A Chinese bitcoin mine, what genetics can't do, half-fictional images, imported magic, and drywall

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

1. Life inside a Chinese bitcoin mine.

"Strangely, the mine’s workers actually live inside the facility itself, returning home just four or five days a month. In the summer months, temperatures inside are in excess of 100 degrees, and a persistent, deafening buzz is always present due to the dozens of industrial fans required to maintain a steady temperature for the site’s 3,000 ASIC miners—custom-built computers specifically built for mining bitcoins. Our access to the mine was granted under the strict condition that we wouldn’t reveal the details of the operation’s ASIC miners nor who supplies them."


+ I've seen these stories in text, but the video (and the audio) adds a lot.

2. People overestimate what DNA says about people.

"According to public opinion surveys, we vastly overestimate the predictive power of genetics. For instance, in a 1990 survey, 55 percent of respondents believed incorrectly that genetic testing could be used to 'predict whether or not a person will have a heart attack.' Even as late as 2010, half felt 'all children will be tested at a young age to find out what disease they get at a later age.' Further, 38 percent believed a class system would soon develop between those with 'good' and 'bad' genetic dispositions. The public frets especially that employers and insurance companies will use genetic tests to fire them, or hike their rates, or deny coverage."


3. Microsoft image tool finishes your panoramas to create better than/not quite real images.

"Image Composite Editor (ICE) is an advanced panoramic image stitcher created by the Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the app creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. ICE can also create a panorama from a panning video, including stop-motion action overlaid on the background."

4. Fascinating academic volume on tech in Latin America: Beyond Imported Magic.

"The essays in this book use methods from history and the social sciences to investigate forms of local creation and use of technologies; the circulation of ideas, people, and artifacts in local and global networks; and hybrid technologies and forms of knowledge production. They address such topics as the work of female forensic geneticists in Colombia; the pioneering Argentinean use of fingerprinting technology in the late nineteenth century; the design, use, and meaning of the XO Laptops created and distributed by the One Laptop per Child Program; and the development of nuclear energy in Argentina, Mexico, and Chile."


5. An artist makes hyper-realistic drywall wallpaper to force a reconsideration of the common building material.

"Since its invention wallpaper has frequently been designed to imitate other materials, and historically has copied materials deemed more luxe such as exotic hardwoods, precious metals or stone, embossed leather, or exquisite woodwork or draperies. Faux finish wallpapers were used to replace these materials when they were not available in the quantities necessary, could not be manipulated in the desired fashion, or when use of the original was cost prohibitive. It is only during the twentieth century that wallpapers began imitating more common surfaces, and this was usually done as a cost-effective measure, such as wood grain papers imitating paneling. It is most unusual for wallpaper to imitate a lesser surfacing material. For the Drywall wallpaper, Fischer is copying a much more base material, used in the construction of most buildings but always covered by surfacing materials deemed more appropriate to a finished interior."


Today's 1957 American English Language Tip

desire is not a synonym for like. It is stronger & expresses a definite wish or longing.


The Credits:  1. motherboard.vice.com / @jason_koebler 2. nautil.us  3. microsoft.com / @jnack 4. mit.edu / @justinpickard 5. cooperhewitt.org / @notrobwalker

Subscribe to The Newsletter

Subscribe on FB

Buzz Is Always Present

Share This Story

Get our newsletter