Shared posts

12 May 09:48

Strindberg? om Kapitalismens hemlighet

by Hexmaster
De citat jag studerar brukar vara korta. Men då och då dyker det upp längre texter med tveksam proviniens. Som den här; den har cirkulerat en hel del, åtminstone i vissa politiska läger.
- Vad sa du till mannen därborta?
- Jag sa att han skulle arbeta fortare.
- Vilken rätt har du att befalla över honom?
- Jag betalar honom för det.
- Hur mycket betalar du honom för det?
- Tio kronor om dagen.
- Varifrån får du pengarna att betala honom med?
- Jag säljer sten.
- Vem hugger stenen som du säljer?
- Det gör han.
- Hur mycket hugger han om dagen?
- Åh, han hugger en hel del sten på en dag.
- Hur mycket får du för det?
- Ungefär 50 kronor.
- Men då är det ju han som betalar dig 40 kronor för att du går omkring och befaller honom att arbeta fortare.
- Ja, men jag äger ju verktygen och maskinerna.
- Hur blev du ägare av dem, då?
- Jag sålde huggen sten och fick in så mycket pengar på den att jag kunde köpa in verktyg och maskiner.
- Vem hade huggit den stenen?
- Tig, dumbom.
- Tillskriven ... August Strindberg?

En källa som nämnns är en odaterad insändare i Flamman av Lars Berglund, som i sin tur ska ange att texten kommer från Strindbergs Kapitalismens hemlighet. På andra ställen där texten citeras anges denna KH i sin tur vara en del av hans katekes för underklassen.

Katekesen är en verklig text, finns t.ex. att läsa på runeberg.org: August Strindbergs Lilla katekes för Underklassen. Den är inte särskilt lång, och det är lätt att konstatera att där inte finns något avsnitt som det ovan citerade, eller någon del som kallas "Kapitalismens hemlighet". (Stycket hade heller inte passat in i katekes-formens frågor och svar.) Så långt är det enkelt att konstatera att citeringskedjan är falsk.

Varifrån kommer texten? Efter några slagningar har jag hittat texten från 2005 utan Strindberg ("Peter" i Dagens Arbete, 30 oktober 2005), från 2006 med Strindberg. Det jag sett hittills tyder på ett typiskt exempel på hur citat tillskrivs fel personer: En text som uppfattas som rolig/smart/minnesvärd cirkulerar utan avsändare; namnet på en kändis ditklistras; och enbart tack vare detta får det snabbt mycket större spridning. Här en utläggning om denna faktoida attraktionslag.

11 May 09:35

The life and death of a traditional little Tokyo bar

by Lee

Tokyo’s old and traditional little bars are genuinely wonderful places to visit and spend some quality time in. There’s the joy, the banter and perhaps more than anything, the invariably advanced age of the owner. All positives of course, but the latter in particular offers the addition of extra wisdom and life stories, plus a refreshingly carefree attitude when it comes to hygiene and even heating.

The downside, on the other hand, is that every visit could well be the very last visit. Admittedly this is arguably true of any establishment, but when the sole person in charge is in their 70s, 80s and sometimes even 90s, there’s sadly only so long they can physically sustain the workload. And so one day the shutters come down, the demolition crew arrive, or as in the case below, the bar is simply stripped bare.

the life and death of a small tokyo bar

the life and death of a small tokyo bar

the life and death of a small tokyo bar

07 May 07:39

Den barmhärtige samarit-samariern

by Hexmaster

I diket ligger en man, rånad och misshandlad. En präst kommer gående ... Och går förbi, utan att bry sig om stackaren. Så kommer en levit (från den prästerliga stammen) – även han struntar i den skadade. Men så kommer en samarier. Vad är det?

Folket i Samarien följde Jahve, enligt dem själva på det enda sanna, rätta och obesudlade sättet. (Än idag finns det kvar en liten spillra som följer sin nästan-judendom; läs t.ex. om deras moseböcker på WP: Samaritan Pentateuch.) Judarna höll inte med, utan ansåg att samarierna blandat in hedniska tillsatser. Förhållandet mellan folken var följdaktligen spänt. Båda sidor såg ner på varandra, och kunde rentav använda varann som skällsord.
Judarna sade: "Har vi inte rätt när vi säger att du är samarier och att du är besatt." Jesus svarade: "Jag är inte besatt, utan jag ärar min fader, men ni skymfar mig."
- Joh 8:48-49

Det var det som var poängen i Jesu liknelse om den barmhärtige samariern: De som anses finare och heligare än andra men glömmer bort sina fina läror när det gäller är sämre förbilder än den föraktade samariern som inte bara är snack utan även verkstad.
[Jesus:] "Vilken av dessa tre tycker du var den överfallne mannens nästa?" [Den laglärde] svarade: "Den som visade honom barmhärtighet." Då sade Jesus: "Gå du och gör som han!"
- Luk 10:36–37

Ordet samarit togs tidigt och självklart in i svenskan som beteckning på en osjälvisk, hjälpsam person. Så småningom började det även användas om frivilliga som på samaritkurs fått lära sig första hjälpen och dylikt. Och ännu lite senare blev det namn på kommunalt anställda vårdbiträden i öppen vård (NE), det som idag kallas hemtjänst – frivilligheten hade professionaliserats.

Men den moderna betydelsen krockade med den gamla. Det var väl inte konstigt att samariten tog hand om mannen, det var ju hans jobb? – kunde man ha resonerat. Det var åtminstone så de resonerade som tog fram det som skulle bli 1981 års översättning av Nya testamentet:
För det första är ordet samarier den språkligt rimligaste och gängse beteckningen för personer från Samarier. Men viktigare är nog att den svenska beteckningen samarit har fått en annan innebörd med tiden. En samarit är nästan en teknisk term för en person som tar hand om sjuka.
- Mikael Winninge, översättningsdirektor i Svenska Bibelsällskapet, citerad i Aftonbladet 13 oktober 2014

Sen kan man ju begrunda det språkliga faktum, att såväl fariséer som samariter fått sina valörer omvämnda tack vare NT – det som ansågs fint blev fult, och tvärtom.

06 May 11:46

The Coronavirus Outbreak

As businesses contemplate the return of workers to their desks, many are considering large and small changes to the modern workplace culture and trappings.

The offices of Infection Prevention at the University of California, Irvine, has translucent protective barriers between desks and now requires employees to wear masks.
The offices of Infection Prevention at the University of California, Irvine, has translucent protective barriers between desks and now requires employees to wear masks.Credit...Alex Welsh for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — The modern corporate office is renowned for open, collaborative work spaces, in-house coffee bars and standing desks with room for two giant computer monitors.

Soon, there may be a new must-have perk: the sneeze guard.

This plexiglass barrier that can be mounted on a desk is one of many ideas being mulled by employers as they contemplate a return to the workplace after coronavirus lockdowns. Their post-pandemic makeovers may include hand sanitizers built into desks that are positioned at 90-degree angles or that are enclosed by translucent plastic partitions; air filters that push air down and not up; outdoor gathering space to allow collaboration without viral transmission; and windows that actually open, for freer air flow.

The conversation about how to reconfigure the American workplace is taking place throughout the business world, from small start-ups to giant Wall Street firms. The design and furniture companies that have been hired for the makeovers say the virus may even be tilting workplaces back toward a concept they had been moving away from since the Mad Men era: privacy.

The question is whether any of the changes being contemplated will actually result in safer workplaces.

“We are not infectious disease experts, we are simply furniture people,” said Tracy D. Wymer, vice president for workplace at Knoll, a company that makes office furniture and has been engaged by anxious clients, including some of the country’s largest corporations, to come up with ways to make workplaces less of a health risk.

The actual disease experts say that a virus-free office environment is a pipe dream. Dr. Rajneesh Behal, an internal medicine physician and the chief quality officer of One Medical, a primary-care chain that recently held a webinar for businesses on how to reopen, said, “A core message is, do not expect your risk goes down to zero.”

Much of what is known on the subject of workplace and disease transmission comes from studies about workplace transmission of the flu, which shares some similarities with the novel coronavirus, said Dr. Lisa Winston, the hospital epidemiologist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General at the University of California, San Francisco. “We know that flu spreads in workplaces among healthy working adults,” she said. A 2016 analysis of various research papers from around the world found that around 16 percent of flu transmission takes place in the office.

Other research shows that one of the best ways to reduce transmission in the workplace is to provide paid sick leave that encourages ill employees to stay home.

