This is the majuscule axiom — the maxiom, let us say — for revolution. Revolution is a total thought, a thought of the totality; they are necessarily entangled. Reform, repair, regime change, recuperation: all of these are the politics of the partial, of isolating specific problems as if they admitted of independent solution. Ezra Pound said that the epic is a poem that contains history. What matter that we might amend the last word, a minor amendment at that, a swapping out of inseparable concepts? The epic is the poem that contains totality. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle
on Sep 4, 2013 -
Is Psychometric g a Myth?
- "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth
approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g
." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Apr 11, 2013 -
"The models we discuss belong to the class of two-variable systems with one delay for which appropriate delay stabilizes an unstable steady state. We formulate a theorem and prove that stabilization takes place in our case. We conclude that considerable (meaning large enough, but not too large) values of time delay involved in the model can stabilize love affairs dynamics
." [more inside]
posted by bluefly
on Jan 16, 2013 -
(of What's the Matter with Kansas?
and Pity the Billionaire
fame) reviews Occupy's burgeoning research program in "To the Precinct Station
"Dear god why, after only a few months of occupying Zuccotti Park, did Occupiers feel they needed to launch their own journal of academic theory? A journal that then proceeded to fill its pages with impenetrable essays seemingly written to demonstrate, one more time, the Arctic futility of theory-speak? Is this how you build a mass movement? By persistently choosing the opposite of plain speech?"
He also approvingly cites Slavoj Žižek's essay on the dangers and opportunities of the carnival here
posted by anotherpanacea
on Jan 9, 2013 -
Let’s play Žižuku!
Vaguely similar in theory to the Postmodern Text Generator
, but practiced individually, rather than Markov-chain-generated text. The creator, Julian Baggini, describes Žižuku thus: "The rules are simple: pick on any widely received idea and find the most clever-sounding way to invert it, so as to create a paradox, or at least the semblance of one." [more inside]
posted by exlotuseater
on Nov 17, 2012 -
"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs.
I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously
) on Why Liberalism Works.
posted by The Whelk
on Sep 30, 2012 -
THE FULLER MAP This document is a study of the comprehensive designer Buckminster Fuller, an outstanding character of the 20th century, and a kind of practical visionary. [...] This presentation of his ideas is not intended as a slavish devotional exercise, nor a piece of cynical criticism. Part of the plan here is to investigate the logic of synergetics. At this stage the account is verbal, not visual, but what is important in geometry is the logic rather than the pictures. The text is a work-in-progress, begun in August 1991, and originally written to meet the structural requirements of John Wood's IDEAbase system. It was compiled and edited as an experimental, dynamic, interactive, screen-based document. It was not, therefore, intended as a completed linear text to be printed onto paper or other static medium.
posted by infini
on Aug 14, 2012 -
In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report.
But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3
. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report
investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 20, 2012 -
But like many an inarticulate young lover, I thought for a time that seduction was a matter of giving the right book to the right woman. In my case it was Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse: a meditation on Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther that catalogues the melancholic lover’s prized ‘image repertoire’ – the scene of waiting, the feeling of being dissolved in the presence of the loved being, the attraction of suicide – and thinly veils the author’s own life as a middle-aged gay man in Paris in the 1970s. This gift was always a prelude to disaster.
– RB and Me: An Education
is an essay by Brian G. Dillon
about his relationship with the books of French philosopher Roland Barthes. It's also a lovely autobiography of an awkward boy finding his place in life. Dillon's website
collects his essays, and is trove of interesting insight. Besides writing essays and fiction, Dillon is also the UK editor of Cabinet Magazine, and you can read a fair number of his articles online
, including ones on Beau Brummel and the cravat
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 1, 2011 -
TV Fact Checkers
"Behind every smart TV show, there is a tireless script coordinator, technical adviser, researcher or producer who makes sure the jargon is right, the science is accurate and the pop culture references are on-point." This week, Wired "is speaking with fact-checkers behind the fall TV season’s geekiest shows." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Sep 22, 2011 -
Tabletop: Analog Game Design
- A commons licenced book containing a series of essays about digital and non-digital games from some esteemed boardgame veterans: "Much has been written about the videogame revolution, [...] In a scant thirty some-odd years,
we’ve grown from nothing to one of the world’s largest entertainment
forms, grossing tens of billions annually [...] Works that discuss the evolution of the game industry from an historical perspective generally talk about the connection between the pre-digital
arcade and the earliest digital games; I’ve even heard some claim
that “without the arcade, videogames would not exist.” This is, of course, bosh..." [more inside]
posted by Cogentesque
on Aug 24, 2011 -
Bret Victor on WorryDream
The power to understand and predict the quantities of the world should not be restricted to those with a freakish knack for manipulating abstract symbols.
When most people speak of Math, what they have in mind is more its mechanism than its essence. This "Math" consists of assigning meaning to a set of symbols, blindly shuffling around these symbols according to arcane rules, and then interpreting a meaning from the shuffled result. The process is not unlike casting lots.
posted by naight
on Jul 24, 2011 -
Theta Music Trainer
— Train your ear with fun music games. Sharpen your sense of pitch and tone. Unlock the hidden patterns in music. Strengthen your music theory skills.
posted by netbros
on May 25, 2011 -
Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason
, readable online
, is an analysis of the physical mechanisms of hallucination, shamanic ritual, and expanded states of consciousness. By presenting these methods in physical terms, Psychedelic Information Theory offers a rational and objective model for shamanic transformation and therapy in modern clinical practice. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Sep 5, 2010 -
The "Benign Violation Theory
" posits that for something to be funny, three conditions must be met. First, there must be a violation of the norm. Second, the violation must be perceived to be benign. Last, both these perceptions must occur simultaneously. [more inside]
posted by cosmac
on Aug 27, 2010 -
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty In the 1990s, Paul Romer revolutionized economics. In the Aughts, he became rich as a software entrepreneur. Now he's trying to help the poorest countries grow rich—by convincing them to establish foreign-run "charter cities" within their borders. Romer's idea is unconventional, even neo-colonial—the best analogy is Britain's historic lease of Hong Kong. And against all odds, he just might make it happen.
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jun 10, 2010 -