Facebook’s new smart glasses will have you thinking like an algorithm

In the future of the past, cyborgs were different. In the The Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors played Steve Austin, a test pilot who suffers severe injuries after crashing an experimental plane. He loses both legs and an arm, and is blinded in one eye. Austin then becomes an experiment, himself — he is rebuilt as a cyborg (at the cost of $6 million). As a cyborg, Austin has bionic arms and legs as well as a sophisticated camera for an eye. With his new superhuman limbs, strength, and speed, Austin is dispatched to fight crime around the world.

The last half of the 20th Century was a party we never want to end

The twin towers in fog, 1998. image via Wikimedia Commons.

There’s a TikTok account I follow that’s just clips of the World Trade Center as it once was, in the decades and months preceding its destruction on September 11th, 2001.

One recent post is an excerpt of an old home video. It begins with a slow panning shot from the Austin J. Tobin plaza up toward One World Trade Center, the north tower. A few moments later, the footage cuts to show a thin, blonde, goateed man wearing shorts and a large t-shirt with a bald eagle printed on it, walk into the frame to stand next to the plaza…

Don’t act like you’re not interested in horse dewormer

Ivermectin tablets. image via Wikimedia Commons.

“So, obviously one of the big stories going around right now is that all of the people that have been calling everyone ‘sheep’ for the last year and a half for getting vaccinating and wearing masks and taking the pandemic seriously are now eating a deworming cream intended for, among other things, sheep,” Austin Archer, aka @yourpal_austin, posted to TikTok last week. “So, my only question is,” he continued, suddenly struggling to find the words, “how- how- how is it- how is it this? How is this what it is? How is it this and not anything else?”

It’s a…

How to keep writing human in a world of A.I. tools

Her, Spike Jonze’s 2013 futuristic romantic drama, opens on Theodore Twombly sitting a a desk dictating a letter. “To my Chris, I have been thinking about how I could possibly tell you how much you mean to me,” he says, pensively. Theodore describes falling in love with Chris 50 years prior, and how, “to this day, every day, you make me feel like the girl I was when you first turned on the lights and woke me up and we started this adventure together.”

“Happy anniversary, my love and friend ’til the end — Loretta,” Theodore concludes. “Print,” he then…

Can a Twitter account of Canadian paintings save the country?

“Vanquished” Emily Carr, 1930. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

If you want to know a country, look at its art. This is the advice the curator of the Twitter account @CanadianPaintings once gave as a tour guide in Europe. It’s advice she now thinks Canadians might well consider taking, too. But that’s not why she first started the Twitter account, just to be clear.

“How it started was, I’m a teacher, and I had a Twitter page for my teaching and I just enjoy art. So, every time I saw art pop up on my screen, I’d be happy,” she told me recently. “Then I thought, none of the…

Clifford Stoll’s 1995 Newsweek column is the worst thing ever written about the internet. Or is it?

Clifford Stoll’s column in the February 27, 1995 edition of Newsweek

“After two decades online, I’m perplexed. It’s not that I haven’t had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I’ve met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I’m uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community.”

In 1995, Clifford Stoll wrote for Newsweek what has been frequently called one of the “worst ever predictions” about the Internet, a column titled Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana. In it, Stoll famously ridiculed the idea that “cyberbusiness” would outstrip the local mall, or that we’d “order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and…

Our general acceptance of climate change as a shared reality is slipping away

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

An alert pings on my iPhone. I look over to learn that the Amazon rain forest is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it absorbs. Sounds bad, I think. I turn back to my laptop screen to focus again on work, but I end up thinking instead about Sarah Miller, the author of one of the best pieces on climate change in recent years — the one about Miami.

When an editor asked her recently to write on climate change again, Miller wondered whether there was still any point. Even if someone — say, me, for example — were to…

We’ve created a society of endless personal pseudo-events. No wonder we’re all so confused.

Influencers in the Wild is an Instagram account with just over 4 million followers. The name suggests that the account’s posts feature popular social media personalities, but instead the name is ironic, and curated in its stream are clips of ordinary people making social media content — in other words, behaving as if they were influencers. We are treated to the behind-the-scenes vantage point — of dudes flexing; of women twerking; of people singing; of endless, bizarre posing; and of this guy doing whatever he’s doing and this couple doing… something.

I’m sure Influencers in the Wild is popular because…

Nobody wants to be the internet’s main character. So why are we all still trying?

Our social media content was supposed to only be a temporary problem. Back in 2007, when people began to worry that maybe all the stuff they were posting to Facebook might affect their job prospects, Jason Warner, a then-recruiter at Google, no less, offered reassurance. Eventually, employers aren’t going to worry about things like your embarrassing Facebook photos, he wrote, because “as time goes on, more and more detail about all of us will be found online.” This was the promise: volume — the ubiquity of so much similar content from so many people — would save us, individually. That…

Putting a dollar value on the language of the internet will be weird

Zoe Roth, aka Disaster Girl

For over a decade, the image of a young girl smirking in the foreground as a home in the background is engulfed in flames has circulated as fodder for countless memes. The picture, known simply as Disaster Girl, though originally taken by an amateur photographer — who then entered it into an online contest, sparking its journey across the web — has all but officially entered the public domain. That is, until Thursday, at least technically speaking.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the then-young girl in the photo, Zoe Roth (now 21), recently sold the image as a…

Colin Horgan


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