Friday, November 04, 2022

May God Save Us From Economists

May God Save Us From Economists The New Republic

The Grain Giants Have Made a Bonanza from Hunger. Time to Take Them Apart

The global food system, heavily influenced by the big grain companies, needs an overhaul to allow diverse crops, producers and supply routes

Drinking with James Bond

Where to soak up the 007 mystique

Networking is a necessary and misunderstood skill. Here’s how to hone it. Vox: “Want to learn how to network but don’t know where to start? Here’s a simple guide that shows you the term isn’t as cringey or scary as it’s all made out to be. It’s actually quite intuitive, and like most things, becomes easier the more you do it. So give it a shot, because talking to the right person could go a long way…”

At the Digital Doorstep: How Customers Use Doorbell Cameras to Manage Delivery Workers, by Data & Society’s Labor Futures program director Aiha Nguyen and research analyst Eve Zelickson, offers insights into the changing nature of delivery work as a result of increased doorstep surveillance. Investigating the changing relationships between corporations, workers, and customers as a significant share of retail shifts from brick-and-mortar establishments to the doorstep, Nguyen and Zelickson focus on Amazon’s fleet of gig workers, known as Flex drivers, and the popular Amazon Ring home security camera. 

They draw on interviews with delivery drivers and video doorbell users from across the United States to explore how surveillance designed to protect private property is used to manage the workforce outside of it. At the Digital Doorstep documents the spread of a technology marketed as a safety and security tool, but whose primary use in practice is the monitoring, instruction, and punishment of workers by customers.”

Wikimedia is adding features to make editing Wikipedia more fun The Verge

The Verge: “Wikipedia is one of the sturdiest survivors of the old web, as well as one of the most clearly human-powered ones, thanks to a multitude of editors making changes across the globe. But after celebrating the site’s 20th birthday last year, the Wikimedia Foundation is turning to new — and more heavily automated — tools in search of its next wave of contributors. It’s adding features designed to ease users into making their own edits, including suggestions for easy first steps like cross-linking different articles. 

It’s doing so while trying not to weaken the bonds of its individual communities — and, the Wikimedia team hopes, possibly even making them stronger. Wikimedia has been testing extra features for newcomers since 2019, and it’s now officially announcing them on a platform-wide level. Users who log into Wikipedia accounts will see a landing page for new editors. They’ll be assigned a mentor from a pool of more experienced site veterans who can answer questions. And via the landing page, they’ll be urged to start making small edits, sometimes suggested by a Wikimedia-trained machine learning system…”

  1. “Our democracies are already gamified. Our goal should be to do it better” — we can go “beyond gamification’s traditionally thoughtless application of points and badges” and use “game design principles put the oft-dashed ideals of digital democracy into practice,” argues Adrian Hon
  2. “Agency appears to be an occasional, remarkable property of matter, and one we should feel comfortable invoking when offering causal explanations of what we’re observing” — an attempt to provide a scientifically respectable explanation of agency that doesn’t explain it away, from Philip Ball
  3. “The value of the humanities is, upon exposure to real humanistic practice, self-evident… a society that acts as if this were not true, that threatens artists and philosophers and poets with oblivion or obscurity if they cannot justify their existence, is a profoundly sick culture” — John Michael Colón on the confusions of the “canon wars”
  4. “Decades of research have revealed a deeper truth [about protons], one that’s too bizarre to fully capture with words or images” — but it doesn’t stop this writer and graphics editor from trying. One example of the weirdness: “the proton contains traces of particles… that are heavier than the proton itself”
  5. Now Open Access: 7 articles by Kripke and 12 articles and book chapters by others about Kripke’s work — “The Legacy of Saul Kripke” is a memorial collection put together by Wiley (via Eric Piper)
  6. “Ask your kids questions and question their answers. Really get them thinking about issues. Don’t be afraid of these conversations with your kids. You don’t know all the answers. But you don’t have to know the answers” — Scott Hershovitz (Michigan) interviewed about kids and philosophy
  7. “Instead of supposing that physics must be queen of all we survey, I recommend we construct our image of what an ultimate science might be like on the basis of what current science is like when it is most successful. Physics does not act as queen in these cases” — “Rather,” says Nancy Cartwright (Durham), “she does her bit as part of a motley assembly of scientific… and engineering disciplines”