As Brand Strategy – Allyn Hughes for Are.na
"More and more, companies are capitalizing on post-election liberal guilt—using the current political climate as a means to increase monetary gains."
3 – The Loneliness of Donald Trump – Rebecca Solnit for Literary Hub
4 – Gerhard Steidl Is Making Books an Art Form – Rebecca Mead @ The New Yorker
"Eggleston passed his hand through the air, in a stroking gesture. 'Feel the pages of the books,' he said. 'The ink is in relief. It is that thick.'"
5 – Why Amazon is eating the world – Zack Kanter @ Tech Crunch
"Consensus is that we’ve hit a tipping point and the retail industry is finally seeing some major collateral damage from Amazon’s monster growth — and mainstream/non-tech news has started giving this a lot of coverage."
6 – When Will the Planet Be Too Hot for Humans? Much, Much Sooner Than You Imagine – David Wallace-Wells @ New York Magazine
"This article is the result of dozens of interviews and exchanges with climatologists and researchers in related fields and reflects hundreds of scientific papers on the subject of climate change. What follows is not a series of predictions of what will happen — that will be determined in large part by the much-less-certain science of human response. Instead, it is a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action. It is unlikely that all of these warming scenarios will be fully realized, largely because the devastation along the way will shake our complacency. But those scenarios, and not the present climate, are the baseline. In fact, they are our schedule."