pw201 + culture   60

Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can’t you put it down? - The Globe and Mail
We're doomed! Interesting for this bit: "It takes office workers an average of 25 minutes to get back on task after an interruption, he notes, while workers who are habitually interrupted by e-mail become likelier to "self-interrupt" with little procrastination breaks". That's true of me: if I'm constantly getting interrupted I give up and procastinate in anticipation of the next interruption.
technology  culture  psychology  smartphones  facebook  work 
january 2018 by pw201
Conversion via Twitter - The New Yorker
Megan Phelps - Roper on leaving Westboro Baptist Church, the church notorious for picketing funerals.
religion  culture  Twitter  homosexuality  Christianity  de-conversion 
march 2017 by pw201
What I learned as a hired consultant to autodidact physicists | Aeon Ideas
"A typical problem is that, in the absence of equations, they project literal meanings onto words such as ‘grains’ of space-time or particles ‘popping’ in and out of existence. Science writers should be more careful to point out when we are using metaphors. My clients read way too much into pictures, measuring every angle, scrutinising every colour, counting every dash. Illustrators should be more careful to point out what is relevant information and what is artistic freedom. But the most important lesson I’ve learned is that journalists are so successful at making physics seem not so complicated that many readers come away with the impression that they can easily do it themselves. How can we blame them for not knowing what it takes if we never tell them?"
science  physics  culture  pseudoscience 
august 2016 by pw201
THE FAILURE OF MULTICULTURALISM | Pandaemonium
Kenan Malik argues that multi-cultural policies amount to dealing with people as a bloc lead by self-appointed (or government appointed) leaders. Yet French assimilationism hasn't fared better: Malik blames measures taken against alienness (burqua bans) and an inability to acknowledge that racism still exists even though the goal is assimilation.
multiculturalism  kenan-malik  culture  politics  racism  immigration  europe 
march 2015 by pw201
If Europe is to overcome Islamist terror, it needs to fight for the values it holds dear | Comment is free | The Guardian
"For many on the left, tolerance comes easily. But economic disarray has sapped the will to defend our principles of rationalism and individual liberty."
terrorism  left  islamism  europe  culture 
january 2015 by pw201
dear US followers
"NO ONE, I repeat literally NO ONE in France ever considered Charlie Hebdo as racist. We might have considered the drawings tasteless, but NOT racists. For the very simple reason that WE FUCKING KNOW OUR POLITICS. So, when you see the covers of the journal out of context and without understanding french, you’re seeing maybe 10% of what there’s to see."
charlie-hebdo  racism  culture  france 
january 2015 by pw201
“Everything is problematic” | The McGill Daily
"Perhaps the most deeply held tenet of a certain version of anti-oppressive politics – which is by no means the only version – is that members of an oppressed group are infallible in what they say about the oppression faced by that group. ... Let me give an example. A gay person is typically much better acquainted with homophobia than a straight person. Moreover, a gay person has a much greater stake in what society does about homophobia, so their view on the matter is more important. However, there is nothing about the experience of being gay in itself that enlightens a gay person about the ethics of sexual orientation. To take a dead simple case, you don’t have to hear it from a gay person to know that homosexuality is ethically just fine."
politics  feminism  activism  culture  rationality  problematic 
december 2014 by pw201
"The Culture represents the place we might hope to get to" | MetaFilter
Mefi's discussion of the (previously linked) recently published interview with Iain M Banks (RIP). It's good.
metafilter  iain-m-banks  culture  sci-fi  sf  science-fiction  discussion 
november 2014 by pw201
▶ Founders@Google Presents: The Cultural Anthropology of Stack Exchange - YouTube
A presentation from Joek Spolsky on the Stack Exchange sites and the culture they're trying to promote there, contrasted with things like discussion forums, other "answers" sites, and whatnot.
