security (2)

Nebula #23

September 7, 2018Nebula

The Pencil Nebula in Red and Blue by José Joaquín Perez

Hey,

Bitcoin is a rabbit-hole. It’s impossible not to fall into it once you start getting interested in this technology. Medium is the message, and trying to understand the impact of Bitcoin (or cryptocurrencies at large) in the world is daunting. What is money? What is privacy? What are states? Why should we organize this way when we have this kind of tech? Can we be sure that it’s a good thing for us? Well, we don’t know, and we can’t for sure. It took telephone 75 years to reach 50 million users. Radio took 38 years, TV 13, Internet 4, Facebook 2, and Pokemon Go 19 days. Social experiments gets distributed to the public quicker, especially now that we don’t rely on custom-made devices to access them. Will hyper-bitcoinization happen, like maximalists predict?

  1. 📖 I finished reading The Sovereign Individual. It’s been an interesting read. Back in 99, the authors made a few predictions on how microprocessing and asymmetric cryptography would impact the world. They compare our current political landscape with the downfall of the catholic church in the XVI century. They also talk in great lengths about how the Logic Of Violence changes during the transition to the Information Age and what will happen to our democratic industrial societies (Trumpism, etc…). They are off a few bets and sometimes are redundant or develop extreme and contradictory ideas but it is still a good book to understand why politics as we know it might cease to exist.
  2. 📖 I started reading The Bitcoin Standard. I already learned about Rai Stones in how an Irish-Americans named O’Keefe crashed a micronesia island’s economy. Informative!
  3. 🔐 Sarah Jamie Lewis on her favorite (and hilarious) vulnerability discovery: The Blowjob Injection Attack.
  4. 🛠 The Raspiblitz is a DIY bitcoin and lightning network full node on a RaspberryPi. One can now access a global payment network and transact with the entire world for around 150 euros. How mind-boggling is that?
  5. ⚡️ Could we create a new banking system on top of the Lightning Network? Nik Bathia thinks so and I’m clearly not in a position to have any valuable opinion on the question, but it’s inspiring.
  6. 🔐 The best privacy-respecting browser, TOR, gets a new release and hits 8.0.
  7. 👩‍🎨 A sub-reddit dedicated to empty and dead malls. It’s fascinating to take a look at these empty concrete buildings, and it’s impossible for me not to think of them as witness of the past. Will these buildings one day get a new life?
  8. 🎧 Sou Kono – Midnight Ravers. Sou Kono is a French-Malian band. They produce a music mixing electronic and traditional vibes, but without ever being a cliché.

Happy reading,
Marc

Image Credit & Copyright: The Pencil Nebula in Red and Blue by José Joaquín Perez.


Nebula #16

June 8, 2018Nebula

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula in Cepheus.  Image Credit & Copyright: Stephen Leshin.

Salut!

I am still quite unsure how to introduce these weekly collections of links. What do cyberpunk cat-like whiskers for humans, fablabs, a psychopathic A.I. with disturbing Rorschach tests results, infrared macro photography of cactuses, and most-potent-magic-mushrooms trip reports have in common? You tell me.

  1. 👩‍💻 Cyberpunk is not about dark future and noir aesthetic. It can be also be cute and fun!
  2. 👨‍💻 Fablabs are at the forefront on how to collect data for citizen action. A key tool for smart city projects. How Barcelona shushed noise-makers with sensors. While the finality of the project might be questionnable, it is still remarkable how data can be used by citizens for a change.
  3. 📸 I published a series on anger. They are all analog photographies, without any editing.
  4. 🔐 A worrying thread on reddit for anybody traveling to some parts of China near the Uyghur population: Chinese border police install software on a traveller’s Android device.
  5. 🔑👩‍💻 Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian, and Iyad Rahwan , all working at the MIT Media Lab, created an image-captioning AI and fed it with gore images from a subreddit. Once trained, they asked it to caption Rorschach inkblots and compared the results from a standard AI. Results are a bit disturbing!
  6. 🔑 An interesting idea and point of view by Paul Stamets: “Plants and mushrooms have intelligence, and they want us to take care of the environment, and so they communicate that to us in a way we can understand.” Why us? “We humans are the most populous bipedal organisms walking around, so some plants and fungi are especially interested in enlisting our support. Michael Pollan on what it’s like to trip on the most potent magic mushroom.
  7. 📸 Suprachromacy is a project by Marcus Wendt who used infrared macro photography of cacti to create images questioning our own sense of perception.
  8. ℹ️ The cool people at ThePudding ask this question: Are Hit Songs Becoming Less Musically Diverse? and answer with a hell lot of data. Last year, they were also ranking rappers by their vocabulary.

Happy reading,

Marc

Image Credit: The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula in Cepheus by Stephen Leshin.