Watching Things Being Done

Great essay by Dan Brooks:

People love to watch the video in which an unknown artist makes drawing a hand look easy, but they also love the pictures in which ordinary people make it look hard. Failure is funny, especially in this case, which has primed us with the plausible claim that anyone can draw a woman’s hand before yanking us back to the truth that basically no one can draw anything at all.

The Pleasure of Watching Others Confront Their Own Incompetence

Escape from Filter Bubbles by “Noisifying”

Joe Pinsker, writing for The Atlantic:

Max Hawkins, a 28-year-old programmer, elevated the goal of subverting algorithms to a way of life. After graduating from college in 2013 and getting a job at Google, Hawkins grew restless and sought ways to make his life more interesting. He built a tool that had Uber drop him off at random locations around the Bay Area. Then he built a tool that picked random publicly listed Facebook events for him to attend.

Hawkins found the variety refreshing, and after two years, he left his job. Every few months, he let a computer pick the city he would live in, based on airfare, cost-of-living estimates, and his projected income as a freelance programmer. He tried listening to music picked randomly by Spotify, wearing clothes bought randomly on Amazon, growing out random styles of facial hair, and arranging phone calls with friends on randomly selected topics.

How I Tried to Defy the Facebook Algorithm

And not just online!

Huawei Indictment

It will be noted many other places, but this is a remarkable basis for alleging criminal theft of trade secrets:

At least at the time of the events in the indictment, Tappy was apparently the envy of other mobile companies, and only T-Mobile employees were allowed to operate Tappy. But eventually the company allowed employees from its phone suppliers to access and operate the robot – so long as they signed nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements. Those agreements specifically barred suppliers’ employees from attempting to reverse engineer Tappy, or to take photos or videos of it.

Meanwhile, Huawei China was reportedly trying to build its own device-testing robot — named, less cutely, “xDeviceRobot” — and it was not finding much success. And Huawei’s devices weren’t faring well on T-Mobile’s Tappy tests, failing more often than devices made by competitors.

In May 2012, Huawei USA asked if Huawei China could license the Tappy technology, and T-Mobile said no. 

That’s when Huawei began attempting to steal the design secrets of Tappy, according to the indictment.

A Robot Named ‘Tappy’: Huawei Conspired To Steal T-Mobile’s Trade Secrets, Says DOJ

And too good not to quote verbatim:

Then, in May 2013, [Huawei employee] A.X. allegedly made a very bold move, removing Tappy’s arm and putting it in his laptop bag. T-Mobile employees confronted him about the missing arm. He denied having it, and that night he and F.W. measured and photographed the arm. The next day, A.X. said he had “found” Tappy’s arm in his bag. It was then that T-Mobile finally revoked A.X.’s credential to the lab.

Id.

I dunno. Criminal masterminds? Or just a culture of stealing? I guess either way you get indicted.

What is glitter?

What is glitter? The simplest answer is one that will leave you slightly unsatisfied, but at least with your confidence in comprehending basic physical properties intact. Glitter is made from glitter. Big glitter begets smaller glitter; smaller glitter gets everywhere, all glitter is impossible to remove; now never ask this question again.

What is Glitter?

Utterly charming write up.