cultural-assumptions   157

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Unemployed Negativity: What Deleuze and Guattari Get Wrong (About Capitalism).
"…the theorizing that Deleuze and Guattari offer, what could be characterized briefly as a theory of the economy of affects, offers at least some basis for beginning to understand the perverse world we live in in which the rise and fall of the stock market is almost a libidinally charged event and unemployment is as much a psychic trauma as an economic condition."
political-economy  capitalism  cultural-assumptions  cultural-norms  worklife  to-understand  it's-very-subtle-The-Continental 
23 hours ago by Vaguery
Metaphors we believe by: the pantheon of 2019
IT’S 2013, AND I’M LOUNGING on the hardwood floor of my childhood bedroom with a blasphemous book that I smuggled home from college: Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation. I devour the whole thing in a single sitting. It feels like Harris is letting me in on a giant secret, a Big Truth that my very Christian upbringing had kept hidden from me. God is dead, he says. We killed him a few hundred years ago and replaced him with a sophisticated scientific understanding of life, the universe, and everything.

Fast-forward six years, and I’ve started to realize that the God vs. science situation is a bit more complicated than Sam Harris led me to believe. The more I learn, the more I suspect that rationalists only managed to kill a very narrow and anthropomorphic conception of God. People who study complex systems started using new words to talk about god-like phenomena — metaphors that are more palatable to secular minds. I believe these new words can help scientifically-minded people better understand what it actually felt like to believe in God before science became a Thing. Let’s take a tour through the pantheon of 2019 and explore what these seven “gods” might teach us in our era of ecological crisis and post-truth confusion.
mythology  cultural-assumptions  rather-good  to-write-about  have-read  American-cultural-assumptions  systems-of-belief 
15 days ago by Vaguery
Prostitutes in the Bible – Jonathan | sex & theology – Medium
his might be shocking, but let’s take it . . . step by step? In the Bible, prostitution is never wrong, and hookers, throughout the narratives, are clearly heroines.
via:?  history  theology  do-the-reading  rather-interesting  cultural-assumptions 
may 2019 by Vaguery
Economics as Cultural Warfare: The Case of Adam Smith | Ian Welsh
It should also be noted that today conservatives and neo-liberals use Hamilton’s paraphrasing of Adam Smith, not Hamilton’s arguments refuting Smith, to promote the falsehood that the USA economy is based on the ideas of Adam Smith. The fact is that Hamilton paraphrased Smith not to agree with Smith, but to refute him.
economics  history-of-science  cultural-assumptions  cultural-norms  the-anxiety-of-influence 
april 2019 by Vaguery
Round and round we go. – Digital and Agile Specialist
Agile is not a sprint, a race, or a marathon, it’s a game of snakes and ladders. You can get off, go back to the start or go back a phase or two if you need to. You win when all your user needs are met, but as user needs can change over time, you have to keep your eye on the board, and you only really stop playing once you decommission your Product or Service!
agility  cultural-norms  cultural-assumptions  workalike  corporatism  representation  to-write-about 
march 2019 by Vaguery
How blind reverence for science obscures real problems
In actual fact, “social justice” jargon wasn’t enough — as the hoaxers initially thought — to deceive, but sprinkling in fake data did the trick better than jargon or political pieties ever could. Like Ocasio-Cortez’s critics, who trust too easily in the appearance of scientific objectivity, the hoaxed journals were more likely to buy outrageous claims if they were backed by something that looked like scientific data. It’s not that the hoax was an utter failure, nor that we shouldn’t worry about the vulnerabilities it exposed. It’s that, ironically, scientism and misplaced scientific authority actually contribute to those vulnerabilities and undermine science in the process.
scientism  argumentation  politics  fascism  conservatism  social-norms  cultural-assumptions 
january 2019 by Vaguery
Archive of Hate: Ethics of Care in the Preservation of Ugly Histories — Lady Science
Perhaps the collection would only be accessed by using a public library computer or logging in with institutional credentials. Perhaps users would be required to register and electronically sign use policies. Perhaps content warnings would help users to determine if they want to proceed with viewing potentially traumatic materials. Without working closely with people of color, we don’t yet know what a caring digital platform looks like in the case of KKK newspapers, or even if one is possible.

