Archive for ‘Technology’

November 25, 2021

The Diamond Age

Engines of Creation

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer’ is a 1995 science fiction novel by American writer Neal Stephenson. It is to some extent a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, focused on a young girl named Nell, set in a future world in which nanotechnology affects all aspects of life. The novel deals with themes of education, social class, ethnicity, and the nature of artificial intelligence.

The book contains descriptions of various exotic technologies, such as the chevaline (a mechanical horse that can fold up and is light enough to be carried one-handed), and forecasts the use of technologies that are in development today, such as smart paper that can show personalized news headlines. Major cities have immune systems made up of aerostatic defensive micromachines, and public matter compilers provide basic food, blankets, and water for free to anyone who requests them.

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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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July 4, 2021

TRIZ

Genrich Altshuller

TRIZ (‘theory of the resolution of invention-related tasks’) is ‘a problem-solving, analysis and forecasting tool derived from the study of patterns of invention in the global patent literature.’ It was developed by Soviet inventor and science-fiction author Genrich Altshuller (1926-1998) and his colleagues, beginning in 1946.

In English the name is typically rendered as the theory of ‘inventive problem solving,’ and occasionally goes by the English acronym TIPS.

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June 28, 2021

Extremely Online

dril

To be extremely online (often capitalized) means to be closely engaged with Internet culture. People said to be extremely online often believe that online posts are very important.

Events and phenomena can themselves be extremely online; while often used as a descriptive term, extreme onlineness has been described as ‘both a reformation of the delivery of ideas – shared through words and videos and memes and GIFs and copypasta – and the ideas themselves.’ It has been said that ”online’ can be thought of as a way of doing things, not the place they are done.’

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May 3, 2021

Synaptic Transistor

Field-effect transistor

synaptic transistor is an electrical device that can learn in ways similar to a neural synapse (the site of transmission of electric nerve impulses between two nerve cells). It optimizes its own properties for the functions it has carried out in the past.

The device mimics the behavior of the property of neurons called spike-timing-dependent plasticity, or STDP. The process adjusts the connection strengths based on the relative timing of a particular neuron’s output and input action potentials (or spikes).

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April 26, 2021

Network Telescope

Honeypot

network telescope (also known as a ‘packet telescope,’ ‘darknet,’ ‘Internet motion sensor,’ or ‘black hole’) is an Internet system that allows one to observe different large-scale events taking place on the Internet. The basic idea is to observe traffic targeting the dark (unused) address-space of the network.

Since all traffic to these addresses is suspicious, one can gain information about possible network attacks (random scanning worms, and DDoS backscatter) as well as other misconfigurations by observing it.

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March 23, 2021

Gated Reverb

Townhouse Studios

Gated reverb or gated ambience is an audio processing technique that combines strong reverb (echo) and a noise gate (attenuating signals that register below a threshold). The effect is often associated with the sound of 1980s popular music.

It was developed in 1979 by engineer Hugh Padgham and producer Steve Lillywhite while working with the artists XTC, Peter Gabriel, and Phil Collins at Townhouse Studios in London, and is most famously demonstrated in Collins’s 1981 single ‘In the Air Tonight.’

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March 1, 2021

Non-fungible Token

Nyan Cat

Ethereum

non-fungible token (NFT) is a special type of cryptographic token which represents something unique; non-fungible tokens are thus not mutually interchangeable.[1] This is in contrast to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, and many network or utility tokens that are fungible in nature.

Non-fungible tokens are used to create verifiable digital scarcity, as well as digital ownership, and the possibility of asset interoperability across multiple platforms.[3] NFTs are used in several specific applications that require unique digital items like crypto art, digital collectibles, and online gaming.

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January 31, 2021

Brandolini’s Law

Bullshit

Brandolini’s law, also known as the bullshit asymmetry principle, is an internet adage which emphasizes the difficulty of debunking bullshit: ‘The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude larger than to produce it.’

It was publicly formulated the first time in January 2013 by Alberto Brandolini, an Italian programmer. Brandolini stated that he was inspired by reading Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ right before watching an Italian political talk show with journalist Marco Travaglio and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attacking each other.

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January 2, 2021

Rocking Chair

Michael Thonet

rocking chair or rocker is a type of chair with two curved bands (also known as rockers) attached to the bottom of the legs, connecting the legs on each side to each other. The rockers contact the floor at only two points, giving the occupant the ability to rock back and forth by shifting their weight or pushing lightly with their feet. Rocking chairs are most commonly made of wood. Some rocking chairs can fold.

Rocking cradles long predate rocking chairs; an example exists from antiquity, found in the ruins of Herculaneum. Michael Thonet, a German craftsman, created the first bentwood rocking chair in 1860. This design is distinguished by its graceful shape and its light weight. These rocking chairs were influenced by Greek and Roman designs as well as Renaissance and colonial era artistry.

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