ISSUE 1.36

⇐ see more issues

Dust and Mistrust

The evolution of trust, MSpaint goes away, tales of programming power, China's forced surveillance problem, and more.

[ncase.me]

The Evolution of Trust

This is a FASCINATING little game on how trust works in the context of game theory, why enemies in the trenches of World War I made nice at certain times, and why playing nice is the way to go (with other people who will also play nice with you). A great quote: "'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,' may not just be a moral truth, but also a mathematical truth. However..." there's still a lot of distrust in the world. How'd that happen? I'm not going to keep explaining! Just play the game!

[vox.com]

Microsoft retires its beloved Paint program, sending fans into crudely drawn mourning

MSPaint seems like one of those untouchable things. It's been around since I can remember using a computer (yes, I'm young, I know) and was always a core part of the Windows experience. In fact, I felt betrayed by the new, much-more-usable UI of the new Paint application shipped with later versions of Windows. What are you doing, making this easier to use?! I KNOW this horrible UX! But alas, MSPaint is on its way out, slain by Microsoft.

DISCORDANT DAILY

BTW; do you know about Discordant Daily? It's a small "email commune" where the showrunner, Jameson, discusses various weird topics like how to throw a dinner party like Salvador Dali, the death of MSPaint, and almost-non-sequitur wanderings applied to stock photography. Jameson is a great and entertaining writer. And to be even more impressive, she does all of this while at her day job--she works for a giant consulting firm, and in her words, "[fights] their neoliberalism by using work hours (i.e paycheck money) to covertly make stupid internet content." Ah, me too, Jameson. Me, too. (I'm kidding, co-workers and bossman. I write these over the weekend, I swear!)

Unfortunately, I can't give you a link to check out past archives because there is none. It's that cool and exclusive. It exists solely as an email you receive, in the history of your inbox. So if you want in on that, I recommend emailing discordantdaily@gmail.com and asking to be put on the list. Tell her Way sent ya'. (It won't get you anything special, but it'll feel cool and conspiratorial.)

Oh, also! If you like good, trapp-y remixes of, um, not trappy music, listen to this sick Baaeur Remix of alt-J - In Cold Blood. It hits HARD. It's been in my ears for days now and my only wish is that it were longer.

[money.cnn.com]

A smart fish tank left a casino vulnerable to hackers

Warning: autoplay video. (Sorry.) Wait, I've got something for this... Gee, seems like they really got tanked! Dang, they certainly got flushed out! Oof, they really spilled this one! Boy, they sure didn't filtrate their air system! Wow, they definitely need to secure their smart aquarium! Yowzers, if only they had hired security experts! Man, do you think they got hacked? ... OK. Unrelated: I've been a little disappointed with the quality of Archer Season 7's jokes. It's entertaining, just... not as good. I think they've fallen back on too many callbacks. Oh well. (I know; you really care about how I feel about this.)

[twitter.com/chipsineni]

"This is ARKit's A-ha moment"

Click through and check out this COOL short video of an AR experience on a phone watching a guy dance through a sketch-world portal, that person stepping THROUGH the portal and then being IN the world, and then turning around and seeing the OLD world back through the portal with people dancing and stuff. Very cool. It definitely helps you "get" the possibilities.

[fastcompany.com]

They Write the Right Stuff

Here's a blast into the past--in fact, 21 years into the past (time didn't even exist back then!) with an article from 1996 about the incredible feat of putting a 120-ton space shuttle into, um, space, via massive amounts of software and the amount of complexity involved. A fascinating look into the world of programming when the mission is critical and death is the consequence for failure.

[slate.com]

The Fake-Image Arms Race

Following the thread from the last newsletter about making more convincing ways to fool humans into thinking photos are real, here's an article on how we can use algorithms and coding to figure out whether or not an image has been computer generated or not. Essentially, we are getting the computer to go "I can tell from the pixels and also from having seen many a neural network in my day" and bust the image. Interestingly, one day this technology might even exist as a browser extension that can be installed and then used automatically on all of the images you see on the internet. (Shit, it'd be nice if that existed now.) There you go, free startup idea. If you make a ton of money from it, subscribe to my Patreon. Thanks!

[mashable.com]

China is force-installing spyware onto Muslim citizens' phones, to monitor them

To be specific, this is a surveillance measure in Xinjiang, which is home to "much of its Muslim minority population", not a person-by-person ethnic surveillance targeting. But... really, now. It's pretty awful. They're instructing citizens to install a "surviellance app" and are actually conducting spot checks to make sure they have it, too. It detects "terrorist and illegal religious videos, images, e-books, and electronic documents" on users' phones and orders them to delete them. Delete the app or don't install it and suffer 10 days of detainment.

[motherboard.vice.com]

How Coders Hacked Back to ‘Rescue’ $208 Million in Ethereum

I'll be honest. I don't really care about Ethereum or Bitcoin or anything like that, even though I have some of it. For me, it's purely speculative and as an average user, I just want to see if I make any sort of increase over the next 10 years. I don't care about the upcoming split or the hackery and loss of money beyond the schadenfreude, but boy do I love a good counterhacking story. Actually, it's kind of weird. This "white hat" group "rescued" funds from 500 vulnerable wallets by using the same vulnerability as the hackers, and then returned them. It's like if Robin Hood broke into your house, stole your shit, then some other robbers tried to steal your shit but couldn't, and then Robin Hood came back with your stuff and a new safe for it. I think I would have mixed feelings about that, personally. Inside, the technical and story details of how that all happened.

HYPERLUST (Serial Experiments Lain, Genius Party - Limit Cycle & Glitchart) by Bauzi

Here's a music video by Glitchet subscriber Bernd Schäffer aka "Bauzi"! The main glitchy stuff comes in the latter half of the video, but it's a pretty cool cut of anime, some psychedelic shots, and a fantastic soundtrack by Royksopp. I especially like the interesting combination of very smooth glitch visuals in contrast to the necessarily staccato, unsmooth frame-by-frames of the anime. Also, holy shit, the original music video for this is so damn good too and I can't believe I haven't shared it in this newsletter yet, here

Röyksopp & Robyn - Sayit

HERE WATCH THIS JUST DO IT TRUST ME also wtf H&M what are you doing funding glitch art projects and amazing music seriously