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The Timeless Way of Building, by Christopher Alexander, 1979, teaches us about form, function, the unforeseen effects of poor choices, and the things that should remain unsaid. We are all builders now, deliberate and often proud contributors to the steady accumulation of sand, light, and code. What we are building is not an archive, nor a soft palace for our memories.
You can begin to describe this environment with words like game engine and interoperability, persistence and latency, dispersion and routing. You should not stop there. What happens after the technical challenge is met, when these inherited and conquered virtual spaces can host the simplicity of everyday life, is the most important part of the blueprint.
The systems we build should be wholesome, devoid of deceit, animated by language. They must be able to transcend time. We should expect company.

The Blind Machine is brought to you by the good people at chumbo

Listen to our playlist on Spotify, a careful selection of old & new futures.

Thank you for being here.

The Mirrorworld Edition

on Apr 06, 2021 04:39 pm

What it’s really going to change in the short term is who’s empowered to make the simulations of the future. In the national security sector, simulations are a $12B market that’s dominated by a small handful of massive global companies with proprietary software that takes years to develop. Through open-source innovations like this one, soon enough nearly anyone will have the opportunity to build simulations that rival the multi-million dollar, hard-to-get legacy systems people use today, and they’ll be able to do so faster and in greater numbers. It will mean that the entire industry will develop more realistic and more useful environments, for more people and for more purposes.

Simulations are not fake. Read more

Getting political is becoming profitable for influencers in Peru

on Apr 06, 2021 04:39 pm

“I am rather lucky that brands are all about ‘disruptive’ influencers now. They have embraced my political positions, even if they are controversial,” she tells Rest of World, careful to ironically air quote the buzzwords often thrown around at marketing meetings. The performance of authenticity might be a tricky business, but Salan seems to have squared that circle, finding no contradiction in describing her online persona as both honest and performative.

Can museums really make digital visits pay?

on Apr 06, 2021 04:39 pm

In a world where more than 200 million people pay for Netflix and 155 million are premium subscribers on Spotify, cash-strapped museums are slowly waking up to the monetary gains of online content.

China Creates its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy

on Apr 05, 2021 10:39 pm

Screenshot 2021-04-06 162726

A thousand years ago, when money meant coins, China invented paper currency. Now the Chinese government is minting cash digitally, in a re-imagination of money that could shake a pillar of American power. It might seem money is already virtual, as credit cards and payment apps such as Apple Pay in the U.S. and WeChat in China eliminate the need for bills or coins. But those are just ways to move money electronically. China is turning legal tender itself into computer code.

Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have foreshadowed a potential digital future for money, though they exist outside the traditional global financial system and aren’t legal tender like cash issued by governments. China’s version of a digital currency is controlled by its central bank, which will issue the new electronic money.

Crypto is about more than money. Read more

Transparency Report

on Apr 03, 2021 11:39 am

This report provides information on the reporting period from January 2020 to December 2020. This report provides visibility into our content moderation processes including details related to:

  • The tools we use to combat the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), non-consensual content, and other illegal materials, and to deter perpetrators who seek to circumvent our rules.
  • Offending content and how much of that content we have taken down.
  • The reports we receive from users and external sources.
  • 2020’s initiatives and developments, as well as a preview of new developments we are looking forward to rolling out.

Founded in 2007, Pornhub is the leading ad-supported adult video sharing platform that offers users the ability to view and share content. It also allows for verified users to upload their own original content.

The Blind List | Lokye – Kick Flip In Penthouse (Prod. Magu The Dog)

on Apr 02, 2021 10:21 pm

Alexander can’t skate no more, he can’t kickflip, he can’t own a penthouse.

He already took care of his social security appointment and he is not a spook anymore but, today he feels another kind of ghosting, he was daydreaming through the lyrics of Kick Flip in Penthouse by Lokye.

Alexander grabbed a joint, a nice cheap red wine, and suffered in the vagueness of love. That kind of suffering that makes you want to feel it, makes you want to avoid the void of online porn and onlyfans pages. Suffering from love is another kind of happiness hard to tell.

Check out this song on our full playlist, updated every 2 weeks.

See the daily life of Alexander here.

“I Am Excited About It, Ya Dig?” Snoop Dogg Talks Crypto, Clubhouse, and NFTs

on Apr 02, 2021 08:39 pm

A lot of people hear the name Snoop Dogg, and they think of ’90s rap, smoking blunts, and Long Beach, California. But what most people don’t know is that Snoop is a prolific entrepreneur, always on the cutting edge of new technologies, and has invested in a handful big-name start-ups, including the telemedicine company, HIMS, that recently went public, through a SPAC, at $1.6 billion. Now, he’s getting into the NFT game, and plans to launch a collection of eight pieces, including an original piece of art that contains a Snoop Dogg track that no one has ever heard of before, which he wrote and produced just for this “drop.”