A common area at Mobify, a Vancouver company with 40 employees, which shares its space with other companies.Credit...Alana Paterson for The New York Times
Igor Faletski, chief executive of Mobify, used to circulate freely about the company and interact with employees.Credit...Alana Paterson for The New York Times

Another basic step to lower risk, Dr. Winston said, is simply having “fewer people in a space.”

That is a concept that runs counter to the workplace zeitgeist of the past two decades. The embrace of open floor plans stretches back to the first dot-com boom in the late 1990s. It was hailed as essential to collaboration and creativity, but is, of course, also about cramming more people into expensive office space, a situation that people now realize creates unnerving petri-dish conditions.

Mr. Wymer of Knoll, the furniture design company, said his goal had changed from making offices virus-free, which is impractical, to remaking them so that workers feel safer.

“We can’t ask employees to come back to the same office,” he said. “Companies feel we have to address the root fear.”

For now, that may mean no more shared desks (a concept in the business world known as “hoteling”), elbow-to-elbow seating or cafes where people congregate to chat about a project over a fruit water or hazelnut latte. It could mean more use of materials, like copper, that are less hospitable to germs, and reconfiguring ventilation systems that flow air from the ceiling down rather than the floor up, which is considered safer.

Mobify, a Vancouver company that builds online storefronts for major retailers like Under Armour and Lancôme, has 40 employees who share space with other start-ups. It’s the epitome of the 21st century workplace with side-by-side desks in a row, sans partitions, and open space for a total of 100 people at full capacity to congregate for meetings, or for playing Ping-Pong and pool.

Now, Igor Faletksi, the company’s chief executive, said, “It’s less about fun and more about safety.”

“Huge buffets?” he said, “forget about that for now.”

Mr. Faletksi is contemplating allowing more employees to work from home and even moving headquarters to a new building with better air circulation.

“People want to have safe collaboration,” he said.

Some companies have begun mentioning a return to one of history’s more derided office-design concepts: the cubicle. There is talk also of the cubicle’s see-through cousin, known as the sneeze guard.

“Cough and Sneeze Protection Screens,” is how they are being marketed by the California company Obex P.E. in emails to potential customers. “Plenty of options to fit your style and needs,” the email says, adding: “Decrease person-to-person contact. Practice Social Distancing.”

These guards already have a home in banks and grocery stores, but they are getting a new push into the corporate office space.

“Add tall laminate gallery panels to workstations or benching stations” is suggested in a 12-page Power Point report, “Covid 19 and The Future of Furniture,” produced by CBRE, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms.

Taller plastic barriers that extend over desks have long been in use at an office run by one of the country’s top infectious disease experts, Dr. Susan Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at the University of California, Irvine. The barriers “weren’t designed for coronavirus,” Dr. Huang said, but, rather, to maintain a sense of collaboration while cutting down noise. Now, the barriers may have an added benefit of creating some biological isolation.

New advisories posted at the Infection Prevention office at the University of California, Irvine.Credit...Alex Welsh for The New York Times
When Dr. Huang reopened her lab, she held a meeting to explain new hygiene rules and handed each employee a bottle of hand sanitizer and a mask.Credit...Alex Welsh for The New York Times

But Dr. Huang said that safety in the workplace would require more than plastic shields. In fact, her lab reopened last week, and the first thing she did was hold a meeting to explain the new hygiene rules. At a meeting in the conference room, Dr. Huang gave each employee a bottle of hand sanitizer and a mask. “I had to tell them, ‘You’re going to wear a mask all day long,’” she said, “and tell them how to do it right and that they have to do it.”

“And don’t touch your mask without first using your hand sanitizer,” she recalled saying at that meeting.

For smaller companies, the changes may be more modest but the issue weighs just as heavily. Howard Cao, the chief executive of Form & Fiction, a start-up incubator in San Francisco, said he had been thinking about changing out the touch-pad at the front door to the office that his seven employees shared with workers from other start-ups. “We’ll probably have to reconfigure that into something with Bluetooth or a key fob,” Mr. Cao said.

Inside the office, he is looking to create physical space or barriers between employees who sit together at long tables. “It may be as simple as a mini-divider between people,” he said.

Like a cubicle?

Yes, he conceded, though it’s not a nice word for him. “I’ve always been very anti-cubicle,” he said.

The proposed changes to the offices have struck some as more cosmetic than substantive, especially the sneeze guard.

“I call it social distancing theater, like T.S.A. security theater after 9/11,” said Ron Wiener, chief executive of iMovR, a Seattle company that designs standing desks that are used at many large employers, from Google and Facebook to the Department of Defense.

In the end, the solution for many employers may not be to spend a lot of money on outfitting their new office spaces, but rather simply having many employees continue to work at home, as a way to accomplish two goals: keeping people safe and saving money.

This is the punchline of a story about the post-pandemic office makeover. In the name of safety, there is likely to be a long, hard look at money, too. In this case, the goals may go together like hand-in-protective-glove.

Moving to home offices “has worked really great,” said Susan Stick, general counsel at Evernote, a maker of digital note-taking programs with 282 employees. “You can’t put that genie back into the bottle.”

  • Updated April 11, 2020

    • If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.

06 May 06:53

Disappearing Tokyo places, and people

by Lee

Last month, I posted a series of photos documenting the demise and pre-demolition abandonment of an old Tokyo danchi, or social housing complex. A sight that signalled the ageing nature of the buildings, as well as the generation that first moved into them.

Photos that fortunately were taken at just the right time, as the fences are now up, meaning the end of a certain era really is nigh.

old and disappearing Tokyo

old Tokyo danchi demolition

01 May 07:44

Beasts from the Outside World: The Art of Hataya

by Ben Feldman

Somewhere in Saitama, Japan, an artist working the pseudonym Hataya (ハタ屋) has opened a window onto a unique and richly imagined world.

Working in a meticulous pen and ink style, Hataya reveals a wild menagerie of beasts and beings; many-eyed and many-legged cat-people, bird-faced dragons, preening moth-scholars, and floating creatures beyond description. Set against a detailed background full of antique architectural details, paper lanterns, tattered posters, and mysterious goods in jars, Hataya’s diverse creatures share a believable, lived-in setting. This is art with great narrative allure and each piece leaves the viewer wanting more.

We asked Hataya about her work and she answered simply: “There is no one story I am trying to tell, but there is one big world in my mind. I’m drawing that world, so the work ends up feeling coherent. I draw what I want to see.”

For a broader view into Hataya’s world, follow her on Twitter and on her excellent Tumblr Muzinabu“.

The post Beasts from the Outside World: The Art of Hataya appeared first on Sci-Fi-O-Rama.

01 May 07:41

More defunct Japanese vending machines

by Lee

Back in February, I wrote this to accompany a series of photographs depicting some long-defunct vending machines:

“Japan is well known for its vending machines. With good reason too, as despite the ever-increasing number of convenience stores, the vending machine is still ubiquitous. Yet seeing one that’s no longer operational, let alone left to rot, is surprisingly rare.”

The ubiquity of such machines, of course, is most definitely still true, but the rarity of busted and forlorn looking examples, it turns out, is very much open to debate, as on walks in the last month, I’ve had the genuine pleasure of seeing the sad beauties below.

out of order Japanese vending machine

out of order Japanese vending machine

out of order Japanese vending machine

out of order Japanese vending machine

out of order Japanese vending machine

out of order Japanese vending machine

01 May 07:34

Historielöst kvack

by Hexmaster

- Ur en storannons i DN, 14 mars 1948

Ska man ägna sig åt kvack måste man vara historielös. Annars skulle man veta, att prisandet av kolloidalt silver, LCHF, THX eller vad som nu är kuren för dagen, återkommit gång på gång; det enda som förändrats är föremålet för prisandet.

Are Waerlands "hälsoförkunnelse" gick ut på en laktovegetarisk kost med tyngdpunkt på råkost (i synnerhet hans gröt kruska: havregryn, vetekli och russin som kokats ihop), liksom att sova för öppet fönster året runt, idka hälsosamt leverne i naturen, med mera. Det som då skulle uppnås var inte bara bättre hälsa och ork i allmänhet, utan alla sjukdomars utplånande.
Vi har inte med sjukdomar att göra, utan med livsföringsfel! Avskaffa livsföringsfelen och sjukdomarna kommer att försvinna.
- Are Waerland

Det löftet fungerade så länge som det hölls till böcker och föreläsningar för frälsta. Efter kriget startade hans förening Allnordisk Folkhälsa (det finns än idag men heter Hälsofrämjandet) ett hälsohem i Kiholm utanför Södertälje. Det dröjde inte innan granskande myndigheter fann saker att anmärka på; uppgifterna om mirakulösa tillfrisknanden återspeglades på något sätt inte av medicinska journaler, och patienter var ofina nog att dö bort trots att de hållit sig till råkost, juicer och gröt. Det är nog lika bra att vår tids profeter, vare sig de predikar LCHF, kolloidalt silver eller vad det nu kan vara, inte öppnar några hälsohem, för i så fall skulle nog de granskande myndigheterna även där finna mycket att anmärka på.

