Red Winter | The Comics Journal
Think I'm going to try to get into more comics, but how do I refer to the general genre of comics I like—Maus, Isabel Greenberg's stuff, whatever this is—without the condescension of "graphic novels"?
comics  via:engles 
Inigo Thomas · At the Ladbroke Arms · LRB 22 February 2018
Jacob Rees-Mogg isn’t a fascist, and Mosley liked the European idea – so long as it was white. Yet it is a peculiarity of both men that they should be members of the elite, yet popular among people who think the rest of that class or caste contemptible, and whose hatred for any establishment defines their politics.
politics  lrb 
Martin Crane’s hideous chair was the true star of Frasier
More fodder for the “Here’s why ‘Friends’ is actually bad” thinkpiece nobody asked me to write.
The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation

1. No contributors from MIRI I see...

2. Since I do worry a lot about AI, and since this looks like a sane approach by writers whose style doesn't make me want to punch their entire existence (looking at you, Big Yud), I'll probably make a good-faith attempt to read it.

3. Dang that's a well-designed report.
2 days ago
Shannon Matthews: The unravelling of the truth - BBC News
I'm sure there's a rich seam of interesting things to say about the Shannon Matthews case and how its causes and the media responses intersect with class in Britain, particularly when contrasted with the Madeleine McCann case. Something like the 'Octomom and the Market in Babies' essay in Mark Greif's book. That's a book I would read.

The actual books about Shannon Matthews look like this though, which sort of proves the point:
society  class  bbc 
4 days ago
Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand | News | The Guardian
Everyone is always saying these days that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Everyone is always saying it, in my view, because it’s obviously true. [...] Those who are saved, in the end, will be those who can afford the premium of salvation.

yep :(
tech  society 
7 days ago
The punk rock internet – how DIY ​​rebels ​are working to ​replace the tech giants
Assisted by around £100,000 in crowdfunding, they started work on a new kind of social network, called Heartbeat, whose users would hold on to their data, and communicate privately. Since then, they have launched an app [...] purchased by about 14,000 people

I hesitate to complain--I think Aral’s heart is in the right place--but I think this would be a better article if it focused on, e.g., Mastodon than I’d argue that Eugen building a million+ user social network in his bedroom is more punk rock than a company that appears to spend most of its money on shiny design and flying to TEDx.
9 days ago
Trust our institutions. -
It is somewhat interesting that the elite came to be unable (at least in theory) to wield unquestioned power over the majority of the population at around about the same time that the majority of people came to trust so heavily in these abstract institutions (instead of just accepting that challenging those institutions was above their ability, even in theory). It probably is just that both are a result of mass communication, literacy and emancipation becoming available for all, rather than there being some conspiracyish explanation for the rise of the press as another way for the elite to exert its power (which it is, of course, but that's emergent rather than planned).
9 days ago
Real-life Sci-Fi world 11: Kalgash, a planet in permanent daytime (from Asimov’s Nightfall) | PLANETPLANET
I have no idea why I didn't become a planet-scientist, this shit looks like incredible fun
11 days ago
Why Are There So Few Women Mathematicians? - The Atlantic
Duchin recalls a conference she attended as a second-year graduate student where mathematicians were ‘objectively’ rating colleagues. “The game of the evening involved naming two people, and everyone had to say who was better. That’s a particularly crass example,” she says, but it illustrates the pervasive belief in the field that there’s an objective way to measure who is a “good” mathematician. “If that’s your ideological commitment, then of course you’re going to discount implicit bias.”
“A lot of editorial boards have one woman, and not a lot have two. One can be a token, but the move from one to two could be huge,” says Duchin.
maths  feminism  academia 
11 days ago
Title length
Nice when the data supports a heuristic: if your title's long, you might be a) fudging because you have nothing to say; b) working in an incredibly niche area that requires many adjectives to even describe what you're doing. Both of these are self-owns.
publishing  academia 
14 days ago
Quincy Jones, In Conversation
Q.J. is literally incredible.
What were your first impressions of the Beatles?

