Millennials are turning their apartments into “house jungles”

Millennials are turning their apartments into “house jungles”

Hilton Carter keeps 180 plants in his house. Apparently, he’s part of a millennial trend that’s obsessed with houseplants.

From The Washington Post:

Others prefer the term “urban rain forest” or the cutesy “jungalow.” In this aspirational landscape, outlandishly and photographically lush is ideal, and filling your home with plants is “urban wilding.” In less enlightened times, we probably would have just called it “decorating.”

The obsession helps generation thumbs bring a little outside, inside.

Writes Tovah Martin, the writer behind houseplant books The Indestructible Houseplant and The Unexpected Houseplant: “One of the first waves of houseplants was after the Industrial Revolution.” The move to cities compelled folks for more greenery, and albeit, oxygen.

“I think the current cycle has a lot to do with people hunkering down. A houseplant is therapeutic. It gives you something to nurture.”

PS. If you want to take care of your own houseplant, Amazon has a whole bunch on sale.

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Watch Mark Zuckerberg testify live before the Senate right here

Watch Zuckerberg’s testify live before the Senate right here
(Photo via SAUL LOEB/Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is about to testify before the US Senate. You can expect the hearing to focus on the manipulation of data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

‘Move fast and break things’

Can Zuckerberg rectify the damage he’s done to digital oil? We never worry about our privacy until its too late.

Watch the privacy theater live below and highlights after the jump. Scroll down for a live viewing of Day 2.

Day 1


Highlights Day 1:


Day 2 — Live Now…


Highlights Day 2:

Instagram tweaks its algorithm to favor fresher posts

gif by Denis Sazhin

Instagram is making tweaks to the algorithmic feed it introduced two years ago. While the social network won’t bring back the chronological feed, it will emphasize newer posts first. You’ll also be able to manually refresh your feeds instead of kicked up to the to while browsing.

From the Instagram blog:

We’ve heard it can feel unexpected when your feed refreshes and automatically bumps you to the top. So today we’re testing a “New Posts” button that lets you choose when you want to refresh, rather than it happening automatically. Tap the button and you’ll be taken to new posts at the top of feed — don’t tap, and you’ll stay where you are. We hope this makes browsing Instagram much more enjoyable.

Based on your feedback, we’re also making changes to ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed. With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about. So if your best friend shares a selfie from her vacation in Australia, it will be waiting for you when you wake up.

I no longer use Instagram like I used to because the feed feels like a disorganized mosh pit. Timestamps are all over the place and my friends’ posts went missing at the cost of brands.

At least now it appears that Instagram is listening, sort of.

I’d still like the ability to create lists like Twitter. I’d create one feed specific to street photographers and another for my closest friends. An ad-less version of Instagram would be a bonus as well, even at the price of a monthly subscription.

Blame the humans, not the bots, for retweeting false news

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gif via Ryan Seslow

According to research done by data scientists at MIT, it is humans, not bots, which disseminate false news.

The study began with the 2013 Boston bombings when Twitter spread inaccurate rumors about the aftermath of the events.

The three authors of the study then took it upon themselves to dig deeper into the fake news phenomenon by examining tweets of 3 million users from the years 2006 to 2017.

Blame the humans, not the machines

The overarching result is that false news spreads faster than real news because people on Twitter are more likely to retweet novelty. Said MIT professor and researcher Sinan Aral, “We found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, bots accelerate the spread of true and false stories at the same rate. False news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.”

Sensationalism stokes retweets. In fact, “false news stories are 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than true stories are. It also takes true stories about six times as long to reach 1,500 people as it does for false stories to reach the same number of people.”

MIT scientists believe misinformation also runs rampant on Facebook but is harder to detect because it lives in the echo chambers of a walled garden: FB groups, private posts, and direct messages (re: dark social). Because of Russia’s election meddling in 2016, both Facebook and Twitter are finally taking efforts to improve their platforms for better veracity detection. Fact-checking is more vital than ever.

Humans are suckers for captivating but erroneous news. Some people even refuse to let go. As Mark Twain so wisely noted, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” The good news is that the truth never expires, even if it takes longer to percolate.

Coping with the maelstrom of news

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It’s hard enough to cultivate awareness. We drown in our own ineptitude to sort and curate the noise. Spiralling out of control, we gravitate to the bite-sized headline.

Lacking interest in context, we are too impatient to go deeper. Like fast food, we consume information and move on, having forgotten what crap we engulfed.

The internet can make your brain swell so big that it squeezes out the need for interpretation. Nothing sticks nor lasts longer than a Twitter trend. Consuming less and understanding more seems to be the only antidote.


