A Secret Code in Google Translate?

Earlier this week security reporter Brian Krebs pointed out an odd glitch in Google Translate. It had to do with the service’s treatment of “Lorem Ipsum” placeholder text—the string of Latin words that people use to block out space for text on websites and in other designs before meaningful verbiage is added.
For some reason, strings of “Lorem Ipsum” were coming back as “NATO.” In his post, Krebs works through a few examples and posits a few explanations. Perhaps someone is gaming the translate system for fun, or to get around Chinese censorship laws. 
Could it be a code hidden in plain sight?
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A Secret Code in Google Translate?

Earlier this week security reporter Brian Krebs pointed out an odd glitch in Google Translate. It had to do with the service’s treatment of “Lorem Ipsum” placeholder text—the string of Latin words that people use to block out space for text on websites and in other designs before meaningful verbiage is added.

For some reason, strings of “Lorem Ipsum” were coming back as “NATO.” In his post, Krebs works through a few examples and posits a few explanations. Perhaps someone is gaming the translate system for fun, or to get around Chinese censorship laws. 

Could it be a code hidden in plain sight?

Looks Like a Duck, Quacks Like Reality TV:

It’s one of the more curious features of our age of culture-war spectacle that, just as Americans are all set to retreat into the comforting, formulaic pleasures of our mass entertainments, we’re suddenly riven by the news that we’re also employing them as platforms for some ideological agenda or another. The most recent case in point was last winter’s uproar over the ignorant, homophobic tirade that Phil Robertson, star of the hit A&E reality TV franchise Duck Dynasty, unleashed to a reporter from GQ. Robertson’s outburst was little more than a rehash of talking points well trod by the evangelical right, from the claim that sodomy segues directly to bestiality to the prophecy that gays will not come into possession of the Kingdom of God. But to hear them come from a gruff-talking and otherwise beloved televisual symbol of Louisiana’s backwoods working class, as opposed to the likes of Rick Santorum or Ralph Reed, was enough to summon the pseudopopulist rhetoric of cultural confrontation in amped-up form. After A&E executives suspended Robertson over his comments, conservative political leaders from Sarah Palin to Bobby Jindal rallied to the defense of his free-speech rights in the workplace—protections that, by the way, our courts have routinely denied to Americans and that, in any event, are almost laughably inapt for someone tasked with adopting a largely scripted identity for the sake of lifestyle titillation.

Read More > High-res

Looks Like a Duck, Quacks Like Reality TV:

It’s one of the more curious features of our age of culture-war spectacle that, just as Americans are all set to retreat into the comforting, formulaic pleasures of our mass entertainments, we’re suddenly riven by the news that we’re also employing them as platforms for some ideological agenda or another. The most recent case in point was last winter’s uproar over the ignorant, homophobic tirade that Phil Robertson, star of the hit A&E reality TV franchise Duck Dynasty, unleashed to a reporter from GQ. Robertson’s outburst was little more than a rehash of talking points well trod by the evangelical right, from the claim that sodomy segues directly to bestiality to the prophecy that gays will not come into possession of the Kingdom of God. But to hear them come from a gruff-talking and otherwise beloved televisual symbol of Louisiana’s backwoods working class, as opposed to the likes of Rick Santorum or Ralph Reed, was enough to summon the pseudopopulist rhetoric of cultural confrontation in amped-up form. After A&E executives suspended Robertson over his comments, conservative political leaders from Sarah Palin to Bobby Jindal rallied to the defense of his free-speech rights in the workplace—protections that, by the way, our courts have routinely denied to Americans and that, in any event, are almost laughably inapt for someone tasked with adopting a largely scripted identity for the sake of lifestyle titillation.

Read More >

The Volunteers of FindaGrave.com

Last weekend I biked to a cemetery near my apartment with a camera and a name. I was looking for the grave of Rose Victor, a woman I’ve never met and know nothing about—except that she was buried in Mount Judah Cemetery in Queens (Section 2, Block 6, Gate 24, Path L07, Grave 62) on August 30, 1921. My mission was clear: Take a picture of her headstone, and upload it toFindaGrave.com—a crowdsourced database of gravestone photographs.
Completing that mission was harder than I expected.
High-res

The Volunteers of FindaGrave.com

Last weekend I biked to a cemetery near my apartment with a camera and a name. I was looking for the grave of Rose Victor, a woman I’ve never met and know nothing about—except that she was buried in Mount Judah Cemetery in Queens (Section 2, Block 6, Gate 24, Path L07, Grave 62) on August 30, 1921. My mission was clear: Take a picture of her headstone, and upload it toFindaGrave.com—a crowdsourced database of gravestone photographs.

Completing that mission was harder than I expected.

Trolls drive Anita Sarkeesian out of her house to prove misogyny doesn’t exist


Earlier this week, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian posted the latest in a series of crowdfunded videos called Tropes vs. Women, devoted to aggregating and analyzing games that portray women as damsels in distress, ornamental eye candy, incidental victims, and other archetypes that tend to be written in service of and subordinate to male players and characters. 
Since the project launched on Kickstarter way back in 2012, the gaming community has been treated to an incessant, deeply paranoid campaign against Tropes vs. Women generally and Sarkeesian personally. This includes a flood of violent comments and emails, videos documenting ways in which she’s not a “real gamer,” a game in which you can punch her in the face, and a proposed documentary devoted to exposing the “lies” and “campaign of misinformation” from what is, again, a collection of opinions about video games. High-res

