Monday, July 24, 2017

Cyber Outages - The Death of Expertise: Path to the Soul

What exactly do philosophers do?  They write lines like these:

“There is nothing ordinary about anything.” 
“The process of disturbing the mind is the mind.” 

“The desire to love is stronger than the desire to be loved.” 

A history of the federal government and cloud computing

Spain’s ‘secret credit card banker’ Blesa found shot dead BBC

ABC 7:30 on ANZ bank accounts sold on the Darknet...

John Smyth (University of Huddersfield), The Toxic University: Zombie Leadership, Academic Rock Stars and Neoliberal Ideology (2017)

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.

Complement the immensely grounding and elevating When Things Fall Apart with Camus on strength of character in times of trouble, Erich Fromm on what self-love really means, and Nietzsche on why a fulfilling life requires embracing rather than running from difficulty, then revisit Chödrön on the art of letting go.
World is peppered with exceedingly wise or incredibly foolish lines written by philosophers ...

Golem – a peer to peer, decentralised supercomputer
Futures Centre, 6/6/17. The Golem project is in the process of creating a ‘global, open sourced, decentralised supercomputer that anyone can access’. It’s a network that aims to combine the power of users’ machines, ranging from humble laptops to entire datacentres. Spare computing capacity is rented out for use by individual users - a sort of Airbnb for computers - and can be used in aggregate to run almost any kind of programme.

Author Who Died This Year Wins Library Of Congress’s Prize For American Fiction

Denis Johnson, author of the story collection Jesus’ Sonand the National Book Award-winning novel Tree of Smoke, did live long enough to learn that he won the prize: he was notified in March and passed away in May at age 67. 

CHANGE: Having an Affair Is Going Out of Style: The boomers are the sexual libertines. Younger people are more into monogamy.. On the one hand, that’s good. On the other hand, I’m slightly concerned that it has less to do with evolving morality, and more to do with declining libido

On the gripping hand, maybe — and I speak from experience here — it’s about seeing their parents’ generation up close and concluding that all those affairs didn’t seem to make them happier, and did a lot of collateral damage.

 China’s navy expands reach: Ships in Baltic for drills with Russia CNN

Presidents v. Generals Andrew Bacevich, LRB
* * *
Trump team seeks to control, block Mueller’s Russia investigation WaPo. Reading the body of the article, “Russia investigation” seems a bit of a misnomer.
Trump Aides, Seeking Leverage, Investigate Mueller’s Investigators NYT. Reading the body of the article, big shake-up on Trump’s legal team.
Something to look forward to:
Trump’s Self-Pardon? Seriously? The American Conservative
Trump Turns on Jeff Sessions The National Interest
Louise Mensch’s Destructive Fantasies Charles Cook, The National Review


Review: The Death of Expertise. A new book expresses concern that the average American has base knowledge so low that it is now plummeting to “aggressively wrong”



An extraordinary Chinese-Tibetan film (with English subtitles, even in Kunming), here is one description in the film *Paths to the Soul*:
A birth, a death, a pilgrimage. A film about the 1,200-mile journey of a pregnant woman, a butcher who wants to atone for his sins and a rag-tag band of villagers who go on foot from their small village in Tibet to the sacred Mt. Kailash has become a surprise winner at the Chinese box office
It is doing better here per screen than Transformers 5 (or is that 6?).  Here is more about the plot premise;
They travel wearing thick aprons made of yak hide and wooden planks tied to their palms. Every few feet, they raise their hands high above their heads in respect for the Buddha, then lower their worshipping hands to their forehead and then to their chest before diving into the ground, touching the earth with their foreheads. To an outsider, the ritual looks like bodysurfing on solid ground. While they chant a simple mantra, devotees lie flat on their stomachs with their hands bent at their elbows, pointing toward the heavens in a sign of prayer. Then they stand up and repeat these steps as the summer’s scorching asphalt roads turn into slippery ice-covered tracks in the winter.
It turns out this is a real thing, s they say back in The Great NJ, and they keep it up for 1200 km over the course of a year (really).  Strapped babies and small children partake as well.  And this isn’t a pure outlier, as my Yunnanese friend Jimi tells me he has seen it many times in Tibet on the open road.
You may think it all sounds silly, but by the end of the film you realize that what you are doing with your own life isn’t actually so different and is perhaps in some ways less valuable.
I’m calling this one as one of the two or three best movies of the year, or indeed of any year.  Highly recommended on the big screen, though here you can find it on Amazon.  It goes without saying that the film is full of social science.

A new hub to strengthen qualitative research has launched at UNSW, opening its workshops and seminars to researchers from all over Australia and overseas.