Conversation Piece, February 11, 2018

A weekly series.

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Enjoy our Sunday series, Conversation Piece, a NUVO–curated digest of things on the Internet we think you’ll want to talk about.

Holy white-nose syndrome, Batman. The Atlantic Bat Conservation Project is urging denizens of the East Coast to call their bat hotline should a bat be spotted out and about this winter. Why? It seems a highly contagious bat disease known as “white-nose syndrome” have affected some Canadian bats, causing the odd side-effect of inciting them to leave their hibernating spots before spring. Bats are one of Canada’s endangered species, so should you see one, be sure to bat-signal for help. Read more, here.

The obedience game. Governments collect data from their citizens—increasingly so and by ever more sophisticated means, and perhaps nowhere more aggressively than China, which, by 2020, will launch its publicly visible Citizen Score program. Individuals will soon be rated by their credit scores, personal characteristics, and behaviour—from what kind of products they buy, to how long they spend playing video games, to who they hang out with. High scores will be seen has status symbols and rewarded with considerable perks. Low scores will be met with penalties. Learn more, here.

Poppy talk. Are you familiar with the Internet’s latest fembot heroine, Poppy? Unlike simulated celebrities (see: Lil Miquela and Hatsune Miku) Poppy isn’t a piece of technology mimicking personhood, but rather a real girl embodying a robo-identity—and amassing over 200 million Youtube views for her efforts. But is Poppy derivative art, or genius? Decide for yourself. Read more, here.

Back to the land. From Atlas Obscura, a story from the often idealized but increasingly hard to find remote Japanese village way of life. Ozuchi, a tiny village abandoned but for 64-year-old Noboru Nimaida and his mother, has all but been absorbed back into its surrounding forest as its population slowly migrated toward urban centres. Yet Nimaida remains, farming rice and making charcoal, preserving an ancient way of life, and attracting visitors who want to learn to do the same. Read more, here.

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February 11, 2018