🌳 Fuck this --> One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses as Much Energy as Your House in a Week: Bitcoin's incredible price run to break over $7,000 this year has sent its overall electricity consumption soaring, as people worldwide bring more energy-hungry computers online to mine the digital currency.
🌳 An Ode To The Greatest Trees In Video Game History: Ah, the great digital outdoors. Step into increasingly rich forests, rest under their densely foliated canopies, and breathe it all in.
▲ 'Big void' identified in Khufu's Great Pyramid at Giza: The mysteries of the pyramids have deepened with the discovery of what appears to be a giant void within the Khufu, or Cheops, monument in Egypt. It is not known why the cavity exists or indeed if it holds anything of value because it is not obviously accessible.
😐 Audible’s new feature lets you skip right to the most erotic part of romance novels:
„Audible, the Amazon-owned audiobook retailer and producer, is rolling out its version of the dog-eared erotica page. 'Take me to the good part' lets listeners jump to the juicy sections of 110 romance titles in the company’s collection. These include beloved tropes like a couple’s first meeting, their innuendo-heavy banter, a marriage proposal, and, of course, sex scenes.“
📕 Secrets of the Book Designer: Creating Something From Nothing: In designing a book cover, the how is more important than the what. The way something is visually rendered—in the form of typography, image, shape, pattern, color, etc.— is more important than what it symbolically represents. While content and meaning are obviously valuable, they come second to emotion and execution. First, the book has to be picked up. If the design does not get you there, the fact that the cover may perfectly encapsulate the text is irrelevant. It’s what the cover feels like that matters.
🤖 Chasm of comprehension: That AlphaGo Zero had nothing to learn from playing the world's best humans, and that it trounced its artificial parent 100-0, is evolutionary velocity of a majesty not seen since the ectomorphs in the Alien movie franchise. It is also, in its arrogance, terrifying.
😈 ‘Touch of Evil’: Orson Welles’ Grandiose Film Noir that Took Four Decades to Shine In Its Intended Form: When Universal approached Orson Welles with an intriguing supporting role in a new thriller tentatively called Badge of Evil, the filmmaker was at a difficult point of his career, not having directed an American film in a full decade.
😑 What Boredom Does to You: We’re at a pivotal point in the history of neuroscience, according to Smallwood, because, with the advent of brain imaging and other comprehensive tools for figuring out what’s going on in there, we are beginning to understand functioning that has until now escaped study. And that includes what we experience when we’re off-task or, no pun intended, in our own heads. The crucial nature of daydreaming became obvious to Smallwood almost as soon as he began to study it. Spacing out is so important to us as a species that “it could be at the crux of what makes humans different from less complicated animals.” It is involved in a wide variety of skills, from creativity to projecting into the future.
😎 I love spoilers: In June, I noticed that people online were in a froth over the upcoming finale of The Leftovers, which was in its third and final season. The show sounded intriguing — and it seemed like I was missing out on a lot of TV references — so I decided to watch the pilot. Then, I read the synopsis of every episode for all three seasons on Wikipedia. Then, I read all of the available episode recaps from one of my favorite TV critics, Alan Sepinwall. Then, I binged the episodes.
