Semantic Infiltration

By Paul D. Miller | Notes from the Edge of Digital Culture

From an Iowa classroom in 1968 to Donald Trump: Educator Jane Elliott on the legendary “Blue-Eyed/Brown-Eyed” exercise

What Jane Elliott observed in an all-white third-grade class almost 50 years ago echoes loudly in the age of Trump<p>In 1968, an elementary school teacher named Jane Elliott decided to find a way to teach her students about the power of racism and prejudice. Elliott was white, as was every student in …

Racism

15 Insane Things That Correlate With Each Other

Now a ridiculous book!<p>Spurious charts<br>• Fascinating factoids<br>• Commentary in the footnotes<p>Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound<p>Data sources: U.S. Office of …

Dystopian dreams: how feminist science fiction predicted the future

From Mary Shelley to Margaret Atwood, feminist science fiction writers have imagined other ways of living that prompt us to ask, could we do things differently?<p>Margaret Atwood’s evergreen dystopian novel <i>The Handmaid’s Tale</i> is about to become a television drama. Published in 1985, it couldn’t feel …

Science Fiction

How Orson Welles' F for Fake Teaches Us How to Make the Perfect Video Essay Open Culture

If you don’t understand what makes <i>Citizen Kane</i> so important, just watch a few movies made before it. In his first outing as a filmmaker, Orson …

Filmmaking

These 10 Artworks Tell the Story of Contemporary Art

<i>In “The Big Picture: Contemporary Art in 10 Works by 10 Artists,” Matthew Israel, Artsy’s Curator at Large, examines 10 artworks that trace the</i> …

Art

Earth’s newest cloud is terrifying

In 2014, I spoke with Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society, about his quixotic mission: to get recognition for a new category of cloud called the “undulatus asperatus.” For years, individuals from across the world had been sending him pictures of the unusual …

World Meteorological Organization

Inside San Francisco's 'Hack Temple,' where technology is a religion

Startup life can be a religious experience for those immersed in it. A shared passion brings people from all walks of life together. They evangelize their technologies.<p>A Russian angel investor wants to give people passionate about startups a real-life a place of worship.<p>Pavel Cherkashin, a former …

San Francisco

The science of popularity: The magic of making hits

The science of popularityThe magic of making hits<p>The psychology behind and economics of pop culture<p>print-edition iconFrom the print edition | Books …

Economics

The Electronic Revolution - The Synthesizer I THE COLD WAR

‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality

In California, radical scientists and billionaire backers think the technology to extend life – by uploading minds to exist separately from the body – is only a few years away<p>Here’s what happens. You are lying on an operating table, fully conscious, but rendered otherwise insensible, otherwise …

Singularity

There are now three rivers that are legally people

In the space of a week, the world has gained three notable new legal persons: the Whanganui River in New Zealand, and the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers in India.<p>In New Zealand, the government passed legislation that recognised the Whanganui River catchment as a legal person. This significant legal reform …

Law

Our Brains May be 100 Times More Powerful Than We Thought

The human brain is so powerful that some intelligent computers called neural networks are patterned after how the human brain works. As such, …

The Brain

This is now what happens when you try to post fake news on Facebook

Facebook has started deploying new weapons in its battle against fake news.<p>The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States has led to a lot of soul-searching, not least of which by the world’s largest social network. Facebook has been repeatedly accused of facilitating and …

Facebook

Why the white middle class is dying faster, explained in 6 charts

The complicated collapse of middle-aged white Americans.<p>In 2015, a blockbuster study came to a surprising conclusion: Middle-aged white Americans are dying younger for the first time in decades, despite positive life expectancy trends in other wealthy countries and other segments of the US …

Equality

The Billionaire on a Mission to Save the Planet From Trump

Tom Steyer isn’t your average California tree hugger. The former hedge fund manager—number 1,121 on <i>Forbes’</i> wealthiest people list, with $1.61 …

Climate Change

Five Creepy Things Your ISP Could Do if Congress Repeals the FCC’s Privacy Protections

