You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts
is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials
, heartbreaking eulogies
, and agonizing run-ins with fascists
) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting
science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed
2006 novel Blindsight [full text]
-- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room
, the Philosophical Zombie
, Chernoff faces
, and the myriad quirks and blind spots
that haunt the human mind.
's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew
, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism
), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section
, tomorrow will see the release of
Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website]
, the long-delayed
"sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Aug 25, 2014 -
Why the students at one prominent South African university, once a model of racial harmony, chose to resegregate.
"UFS hadn’t remained segregated after apartheid’s end—it had integrated and then resegregated later. I wanted to know why the white students raised those ancient flags, and why the black students had left Karee. I uncovered a tale of mutual exhilaration at racial integration giving way to suspicion, anger and even physical violence. It seemed to hold powerful implications well beyond South Africa, about the very nature of social change itself. In our post–civil rights struggle era, we tend to assume progress toward less prejudice and more social tolerance is inevitable—the only variable is speed. But in Bloemfontein, social progress surged forward. Then it turned back."
posted by bookman117
on Jun 24, 2013 -
"I’ve also been written about, in ways I could find no fault with but that were nonetheless excruciating for me to read. It is simply not pleasant to be objectively observed — it’s like seeing a candid photo of yourself online, not smiling or posing, but simply looking the way you apparently always do, oblivious and mush-faced with your mouth open. It’s proof that we are visible to others, that we are seen, in all our naked silliness and stupidity." -Tim Kreider writes
about finding out what people really say about you, and how it's all okay.
posted by smock smock smock
on Jun 18, 2013 -
Becoming Evil : Boston WTKK-FM radio's Jay Severin advocates genocide of American-Muslims
- this is the advocacy of domestic terrorism. And not the mere targeting of civilians but the murder of over three million men, women, and children. Why shouldn't Jay Severin be arrested and charged, under the Patriot Act, with aiding and abetting US domestic terrorist groups which advocate such violence?
[Scroll down towards the bottom of the Globe story for a transcript of the quote in context.] James Waller
has studied the process by which individuals and society come to commit mass atrocities , and says of his theories: "...[the] explanation simply allows us to understand the conditions under which many of us could be transformed into killing machines. When we understand the ordinariness of extraordinary evil, we will be less surprised by evil, less likely to be unwitting contributors to evil, and perhaps better equipped to forestall evil."
Lists some of WTTK's advertisers : Purina, Hilton Resorts, 99 Restaurant and Pub, A.T. & T. Wireless. Still, Orcinus
is my favorite "rise of
terrorist hate speech in America" news source. Germany has laws against such hate speech - which it believes to be so dangerous as to override free speech considerations
- But we've got the USA PATRIOT Act, right?
posted by troutfishing
on Apr 27, 2004 -