Side Bar

An article in the New York Times Style Magazine by Kurt Soller entitled, “At Restaurants, Thank You for Not Sharing:After a decade of treating every plate like a pie, individual dishes are making a welcome comeback,” caught my eye. I have been attributing a quote I read from Julia Child for at least a decade that she did not share any dish she ordered at restaurants. If someone wanted to taste something, they should order it for themselves; and not having the poor sap with merely one bite after passing it around to everyone.  For the life of me, I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it and I cannot find it online after multiple clever search queries. It seems like something she would say, doesn’t it?

The main point is that I have always agreed that one shouldn’t feel obligated to share; or if you really did just want a bite, then to ask if anyone also wants a bite.  I do feel that this has started to be more common over the last half decade.

The article goes on with “Living in the “sharing economy,” we are accustomed to apportioning cars, offices and, yes, plates of food. Lately, though, chefs and diners seem to have grown weary of the communal experience.” Seems like quite an enormous leap to lump sharing plates with the sharing economy, as even the author acknowledges that tapas and most Chinese dishes are inherently meant to be shared.  Also, an enormous leap to pronounce that chefs and diners alike are done with the communal experience, let alone sharing a plate. Yes, there is the cubicle dining experience aka Solo Dining Booth at Ichiran. I still see many a community table at new restaurants, ones short on space like Niche to massive spaces like Tetsu. I also found that ending the fluffy piece with a political discourse (socialism vs. democracy) and strung together with random dining annoyances to be neither cute nor clever. It truly bummed me out that what started out as an interesting read, turned into and ended in such a shallow way.

Like I said, I loved trotting out that Julia Child quote over the years and I thought this article would provide more cultural insights or at least a few more quotes for my arsenal.  I do think that sharing plates did seem more prevalent at one time but perhaps that was timed with an influx of casual dining overall. The point now is that sharing is just one way of eating; just a preference by some diners. Speak up if you don’t want to share and use that Julia Child quote as a shield against looking selfish!  

parsed, organized, kept


Google keeps track of your Purchases and Passwords

US to endorse new OECD principles on artificial intelligence Soft ethics, the governance of the digital and the General Data Protection Regulation

The Conversational AI Playbook This playbook represents a first step toward defining the governing principles and best practices which will enable developers to build great conversational applications.

DigitalPsychology.io Digital Psychology – a free library of psychological principles and examples for inspiration to enhance the customer experience and connect with your users.  (it’s like an accelerator for addictive digital behavior how nice -ED)

Tesla is working to integrate more video games inside cars [electrek.co] They want to add more Atari games to the emulator, but Musk has also made clear they plan to add other games from other companies as well. This weekend, the CEO said that they are working on porting the Unity and Unreal video game engines in Tesla vehicles.

Remember the Digital Video Disruptors? Now They’re Mostly Just TV Suppliers [HR] noticeably slimmed-down NewFronts showcase. YouTube was still there, with CEO Susan Wojcicki touting 250 million hours streamed on TV sets each day. But companies like Maker, Fullscreen and Machinima that once commanded prime slots were absent, having been swallowed whole by their big-media counterparts and either disbanded or subsumed.

Smart, Deep Copy-Paste [arXix] we demonstrate the effectiveness of our system on two popular datasets, high-resolution face images and the more complex Cityscapes dataset. Our technique outperforms the current state of the art on face images, and we show promising results on the Cityscapes dataset, demonstrating that our system generalizes to much higher resolution than the training data.


Forget millennials —the art market should be looking at Gen Z [theartnewspaper] Unlike the rest of us, they have not been taken by surprise by the marketing power and potential intrusion of social media. Gen Z knows how to spot branded posts and targeted selling and will actively seek alternatives. Especially alternatives with a socially conscious bent. But not if you tell them so. They’ll find that out for themselves, thank you very much. (its like I have been communicating this authenticity insight over four decades -ED)

Quants Think Like Amateurs in World’s Wildest Stock Market [Bloomberg] China’s censorship of social media — and the constantly evolving online slang that netizens use to evade official monitors — can also present challenges for firms using AI tools like natural language processing to monitor investor sentiment. (slang AI sounds like a market opportunity – ED)

Why TV Executives Should Make Artist Kahlil Joseph’s ‘BLKNWS’ Network, a Star of the Venice Biennale, Into a Reality [artnews] But if Jafa’s video is a diagnosis, another video work at in the Biennale is—in a way rarely encountered in an art show—something like a prescription. Kahlil Joseph’s BLKNWS offers a kind of yin to Jafa’s yang: a moving, funny, and aspirational vision of what media might look like if it were not, as White says, “whitewashed and biased,” and rather more creative and reflective of the world we live in and the history that shaped it.

