Used to be small like a baby but grew to current size. Urban cyclist. Coffee Enthusiast. New media whore. Rabid atheist. Inventor of the sock.
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Super-Accurate GPS Chips Coming to Smartphones in 2018

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Broadcom has released the first mass-market GPS chips that use newer satellite signals to boost accuracy to 30-centimeters
Illustration: Miguel Navarro/Getty Images

We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the highway, just as Google Maps instructed, when Siri tells you to “Proceed east for one-half mile, then merge onto the highway.” But you’re already on the highway. After a moment of confusion and perhaps some rude words about Siri and her extended AI family, you realize the problem: Your GPS isn’t accurate enough for your navigation app to tell if you’re on the highway or on the road beside it.

Those days are nearly at an end. At the ION GNSS+ conference in Portland, Ore., today Broadcom announced that it is sampling the first mass-market chip that can take advantage of a new breed of global navigation satellite signals and will give the next generation of smartphones 30-centimeter accuracy instead of today’s 5-meters. Even better, the chip works in a city’s concrete canyons, and it consumes half the power of today’s generation of chips. The chip, the BCM47755, has been included in the design of some smartphones slated for release in 2018, but Broadcom would not reveal which.

GPS and other global navigation satellite services (GNSSs) such as Europe’s Galileo, Japan’s QZSS, and Russia’s Glonass allow a receiver to determine its position by calculating its distance from three or more satellites. All GNSS satellites—even the oldest generation still in use—broadcast a message called the L1 signal that includes the satellite’s location, the time, and an identifying signature pattern. A newer generation broadcasts a more complex signal called L5 at a different frequency in addition to the legacy L1 signal. The receiver essentially uses these signals to fix its distance from each satellite based on how long it took the signal to go from satellite to receiver.

Broadcom’s receiver first locks on to the satellite with the L1 signal and then refines its calculated position with L5. The latter is superior, especially in cities, because it is much less prone to distortions from multipath reflections than L1.

A chart shows three horizontal red lines. The top line has a broad green triangle. The center line has three overlapping broad triangles—green, blue, and purple. The bottom line has three narrow triangles—green, blue, and purple—which do not overlap.
IIlustration: Broadcom

In a city, the satellite’s signals reach the receiver both directly and by bouncing off of one or more buildings. The direct signal and any reflections arrive at slightly different times and if they overlap, they add up to form a sort of signal blob. The receiver is looking for the peak of that blob to fix the time of arrival. But the messier the blob, the less accurate that fix, and the less accurate the final calculated position will be.

However, L5 signals are so brief that the reflections are unlikely to overlap with the direct signal. The receiver chip can simply ignore any signal after the first one it receives, which is the direct path. The Broadcom chip also uses information in the phase of the carrier signal to further improve accuracy.

Though there are advanced systems that use L5 on the market now, these are generally for industrial purposes, such as oil and gas exploration. Broadcom’s BCM47755 is the first mass-market chip that uses both L1 and L5.

Why is this only happening now? “Up to now there haven’t been enough L5 satellites in orbit,” says Manuel del Castillo, associate director of GNSS product marketing at Broadcom. At this point, there are about 30 such satellites in orbit, counting a set that only flies over Japan and Australia. Even in a city’s “narrow window of sky you can see six or seven, which is pretty good. So now is the right moment to launch.”

A bar chart shows a steady increase in the number of satellites. Three flags are below, those of the United States, Japan, and the European Union.
Image: Broadcom

Broadcom had to get the improved accuracy to work within a smartphone’s limited power budget. Fundamentally, that came down to three things: moving to a more power-efficient 28-nanometer chip manufacturing process, adopting a new radio architecture (which Broadcom would not disclose details of), and designing a power-saving dual-core sensor hub. In total, they add up to a 50 percent power savings over Broadcom’s previous, less accurate chip. 

In smartphones, sensor hubs take the raw data from the system’s sensors and process it to provide only the information the phone’s applications processor needs, thereby taking the computational burden and its accompanying power draw off of the applications processor. For instance, a sensor hub might monitor the accelerometer looking for signs that you had flipped your phone’s orientation from vertical to horizontal. It would then just send the applications processor the equivalent of the word “horizontal” instead of a stream of complex accelerations.

