5 Intriguing Things

The world's greatest escalator ride, facial recognition as a business, Evgeny Morozov on privacy, the unclaimed dead of New York, and the Wu Tang Clan.
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1. A fun, beautiful timelapse of Hong Kong's (insanely long) outdoor escalator system. Read about it here.

2. These analysts say the "facial recognition market" will be $6.5 billion by 2018.

"The major forces driving the market are growth of surveillance market and huge spending by the government across the globe on biometric technologies. At the same time, various opportunities exist in consumer electronics segment, handheld devices segment, and innovative cloud services based on face recognition technologies (anonymous face analysis)."

 

3. Evgeny Morozov's eminently reasonably feature on privacy (really!)

"Few of us have had moral pangs about data-­sharing schemes, but that could change. Before the environment became a global concern, few of us thought twice about taking public transport if we could drive. Before ethical consumption became a global concern, no one would have paid more for coffee that tasted the same but promised 'fair trade.'"

 

4. There is a place where they bury the "unclaimed dead" of New York. There are a million bodies there.

"The majority are interred by prisoners from Riker’s Island who earn 50 cents an hour digging gravesites and stacking simple wooden boxes in groups of 150 adults and 1,000 infants. These inmates—most of them very young, serving out short sentences—are responsible for building the only memorials on Hart Island: Handmade crosses made of twigs and small offerings of fruit and candy left behind when a grave is finished."

 

5. Rap Genius annotation of "Bring Da Ruckus," which came out almost exactly 20 years ago, along with the rest of the Wu Tang Clan's legendary Enter the 36 Chambers

"Ghostface catch the blast of a hype verse
My Glock burst, leave in a hearse, I did worse
I come rough, tough like an elephant tusk
Ya head rush, fly like Egyptian musk
Aww shit Wu-Tang Clan spark the wicks an'
However I master the trick just like Nixon
Causing terror, quick damage your whole era"

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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