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Aaron Helton
Attended St. Edward's University
Lives in New York, NY
973 followers|660,273 views
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Aaron Helton's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
code4lib jobs: (Temporary) Associate Information Systems Officer - Unite...
jobs.code4lib.org

The United Nations is looking for a Java developer to fill a temporary contract working on DSpace repositories. If you're interested, please

A black and white photograph of a giant dust storm...
natgeofound.tumblr.com

A black and white photograph of a giant dust storm in 1937. Photographed by Chris Johns, National Geographic

My walk along Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn. A...
arnade.tumblr.com

My walk along Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn. A seven-mile stretch that includes South Asian, orthodox Jewish, Turkish, and finally Russian

xkcd: Pastime
xkcd.com

< Prev · Random; Next >; >|. Permanent link to this comic: http://xkcd.com/1222/ Image URL (for hotlinking/embedding): http://imgs.xkcd.com/

New Yorkers Organize 24-Hour Read-In for Libraries!
bookriot.com

Remember when I told NYC people to stay tuned for announcements about library advocacy opportunities during this spring budget cut season? W

A close view of the puffer fish found in Florida’s...
natgeofound.tumblr.com

A close view of the puffer fish found in Florida’s warm waters, January 1922. Photograph by L. F. Williamz, National Geographic

A shelter made of antlers at Yellowstone National...
natgeofound.tumblr.com

A shelter made of antlers at Yellowstone National Park. Photograph by Edwin L. Wisherd, National Geographic

photo
awkwardstockphotos.com

Where awkward stock photos finally have a purpose submissions@awkwardstockphotos.com. Links to photos work best. We cannot post photos from

1 in 13 humans has chimp-like feet
io9.com

When our ancient ancestors left their arboreal homes, they ditched their flexible feet for rigid tootsies best suited for walking on the gro

Dilbert comic strip for 06/01/2013 from the official Dilbert comic strip...
dilbert.com

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animation, mashups and more starring Dilbert, Dogbert, Wally, The Pointy

A matador poses in full regalia with an...
natgeofound.tumblr.com

A matador poses in full regalia with an embroidered cape in Colombia, 1939. Photograph by Luis Marden, National Geographic

Clever Paper Cut Designs Feature Animals and Their Snacks
www.mymodernmet.com

People often say You are what you eat. Well, Oregon-based artist Wendy Wallin Malinow thought it would be interesting to see that phrase in

Introductory Astronomy
physicsdatabase.com

A course on introduction on astronomy from Michigan tech.

Playful Recreations of Classic Paintings on Toast
www.mymodernmet.com

Food artist Ida Skivenes, better known as IdaFrosk, pays homage to the great painters of yesteryear with her playful food creations. The Osl

"Sodomy": what a waste
shitmystudentswrite.tumblr.com

The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah has to do with Sodom who masturbated in the forest, therefore, wasting his semen and not being able to impregn

Amish Raw Milk Farmer Vernon Hershberger Wins Big in Court
modernfarmer.com

(Above: Farmer Vernon Hershberg between two of his lawyers, Glenn Reynolds and Elizabeth Rich.) “Food [...]

Alexander Graham Bell’s tetrahedral tower is...
natgeofound.tumblr.com

Alexander Graham Bell’s tetrahedral tower is unveiled in 1907 in Nova Scotia. Photograph courtesy the Bell Collection

A German shepherd is accepted for sentry duty by...
natgeofound.tumblr.com

A German shepherd is accepted for sentry duty by the Coast Guard, January 1941.Photograph by J. Baylor Roberts, National Geographic

Dilbert comic strip for 05/25/2013 from the official Dilbert comic strip...
dilbert.com

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animation, mashups and more starring Dilbert, Dogbert, Wally, The Pointy

Yamel Cakes
shitmystudentswrite.tumblr.com

Every year on Yom Kippur, Jewish men and boys wear yamel cakes on their heads, which are very important to the Jewish faith. Wearing the yam

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John Michael Greer:

You can have everything you need to build a bicycle and still be unable to make a telescope or a radio receiver, and vice versa.