The sensor hub in the BCM47755 takes advantage of the ARM’s “big.LITTLE” design—a dual-core architecture in which a simple low-power processor core is paired with a more complex core. The low-power core, in this case an ARM Cortex M-0, handles simple continuous tasks. The more powerful but power-hungry core, a Cortex M-4, comes in only when it’s needed.

The BCM4775 is just the latest development in a global push for centimeter-level navigation accuracy. Bosch, Geo++, Mitsubishi Electric, and U-blox, established a joint venture called Sapcorda Services in August, to provide centimeter-level accuracy. Sapcorda seems to depend on using ground stations to measure errors in GPS and Galileo satellite signals due to atmospheric distortions. Those measurements would then be sent to receivers in handsets and other systems to improve accuracy.

Japan’s US $1.9-billion Qasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) also relies on error correction, but additionally improves on urban navigation by adding a set of satellites that guarantees one is visible directly overhead even in the densest part of Tokyo. The third of those four satellites launched in August. A fourth is planned for October, and the system is to come online in 2018.

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satadru
29 days ago
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Finally a reason to update your device in 2018.
New York, NY
onepointzero
29 days ago
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Brussels, Belgium
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My fellow white Americans. | I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog

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These are images from Charlottesville, Virginia last night.

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These are white people in their twenties and thirties. Like me.

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These are people who are in my generation, the millennial generation, the one frequently lambasted for “participation trophies” and “needing safe spaces.”

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These are people that look like my coworkers, my colleagues, my brothers, my cousins. People I know and love, who also have white skin and wear polo shirts.

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These are people who, like I was, were raised on a diet of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which teaches tolerance and understanding of others. They’ve probably seen the Indiana Jones films, where punching Nazis is considered a virtuous act. These are my actual demographic peers in the United States of America, which means that these are people who sat through the unit on the second world war in their history class and looked at images of concentration camps and gas chambers and burning books and Anne Frank’s attic and still thought, well, hang on, maybe those Nazis had some interesting ideas.

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These are people who chanted “Jew will not replace us.”

These are people who yelled “The heat here is nothing compared to what you’re going to get in the ovens.”

These are people who didn’t even bother to wear hoods. 

What does it say that in 2017, I’m struck by the fact that the Ku Klux Klan members at least shielded their faces so that no one could identify them? That the same type of societal pressure apparently no longer exists today? That these people feel comfortable espousing the rhetoric of racist, genocidal maniacs in a public space that was widely photographed and broadcast?

My anger is bigger than my ability to write,  but I’m going to try to say this as succinctly as I can.

White nationalism is morally indefensible. This is not a point that is up for discussion.

If you are willing to give these people the benefit of the doubt, you are complicit in the rhetoric of racists and bigots. Playing “devil’s advocate” is unacceptable.

I am not willing to listen to one more interview or read one more article about the “economic anxiety” of the American racist.

If you disagree with the central premise that white nationalism is evil and morally wrong, then I have no words for you. May God have mercy on your soul.

If you can identify that this is evil and wrong, ask yourself why these men (and more than a few women) are angry. Why? What has provoked these people to buy a bunch of Wal-Mart tiki torches and scream Nazi slogans at a Confederate statue?

Imagine for just one second that these protestors were black.

You want to tell me your problems with Colin Kaepernick and why you think Black Lives Matter is a racist slogan? I’m not interested. If you think that Philando Castille or Mike Brown could have just “handled it differently” and they wouldn’t have died? Imagine for one second that a mob of angry black people descended upon a public space with torches, screaming about wanting to kill those who didn’t look like them. Compare the crystal-clear images of these white men with the tear-gassed protestors from Ferguson.

This is a country where racists are empowered.

You failed to read all of those stories over the past five years from women on the internet, like Brianna Wu and Anita Sarkeesian and Lindy West? You thought those “feminists” were just “overreacting,” that there was no such thing as actual harassment from an internet troll, that their desire for online speech to have consequences when it devolved into doxxing and threats was a muzzle on free speech?

You still think that Hillary’s problems had nothing to do with the fact that she was a woman?

