- DOOM and Dial-Up: The influence of early computer games on the internet's structures and aesthetics overall.
Watching the Watchmen (with data):
- Some open data sleuthing demonstrates that the NYPD is in the habit of writing phony parking tickets (fining people for perfectly legitimate spots) and it adds up to millions of dollars per year. Perhaps cities should reward findings like these with something like the bug bounties that software companies pay out when someone spots a security flaw in their code.
- GPS tracking of highly toxic "e-waste" that is supposed to be recycled finds that it is often simply and irresponsibly exported. The promise of recycling is more myth than science: the majority of materials are dramatically downgraded while using up a bunch of energy for transport and reprocessing, and many factories refuse to deal with the complications of recycled input materials. The situation is even worse for heterogeneous goods like consumer electronics, as many products are simply too complex to be disassembled and recycled cost effectively. The positive hype around recycling persists because it allows us to consume as much as possible while maintaining a sense of doing the right thing (reduction and reuse receive comparatively little attention, at least in the U.S.). There are some promising possibilities on the horizon like Apple's disassembly robots, but until externalized costs are felt by manufacturers, give "recycling" the close, cynical read it deserves.
- You can build your own artificial pancreas if you think the FDA isn't moving fast enough. The story of the technology itself is not new, but the fact that building these systems is gaining wider acceptance and adoption and moving from fringe hacker activity to flirting with the mainstream is telling. This seems destined to become a template for building technologies into our bodies outside of clinical contexts - if your neighbor is doing it, it starts to feel a lot less risky and exotic.