That they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it. I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and RingoJones arranged a version of “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” for Starr’s 1970 solo debut album Sentimental Journey, which was produced by the Beatles’ frequent collaborator George Martin. The song, and album, are more than a bit gloopy. had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, “Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.” So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, “George, can you play it back for me one more time?” So George did, and Ringo says, “That didn’t sound so bad.” And I said, “Yeah, motherfucker because it ain’t you.” Great guy, though.
15 days ago - Light Pollution Map
A website for finding places with low light pollution
tools  maps 
27 days ago
The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” | The New Yorker
I'm very late to this one; mainly pinning it here because I realised the author also wrote the large adult sons article for the New Yorker and I want to remember who she is.
jia-tolentino  new-yorker 
4 weeks ago
Steak Is the New Salad: Why These Techies Are Embracing an All-Meat Diet
I, too, have come to the conclusion that shitting regularly is for weak, orthodox, minds.
crypotcurrencies  heterodox  diet 
4 weeks ago
Forward, to the Past! 2 - Episode 1: Mind Tricks
It is dunderheaded to view the anti-revelation that Rey’s parents were insignificant drunks, and that Rey herself is ‘nobody’, as an error, a kind of glitch in the storytelling mechanics. It rests upon refusing to see the text for what it actually is, or to judge it by its own actual aims, or to even admit that it is a story with its own integrity, and instead to insist upon viewing it as another package of information about Star Wars which needs to be evaluated as correct or incorrect according to the fan fact-hoard. (An approach very much reinforced in recent years by several texts and their owners, most particularly J. K. Rowling.) 
He’s not wrong about Rowling.
star-wars  jack-graham 
5 weeks ago
Stumbling and Mumbling: Genes & the left
Freddie DeBoer has also had interesting things to say in this in the past. I think there's a real fear on the left, perhaps justified, that any acknowledgement of the heritability of IQ and/or its loose positive correlation with "outcomes" will lead to full Moldbug-style HBD talk. (Let's also acknowledge that talking about IQ in general can feel kind of masturbatory, a prelude to posting on LessWrong.)

But this gets it spot on, in that:
1) all other things being equal IQ (or some similar metric) does make a difference, but, crucially, all other things are not equal and we shouldn't ignore that;
2) a person's worth is not determined by their IQ

The trick is to acknowledge differences without ascribing value. Humans have been bad at this, historically.
politics  IQ 
5 weeks ago
Elsevier is a library's best friend
As a matter of context I would note that 30% is a high figure if you run a shop or a services business, but not out of line with many companies in finance, media, and technology. Indeed, a fair number of not-for-profit publishers have margins that come close to 50%.
[citation needed]
publishing  the-scholarly-kitchen  bad-takes 
5 weeks ago
Describing My Struggle | The Point Magazine
I can't help but feel that My Struggle is a supremely unethical project and that I've failed morally in some way by devoting my time to this instead of Elena Ferrante's books (I will read them eventually, I swear). But I'm on tenterhooks for the final volume all the same.
6 weeks ago
The 50 Best Podcasts of 2017
“50 podcasts that sound like reading The Atlantic magazine out loud”
the-atlantic  podcasts 
8 weeks ago
The most exciting blockbusters of 2018
I don’t want to be too “what happened to ambitious cinema” about this. There’s nothing inherently wrong with superheroes, they’re just not for me; I was never really into comics and I don’t really get the aesthetic (or when I think the aesthetic should appeal to me, like with the x-men, the actual production goes another way).
But this list though, it’s dreadful. I guess there’s about a 50% chance I’ll go watch the Han Solo film, the rest I definitely won’t.
8 weeks ago
There came three wise people of non‑binary gender
Good god, what is it about going to Oxford and having family media connections that makes people think this stale-ass joke is witty?
8 weeks ago
Statistics, we have a problem. – Kristian Lum – Medium
...and another perspective on big names at large conferences
statistics  sexism 
10 weeks ago
Researchers find oddities in high-profile gender studies | Ars Technica
Meanwhile, Brown and Heathers are still hoping there's a good explanation for these issues. “We would be delighted to discover that all the studies took place exactly as described,” they wrote in a summary of their investigation, “that any statistical errors are due to problems with transcription or our own oversights, and that Dr. Guéguen’s demonstrations of large measurable effects as consequences of small behavioral manipulations are replicable."
Lol, yeah right
psychology  academia 
10 weeks ago
“Cat Person” | The New Yorker
that short story everybody has an opinion on
10 weeks ago
3:AM Books of the Year - 3:AM Magazine
Renton Carmichael, Pampas Grass and Empty Parking Lots: A Tooting Odyssey

