Are You What You Buy?
The only thing worse than being misperceived by a machine is being expertly perceived by one, says Walter Kirn about software that recommends the author books and movies.
The so-called "collaborative filtering" programs that work by relating my browsing and buying habits to those of other customers sometimes yield picks that seem positively bizarre, forcing me to reconstruct my shopping history as well as to speculate on the crisscrossed threads that knit together popular culture. One morning, for example, a book by Billy Baldwin appeared on my Amazon recommended list despite the fact that I’ve never shown any interest in the memoirs of minor tough-guy movie actors. I called my girlfriend over to my screen so we could laugh together at the mistake, but the laugh was on me, as it turned out.
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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
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