Strictly speaking, therefore, nothing requires the project of deliberate technological regress to move in lockstep to the technologies of a specific past date and stay there. It would be wholly possible to dump certain items of modern technology while keeping others. It would be just as possible to replace one modern technological suite with an older equivalent from one decade, another with an equivalent from a different decade and so on. Imagine, for example, a future America in which solar water heaters (worked out by 1920) and passive solar architecture (mostly developed in the 1960s and 1970s) were standard household features, canal boats (dating from before 1800) and tall ships (ditto) were the primary means of bulk transport, shortwave radio (developed in the early 20th century) was the standard long-range communications medium, ultralight aircraft (largely developed in the 1980s) were still in use, and engineers crunched numbers using slide rules (perfected around 1880).

There’s no reason why such a pastiche of technologies from different eras couldn’t work. We know this because what passes for modern technology is a pastiche of the same kind, in which (for example) cars whose basic design dates from the 1890s are gussied up with onboard computers invented a century later. Much of modern technology, in fact, is old technology with a new coat of paint and a few electronic gimmicks tacked on, and it’s old technology that originated in many different eras, too. Part of what differentiates modern technology from older equivalents, in other words, is mere fashion. Another part, though, moves into more explosive territory.

[...]

These days, when you see the words “new and improved” on a product, rather more often than not, the only thing that’s been improved is the bottom line of the company that’s trying to sell it to you. When you hear equivalent claims about some technology that’s being marketed to society as a whole, rather than sold to you personally, the same rule applies at least as often.

[...]

Technological progress is a function of collective choices—do we fund Sealab or the Apollo program? Supersonic transports or urban light rail? Energy conservation and appropriate tech or an endless series of wars in the Middle East? No impersonal force makes those decisions; individuals and institutions make them, and then use the rhetoric of impersonal progress to cloak the political and financial agendas that guide the decision-making process.

What’s more, even if the industrial world chooses to invest its resources in a project, the laws of physics and economics determine whether the project is going to work. The Concorde is the poster child here, a technological successbut an economic flop that never even managed to cover its operating costs. Like nuclear power, it was only viable given huge and continuing government subsidies, and since the strategic benefits Britain and France got from having Concordes in the air were nothing like so great as those they got from having an independent source of raw material for nuclear weapons, it’s not hard to see why the subsidies went where they did.

That is to say, when something is being lauded as the next great step forward in the glorious march of progress leading humanity to a better world, those who haven’t drunk themselves tipsy on folk mythology need to keep four things in mind. The first is that the next great step forward  in the glorious march of progress (etc.) might not actually work when it’s brought down out of the billowing clouds of overheated rhetoric into the cold hard world of everyday life. The second is that even if it works, the next great step forward (etc.) may be a white elephant in economic terms, and survive only so long as it gets propped up by subsidies. The third is that even if it does make economic sense, the next great step (etc.) may be an inferior product, and do a less effective job of meeting human needs than whatever it’s supposed to replace. The fourth is that when it comes right down to it, to label something as the next great (etc.) is just a sales pitch, an overblown and increasingly trite way of saying “Buy this product!”

Those necessary critiques, in turn, are all implicit in the project of deliberate technological regress. Get past the thoughtstopping rhetoric that insists “you can’t turn back the clock”—to rephrase a comment of G.K. Chesterton’s, most people turn back the clock every fall, so that’s hardly a valid objection—and it becomes hard not to notice that “progress” is just a label for whatever choices happen to have been made by governments and corporations, with or without input from the rest of us. If we don’t like the choices that have been made for us in the name of progress, in turn, we can choose something else.

[...]

Once you buy into the notion that the specific choices made by industrial societies over the last three centuries or so are something more than the projects that happened to win out in the struggle for wealth and power, once you let yourself believe that there’s a teleology to it all—that there’s some objectively definable goal called “progress” that all these choices did a better or worse job of furthering—you’ve just made it much harder to ask where this thing called “progress” is going. The word “progress,” remember, means going further in the same direction, and it’s precisely questions about the direction that industrial society is going that most need to be asked.

I’d like to suggest, in fact, that going further in the direction we’ve been going isn’t a particularly bright idea just now.  It isn’t even necessary to point to the more obviously self-destructive dimensions of business as usual. Look at any trend that affects your life right now, however global or local that trend may be, and extrapolate it out in a straight line indefinitely; that’s what going further in the same direction means. If that appeals to you, dear reader, then you’re certainly welcome to it.  I have to say it doesn’t do much for me.

