Links for February 20, 2018

The Limits of Empathy

Such negative stereotypes outweighed any kind of empathic warmth that the simulation might have also generated. Blind people don’t need warmth, they need people to respect them as fully functional individuals. What is far more effective at actually building respect and understanding for disabled people is face-to-face conversations with them. As Robert Yang, a video game designer, put it in a scathing 2017 critique of VR empathy experiences, “If you won’t believe someone’s pain unless they wrap an expensive 360 video around you, then perhaps you don’t actually care about their pain.”

Instead of Power

But for this fight, it is not enough — indeed sometimes it is even counterproductive — to be a powerful Jedi.... Kylo Ren may be the most powerful person alive at the end of The Last Jedi, but he is broken and sad and incredibly ineffective. We need something else instead of power. We need a different way of getting to our goals, and a different virtue to aspire to.... In TLJ we see the idea of being effective without being violent, without being cruel, without overriding other people, without accumulating “power” in your own person.

42,000 Match Sphere Gets Lit

Links for February 18, 2018

The House That Spied on Me

After a week of living in my newly smartened home, I could tell why the Beast was always in such a bad mood: The animate objects in my home were becoming a constant source of annoyance. I thought this was going to be a story about privacy, but instead I was finding out how infuriating it is to live in a janky smart home.

How cities can use machine learning to track citizens

Planners will use all that data to ask questions, and make decisions, about people… Human-centered design, as pioneered by urbanists such as Jan Gehl, will enter a new phase. It will threaten traditionally analog methods of design, turning planning into more of a science. “When I worked as an urban planner, we did the best that we could to shape buildings, streets, and sidewalks to meet environmental and economic development goals,” says Hollander. “But we never got into the head of the people who used these spaces.”

Why Is Everything Being Designed for Instagram?

In many ways, this is a new phase for street art. The unpermitted kind—graffiti and other murals—has always had an edge to it.... But the developer-driven kind is tame. There’s big money behind the projects that the art is intended to promote, so it can’t ruffle feathers. As one mural booster told LA Downtown News: “…developers are looking to attract a buzz and activate building plazas and create a storyline for their projects, they are looking for artworks that are interactive, unique and ideally have a functional component.” That’s not how people talk about Banksy.

Links for February 12, 2018

No one’s coming. It’s up to us.

I suggest that for a number of reasons — one of them being that technology wasn’t yet pervasive amongst society — technologists in general (and recently and in particular, the strain of technology centered around the West Coast of the United States), have operated on general idea that as technologists we’re apart from society.... This argument isn’t entirely wrong… but it’s disingenuous of the technological class (and to be more accurate, its flag-wavers and leaders) to sidestep participation and responsiblity. In other words: nobody, not even technologists, is apart from society. Society is all of us, and we all have a responsibility to it.

Personalized Learning Is a Problem of Privilege

Technologists and their wealthy funders often hypothesize that the problems afflicting education can be amended through digital tools. But many of them sometimes fail to acknowledge the role that privilege and inequity play in perpetuating injustice, and instead presume that tech tools that individualize will “close the achievement gap.” Schools in affluent communities can access these technology tools easily, while schools in low-income areas—and which, generally speaking, disproportionately serve communities of color—do not have access to these tools.

Electro-Harmonix Effectology, Vol.16 “Doctor Who” By Bill Ruppert guitar pedals

Links for February 9, 2018

The Awl, 2009-2018

If you’re willing to sacrifice you never have to compromise, and I’m proud to say we did very little compromising over the last nine years. That does unfortunately mean we did a lot of sacrificing, and after a while that becomes unsustainable. The surprise shouldn’t be that The Awl didn’t last, it should be that it lasted as long as it did. And now it’s dead.

New York City, January 30, 2018

That beam thinned as the sun began to descend behind a patch of cloud. Not far below the cloud were the new towers downriver, waiting their turn to shut it off. Sundown proper was colorless and indistinct. There was light, and then it went dark. The children set their alarm: before the next sunrise, they would be up looking for the lunar eclipse.

Major League Baseball’s Statcast Can Break Sabermetrics

But beginning this season, they decided to switch over from Pitchf/x’s cameras to Statcast’s radar.... Pitchf/x and Statcast don’t correlate precisely, though.... This means that Statcast readings will nearly always be faster, and switching from Pitchf/x readings led to some significant changes in basic pitching data. To someone who didn’t know that this change had taken place (which was just about everyone who wasn’t directly affiliated with MLB), it looked like almost every pitcher in the league had experienced a velocity bump of as much as a few miles per hour.

…hoping each time, that his next leap will be the leap home. The complete Quantum Leap journey

A visual representation of Dr Sam Beckett’s entire Quantum Leap journey.

Links for February 7, 2018

Moira Donegan: I Started the Media Men List

I took the spreadsheet offline after about 12 hours, when a friend alerted me that Shafrir would soon be publishing an article at BuzzFeed making the document’s existence public. By then, the spreadsheet had gone viral. I had imagined a document that would assemble the collective, unspoken knowledge of sexual misconduct that was shared by the women in my circles: What I got instead was a much broader reckoning with abuses of power that spanned an industry.... Some have expressed doubts about the veracity of the claims in the document, but it’s impossible to deny the extent and severity of the sexual-harassment problem in media if you believe even a quarter of the claims that were made on the spreadsheet. For my part, I believe significantly more than that.

Important Women in CS Who Aren’t Grace Hopper

I’m tired of hearing about Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton, and Ada Lovelace. Can’t we think of someone else for once? I went ahead and compiled a bunch of really important women according to some fairly arbitrary rules.

Heart - Alone- (Live) Acoustic

Links for February 5, 2018

How Design for One Turns Into Design for All

The exhibition makes plain why design matters. It points toward a generational change in thinking, not just about designing for difference but about diversity and inclusion. Make a specialty item easier to use — and at the same time, fun, cool and beautiful — and that item may be embraced and used by all. The real issue isn’t disability. It’s choice.

How to Design Motivating Push Notifications

So before you push a notification out to the people using your app, here’s a simple gut check: Ask yourself, “would I send this to someone I care about?” If the answer is, “sure!” then you’re probably not about to accidentally demotivate someone.

What Video Game Subtitling Got Wrong In 2017

Over the last couple of decades, subtitles have become standard in video games. It’s difficult to find even a dozen of PC or console games that came out this year not subtitled. But despite the efforts of some great people — like the ones behind the Game Accessibility Guidelines — the situation is still far from perfect. Many issues remain, robbing players of the best gaming experience. So, I decided to write this article to highlight these issues and remind everyone why some widespread practices have to go.

Links for February 4, 2018

Twin Galaxies’ Dragster Dispute Concludes With Banning Of Todd Rogers

The Twin Galaxies Adjudication and Administration team has concluded its lengthy investigation of the Todd Rogers dispute and reached a decision. According to their official statement, not only will Rogers’ Dragster score be stricken from the Twin Galaxies database, but all of his scores will be removed and Rogers will be banned from further participation in the Twin Galaxies Scoreboards.

Billy Mitchell’s Direct Feed Recordings are MAME Generated

In summary, these GIFs show that each of the Donkey Kong world record direct feed recordings presented by Billy Mitchell and verified by TG were generated in MAME and not by original Donkey Kong hardware.

Never Gonna Give You Up but all the notes are C

Links for January 29, 2018

The Usenet Deep Space Nine recapper who helped inspire modern TV criticism

Though he covered TNG, Voyager, Enterprise, and some films/books, Lynch’s writings on DS9 are what ultimately earned him a lasting place in TV criticism lore. If the Sepinwall namecheck isn’t enough proof, his work eventually inspired fans to create an entire wikia just for these reviews, and his writing decisions (like when he took on Enterprise or eventually retired) made TrekToday headlines just like the announcement of a new film would. (No, he insists his work didn’t inspire the First Contact character, though.)

Deep Space Nine’s Revolutionary Look at Black Fatherhood

The impact of Deep Space Nine goes beyond the casting of black actors like Brooks and Lofton in these pivotal roles. The series boldly interrogated blackness within the arc of American history through their characterization. Like my maternal family, Sisko was from New Orleans and took pride in his heritage, often cooking Creole recipes from scratch that he learned from his chef father.... How often have we seen a black family given such importance, depth, and cultural weight on a television show such as this?

Blossom // Mannequins Mangrove, Three Sisters, Rings, Clouds, Tides

Links for January 26, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin, Acclaimed for Her Fantasy Fiction, Is Dead at 88

Ursula K. Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy with books like “The Left Hand of Darkness” and the Earthsea series, died on Monday at her home in Portland, Ore. She was 88.

Fantastic Beasts and How to Rank Them

So which seems more difficult: walking through a wall made of stone or a wall made of wood? Overwhelmingly, the subjects chose stone. They also determined that it would be harder to levitate a bowling ball than a basketball, and harder to grow an eye than a toe. Since levitation is categorically impossible, it shouldn’t matter that heavier objects, like bowling balls and cows, are harder to lift.... According to Shtulman and Morgan, that’s because our understanding of causation—our sense of which things make other things happen—is not a series of separate if-then statements but a vast interconnected web, which continues to govern our intuitions even when one particular strand snaps.

St. Vincent: Tiny Desk Concert

The singer performed at the Tiny Desk without a warmup or soundcheck, with just her acoustic guitar and un-amplified voice, letting the wordplay in her songs shine through.

Links for January 1, 2018

Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise, and Triumph

This is food borne of a particular diaspora, made by chefs who are “third culture kids,” heirs to both their parents’ culture and the one they were raised in, and thus forced to create their own.

Could we call it Asian-American cuisine? The term is problematic, subsuming countries across a vast region with no shared language or single unifying religion.... When I asked American chefs of Asian heritage whether their cooking could be considered Asian-American cuisine, there was always a pause, and sometimes a sigh.

How the sandwich consumed Britain

The M&S breakthrough arrived on high streets populated by mostly featureless sandwich bars. Slow service. Bins of fillings of indeterminate age. “It was a depressing situation,” Julian Metcalfe told me. “Ninety per cent of them were depressing places.” Metcalfe opened the first branch of Pret a Manger, at 75b Victoria Street, in London, during the summer of 1986. He was 26 years old. He had been running a delicatessen in Putney, but it had no kitchen, and Metcalfe was dismayed by what he was forced to sell. “We were delivered coleslaw with a 16-day shelf life,” he recalled. “I remember thinking: ‘Goodness.’”