A return to trusted sources

In a time of chaos, those that provide structure and synthesis re-emerge. Trusted publications like The New York Times or Wall Street Journal become bulwarks of fact-checked news where we can believe what we read. Meanwhile, confidence in social media sources is sinking.

We can’t call ‘fake news’ to everything we disagree with. Such criticism undermines the credibility of opposing viewpoints that help weed out bias. Curation is still human and analytical; beware the bots.

 

Drone to the rescue

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via Little Ripper

Lifeguards deployed a drone to save two struggling teenage swimmers stranded in rough seas off the coast of Australia.

This is apparently the first time drone technology carrying a flotation device has rescued swimmers.

While drones are commonly known for selfies (i.e. dronies), Amazon deliveries, firing missiles, and spying but they can also do some good too. The company behind the technology, Little Ripper, developed the drones to monitor sharks for coastal safety.

The drone also recorded the entire event which you can see below.

 

A strange kind of progress

via giphy

A strange kind of progress permeates our world. While technology advances, privacy seems to take two steps back. Social media exploits openness.

While bitcoin promises to disrupt the financial industry to give power to individuals, it smells of chaos and distrust.

Perhaps the new world order takes getting used to. After all, it is habit that puts one to sleep.


But also consider that those obsessed with solutionism — innovating on top of old world problems — can do more harm than good. For instance, Facebook is an around the clock newspaper that misinforms its users every day. A culture of fast-food consumption and ‘breaking news’ outpaces reality, slipping us into inanition.

Problem-solving technologies are bicycles for the mind. However, moving at warp-speed while ignoring the status quo puts our cognition into more fragile territory than ever. Unchecked change is the root of psychological damage.

No longer thinking straight


We are suckers for fake news not necessarily because we want to believe it’s true, but because the world has become so chaotic and polluted with noisy opinions that the possibilities are endless.

The coexistence of anxiety and confirmation bias prevents us from thinking clearly. We are stuck in perpetual worry of the next terrorist attack, natural disaster, and baseless tweet.

Even worse, the facts don’t change our minds. We are ignorantly settled on we think is right and only collect information that solidifies our beliefs.

We reject any proof, having lost our ability to rise above sidedness altogether. Our entire system of beliefs, beliefs about beliefs, are in a state of flux because we’re obsessed with being right.

We’ve lost our ability to pause and reflect, allowing the suck of dopamine to woo our biases instead.

The loop of deception feeds off our inattention. We are trapped in the illusion of knowledge.

67 million viewers

“It’s such an American thing that nothing is real until it’s on television.” – Tom Nichols

It doesn’t matter what books we write or discoveries we make. People only remember us if we appear on TV. In Tom Nichols’ case, succeeding on on Jeopardy superseded his professional accolades as a published author, foreign advisor, and professor at Naval War College.

Television is magic. It informs large audiences that we exist. That’s where talents like Will Smith established their brand. But TV also generates the antithesis: it makes stupid people famous.

The Kardashians pollute the news with their meaninglessness. The President too is a product of the mass marketing machine that is TV. The tube amplifies our status, but it rarely legitimizes the importance of work. Just ask Professor Robert Kelly whose video will forever be remembered as the poster parent for those who work from home with kids. And yes, online is an extension of TV, including YouTube, SnapChat, and Facebook Live. The future of storytelling is pervasive and persuasive video.

Like a social media following, appearing on TV lends instant credibility. Fame is forever tied to visual media. What’s universally more important though is what we build with our bare hands off-screen.

The truth has legs

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  • Alternative facts
  • Fake news
  • Hack journalism
  • Slanted truths
  • Hyberbole
  • Doublethink

We should remain skeptical of any story. The platform always recasts the news in its point of view so the viewer can confirm their own bias.

But to latch on to the trend of cynicism about truths disrespects those digging up the facts.

“The fairest review that any novel of mine ever recorded was one I wrote myself.”

— Anthony Burgess

Criticism is a right, and therefore can be a wrong. But 2 +2 never equates to 5, believe it or not. Some facts are non-negotiable.

Newsletter: Back to basics

web gems

  1. “If a mind was so simple we could understand it, we’d be too simple to understand the mind.”
  2. In Japan, it’s considered a badge of honor to nap in meetings. It’s called “inemuri.”
  3. I’ve stopped Tweeting, but started Instagramming daily and reading again.
  4. It hasn’t even been a fortnight. Please claque. Brian Eno also shared some thoughts. But I think he was overtired.
  5. Bill Domonkos is a hell of a GIF maker. See sharks and this.
  6. Remember to “be the one that you are.” Nietzsche
  7. The SoundCloud generation >>> How Social Media Normalized Mediocrity: Through the Lens of Music
  8. “One should not use the camera as if it were a broom.” – Robert Bresson
  9. Procrastination has negative emotional consequences. We spend more time fretting about getting something done than actually doing it. Why We Procrastinate — And How We Can Stop
  10. Humans want wings.

