Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 27, 2016 6:45 AM

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #323

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, Solve For Interesting, the author of Complete Web Monitoring, Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks and Lean Analytics), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another: 

  • Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything Forever - CRISPR - Kurzgesagt - In A Nutshell. "The YouTube channel Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell is remarkable. It's Patreon-backed, full of fascinating, articulate videos that explain a concept clearly and succinctly. The videos are full of easter eggs and little jokes. That's half this link: a great educational resource. The other half is the topic, because in this video, they explain -- perhaps better than anyone has, IMHO -- what CRISPR is, and why a future - in which we can edit ourselves and our surroundings - is unthinkably different." (Alistair for Hugh).
  • The Man Whose Job It Is to Constantly Imagine the Total Collapse of Humanity in Order to Save It - Vice. "It's time for Burning Man. I'm not going this year; and this made me nostalgic. Depending on your point of view, it's either a gathering of enlightened artists and hedonists; or that time when tens of thousands of privileged Bay Area denizens play Pretend Natural Disaster. But whatever your take, Burning Man is hardship. It's given birth to many inventions, including the emergency relief organization, Burners Without Borders, and temporary housing like the Hexayurt. This Vice piece profiles one of the festival's alumni, Vinay Gupta, whose job is to literally walk around all day wondering what could go wrong. That's also another good description of the festival." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • From Tree to Shining Tree - Radiolab. "I've shared a link about the wood-wide-web (!) before, and this Radiolab podcast just reinforces how wild and mysterious this world is. It turns out that all those trees and plants in forests are connected by an underground network of micro-sized tubular fungus. This fungal system operates as a mechanism of information and resource exchange: where carbon, for instance, trees with surplus carbon 'give' to the network, and trees in need of carbon can be supplied that carbon from the fungal network. There appears to be a kind of intelligence in this as well, where 'decisions' about who is getting what is made by this fungal network. Crazy. I wonder, if you extrapolate out networked human existence 100 or 1,000 or maybe 1,000,000 years, maybe the endgame might be a kind of balanced organic system like this. Or, maybe the fungal and tree network is the evolution of a previous human-like society(!!)..." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • Life on a Möbius Strip: The Greatest Moth Story Ever Told, About the Unlikely Paths That Lead Us Back to Ourselves - Brain Pickings. "The infinite (or finite) universe, our messy lives and the lucky (and unlucky) coincidences that define our lives, you can read Janna Levin's piece, or watch/listen to her tell the story." (Hugh for Mitch). 
  • The Hype - And Hope - Of Artificial Intelligence - The New Yorker. "Computers are doing a lot of things faster, smarter (maybe better) than human beings. Soon, none of us will have work. They will be smarter than us. Soon, they will know and understand how we act (and react). They will be one step ahead of us. Don't believe me? Take a drive in an autonomous vehicle - like I did a few years back. One thing became very clear: the car is able to 'see' and 'react' way better than any human. How do I know? It was tracking stop signs so far out, that I could not see them with the human eye. It was tracking everything happening around the car (my neck doesn't turn in those directions). Still, we're not there yet. This may not be our destiny. Right now, we're not even close. Talk about artificial intelligence and machine learning all you like. The truth is this: computers are just know able to pick up patterns, but they're doing it faster and faster (and faster than humans). So, it's far from being a done deal, but it's coming along." (Mitch for Alistair).  
  • Blogging gave us everything we love -- and hate -- about the Web - The Washington Post. "Well over ten years ago, I used to have lunch with Julien Smith (now the Breather brainchild) and Hugh on a regular basis. We talked, laughed and debated the state of digital. Blogging, podcasting, publishing, connecting and technology was the consistent topic over sushi or sandwiches. None of us (and our content) were credible to the media, at this point. Now, the media is us. Everything we discussed came to pass. This article articulates it perfectly." (Mitch for Hugh).

Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play.

By Mitch Joel

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