Kiholms hälsohem efterträddes så småningom av Tallmogården, det fashionabla hälsohemmet nr 1 på 1970- och 80-talen. Det bedrevs också i Waerlands anda, dock med kraftigt nedbantade löften; det var säkrare att hålla sig till antydningar, anekdoter om mirakulösa tillfrisknanden etc.

29 Apr 11:09

My travel sketches: 'Some drawings remind me how the sun felt on my skin'

by Interview by Rachel Dixon

Illustrator Jonathan Edwards on how his travel sketchbooks are bringing back memories of places and experiences

On family holidays, my parents would give me a book of A4 paper to keep me quiet. I’m drawing in every holiday photo! Actually, I’ve drawn every day for as long as I can remember.

I’ve always taken a sketchbook on my travels … and a major part of my work as an illustrator is based on travel drawings. I see what catches my eye, then sit on a bench or at a cafe window and stay for about an hour. I take two sketchbooks: an A6 one that fits in my pocket and an A4 watercolour sketchbook that I use if I have more time. In Britain, no one pays me any notice. In, say, Japan, people are more likely to come and talk or to stand at a respectful distance and watch.

My tools are usually just a grey brush pen and a black brush pen. With pencil, you know you can rub it out if it goes wrong and in a similar way, grey ink seems to fool the mind into thinking it’s not permanent. I go over the sketch in black ink later.

Continue reading...
27 Apr 16:14

30 incredibly useful things you didn’t know Google Calendar could do

by JR Raphael

If there’s one digital tool I rely on as much as Gmail, it’s Google Calendar.

From work deadlines to family happenings and random reminders, Calendar is what keeps me on track, on time, and on top of the approximately 1.7 zillion things I tend to juggle on an hourly basis. And the more I’ve used it, the more I’ve learned just how flexible it is—and how many easily overlooked options it offers for enhancing its interface, getting stuff accomplished more efficiently, and making the service work in whatever way makes sense for my own personal workflow.

If you rely on Google Calendar as I do—or even if you just use it casually to keep track of occasional appointments—you’ll get more out of it once you’ve discovered all of its advanced tricks and time-saving possibilities. And if you’re too busy to tackle this right now, no worries: I happen to know a spectacular tool for setting reminders and making sure you never forget anything on your agenda.

(Unless otherwise noted, all the instructions mentioned below are specific to Calendar’s web version.)

Interface enhancements

1. Wish your calendar could show a little more info—with less wasted space? Google Calendar has a hidden option to increase its display density. Click the gear icon in the website’s upper-right corner, then select “Density and color” and change the “Information density” setting to “Compact” to try it.

2. If most of your appointments tend to be during the week, you can also tidy up your view by telling Calendar to stop showing weekends. You’ll find the toggle by clicking the view dropdown—the box directly to the right of the gear icon on the Calendar website—and looking at the bottom of the menu that appears.

3. Even if you want to see weekends, you might prefer to show your weeks starting with Mondays and ending with the weekend—the way most of us think of a traditional workweek. You can make that change with a couple of quick clicks by opening the “View options” section of the Calendar site’s settings.

4. Google Calendar can let you create your own custom view in addition to the standard day, week, month, and year arrangements—if, say, you want to view your calendar in a zoomed-in two-day perspective or maybe a zoomed-out two- or four-week layout. Open the site’s settings, click “View options” in the left-of-screen sidebar, and then adjust the “Set custom view” option to set it up however you like.

5. Having multiple calendars in your account can often be useful, whether you’re separating holidays, shared family events, or any number of shared work-related agendas. But some calendars aren’t important enough to be seen all the time—so let Calendar hide low-priority calendars by default and then show them only when you need them. In the left-of-screen sidebar on the Calendar website, uncheck the box next to any calendar you don’t want displayed. That’ll keep it out of sight and clean up your active view, and you can then just recheck the calendar in question when you want it to appear.

6. Conversely, Calendar can show you a single calendar at a time for a slimmed-down and easily digestible arrangement. Click the three-dot menu icon next to any calendar’s name in that same left-of-screen sidebar area, then select “Display this only” to give it a whirl.

7. Stop distracting yourself with events that already happened and let Calendar dim past appointments so you can focus on what’s next. Look for the “Reduce the brightness of past events” checkbox within the “View options” area of Calendar’s settings. You’ll notice the difference immediately in Calendar’s week and month views.

Google Calendar can dim past events so they’re less attention-grabbing.

8. Clear out clutter and give your calendar more space to spread out by hiding Google Calendar’s sidebars whenever you aren’t using them. On the left side of the screen, click the three-line menu icon at the top to collapse the sidebar (and then click that same icon to expand it as needed). On the right—the sidebar that lets you view your Google Keep notes and other connected services—click the small left-facing arrow at the bottom to make that area vanish (and then click the right-facing arrow that appears if and when you want to bring the panel back).

9. Manage appointments across multiple time zones by activating Calendar’s secondary time zone option, which gives you the ability to have events start or end in different locales without the need for any mental conversions. Look for the “Time zone” header in the website’s settings, then check the box next to “Display secondary time zone” and select what time zone you want. You can also give each time zone a label (“Boston” and “California,” for example) to make things even simpler.

10. Calendar can also show you a world time clock to give you an at-a-glance view of the current time in any number of places. Look for the “World clock” option in the website’s settings; once it’s activated, you can add however many time zones you want, and they’ll all be displayed in the left-hand sidebar.

Time-saving tools

11. Switch your calendar view in an instant by tapping into one of Google Calendar’s super-handy hidden shortcuts: Press “1” or “d” for the day view, “2” or “w” for the week view, “3” or “m” for the month view, “4” or “x” for your custom view, “5” or “a” for the agenda view, and “6” or “y” for the year view.

12. One of Calendar’s most helpful hotkeys is also one of the easiest to miss: Press “g” from any calendar view to jump directly to any specific date, in any year. Calendar will pop up a box in which you can simply type whatever date you want, using either a standard date format (“4/13/06”) or a text-based description (“April 13, 2006”).

13. Another shortcut worth remembering: From anywhere on the Calendar site, hit the Esc key to jump back to the main calendar screen in a jiff. And while looking at any calendar view, hit “t” to return to today’s date.

14. For years, I’ve been irritated when I try to save new Calendar events by hitting Ctrl-Enter—a standard shortcut for that sort of function and one that’s present in other Google services—only to remember that key combination does absolutely nothing in Calendar’s event creation tool. Well, I recently discovered Calendar does have a keyboard command that lets you save a new event without having to lift your fingers; it’s just Ctrl-S instead of Ctrl-Enter. Now you know too!

15. While in Calendar’s day, week, or month view, you can left-click on any event for a fast pop-up view of its details—or right-click to access quick event adjustment options, including a selector to switch the event’s color and a one-click button to delete the event entirely right then and there.

16. You probably know about Calendar’s “c” keyboard shortcut for creating a new event, but here’s a helpful variation to add into your virtual toolbox: You can press Shift and “c” together to pull up Calendar’s floating-window event interface from your keyboard. That’ll let you create an event without having to leave the main Calendar screen.

17. Google Calendar’s search function is a great way to find an event in a hurry, and it has more options than you’d think: After clicking the search icon at the top of the Calendar site (or tapping the slash key on your keyboard, if you’d rather), click the downward-facing arrow in the search box that appears. That’ll reveal an advanced search panel that lets you narrow a search down to specific calendars, dates, locations, or participants—and even search for an event by excluding certain keywords.

Calendar’s advanced search function has all sorts of options for narrowing down your search and finding the items you need.

18. Calendar has a little-known command that’ll let you undo errant actions—like moving an event by mistake or deleting the wrong appointment. As soon as such an instance arises, hit Ctrl-Z or even just “z” by itself on your keyboard. You have only about a 10-second window to do it, annoyingly, but if you catch your slipup soon enough, it’s a great way to fix your flub.

19. For times when you delete an event entirely and then need to get it back later, don’t forget about Google Calendar’s tucked-away Trash section. It gives you the opportunity to recover any deleted event for a month after its axing. You can find the Trash section by clicking the gear icon in the site’s upper-right corner and selecting the “Trash” option in the menu that appears.