Public Data Land Grab

San Francisco Banned Facial Recognition. New York Isn’t Even Close . New York City needs to enact The Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act: because a U.S. federal privacy law could be worse than no law at all . This is the result of Googles Sidewalk Labs land-grab for our identity location, e.g. who we are in public – being called “urban data” by Google.

This piece is some of the best writing on whats taking place. Google’s “Urban Data” Plan: Evading Regulation While Promoting The Appearance Of Transparency This sleight of hand is achieved by their self-generated definition of “urban data”.  

“Sidewalk Labs has defined Urban Data is [sic] data collected in a physical space in the city, which includes public spaces such as streets… and parks… [as well as] private spaces accessible to the public such as …retail stores.”  (related blog post Questions around ‘urban data’ every city needs to define right now)

…..Sidewalk continues (capitalizing “urban” and “data” as if to trademark the words), includes not only data collected from sensors in public spaces but also data collected in “private spaces not controlled by those who occupy them (e.g. apartment tenants).” Some think what’s missing is real competition on privacy. I like this call for participation for the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen. An open call (Very clever – all your thoughts on urban data, theirs – ED)

Privacy Law – Stationary camera surveillance of the common areas of an apartment building — both a hallway and the building exterior entrance — is not a search under Carpenter, district court rules. US v. Kelly, 2019 WL 2137370 (E.D.Wisc. 5/16/2019) (Pepper, J.) (If you like privacy law – I am reading ‘Data Habeas” – it’s excellent – ED)

INTERNET

nothing bad can stay [mikeisaac] thesis: the permanent social internet is dying. the impermanent social internet will need to replace it. and it will be even more difficult to make money on such an internet than it was before.

Can “Indie” Social Media Save Us? [newyorker] When the problem is framed this way, the solution promoted by the IndieWeb movement becomes obvious: own your own servers. On a smaller scale, this is an old idea

Governments are the frenemies of society on hacking As the FT revealed this week, this surveillance technology developed by the Israeli company NSO has been used to scour sensitive data from a target’s smartphone from halfway around the world. – (We need private co’s using zero-day exploits never – ED )

ARTS & SCIENCE

“Alternative Museum Guide” (D)IRT, alternative version of the Whitney Museum Guide in protest of the presence of Warren B. Kanders, CEO of the tear gas manufacturer Safariland, on the museum’s board of trustees. Download the print formatted PDF

Leonardo da Vinci’s 12-volume, 1,119-page Codex Atlanticus Beautifully rendered by The Visual Agency we can now regard this online for the first time.

Tool : arxiv-sanity.com accelerate your research. This is one of my favorite tools on the internet right now and perhaps the most valuable link on this page.

Mercado Little Spain

Observations from my first visit

José Andrés came onto my radar when molecular gastronomy was still all the rage and his restaurant, The Bazaar, at the SLS hotel in Los Angeles received four stars from the LA Times in 2009.  I think I visited not too long after and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t as bowled over as I was with Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago.  I followed the growth of his empire in the U.S., watched him make guest appearances on TV shows, and his tireless charitable activism.

I prepared for my visit to his Hudson Yards project, Mercado Little Spain by reading Eater critic Robert Sietsema’s early review.  

Atmosphere and design: Unlike most of the rest of Hudson Yards, this place feels warm and happy.  The food stalls are splashed with red; some walls have murals, and many of the servers wear red tee-shirts.  Also, no dark mood lighting or unfriendly fluorescence. Fortunately, the one light setting is on cheerful. Also, even when almost every part of Mercado is bustling, I can hear the wait staff and I can hold conversation in a regular voice.  

