The Real Reason You Suck on Photo Sharing Sites: The Bots are Beating You

Photographers join photo-sharing sites for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s as simple as a need for recognition and the occasional pat-on-the-back. In fact, I suspect that’s the reason most people join these sites in the first place; a little bit of recognition is worth big dollars in the feel-good bank.

Sometimes they join those sites to promote their work for financial reasons, either to sell prints or services. In the post-Instagram era, I suspect that many people join in the hopes of growing a sizable enough audience to attract sponsors… and maybe trips and cheap booze.

Whatever the reason, the simple fact is that once you started posting, you are in competition with every other photographer on the site. Whether you like it or not, your photographs are judged alongside those of the entire membership—rank amateurs and seasoned pros alike. The aim of the game is to get your photograph in front of as many eyeballs as possible and that means playing the like-you-like-me game, getting involved, interacting, posting comments, replying to discussions… you know the drill.

But what if I was tell you, Neo, that you were doing it all wrong, that many of the people you thought you were competing against in this photographic game of life were not honest photographers working hard to get their photos seen? What if I was to tell you that this playing field is not only hilly as f**k, but littered with the spent corpses of a thousand disillusioned photographers?

Hmmmm? Take the Red pill, Neo, and follow me down the rabbit hole.....more 

Listen to the Sounds of Sacred Spaces Around the World

What does religion sound like? That might seem like a weird question—until you remember the sounds of a chant, a church organist or a prayer wheel. Those sounds have a distinctive character and, though they may ring differently in different parts of the world, can be found in every culture with a spiritual or religious practice. Now, reports Maria Thomas for Quartz, you can listen to them online thanks to a new project that’s collecting sacred sounds around the world.

It’s called Sacred Spaces, and it's being done through Cities and Memory, a global field recording and art project that encourages people to record the sounds around them and submit them to be used in an artistic reinterpretation. Part document, part reinterpretation, the project has already gathered more than 1,400 sounds from 55 countries. Each sound is accompanied by a piece of sonic art that uses the sound, from abstract noise pieces to songs.

Sacred Spaces, specifically, has already collected some 200 recordings of the sounds of religion and spirituality, all displayed on a map for you to explore. The project has collected sacred sounds from 34 countries thus far, and they include everything from church bells to calls to prayer. Each sound is documented next to a “memory” version that reinterprets it in a new way.

The project is part of a larger effort to document the often ephemeral sounds of worship around the world. The American Religious Sounds Project, for example, records things like processions in an effort to capture American religious holidays, and the Religious Soundmap Project recently documented the ways in which Midwestern worship is becoming more globalized. Historians are also working to reconstruct sacred sounds of the past. As SmartNews reported last year, a program at Plimoth Plantation attempts to bring long-lost sounds of Puritan and Native American worship to life—just one of a growing movement to protect sounds that could be lost forever when they’re forgotten....more 

The Creative Conundrum: Pursue Your Art or Get a “Real Job”

Every creative has found themselves at the same career crossroads. One path leads where their heart desires. The other leads to "real" jobs. Mike Sager has stood there, and he reflects on why he dropped out of Georgetown Law School to live the creative life.

I could have been a lawyer.

I could have been a guy who wakes up early every morning and shaves and wears a tie and commutes; a guy with a regular pay check and cushy benefits who argues for a living—instead of a guy who works at home in his sweats, filling blank pages with words.

This is what I remind myself. . .

Whenever another one of the countless story ideas I’ve submitted over the past forty years is unceremoniously rejected, “Thanks but no thanks.”

Whenever I’m chasing a client for a check—some multimillion-dollar corporation with a newsstand circ of ten million, which uses my work immediately but takes nine months to pay.

Whenever I’m making rushed, last minute changes to a story I finished months ago because the editor in chief has finally gotten around to reading it. (They call this a top edit. I always wonder: Does that mean I’m the bottom?)

I could have been a lawyer. I could have been a lawyer. I could have been a lawyer. Instead of a guy who creates.


I guess I always wanted to be an artist. I suffered the early afflictions of being a kid who was loved too much. I felt special. I wanted other people to know. I figured out after a while that it isn’t enough just to tell them. You have to do something. You have to demonstrate. You have to create something that leaves an impression.

When I was in middle school, I thought it was music. I had long hair and a knockoff Les Paul electric guitar. I wrote songs and I sang. I remember taking an aptitude test, bubbling in any choice that seemed to indicate my innate musicality. Some people said I was a pretty good lead guitarist. I definitely met more girls. But I couldn’t remember the chords to the songs—I had them written down in a notebook on top of my amp. Neither could I read nor transpose music very well—like spelling and remembering multiplication tables, the mathematical, memorization stuff just wouldn’t stick. And frankly, despite endless pleasant hours of practice, my fingers weren’t long or agile enough to spider along the fretboard and make the sounds I was hearing in my head. I wanted to be special, but no matter how hard I worked, this wasn’t my milieu. (Someone made that pretty clear when they unplugged my amp during a solo at the school talent show.)...more 

Robots are raising your kale now

A New Jersey startup calledBowery grows leafy greens stacked in columns five high under the watchful eyes of an AI system.

The operation, which officially launched last week, uses 95 percent less water than traditional methods and is 100 times more productive on the same footprint of land, according to the company.

Bowery calls itself “post-organic,” a label to describe its integration of tech and farming practices and its pesticide-free produce. That distinguishes it from large-scale organic farms, which do use pesticides — they’re just organic ones.

Its AI system automates ideal growing conditions for crops by adjusting the lighting, minerals, and water, using sensors to monitor them. It can alter conditions to tweak the taste — emphasizing a wasabi-like flavor in arugula, for instance.

More than 80 crops are grown at the farm, including baby kale, butterhead lettuce, and mixed greens. The produce is delivered to New York stores within the day after harvest, and the greens go for $3.49 a box — on par with the competition....more 

Exponential growth devours and corrupts

There is no higher God in Silicon Valley than growth. No sacrifice too big for its craving altar. As long as you keep your curve exponential, all your sins will be forgotten at the exit.

It’s through this exponential lens that eating the world becomes not just a motto for software at large, but a mission for every aspiring unicorn and their business model. “Going viral” suddenly takes on a shockingly honest and surprisingly literal meaning.

The goal of the virus is to spread as fast as it can and corrupt as many other cells as possible. How on earth did such a debauched zest become the highest calling for a whole generation of entrepreneurs?

Through systemic incentives, that’s how. And no incentive is currently stronger than that of THE POTENTIAL.

It used to be that successful, upcoming companies would show a prudent mix of present-day profits and future prospects, but such a mix is now considered old-fashioned and best forgotten. Now it’s all potential, all the time.

This trend didn’t start yesterday. We can’t blame the current crop for soil spoiled five harvests ago. No, this singular focus on potential, forsaking all present-day considerations, was cultivated by some of our current giants....more 

MUSIC: Borneland - Eyes (Feat. Line G√łttsche) [Turbotito Remix]

MUSIC: ELLEH - American Lover

MUSIC: Robotaki - Automaton