Welcome. This is a country where sexists are empowered. They’ve been on the internet terrorizing women for years. This is what they look like when they leave their computer screens behind.

I am no longer interested in anyone’s opinion that the Confederate Flag is merely a symbol of local heritage.

This is your heritage now.

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I am no longer interested in your hot take on “economic anxiety.” On “giving President Trump a chance.” On “identity politics are ruining the country.” On “reverse racism.”  On “all those swastikas drawn on buildings after the election were just put there by liberals trying to give conservatives a bad name.” I am no longer here for a peaceful discussion with the “other side,” when the “other side” believes that my inherent worth and humanity, and anyone else who doesn’t look or think similarly, deserves to be frightened, tortured, expelled, or harmed.

Women, people of color, religious and ethnic minorities, disabled people, gay people, trans people, and members of other marginalized groups in this country asked for their civil rights and their humanity to be respected. When you hear that the “left” are the “truly intolerant,” please remember that this is the face of the right today.

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This is domestic terrorism. This is what it looks like.

I am no longer interested in anyone trying to tell me that being frightened of angry white men is ‘racist’ when angry white men commit the vast majority of violent crimes in our country.

At the time of publication, many hours after these incidents, the President of the United States had yet to condemn this behavior.*  This is not surprising information to literally anyone who has spent a scintilla of time on the internet — in Reddit’s /theDonald, in Alex Jones’ InfoWars channel, in the comment section of Breitbart, in any number of places where the overlap between nationalist views, white supremacist views, misogynistic views, xenophobic views, homophobic views, and Donald Trump’s political agenda is less of a Venn Diagram and more of a circle. The President of the United States was elected by dog-whistling to these views.

KKK leader David Duke is currently in Charlottesville ebulliently giving interviews claiming that this rally “fulfills the promises of Donald Trump.” For once, I agree with David Duke about something.

This is the natural byproduct of a racist, sexist president. This is the legacy of a racist, sexist country.

My fellow white Americans, do you see it? Do you see it now?

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 11.45.00 AM.png

*******************

I am editing this post to add information that I think is important. I struggled to write it earlier, and couldn’t quite find the words. This writer did.  

I think he says it better. I’m including it in its entirety.

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 12.46.26 PM

Imagine if these people faced actual oppression.
Nobody is trying to legislate away their right to marry.
Nobody is trying to make them buy insurance to pay for “male health care.”

The law never…
Enslaved their great-grandparents
Robbed their grandparents
Imprisoned their parents
Shot them when unarmed.

There is no massive effort at the state and local level to disenfranchise them of the vote. There is no history of centuries of bad science dedicated to “proving” their intellectual inferiority. There is no travel ban on them because of their religion. There is no danger for them when they carry dangerous weapons publicly.

Their churches were never burned. Their lawns were never decorated with burning crosses. Their ancestors never hung from trees.

Their mothers aren’t being torn away by ICE troopers and sent away forever. They won’t be forced to leave the only country they ever knew. The president has not set up a hotline to report crime committed at their hands.

They are chanting “We will not be replaced.” Replaced… as what?

I’ll tell you.

Replaced as the only voice in public discussions. Replaced as the only bodies in the public arena. Replaced as the only life that matters.

THIS is ‘white people’ oppression: We used to be the only voice. Now we hold the only microphone. THIS is ‘white man’ oppression. We face criticism now. We were free from it, because others feared the consequences.

THIS is ‘oppression’ of white Christians in this country. Christmas used to be the only holiday acknowledged, now it’s not.

I would so love to see these people get all the oppression they insist they receive, just for a year. Just to see.

Give them a world where you ACTUALLY can’t say Christmas. A world where the name “Geoff” on a resume puts it in the trash. Give them a world where they suddenly get a 20% pay cut, and then 70 women every day tell them to smile more.

Give them a world where their polo shirt makes people nervous, so they’re kicked off the flight from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis.

Give them a world where they inherited nothing but a very real understanding of what oppression really fucking is.

Give them a world where if they pulled up on a campus with torches lit and started throwing hands, the cops would punch their eyes out. Put THAT in your Tiki torches and light it, you sorry Nazi bitches.

