Memes are taking the alt-right’s message of hate mainstream

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Think of an internet meme and you'll probably smile. The most memorable viral images are usually funny, from Distracted Boyfriend to classics like Grumpy Cat. But some memes have a much more sinister meaning. They might look as innocuous as a frog, but are in fact symbols of hate. And as memes have become more political, these hateful examples have...
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Web Curios 14/12/18

Web Curios 14/12/18
 YOU HAVE TO LAUGH, DON'T YOU, EH? EH??? You know what? Fcuk it, neither you nor I want to read anything about the news or the state of the world right now. It's almost Christmas, and I am  tired . I imagine you are too.  This is the last Web Curios of 2018 - in a rare moment of genuine sincerity, I'd like to say thanks to everyone w...
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Lucie Greene: things to come

Lucie Greene: things to come
JWT's Future 100 report, released late in November, gave a comprehensive insight into the trends of the near-future. While some may be easily understandable - a widespread social media backlash and the rise of the meat-free diet, for example - others are perhaps more left-field, such as lichen becoming one of the in-vogue foods of the next year. Un...
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Mark Fisher's K-Punk and the futures that have never arrived

Mark Fisher's K-Punk and the futures that have never arrived
Mark Fisher was a writer and academic from the English Midlands who, in the early two-thousands, felt at odds with many of the institutions around him. Fisher, then in his mid-thirties, had devoted himself to theories of capitalism and Internet culture that few people in his immediate vicinity appeared to care about. He was zealous about obscure mu...
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Your apps know where you were last night, and they're not keeping it secret

Your apps know where you were last night, and they're not keeping it secret
The millions of dots on the map trace highways, side streets and bike trails — each one following the path of an anonymous cellphone user. One path tracks someone from a home outside Newark to a nearby Planned Parenthood, remaining there for more than an hour. Another represents a person who travels with the mayor of New York during the day and ret...
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DCMS publishes a guide to personal data mobility

DCMS publishes a guide to personal data mobility
The UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has worked with innovation agency Ctrl-Shift to produce a new report entitled Data Mobility:  The personal data  portability growth  opportunity for the  UK economy. It promises that the management of personal data presents "significant growth opportunities with economic ...
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Google exacerbates the Internet's sexism: How the tech giant's revenue model leads to an unequal Internet

Google exacerbates the Internet's sexism: How the tech giant's revenue model leads to an unequal Internet
Compare the image search results for "boy crawling" and "girl crawling." In the first you see cute babies, in the second you see scantily-clad women in seductive poses. Similarly, compare "boy at work" with "girl at work" or "schoolboy" with "school girl." Reseachers at MIT have discovered that this is, in part, because of a  " hidde...
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Anatomy of an AI system

Anatomy of an AI system
A cylinder sits in a room. It is impassive, smooth, simple and small. It stands 14.8cm high, with a single blue-green circular light that traces around its upper rim. It is silently attending. A woman walks into the room, carrying a sleeping child in her arms, and she addresses the cylinder. 'Alexa, turn on the hall lights' The cylinder springs int...
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Web Curios 07/12/18

Web Curios 07/12/18
Is it all going to be over on Tuesday night? Is it? CAN WE FINALLY STOP TALKING ABOUT THE FCUKING B WORD ON TUESDAY NIGHT??? 'No' is the short answer, but let's pretend we didn't hear it and instead envisage a glorious future where I open next week's final Curios of 2018 with some sort of heartwarming and genuinely optimistic shortform essay about ...
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Make America Geocities again

Make America Geocities again
It's 2018 and the web feels…sanitized. It's an odd word to use amidst the rampant trolling and politics and problematic speech. But when you look at the systems we use to communicate with each other, we all assemble into the neighborhoods and cul-de-sacs that have been assembled for us, we write on our writing platforms and share on our sharing pla...
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The Predictions Bucket for 2019