discussion  stack-exchange  joel-spolsky  internet  stack-overflow  culture 
august 2013 by pw201
Against the seriousness of theology : Gene Expression
"Theology and texts have far less power over shaping a religion’s lived experience than intellectuals would like to credit. This is a difficult issue to approach, because even believers who are vague on peculiarities of the details of theology (i.e., nearly all of them!) nevertheless espouse that theology as true. Very few Christians that I have spoken to actually understand the substance of the elements of the Athanasian Creed, though they accept it on faith. Similarly, very few Sunni Muslims could explain with any level of coherency why al-Ghazali‘s refutation of the Hellenistic tendency within early Islam shaped their own theology (if they are Sunni it by definition does!). Conversely, very few Shia could explain why their own tradition retains within its intellectual toolkit the esoteric Hellenistic philosophy which the Sunni have rejected. That’s because almost no believers actually make recourse to their own religion’s intellectual toolkit."
religion  theology  culture 
may 2013 by pw201
Twilight: The Use of Sparkle
If Iain M. Banks had written Twilight. Funny, even though I've never read/seen any Twilight.
parody  twilight  iain-m-banks  sf  science-fiction  sci-fi  culture  books 
january 2012 by pw201
The Americanization of Mental Illness - NYTimes.com
The expression of mental illness is cultural: anorexia was more or less introduced to Hong Kong by newspaper articles. A view in which mental illness is caused by brain problems rather than childhood experiences or demons actually makes people less sympathetic to those with mental illness, because they're perceived as being unfixable.
anorexia  schizophrenia  culture  science  psychiatry  psychology 
january 2012 by pw201
Honolulu Magazine | The Secret Life of Storage Units in Honolulu
What people do with their storage lockers. Including running a business from them...
storage  culture  housing 
may 2011 by pw201
Try Thinking | Here lieth the thoughts of SiânyB
"I do (despite appearances) totally understand the importance of prayer for some people – I know people who use it as a kind of meditation to clear their heads, to unburden their guilt or to enter some kind of celestial lottery of hope. But, given current world events, the message ‘Try Praying’ is a grimly obscuring lens through which to view your surroundings."
religion  culture  advertising  prayer  edinburgh  christianity 
march 2011 by pw201
Some Perspective On The Japan Earthquake: MicroISV on a Shoestring
"Japan is exceptionally well-prepared to deal with natural disasters", and apparently, the system worked.
japan  earthquake  engineering  culture 
march 2011 by pw201
whump | "I come not in peace, but with a knife missile."
Jesus was actually working for Culture Special Circumstances. Slightly more plausible than the conventional story.
science-fiction  jesus  culture  banks  iain-m-banks 
december 2010 by pw201
Kafkatrapping
'One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”'. Eric S. Raymond coins the phrase "kafkatrap" to describe a "heads I win, tails you lose" form of argument which sounds pretty similar to Suber's "logical rudeness".
culture  debate  debunking  philosophy  rhetoric  racism  sexism  kafka  esr 
july 2010 by pw201
Decoding God's Changing Moods - TIME
You'd think the Abrahamic God would make up his mind — Can he live with other gods or not? What's with the random mood fluctuations?

But the fluctuations aren't really random. If you juxtapose the Abrahamic Scriptures with what scholars have learned about the circumstances surrounding their creation, a pattern appears.
religion  islam  history  christianity  god  culture 
june 2010 by pw201
Less Wrong: Undiscriminating Skepticism
"Since it can be cheap and easy to attack everything your tribe doesn't believe, you shouldn't trust the rationality of just anyone who slams astrology and creationism; these beliefs aren't just false, they're also non-tribal among educated audiences. Test what happens when a "skeptic" argues for a non-tribal belief, or argues against a tribal belief, before you decide they're good general rationalists."
culture  rationality  scepticism  eliezer-yudkowsky 
march 2010 by pw201
FT.com / Reportage - Immigrant Muslims in Belleville
"Yet there are two main reasons the Belle­ville scenario looks more likely than the Eurabia one. The first is demographic: no serious demographer expects Muslims to become a majority in any western European country. The second is attitudes: only a tiny minority of French Muslims appears to want to establish a medieval caliphate in Europe. In surveys, most French Muslims say that they feel French... Many of them no longer observe Islam. And although here and there Muslims have made France a little more north African or Islamic, the influence seems to be more the other way: Muslim immigrants are being infected by Frenchness."