As it stands now, however, the Hate in America collection fails to enact an ethic of care, so we call upon our readers to raise their voices to Reveal Digital. The online collection will not be made openly available until a funding threshold is reached, anticipated in 2019. Researchers and librarians, you can advocate for change to the access model before the collection becomes public. Libraries, you can withdraw or withhold commitment until Reveal Digital leaders engage librarians of color, race scholars, and anti-racist activists in dialogue about how to balance access and care.
digitization  hate-speech  history  archives  social-norms  social-responsibility  cultural-assumptions 
january 2019 by Vaguery
Privacy, Security, & Ethics – Computer Science’s “Jüdische Physik” – Terence Eden's Blog
I'm going to tell you an anecdote which is a gross oversimplification, and is an unfair comparison.
In the early part of the twenty-first century, many people working in the fledgeling Internet industry started making noise about privacy, security, and ethics. The mainstream technologists called them fearmongers, idealists, and anti-business. Their ideas were unwelcome and they were thrown out of both the cathedral and the bazaar.
Many retreated to academia, some stayed and tried to cultivate a sense of responsibility in the industry, a few started lobbying governments around the world. By the time trust in the existing structures had begun to collapse, there were too few privacy-focused employees left to reverse the damage.
By expelling the boring and pessimistic doomsayers, the Internet behemoths had sowed the seeds of their own destruction.
security  professionalism  online-culture  privacy  startup-culture-must-die  cultural-assumptions 
october 2018 by Vaguery
[1808.01862] Yes, Aboriginal Australians Can and Did Discover the Variability of Betelgeuse
Recently, a widely publicized claim has been made that the Aboriginal Australians discovered the variability of the red star Betelgeuse in the modern Orion, plus the variability of two other prominent red stars: Aldebaran and Antares. This result has excited the usual healthy skepticism, with questions about whether any untrained peoples can discover the variability and whether such a discovery is likely to be placed into lore and transmitted for long periods of time. Here, I am offering an independent evaluation, based on broad experience with naked-eye sky viewing and astro-history. I find that it is easy for inexperienced observers to detect the variability of Betelgeuse over its range in brightness from V = 0.0 to V = 1.3, for example in noticing from season-to-season that the star varies from significantly brighter than Procyon to being greatly fainter than Procyon. Further, indigenous peoples in the Southern Hemisphere inevitably kept watch on the prominent red star, so it is inevitable that the variability of Betelgeuse was discovered many times over during the last 65 millennia. The processes of placing this discovery into a cultural context (in this case, put into morality stories) and the faithful transmission for many millennia is confidently known for the Aboriginal Australians in particular. So this shows that the whole claim for a changing Betelgeuse in the Aboriginal Australian lore is both plausible and likely. Given that the discovery and transmission is easily possible, the real proof is that the Aboriginal lore gives an unambiguous statement that these stars do indeed vary in brightness, as collected by many ethnographers over a century ago from many Aboriginal groups. So I strongly conclude that the Aboriginal Australians could and did discover the variability of Betelgeuse, Aldebaran, and Antares.
cultural-assumptions  astronomy  history-of-science  colonialism  science-studies  to-write-about 
august 2018 by Vaguery
IASC: The Hedgehog Review - Volume 20, No. 1 (Spring 2018) - Digital Metaphysics: The Cybernetic Idealism of Warren McCulloch -
Kant famously stated that he had “awoken from his dogmatic slumber”30 by reading the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume. Hume maintained a bright line between “matters of fact” and “relations of ideas.” This meant that mental habit was central. If one wanted to form a meaningful sentence about the world (“this causes that”), then one would have to habituate the mind by noticing common correlations and regularly drawing the conclusion that one thing “caused” another. Kant disagreed. Cause, he reasoned, could not just be a mental habit, because it had a hidden premise: not that one thing followed another in time, but that it necessarily did so. To conceive of a necessity in the world was to add something more than habit to observation—to contribute a law to nature.
philosophy-of-science  philosophy  neural-networks  representation  cultural-assumptions  machine-learning  le-sigh  familiar-refrains-again-again 
june 2018 by Vaguery
Sturgeon’s Biases – Quietstars – Medium
Some smart social psychologist, anthropologist or sociologist probably wrote about this seventy years ago. So I’m just going to ramble about it here for a bit, and hope that somebody smarter than I am can point me to that paper. So I know what to call it.
communities-of-practice  cultural-assumptions  cultural-norms  essay  social-norms  rather-interesting 
april 2018 by Vaguery
Post-work: the radical idea of a world without jobs | News | The Guardian
As a source of social mobility and self-worth, work increasingly fails even the most educated people – supposedly the system’s winners. In 2017, half of recent UK graduates were officially classified as “working in a non-graduate role”. In the US, “belief in work is crumbling among people in their 20s and 30s”, says Benjamin Hunnicutt, a leading historian of work. “They are not looking to their job for satisfaction or social advancement.” (You can sense this every time a graduate with a faraway look makes you a latte.)