************************************************************************

** Yes, the President has, since I wrote this post, put out a weak-sauce tweet denouncing these events in the most vague of terms. Know how I know that it’s weak and vague? Richard Spencer, the Nazi responsible for this, has trolled it so effectively that we understand that it could apply to literally any side of this argument. Behold:

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For the back of the house: no, all Trump voters are not white supremacists. YES, all Trump voters were comfortable electing a white supremacist to the highest office in the nation. This tweet is weak because the President doesn’t want to upset the members of his base because the members of his base are either okay with this or they are the very tiki-torch-lit assholes pictured above. These are guys wearing MAGA hats. These ARE the faces of your base. This IS the same rhetoric that Trump has always espoused. It’s Racism Classic™, now with Extra Tiki.

If you need further proof that the President doesn’t actually seem to care very much that this is happening in his name in his country, please enjoy this side-by-side comparison of the President’s stance on white supremacist Nazis versus his strong condemnation of sharks.

** Edited a second time to add: the President of the United States, after one person has been confirmed dead after a car deliberately drove into a group of anti-racist counter-protestors, has just condemned these violent acts “on many sides.”

This is literally the same as saying that he condemns the violent actions of Nazis, as well as the groups protesting the Nazis.

All I’m saying is that if violent acts are happening in your name and endorsed by David Duke and perpetrated by people waving signs with your name on it and wearing hats with your catchphrase on it, after you have asked Jeff Sessions and the department of Justice to stop investigating white supremacist terror groups exactly like this one, and all you can say is “I condemn this on many sides” rather than “stop doing this in my name” or “white supremacy is not tolerated in this country” or without using the phrase “domestic terrorism,” you’ll have to forgive me for drawing the logical conclusion that the President of the United States, in choosing his words carefully so as not to offend a racist, torch-wielding mob, gives more fucks about the feelings of actual Nazis than anyone or anything else. If you’re willing to speak “off the cuff” about North Korean missile strikes or classified intel or fallen soldiers or disabled reporters or Gold Star families but recognize that your words have impact when you’re worried about offending ACTUAL NAZIS, may you and every single person who ever defended you feel a shame that burns hotter than any collection of tiki torches.

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onepointzero
69 days ago
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Brussels, Belgium
satadru
69 days ago
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New York, NY
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2 public comments
glenn
69 days ago
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The faces of the "oppressed". I wonder if someone will start doxxing these fucks
Waterloo, Canada
StunGod
69 days ago
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Everybody should read this. If you disagree with it, you can go fuck yourself.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth

Not from The Onion

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‘BitCoen’ to become first electronic currency specifically for Jews

And this:

While anyone can purchase tokens, the company will be managed by a ‘Council of Six’ made up solely of Jewish representatives. The representatives will likely be prominent leaders in both public and private sectors, though there is no word yet as to the planned demography of the leaders.

As the currency is aimed specifically at Jewish communities, there will be an automation option so that trading operations may take place on Shabbat, when the handling of money is prohibited by Jewish law.

Just to be clear, I don’t think that all or even most of these new coins are viable entities…

Hat tip goes to Irrelevant Investor.

The post Not from The Onion appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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onepointzero
70 days ago
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Brussels, Belgium
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The Yayoi Kusama Museum to Open in Shinjuku in October

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photo by Masahiro Tsuchido ©YAYOI KUSAMA

Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan’s most prolific and successful artists, is opening her own museum in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward. The 5-story structure will open to the public on October 1st, 2017.

Very little was known about the tall white structure when it was originally completed in 2014 by Kume Sekkei. Peering through its large glass windows as it glistened among the grey and brown apartment buildings, residents and tourists alike speculated about its use. Was it Kusama’s residence? Was it a private gallery? Was it always intended as a museum but its opening delayed due to Kusama’s health?

Without any explanation, the Yayoi Kusama Museum, along with a new website, announced that the museum was now ready to open. Accordingly, the ground level will house the entrance and gift shop. Floors 2 and 3 will be exhibition spaces for Kusama’s works while the 4th floor will be dedicated to the artist’s Instagram-friendly immersive installations. The 5th floor will serve as a reading room dedicated to storing documents and material relating to Kusama and her work. It will also contain an outdoor space.