islam  europe  religion  anthropology  culture  immigration  demographics  eurabia 
march 2010 by pw201
Johann Hari: The Pope, the Prophet, and the religious support for evil - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
"What can make tens of millions of people – who are in their daily lives peaceful and compassionate and caring – suddenly want to physically dismember a man for drawing a cartoon, or make excuses for an international criminal conspiracy to protect child-rapists?" Anyone, Bueller, anyone?
atheism  catholic  christianity  culture  evil  fundamentalism  islam  johann-hari  pope  religion  mohammed  cartoons 
march 2010 by pw201
Persecute me – I’m after the Brownie points | Frank Skinner - Times Online
Frank Skinner (who's a Catholic) on whether Christians are persecuted in the UK. "We’re a bit like Goths — no one can remember us being fashionable and we talk about death a lot. I love the glorious un-coolness of that"
catholic  christian  christianity  church  culture  religion  politics  uk  society  funny 
march 2010 by pw201
Open Mic: What Have We Wrought? | internetmonk.com
iMonk links to a short video of Os Guinness on the Biologos site (can anything good come from there?) Guinness says, “In many ways, the new atheists are partly created by the Religious Right. You can see that in America there is no vehement repudiation of religion until recently. In Europe, the atheism is a reaction to corrupt state churches. Here, you’ve never had that until the rise of the Religious Right.” Part of the reaction against religion, he argues, stems from the poor ways people of faith think about science.

The commenters almost immediately tell us that it's not that atheists are annoyed about the corruption of science, it's that we're in league with Satan (though other, more, sensible Christians also disagree with them). I've commented and linked to Suber's logical rudeness paper.
religion  atheism  new-atheism  christianity  science  culture  culture-war 
february 2010 by pw201
Meat stylus for the iPhone
I got yer meat stylus right here, baby.
iphone  culture  funny  meat 
february 2010 by pw201
Renouncing Islamism: To the brink and back again - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
The stories of former Islamists who came back from the brink, and just what went wrong to put them there in the first place. "From the right, there was the brutal nativist cry of "Go back where you came from!" But from the left, there was its mirror-image: a gooey multicultural sense that immigrants didn't want liberal democratic values and should be exempted from them. Again and again, they described how at school they were treated as "the funny foreign child", and told to "explain their customs" to the class. It patronised them into alienation. "
islam  religion  politics  terrorism  culture  war  hari  johann-hari  jihad  islamism 
november 2009 by pw201
I’m Belle de Jour
Former blogging prostitute Belle de Jour reveals her real identity to the Times. She was an impoverished PhD student.
culture  sex  identity  anonymous  science  prostitution 
november 2009 by pw201
The Non-Expert: IKEA by Matthew Baldwin
A walkthrough of the various levels of the IKEA game: "As you continue through the main SHOWROOM you will see groups blocking the walkways while chatting and others moving against traffic. These people should be killed immediately."
funny  humour  culture  parody  games  ikea  furniture  shopping 
november 2009 by pw201
Two thirds of teenagers don't believe in God - Telegraph
Sample size: 1000. Not sure how significant this is, but it's interesting.
religion  atheism  culture  research  teenagers  god  survey 
june 2009 by pw201
On Thud and Blunder
Poul Anderson on how fantasy writing should make some efforts towards realism.
writing  fantasy  history  SF  scifi  rpg  sci-fi  culture  poul-anderson  criticism  fiction 
june 2009 by pw201
Dollhouse, Joss Whedon, and the Strange and Difficult Path of Feminist Dudes: Some Thoughts
Doll House not as "problematic" as some people thought, possibly. Interesting stuff.
feminism  tv  culture  media  josswhedon  whedon  dollhouse  joss-whedon 
may 2009 by pw201
Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists - NYTimes.com
In Scandanivia, no-one cares much about religion (everyone thinks Jesus was a good chap but nobody wants to talk about God) and everyone's pretty nice. It's probably the best way to be.
