What we read this week (29 Jun)

Computers recognizing cats, Bruce Sterling on the New Aesthetic, a primer on networked cities, the inner workings of Anonymous, and the Manufactured Normalcy Field.

Quotes of the week

Great collaborations don’t start in boardrooms.
They start in restaurants.


Articles of the week

  • Ideas for Dozens: Designing for and against the manufactured normalcy field
    Based on a Ribbonfarm article, which we featured a couple of weeks ago, NYU’s Greg Borenstein and BERG London’s Matt Webb ran a Foo Camp session, which Peter attended, on the so-called Manufactured Normalcy Field, and how it relates to designing everyday products. The post is a rough writeup, capturing the essence of the group brainstorm. Good stuff indeed.
  • David Albert Cox: Playfulness and Processuality
    Two and a half months ago, Bruce Sterling published his essay on the New Aesthetic and propelled it onto the big stage. Now, David Albert Cox catches up with Sterling to get his latest thoughts on the movement and James Bridle.
  • The Economist: The laws of the city
    Based on data collected about cities and the behavioral patterns of their inhabitants in broad terms, we’re able to learn about the way cities grow and change. This article offers a good general introduction to the theme of networked cities, and shows us some ways in which the increasing abundance of urban data is being put to use.
  • Wired: How Anonymous Picks Targets, Launches Attacks, and Takes Powerful Organizations Down
    This fascinating article by Quinn Norton on the inner workings of Anonymous and its involvement in politics offers insight into the evolution of both the movement and the internet culture. Should you like to read more on the subject, there is also an interesting writeup on the TED blog of observations made by Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist who studied the group for years.
  • New York Times: How Many Computers to Identify a Cat? 16,000
    A network of 16,000 computer processors was fed 10 million random image thumbnails from YouTube videos. In an impressive feat of machine learning, the network “basically invented the concept of a cat,” says Dr Jeff Dean of Google’s X lab. One step close of computers emulating the human brain.