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The chickenization of everything

How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism (thread) - "Surveillance Capitalism is a real, serious, urgent problem... because it is both emblematic of monopolies (which lead to corruption, AKA conspiracies) and because the vast, nonconsensual dossiers it compiles on us can be used to compromise and neutralize opposition to the status quo."[1,2,3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 4:44 AM Sep 16 2020 - 18 comments [117 favorites]

SuperDole (RIP?)

An ode to Pandemic UI (thread) - "The extra unemployment insurance benefits that were handed out by the U.S. government in the early months of the pandemic to people rendered jobless by Covid-19 represent one of the most extraordinary and successful programs in the nation's history. The $600-a-week in assistance, often referred to as 'pandemic UI', was so generous that it caused an unprecedented spike in Americans' disposable income."[1,2,3] [more inside]
posted by kliuless at 12:34 AM Sep 11 2020 - 66 comments [114 favorites]

We Don’t Know How to Warn You Any Harder. America is Dying.

We Survivors of Authoritarianism Have a Message America Needs to Hear: This is Exactly How it Happens, and It’s Happening Here.
posted by Roach at 12:28 PM Sep 1 2020 - 194 comments [104 favorites]

The gentrification of sharecropping

The NYT publishes a romantic story about a couple escaping to the countryside to start a farm. (alternative link) The excellent Dr. Sarah Taber explains how, by treating it as a design & style story instead of a farming one, they inadvertedly exposed the whole thing as just hipster sharecropping – as shitty and exploitative as it was in the Jim Crow era – and how this is a recurring problem in the "sustainability" movement. As another mefite remarked: Everything “disruptive” is just “how do we undo a century of progress on labor rights.”
posted by Tom-B at 3:47 PM Sep 10 2020 - 56 comments [90 favorites]

Update: Turns out it was in fact not every day

"OMG my brother in law, the gift that never stops giving, was tired of being sent to get rice every day so he decided buy in bulk, talked to the shop about it, wires got crossed, now there is a literal TRUCK FILLED WITH RICE outside the house and my sister is losing her shit lmfao"

Hugo-nominated author Shiv Ramdas livetweets the process of getting a large truck to go away. (Threadreader)
posted by Countess Elena at 2:48 PM Sep 4 2020 - 20 comments [77 favorites]

Thirty-One Buster Keaton Movies

In The Great Buster, Peter Bogdanovich (and, really, every critic) identifies Buster Keaton’s greatest created period as the decade between 1920 and 1930. Before that time, he made a few two-reel films in supporting roles with Roscoe Arbuckle. After it, he made lesser movies with little creative control, dropped off the map, and eventually came back for a moderate late-in-life ressurrection.
But where, oh where, in this modern world, can we find the gems of his golden era? The obvious place. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine at 10:36 PM Sep 15 2020 - 22 comments [73 favorites]

Failing State

The Election That Could Break America: "There is a cohort of close observers of our presidential elections, scholars and lawyers and political strategists, who find themselves in the uneasy position of intelligence analysts in the months before 9/11. As November 3 approaches, their screens are blinking red, alight with warnings that the political system does not know how to absorb. They see the obvious signs that we all see, but they also know subtle things that most of us do not. Something dangerous has hove into view, and the nation is lurching into its path." Longread article from the coming issue of The Atlantic spins out the signs and scenarios, including the potential for state legislatures to end-run the Electoral College. [more inside]
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:47 PM Sep 23 2020 - 216 comments [72 favorites]

When You Zoom Out and Look at Thousands of Books, the Patterns Are Clear

Before getting too upset, I wanted to see if this approach to writing was as widespread as it seemed, or if I was succumbing to selective reading. Do authors really mention particular body parts more for men than for women? Are women’s bodies described using different adjectives than those attributed to men? from The Physical Traits That Describe Men & Women in Literature by Erin Davis [more inside]
posted by chavenet at 3:03 PM Sep 7 2020 - 28 comments [68 favorites]

Math heists, time travel, aliens, and creepy predictions

The Society of Actuaries has held a regular speculative fiction contest since 1995. Actuaries write science fiction about actuarial work, insurance, advances in prediction, and more. In the 13th contest (2019), the winner of the "Most novel prediction forming the basis for the narrative" prize focused on on insurance companies' role in fighting climate change: "We All Have a Green Heart" by Anna Bearrood. (The following links include a lot of PDFs, at least one ZIP file, and scores of of mostly math-heavy science fiction stories, written by amateur authors, often focusing on death, murder, surveillance, creepy conspiracies, implants, and behavior modification.) [more inside]
posted by brainwane at 5:01 AM Sep 12 2020 - 18 comments [68 favorites]