The museum will also host rotating exhibitions twice a year. The inaugural exhibition, titled “Creation is a Solitary Pursuit, Love is What Brings You Closer to Art” will run from October 1, 2017 – February 25, 2018. General admission is 1000 yen. Timed tickets will go on sale August 28.

Yayoi Kusama Museum
107 Bentencho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Gmap)
Hours: 11:00am – 5:00pm
Closed Monday – Wednesday

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onepointzero
72 days ago
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I need to get to Tokyo. Her immersive installations are fantastic.
Brussels, Belgium
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Offred of Dune.

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For a writer who grew up in an age when his chosen genre was routinely derided in polite company— when even impolite company could be forgiven for thinking that SF boiled down to megablockbusters about snarky sapient raccoons and alien-punching fighter pilots— it doesn’t get much better than waking up to find that a big chunk of this year’s Emmy Awards comes down to a dust-up between two actual, non-escapist, serious and thought-provoking SF series.

Not fantasy. Not superhero adaptations. Science fiction.

It is a wet dream come true.

You ask me, this is the real Wonder Woman.

You ask me, this is the real Wonder Woman.

Both The Handmaid’s Tale (13 nominations) and Westworld (22!) are brilliant in their own utterly different ways. Westworld impressed me with its clinical dissection of SF tropes and neurophilosophy, with the erudition of its premise and the skill of its execution. Handmaid’s, on the other hand, was like a weekly hour-long kick in the gut, an ordeal you couldn’t look away from, a story from a universe not so much parallel to ours as converging on it. (Yes, I’m familiar with the claim that said convergence happened generations ago, that every one of Gilead’s horrors have already and repeatedly blighted this timeline. I don’t dispute this, but it’s not the whole story. Read on.) If Elisabeth Moss doesn’t win every fucking award on the planet— and I’m including the Nobel in Medicine, and the Golden Rhododendron for best floral arrangement, and Best North American Guppy Breeder in that lot— if she doesn’t take home every award there is, there should be rioting in the streets.

One series is cryosurgical, the other intensely visceral. Both inspired widespread, almost universal acclaim; both are undeniably science fiction.

Or are they?

You might know my opinion of Margaret Atwood’s notorious aversion to the “science fiction” label when applied to her work. (If not, here’s a refresher.) Even if you’re unfamiliar with my take, you probably know about her infamous “Beam me up, Scotty”, “chemicals and rockets”, “talking squids in outer space” definitions of the genre; her half-assed back-peddling when Ursula Le Guin sat her down and gave her a good talking to; her more recent (if still vaguely ambivalent) self-acceptance: Hi. I’m Peggy, and I’m a science-fiction writer.

What's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

And yet, watching the virtually-flawless Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale— twice now— I found even myself plagued with moments of doubt. This is not a future world. It contains no advanced technology; if anything, it had the feel of a particularly nightmarish period piece. Maybe Atwood was right along.

Maybe this isn’t science fiction.

Nah.

*

I’m sticking to my story. I’m going all in, too. I’m not even going to take the easy way out, stick Atwood over with those Humanities soft-SF types who aren’t even interested in science or technology, who’d rather use aliens and dystopias as metaphors for Othering and Intersectionality and Heteronormative whateverthehells. Atwood herself eschewed that particular cop-out when she wrapped herself in the flag of “speculative fiction”: the thing that separated her writing from science fiction, she said then, was that her fiction was rigorously researched and based on Real Science. (I myself have always preferred William Gibson’s offhanded rejoinder that “All fiction is speculative.”)

No, I’m going to argue— after, admittedly, some serious moments of self-doubt— that The Handmaid’s Tale is science fiction in the pure sense: fiction designed to explore the societal impact of scientific and technological change. The All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again argument is true but irrelevant. The fact that Gilead is based on historical precedent does not get Handmaid a Get-Out-Of-SF-Free card.