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2015/02/what-progress-means.html
Last week’s post here on The Archdruid Report appears to have hit a nerve. That didn’t come as any sort of a surprise, admittedly.  It’s one thing to point out that going back to the simpler and less energy-intensive technolo...
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My Arduino Esplora is gathering dust...
 
Love Adventure Time? Make your own Raspberry Pi Powered BMO! http://ow.ly/JJHwV
So many Adventure Time fans wish that they could have their own personal BMO, a quirky living game system from the show. If you're not yet familiar, watch the video below, it will give you a quick ...
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Aaron Helton

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In addition to acting, Mr. Nimoy directed films; published poetry, autobiographies and books of photography; and recorded music.
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Sad.
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Camus was right.

< What does it say about the nature of reality when your top scientists and your village idiots have the same hypotheses? >
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I woke up to this controversy this morning. The middle image (the original) looks white and gold to me. Under the right circumstances, I can get my brain to switch it, but the effect is only temporary.
Not since Monica Lewinsky was a White House intern has one blue dress been the source of so much consternation. (And yes, it’s blue.) The fact that a single image could polarize the entire Internet into two aggressive camps is, let’s face it, just another Thursday. But for the past half-day, people across social media…
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looks white and gold at home and blue and black on the PC at work. Yay for color temperature settings...
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It's one of those days. Google to the rescue?
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Want.
 
Newly released fairytales. I expect commentary from +Yonatan Zunger
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Chocolate Factory's microservices code is yours to coddle
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Hint: my tweet below is an example of how NOT to be generous. But I will give you a :) . I've got some verified accounts invites left if anyone wants one. — Ray Yamartino (@rayyamartino) February 27, 2015. Alt-Text: Generosity: From the English, 'Generous', meaning, to freely 'gen'.
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I have been suggesting for a long time now (and even briefly caught Netflix's attention with the suggestion) that one of the solutions to this problem lies in emulating one of the greatest things about broadcast TV. Namely, that one can sit down in front of the television on a specific day at a specific time and know, if one follows such things, what today's lineup is. Even if you have to change the channel, you know you're going to get the next episode of series A, the next episode of series B, and, for instance, a somewhat random rerun of series C. 

Since it's an old topic, let me explain again my vision for what Netflix can do. I called it a customizable playlist. You create such playlists when you have time to do it, not when you are sitting down to watch something. The options should be flexible enough so that you can end up with any combination of the following:

1) Same lineup every time you play it. 
2) Different lineup each day.
3) Light to heavy binge watching (so you could dedicate Thursdays to one series, for instance.)
4) Varying degrees of randomness, such that one could get a random episode (something I like to do with older/completed series like Friends, Seinfeld, and The IT Crowd) or a random show that trends well in relation to other choices you've made.
5) For TV shows where you don't want any randomness, each run through the lineup should advance to the next episode. If you don't complete an entire lineup, the episode should be saved until the next play-through, so it only advances if you actually watch it.
6) Let me share my lineup and subscribe to other people's lineups, say, via Facebook, et al, to reduce choice friction even more. In cases like this, say you have a friend with an eclectic taste, whose lineups contain crazy, off the wall suggestions you might never have come across otherwise. This goes way beyond simply sharing what one has watched and allows tastemakers to become VJs on the Netflix platform. I can think of a few people whose public signals about a show have attracted me to that show.

Let's walk through an example playlist, one I will call Thursday, just because. Now let's say Thursday is a day I just want to crack a beer and laugh at some sitcoms for a few hours, because Thursday, that's why. No commercials means I can get around 3 nominally half-hour episodes per hour, so I don't need an entire four hour block of prime-time programming to get the same fix. And finally, let's assume that Netflix even has all of the shows in question (they don't in this case, but it's irrelevant because there are others).

Thursday
Random episode of Seinfeld
Random episode of King of Queens
Random episode of The Office (US)
Random episode of Parks and Recreation
Next episode in the list for Bob's Burgers
Surprise Me! (something I might like given the above; if I do like it, I can add it to this lineup, and if I don't, give me something else next time).

Is it complicated? Yes. Are there complications I haven't explored? Absolutely. Could Netflix do it without sacrificing its user experience? Perhaps, but I would submit that the cost of decision paralysis is significant enough that it is worth investigating. And anyway, they don't have to make it the default.