Tapas: It was before 8pm on a weekday and the Mercado was full with every seat taken and most of the standing tables occupied. Preferring not to be at a restaurant to allow for some food stall roaming, we had to make a few rounds before we spied two seats open at La Barra.  We each settle for a glass of wine (a rosé, and a white wine from Catalonia) and two tapas (very crisped bread topped with tomato seeds and sardines; and a tortilla topped with white shrimp). Tapas number one was simple and tasty, and we joked we could buy the three ingredients from the market and make a platter at home.  Tapas number two was simple but not so tasty. The tortilla is like a thin egg crepe layer which was asked to be cooked to medium; and topped with six small shrimp. I could not taste any seasoning on anything. And honestly, the soft on soft textures did not work and we did not finish this small plate. The two drinks, two tapas with tip came to $60.  

We headed to the Bravas food stall, ordered patatas bravas with aioli ($8), and sidled up to a standing table and speared the crunchy potato cubes with our toothpicks.  Hot and crispy and hit the spot.

We decided for one more drink and seeing two open stools at Vino, we took our seats on the corner.  Turns out the menu as identical to La Barra. This time we settled on chorizo wrapped in thin potato which was basically like a potato chip rolling a chorizo tootsie roll. And it tasted like you expected: spicy wrapped in crunchy. The two glasses and the tapas and tip came to about $42.

Market: This pickings are pretty small so one cannot compare it to Eataly. It is akin to a gift shop compared to someplace like Despaña in Soho.  

Overall: I may try to visit one of the restaurants but my overall first impression is that MLS is definitely a fun place for drinks with nibbles. It is on the pricey side but the pickings are slim in that neighborhood. The food feels kinda secondary but it does seem like a work in progress so definitely worth another gander.

Side note: While probably not in the purview of Mercado, the access to and from the Hudson Yards shops is pretty depressing. The red carpet looks like a remnant with a few posters hanging on bare walls to provide some connection and transition.  Also, for some reason, fire drills were being conducted without notice so the very sturdy looking gate was down. This was all the more annoying because the escalators were running so you could get downstairs but were only met with a closed gate. Fortunately, a security guard noticed this and keyed the door gate to reopen, and we were met with folks on the other side wondering what was going on.

Mercado Little Spain, 10 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

A new ground truth

in production

San Francisco Is Right: Facial Recognition Must Be Put On Hold  NYT – “The technology is unregulated and rife with error. We shouldn’t deploy it without strong privacy rules. “ Writes NYT Farhad Manjoo. Just starts to touch on the issues — The headline is always about the technology being imperfect – perfection is just a matter of time and finely tuning an AI that was not built with diversity in mine or rules of use. – This is about ethics, privacy and how we want to live our lives.

Also of note this Vox piece — San Francisco banned facial recognition tech. Here’s why other cities should too. Uses the line that resonates the most “the plutonium of AI”?

Related reading: Exploring Data Justice: Conceptions, Applications and Directions “data justice” not just an oxymoron – a mechanism for change and awareness.

Why Play a Music CD? ‘No Ads, No Privacy Terrors, No Algorithms’
[nyt] but here’s why Ben Sisario, who covers the music industry, still likes to listen to compact discs. – – I tend to think of this as mostly a matter of corporate warfare. These companies are in a race for market dominance around the world, and the gloves are off. For Spotify, anything that hinders Apple, even a little, can provide an advantage. On the other hand, Apple’s gigantic size means it will always be on the defensive against regulation.

Hot New Restaurant Lists: My Gripes (and Hopes)

I love trying new restaurants. I always have.  I was just musing to a friend while sitting at a counter at José Andrés’ Mercado Little Spain how I never became a ‘regular’ anywhere because I preferred to try something new as opposed to eating off the same menu over and over be it in Tokyo, Chicago, the Bay Area, or Washington, D.C or here in New York City.

Eater’s “Hottest Restaurants” and GrubStreet’s “Restaurant Power Rankings” are the lists I check regularly when I want to find a new restaurant to try in NYC.  That said, I also read Florence Fabricant’s from The New York Times’ “Off the Menu” column and occasionally, I’ll broaden a new restaurant search to include Time Out, Thrillist, The Infatuation, and The New Yorker, etc.  Yes, there are the Yelps and Zagats but they focus less on the latest restaurant openings.

What kind of restaurant news person am I?  I admit that food and dining stories are something I read on a daily basis. I will also admit that I am probably an anomaly in how frequently I check these restaurant lists but I’d like to think that means my opinions are pretty well informed. I came to mainly look to these two lists because of Eater and New York Magazine’s commitment to the food category. I trust them because they consistently put out news and I am comfortable with their main reviewers, Ryan Sutton and Adam Platt.  