digging in the crates

  1. Ben Hauke is a beat maker from South-East London. His latest release for house label Church The Rough, Ready, Steady EP features the off-kilter but groovy house jam ‘Take that Blame.’ LISTEN
  2. Throwing Snow is London-based electronic musician Ross Tones. ‘Prism (1)’ is the lead single from his forthcoming album Embers. The track ebbs and flows in kaleidoscopic arpeggios, crunching in a rolling piano to techno synth sensations. LISTEN

3. Paul White is back with some new music on an all new beat tape, Everything You’ve Forgotten. One of my favorite tracks ‘Maori Baby Junior,’ is the kind of downtempo goodness White is known for. LISTEN

4. Continuing in the realm of 2017 beat tapes comes Austin producer Botany AKA Spencer Stephenson with his album Raw Light II. LISTEN

5. Boxwork is South London electronic producer James Wilson. ‘Repertoire Unit’ is the latest single to drop from his forthcoming LP Dive Left. LISTEN

Discover more new music on the bombtune blog. Oh, and here’s my track selects for the Best of 2016, just in case you missed it.

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Tuning out the news

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In today’s age, unfollowing the news will give you a peace of mind. News entertains, it dances with sensationalism and highlights disappointing stories. ‘As it turns out, your hobby of monitoring the “state of the world” did not actually affect the world,’ blogs David Cain in his piece ‘Five Things You Notice When You Quit the News.’

The news is candy for the mind. There’s little currency in meta-truth and more credibility in depth. Books will always be more dependable than the news. The future is apt to repeat the past because people never learned the history taught in books in the first place.

‘If we only care about the breadth of information, and not the depth, there’s not much distinction between “staying informed” and staying misinformed.’

People substitute care with attention, thinking that knowing the latest news on Aleppo shows genuine concern. Their opinions on the issue tip-toe around ideal resolutions without doing anything about it.

‘The sense of “at least I care” may actually prevent us from doing something concrete to help, because by watching sympathetically we don’t quite have to confront the reality that we’re doing absolutely nothing about it.’

It doesn’t matter how well-informed you are because you won’t do anything to ameliorate the situation. You don’t need more news to fill your echo chamber of partisanship; you need to listen with intent.

It’s not even worth consuming the news at all. While that may sound callous, to “remain uninvolved without feeling uninvolved,” can bring focus to the things where you can actually make a difference.

Forget what you heard

For many people, Facebook is their sole newspaper. One of the primary roles of a newspaper is to validate events rather than spread false rumors.

But fake news runs rampant on the platform because anyone can post it without consequence. Facebook does nothing to validate sources, especially since it fired its human curators and replaced them with an algorithm that amplifies noise, true or false. Twitter is equally culpable.

Should we believe anything on social media platforms? Probably not. But the press isn’t exactly trustworthy either. It also has an agenda, that which revolves around whichever drives the most site traffic and clicks.

Misinformation and lies are at the root of chaos. Even the smartest people can often be the most gullible, duped by comedians faking death.

If marketers are liars and social media is edited real life, people must also interpret the news with a grain of salt. Doubt everything.

One too many chips

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Continuous partial attention makes it too easy to snack. Instead of waiting for the main meal, we fritter our hunger away on too many chips and salsa. We’re full before the entree.

Replace chips with social media, and you start to see the excess wear and tear we put on our bodies and minds. We can’t possibly consume all this information and still devour the main meal. It’s like eating all the popcorn before the movie starts.

Unless we plan on taking the food home with us or putting on some extra weight, we better slow down and refocus our attention on why we decided to eat out in the first place.

If you’re going to snack, do it in moderation, so you still have plenty of room left over to absorb the good stuff.

What are you going to do with all that inspiration?

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There’s a consumption period where you read books and articles or impulse-check Instagram or Twitter. Then there’s a thinking process where you take what you ingested and connect things (ideas, concepts, quotes, images, etc.after) to each other.

The doing is the hardest, which is why most people give up after the thinking part. Most creators think their work is original. It’s not; we steal from the artists that came before us.

“Beethoven depended on a Mozart to be a Beethoven. Picasso depended on a Cezanne. Without Michelson, there would be no Einstein” – James Altucher

The attempt to sell our output makes marketing the hardest. If you invent something comparable to the airplane or an online bookstore, be prepared to be misunderstood for a long time.

Not all consumers want to become artists and producers. In fact, the majority of people just want to look and move on. But if you stop once in a while, think about what you learned, you’d be surprised at what you have to contribute.