Work is increasingly precarious: more zero-hours or short-term contracts; more self-employed people with erratic incomes; more corporate “restructurings” for those still with actual jobs. As a source of sustainable consumer booms and mass home-ownership – for much of the 20th century, the main successes of mainstream western economic policy – work is discredited daily by our ongoing debt and housing crises. For many people, not just the very wealthy, work has become less important financially than inheriting money or owning a home.
worklife  sociology  cultural-assumptions  neoliberalism  capitalism  bullshit-jobs  to-write-about 
january 2018 by Vaguery
The Consent of the (Un)governed
I have big fights with an older female relative about this. She believes that women have a great deal of responsibility when they are assaulted, and I suspect that the reason she believes this is because it gives her comfort and a sense of control to think that there was choice involved. Because the alternative is worse. The alternative is that there’s nothing she can do to stop it, and by extension, nothing she can do to protect her daughters, her granddaughters, her friends, herself. Feeling complicit in our own harassment allows us to survive trauma, but it also prevents us from confronting it. This is how we get a world where women, for their own safety, are counseled by the people who love them against walking alone at night. It’s our choice, a choice we make for our own good, as independent women, to minimize our risk. But that’s not freedom. That’s something else.

The same is true of both the democratic process and, to some extent, the labor market. Individuals are offered very little choice indeed, but the choices we do have are inflated into much more than they are. Since it allows us to believe that we are free and it suits those in power that we continue to believe this, we cling doggedly to our anemic choices and call it love.
via:various  activism  sexism  political-economy  reactionaries  social-norms  cultural-assumptions  neoliberalism  fascism  labor  capitalism 
january 2018 by Vaguery
When Bad Men Define Good Art – Electric Literature
Once you realize how much the structures of literary power are bound up with the concept of literary quality, it becomes clear — if it wasn’t already — that our entire concept of “quality” is suspect. The Paris Review publishes twice as many men as women; are men twice as good? The New York Times described Stein as “regarded by many as a champion of new talent, including some women writers,” but that “some” is poison. One can’t really make the case that Stein was a champion of women writers generally; under his auspices, The Paris Review went from one-third women writers to… one-third women writers. So who broke through to be part of the illustrious third? This is not to say that the writers who did make their way into The Paris Review’s pages aren’t worthy, but we should illuminate the hand that picked them, and the other work it cast aside. In short, if you weren’t already paying attention to the ways that whiteness and maleness determine what we value in art, you should be now.
cultural-norms  cultural-assumptions  rather-interesting  literary-criticism  social-dynamics  ethics  to-write-about  what-gets-measured-gets-fudged 
january 2018 by Vaguery
Why Can’t We Be Our Whole Selves as Academics? – Hook
Why can’t we have that as academics? It’s a genuine question: what does an academic culture that requires us to elide our personal lives, to treat our bodies as containers for our brains (even with broken feet), to elevate intellect over affect, do that’s useful to the academy? Does it make academic work appear more legitimate–and if so, to whom? Does it gatekeep, for the benefit of those in power, the people who cannot wholly divorce their bodily/personal/affective lives from their work? Does it make stressful and onerous academic and administrative work seem simpler, even if it isn’t? Does it delegitimate certain kinds of labour, especially emotional, so that labour doesn’t have to be acknowledged or compensated?
cultural-assumptions  worklife  corporatism  via:twitter  the-docile-body-of-the-author  academic-culture 
september 2017 by Vaguery
The 'internet of things' is sending us back to the Middle Ages
The underlying problem is ownership

One key reason we don’t control our devices is that the companies that make them seem to think – and definitely act like – they still own them, even after we’ve bought them. A person may purchase a nice-looking box full of electronics that can function as a smartphone, the corporate argument goes, but they buy a license only to use the software inside. The companies say they still own the software, and because they own it, they can control it. It’s as if a car dealer sold a car, but claimed ownership of the motor.

This sort of arrangement is destroying the concept of basic property ownership. John Deere has already told farmers that they don’t really own their tractors but just license the software – so they can’t fix their own farm equipment or even take it to an independent repair shop. The farmers are objecting, but maybe some people are willing to let things slide when it comes to smartphones, which are often bought on a payment installment plan and traded in as soon as possible.