But now, my overall opinion after following these lists for years and more recently, on a weekly basis, is that they aren’t that aren’t all that helpful in informing of what restaurants are “hot” or “buzzy.”

Eater’s “Hottest Restaurants in Manhattan Right Now”is updated monthly. I am not clear what criteria are using in the ranking list. I get why some of the restaurants are on the list but I really can’t find a rhyme or reason as to ranking.  I appreciate that the list can get random but it seems that the top three should be clearer? Its sister list “Eater’s 38 Essential Restaurants in NYC” also bothers me.  Balthazar was at the top of this list for seemingly years, and when it finally moved, it pretty much precipitously fell off the list.  It did not seem to me that each of the establishments are continually visited, or if they are, the new data illustrating why the restaurants should keep their ranking isn’t clear.  And what criteria are used to make the list? It seems that diversity of cuisine and atmosphere count for something but then it doesn’t make sense that there is any ranking vs. it being an alphabetized list.

As for GrubStreet’s weekly “Restaurant Power Rankings,” they are upfront about the subjectivity of their list and say criteria is mainly buzz which can certainly embody a lot of variables. I started to look at this list a bit more because it is weekly, and seems to be more of a ‘new’ list. I liked that it sems to cull through the myriad of openings and pull out ones from hot chefs, etc.  But then, I started to notice that Adam Platt’s recently reviewed restaurants could sit on the list if he liked a dish or two for weeks. It started to seem that their own buzz and cross-promotion of sister articles affected their list.

In the same way that I made peace with Pete Well’s endless two-star reviews with seemingly random anointment of one- and two-star ratings, I totally get that these lists are subjective and can feel pretty stale, or indiscriminate and arbitrary at times.  

But I am a stickler for managing expectations so I am bummed that these lists are not consistently true to their names, and are not always helpful finding the restaurants that are new and worthy of checking out.  Do I smell an opportunity?

San Francisco Saves Face

San Francisco Bans Facial Recognition Technology [NYT] –  The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday enacted the first ban by a major city on the use of facial recognition technology by police and all other municipal agencies.

Similar bans are under consideration in Oakland and in Somerville, Mass., outside of Boston. In Massachusetts, a bill in the state legislature would put a moratorium on facial recognition and other remote biometric surveillance systems. On Capitol Hill, a bill introduced last month would ban users of commercial face recognition technology from collecting and sharing data for identifying or tracking consumers without their consent, although it does not address the government’s uses of the technology.

“This is really about saying we can have security without being a security state. We can have good policing without being a police state,” Peskin said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “Part of that is building trust with the community.”

SF CRONICLE

This is a partial win as we need to see FRT either scoped user first or banned out right for commercial use nation wide.

Mercenaries Operating Zero-Click Tech [ft] (headline, mine) This “zero-click” technology — as NSO calls it — has proved big business. The company’s revenues have risen from $109m in 2014 to $251m in 2018, while Ebitda has soared from $60m to $128m over the same period. You can see why Novalpina’s Stephen Peel saw a business opportunity — even if it meant he had to step down from the board of international human rights group Global Witness.

Israel’s Eurovision webcast hacked with fake attack warning [FRANCE24] “At a certain point, there was a takeover — apparently by Hamas — of our digital broadcast,” KAN chief Eldad Koblenz said Wednesday.

FB Adds Restrictions to Live [fb]  We will now apply a ‘one strike’ policy to Live in connection with a broader range of offenses. From now on, anyone who violates our most serious policies will be restricted from using Live for set periods of time – for example 30 days – starting on their first offense. For instance, someone who shares a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context will now be immediately blocked from using Live for a set period of time. (Just adopt broadcast rules – wtf , also we will not be able to see any of these once it goes into the crypto tunnel- ED)

AI at the Barbican: in the realm of mind games [ft] The problem with AI is not in the machinery, but in ourselves, in that we are not entirely sure what we are supposed to do with it. Most of the time, we get it to emulate what we are doing at the current moment. For example, we teach our ever-more-intelligent cars to drive. More ambitiously, we get it to do what we know we ought to do, but don’t want to do: to save money, to invest cleverly, to tidy things up. All very laudable aims — but how dull, how quotidian!

Live Stream Guide Festival de Cannes (Officiel) All Day.