Smarter sharing

20. Take the hassle out of planning by asking Calendar to show your agenda alongside someone else’s in a split-screen, side-by-side view. First, the other person will have to share his or her calendar with you (by clicking the calendar’s name within their Google Calendar settings and then adding you into the “Share with specific people” section). Once you’ve accepted their invitation, open the “View options” section of your Calendar’s settings and make sure the “View calendars side by side in day view” option is activated. Then, just open up your day view, and you’ll see your cohort’s calendar right next to yours for easy agenda coordination.

Google Calendar can display your agenda alongside anyone else’s for enhanced planning and coordination.

21. You can also peek in at someone else’s agenda while you’re in the midst of creating a new event (provided that person has shared his or her calendar with you, of course). First, start a new event and add that person in as a guest. Then look for the “Find a Time” tab directly above the location box in Calendar’s event creation interface. Click that, and you’ll see your agenda and your pal’s side by side, just like you did in the previous tip. You can then click on any mutually available time to select it.

22. When you need to send a message to everyone invited to a particular event, save yourself the trouble of opening up your inbox and instead just email all of your invitees directly from Calendar. While viewing any event that has at least one other person involved, you’ll see a small envelope icon under the “Guests” header on the right of the screen. Click that icon, and you can compose and send your message right within that window, using the Gmail address associated with your account.

23. If you create a group event but then end up needing to back out of attending, Calendar has a way to let you transfer event ownership so the event can continue in your absence. Open up the event from the Calendar website, click the “More actions” button in the upper-right corner of the screen, and select “Change owner” from the menu that appears. Then, you can type in the name or address of whomever you want to take over as the primary point of contact.

Event enrichments

24. Did you know you can add an attachment directly to an event within Calendar—something like a PDF, image file, or document that you want all the invitees to see? When creating a new event, look for the paper clip icon in the toolbar atop the description field. Clicking it will allow you to insert any file from your local device or your Google Drive storage.

25. By default, new events in Google Calendar last for an hour—but you can customize that setting and give events any default duration you like. Just look in the “Event settings” section of the Calendar site’s settings and find the aptly named “Default duration” option.

26. Got something that needs to be on your agenda on a regular, repeating interval? Calendar can handle recurring events and reminders with some impressively customizable parameters. While creating a new event or reminder, click the box labeled “Does not repeat” (beneath the date and time and to the right of the “All day” option). That’ll give you a list of preconfigured patterns—having the item repeat daily, weekly on the current day, monthly on the current day, and so on—along with an option called “Custom” that lets you get incredibly specific about exactly how, when, and for how long you want your item to recur.

You can ask Calendar to repeat events in pretty much any pattern imaginable.

Advanced alerts

27. In addition to the usual notifications on the desktop and on your phone, you can ask Calendar to send you an email notification for any event. That can be especially helpful if you spend a lot of time in your inbox and want to have a reminder that remains present until you archive it. To create an email reminder for an event, open the event and then click the “Add notification” command. Next, within the new line that appears, click the “Notification” box and change it to “Email”—then just tell Calendar how far ahead of the event you want the email to arrive. Be sure to hit the blue “Save” button at the top of the screen when you’re done.

28. If you want to get email alerts for all events by default, open up Calendar’s settings and select your calendar from the list on the left side of the screen. Scroll down to the “Event notifications” section and click the “Add notification” button. Click on the new “Notification” box that appears, change it to “Email,” and set it for whatever amount of time you’d like.

29. You can also change your default alert times for regular Calendar notifications in that same area of the site’s settings: Just adjust the number of minutes next to the existing notifications under the “Event notifications” and “All-day event notifications” headers. You can add additional notifications too, or remove any existing notifications by clicking the “x” alongside them. Any changes you make will automatically apply to notifications generated by the Calendar app on your phone.

30. Want to get a daily rundown of your Calendar agenda via email every morning? Look under the “Other notifications” header within that same section of the site’s settings. Find the line labeled “Daily agenda,” then click the box next to it that says “None” and change it to “Email.” Your new daily summary will now arrive at 5:00 every morning, courtesy of the virtual calendar genie who’s been waiting for your wish all this time.

For even more next-level Google knowledge, check out my Android Intelligence newsletter.

[Editor’s note: This story was updated and expanded in April 2020.]

24 Apr 11:19

Bloomberg Reports ARM Macs Coming Next Year

by John Gruber

Mark Gurman, Debby Wu, and Ian King, reporting for Bloomberg:*

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is working on three of its own Mac processors, known as systems-on-a-chip, based on the A14 processor in the next iPhone. The first of these will be much faster than the processors in the iPhone and iPad, the people said.

There’s not much new information in this report, but what is new is interesting, and I want to focus on that. Saying that the first ARM Mac processor will be based on the A14 is news. Saying that the first ARM Mac processor will be “much faster than the processors in the iPhone and iPad” would be spectacular news, because the A13 in the iPhones 11 and new SE already offers faster single-core performance than a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro, and iPad Pros have better multi-core performance than MacBook Airs.

If what Bloomberg is reporting is true — see footnote below, of course — they’re burying the lede. An ARM chip in a Mac that’s “much faster than the processors in the iPhone and iPad” would be much faster than anything Intel offers for use in portables.

Apple is preparing to release at least one Mac with its own chip next year, according to the people. But the initiative to develop multiple chips, codenamed Kalamata, suggests the company will transition more of its Mac lineup away from current supplier Intel Corp.

Of course they’re going to transition more than one Mac.

The latest iPad Pro has four cores for performance-intensive workloads and another four to handle low-power tasks to preserve battery life. The first Mac processors will have eight high-performance cores, codenamed Firestorm, and at least four energy-efficient cores, known internally as Icestorm. Apple is exploring Mac processors with more than 12 cores for further in the future, the people said. In some Macs, Apple’s designs will double or quadruple the number of cores that Intel provides. The current entry-level MacBook Air has two cores, for example.

News!

Despite a unified chip design, Macs will still run the macOS operating system, rather than the iOS software of the iPhone and iPad.

Duh. Unsaid in the article but widely known to be true is that Apple has had MacOS compiling for ARM for years, just like how they had MacOS compiling for Intel years before they announced the switch from PowerPC — what Steve Jobs described as a “secret double life”.

Apple is exploring tools that will ensure apps developed for older Intel-based Macs still work on the new machines.

Yeah but what tools? They already have cross-compilation tools in Xcode. The $64,000 question is whether they’re going to have an emulator for running x86 code on ARM Macs. When Apple transitioned from Motorola’s 680x0 family of processors to PowerPC, and when they transitioned from PowerPC to Intel x86, they built emulators into the OS so that old binaries still executed. If they don’t offer an emulator, all existing Mac software will need to be recompiled.

The company also has technology called Catalyst that lets software developers build an iPad app and run it on Mac computers.

Catalyst isn’t really relevant to the x86-ARM transition. Catalyst is already here, today. Whatever problems developers (and users) have with Catalyst, they’re not related to ARM vs. x86 — iOS apps have always been able to be cross-compiled to x86 because that’s what the Xcode iOS Simulator is — a version of iOS that runs on Intel.

If Apple plans to start this transition with new hardware in 2021, I expect the initiative to be announced at WWDC in mid-or-late June this year.

* Bloomberg, of course, is the publication that published “The Big Hack” in October 2018 — a sensational story alleging that data centers of Apple, Amazon, and dozens of other companies were compromised by China’s intelligence services. The story presented no confirmable evidence at all, was vehemently denied by all companies involved, has not been confirmed by a single other publication (despite much effort to do so), and has been largely discredited by one of Bloomberg’s own sources. By all appearances “The Big Hack” was complete bullshit. Yet Bloomberg has issued no correction or retraction, and seemingly hopes we’ll all just forget about it. I say we do not just forget about it. Bloomberg’s institutional credibility is severely damaged, and everything they publish should be treated with skepticism until they retract the story or provide evidence that it was true.

24 Apr 09:17

‘The Real Reason to Wear a Mask’

by John Gruber

Zeynep Tufekci, Jeremy Howard, and Trisha Greenhalgh, writing for The Atlantic:

If you feel confused about whether people should wear masks and why and what kind, you’re not alone. COVID-19 is a novel disease and we’re learning new things about it every day. However, much of the confusion around masks stems from the conflation of two very different functions of masks.

Masks can be worn to protect the wearer from getting infected or masks can be worn to protect others from being infected by the wearer. Protecting the wearer is difficult: It requires medical-grade respirator masks, a proper fit, and careful putting on and taking off. But masks can also be worn to prevent transmission to others, and this is their most important use for society. If we lower the likelihood of one person’s infecting another, the impact is exponential, so even a small reduction in those odds results in a huge decrease in deaths. Luckily, blocking transmission outward at the source is much easier. It can be accomplished with something as simple as a cloth mask.

