April 7, 2018
Where does the mind end and the world begin? Is the mind locked inside its skull, sealed in with skin, or does it expand outward, merging with things and places and other minds that it thinks with? What if there are objects outside—a pen and paper, a phone—that serve the same function as parts of the brain, enabling it to calculate or remember? You might say that those are obviously not part of the mind, because they aren’t in the head, but that would be to beg the question. So are they or aren’t they? [more inside]
Behold the Addiator! I know what you’re thinking. For all of the cool mechanical calculators and mathematic engines and adding machines in everyday use that existed before the microchip, folks just can’t choose between. There should be someone to review mechanical math devices, who’s snarky and sarcastic and enthusiastic about these machines, and can explain how they work so you can follow along. Well! Here we are! This is the YouTube channel, owned and operated by Chris Staecker, mathematician, educator and collector! It begins with Napier’s Bones, and winds up at the Instrument Traverse Nomogram!
The never-ending Destiny 2 controversy is a teachable moment for the game industry [The Verge] “But what if the game maker, at the highest possible level, misunderstands what players actually want, and doesn’t listen to or trust those players when they verbalize those demands? No amount of nimble iteration or cool new features can bridge a gap of trust. And that’s what Bungie appears to suffer from today, with a player base that almost refuses to believe the company has the best interests of the game at heart and wants accordingly to act in good faith. We don’t know how much money Destiny 2 is making, or how many people play it every day or month. Bungie won’t say, and it could be that the game is healthy and revenue is flowing in from its in-game Eververse store. But from even just a cursory community snapshot, players are unhappy and the game feels as if it’s on a path toward an unsalvageable state.” [more inside]
Children of 'The Cloud' and Major Tom. The German sky I knew was a shared sky—shared with the Communist East and the Western Allies, with radioactive clouds and acid rain, with Major Tom and Mathias Rust. It was also somewhere we encountered, right above our homes, something far less certain and far more exciting than the heavy exposed-concrete buildings on the ground. Even in K-Town, where only America loomed overhead, the sky contained multitudes: twinkling distant AWACS, protective Pershings, A-10s with their uranium-covered payload, rumbling Galaxies, Miles Davis flying in for his concerts, wounded soldiers airlifting in, burn victims airlifting out. Was it crazy to imagine Major Tom somewhere in between them?
Interactive, horrifying graphic from Outrider about the effect of a nuclear strike in your location.
The Data Science Community Newsletter is a "weekly data science newsletter featuring data science news delivered with humor & snark plus an always popular Tweet of the Week." Curated by Laura Norén and Brad Strenger , there is a strong focus on how university, government, and industry data science and ethics (or perhaps the lack of ethics) affect our world. [more inside]
Meet the Straphanger Who Talked Back to Those Damn Fiverr Ads (Village Voice) Previously, one year ago: The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself To Death.
“When Medium approached me to curate a pop-up magazine, I knew exactly what I wanted to do — to create a space for writers I respect and admire to contribute to the ongoing conversation about unruly bodies and what it means to be human. I asked twenty-four talented writers to respond to the same prompt: what does it mean to live in an unruly body? Each writer interpreted this prompt in a unique way and offered up a small wonder. Over the next four weeks, I will be sharing those small wonders with you.“ Roxane Gay’s Unruly Bodies. [more inside]
The Crystal Capitalists aren’t just participating in some warped, consumer-focused version of hippiedom. They’re doing a thing outsiders, especially white ones, have long done in New Mexico: consuming too greedily, too obliviously, while imagining themselves to be in a new and untouched place, a sort of Manifest Destiny-lite with souvenirs.
Does politeness mean being warm and welcoming, or not imposing yourself? The well-mannered dictionary-makers at Oxford err on the side of tactful, considerate, thoughtful, discreet, diplomatic. Brown and Levinson created the modern theory of positive and negative politeness, which suggests that different cultures have very different ideas about what's polite. Jane H. Hill had the theory in mind when she discovered that she was not as warm, friendly, and outgoing as she had thought. Benjamin Bailey concluded that different conceptions of politeness between Korean-Americans and African-Americans helped shape the Los Angeles riots in 1992 (PDF). [more inside]
"Librarians and architects were already at odds in the late nineteenth century, when librarianship and architectural practice were being professionalized. (The American Library Association was founded in 1876, the American Institute for Architects in 1856.) Many librarians felt that architects ignored their needs and created buildings that emphasized grandeur over functionality. ... At a meeting of the ALA in 1881, Poole delivered a fiery speech against the “vacuity” of the new Peabody Institute Library in Baltimore. “The nave is empty and serves no purpose that contributes to the architectural effect,” he argued. “Is not this an expensive luxury?" [more inside]
The internet oddballs who think the ‘Heathcliff’ comics are deep. The banal strangeness of second-most famous cat in comics, and it’s surprisingly hard to reach creator.
"So rather than treat the new populism as a coherent ideology and program, it may be more helpful to think of it by analogy to medical science. Just as a fever in the human body is a signal that something is wrong in that body, so the varied and sometimes-contradictory populist fevers and passions in the trans-Atlantic body politic are signals that the democratic project, far from being perfected in the post-Cold War world, has in fact got some serious problems."