Facebook’s libra has staggering potential – state control of money could end

Facebook’s libra has staggering potential – state control of money could end
The UN recognises 180 currencies worldwide as legal tender, all of them issued by nation states. It does not recognise cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in this way, even if communities of enthusiasts have been treating them as a means of exchange for over a decade now. Yet the latest addition to this group, Facebook's libra , threatens to do something...
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Fast transfers: the importance of latency

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Fibre-optic and copper wires help to deliver the Internet to our homes and offices. However, as we all require more and more of it - MOAR INTERNET - the pressures on bandwidth become all the more apparent. Consultants at Frost & Sullivan have produced a report which analyses some of these issues - particularly around the concept of edge co...
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Can Facebook's Cryptocurrency Libra empower the unbanked billions?

Can Facebook's Cryptocurrency Libra empower the unbanked billions?
On 18 June 2019, David Marcus, the French-born American entrepreneur and former president of PayPal, announced the launch of his co-creation Libra , Facebook's new cryptocurrency to his almost 50K Twitter followers. "Libra's mission is to enable a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people…because it's...
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Web Curios 21/06/19

Web Curios 21/06/19
Man, holidays are  good , aren't they? The sun and the sea and the swimming and the ability to read books again and not having to pretend to care about the stupid clients and the stupid job and the stupid industry that you hate and disdain and want to get as fas away from as possible and yet which you exist in some sort of queasy state of symb...
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Longplayer Day: long music for a short time

Longplayer Day: long music for a short time
In our weekly  ​Web Curios ​ newsletter, we have a section for longer reads entitled  ​Long things which are long ​. There is perhaps no longer thing which is long than Longplayer,   the 1000-year-long musical composition from Jem Finer. Longplayer has an annual day of celebration. That day is today (20/06/19). Starting at noon,...
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The difficult second issue

The difficult second issue Treated cover of Imperica Magazine issue 1, Shardcore
We launched Imperica in August 2010 and finally got around to launching a "proper" magazine in 2017. It has an ISSN number and you can buy it as an EPUB. Yes, a proper magazine. For no other reason than a wanton, illogical yet burning desire, we're going to publish a second issue. Yes, we know that we have left it for quite a while. We'll try ...
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Dawn Parsonage's new exhibition is unbelievably boring

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 ... and deliberately so. Held at Project Space in south London, our fellow Oxfordian Dawn Parsonage has been collecting photos of people being generally bored for over 20 years. That, in itself, is boring. But, of course, there is much - SO MUCH - more to the exhibition than that. The aesthetics of people just sitting around, often in badly-f...
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The beauty of the virus

The beauty of the virus “Ransomware Pollocrypt”, Tomorrow Bureau and Bas van de Poel
There is beauty in (almost) everything. Curators Bas van de Poel and Marina Otero believe this to be true with malware and viruses; so much so that they have created an exhibition all about then at the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. Malware: Symptoms of Viral Infection covers the cultural impact of such damage, as well as other impacts includin...
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Pakistan government broadcast comes with cat filter

Pakistan government broadcast comes with cat filter
The governing party of Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Insaf led by Imran Khan, decided that it would be a good idea to run a live broadcast of the local government in session at north west region of Pakhtunkhwa. However, it added some... unforeseen value. In a video broadcast live to the region’s Facebook page, the device filming the session ac...
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Seeing shapes in Hoxton

Seeing shapes in Hoxton “Virtually Fragile #11”, Josh Rowell, 2019
Pareidolia , for the uninitiated, is the principle of seeing shapes known to the observer, in other shapes - for example, with Karen Zack’s infamous picture quizzes of “ Chihuahua or muffin ” and the like. Pareidolia is also the name of a new exhibition at Space Station in the home of the fin, Hoxton Square. Featuring fourteen artists, th...
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Sensorium: a feast for every sense

Sensorium: a feast for every sense Elliot Woods
Central and Eastern Europe still seems to have an inferior reputation to many in the West. The old view of "somewhat downtrodden former Socialist state" seems to persist, even if it has been more recently augmented by "great place for stag weekends and cheap beer". The reality of such countries is considerably different and more advanced than these...
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The web at 30: an artistic response

The web at 30: an artistic response I Exist On The Internet, Ambie Drew
The creative powerhouse that is Birmingham’s Vivid Projects is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s paper Information Management: A Proposal , which spawned the creation of something called the World Wide Web. Vague But Exciting, which runs until 22/06/19, features a splendidly diverse range of works from both new and established a...
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Atmospheric Memory: the air of the past

Atmospheric Memory: the air of the past
July's Manchester International Festival brings with it a new work from digital artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Entitled  ​Atmospheric Memory ​, the premise is a strong one: to consider the atmosphere as a library of everything ever said. The premise itself is not new; Charles Babbage considered air to be a 'spoken word library'. Lozano-Hemm...
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The shop where you can buy everything

JWT Intelligence
JWT Intelligence has reported on a burgeoning concept in retail stores where every visible product is for sale. OK, well, the idea is a little more complex than that. High-concept (and presumably high-cost) retailers such as Merci in Paris have opened self-contained retail experiences which contain finished, showroom-ready installations where, inde...
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An AI taught itself to play a video game – for the first time, it’s beating humans

An AI taught itself to play a video game – for the first time, it’s beating humans
Since the earliest days of virtual chess and solitaire, video games have been a playing field for developing artificial intelligence (AI). Each victory of machine against human has helped make algorithms smarter and more efficient. But in order to tackle real world problems – such as automating complex tasks including driving and negotiation – thes...
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Ciutat Vella and Project Alias win STARTS

Ciutat Vella and Project Alias win STARTS
STARTS, the European Commission’s science / tech / arts programme, has revealed its winners for another year. The Collaboration prize goes to the Barcelona district of Ciutat Vella, and the Exploration prize goes to  Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen’s work Project Atlas. Ciutat Vella aimed to develop a new form of urban planning through big...
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Web Curios 31/05/19

Web Curios 31/05/19
OH HELLO! I finished a job yesterday and as a result feel GREAT - even better, I seemingly managed to leave without alienating or upsetting anyone, although that will probably change next week when they realise that I have a secret backdoor login to the website and fully intend to go and make subtle but significant alterations to all the staff biog...
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Gary Tedman: the Communist case for remaining in the European Union

Gary Tedman: the Communist case for remaining in the European Union
Professor Tim Congdon, a senior UKIP member and academic, in a short BBC online article entitled Brexit puts UK on new economic path , has probably written the clearest expression of the Leave campaign in terms of its economic ideas and plans post exit.  This is a critique of those ideas. In the wake of the Leave campaign winning the vote to e...
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Web Curios 24/05/19

Web Curios 24/05/19
Oh God, it's going to happen, isn't it? IT'S FINALLY GOING TO HAPPEN! Hello again, by the way! I am reliably informed that everything really  is  now fixed with Imperica - thankyou, as ever, for your forebearance and patience as we once again cobbled the website back together again with sticks and sellotape and that weird gluelike substan...
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Important UNESCO report on digital skills, education and gender

Important UNESCO report on digital skills, education and gender
UNESCO and the EQUALS Skills Coalition have launched a report into gender divides in digital skills, and how education can overcome the divide. We’ll start by quoting the introduction from the report, which is entitled I’d blush if I could: The title of this publication borrows its name from the response given by Siri, a female-gendered voice assis...
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