There’s a very high chance that you, dear reader, are now wearing a face mask whenever you leave home. I’ve linked to a few good pieces on the subject in recent weeks. If you need help convincing anyone else, however, this piece at The Atlantic is a good one. It reviews the previous confusion regarding the reasons for mask-wearing, clears it up, and does so cogently.

It’s also worth noting that Zeynep Tufekci, co-author of this piece, deserves tremendous credit for her March 17 column in The New York Times, “Why Telling People They Don’t Need Masks Backfired”. It seems crazy that she wrote that column only a little over one month ago, but at the time she wrote it, Tufekci was calling out the CDC and WHO for giving bad advice — her take was very controversial — and she was right. Her courage and clarity moved the needle and helped change public policy and our social norms. It sounds hyperbolic but I think it’s clearly true: Tufekci wrote an op-ed column so compelling it will wind up saving untold lives. We in the U.S. would have gotten to universal mask-wearing during this pandemic sooner or later, but thanks to Tufekci we got there sooner.

20 Apr 06:49

How Future adapted commerce content to drive 1m transactions in March

by Lucinda Southern

Magazine publisher Future Publishing has adapted its content over the last six weeks to be more helpful for readers. The result is that its sites across tech, gaming and homeware have generated 1.1 million e-commerce transactions during March, up 59% from the month before. Although it wouldn’t share how much revenue this equates to. In 2019, Future delivered 9.8 million e-commerce transactions, per its financial report.

Beyond the standard fare publishers are churning out, like product recommendations on the best office chairs or desk monitors, Future’s brands are writing pieces about which retailers have hand sanitizer in stock during wide-scale shortages and which grocery stores have available delivery slots. These are areas the publisher hadn’t explored before. Because there’s less coronavirus-related news, more editorial resource is focussed on writing commerce content. The amount of content hasn’t changed, but the type of content is more relevant to meet shopper demand.

In March, transactions for delivery services — including groceries, meal-kit services and flower-deliveries — increased by 1,768% compared with the previous month. Although it’s likely this is from a small base as these aren’t areas the publisher had fully explored before.

“There’s so much traffic that we have seen ad impressions go up, and we’ve seen transactions go up significantly,” said Sam Robson, director of audience, commerce. In March, global ad impressions increased by more than 53% on the month before, he added.

Robson and a team of 15 people comb through audience data and deliver the relevant information to editorial teams at Future’s global brands. This process is happening daily rather than weekly or monthly. What people are buying is shifting at pace. Commerce publishers are under duress to keep up with what people want.

“Editors are busy, they need data, they need to learn about shoppers in real-time,” said Shirley Chen, CEO of product recommendation platform Narrativ. According to Chen, Narrativ’s dashboards are now being refreshed by editors between 40 and 50 times a day, typically 10 times would have been more usual.

Elsewhere, Future’s core topics — gaming, homeware and tech — have also spiked, said the company: gaming hardware increasing by 135%, home and garden purchases increasing by 100%. Those adapting to working from home pushed software purchases up by 172%, and other tech increased by 82%, according to the company. As with most issues, like news traffic peaks (since plateaued) and subscription hikes, how long the behavior will last is anyone’s guess.

“It’s the combination of tech products at the heart of our business alongside the shorter-term consumer need around Covid-19 that helped underpin the huge volume of transactions,” said Robson.

Over the years, the publisher has got more sophisticated in understanding user journeys. A coronavirus news story on heath and science title Live Science would be angled to drive ad revenue through display ad units. Commerce pages more clearly display commerce widgets pulled in from its tech platform, Hawk. The result is that the number of Hawk widgets it displays has stayed relatively flat but the click-through rate and conversion has gone up.

“Our ongoing struggle is to make sure that we are maximizing the revenue we can take without diminishing the user experience,” said Robson.

Indoor confinement has meant that publishers are seeing bright spots in commerce and affiliate revenue, although not enough to mitigate the drastic cuts to advertising revenue. But affiliate opportunities are compounded as merchants restrict publisher traffic because they can’t keep up with demand, while Amazon is slashing commission rates for most publishers. Future was unwilling to share any detail on its relationship with Amazon.     

Robson’s team uses public data, search data and information garnered from Hawk. The tech platform pulls in feeds from over 45,000 retailers, including Amazon and affiliate networks like Skimlinks, matching up the most relevant tags in the feeds to the page script to surface the most competitive deals for each article. It then displays up to 200 different commerce elements, like price comparison feeds within an article on the latest handset, or discounted deals on a product within a buyer’s guide.

The publisher takes a commission cut anywhere between 2 percent to double digits, but it’s a high margin. Hawk gives it the flexibility to work more directly with retailers, where Future can negotiate rates.

“Often retailers come to us and say, ‘we’ve noticed you’re selling a lot of our stuff, do you want to do a direct deal?’” said Robson. “Coming out the other side of this, we’ll probably have a lot more direct relationships. And the relationships that are driving the most sales at the moment are very different from those that would have been there a month or so ago.”

The post How Future adapted commerce content to drive 1m transactions in March appeared first on Digiday.

17 Apr 06:20

Juan Giménez (1943 – 2020)

by Ben Feldman

It is with great sadness that we say farewell to Argentinean comics legend Juan Giménez. On April 2nd, 2020, at the age of 76, he died from complications related to COVID-19.

Born in Mendoza, Argentina and educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona, Spain, Giménez was a powerful influence on the sci-fi and fantasy art cultures of three continents. As a teenager in the early 1960s he published works in the magazines of his home country. As a young man in the 1970s he consistently published in the top sci-fi and fantasy magazines of Spain, Italy, and France, including the vaunted Metal Hurlant. By the start of the 1980s he had become a regular contributor to the genre-defining American magazine Heavy Metal and worked as a designer on the 1981 animated film of the same name.

Above: Selections from Giménez’s long career.

He is most famous, however, for his long-lasting collaboration with fellow Argentinean Alejandro Jodorowsky on the multi-arc “Metabarons” comic series, which began in 1992 and continued for more than a decade. When he began this work Giménez was nearing 50 years old, a veteran artist completely assured in his style and abilities. All the hallmarks of his earlier work were on full display here; remarkable attention to technical details, dramatic design sense for machines and costumes, a seamless blending of the ancient and the high-tech, and an appealing, tough authenticity. His master vision built the “Metabarons” into one of the all-time great space operas, a work admired equally by fans and peers.

Above: Some favorite images from the “Metabarons” saga.

Upon hearing of his friend’s death, Jodorowsky gave the following statement: “I closely collaborated with Juan Giménez for 10 years and together, we created The Metabarons saga. What facilitated my task… was that he already embodied the immortal No-Name, the last Metabaron. In my unconscious, Juan Giménez cannot die. He will continue on, drawing like the master warrior that he was.”

Above: More selections from the epic portfolio of Juan Giménez.

Read more about Juan Giménez and his work in Heavy Metal‘s farewell to their old friend.

The post Juan Giménez (1943 – 2020) appeared first on Sci-Fi-O-Rama.

17 Apr 06:18

A little Tokyo barber shop of horrors

by Lee

Barber shops are currently deemed essential, and so are still open in Tokyo, but even if this was the last one to close, it’d have to be a particularly bad hair day to actually consider venturing in.

A little Tokyo barber shop of horrors

15 Apr 06:44

Att somna i duschen men gå vidare

by fthunholm

Kan man förändras i grunden? Kan man bli en annan person? Hur lång tid tar det i så fall? Det är frågor som kunde varit hypotetiska – men som vi vet svaret på. Det tar knappt två veckor.

I slutet av februari slungade Peter Wolodarski fyrahundra bemedlade stockholmare ur den bildade medelklassen, rakt in i den Europeiska coronasmittans epicentrum. En sväng om Alperna, vidare mot norra Italien. Två veckor senare skrev samme Wolodarski att vi borde stänga ner Sverige, med Danmark (och för all del Kina, där man svetsade igen folks dörrar) som förebild

Från att ha varit Neros och Marie Antoinettes kärleksbarn, berusad av den woke-eufori som utgjorde det rättrådiga armeringsjärnet i 2010-talet. Till att bli en unge som Grumpy Cat och Rodrigo Duterte har delad vårdnad om. På två veckor.