Trolls drive Anita Sarkeesian out of her house to prove misogyny doesn’t exist

Earlier this week, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian posted the latest in a series of crowdfunded videos called Tropes vs. Women, devoted to aggregating and analyzing games that portray women as damsels in distress, ornamental eye candy, incidental victims, and other archetypes that tend to be written in service of and subordinate to male players and characters. 
Since the project launched on Kickstarter way back in 2012, the gaming community has been treated to an incessant, deeply paranoid campaign against Tropes vs. Women generally and Sarkeesian personally. This includes a flood of violent comments and emails, videos documenting ways in which she’s not a “real gamer,” a game in which you can punch her in the face, and a proposed documentary devoted to exposing the “lies” and “campaign of misinformation” from what is, again, a collection of opinions about video games.
The Chinese Basketball Association is Fucked Up:

When the Chinese Basketball Association comes up, you might think about Stephon Marbury as a cultural phenomenon, having won two titles overseas, and along the way earning himself a statue and and a theatrical play based on his CBA career. When you think about the sport of basketball in China, you might be inclined to acknowledge that the country is the second-largest NBA market outside of the United States. You remember how fans lose their collective minds over the arrival of LeBron James or Kobe Bryant as part of their Nike marketing obligations. You think the country is a hot bed for basketball.
All of this is true. But as those in the Western world are becoming more familiar with the CBA and basketball in China, they’re also starting to discover a league with a reputation of not paying its international players and having the worst officiating in the world. They’re also discovering a country that may be squandering its opportunity to position itself as an important part of the NCAA and NBA conversation.

Read More >

The Chinese Basketball Association is Fucked Up:

When the Chinese Basketball Association comes up, you might think about Stephon Marbury as a cultural phenomenon, having won two titles overseas, and along the way earning himself a statue and and a theatrical play based on his CBA career. When you think about the sport of basketball in China, you might be inclined to acknowledge that the country is the second-largest NBA market outside of the United States. You remember how fans lose their collective minds over the arrival of LeBron James or Kobe Bryant as part of their Nike marketing obligations. You think the country is a hot bed for basketball.

All of this is true. But as those in the Western world are becoming more familiar with the CBA and basketball in China, they’re also starting to discover a league with a reputation of not paying its international players and having the worst officiating in the world. They’re also discovering a country that may be squandering its opportunity to position itself as an important part of the NCAA and NBA conversation.

Read More >

I’m Chevy Chase and You’re Not:

The only performer on Saturday Night whose fame in the first season transcended the show’s cult following was Chevy Chase. Chevy was not yet a superstar, by any means, but he was headed in that direction. He was the hottest new face in the country, and the timing of his breakthrough was such that his celebrity was magnified by emotional undercurrents of unusual power.
He took the stage when the press and public alike were anxious for a new diversion, not unlike the Beatles when they landed in New York soon after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. America after Watergate was ready to proclaim a new clown prince, someone whose very freshness and confidence was a relief and a renewal. In 1975, Chevy Chase was it.

Read More > High-res

I’m Chevy Chase and You’re Not:

The only performer on Saturday Night whose fame in the first season transcended the show’s cult following was Chevy Chase. Chevy was not yet a superstar, by any means, but he was headed in that direction. He was the hottest new face in the country, and the timing of his breakthrough was such that his celebrity was magnified by emotional undercurrents of unusual power.

He took the stage when the press and public alike were anxious for a new diversion, not unlike the Beatles when they landed in New York soon after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. America after Watergate was ready to proclaim a new clown prince, someone whose very freshness and confidence was a relief and a renewal. In 1975, Chevy Chase was it.

Read More >

The Island Nation that Bought a Back-Up Property

Mikarite Temari, the mayor of Christmas Island, Kiribati’s largest atoll, rolled his eyes and shook his head as I read off my laptop in his office what his president, Anote Tong, had said during a visit to New York.
“According to the science and the projections,” Tong, a slim 62-year-old with a trimmed mustache, a gray crew-cut and a talent for metaphor, told Fareed Zakaria on CNN, “it is already too late for us.” For Kiribati and other nations made up of low-lying atolls, Tong added, “The impact of climate change is about total annihilation.” An interviewer in The New Yorker wrote, “Kiribati’s fate is settled; Tong gives it twenty years.”
High-res

The Island Nation that Bought a Back-Up Property

Mikarite Temari, the mayor of Christmas Island, Kiribati’s largest atoll, rolled his eyes and shook his head as I read off my laptop in his office what his president, Anote Tong, had said during a visit to New York.

“According to the science and the projections,” Tong, a slim 62-year-old with a trimmed mustache, a gray crew-cut and a talent for metaphor, told Fareed Zakaria on CNN, “it is already too late for us.” For Kiribati and other nations made up of low-lying atolls, Tong added, “The impact of climate change is about total annihilation.” An interviewer in The New Yorker wrote, “Kiribati’s fate is settled; Tong gives it twenty years.”

Where the Five-Day Workweek Came From

“Seven days,” wrote Witold Rybczynski in the August 1991 issue of The Atlantic, “is not natural because no natural phenomenon occurs every seven days.” The year marks one revolution of the Earth around the sun.  Months, supposedly, mark the time between full moons.  The seven-day week, however, is completely man-made.

If it’s man-made, can’t man unmake it? For all the talk of how freeing it’d be to shave a day or two off the five-day workweek, little attention has been paid to where the weekly calendar came from. 
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Where the Five-Day Workweek Came From

“Seven days,” wrote Witold Rybczynski in the August 1991 issue of The Atlantic, “is not natural because no natural phenomenon occurs every seven days.” The year marks one revolution of the Earth around the sun.  Months, supposedly, mark the time between full moons.  The seven-day week, however, is completely man-made.

If it’s man-made, can’t man unmake it? For all the talk of how freeing it’d be to shave a day or two off the five-day workweek, little attention has been paid to where the weekly calendar came from.