Early Civilizations Had It All Figured Out
How feminist philosophers reject the mind/body duality and what this means for our way of existing in our world.
Fascinating essay, on how "show don't tell" can promote and normalize colonialist perspectives, and how SF/F can do better.
Αυτά είναι λόγια που θέλω να ακούω από τους πολιτικούς μου.
"Grandma was clear that Nazis did not appear out of nowhere as interiorless, historyless avatars of violence. They were neighbors, uncles, the waiter, the mayor, [...]
It’s not enough to remember Nazis as symbols of evil. What happened to six million people was not done by metaphors for wickedness, it was done by other people with hands and brains like ours."
At its birth, it seemed like radio would only be a force for good. How could something that connects people together be anything but beneficial?
Radio brought music into hospitals and nursing homes, it eased the profound isolation of rural life, it let people hear directly from their elected representatives. It brought laugher and entertainment into every parlor, saved lives at sea, gave people weather forecasts for the first time.
But radio waves are just oscillating electromagnetic fields. They really don't care how we use them. All they want is to go places at the speed of light.
It is hard to accept that good people, working on technology that benefits so many, with nothing but good intentions, could end up building a powerful tool for the wicked.
But we can't afford to re-learn this lesson every time.
Eloquent essay systematically debunking the arguments against trigger warnings, safe spaces and other feminist rallying cries in academia. Long read, but very intellectually stimulating.
THIS. IS. BEAUTIFUL.
Do you want to win that tennis match? It is outside of your control. But to play the best game you can is under your control. Do you want your partner to love you? It is outside of your control. But there are plenty of ways you can choose to show your love to your partner – and that is under your control.
Important read on what sex worker's problems really are (hint: usually it's not the sex work they're doing).
Beautiful overview of the stories mankind has told of the Arctic; and comes to the heartbreaking conclusion that, soon, these stories may be all we have to remember the North Pole from.
The commonsensical conclusion is that rape, like other crimes, can most effectively be prevented by deterrence. This seems obvious; which makes it only more surprising that so much energy has been devoted to avoiding preventative thinking.
This made me both teary-eyed and wanting to play Stardew Valley.
The follow up to the previous share for prospective allies is *even more* enlightening.
This was extremely useful and enlightening for me as a prospective ally. Excellent read, and do check out the follow up too.
A bit of laugh-crying: "Perhaps the American people are not ready for democracy after all."
Excellent, inspiring, valuable longread on Progress, and whether it actually exists.
Highly recommended. Reading the writings of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius in the past 2 years, and recently also Epictetus, has helped me get through both 2015 and 2016.
Some backstory on the Syrian tragedy.
(Trigger warning for torture descriptions and war)
Τεράστιο άρθρο, το διαβάζω σε δόσεις, αλλά πέτυχα αυτό το κομμάτι και μου άρεσε -κι είναι κάτι που νομίζω ότι κάνουμε σωστά :)
"People who had been through divorces and/or had only been with their partners for 10-15 years almost always talked about communication being the most important part of making things work. Talk frequently. Talk openly. Talk about everything, even if it hurts.
But we noticed that the thing people with marriages going on 20, 30, or even 40 years talked about most was respect.
My sense is that these people, through sheer quantity of experience, have learned that communication, no matter how open, transparent and disciplined, will always break down at some point. Conflicts are ultimately unavoidable, and feelings will always be hurt.
And the only thing that can save you and your partner, that can cushion you both to the hard landing of human fallibility, is an unerring respect for one another, the fact that you hold each other in high esteem, believe in one another — often more than you each believe in yourselves — and trust that your partner is doing his/her best with what they’ve got.
Without that bedrock of respect underneath you, you will doubt each other’s intentions. You will judge their choices and encroach on their independence. You will feel the need to hide things from one another for fear of criticism. And this is when the cracks in the edifice begin to appear."
And THIS is terrifying, but also important.
THIS. This is important.
As developers, we are often one of the last lines of defense against potentially dangerous and unethical practices.
"So, no more of this nonsense. I’m done. I am done pretending that the good intentions of white patriarchy are more important than the consequences enacted on the bodies of others. "
It’s common to hear how the 19th-century telegraph was the equivalent of today’s internet. In fact, there’s a bestseller about it, The Victorian Internet (1998) by Tom Standage. Except this isn’t true. Sending telegrams 100 years ago was too expensive for most people. For decades, the telegraph was a pricey, elite technology. However, what was innovative for the majority of people c1900 was cheap postage. So, during the heyday of the so-called Victorian internet, transoceanic postal systems made communication cheap, reliable and fast. The flow of information grew significantly more accessible and democratic. Although hard to imagine today, bureaucrats and business leaders alike spoke about cheap postage in laudatory terms that resemble what we hear for many emerging technologies today.
Complexity leads to slower development, which leads to tech debt, which leads to the dark side.
"It's difficult," say Facebook […] "to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others."
To which I say: NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.
Look, here's the problem […]:
Facebook - and, more or less, Silicon Valley, […]- is built on and prides itself in solving Difficult Problems. At least, they are now. Facebook is a multi-billion dollar public company where *some* things are difficult and worth doing (e.g. Internet access to 1bn people using custom-built drones, but other things are, by implication, *TOO HARD* and don't warrant the effort.
Adorno (and Popova) on how leisure is co-opted for productivity in modern culture, and specifically in tech & startup culture.
Interesting (though *very* simplified) read on the capitalist construction of working class masculinity, and its disruption in the new economy.
Spoiler warning για το Cursed Child, αλλά μου άρεσε πολύ αυτό της Laurie Penny, για το Harry Potter και τις πολιτικές αναγνώσεις που του κάνει ο κόσμος.
2016 Hugo award novelette. Like all good sci-fi, it tells us of today by describing our tomorrow.
"Trump’s success has raised among liberals a fear that the far right has made itself respectable. [...T]he bigger fear should be that the far right might make itself cool."