Links for 2018-10-12

  • ‘We’re doomed’: Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention | Environment | The Guardian

    Well this is terrifying.

    Can civilisation prolong its life until the end of this century? “It depends on what we are prepared to do.” He fears it will be a long time before we take proportionate action to stop climatic calamity. “Standing in the way is capitalism. Can you imagine the global airline industry being dismantled when hundreds of new runways are being built right now all over the world? It’s almost as if we’re deliberately attempting to defy nature. We’re doing the reverse of what we should be doing, with everybody’s silent acquiescence, and nobody’s batting an eyelid.”

    (tags: climate capitalism environment future scary mayer-hillman)

  • Querying OpenStreetMap Buildings with AWS Athena – door2door Engineering

    Well this is damn cool:

    AWS not only made OpenStreetMap planet data available on S3, but it also made it query-able with Athena. Pretty cool, no? Now, in theory, you can just construct an SQL query, send it to Athena, and then do whatever you want with the results. No more: Updating OSM planet data yourself; it gets updated on AWS whenever OSM publishes it, once a week. Transforming the data into a query-able format; Athena handles that for you. Query/request frequency limits (it’s still AWS though, so other limitations might apply ???? ????) At door2door, we had a pretty straight-forward use-case for this: we needed to get buildings in specific regions based only on where they were, and transform those buildings into GeoJSON that we can attach our data to, and visualize on the front-end on top of our base map.

    (tags: athena osm buildings aws geodata mapping maps door2door cool hacks)

  • Opinion | When Your Boss Is an Algorithm – The New York Times

    I have learned that drivers at ride-hailing companies may have the freedom and flexibility of gig economy work, but they are still at the mercy of a boss — an algorithmic boss.  Data and algorithms are presented as objective, neutral, even benevolent: Algorithms gave us super-convenient food delivery services and personalized movie recommendations. But Uber and other ride-hailing apps have taken the way Silicon Valley uses algorithms and applied it to work, and that’s not always a good thing.

    (tags: algorithms uber gig-economy work)

  • A Soyuz “ballistic re-entry” which subjected the crew to 21 g

    At the time when the safety system initiated separation the spacecraft was already pointed downward toward Earth, which accelerated its descent significantly. Instead of the expected acceleration in such an emergency situation of 15 g (147 m/s²), the cosmonauts experienced up to 21.3 g (209 m/s²).[2] Despite very high overloading, the capsule’s parachutes opened properly and slowed the craft to a successful landing after a flight of only 21 minutes.

    (tags: spaceflight soyuz accidents history cosmonauts)

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