I cleared a couple of Instapaper articles while waiting for some work to be done on the car:

  • Cultural Exchange: Jonathan Kos-Read is ‘the token white guy’ in Chinese cinema
    i.e., The reverse Jackie Chan.
  • The Fall of Niagara Falls
    This article’s an interesting one because we are so close to Niagara Falls, NY and because we pass by there so often. It talks about the Seneca casino and why it is a pure dump immediately once you cross over the border. It doesn’t sound like the conditions will improve very soon.
  • The Cheating Cheaters of Moscow
    The culture that is Russia:

    Wandering spouses have become a common trope for the women of Moscow. “Men’s environment here pushes them towards cheating,” Tanya told me, adding that, these days, a boys’ night out in Russia often involves prostitutes. Tanya and her friends are young, educated, upper-middle-class Muscovites, but talk to any woman in Moscow, and, regardless of age, education, or income level, she’ll have a story of anything from petty infidelity to a parallel family that has existed for decades. Infidelity in Moscow has become “a way of life,” as another friend of mine put it—accepted and even expected.

  • Algorithms Take Control of Wall Street
    Although this article is a good primer on how high frequency trading is affecting the investment industry, I found the most fascinating bit to be an article in the sidebar:

    Before ujam’s AI can lay down accompaniment, it must figure out which notes the user is singing or playing. Once it recognizes them, the algorithm searches for chords to match the tune, using a mix of statistical techniques and hardwired musical rules. The stats are part of the software’s AI and can generate myriad chord progressions. The rules-based module then uses its knowledge of Western musical tropes to narrow the chord options to a single selection.

    Taken to an extreme, hits can truly be manufactured. You just need to write a interesting hook and then the music can write itself.