Archive for ‘Technology’

November 16, 2022

Fatberg

Marine Conservation Society

A fatberg is a rock-like mass of waste matter in a sewer system formed by the combination of flushed non-biodegradable solids, such as wet wipes, and fat, oil and grease (FOG) deposits. The handling of FOG waste and the buildup of its deposits are a long-standing problem in waste management, with ‘fatberg’ a more recent neologism.

Giant fatbergs have blocked sewers in London, New York, Denver, Valencia, and Melbourne and are becoming more prevalent with the rise in usage of disposable (so-called ‘flushable’) cloths. Several prominent examples were discovered in the 2010s in Great Britain, their formation accelerated by aging Victorian sewers. Fatbergs are costly to remove, and have given rise to public awareness campaigns about flushable waste.

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November 6, 2022

Fediverse

Mastodon

The fediverse (a portmanteau of ‘federation’ and ‘universe’) is an ensemble of federated (i.e. interconnected) servers that are used for web publishing (i.e. social networking, microblogging, blogging, or websites) and file hosting, but which, while independently hosted, can communicate with each other.

Their are federated alternatives to many mainstream websites: PeerTube (YouTube); Funkwhale (SoundCloud); Mastodon, Hubzilla, and pump.io (Twitter); Frendica (Facebook); Drupal (WordPress); Pixelfed (Instagram); and Lemmy (Reddit).

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September 6, 2022

Reply Allpocalypse

Email storm

A reply allpocalypse, also called an email storm, is a sudden spike of “reply all” messages on an email list. When members respond, often pleading for the cessation of messages, a chain reaction is triggered, generating traffic that can render the email servers inoperative.

Some email viruses also have the capacity to create email storms by sending copies of themselves to an infected user’s contacts, including distribution lists, infecting the contacts in turn.

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September 1, 2022

Stroad

Share the Road

stroad is a pejorative portmanteau of street and road that was coined by urban planner Charles Marohn in 2011 to describe paved traffic structures in the U.S. that are a bad combination of two types of vehicular pathways.

According to Marohn, a stroad is part street—which he describes as a ‘complex environment where life in the city happens,’ with pedestrians, cars, buildings close to the sidewalk for easy accessibility, with many (property) entrances / exits to and from the street, and with spaces for temporary parking and delivery vehicles—and part road, which he describes as a ‘high-speed connection between two places’ with wide lanes, limited entrances and exits, and which are generally straight or have gentle curves.

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July 25, 2022

Brewster Kahle

Internet Archive

Brewster Kahle [keyl] (b. 1960) is an American digital librarian, a computer engineer, Internet entrepreneur, and advocate of universal access to all knowledge. Kahle founded the Internet Archive and Alexa Internet. In 2012 he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

Kahle and his wife, Mary Austin, run the Kahle/Austin Foundation. The Foundation supports the Free Software Foundation for its GNU project, among other projects.

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June 12, 2022

Bored Ape

bored ape

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) is a non-fungible token (NFT) collection built on the Ethereum blockchain. The collection features profile pictures of cartoon apes that are procedurally generated by an algorithm.

The parent company of Bored Ape Yacht Club is Yuga Labs. The project launched in April 2021. Owners of a Bored Ape NFT are granted access to a private online club, exclusive in-person events, and intellectual property rights for the image.

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May 2, 2022

Accidental Discovery

Author and researcher Royston Roberts has said that various discoveries required a degree of genius, but also some lucky element for that genius to act on.  Author Richard Gaughan wrote that accidental discoveries result from the convergence of preparation, opportunity, and desire.

Major everyday discoveries that were helped by luck in some way include products like vulcanized rubber, teflon, nylon, penicillin, cyanoacrylate (Super Glue), the implantable pacemaker, the microwave oven, Scotchgard, Saran wrap, Silly Putty, Slinky, safety glass, the propeller, artificial snowmaking, stainless steel, Perkin’s mauve (one of the first synthetic dyes), and popsicles. Most artificial sweeteners have been discovered when accidentally tasted, including aspartame and saccharin.

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January 25, 2022

Hot Mic

We begin bombing in five minutes

hot mic is an error in which a microphone is switched on or remains on, especially without the speaker realizing, allowing unintended listeners to hear parts of conversations not intended for public consumption.

Such errors usually involve live broadcasting in radio or television, and sometimes material is recorded and played back via media outlets. Hot mic events can cause embarrassment for the person or organization involved, sometimes resulting in serious confrontations and employment termination.

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December 28, 2021

DAO

The DAO

decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), sometimes called a decentralized autonomous corporation (DAC), is an organization represented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by the organization members and not influenced by a central government.

A DAO’s financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain. The precise legal status of this type of business organization is unclear.

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October 22, 2021

Locksport

Lock picking

Locksport is the sport or recreation of defeating locking systems. Its enthusiasts learn including lock picking, lock bumping, and a variety of other skills traditionally known only to locksmiths and other security professionals.

Lock picking has existed for as long as locks have, and recreational lock picking has as well. King Louis XVI of France (1754–1793) was a keen designer, picker and manipulator of locks.

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August 16, 2021

Context Collapse

danah boyd

Context collapse or ‘the flattening of multiple audiences into a single context’ is a term arising out of the study of human interaction on the internet, especially within social media.

It ‘generally occurs when a surfeit of different audiences occupy the same space, and a piece of information intended for one audience finds its way to another’ with that new audience or audiences’ understanding being all the stronger for failing to understand the original context.

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July 31, 2021

GPT-3

OpenAI

Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3) is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. It is the third-generation language prediction model in the GPT-n series (and the successor to GPT-2) created by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence research laboratory.

Before the release of GPT-3, the largest language model was Microsoft’s Turing NLG, introduced several months earlier with a capacity of 17 billion parameters—less than a tenth of GPT-3’s.

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