Hans kollega Björn Wiman skrev, om DN-tåget att det är ”en glädjefylld motståndshandling mot den sortens nihilism som säger att vi kan gå vidare som vanligt, när allt i själva verket måste förändras”. I retrospektiv är det där tåget snarare ett perfekt exempel på ett slags nihilism, av den sort som finns i alla 80-åringar som obekymrat går runt i matbutikerna och frotterar sig med andra, idag

Det är lätt att skriva detta med facit i hand. Men det är heller inte det som är grejen, right? Det är ju Wolodarskis totala 180-graders sväng. Kan det vara så enkelt att det handlar om skuld? Jag tror det.

En gång i min ungdom – och detta är inget jag är stolt över – somnade jag i duschen. Sittandes, halvliggande, på golvet. Uppenbarligen över golvbrunnen. Vatten flöt ut i hela den anslutande tvättstugan och var på väg ut i resten av källaren. Det blev till en del i den mysiga folklore som en familj spinner kring sig själv. En berättelse om absolut dumhet.

Jag hanterade det genom att skämmas och gå vidare.

Om jag hade hanterat det som Wolodarski, hade jag istället lagt all min energi på att skriva långa brev till olika myndigheter, för att kräva vidare golvbrunnar som standard och att inga duschgolv i svenska 80-talshus fick vara släta nog att somna på. Det ska vara räfflor eller knoppar. Jag hade besökt lokala politiker och cyklat oanmäld till Borås Tidning med min cykel. På pakethållaren, en sån där gammal drickaback som folk har LP-skivor i, fast med pärmar i.

Peter, det är lugnt. Det var klantigt men det gick ju bra ändå. Vattnet nådde inte bodegan och vävrummet. Gå vidare nu.

 

15 Apr 06:41

Massive Wild Animals Wander Russian Streets in Surreal Composites by Vadim Solovyov

by Grace Ebert

All images © Vadim Solovyov, shared with permission

Seeing a raccoon washing its paws in the rivers of Saint Petersburg or an octopus tumbling out of a city bus would be a startling sight for most city dwellers. Artist Vadim Solovyov, though, takes those surreal scenes a step farther as he imagines massive rooks, penguins, and chameleons invading the Russian city. While many of the composites feature the animals in nature, some position them in spaces typically occupied by a human, like a sloth behind the candy-covered counter of a convenience store.

Solovyov tells Colossal that he began the uncanny series as a way to explore strange events in his real life. For example, he said the giant raccoon and its presumptive counterparts “quietly make their way through the deserted evening city to the embankments and shyly rinse something in the water there. Thoroughly. Not less than 20 seconds,” which is a reference to current handwashing suggestions to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

The artist says he values his work’s visual and textual components equally.

Giant animals (are) only one of the features of this world. Their origin, the history of the world itself can be found in fragments from the texts under the posts. Many posts exist in the context of actual events in my city and country. Through my work, I often convey in a veiled (and sometimes weird) way important for me issues or problems of society (attitude to animals, politics, social flaws). But this, of course, does not exclude the fact that some works are an ironic “visual game” without additional deep meanings.

For the complete collection of the meandering wildlife and their respective stories, head to Solovyov’s Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

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15 Apr 06:35

An incredibly expressive Japanese man

by Lee

Just over 3 weeks ago, I made what turned out to be my last train journey and bar visit of the pre-coronavirus era, as shortly afterwards, it became apparent that Japan was not going to avoid the pandemic, and with photo work having already dried up, staying near home seemed both the safest and most sensible thing to do.

Now, of course, Tokyo is in a state of emergency, and after an initially slow, worryingly indifferent start, more non-essential shops and services have started to close. Bars, on the other hand, don’t have to, but they are expected to finish up at 8pm, with last orders for booze at 7. A move that really doesn’t make sense, but it will reduce the amount of people out socialising, meaning that in a roundabout way it may well prompt owners to shut up shop anyway.

By the time this is all over then, it’s inevitable that a fair few drinking places will have ceased to exist, particularly the city’s old, local bars, which are invariably run by the old, and sometimes even the unbelievably old. Similarly, it’s also possible that having gotten out of the habit, the number of people going for post-work drinks instead of heading straight home could be greatly reduced.

That said, such discipline won’t exist within every drinker, and regardless of how long the state of emergency lasts, or indeed how many places actually re-open, it’s hard to imagine the bloke below being content to quietly cradle a beer back home.

An incredibly expressive Japanese man

An incredibly expressive Japanese man

An incredibly expressive Japanese man

An incredibly expressive Japanese man

An incredibly expressive Japanese man

14 Apr 18:47

Dystopia with hot chocolate: Tales from the Loop's author on his low-key sci-fi

by Sian Cain

Artist-writer Simon Stålenhag, whose work has inspired a new Amazon Prime serial, explains why he keeps it understated

If you think you’ve never seen Simon Stålenhag’s art before, you could well be wrong. His paintings often turn up online under headlines such as This Art Is Cool: Imagining a Dystopian Sweden Full of Robots and Dinosaurs, where people marvel at his beautiful and haunting melding of sci-fi and suburbia: rural towns where children spend listless afternoons exploring rusting robot skeletons, and giant cooling towers haunt the horizon. On his Instagram account, where a painting of a petrol station at dusk can get thousands of likes, fans from all over the world write to tell him that his landscapes look just like their back yards, from Minnesota to Norway – just with a few more flying cars than they remember.

But if you think Stålenhag’s art is his prediction for humanity, you’d be wrong, too. None of his art is in future but the past; specifically his 80s childhood on Färingsö, a large island located in Sweden’s Lake Mälaren. Now 36, he lives just two kilometres from the house where he grew up. When we speak, he shows me the view and it’s grey, grey, grey: colossal skies, austere plains of murky grass. It’s desolate and beautiful, just like his art.

Tales from the Loop is published by Simon & Schuster UK. The adaptation is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Continue reading...
13 Apr 17:28

Grodor, igelkottar, fåglar och rävar

by Erik Stattin

Hjälper de så värst mycket, de här djurmetaforerna som har använts genom historien för att dela in tänkandet i två kategorier? Jag fastnar för dem i alla fall, och lärde mig idag om den som Freeman Dyson gjorde i ett tal 2008:

Some mathematicians are birds, others are frogs. Birds fly high in the air and survey broad vistas of mathematics out to the far horizon. They delight in concepts that unify our thinking and bring together diverse problems from different parts of the landscape. Frogs live in the mud below and see only the flowers that grow nearby. They delight in the details of particular objects, and they solve problems one at a time. I happen to be a frog, but many of my best friends are birds.

Freeman Dyson, “Birds and Frogs” (PDF)

Sedan tidigare kände jag till den metafor som Isaiah Berlin formulerade för att göra skillnad mellan igelkottar och rävar.

Igelkottar och fåglar är ju helt klart metaforiskt besläktade, liksom grodor och rävar.

Dyson använder sig förresten av Berlin-metaforen i den här recensionen av en samling av Richard Feynmans brev.

03 Apr 08:41

Identifiera de immuna, återstarta ekonomin! Fast är immunitet en så enkel sak?

by rasmus

Oerhörda förhoppningar har senaste veckan börjat knytas till möjligheten att dela in befolkningen i två grupper: de immuna och de icke-immuna. Immuna är (förhoppningsvis) alla de som redan har varit infekterade av Sars-CoV-2, oavsett om de känt av några symtom eller inte. Ännu vet ingen hur stor del av befolkningen det rör sig om. Allt fler styrande tänker nu att ekonomins hopp står till att de immuna kan släppas ut i förtid, som arbetskraft, men också som konsumenter. Förutsättningen är att det går att testa immunstatus hos varje individ.

At the root of almost every plan to restart society is a new kind of coronavirus test that searches not for the virus itself, but the remnants floating in people’s blood of the battle between their immune systems and the infection. /…/
Serology testing is becoming a new pandemic buzzword, at the center of many of the most ambitious and reputable recovery plans.

Der Spiegel rapporterar om en stor tysk satsningserologisk testning, alltså att via blodprov avgöra förekomsten av antikroppar mot Sars-CoV-2. Men de hittills tillgängliga testerna är inte tillräckligt träffsäkra. De riskerar tydligen även att ge utslag för antikroppar mot andra vanliga coronavirus, som HCoV-229E eller HCoV-OC43, som ger vanliga förkylningar och som de flesta av oss redan har haft. I jakten på att utveckla säkrare tester anas också ett inslag om kapplöpning mellan stora länder om vem som ska få bli först ut i en återstartad ekonomi.

