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Are we ruled by a bell curve?

Do we really all sort to a bell curve? If you're hoping a machine can be trusted to define beauty, then yes. Even aesthetics is ruled by a bell curve. One step further, is it possible that we're just heading to an age of average? Average face? Average house? Average success? If your car, coat, and sneakers match your neighbors, are you in? Or average?

With the rise of influencers and algorithms, are beauty standards promoting sameness?

MIT Technology Review

The Age of Average by Alex Murrell

Alex Murrell

What smells?

Quanta Magazine

Welcome to the March 26 Edition of The Digest.

With the rise of influencers and algorithms, are beauty standards promoting sameness?

And do apps that attempt to rate attractiveness indicate our willingness to accept a single standard or single perception of beauty?

From the article: Even if training data and commercial uses are as unbiased and safe as possible, computer vision has technical limitations when it comes to human skin tones. The imaging chips found in cameras are preset to process a particular range of them. Historically “some skin tones were simply left off the table,” according to Belongie, “which means that the photos themselves may not have even been developed with certain skin tones in mind. Even the noblest of ambitions in terms of capturing all forms of human beauty may not have a chance because the brightness values aren’t even represented accurately.” Link.

The Age of Average by Alex Murrell

Straight from the post: "Schwulst began sharing images to her Tumblr, "Modern Life Space". The blog became an ever-expanding gallery of interior design inspiration. But something wasn’t right.Laurel Schwulst:"The Airbnb experience is supposed to be about real people and authenticity. But so many of them were similar, whether in Brooklyn, Osaka, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, or Santiago.”Schwulst had identified an AirBnB design aesthetic that had organically emerged and was quickly spreading through the platform’s properties. White walls. Raw wood. Nespresso machines. Eames chairs. Bare brick. Open shelving. Edison bulbs. The style combines the rough-hewn rawness of industrialism with the elegant minimalism of mid-century design." Link.

What Smells?

No really! Smell is the strongest of our senses! The research shared in this article goes deep on the scientific side of the olfactory and how the chemistry of smell actually works. Seriously, it's a fun read. The author ends with sharing that researchers are excited for where their new understanding of smell will take them. "It’s tempting, for instance, to imagine how this mechanism might apply to other receptors in the brains of animals — from those that detect neuromodulators like dopamine to those that are affected by various kinds of anesthetics — and how imprecise they are ‘allowed’ to be,” Barber said. “It offers a fascinating model for continuing to explore nonspecific binding interactions.” Link.