Clues for software design in how we sketch maps of cities

on Apr 02, 2021 07:39 pm

Screenshot 2021-04-06 165214

There’s a remarkably simple notation for sketching cities, and I think it points at a better way to design software.

What’s the minimum you need to trick your brain into believing that you’re moving around an environment? And could design features as simple as these make tools like Notion, Roam, Obsidian, Evernote and other note taking software, Wikipedia, etc, radically better for organising, navigating, sharing, and internalising knowledge, for individuals and for teams? If so, can you imagine the efficiency gains and the new ideas that could emerge?

Mirror worlds, everywhere. Read more

Remote is a New Medium

on Apr 02, 2021 07:39 pm

Remote work (and the technology that exists around it like Zoom and Slack) are a new medium. Those companies who recognize this are finding ways to more drastically adapt their work approach, and those who don’t are left doing the equivalent of radio broadcasts on television.

Is it any wonder people are unhappy? Instead of adapting to this new world of remote work, we’ve taken the worst of the office and amplified it. When I see this pattern I can’t help but turn to media studies and Marshall McLuhan. In his classic book Understanding Media, McLuhan explained that a “new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.”

Five Years of VR: An Oral History from Oculus Rift to Quest 2

on Apr 02, 2021 07:39 pm

Oculus Rift launched in March 2016. Depending on who you ask, it’s “already” been five years or it’s “only” been five years since we shipped that first consumer VR headset.

Either way, two things seem more certain now (especially with Quest 2’s success) than they did then: VR is here to stay, and we have a long way to go. In the words of Facebook Reality Labs Chief Scientist Michael Abrash, “VR is something we haven’t seen in a very long time, which is a technology that is at the very beginning of what’s going to be a 50-year arc.” And where are we in that arc? Again, Abrash: “Quest 2 is great. It’s like the Apple II.”

The Skate Gaze Edition

on Apr 02, 2021 06:39 pm

The idea, essentially, is that anyone who has become a skateboarder from roughly 1985 onward (and arguably even earlier—since the introduction of urethane wheels in 1970 or so) actually sees the world in a different way from everyone else, in terms of its spatial and creative boundaries. And that skaters, unbound by a more traditional POV, are increasingly behind ideas that shape our world, literally.

The mysterious user editing a global open-source map in China’s favor

on Apr 02, 2021 06:39 pm

A few years ago, the Indian OSM contributor said, they received a call from the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamshala, inviting them to hold a workshop on editing Wikipedia. “[They told me] that they detected a lot of mainland Chinese influence on Wikipedia articles of Tibetan topics, which was adding a certain bias,” they said. The impact of such changes could be profound in shaping the worldview of Wikipedia readers. “It was happening slowly over time, and, unless you were really tuned into it, one could not detect it,” they said. 

The contributor believes OSM is similarly vulnerable. “It’s happening. It will continue to happen, maybe in more deeper ways than we ever imagined,” they said.

Objects may be closer than they appear. Read more

Going viral, the right way: what it’s like running the world’s best museum social media accounts during a pandemic

on Apr 02, 2021 06:39 pm

While museums around the world saw a staggering 77% fall in visitors last year due to pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, their social media followers grew as they became the primary way for institutions to keep in touch with audiences. And several social media teams rose to the challenge, creating viral content to delight and inform the art-loving public around the world.

We spoke to the people behind four of the best accounts about what it’s like to go viral.

After slavery

on Apr 02, 2021 06:39 pm

Processes of historical reinvention tend to accompany moments of great economic and social transformation, such as the one that we’re living through at the moment. They produce a new historical consciousness that has to take account of the transformative experiences that human populations live through. The era of abolition was one such period in West Africa, where the power of old elites collapsed, and new political centres arose. And yet this was also a moment that saw the expansion of poverty and coerced labour, an increase in slavery, and paved the way for the triumph of colonial power at the end of the 19th century.

Thus, in West Africa, the 19th-century abolition era was one of economic crisis, a consequent widespread impoverishment, and also of historical reinvention. It is an important moment to consider as the world enters another such period in the wake of COVID-19.


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The Blind Machine is a publication about Pop Culture, Software Studies, Business Strategy, Media Platforms, Algorithmic Management, Game Design, and everything in between.
Copyright © 2021 chumbo, All rights reserved.

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