The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together
Good and ill
Recent stories from the web of our life for inspiration and rumination
17 June, 2022 : The Washington Post
This Styrofoam-eating ‘superworm’ could help solve the garbage crisis
In a paper released last week in the journal of Microbial Genomics, scientists from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, showed that the larvae of a darkling beetle, called zophobas morio, can survive solely on polystyrene, commonly called Styrofoam.
16 February, 2022 : The Washington Post
Opinion: Thank you, Sandy Hook families, for taking on the gunmakers
Knowing the impact this could have on the longer-term battle over gun violence, the families made release of (internal documents) a linchpin of their suit. Their position, as lawyer Joshua Koskoff put it, was: “No documents, no deal.”
31 January, 2022 : c|net
This drone flies using da Vinci's 530-year-old helicopter design
Although (University of Maryland grad student, Austin) Prete built only a small drone, the technology could work with an aircraft big enough to haul a human. "I do believe it should be able to scale up fairly well," he said.
29 December, 2021 : The World
The Korean Vegan reflects on food, family, and life
"I grew up eating cuts of meat and pork. That used to be my favorite food. So, not getting to eat those things was, sure, a little bit hard. But much harder was sort of my grappling with my cultural identity. Who am I if I don't get to eat these things that I associate so much with my Koreanness? And navigating that path was much harder, but also ultimately far more fulfilling."
22 December, 2021 : The Guardian
From hairpin to house
“There were just so many negative people saying it wasn’t possible. I was willing to do this for five years if that’s what it took to get to the house.” She beams: “I wake up and I’m like ‘is this real?’ I have the house. I traded this from a bobby pin!”
23 November, 2021 : BBC
Six ways shoebox-sized satellites are trying to change the world
A company called Ping Services has created a sensor that monitors the sound made by wind turbines as they rotate. It can pick up a change in this sound which indicates a damaged blade, and relay this back to the turbine operator via a CubeSat network. This means they can be fixed much quicker, and be more efficient.
3 January, 2022 : The New Yorker
Dan Bongino and the Big Business of Returning Trump to Power
Until the eighties, radio stations were forced to avoid too much repetition in political coverage; the FCC had a “fairness doctrine” that required equal airtime for competing views on major public issues. In 1987, during the Reagan Administration, the FCC stopped enforcing the doctrine. The next year, a college dropout and former Top Forty d.j. named Rush Hudson Limbaugh III introduced his talk show to a national audience.
27 December, 2021 : Wired Magazine
If AI Is Predicting Your Future, Are You Still Free?
A prediction is a guess, and all sorts of subjective assessments and biases regarding risk and values are built into it. There can be forecasts that are more or less accurate, to be sure, but the relationship between probability and actuality is much more tenuous and ethically problematic than some assume.
2 September 2021 : Harper's Magazine
Bad News: Selling the story of disinformation
Is social media creating new types of people, or simply revealing long-obscured types of people to a segment of the public unaccustomed to seeing them? The latter possibility has embarrassing implications for the media and academia alike.
1 April 2018 : Texas Monthly
The Battle of the Blue Cat Café
And yet many Blue Cat Café customers, unless they encounter demonstrators outside, are likely unaware of the controversy that has engulfed the property for the past three years. Gray, who claims she’s “nonpolitical,” believes she’s simply been caught in the crossfire of an ideological struggle beyond her ken.
The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues. - All's Well that Ends Well