Psychedelic flowers and singsong incantations

Festival de Cannes (Officiel) – Live streams

Google – A global hub for privacy engineering, in the heart of Europe We’re also working to empower more organizations to do this important work with a new Google Impact Challenge on Safety. It’s a 10 million euro grant fund to support nonprofits, universities, academic research institutions, for-profit social enterprises and other organizations that are already working across Europe on a range of safety issues, from keeping young people safe online to addressing hate crimes in their communities.

Psychedelic flowers and singsong incantations — Björk’s lavish Utopia opens at The Shed, New York [FT] But all that, even the music, pales before the amazing videos by the German digital artist Tobias Gremmler. His imagery for the video short for Björk’s song “Tabula Rasa” from Utopia ends the set before the encores. Mostly his huge projections look like psychedelic flowers, but gradually a humanoid figure, like a young Björk avatar, emerges from the vegetation. All of it is unashamedly erotic, like a moving art-rock version of Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers

Has Banksy painted a new mural in Venice? [theartnewspaper] The British street artist Banksy appears to have left his mark on the Venice Biennale with a stencil of a migrant child wearing a lifejacket holding aloft a fizzing neon pink flare.

Skip the Surveillance By Opting Out of Face Recognition At Airports [Eff] To skip the surveillance, CBP says you “should notify a CBP Officer or an airline or airport representative in order to seek an alternative means of verifying [your] identity and documents.” Do the same when you encounter this with an airline. While there should be signage near the face recognition area, it may not be clear. If you’re concerned about creating a slight delay for yourself or other passengers, take note: though CBP has claimed to have a 98% accuracy rating in their pilot programs, the Office of the Inspector General could not verify those numbers, and even a 2% error rate would cause thousands of people to be misidentified every day. Most face recognition technology has significantly lower accuracy ratings than that, so you might actually be speeding things up by skipping the surveillance.

Diversity in Design + AI

Series: Data Ethics and Diversity

Intersecting issues of data ethics (privacy, etc) and diversity.

Trans-inclusive Design [alistapart.com ] issues touching on content, images, forms, databases, IA, privacy, and AI—just enough to get you thinking about the decisions you make every day and some specific ideas to get you started.

Diversity & Inclusion Resources [aiga] There’s a lot of information about Diversity & Inclusion out there. We’ve compiled it in one place, so that whether you’re an AIGA chapter leader or a designer looking to learn more, you can start with a slew of great resources all in one place.

diversity.ai Preventing racial, age, gender, disability and other discrimination by humans and A.I. using the latest advances in Artificial Intelligence

Google’s the People + AI Guidebook This Guidebook will help you build human-centered AI products. It’ll enable you to avoid common mistakes, design excellent experiences, and focus on people as you build AI-driven applications. It was written for user experience (UX) professionals and product managers as a way to help create a human-centered approach to AI on their product teams. However, this Guidebook should be useful to anyone in any role wanting to build AI products in a more human-centered way.

odds and sods

Online advertising exploits humanity’s malleable tastes [FT] Nobel Prize winner Paul Romer has called for a tax on online advertising. He identifies online targeted ads as the source of socially corrosive behaviours and argues that a tax might shift the digital business models to the old-fashioned one of selling people a service they want to buy. The Romer tax would be an excellent start to limiting not only the social or civic costs but also the economic time cost to this massive behaviourist experiment. Competition investigations are another weapon in the policy armoury to limit the harm to economic welfare. Regulation limiting the amount of online advertising — as with TV advertising — may be needed too

A Guide to Thesis Writing That Is a Guide to Life . When everything else you learned in college is marooned in the past—when you happen upon an old notebook and wonder what you spent all your time doing, since you have no recollection whatsoever of a senior-year postmodernism seminar—it is the thesis that remains, providing the once-mastered scholarly foundation that continues to authorize, decades-later, barroom observations about the late-career works of William Faulker or the Hotelling effect. 

Security lapse exposed a Chinese smart city surveillance system [techcrunch] the database also contained a subject’s approximate age as well as an “attractive” score, according to the database fields. But the capabilities of the system have a darker side, particularly given the complicated politics of China. The system also uses its facial recognition systems to detect ethnicities and labels them …related read: How Mass Surveillance Works in Xinjiang, China – ‘Reverse Engineering’ Police App Reveals Profiling and Monitoring Strategies [hrw]