Take, for example, the very reason Gilead was born in the first place, the catalyst that allowed the fundamentalists to seize power: a global collapse in human fertility, brought about by environmental catastrophes hinted at but never really explored. We know about “the Colonies”, places where the toxic waste is so ubiquitous your “skin falls off in sheets”. I seem to remember the novel talking about reactor meltdowns and high-rad zones. The apocalypse has already happened in that universe; Gilead smolders at the base of the same cliff that we, in this reality, still teeter on the edge of. The fact that it took place offstage, before the curtain rose, does not make it any less central; it set Handmaid‘s whole world in motion.

Environmental collapse. Imminent Human extinction due to pollution-induced sterility. A classic case of If This Goes On: the impact of technology, our birds come home to roost, sometime in the future.

Consider also the tactics used by the revolution: computer technology, used to disenfranchise half the population in an instant. Offred spells it out explicitly in the novel: “[T]hat’s how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing beforehand.  If there had still been portable money, it would have been more difficult.” “All they needed to do was push a few buttons,” Moira remarks a couple of pages later.

Of course, computers and ATMs aren’t what you’d call futuristic technology. (In fact, Atwood’s references to “Compubanks” and “portable money” seemed quaint even in 1985 when the book came out; the term “ATM” never even appears in the text, although such machines were ubiquitous back then.) That hardly matters. Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon didn’t stop being SF when Apollo 11 touched down on the Sea of Tranquility. Brunner’s The Shockwave Rider didn’t turn into a historical drama with the coding of the first real-world computer virus.

If you want to be pedantic I could always roll out Offred’s cryptic references to “Feels on Wheels” and “Bun-Dle Buggies”— even the (incongruously optimistic) fact that Gilead is mainly powered by renewables, in the series at least—  to plant this society clearly in a technological future. I could cite the presence of “pocket computers”, which were undeniably futuristic back in the day when amber-screened ATs with 8088 chips were the high end of personal computing. (The TV series, made in a time when the tech has surpassed that of Atwood’s original Gilead, just swaps in iPads and laptops and doesn’t sweat it.) Either way, Gilead arises via the manipulation and misuse of a particular kind of technology, inflicted on a society. It’s pretty much the textbook definition of the science-fictional thought experiment.

I admit, they had me going for a while. The lack of FX, the staid, almost Victorian setting, the overall undeniable low-key prestige of the thing had me wondering if maybe Atwood’s protestations might have more substance to them than the initially-diagnosed fear of SF cooties. This is certainly one of those shows that people who hate science fiction could watch without being any the wiser— maybe we could call it “Stealth-SF”. But SF it is: It describes a world compromised by one kind of technology, and a societal response enabled by another. I suppose, if you really wanted to, you could disqualify it on the grounds that those elements are never the thematic focus of the tale, that the real spotlight is on the way that people use religion as a means of social control.

Of course, if that’s the literary bed you want to make, you might find yourself waking up next to a guy called Atreides…

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onepointzero
93 days ago
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Brussels, Belgium
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Outsourcing Your Online Presence

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Joe Cieplinski:

Look, I get that I’m the nut who doesn’t want to use Facebook. I’m not even saying don’t post your stuff to Facebook. But if Facebook is the only place you are posting something, know that you are shutting out people like me for no good reason. Go ahead and post to Facebook, but post it somewhere else, too. Especially if you’re running a business.

The number of restaurants, bars, and other local establishments that, thanks to crappy web sites they can’t update, post their daily specials, hours, and important announcements only via Facebook is growing. That’s maddening. Want to know if we’re open this holiday weekend? Go to Facebook.

Go to hell.

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onepointzero
140 days ago
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It would be less of an issue if Facebook didn't harass non logged-in users to login/signup via repetitive, content-covering, in-your-face modals when looking at public business pages. This agressive attitude has the opposite effect on me. It makes me not want to create an account even more.
Brussels, Belgium
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jkevmoses
140 days ago
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Similar to the quote of a criminal that when asked "Why do you rob banks? answered with "Because that's where the money is". Facebook is used because that's where the people are. It may or may not be a good service but that is where a lot of people are so it makes sense for businesses to post information on Facebook. They are obviously getting enough business to not care about if Facebook is a great user experience. It's must be a good business experience or they would do something different.
McKinney, Texas
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