around the traps

  • Death of the office | 1843: It's too early to say whether the office is done for. As with any sudden loss, many of us find our judgment blurred by conflicting emotions. Relief at freedom from the daily commute and pleasure at turning one's back on what Philip Larkin called “the toad work” are tinged with regret and nostalgia, as we prepare for another shapeless day of WFH in jogging bottoms.
  • Government concedes health officials are currently unable to use COVIDSafe coronavirus app: The federal government has conceded that the COVIDSafe tracing app is not currently operational and won't be up and running until next week. Yep. They released the app before the backend was ready.
  • Covid-19 will change the standards of professionalism — Quartz at Work: Any illusion we used to propagate about “balance,” telling both our work and our families that they are the top priority and acting like the two are entirely separate forces in our lives, has ended abruptly. The affair we were having from our life with our work and vice versa has just been exposed. The glimmer of hope I am clinging to in trying times is that the pretending ends for good, that this global crisis liberates us from our post-industrial hangover of humans as resources, as pieces of the organizational machine, without families or feelings.
  • Can an AI be an inventor? Not yet. | MIT Technology Review: Instead of listing a human author on the applications, the inventor was listed as Dabus AI, an AI system that Thaler spent over a decade building. Dabus AI came up with the innovations after being fed general data about many subjects. Thaler may have built Dabus, but he has no expertise in creating lights or food containers, and wouldn’t have been able to generate the ideas on his own. And so, the AIP team argues, Dabus itself is the rightful inventor.
  • Coronavirus pandemic exposes fatal flaws of the 'just-in-time' economy - ABC News: Official estimates showing that nearly 800,000 Australians lost their jobs in the space of a week or so as the crisis hit were a stark illustration of how quickly the "flexible" workforce can become collateral damage, with their loss of earnings threatening to unravel the economy and financial system. The lack of a buffer for many businesses in the just-in-time economy has also been brought into stark relief, with so many enterprises utterly reliant on short-term cash flow, with few resources to fall back on.
  • Home affairs data breach may have exposed personal details of 700,000 migrants | Technology | The Guardian: At a time the federal government is asking Australians to trust the security of data collected by its Covid-Safe contact tracing app, privacy experts are appalled by the breach, which they say is just the latest in a long line of cybersecurity blunders.
  • Australian universities angry at 'final twist of the knife' excluding them from jobkeeper | Australia news | The Guardian: Universities are incensed by the third set of changes in a month designed to exclude them from the $130bn jobkeeper wage subsidy program, labelling them the “final twist of the knife” that will ensure none qualify.
  • Coronavirus has put a spotlight on a difficult medical question: Why do so few drugs killviruses? - ABC News
  • Empty sets - BBC Archive: Give your video calls a makeover, with this selection of over 100 empty sets from the BBC Archive.
  • Sydney inventor David Soo can grow $600,000 worth of vanilla from his smartphone - ABC News: The solution Mr Soo is developing is a custom-designed, 350-cubic-metre greenhouse, with controlled growing conditions that can be adjusted by mobile device. Now three years into a pilot project on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Mr Soo is growing about 200 vanilla vines in a patented geodesic dome greenhouse. He claims the vines are growing three times faster than in a plantation environment. The mobile is really incidental, bit of a crappy headline choice.


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