James Gang – Funk #49
It’s not a new piece but it was new to me (and likely to you as well): a good long read at the Atlantic on just what Columbus and the rest “discovered” in America -
“Before it became the New World, the Western Hemisphere was vastly more populous and sophisticated than has been thought—an altogether more salubrious place to live at the time than, say, Europe. New evidence of both the extent of the population and its agricultural advancement leads to a remarkable conjecture: the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact”
1491, Charles C. Mann, 1 March 2002, The Atlantic [theatlantic.com]
“Many people blame this process on human population growth, and there’s no doubt that it has been a factor. But two other trends have developed even faster and further. The first is the rise in consumption; the second is amplification by technology. Every year, new pesticides, new fishing technologies, new mining methods, new techniques for processing trees are developed. We are waging an increasingly asymmetric war against the living world.
“But why are we at war? In the rich nations, which commission much of this destruction through imports, most of our consumption has nothing to do with meeting human needs.”
The Kink in the Human Brain— How Are Humans OK with Destroying the Planet?, George Monbiot, 12 October 2014, AlterNet [republished from Monbiot.com]
“Apollo didn’t die; it was killed. The Apollo Program might have continued for many years, evolving constantly to achieve new goals at relatively low cost. Instead, programs designed to give Apollo a future beyond the first lunar landing began to feel the brunt of cuts even before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. By the time Apollo drew to its premature conclusion – the final mission to use Apollo hardware was the joint U.S,-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission of July 1975 – NASA was busy building a wholly new space program based on the Space Shuttle. Throwing out the Apollo investment and starting over with Shuttle was incredibly wasteful both in terms of learned capabilities and money.”
The Space Shuttle was fantastic, but c’mon.
Dreaming a Different Apollo, David S.F. Portree, 13 October 2014, Wired Science Blogs – Beyond Apollo [wired.com]
“What’s going on at Twitter? Not the trendmap which shows whether people are more interested in news of Ebola or The X Factor at any given moment but the social media company itself, where the number of top executive exits has started to trend. Last week it was the turn of Vivian Schiller, the high-profile TV executive recruited less than a year ago to the newly created position of head of news and journalism partnerships. Her resignation follows those of chief operating officer Ali Rowghani and media head Chloe Sladden, two executives she thanked for ‘convincing’ her to join the company in three 140-word farewell notes tweeted last Thursday.
“Yet the fallout from internal conflicts is of less interest and importance than what these departures say about the future direction of a service that has become such an important tool for journalists. If anything, the management meltdown has simply served to highlight an ongoing struggle within Twitter over whether it should largely be a conduit for journalism or PR.”
Can Twitter make money out of breaking news or is it a PR platform?, Jane Martinson, 12 October 2014, The Guardian [theguardian.com]
Wait, should this get the Media or the Technology tag?:
“In November 2014, YouTube will open the new YouTube Space New York to give creators resources, tools, and guidance. YouTube users with more than 5,000 subscribers to their channel will have free access to equipment, workshops, and other events at the space. YouTube already has similar studios in Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo.”
YouTube to Open New Space in New York City to Give Creators Resources, Tools, and Guidance, Glen Tickle, 13 October 2014, Laughing Squid [laughingsquid.com]
Music & Technology:
“Native Instruments is trying to kill that image — or part of it, at least. Its new flagship DJ controller, the Traktor Kontrol S8, is its first to feature built-in multifunction LCD displays. You still connect to a laptop running Traktor Scratch Pro, but the onboard LCDs take the place of many tasks that would normally necessitate burying your head in your laptop’s display”
Video and plenty of pretty pictures of the deck at the link -
DJs of the future won’t be staring at their laptops, Chris Ziegler, 13 October 2014, The Verge [theverge.com]
Cities and Citizens:
“Today, those roiling factories, trains and even the very rails they rode upon are long gone. However, the rotting cavern persists, just a stone’s throw from downtown office towers, the city zoo, several multi-billion-dollar art collections and a growing residential neighborhood, all underserved by transit.
“The seemingly endless potential of the defunct rail line has inspired years of talk — but little action. Now, a new federal planning study is raising hopes for the tunnel once again and could hold lessons for other cities coping with the difficult question posed by abandoned infrastructure.”
Hopes Rise Once Again for Abandoned Philadelphia Rail Line, Ryan Briggs, 13 October 2014, Next City [nextcity.org]
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