Snow Crash – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Snow Crash – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Snow Crash is Neal Stephenson‘s third novel, published in 1992. Like many of Stephenson’s other novels it covers historylinguisticsanthropologyarchaeology,religioncomputer sciencepoliticscryptographymemetics, and philosophy.

Stephenson explained the title of the novel in his 1999 essay In the Beginning… was the Command Line as his term for a particular software failure mode on the early Apple Macintosh computer. Stephenson wrote about the Macintosh that “When the computer crashed and wrote gibberish into the bitmap, the result was something that looked vaguely like static on a broken television set—a ‘snow crash’ ”.

The book presents the Sumerian language as the firmware programming language for the brainstem, which is supposedly functioning as the BIOS for the human brain. According to characters in the book, the goddess Asherah is the personification of a linguistic virus, similar to a computer virus. The god Enki created a counter-program which he called a nam-shub that caused all of humanity to speak different languages as a protection against Asherah (a re-interpretation of the ancient Near Eastern story of the Tower of Babel).

Friends Don’t Let Friends Curate FB’s Redesign — Future Tech/Future Market — Medium

The best analogy I’ve heard about the structure of content on today’s internet goes like this:

Imagine a big port.
That port’s all yours, it’s where all of the things you consume come in to dock. Now, you could hop in your little sailboat and visit all of the island sites you want content from, but that wouldn’t be very convenient. You could visit the maiden isle of The Verge or the continent of CNN.

But no, there’s no time for that. You can have your content delivered.

Well, content platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Medium, and YouTube bring in ships to your port. But that won’t do either — those ships bring in a lot of content but it’s not worth checking each ship individually.

What you need is a monster ship to carry all of the content mediums.


More than that, you need an excellent crew on board that monster ship to sort through the containers of content and pick out the worthwhile bits. That’s what services like Facebook and Google+ try to be — giant transport ships that let you choose your own crew.

via Friends Don’t Let Friends Curate FB’s Redesign — Future Tech/Future Market — Medium.


“Twitter” Has Changed a Lot Since the 1700s

via “Twitter” Has Changed a Lot Since the 1700s.

Nowadays, we use words like “twitter” all the time to talk about our everyday social meda-ing. In the 1800s, they said “twitter” too, but it meant something a little different. So did “pin.” The times, they have a-changed.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, which tracks trends like this over time, “twitter” wasn’t quite the same word it is today, but the relation is pretty obvious.

-One who twits; dial. a tale-bearer.
1854: “Don’t tell him anything, he’s a twitter.”

-A condition of twittering or tremulous excitement (from eager desire, fear, etc.); a state of agitation; a flutter, a tremble. Now chiefly dial.
1869: “[She] was in a twitter, partly of expectation, and partly..of fear.”

-A suppressed laugh, a titter; a fit of laughter. dial.
1736: “He is in a mighty twitter.”

-An act or the action of twittering, as a bird; light tremulous chirping. Also transf. a sound resembling this.
1871: “A mere swallow-twitter of inarticulate jargon.”

“Pin” on the other hand, as explained by John Camden Hotten’s 1874 The Slang Dictionary, meant something completely different. At least as slang.

“to put in the pin,” to refrain from drinking. From the ancient peg tankard, which was furnished with a row of pins, or pegs, to regulate the amount which each person was to drink. Drunken people are often requested to “put in the pin,” from some remote connexion between their unsteadiness and that of a carriage wheel which has lost its linch-pin. The popular cry, “put in the pin,” can have no connexion with the drinking pin or peg now, whatever it may originally have had. A merry pin, a roysterer

Of course, plenty of other words have changed as well, with many just picking up verb functionality, like “friend” and “favorite.” Still others, like “search,” mean the same basic thing, in a completely different context. Who knows what words might get bastardized by social media next, but with any luck someday you’ll be able regale your grandchildren with tales of when “sexts” were something exciting. [h/t Boing Boing]

A Shimmering, Tweet-Based Langauge Map of NYC

via A Shimmering, Tweet-Based Langauge Map of NYC.

If you’ve ever wondered which languages are spoken where in NYC, here’s the map for you. This visualization shows exactly which languages are used in tweets across the city.

Put together by James Cheshire, Ed Manley and Oliver O’Brien from University College London,the map builds on 8.5 million tweets, captured between January 2010 and February 2013, which were all analyzed for language content. As you’d expect, it’s quite the melting pot, and the highest concentration of different languages seems to be around the Theatre District and Times Square. Best put that down to tourists, eh? Check out the full, interactive map here.[UCL viaGuardian]

Get Mesmerized Watching All of Twitter in Realtime With TweetPing | GeekDad |

Get Mesmerized Watching All of Twitter in Realtime With TweetPing | GeekDad |

The TweetPing dashboard.

The idea is pretty simple: a live feed of all of Twitter, graphically placed on a map of the world, with stats per continent in a HUD that can be pushed down to allow for what feels like a god’s-eye view of the chatter. The execution is simple, elegant, and will suck you in. Go lose some time watching right now.

Post Position » Lede, Based on a True Story

Post Position » Lede, Based on a True Story
“Sometimes I encounter language that sounds like it was computer-generated, or that sounds like it would be even better if it was. Hence, the slapdash “Lede,” which is based on the first sentence (no, not the whole first paragraph) of a news story that was brought to my attention on ifMUD.

This very simple system does incorporate one minor innovation, the function “fresh(),” which picks from all but the first element of an array and swaps the selection out so that it ends up at the beginning of the array. This means that it doesn’t ever pick the same selection twice in a row.”