The Predictions Bucket for 2019
Continuing our annual tradition since our inception way back in 2010 (I know, right?), the Predictions Bucket comes back for another year. What we do is this: collect as many "Predictions for 2019" articles as possible, strip them down into themes, then cross-refer themes against their authors. The idea is that the more people/organisations ma...
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Are we human, or are we dancer? The legacy of “Dance Dance Revolution”, 20 years later

Are we human, or are we dancer? The legacy of “Dance Dance Revolution”, 20 years later Dance Dance Revolution, Sony PlayStation 2
The revolution started with a whimper. In the fall of 1998, a roughly 900-pound contraption with blinking lights, blaring music, and a raised platform that housed two "dance floors" was wheeled into a Japanese arcade, then lifted onto another raised platform. Four steps above the arcade floor, the first Dance Dance Revolution machine ever buil...
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AI thinks like a corporation - and that’s worrying

AI thinks like a corporation - and that’s worrying
  Artificial intelligence is everywhere but it is considered in a wholly ahistorical way. To understand the impact AI will have on our lives, it is vital to appreciate the context in which the field was established. After all, statistics and state control have evolved hand in hand for hundreds of years. Consider computing. Its origins have bee...
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The digital Maginot Line

The digital Maginot Line Pedro Albuquerque, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/fragolife/38044147486
There is a war happening. We are immersed in an evolving, ongoing conflict: an Information World War in which state actors, terrorists, and ideological extremists leverage the social infrastructure underpinning everyday life to sow discord and erode shared reality. The conflict is still being processed as a series of individual skirmishes – a colle...
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Jenny Odell: A business with no end

Jenny Odell: A business with no end
Recently, one of my students at Stanford told me a strange story. His parents, who live in Palo Alto, Calif., had been receiving mysterious packages at their house. The packages were all different shapes and sizes but each was addressed to "Returns Department, Valley Fountain LLC." I looked into it and found that a company called Valley Fountain LL...
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After dominating retail for adults, Amazon is now going after the teen market

After dominating retail for adults, Amazon is now going after the teen market justraveling.com
Not to be content with dominating the lives of most people in the Western world (at least), tax-avoiding aggressive retail-and-cloud behemoth Amazon is now going after teens, in a way which uses the age-old trick of pester power. A Twitter thread by Taylor Lorenz , a writer at  ​The Atlantic  explains more. There's now a dedicated Amazon ...
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We need to destroy the blurbing industrial complex

We need to destroy the blurbing industrial complex
In 1856, an obscure-ish writer, frustrated by the non-recognition of his newest self-published oeuvre, took matters into his own hands. He sent copies of his book of poems, unsolicited, to the literary luminaries of his day. One luminary, Ralph Waldo Emerson, replied with a polite thank-you note. "'I greet you at the beginning of a great career.' —...
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The infinite network: in conversation with Dr. Sarah Rawlins

The infinite network: in conversation with Dr. Sarah Rawlins My Friend Cayla, Hello Barbie, Fisher Price Smart Bear. Image c/o National Science and Media Museum
The speed at which Internet-connected devices have been introduced to the consumer market has vastly exceed that of society and policy. For every domestic advantage, there is seemingly a tradeoff in policy and security. For its new exhibition "Never Alone: What Happens When Everything is Connected?" , the National Science And Media Museum explores ...
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Web Curios 30/11/18

Web Curios 30/11/18
Have you all got over the excitement of the BIG COW (not in fact a cow)? Good, thank fcuk for that, let's focus on the things that  matter .  Or, more accurately, let's focus on a whole load of largely pointless links and words - I am LATE today, so this intro is going be even more phoned in than usual. Still, rest assured that everyone e...
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McDonald’s is a social and healthcare burden – whatever its charity PR might indicate

McDonald’s is a social and healthcare burden – whatever its charity PR might indicate McDonalds Botley, Oxford. Photo c/o Wikipedia
Stepping into a McDonald's in Dublin, the front window is covered with little yellow cut-outs of children's hands. Donation boxes are displayed prominently on the counter top when you order. By donating €1 with your Happy Meal order, McDonald's can transform you, body and soul, by putting tasty food in your child's belly and a warm glow in your hea...
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