Home­less­ness should nev­er be tol­er­at­ed in any soci­ety and if we start design­ing in to accom­mo­date home­less then we have total­ly failed as a soci­ety. Close prox­im­i­ty to home­less­ness unfor­tu­nate­ly makes us uncom­fort­able so per­haps it is good that we feel that and recog­nise home­less­ness as a prob­lem rather than design to accom­mo­date it.

Inter­view with Fac­to­ry Fur­ni­ture Design Team | un·pleas·ant de·sign·

You would think design­ers who cre­ate street fur­ni­ture that pre­vents peo­ple from doing cer­tain things, like sleep on them or skate on them, are unsym­pa­thet­ic bas­tards. But judg­ing by this inter­view that is not nec­es­sar­i­ly always the case.

And any­way, I believe we do need con­straints in our pub­lic spaces because not all of us (or maybe even none of us) are capa­ble of liv­ing well togeth­er in an absolute­ly free envi­ron­ment (as if such a thing would exist in the first place).

This qual­i­fies in an inter­est­ing way what some peo­ple have seen as Latour’s tech­nocratism, his own “love of tech­nol­o­gy,” which is sus­pect to many intel­lec­tu­als (chiefly Hei­deg­ge­ri­ans, but not only them). Because what Latour loves above all is the tech­nol­o­gy that could exist, and the social inter­ac­tions that (can) help to bring it about. He’s not an apol­o­gist for the neolib­er­al order or the effects that tech­no­log­i­cal cul­ture has had, but he does insist on the real­i­ty of the net­works that sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy have cre­at­ed, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of using them to dif­fer­ent ends than the ones they are cur­rent­ly used for. From this stand­point, he looks like quite a utopi­an thinker him­self. And while Nor­bert, like Latour, is reluc­tant to attribute the fail­ure of Aramis to leviathan-sized macro-actors (“Are you going to accuse the social sys­tem? Cap­i­tal­ism? Napoleon­ic France? Sin­ful man, while you’re at it?,” 197), there is more than a tinge of pathos in the fact that an inno­va­tion that would have helped solve eco­log­i­cal as well as trans­porta­tion­al prob­lems was scut­tled by tech­no­crat­ic man­age­ment. And while many of the expla­na­tions giv­en by the actors are as good as any a soci­ol­o­gist could come up with, some are a lot less enlight­ened — e.g. M. Chal­van: “‘Cars belong to indi­vid­u­als; every­one looks out for them. But Aramis would have been col­lec­tive prop­er­ty. The first time any­thing went wrong, peo­ple would have blown the whole thing up’” (71): a rare appear­ance of straight-up ide­ol­o­gy in Latour’s work. [Cf. also “The Fear of Mob Rule” in “Do You Believe In Real­i­ty?”]
Of course, Aver­age Score on its own is also not a great solu­tion, and Aver­age Score With Tweaks risks becom­ing too com­pli­cat­ed for play­ers to care. On a pos­i­tive note, Spelunky’s Dai­ly Chal­lenge is the clos­est I’ve seen so far to an excel­lent solu­tion to the high score prob­lem. It’s clever, sim­ple, and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of gen­er­al Spelunky skills. The only prob­lem with the Dai­ly Chal­lenge is that post­ing a very high score in Spelunky involves a lot of some­what tedious ghost min­ing. Also, I’m not good enough to do it, so it’s got­ta be flawed some­how.

Streak Scor­ing in 868-HACK | In Machi­nam

Fun post dis­cussing the prob­lem of high scor­ing in 868-HACK. That last sen­tence got me.

our hack­ers aren’t smash­ing the sys­tem; they’re fid­dling with it so that they can get more work done. In this vision, it’s up to indi­vid­u­als to accom­mo­date them­selves to the sys­tem rather than to try to reform it. The shrink­ing of polit­i­cal imag­i­na­tion that accom­pa­nies such attempts at doing more with less usu­al­ly goes unre­marked

Evge­ny Moro­zov: Hack­ers, Mak­ers, and the Next Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion : The New York­er

I know Morozov’s style can be infu­ri­at­ing, but I am grate­ful he’s will­ing to tire­less­ly con­tin­ue to point out con­tem­po­rary tech culture’s polit­i­cal short­com­ings.

Lan­guage in all its forms, from poet­ry to cliché, was a con­tin­u­al source of intrigue for Fischli/Weiss. How to Work Bet­ter (1991) is a man­i­festo com­pris­ing 10 per­sua­sive but emp­ty sen­tences, each with the aim of improv­ing work­place pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and morale: “Know the prob­lem”; “Accept change as inevitable.” Fischli/Weiss plucked these stock phras­es from a fac­to­ry in Thai­land and paint­ed them in large sten­cilled let­ters to cov­er the exte­ri­or of an office block in Oer­likon, Zurich, vis­i­ble on the approach into the city cen­tre by train from Zurich Air­port.

[TAS] Super Mario World “Exe­cutes Arbi­trary Code” in 02:25.19 by Mas­ter­jun (by Masterjun3)

How this works is described in the pre­vi­ous post. The tool-assist­ed speedrun (TAS) phe­nom­e­non is pushed beyond its ini­tial inten­tions and morphs into some­thing alto­geth­er dif­fer­ent. What it exact­ly will become I’m not sure but I can imag­ine peo­ple tak­ing videogames and per­form­ing them as if they’re instru­ments of a kind.

It’s at 1:39 in the video where things real­ly start going pear-shaped, as the fab­ric of the game’s real­i­ty comes apart at the seams for a few sec­onds before inex­plic­a­bly tran­si­tion­ing to Mario-themed ver­sions of Pong and Snake. […] Suf­fice it to say that the first minute-and-a-half or so of this TAS is mere­ly an effort to spawn a spe­cif­ic set of sprites into the game’s Object Attribute Mem­o­ry (OAM) buffer in a spe­cif­ic order. The TAS run­ner then uses a stun glitch to spawn an unused sprite into the game, which in turn caus­es the sys­tem to treat the sprites in that OAM buffer as raw exe­cutable code. In this case, that code has been arranged to jump to the mem­o­ry loca­tion for con­troller data, in essence let­ting the user insert what­ev­er exe­cutable pro­gram he or she wants into mem­o­ry by con­vert­ing the bina­ry data for pre­cise­ly ordered but­ton press­es into assem­bly code.
So the key to restor­ing the bal­ance of pow­er between gov­ern­ments and the gov­erned is not uncom­pre­hend­ing fear of sur­veil­lance, but under­stand­ing the mobil­i­ty-sur­veil­lance trade-off equa­tion, and fig­ur­ing out how much increased mobil­i­ty we can demand in return for con­sent­ing to increased sur­veil­lance. Once we fig­ure out how to increase our mobil­i­ty to match the lim­its of the new tech­nolo­gies of con­sent, the trade implied by the new social con­tract will be fair once again.

Con­sent of the Sur­veiled

Nobody can be quite as con­trar­i­an and make sense at the same time as Venkatesh can.

I’m not sure increased mobil­i­ty is a fair trade-off for increased sur­veil­lance if it is not cou­pled with increased care. Oth­er­wise, I don’t see how it will serve any­body except those who are already well-off.