Archive for the ‘Wired’ tag
Really interesting story from Brendan Koerner in Wired about a speaker installer whose side business in putting secret compartments into vehicles landed him in jail. The heart of the issue in the case:
Alfred Anaya’s case makes clear that the government rejects [the “technology is morally neutral”] worldview. The technically savvy are on notice that they must be very careful about whom they deal with, since calculated ignorance of illegal activity is not an acceptable excuse. But at what point does a failure to be nosy edge into criminal conduct? In light of what happened to Anaya, that question is nearly impossible to answer.
Tom Vanderbilt has an enjoyable piece in Wired about the convergence between Google’s famous driverless car, and the progress toward a similar goal being made by traditional automakers. He spends some time, as well, considering the legal wasteland that exists around these technologies. The crucial point though:
[As we ride, Google’s driver-less] Prius begins to seem like the Platonic ideal of a driver, against which all others fall short. It can think faster than any mortal driver. It can attend to more information, react more quickly to emergencies, and keep track of more complicated routes. It never panics. It never gets angry. It never even blinks. In short, it is better than human in just about every way.
(via The Browser)
This story is first and foremost a good yarn. It’s entertaining and unknown enough to keep you interested, while it teached you some valuable things about the seldom regarded infrastructure that keeps human civilization pushing foreword, and the risks of nuclear terrorism within that system.
(via Hacker News)
In the context of the deeply broken American prison system, Jonah Lehrer offers word of an interesting study about how people try to rationalize away observed suffering. After watching a video of a woman shocked violently, researchers gave subject a justification for the woman’s apparent torture. They didn’t act as you may expect:
The martyrs fared even worse. Even though this victim was supposedly performing an act of altruism – she was suffering for the sake of others – the witnesses thought she was the most culpable of all. Her pain was proof of her guilt. Lerner’s conclusion was unsettling: “The sight of an innocent person suffering without possibility of reward or compensation motivated people to devalue the attractiveness of the victim in order to bring about a more appropriate fit between her fate and her character.”
This Wired story about how a freelance crew righted a giant ship with over $14 million of cars inside it was linked everywhere when it was first published. (What I’m saying is that you may have seen this two years ago.) I didn’t read it then, but I just did and it’s fantastic.
Makes me think Lex Luther. And get a little jealous.
Because Earth Day’s a better day than many for Earth porn, Wired Science has some breathtaking shots of geological features captured by satellite.
It’s interesting to see that the whole eastern half of the country, which looks like the worst culprit on the unadjusted version, looks pretty average on the per-capita version.
(via Andrew Sullivan)
Twitter — that 140 character “microblogging” engine — officially became the least romantic way to propose when it was recently used for that purpose by Greg Rewis.
Or so says Susan Blackmore. That title, by the way, means that humans serve no purpose than to propagate trends and ideas, or “memes“ — which, by the way, is a word I’ve never liked much.
What culture is doing, what the memesphere is doing, is taking a human being and infecting it with masses of new information and exploiting its tendencies. We are being turned from ordinary old-fashioned meme machines into what I call “teme” machines — machines for copying technological information, spreading photos and printed words and digital files.