😷 „Sensitivity reading has become a cottage industry“ --> The Problem With ‘Problematic’: „Moriarty’s dystopian novel imagines a future in which Muslims are being herded into internment camps, a fact of minor importance to the novel’s white heroine, Sarah Mary, until she befriends an endangered Iranian Muslim, a professor named Sadaf. Increasingly fiery conflicts have erupted over books—especially children’s books and young adult fiction—in which writers create characters whose race, ethnicity, gender, or disability differ from the writer’s own. Moriarty is white and, at various points in the editing process, American Heart was sent out for 'sensitivity reads'. Sensitivity readers comb a manuscript for problems and mistakes ranging from thoughtlessness to ignorance to blatant racism. The blanket word is problematic: such and such a character or situation is problematic. Meanwhile, sensitivity reading has become a cottage industry. A quick online check reveals that you can have your novel sensitivity-read for a fee to be determined, starting at $250.“
☝️ Die kulturelle Wende: Die Politisierung von Lebensstilen vergiftet das öffentliche Leben. Nicht nur die Kultur wurde vollständig politisiert und zum Gegenstand öffentlicher Auseinandersetzungen. Auch die Politik ist kulturalisiert und ästhetisiert worden. Sie ist zu einer kulturellen Ausdrucksform geworden, zu einem Mittel, um sich von anderen abzugrenzen und einen 'überlegenen' politischen Geschmack zu präsentieren. Egal ob es um den neuen Feminismus oder die 'Black Lives Matter'-Bewegung geht: Politisch zu sein bedeutet heute nicht mehr, etwas über die Welt auszusagen, sondern über sich selbst. Der konservative Autor Joseph Epstein prägte in diesem Zusammenhang den Begriff 'Virtucrat' (Tugendkrat). Der Virtucrat ist ein Besserwisser, '[der] dich dafür fertigmacht, dass du eine andere Meinung zu Israel oder zur Umwelt hast.' Er ist 'ein moralischer Snob', fährt Epstein fort. '[Der Virtucrat] ist nicht nur von der Richtigkeit seiner Ansichten überzeugt, sondern unterstellt jedem eine böse Absicht, der seine Meinung nicht teilt'.“
🐍 Russia organized 2 sides of a Texas protest and encouraged 'both sides to battle in the streets': Russian actors organized both anti-Islam and pro-Islam protests in the same location at the same time on May 21, 2016, using separate Facebook pages operated from a so-called troll farm in St. Petersburg, the Senate Intelligence Committee disclosed on Wednesday.
I still don't buy the whole Bot-Shebang and have yet to find proof of impact, but nevertheless, numbers are staggering 👾 The Bots That Are Changing Politics: Bots and their cousins—botnets, bot armies, sockpuppets, fake accounts, sybils, automated trolls, influence networks—are a dominant new force in public discourse.
👾 Why Twitter Is the Best Social Media Platform for Disinformation: It is time for Twitter to confront bots, extremists, and hostile spies by owning up to its own values.
🤐 Philosophy Professor Tells Bisexual Student Who Criticized Islam 'We're Not Going to Let You Damage the Program': „A bisexual male student at the University of Texas–San Antonio said during an informal conversation outside class that he was uncomfortable with Islam because people still receive the death penalty for being gay in 10 Muslim-majority countries. For expressing this thought, the student—Alfred MacDonald, who no longer attends the school—was instructed to meet with the chair of the philosophy department, Eve Browning. Prof. Browning told MacDonald in no uncertain terms that he had committed the crime of 'offending' someone, and she warned him that his habit of saying what he thinks could bring down the entire program.“
The left-leaning anti-fascist movement—or Antifa—has been around for decades, popping up in North America and Europe in response to rising white nationalist or fascist sentiments. Now, Antifa has made a resurgence in the US, where members clad in masks and nondescript black clothing physically confront groups of white supremacists and neo-Nazis who've started organizing in cities around the country.
Since the 2016 presidential election, Antifa has become a staple at alt-right and Trump-related rallies that often result in violence. VICE met up with a few Antifa activists in Philadelphia who engage in “Black Bloc” actions to find out more about their ideology, tactics, and individual reasons for participating in a high-risk form of activism.
In the backwoods of Georgia, a controversial, right-wing, "anti-terror" militia group gathers once a month to complete field training exercises under the command of Chris Hill—a.k.a Blood Agent. This militia group, called the Georgia III% Security Force, is part of the Three Percenter movement, which is inspired by the unfounded claim that only three percent of colonists fought against the British in the American Revolution.
VICE joins Hill and the Georgia III% Security Force during one of their monthly gatherings to see how they prepare themselves to "defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic" and see what they'll do to protect their guns.