Weekend Reading L

by uber

I shall try to ensure that my future use of Roman Numerals is less eccentric.

BBFC Guidelines

It almost feels like there is little or no censorship for content reasons these day, but there is. It’s interesting to look at these criteria and to notice that some are surprisingly specific, some are obvious catch-alls and others are clearly responses to attempted justifications.

The objective in setting these criteria seems to be to appear to have an actionable list that can be consistently applied, while in fact reserving full aribtrary judgement. It’s also fascinating to see that for these purposes, ‘religion’ means ‘Christian religion’, though the existence of an Established Church does substantially help to justify that in my view.

It brings to mind the possibly-fictional “Mull of Kintyre

http://cabinetroom.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/cut/

  • American law officers making arrests in Britain;
  • the improper use of the names of well-known British institutions;
  • subjects which are suitable only for scientific or professional audiences;
  • the materialized figure of Christ;


Crossing the Air Gap with Sound

The Jury is still very much out on whether the more headline-grabbing ‘virus’ story is real, but the proof of concept for transmitting data via ultrasound is cool. The devices we carry have lots and lots of sensors in them, and their capabilities often exceed what we can perceive (for example, web-cams can see into IR). There is probably a lot of fun to be had thinking of unintended uses for such affordances.

It’s also an important reminder that there is no such thing as secure, on secure to a certain degree, and with a degree of certainty.

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/12/scientist-developed-malware-covertly-jumps-air-
gaps-using-inaudible-sound/


Computer scientists have proposed a malware prototype that uses inaudible audio signals to communicate, a capability that allows the malware to covertly transmit keystrokes and other sensitive data even when infected machines have no network connection.


Planet Money makes a T-shirt

Digital Storytelling is definintely becoming its own medium, we are finally properly shedding the ‘paper but on a screen’ or the ‘tv in your hands’ experiences. Interactivity, blended media and animation will be the powerful tools of the narrator of the future.

http://apps.npr.org/tshirt/#/title


The world behind a simple shirt, in five chapters.


The Menace of Daily Life

Terrible science reporting is a genuine issue, I think it causes people to feel that there is nothing they can do to improve their health, and it generally lowers the quality of general understanding of science. I am hopeful that Causal Calculus and perhaps more/better data from mass adoption of diet and fitness management tools and apps might improve things, but it’s hard to say at this point. After all, there’s still a poisonous motivation for journalists to target red-button issues like ‘chocolate’, ‘cancer’ and so on.

http://www.significancemagazine.org/details/webexclusive/5599911/The-menace-of-daily-life.html

The message is that, in comparison with randomized trials, the quality of many epidemiological studies is inadequate. No amount of statistical analysis can salvage a flawed study, one in which the data is incomplete or inadequate. There is a message here for both disciplines, it would be easy to interpret this summary as Feinstein’s paper also gives a reminder of how difficult it can be to anticipate the future direction of any discipline.


The Camden Bench

I have to say I don’t agree with the author on this: I think it is intriguing to imagine a truly robust bench this design seems practical and not all that unattractive to my eye. It has no ornament, but it does have form and function. Perhaps the choice of granite makes it rather cold to sit on?

https://medium.com/editors-picks/49a184a6667a

[…]
the Camden Bench is a strange kind of architectural null point. A piece of the city that by design will not interact with it in any way. It is a bench by the slimmest of margins?—?hardly comfortable, affording none of the qualities that would make it more than simply a place to sit. This is the bench’s sole concession to being part of the city, and it does it with the least conviction possible.


How Many Countries Contribute to the Production of Nutella?

Nutella is delicious, but it often seems de trop for breakfast, even for my rich tastes. That said, I might secure a jar of Speculoos this Yule. The linked report itself has lots of other gems, including information on chemical products, cars and agri-food. Ireland features in intersting ways in the last one. One nugget is that China and Sweden feature at the ‘high’ end of the value chain, while VietNam and German feature at the ‘low’ end, which I found interesting. It’s a bit like the way the US exports cotton around the world to make t-shirts, which Planet Money showed.

http://qz.com/156163/a-map-of-all-the-countries-that-contribute-to-a-single-jar-of-nutella/


Some 250,000 tons (227,000 tonnes) of Nutella are now sold across 75 countries around the world every year, according to the OECD. But that’s not what’s amazing about it. Nutella, it turns out, is a perfect example of what globalization has meant for popular foodstuffs: Not only is it sold everywhere, but its ingredients are sourced from all over the place too.


Full text of KCNA announcement on execution of Jang

It’s easy for us in the West to take for granted the benign nature of our government, even in difficult and controversial times. This is a timely reminder of the insanity that some nations unleash on their people.

http://www.northkoreatech.org/2013/12/13/full-text-of-kcna-announcement-on-execution-of-jang/


The accused is a traitor to the nation for all ages who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system.

he behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people.

Jang turned down the unanimous request of the service personnel of a unit of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces to have the autograph letter sent by Kim Jong Un to the unit carved on a natural granite and erected with good care in front of the building of its command. He was so reckless as to instruct the unit to erect it in a shaded corner.

The revolutionary army will never pardon all those who disobey the order of the Supreme Commander and there will be no place for them to be buried even after their death.