Act 1, scene 1.
"The stage directions read, “Vienna. The Ringstrasse promenade at Sirk Corner. Flags wave from the buildings. Soldiers marching by are cheered by the onlookers. General excitement. The crowd breaks up into small groups.” The newsboys with their “Extra Extra,” announcing the outbreak of war, are interrupted by a drunk demonstrator who shouts “Down with Serbia! Hurrah for the Hapsburgs! Hurrah! For S-e-r-bia!” and is immediately kicked in the pants for his mistake (LTM, p. 69). A crook and a prostitute exchange insults, even as two army contractors, talking of possible bribes the rich will use to avoid the draft, cite Bismarck’s words, in Neue Freie Presse (Vienna’s major newspaper at the time of the assassination of the archduke in Serbia), to the effect that the Austrians deserve kissing. One officer tells another that war is “unanwendbar” (of no use) when he really means, as his friend points out, “unabwendbar” (unavoidable) (LTM, pp. 70–71). A patriotic citizen praises the coming conflict as a holy war of defense against “encirclement” by hostile forces, and the crowd responds by making up rhymes (in Viennese dialect) denigrating the enemy (LTM, p. 72)." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle
on Jun 10, 2014 -
"Advertising is not well.
Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement
emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement
clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising
—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil
that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale
about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 3, 2014 -
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 -