Is ancient DNA research revealing new truths or falling into old traps? Robots, like people, use ‘imagination’ to learn concepts. Nicolas Carr reviews The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Poons v. Koons: The art of ‘The Price of Everything’. Towards a general theory of neural networks. Emerging evidence suggests the brain encodes abstract knowledge in the same way that it represents positions in space. John Kay on the concept of the corporation. Millions of people around the world rely on water from retreating glaciers. A robot reveals how ancient reptile ancestor moved. Interview with philosopher Frederick Eberhardt about causality. And more.
Brief interview with Albert-László Barabási about the five universal laws of success. Ocean warming is accelerating. Steven Strogatz on AlphaZero and the future of AI. The conceptual limits of machine learning. A breakdown of the costs proves tickets in London's West End are not a rip-off. Tattoos are copyrighted. How radical 1960s architecture got it so wrong. Film footage from Paris from around 1890 with speed corrected, image stabilized and sound added. 180,000 forgotten photos reveal the future of Greenland’s ice. Longform's Best of 2018. And more.
As always this is a list of books that I read this year and includes recently published books as well as classics.
Enjoyed this music video directed by Rian Johnson. The ending is sad, but also quite clever.
How to be an artist. Some of Earth’s first animals are spilling out of Canadian rocks. Spider silk is five times stronger than steel. Humpback whale songs undergo a ‘cultural revolution’ every few years. The insect apocalypse. On the life and work of René Girard. Review of four books on the US opioid crisis. (Mis)Understanding Russia’s two hybrid wars. Global warming will happen faster than we think. Greenland is losing ice at fastest rate in 350 years. And more.