Det spekuleras för fullt i om de immuna ska utrustas med särskilda armband. Dessa skulle då kunna ge tillträde inte bara till arbetsplatser, utan även exempelvis resor och nöjeslokaler. Vilka blir de rent mellanmänskliga följderna av ett samhälle där allt roligt (och många arbetstillfällen) förbehålls de som bär ett armband som visar att de bär på antikroppar? Det är lätt att tänka sig hur vissa icke-immuna aktivt ser till att söka upp smittan för att också få släppas in i A-laget.

Först ut att testas borde rimligtvis vara personal i vård och omsorg. Men sen då? Vilka kommer att få tillfället att genast ta ett test och bevisa sin immunitet och vilka tvingas snällt ställa sig sist i kön? Kommer försäkringsbolagen att ta en aktiv roll? Stora företag med många anställda?

“Den Immunen könnte man eine Art Impfpass ausstellen”, säger en epidemiolog till Der Spiegel. “Impfass” brukar syfta på ett papper som visar vilka vaccinationer som man har tagit emot; som internationell standard gäller nu det “gula kortet”, carte jaune. Men vaccination är en sak. Vaccinationer ges i standardiserad mängd och under kontrollerade förhållanden.
Vissa som har smittats av Sars-CoV-2 har fått i sig en relativt liten mängd virus, andra desto mer. Deras kroppar har reagerat olika på infektionen. Efter att de (i bästa fall) har tillfrisknat innehåller deras blod olika mängder av antikroppar. Det förefaller inte vara en helt enkel sak att dra gränsen mellan immuna och ickeimmuna individer.

Washington Post nämner vissa av problemen:

Will a certain level of antibodies be necessary to declare someone likely to be immune? How lasting and complete will that immunity be? When is the best time to start doing such tests, given that many who are tested today and have no evidence of exposure to the virus may be infected tomorrow? And how will people declare their immunity status?
/…/
“The ideal situation is maybe we test everyone and those people that have developed immunity, we assume have protective immunity and can go back out into the workforce,” [Elitza] Theel said. “I think that’s a possibility, but one of the questions that remains is: Just because you have antibodies, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re at a protective level. That’s something we need to look at and evaluate — and what that protective level is, I don’t think we know that either.”

Planerna för ekonomisk återhämtning utgår från en binär idé om immunitet: en person är antingen immun eller icke-immun. När vi däremot lyssnar till immunologer och virologer, tycks immunitet snarare vara en glidande skala.

One small study of a common cold-causing coronavirus in 1990 found that people could be reinfected after a year, but did not develop symptoms. Other studies have documented that antibodies for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), another type of coronavirus, persisted for two years and then declined by three years.
“That doesn’t mean you’re not immune anymore, it means antibody levels are going down,” said Krammer, who added that looking at other coronaviruses, he thinks people could be immune to the novel coronavirus for about one to three years.

När väl testerna rullas ut, kommer det säkerligen att finnas olika uppfattningar – även bland experterna – om vad de faktiskt visar. Med en politik som vill dela in befolkningen i två grupper, de immuna och de icke-immuna, kommer serologiska tröskelvärden garanterat att bli politiserade. Precis som de epidemiologiska modellerna har blivit nu under våren.

20 Mar 07:38

‘How to Correctly Use a Computer’

by John Gruber

I love this new ad from Apple for the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard. What’s not to love? Pitch-perfect use of Futura Bold on the title screen, a vaguely Brazil-like dystopian atmosphere to open, and, once the iPad part kicks in, some fun shots of the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard in action out in the world. (Remember going out in the world?) One thing I noticed: not one appearance of the available-to-order-right-now Smart Keyboard cover — only the coming-in-May Magic Keyboard. The Magic Keyboard is hot; the Smart Keyboard is not.

But speaking of not hot: It’s impossible to miss that MacBooks are just as much the butt of the jokes as any PC. “Do not touch the screen.” “Your computer comes with a standard arrow cursor.” “You must stay within reach of a Wi-Fi signal.” “It does not have a camera; to connect one, refer to your instruction manual.”

I get it, all of these are things that make iPads fun and useful. The Mac can take it — it’s the mature workhorse platform. But it’s a little incongruous coming on the same day Apple launched its best-ever MacBook Air — featuring no touchscreen, no option for cellular networking, and the worst built-in camera in Apple’s product line. And, yes, a standard arrow cursor.

18 Mar 07:19

The quiet serenity of an abandoned Japanese hotel

by Lee

Most haikyo (abandoned buildings) have a unique atmosphere all their own. The faded remains of this old hot spring resort, for example, harked back to a different era, and as such, possessed a sort of melancholic nostalgia. The empty homes and structures of a deserted mountain village, on the other hand, were far more emotive, containing, as they did, personal effects such as photos, clothing etc. Plus completely differently, the mutilated animatronic figures of Western Village theme park made for a vibe that was nothing short of disturbing.

With this aspect in mind then, the building below was similarly special, even though in many ways it’s just another abandoned hotel — something Japan has absolutely no shortage of. Shuttered up and left to slowly decay almost exactly a decade ago, it’s presumably not a very well known spot, as there’s little in the way of damage, and footmarks in the dust were fairly minimal. But due to the bright sun and closed curtains, a couple of the rooms were lit in such a beautiful way that the general quietness was elevated to something almost akin to serenity.

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

a quiet, serene and abandoned Japanese hotel

On a completely unrelated note, and one I mentioned in the previous post, the current climate has made work — not to mention life — very uncertain, so if you are a bit flush, or particularly enjoy my photos, then I’ve taken the similarly uncertain step of setting up one of those buy-me-a-coffee/beer pages: https://ko-fi.com/tokyotimes

11 Mar 08:40

Äntligen är guldbron här!

by fthunholm

Idag anländer guldbron till Stockholm. Den ska placeras mellan slussen och gamla stan och sedan ligga där som ett överdimensionerat långfinger i fejset på alla som sörjer det obsoleta klöverbladet i betong. Jag älskar guldbron av det skälet. Och, för all del, för att den är just en guldbro. Jäkligt fett!

Har jag berättat om August Nordenskiöld?

Han föddes en eländig februaridag 1754 på Eriksnäs gård på den finska sydkusten. Hans mor var av klanen Ramsay, från dom skotska lågländerna, med anor från 1100-talet. August snöade tidigt in på mineraler. Redan vid arton års ålder utgav han, som den obehagliga plugghäst han uppenbarligen var, en disputation: Om tennets och dess malmers beskaffenhet.

Han flyttade till Stockholm och började skaffa sig ett namn inom alkemin. Han tänkte, av guld, skapa de vises sten. Man trodde att alla metaller utom guld var sjuka och att de vises sten skulle göra dom friska, alltså göra dom till guld. De vises sten kunde även användas i förtunnad form, som drickbart guld (antagligen ganska populärt bland tidens miljöpartister.) Givetvis blev han tjenis med den största knäppgöken som har bott i det här landet: Emanuel Swedenborg.

Okej, varför vill man göra guld?

Oftast är väl svaren olidligt prosaiska. Man vill bli rik som ett troll. Man vill göra en uppdragsgivare, typ en kung eller nåt, rik som ett troll, för att kunna kapa åt sig en del av den där trollrikedomen. Man vill bli kändis, typ ”åh kolla där är den där guldfiguren, fan va maxad”.

August Nordenskiöld, däremot, ville göra det möjligt att framställa guld i otroliga mängder, för att sabotera den rådande ordningen. I slutet av ett dokument som redogör för hur guldet ska göras (ett guldrecept!) skriver han ”Gack nu, lilla papper, omkring werlden, och förstör penningetyranniet, så att guld, silfver och ädle stenar en gång måtte upphöra, at vara werldens afgudar och tyrannier!”
. Han ville alltså göra så mycket guld att guldet förlorar sitt värde.

Så mycket guld att det skulle räcka till en bro från slussen till gamla stan.

Epilog: 1792 drog Nordenskiöld till Afrika för att upprätta ett Swedenborgskt idealsamhälle. Lokalbefolkningen reagerade med berättigad skepsis och slog ihjäl honom.

Sensmoralen uteblir.

Bron är här.

04 Mar 07:23

Telling the story of performance

At Clearleft, we’ve worked with quite a few clients on site redesigns. It’s always a fascinating process, particularly in the discovery phase. There’s that excitement of figuring out what’s currently working, what’s not working, and what’s missing completely.

The bulk of this early research phase is spent diving into the current offering. But it’s also the perfect time to do some competitor analysis—especially if we want some answers to the “what’s missing?” question.

It’s not all about missing features though. Execution is equally important. Our clients want to know how their users’ experience shapes up compared to the competition. And when it comes to user experience, performance is a huge factor. As Andy says, performance is a UX problem.