Why are we so worried about Congress repealing the FCC’s privacy rules for ISPs? Because we’ve seen ISPs do some disturbing things in the past to …

Net Neutrality

The Like Button Ruined the Internet

How “engagement” made the web a less engaging place<p>Here’s a little parable. A friend of mine was so enamored of Google Reader that he built a clone when it died. It was just like the original, except that you could add pictures to your posts, and you could Like comments. The original Reader was …

Dystopia

Our Political Economy Is Designed to Create Poverty and Inequality

Let me begin by sharing with you the story of an inner-city Cleveland family of seven, two adults and five children all under the age of 11.<p>The …

Equality

The Story Behind The Most Successful Crowdfunded Font In History | Co.Design

So who would have thunk a stoic typeface like Black Tie would be dethroned by a quirky outlier–a font called Futuracha Pro, developed by the Athenian creative studio Høly? At the time this article was written, Futuracha was just about to cross the $73,000 mark with a day to spare.<p>To be fair, the …

Typography

This is your brain on terrorism

The dark side of the brain: Too much emotional intelligence is a bad thing

A new study suggests that profound empathy may come at a price<p>Recognizing when a friend or colleague feels sad, angry or surprised is key to getting along with others. But a new study suggests that a knack for eavesdropping on feelings may sometimes come with an extra dose of stress. This and other …

Emotional Intelligence

2 Months In, Trump May Already Own A First: Most Corrupt POTUS. Ever.

Ethics experts cannot think of a predecessor more ready to use the prestige of the office for personal gain.<p>WASHINGTON – Imagine a foreign potentate who uses his official position to promote his private businesses. Who makes face time with visiting dignitaries a perk for his paying customers. Whose …

Donald Trump

Thousands of worlds may lurk beyond Pluto — and a stunning new animation shows the ones we've found

• <b>A new animation shows the orbits of hundreds of dwarf planets beyond Pluto.</b>• <b><br>The astronomer who compiled the data says it may capture only a small fraction of dwarf planets in the solar system.</b>• <b><br>A new definition of "planet" may categorize many dwarf planets and moons as planets.</b><p>You may be familiar with …

Astronomy

Think We're Living in a Computer Simulation? Prove It

Science doesn’t have all the answers. There are plenty of things it may never prove, like whether there’s a God. Or whether we’re living in a …

Quantum Mechanics

A political scientist explains how big data is transforming politics

“Big data makes it easy for candidates to dismiss their opponents.”<p>“Big data revolutionized the way American politicians win elections. In the process, it broke American politics.”<p>This was the central claim in a recent column by NBC’s Chuck Todd and Carrie Dann. The argument is simple enough: …

Democracy

Steve Bannon's Sad, Desperate Crusade - Vice

The world is a pitch-black graveyard and only Steve Bannon can save you. This is the man's fantasy. He dreams of terror so there can be vengeance, of rubble so there can be a man pulling people from it, of conspiracies and cabals of diabolical elites so that he can expose them, one by one.<p>You can …

Steve Bannon

Are you ready to monetize the 'disruption economy?'

What better way to illustrate the realities of the disrupted economy we currenty live in, than with the lyrics of the popularized Daft Punk song …

S&P 500

Is it possible to recover from narcissism?

What it really takes to ditch the self-absorbed and avoid adopting their bad habits<p>It’s probably not normal to ask a new friend to take the notorious Dark Triad Personality Test on a mobile phone in a dimly lit wine bar with bad Wi-Fi on your third time hanging out. However, this did not deter me …

Liberal POV

Fake news has a long history in the Middle East — and the lessons for Americans are unmistakably dire

Information has long been falsified and weaponized in Turkey and the Arab world — and we're headed that way fast<p>Fake news is all the rage; you can’t escape it. The entire op-ed section of last Tuesday’s Washington Post was dedicated to some aspect of the fake news phenomenon. My initial inclination …

Foreign Policy