Judge Asked Harvard to Find Out Why So Many Black People Were In Prison

"They could only conclude that the criminal justice process was a Rube Goldberg machine that produces “racially disparate initial charging practices..." An excellent data-driven look at one state's charging and sentencing rates. [more inside]
posted by hanov3r at 3:54 PM Sep 14 2020 - 25 comments [66 favorites]

Adhesive wall hook, scrap of silicone vs. $90,000 myoelectric hand

Adaptive engineering: one woman's tools for daily living. "Cindy woke up in a room at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in September 2009 in a radically altered body... Over time she found that the standard tools provided to her, even at a top-flight rehab hospital, didn’t facilitate some of the most important things she wanted to recover—how to write a thank you note, feed herself, put on makeup and jewelry, turn the pages in a picture book as she reads to her grandchildren. So Cindy started to design and build what she needed. From small hacks on her hand cream jar to repurposing cable ties for pulling out drawers and salad tongs for holding a sandwich, Cindy has embraced an everyday engineering ethic that she never thought possible." [more inside]
posted by cnidaria at 3:00 PM Sep 7 2020 - 13 comments [65 favorites]

surely this

Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses and Years of Tax Avoidance [NY Times]. Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. [more inside]
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:33 PM Sep 27 2020 - 268 comments [65 favorites]

"the mighty builders, perished and fallen"

Fall of Civilizations is a podcast by historian and novelist Paul M. M. Cooper about societies which collapsed. So far he's taken on Roman Britain, the Bronze Age, Ancient Mayans, the Norse in Greenland, the Khmer Empire, Easter Island, the Songhai Empire, Sumer, the Aztecs, the Han Dynasty and Byzantium. Besides the usual places for podcasts, the first eight episodes are also available on YouTube as video documentaries.
posted by Kattullus at 1:06 PM Sep 6 2020 - 18 comments [62 favorites]

"So the question becomes: are we using the right information?"

"Maps always project a specific view of reality.... it’s not a bad thing, as such. The more maps there are, the greater the sum total of information becomes – just as a multitude of voices blends into a democracy. Where does it go wrong? When maps are interpreted as neutral truth. Not one of many representations of reality, but the single definitive model of how the world works. And that is exactly what happens with many maps in the politicised migration debate."

An excellent article on how changing the maps used to portray complex issues can actually change how those complex issues might be perceived.
posted by jessamyn at 2:34 PM Sep 7 2020 - 13 comments [61 favorites]

The Overwhelming Racism of COVID Coverage

Western media cannot write western failure. The real story is that ‘developing’ nations have done remarkably better at fighting COVID-19 than the rich and white. The real story starts precisely where the western map ends. Here be dragons. We be dragons.
posted by toastyk at 7:38 AM Sep 15 2020 - 56 comments [60 favorites]


Richard is a sample chapter from Allie Brosh's new book "Solutions and Other Problems" announced (previously).
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:20 AM Sep 21 2020 - 45 comments [58 favorites]

"She directs the entire cast from her laptop."

SF Shakespeare Festival is live streaming King Lear and it's the best Zoom theater you've ever seen. No, seriously, this is THE BEST PRODUCTION technology-wise I've seen done on live Zoom filming. It runs through the end of September on weekends. You should see it. I say this as someone who isn't a fan of the plot of King Lear or eye squick, but the filming of this is AMAZING. [more inside]
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:35 PM Aug 29 2020 - 13 comments [57 favorites]

"we’re not dealing with people who can be swayed by facts"

Yesterday thousands of far right extremists and QAnon supporters protested in the German capital against the Coronavirus lockdown measures (NBC News) and even tried to storm the Reichstag (Guardian | Euronews), resulting in hundreds of arrests (BBC News) as "authorities said the protesters violated court orders on health and safety" (Deutsche Welle). As this particular brand of conspiracism takes hold also outside the US, the question is now more than ever: What should we do about QAnon now that it has gone mainstream? (Columbia Journalism Review) [more inside]
posted by bitteschoen at 5:28 AM Aug 30 2020 - 161 comments [57 favorites]

What is a plural person?

People with multiple personalities have been documented in culture and society for a long time. There's a decent overview in a reasonably recent Stuff You Should Know podcast. However, read on. [more inside]
posted by warriorqueen at 9:30 AM Sep 6 2020 - 30 comments [56 favorites]

Do you feel like your life is an endless to-do list?

Anne Helen Petersen’s new book, Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, expands on her viral Buzzfeed article from January 2019. Read excerpts on the inescapable hellhole that is work (Wired) and how burnout has become the norm for American parents (NYT), along with an interview on the same (The Atlantic). [more inside]
posted by adrianhon at 12:27 PM Sep 23 2020 - 51 comments [56 favorites]

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