atheism  religion  culture  Europe  sweden  denmark  scandanavia 
march 2009 by pw201
'A question of character' by Richard Reeves | Prospect Magazine August 2008 issue 149
"The idea of "good character" sounds old-fashioned and patronising, but it may be the key to some of our most entrenched social problems. Politicians across the spectrum are starting to realise this"
society  psychology  politics  culture  character  education  david-cameron 
august 2008 by pw201
The phoney war on Christmas | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
"There's only one problem with the 'PC campaign' against Christmas - it's pure nonsense"
atheism  christianity  christmas  culture  politics  religion 
december 2007 by pw201
'Why are we Muslims so self-destructive?' by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Independent - RichardDawkins.net
Today, dissenting Muslims have to wear virtual body armour in case someone decides to take offence
islam  religion  culture  afghanistan  pakistan 
september 2007 by pw201
The Curse of Modernity
Philip Rieff’s problem with freedom in the absence of moral authority. Echoes of Neal Stephenson's stuff about the neo-Victorians.
atheism  books  culture  modernity  morality  philosophy  politics  religion  ethics  rieff  freud  freedom 
september 2007 by pw201
The Black Sites
The CIA tortures prisoners in a number of secret sites across the world. "Rumsfeld declined to comment" - funny that.
culture  news  politics  terrorism  torture  CIA  Interrogation  waterboarding  daniel-pearl 
august 2007 by pw201
Science and the Islamic world—The quest for rapprochement - Physics Today August 2007
"Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong."
science  islam  religion  culture  enlightenment 
august 2007 by pw201
Three Chick Flicks and Their Unintended Message
It's OK for women to cheat if your male partner is a bit dull.
culture  funny  movies  film  psychology  rationality  women  society  marriage  Sex 
july 2007 by pw201
The interview: Robert Pirsig | Review | The Observer
Interview with the author of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
books  philosophy  zen  pirsig  culture  quality  motorcycle 
july 2007 by pw201
Cover story: 'My brother the bomber' by Shiv Malik | Prospect Magazine June 2007 issue 135
"What turned Mohammad Sidique Khan, a softly spoken youth worker, into the mastermind of 7/7? I spent months in a Leeds suburb getting to know Khan's brother. A complex and disturbing story of the bomber's radicalisation emerged "
culture  fundamentalism  islam  religion  terrorism  immigration 
may 2007 by pw201
Charlie's Diary: Shaping the future
Charles Stross on what the future might look like when personal storage becomes ridiculously cheap.
culture  history  science  scifi  society  stross  Privacy  future  Singularity 
may 2007 by pw201
LOLTrek « Live Granades
"The Trouble With Tribbles" done in the cat macro style.
culture  funny  humour  cats  internet  macros  startrek  images  tribbles 
may 2007 by pw201
Hand-wringing about 'chavs'
Drink soaked trots say sensible things about "chavs".
chav  society  culture  socialism 
march 2007 by pw201
Pascal Bruckner: Enlightenment fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists? - signandsight
Is the Enlightenment a religion? How multi-culturalism can lock people into a particular group. Shades of Neal Stephenson's stuff about whether some cultures can be said to be better than others.
europe  islam  culture  politics  terrorism  enlightenment 
january 2007 by pw201
Through a Glass, Darkly (Harpers.org)
American history has been appropriated by modern fundamentalists to build their legends.
politics  religion  history  fundamentalism  christianity  culture 
january 2007 by pw201
The phoney war on Christmas | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
There is no war on Christmas in the UK, despite tabloid rantings this year.
christmas  religion  politics  culture  christianity  islam 
december 2006 by pw201
Edge: MY GOD PROBLEM By Natalie Angier
Scientists should examine religion as critically as they do astrology, but tend not to because the religious control the government's purse-strings (in the USA, at least).
atheism  culture  science  superstition  government  society 
november 2006 by pw201
Red Family, Blue Family
Inherited and negotiated obligations as in families as a metaphor for political life.
religion  politics  culture  liberal  conservative  obligation 
october 2006 by pw201

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