Dear reader,

A caveat.

Everything posted here is worth thinking about. On the other hand, the ideas and opinions put forth may not be right.

Curated and annotated by Timoni West.

July 29th, 2014

A lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of your lived experiences on Earth actually have nothing to do with you, but with the narrative that your body presents — at least that’s what I’ve deduced. The narrative can change, sure, but if it does, it’s got nothing to do with what you’ve done to subvert it, and everything to do with other people doing a better job of restraining their inner asshole.

As the genius comedian Chris Rock said of Pres. Barack Obama’s election in 2008: “You could say that black people made progress, but to say black people have made progress would mean that black people deserved to be segregated,” he said. “The reality is that white people have gotten less crazy.”

This brings me to the recent Harvard Business Review article by a Harvard professor that aggregated a bunch of studies which all said that the social and inter-office political implications for women who “lean in,” AKA aggressively negotiate for pay or other things at work, are much more catastrophic than they are for men.

July 28th, 2014
Parfit believes that there are true answers to moral questions, just as there are to mathematical ones. Humans can perceive these truths, through a combination of intuition and critical reasoning, but they remain true whether humans perceive them or not.
For example, in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, the main character walks down a street passing by a number of shops whose names were specifically chosen and window displays specifically arranged by the director to convey additional meaning to the scene and to the film. At 720p or at a bitrate under 8Mbps, those details become indistinct and illegible. It becomes impossible to know that Kubrick was trying to tell you anything with those storefronts, let alone discern what he was trying to say.
July 27th, 2014

This female version of Gary Oldman’s Dracula is knocking me out. Photo via audrinapatridge.

Sick tattoo by MXM at sangbleu in London. In light of no other options I created a pinterest board for tattoos like this—heavy linework, #blackworkers stuff.


by MXM.

Big Data is like Big Brother, only without the judgment.
July 26th, 2014

The Hunger Games has this same feminist problem. Other than the initial volunteering to replace her younger sister, Katniss never makes any decisions of her own, never acts with consequence— but her life is constructed to appear that she makes important decisions. She has free will, of course, like any five year old with terrible parents, but at every turn is prevented from acting on the world. She is protected by men— enemies and allies alike; directed by others, blessed with lucky accidents and when things get impossible there are packages from the sky. In philosophical terms, she is continuously robbed of agency. She is deus ex machinaed all the way to the end.

…In the actual Games, Katniss is continuously saved by men— Haymitch, Peeta, Peeta again, Thresh— but you don’t notice that she saves no one, including herself, you think she saves herself all the time. You think this because of the first half of the movie told you she’s a badass, so you don’t realize that during the second half she shows less agency than Princess Jasmine.

What’s Wrong With The Hunger Games Is What No One Noticed and The Hunger Games Is A Sexist Fairy Tale. Sorry, the Last Psychiatrist.

I repeated these general sentiments a lot when Twilight was ending and The Hunger Games was revving up, because there were a lot of comparisons, all of which ended badly for Bella. Admittedly, the Twilight movies make Bella much weaker, which is unfortunate; in the books, she ends up becoming the most powerful vampire in the world. She gets everything that Katniss doesn’t: her Gale (and her Peeta), her Pris, her district, all safe and sound. Because when the revolution comes, Bella is so powerful she doesn’t even need to fight.

Maddening, then, Katniss is lauded as a strong female character. She scans as badass on paper, and in the cinema, but on reflection, she’s simply the pawn of a much larger system—and so dumb, so untrustworthy nobody can tell her anything. Not Peeta, not Hamish, not even Cinna or Effie.

Considering what Katniss does after the revolution, it was likely a smart move on the part of the rebels. Don’t forget that in the third book, after the Capitol falls, when Katniss is accorded some figurehead power, she votes to keeps the games going.

It is the most fundamental insight of human relationships that when you see the other person as a factor in your own happiness, the problem is not the person, the problem is you.
The usual anxiety about Facebook’s future is that teenagers aren’t interested in it, but the more relevant demo here is adult men, especially the ones in suits.  Facebook runs 60/40 women to men.  In the language of self-aggrandizing social media, that’s a tipping point.  5% more estrogen and Facebook will be perceived as a women’s site and no guy will want any part of it except for guys you will want no part of.

The Last Psychiatrist: Who Can Know How Much Randi Zuckerberg Is Worth?

The mellifluous Chris Ballas expounds on this point more after this quote, but one thing I love about him—he’s extremely practical; realties are regarded as such regardless of intent.

But because Anderson’s ideas and solutions are so simple and beautiful…they reinforce a belief in simple, contained worlds that allows people to remain untroubled by their lack of curiosity. His world is simple and exterior, so the answers are simple and exterior as well.
When exactly Heaven’s Gate first became mixed up with computers is unknown, but it was likely catalyzed by their fascination with emerging communication technologies and space travel. Their literature is written in a web-inflected religious idiom: they considered “N.L. (Next Level) Base computer language” a way to express higher levels of Biblical understanding, and wrote that those with similar “computer programs” and “software” will resonate higher than the average person.
For example, a scientist named John Underkoffler, who had already built similar systems at MIT, designed the immersive tactile computer interfaces of the 2002 film Minority Report. After gauging audience response to the interface – “they felt like they’d seen something that either was real or should be” – he told me in 2008, Underkoffler founded Oblong Industries, a company that now sells commercial versions of the Minority Report computers, networked, gestural computing environments immediately recognisable from their star turn in science fiction.