I’m a strategist and contributing author for The Civic Beat.
I research and make media. I've written and presented on the international intersections of technology, media, politics, and culture at SXSW, Salon, the ACLU of Northern California, Hyperallergic, SFAQ, YBCA, the de Young Museum of Art, and more.
I love collaborating and I'm always looking for interesting work.
Cui Jianbin, a host for a Hubei Television online agricultural news show, went on an on-air rampage lambasting government officials in Hubei province for building a lavish office building on 20,000 square meters of former farmland. Mr. Cui attacked officials for their excessive spending in a county that is listed as poverty-stricken and receives federal assistance. It wasn’t clear how much the building cost, and local government officials weren’t immediately available to comment.
“Government officials think ordinary people are blind,” Mr. Cui said before he was cut off, noting that the officials had “ignored their superiors’ instructions and spent money extravagantly.”
The enraged broadcaster’s rant was finally curtailed when an off-screen colleague interjected. Mr. Cui’s final plea before the video cut to commercial (at the 1:50 mark above): “May I finish?”
Interactive map is a visualization of the top 1,000,000 websites represented by their favicons and their monthly reach (the bigger the favicon, the bigger the reach):
TheNmap Projectis pleased to release our new and improvedIcons of the Webproject! Since our free and open sourceNmap Security Scannersoftware is all about exploring networks at massive scale, we started by scanning the top million web sites for 2013 (as ranked by the analytics companyAlexa). We then downloaded each site’sfavicon—the small icon displayed next to a site title in browser bookmarks and tabs.
We scaled the icons in proportion to each site’s monthly reach (popularity) and placed them in a giant collage. The smallest icons—for sites visited by only 0.00004% of the Internet population each month—are 256 pixels square (16x16). The largest icon (Google) is 394 million pixels. The whole collage is 5 gigapixels.
This is an update to a similar project we performed in 2010.
PAJU, South Korea — At the base of a mountain almost two miles from the North Korean border, the giant helium balloons slowly float upward, borne by a stiff, cold wind. These are not balloons in the conventional sense—the transparent, cylindrical tubes covered in colorful Korean script are more than 20 feet in length and each carries three large bundles wrapped in plastic. The characters painted on one of the balloons reads, “The regime must fall.” (via We Hacked North Korea With Balloons and USB Drives - Thor Halvorssen and Alexander Lloyd - The Atlantic)
From where a drone operator’s sitting, one blurry blob of pixels looks almost exactly like the next blurry blob of pixels, which is how the term “bug splat” worked its way into modern military slang as a way of referring to a kill. Now, though, a giant art installation in Pakistan wants to show drone operators that its people are anything but anonymous white blobs—and that that “bug splat” belongs to an actual human being.
"What extraordinary witchcraft that 20th century photography managed to erase or distort us in its gaze!
The absence of our likeness accurately rendered in photographs is one more piece of the construct of white supremacy. Film stocks that can’t show us accurately help to control the narrative around appearance, and shapes our reality and the value of our lives in American society. If we are invisible, we are unvalued and inhuman. Beasts. Black bodies accepted as menacing, lit in ways that cloak our features in shadows.”
Quakebot, the LA Times earthquake reporter - via Wired
An Earthquake hit Los Angeles on the 17th March at 6.25am and eight minutes later the story was reported on the LA Times by a bot. Journalist and coder Ken Schwencke created Quakebot that takes information from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and turns anything over a 3.0 magnitude into a readable story with a map and headline, queued and ready for publishing on the content management system. The system then pings Schwencke who, on this occasion, had to roll out of bed and approve the story for publishing. The bot continues to break the news for Earthquakes, see here for an example.
This type of automated reporting has some journalists worried about being replaced by algorithms, see here and here.
“As algorithmic systems become more prevalent, I’ve begun to notice of a variety of emergent behaviors evolving to work around these constraints, to deal with the insufficiency of these black box systems…The first behavior is adaptation. These are situations where I bend to the system’s will. For example, adaptations to the shortcomings of voice UI systems — mispronouncing a friend’s name to get my phone to call them; overenunciating; or speaking in a different accent because of the cultural assumptions built into voice recognition. We see people contort their behavior to perform for the system so that it responds optimally.”