The Algorithm That's Hipper Than Any Hipster

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1. Your affectation will be automated

"@hipsterbait1 is a bot that lives on twitter and tumblr, it creates ‘hipster bait’ in the form of post-post-ironic t-shirts, mashing up existing cultural referents into new combinations. It was inspired by a conversation with Rob Manuel, who suggested creating this known (hitherto humanly generated) meme in an algorithmic manner. It set me thinking, I wondered if it would also be possible to create not only a representation of the t-shirt, but also the actual physical objects themselves. The premise is a simple one. Take an image and place it with a recognisably wrong label. Offer the resulting t-shirt for sale."


2. Remember the Ouya gaming system? Maybe it's time to give a try, if you're into that kind of thing.

"This afternoon of gaming has also completely changed my view on the OUYA. I can see how the OUYA ecosystem is the perfect 'party gaming' environment. The hardware is not really what matters, it only needs to be 'good enough.' The purchasing, discovery, and gaming experience that the OUYA offers, on the other hand, was a pretty nice surprise to me. I haven’t had that much fun playing video games in a very long time."


3. An interview about human-animal-machine ecologies

"Our Counting Sheep research has been all about developing and testing different combinations of empirical cultural research and creative design research. Using sheep as a case study also allowed me to combine ancient and new technologies; the sheep was domesticated about ten thousand years ago, while the Internet of Things effectively came out to the public at this year's Consumer Electronics Show and we've yet to see where it will go. Of course, it also helped thatZQ Merino and Icebreaker's baacode service had already got the ball rolling in terms of merino traceability."


4. How analog came to mean not-digital.

"The proliferation of analog‘s meaning as 'not-digital' or 'separate from computers' emerges more from a set of reactions to digital technology than from the engineering field itself.  Put another way, an expanded notion of the analog as a condition, which now approaches common sense in a whole range of fields-engineering, computer science, media studies, journalism, music fandom, various media arts and humanities-became a useful rhetorical tool both for promotional and critical discussions of digital technology."


5. Lost amid the NYT stuff, an important report about digital tools in newsrooms came out this week

"Journalism awards and well-attended conferences create a sense that the adoption of data reporting and digital tools is broader than it really is. But there is a still significant gap between the industry’s digital haves and have-nots -- particularly between big national organizations, which have been most willing to try data reporting and digital tools, and smaller local ones, which haven’t."


Today's 1957 American English Usage Tips:

bide. Apart from archaism & poetic use, the word is now idiomatic only in bide one's time, & its past in this phrase is bided.


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of 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, 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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