How long will it be before we realize they’re trying to apply the same rules to our smart homes, smart televisions in our living rooms and bedrooms, smart toilets and internet-enabled cars?
ownership  internet-of-shit  capitalist-cultural-assumptions  cultural-assumptions  economics  public-policy  we-need-new-animals 
september 2017 by Vaguery
Let Me Tell You - Uncanny Magazine
Look at the literary fiction techniques that are supposedly the hallmarks of good writing: nearly all of them rely not on what was said, but on what is left unsaid. Always come at things sideways; don’t be too direct, too pat, or too slick. Lead the reader in a direction but allow them to come to the conclusion. Ask the question but don’t state the answer too baldly. Leave things open to interpretation… but not too open, of course, or you have chaos. Make allusions and references to the works of the literary canon, the Bible, and familiar events of history to add a layer of evocation—but don’t make it too obvious or you’re copycatting. These are the do’s and don’ts of MFA programs everywhere. They rely on a shared pool of knowledge and cultural assumptions so that the words left unsaid are powerfully communicated. I am not saying this is not a worthwhile experience as reader or writer, but I am saying anointing it the pinnacle of “craft” leaves out any voice, genre, or experience that falls outside the status quo. The inverse is also true, then: writing about any experience that is “foreign” to that body of shared knowledge is too often deemed less worthy because to make it understandable to the mainstream takes a lot of explanation. Which we’ve been taught is bad writing!

And science fiction (and fantasy), by definition, falls outside the status quo. I look at those rules and I think no wonder a lot of MFA programs don’t allow genre fiction. What they want students to learn, what they define as good writing, runs counter to the purpose of science fiction and fantasy, which is to displace the reader from the status quo right from the start and never re-establish it. SF/F can certainly make allusions to the Bible and Shakespeare if the writer wants to, but obviously the idea that a story must take place in some “universal” setting goes out the window when the first thing that changes is reality itself.
passing  cultural-assumptions  literary-criticism  genre-fiction  advice  to-write-about  signaling 
september 2017 by Vaguery
The hidden environmental impacts of ‘platform capitalism’ - The Ecologist
In comparison, the inner workings of these companies are becoming increasingly harder to comprehend, something that Frank Pasquale has identified with his idea of The Black Box Society. 
 
We may be able to observe the huge levels of profits, but it is harder to understand what is happening within the proprietary systems of these companies.
 
This is no accident. A key part of this new business model is obscuring how the company actually works. For example, companies like Uber or Deliveroo claim not to employ any drivers, instead using a contractual trick to organise a precarious pool of gig workers who are technically self-employed.
 
These methods shift the costs and risks onto workers, freeing the company from regulations like the minimum wage, holiday and sick pay, and pensions. 
 
The platform orientation of these companies is about dodging regulations to maximise profits. If these companies are not prepared to pay workers properly, it does not bode well for meeting other regulations and responsibilities more broadly.
platform-capitalism  economics  corporatism  end-times  cultural-assumptions  political-economy  public-policy  crowdsourcing-it-aint 
august 2017 by Vaguery
Scholarship and life - From PhD to Life
Scholars are almost always academics. We assign the designation to professors and researchers with university posts who get paid to research and publish. The term “independent scholar” only proves this: The qualifier is necessary because “scholar” by itself implies an academic position. I think this is why I’ve been uneasy about my desire to continue my research concurrent with building a non-academic life. Research and teaching go hand in hand, but scholarship and a non-academic career doesn’t seem right. Is my on-going interest in my dissertation topic a sign that I haven’t yet let go of academia? Is there room for scholarship in a life completely removed from a university?
scholarship  cultural-norms  cultural-assumptions  worklife 
august 2017 by Vaguery
From a logical point of view … — Crooked Timber
I have now read that “google manifesto”. I read it more out of a desire to forestall people saying “but have you ACTUALLY READ IT?” than out of any expectation that it would contain new or unfamiliar information, and indeed it was your fairly standard evo-psych “just asking questions”, genus differences-in-tails-of-distributions. It’s a mulberry bush that was already pretty well circumnavigated when Larry Summers was still President of Harvard. But what really struck me was that I have changed in my old age; I used to be depressed at the generally very poor level of statistical education, now I’m depressed at the extent to which people with an excellent education in statistics still don’t really understand anything about the subject. I’m beginning to think that mathematical training in many cases is actually damaging; simple and robust metrics, usually drawn from the early days of industrial quality control, are what people need to understand. Let’s talk about distributions of programming ability.
via:cshalizi  startup-culture-must-die  bad-statistics  argument-by-authority  cultural-assumptions 
august 2017 by Vaguery

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