Wednesday, December 06, 2023

The sands of time


How to Keep Time: How to Waste Time

Becca Rashid and Ian Bogost explore our relationship with time and how to reclaim it. Why is it so important to be productive? Why can it feel like there’s never enough time in a day? Why are so many of us conditioned to believe that being more productive makes us better people?” Transcript available as well as Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Pocket Casts

There is a scientific fraud epidemic and we are ignoring the cure

Financial Times [read free] “…As the Oxford university psychologist Dorothy Bishop has written, we only know about the ones who get caught. In her view, our “relaxed attitude” to the scientific fraud epidemic is a “disaster-in-waiting”. The microbiologist Elisabeth Bik, a data sleuth who specialises in spotting suspect images, might argue the disaster is already here: her Patreon-funded work has resulted in over a thousand retractions and almost as many corrections. 

That work has been mostly done in Bik’s spare time, amid hostility and threats of lawsuits. Instead of this ad hoc vigilantism, Bishop argues, there should be a proper police force, with an army of scientists specifically trained, perhaps through a masters degree, to protect research integrity. It is a fine idea, if publishers and institutions can be persuaded to employ them (Spandidos, a biomedical publisher, has an in-house anti-fraud team). It could help to scupper the rise of the “paper mill”, an estimated $1bn industry in which unscrupulous researchers can buy authorship on fake papers destined for peer-reviewed journals. 

China plays an outsize role in this nefarious practice, set up to feed a globally competitive “publish or perish” culture that rates academics according to how often they are published and cited. Peer reviewers, mostly unpaid, don’t always spot the scam. And as the sheer volume of science piles up — an estimated 3.7mn papers from China alone in 2021 — the chances of being rumbled dwindle. 

Some researchers have been caught on social media asking to opportunistically add their names to existing papers, presumably in return for cash.”

Toys  are winding up in landfills — but they could be recycled, with better policies. “…According to a recent report by the WEEE Forum, a multinational nonprofit organization focused on the management of “waste electrical and electronic equipment,” the world threw out more than 7 billion e-toys in 2022. 

Many, if not most, of these toys didn’t reach a proper e-waste recycling facility due to a dearth of regulations and consumer awareness that toys containing batteries and circuit boards require special disposal. Instead, experts believe these toys are often winding up in the regular trash, increasing the risk of battery fires at waste management facilities and creating new environmental hazards at landfills. 

Even when people want to recycle their e-toys properly, recyclers might not want to take them because they are hard to deconstruct and often contain very little material worth recycling.  Ultimately, experts say, toy makers and toy retailers must take more responsibility for e-toy waste — whether that’s by setting up take-back programs for broken e-toys, redesigning toys to be more recycling friendly, or embracing new business models that replace cheap, throwaway toys with stuff that’s built to last…”

The sands of time

Art. Assemblages by Lesley Hilling / NOX, sad self-driving car installation by Lawrence Lek / on David Yarrow, ‘… Ansel Adams run through Midjourney, a Pirelli calendar shot by a Fallout streamer,’ at Plaster Magazine / hmmm. the thing magazine / vintage children’s book covers from an alternative dimension / Bobby Fingers for president / Lost in Cult present a book on Moebius-inspired game Sable / Art on a Postcard winter sale / Violet Hour, ‘an online fundraiser for Choose Love projects in Gaza and Southern Israel’ / collage art by Michael Deragon / Ink Squasher, printmaking and letterpress work.


Music. ‘Listen to the sound of Wikipedia’s recent changes feed. Bells indicate additions and string plucks indicate subtractions. Pitch changes according to the size of the edit; the larger the edit, the deeper the note’ / a live soundtrack to the 1925 version of Phantom of the Opera, improvised by GROK / delving into a cassette-based in-flight audio player / videoseconds, an archive of lost and found VHS-recorded gigs / Larry Katz interviews musicians and more (via MeFi).


Tech. A museum of Internet Artifacts / remembering Marc Newson’s Ford 021C concept car / A Collection Of Original Factory Bertone Blueprints at Silodrome / stories of cars and humans by photographer Ruben Fidalgo / a visual explainer of How AI chatbots like ChatGPT or Bard work / Gingerbeard Man’s blog includes fascinating digressions like the early computer art of Barbara Nessim, old Japanese pixel/dot art software and a card game on the Casio CALEID XM-700 Mobile Navigator.


Other stuff. a look at the 4 million volumes in the Awesome Books warehouse / Diggers Docs, ‘a tribute to the San Francisco Diggers’ / Where the Wildensteins Are, tales of art collecting and tax dodging / the closed cities of the Soviet Union / build new houses on Millionaires’ Row! Build new houses on golf courses! / the hapless tale of Hackney Walk.