Hopefully I have described this well enough that Netflix can do something with it. 
It's bad, and the only thing you can do is lower your expectations and press play.
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My advice to everyone is: behave slightly randomly.
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// I love seeing the internet come together in moments like these. We can't anticipate such events, we can only ride the wave wherever it takes us. The joy is that it takes us all along with it. 

A few days back I shared an study that social media correlated with a rise in violence compared to mass media. They argued that mass media unified communities where social media fractured them, leading to violence. http://goo.gl/4i1NUG

This whole dress color thing is a clear reminder that the internet is one network. We spend out time on different subnets talking to niche communities about the things that only we care about, so it might look like we're fragmented and balkanized because we're not all dealing with the same input. But this is utterly wrongheaded; that's not how socialization works at all. No community is ever really homogeneous. 

Social media isn't just mass media, it is organized media. That means it's operating at a level of complexity and scale beyond anything traditional media can comprehend. It's the difference between throwing a bucket of water on your garden and installing a sprinkler system. 

We've crafted a global network that can amplify the mumblings on one network to attract the attention of our best minds across all networks. Within hours, the same debate (over the color of that dress) was happening a million times in parallel, with experts on call to weigh in.  http://goo.gl/KWNBWo

We didn't need a mass message or single voice to rally that collective attention. We just needed something compelling enough to share. Our networks form a seamless fabric that we've stitched together ourselves. We can bridge these networks and assemble at a massive scale when needed, or we can decompose into our cliques and save energy. Controlling our assembled attention is hard, and we have a lot to learn about cooperating at these scales. I'm sure we'll encounter even greater challenges in the future, so this is excellent practice. 

Good job, internet. Keep doing this kind of thing. It's good for you. 

// Framing this event for Skylar hth
https://twitter.com/theskylarian/status/571110941363994624
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Education
  • St. Edward's University
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Facilis descensus Averno; Noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis; Sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras, Hoc opus, hic labor est.
Introduction
I am a husband, father, technologist, humanist, skeptic, gamer, thinker, and dreamer. 

Hablo español.

Insert all applicable obligatory disclaimers here.

Circle me if you like any of the following, because I post about them regularly:
  • Odd and off the wall stuff
  • Technology
  • Making and DIY
  • Literature and poetry
  • Roleplaying games
  • Random musings and thought experiments
  • Language learning stuff, especially English <--> Spanish
  • Photography
  • Cooking, especially vegetarian and vegan
  • New York City
This is not a comprehensive list.

If you expect me to circle you back:
  • Have some public posts
  • Preferably posts that interest me in some way
  • Hint: it helps if they aren't all links to the same page/blog/subject; I like well-roundedness
  • Interact with me in a meaningful way
  • It also probably helps if you have any idea what my tagline comes from.  Just sayin'.
Work
Occupation
Aspiring autoanthropodermic bibliopegist and resident curmudgeon.
Skills
Saying 'nay', shaking my fist, and telling people to vacate my lawn in multiple languages.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
New York, NY
Previously
Washington, DC - Amarilo, TX - Austin, TX - Enid, OK - Kaiserslautern, Germany - El Paso, TX
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Decent food (not like home, but workable), good prices, and a small but reliable selection of vegetarian options. Good, sensible kids selections.
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
3 reviews
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Where to start? Signs all over the place prohibiting potential customers from touching any of the merchandise? Check. Overreaction to the presence of children in the store (who were well behaved at the time)? Check. More signs prohibiting customers from smelling any of the fragrant items? Check. Finally asked to leave because the children *might* touch something? Check. This is probably the rudest place I've ever seen, and it's a wonder the place manages to stay in business. In the response the owner will surely leave below, she will explain that the signs are intended to keep people from handling merchandise carelessly, and that somehow smelling fragrant items may make them unsellable. She may even concoct some story about my kids being unruly (which will be a lie). So while every story has two sides, you should keep in mind these statements before buying the owner's version. Consumers have choices, and while I could have been a customer, the owner's attitude as evidenced by the signs and the rude treatment mean I will never consider being a customer there in the future. In fact, if I ever set foot in the store again, it will be to take pictures of these ridiculous signs to share here or on Yelp. Verdict: Avoid this place. Your dollars are better spent somewhere else. The internet, perhaps.
• • •
Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago