Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Real Source of America’s Rising Rage


The Real Source of America’s Rising Rage

We are at war with ourselves, but not for the reasons you think.

Life: Barack Obama At 60: His Life, His Work, His Living Legacy

Groundreport: Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First?

Blog Herald: 7 Best EV Blogs On The Internet To Be Inspired By

At the Middle East Eye AJ Naddaff reports on the recent Bila Hudood literary festival, in From Babel to Berlin: How Arabic literature can unite the world, reporting that:

The three-day festival was packed with raw conversations on writing from an array of experts, leaving this writer at least feeling invigorated and hopeful for the future of Arabic literature in translation.

Time to clip the wings of NSO and its Pegasus spyware

There is William L. Silber, The Power of Nothing to Lose: The Hail Mary Effect in Politics, War, and Business.


Collision time

Tangerine Dream: Zeitraffer, an exhibition at London’s Barbican (via Synthopia) / a curated selection of Google’s best doodles / an Oliver Hill classic given the contemporary makeover treatment.

 This listing / Citizenmagazine, an architectural journal / local issues: Ryde Esplanade Matters / inside the German submarine SM UB-110, 1918, at album of sea monsters. A photograph that gives us complete anxiety / ‘The life expectancy of a character in a public information film was roughly 4.3 seconds‘ / mathy prog from Poly-Math / mathy rock from A-Tota-So / Last Day Deaf offers up a selection of contemporary textural/reverb-drenched songs / My Imaginary Lake, post rock from Spain / hunting HMS Beagle, a ship that has effectively vanished / it’s the end of the line for Ballardian, one of our favourite websites.

 ‘Ballardian has also run its course. The site has been part of my personal drive to absorb Ballard’s work, a mission that began when I commenced my PhD on him in 1996 and culminated in the 2018 publication of my theory-fiction novel Applied Ballardianism: Memoir of a Parallel Universe (a fantastical account of academic failure and literary obsession, filtered through the Ballardian lens). I don’t really have anything left in the tank. As Miévilleindicated, the idea of ‘the Ballardian’ has become so ingrained it’s a cliche to state it.’ 

  1. “A box much lighter than the others, nearly falling to pieces with a red cloth hanging out on all sides, caught my attention. Opening it gently, I was met with a face” — the discovery of Spinoza’s death mask
  2. “The unlived life is not worth examining” — aphorisms of the late great popularizer of philosophy, Bryan Magee
  3. John Locke’s pancake recipe. Seriously. — be warned: between the cream, freshly grated nutmeg, and orangeflower water it will be hard to leave enough and as good for others
  4. In development: “Nietzsche! The Musical” — “Time and again, he reached for a way to love life… His story of struggle and affirmation carries relevance for our time”
  5. Experimental confirmation of Hume’s ideas about imagination and perception? — “reality and imagination are completely intermixed in our brain which means that the separation between our inner world and the outside world is not as clear as we might like to think”
  6. “The result is an agent with the ability to succeed at a wide spectrum of tasks” — Google’s significant progress training AI agents in a multiplayer environment “meant to simulate the physical world” and that involves “complex, non-linear interactions” (via MR)
  7. “Long Covid” raises issues in bio-medical ethics, philosophy of medicine, philosophy of disability, business ethics — Gregory Pence (Alabama) surveys some of the facts and questions related to a condition millions are suffering from

MIT Technology Review: “TikTok’s decision to use a woman’s voice without her permission is only one recent example of a problem that some mistakenly think we’ve moved past… When we think of women in computing, we often think about how, both literally and figuratively, they have been silenced more often than they’ve been listened to. Women’s voices and bodies can be found all throughout the history of computing—from being heard in launch countdowns to being visible in photographs—but only relatively recently have historians written these women back into the narrative by explaining what they did. For a long time, women were mistakenly thought to be peripheral to computing history, even though they were often the ones who programmed the computers. And it is still the case that when we hear a woman’s voice as part of a tech product, we might not know who she is, whether she is even real, and if so, whether she consented to have her voice used in that way. Many TikTok users assumed that the text-to-speech voice they heard on the app wasn’t a real person. But it was: it belonged to a Canadian voice actor named Bev Standing, and Standing had never given ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, permission to use it. Standing sued the company in May, alleging that the ways her voice was being used—particularly the way users could make it say anything, including profanity—were injuring her brand and her ability to make a living. Her voice becoming known as “that voice on TikTok” that you could make say whatever you liked brought recognition without remuneration and, she alleged, hurt her ability to get voice work…”