There’s no shortage of great tools out there for measuring (and monitoring) performance metrics, but they’re mostly aimed at developers. Quite rightly. Developers are the ones who can solve most performance issues. But that does make the tools somewhat impenetrable if you don’t speak the language of “time to first byte” and “first contentful paint”.

When we’re trying to show our clients the performance of their site—or their competitors—we need to tell a story.

Web Page Test is a terrific tool for measuring performance. It can also be used as a story-telling tool.

You can go to webpagetest.org/easy if you don’t need to tweak settings much beyond the typical site visit (slow 3G on mobile). Pop in your client’s URL and, when the test is done, you get a valuable but impenetrable waterfall chart. It’s not exactly the kind of thing I’d want to present to a client.

Fortunately there’s an attention-grabbing output from each test: video. Download the video of your client’s site loading. Then repeat the test with the URL of a competitor. Download that video too. Repeat for as many competitor URLs as you think appropriate.

Now take those videos and play them side by side. Presentation software like Keynote is perfect for showing multiple videos like this.

This is so much more effective than showing a table of numbers! Clients get to really feel the performance difference between their site and their competitors.

Running all those tests can take time though. But there are some other tools out there that can give a quick dose of performance information.

SpeedCurve recently unveiled Page Speed Benchmarks. You can compare the performance of sites within a particualar sector like travel, retail, or finance. By default, you’ll get a filmstrip view of all the sites loading side by side. Click through on each one and you can get the video too. It might take a little while to gather all those videos, but it’s quicker than using Web Page Test directly. And it might be that the filmstrip view is impactful enough for telling your performance story.

If, during your discovery phase, you find that performance is being badly affected by third-party scripts, you’ll need some way to communicate that. Request Map Generator is fantastic for telling that story in a striking visual way. Pop the URL in there and then take a screenshot of the resulting visualisation.

The beginning of a redesign project is also the time to take stock of current performance metrics so that you can compare the numbers after your redesign launches. Crux.run is really great for tracking performance over time. You won’t get any videos but you will get some very appealing charts and graphs.

Web Page Test, Page Speed Benchmarks, and Request Map Generator are great for telling the story of what’s happening with performance right nowCrux.run balances that with the story of performance over time.

Measuring performance is important. Communicating the story of performance is equally important.

28 Feb 07:32

Wikipedia och brinnande krinoliner 

by Hexmaster

Wikipedia har ett konto på Twitter. Då och då delar de med sig av blandade uppgifter. Som här om krinolinen, med uppgifter om sex meter i diameter och att nästan 40 000 dödades av krinoliner som fattat eld. Den första uppgiften är uppenbarligen fel (ska vara omkrets), men hur är det med den andra?


En skeptisk användare ställer frågan: Hur vet vi detta?


Så småningom dyker svaret upp. Det var inte självklart; uppgiften hänvisade till en bok på engelska som hänvisade till en bulgarisk tidning som i sin tur hänvisade till en fransk källa. Men ett av leden innebar att ytterligare källgranskning var irrelevant.
Slaveykov reported in 1864 that over the last 14 years, at least 39,927 women worldwide had died in crinoline-related fires
- Borttagen uppgift från Wikipedia: Crinoline


Och så blev Wikipedia ännu lite bättre, tack vare uppmärksamma läsare och flitiga och kunniga redaktörer.

Så här fungerar det när det fungerar som bäst. Men det är en väsentlig skillnad på att skriva i ett aktuellt twitterflöde med en halv miljon följare, och att exempelvis ställa en fråga på en diskussionssida som få läser och färre bryr sig om.

25 Feb 09:23

Director Richard Stanley: 'A coven of witches was using my house.'

by Alex Godfrey

His new movie stars Nicolas Cage as an alien-fighting alpaca farmer. But the maverick film-maker’s life story might be even trippier

Extraordinary stories tumble out of Richard Stanley’s mouth – absurdist adventures from far-off lands, anecdotes involving ghosts and warlocks – all delivered with a mischievous matter-of-factness. One minute, he is talking about a short film he directed after a glow-in-the-dark Ouija board from Toys “R” Us dictated the plot to him; the next, he is remembering a friend who died after doing a ritual to placate “a seemingly fictional deity”. We are ostensibly discussing his new film, Color Out of Space, but it is understandable that he might head off on the odd extended detour; it has, after all, been 28 years since he directed a feature.

His last attempt was his 1996 adaptation of HG Wells’s The Island of Dr Moreau: a dream project for Stanley that turned into a disaster. The daughter of its star, Marlon Brando, killed herself the day before the Australian shoot, leaving the production in temporary limbo in his absence. Co-star Val Kilmer repeatedly disrespected Stanley. A hurricane almost obliterated the set. Engulfed in chaos, Stanley was fired after just three days of shooting, and replaced by John Frankenheimer. Stanley’s contribution to the film was uncredited. (The whole episode was revisited in the terrific 2014 documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr Moreau.)

Continue reading...
25 Feb 08:55

Venedig så här års

by fthunholm

Vad är det mest medelklassiga som kan hända? Det är givetvis en löjlig sak att fundera över men här kommer i alla fall några kandidater.

Att någon spiller naturvin på en soffa från Svenskt Tenn (köpt på auktion) i ett bostadsrättsradhus i Björkhagen, under en hetsig diskussion om nyttan med ur och skur-dagis, samtidigt som en unge i Mini Rodini-kläder äter en rawfoodboll?

Eller kanske att en man i Majorna berömmer sin städerska inför foodora-budet, med Filosofiska rummet på låg volym i bakgrunden.

Eller möjligen att en kvinna pratar uppskattande om Johan Hakelius glasögonbågar i omklädningsrummet efter pilatespasset, samtidigt som hon tar på sig en långärmad t-shirt från COS och sedan hoppar på en voi men kollar linkedin i mobilen när hon åker, tappar uppmärksamheten och krockar med en leasad elcykel.

Det kanske är det här: En familj på väg till fjällen i en Audi-kombi stannar till på en vägkrog och rynkar bekymrat på sina näsor och sina pannor, ja allt som kan rynkas faktiskt, när de försöker hitta något glutenfritt. Pappan, som är i PR-branschen, säger till mamman, som är kultursekreterare, att dom nog får åka vidare helt enkelt.

Nä det är verkligen inte lätt att säga.

Nåväl, det om det.

Helt orelaterat, läser jag att trehundra personer har betalat mellan 25 000 och 89 000 kronor för att åka med det DN-chartrade Karnevalståget 2020 till Venedig. I priset ingår ”ett intressant föredrag av Björn Wiman”.

25 Feb 07:50

Ny tid, nya ord

by Erik Stattin

Från Patrick Tanguays ypperliga nyhetsbrev Sentiers:

This past Thursday I was at a book launch for William Gibson’s Agency, he uses the term “Jackpot” for the slow(ish) apocalypse surrounding us. In the articles below, Anab Jain cites Haraway citing Stanley Robinson who’s using “The Dithering” to replace Anthropocene, Venkatesh Rao talks about the “Great Weirding”, and for a while I was using “The Churn” (quoted from The Expanse) in this newsletter. Nothing to add, just noting the varied ways in which people are trying to name our times, since I bumped into all of them over three days.

25 Feb 07:26

Snyltande kvackare

by Hexmaster

Två goa gubbar: René-Claudius Schümperli och Alfredo Lerro. Den förstnämnde tänkte på 1990-talet ut en lära som grundar sig på atlaskotan, vår översta halskota. I korthet går den ut på att de flesta symptom beror på att vår atlaskota behöver balanseras, en tjänst som Schümperli och hans anhängare händelsevis erbjuder. Han kallade för övrigt sitt verk för AtlasPROfilax, med krångliga versaler och allt.

En av Schümperlis lärjungar var Alfred Lerro. Efter att ha gått en kurs i Atlasprofilax lanserade han en egen lära. Eller, egen och egen ... I praktiken var det Atlasprofilax med bortfilade serienummer. Han kallade den ATLANTOtec, med krångliga versaler och allt.

Det finns några svenskar som ägnar sig åt sånt här. De erbjuder sig att kontrollera din atlaskota och, om den visar sig vara i behov av balansering – lustigt nog är den alltid i behov av balansering – att ordna även den biten. I praktiken får du lite nackmassage för några tusen. Ännu ett bondfångeri, helt enkelt.

En detalj, som jag på något sätt finner underhållande, är att de flesta svenska utövare håller sig till snyltaren Lerros Atlantotec, bara enstaka till originalet Atlasprofilax. Utan för att ett ögonblick tycka synd om Schümperli; han är en precis lika samvetslös kvackare som Lerro och vet naturligtvis om det.