Renton Carmichael’s latest psychogeographical adventure sees him explore the outskirts of Tooting, a territory which almost exactly corresponds to the area he is forbidden to enter under the terms of the restraining order taken out against him by a former research assistant. While his previous work has been criticised (unfairly in my view) for the inordinate amount of time spent on descriptions of fucking trees, here Carmichael focuses his critical eye on human affairs: perfidious man, even more perfidious woman, midlife crises, swingers parties, departmental rivalries, thinly veiled accusations of bribery, drunkenness and harassment, divorce, unemployment and an extremely detailed (if somewhat partial) account of academic disciplinary procedures.
literature  parody  lol 
11 weeks ago
The Sexual-Harassment Satire to Read in a Post-Harvey Weinstein World | The New Yorker
Helen DeWitt is under-appreciated imo. I liked The Last Samurai better than Lightning Rods, but LR is still great.
new-yorker  feminism  helen-dewitt 
october 2017
In Favor Of Futurism Being About The Future | Slate Star Codex
I think I'm going to ban myself from reading slate star codex because it makes me too angry. He's basically looking for people on the "identity politics" side of things to get annoyed at by this point, finds the least-defensible examples of said, gets super mad and loses all critical faculty in his responses. The original article is a sort of lazy hatchet-job on tech utopians, but the problems of algorithmic bias are real and society's still pretty unequal. There's something to be engaged with constructively here, but instead Alexander starts foaming at the mouth because somebody criticised his ingroup. Funny, since his main criticism of the article is that it's all about signalling who's in the outgroup. (I really don't like ingroup/outgroup terminology btw, although probably because the people who use it most are in my outgroup. Shame I don't have much of an ingroup.)

The people in the comments complaining about why is it okay to criticize nerds are awful as well. I haven't yet seen people actually criticizing all nerds the way these commenters seem to think they are. The feeling of persecution seems high though. Yeah, it sucks to bullied for being "smart", "awkward" or "nerdy", you don't have to tell me. But you're still (mostly) from the dominant culture, your human rights haven't been denied to you. Getting made fun of a bit in high school isn't the same as slavery, you dingus.

So SSC is going on my permanent blocklist.

[Freddie deBoer popping up in the comments of this to say "You are generally a more sympathetic reader to those who share your beliefs than you are to those who don’t." fucking owns though.]
mad-online  via:engles 
october 2017
Here's How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream
1. Amazing how Milo Y. actually comes off a smarter and more competent than Bannon. Bannon is usual portrayed as a master strategist, here he appears dim compared to Milo.

2. For people who think Milo & pals are just playfully politically incorrect, this ought to be definitive proof that they're only skirting the boundaries of 'acceptable' jokes because that's all they can get away with (at the moment). Milo's passwords are all holocaust refs.

3. Genuinely quite surprised at the number of mainstream journalists in Milo's inbox. Also surprised at how dumb they all sound. I spend half of my life worrying that I don't really understand anything, that everything is just too large and complicated for me, while these people are so sure and so right. This is a welcome tonic.

4. Let me just record as well that, as of a couple of hours after the article was posted, the reputable journalists named are going nuts on Twitter. David Auerbach's feed is an incredible panicked mess. Probably everything will be deleted by tomorrow. Schadenfreude's an ugly look, but this a masterclass in getting owned.

5. Curtis Yarvin's prose style could be put to much better use writing the fluff text for fantasy wargaming codices.
politics  alt-right 
october 2017
The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook
I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of a cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones. I fed it to Malraux, who puked. I am encouraged, but my journey is still long.
philosophy  parody 
october 2017
There once was a dildo in Nantucket
On the wives of whalers and their dildos, aka "he's-at-homes".
literary-hub  sexuality  history 
october 2017
Stumbling and Mumbling: Corbyn's success: centrists' failure
It’s difficult to sell capitalism to people who have no capital and little hope of getting it.

september 2017
Ban social media trolls from voting, election watchdog suggests | Politics | The Guardian
Seems well-intentioned but extremely likely to be abused, especially given how easily the right co-opts tactics aimed against it ("fake news" becoming any news Trump doesn't like, alt-right --> "alt-left", &c.)
Probably ends with only blue check marks being allowed to vote.

[or is that ALREADY the world we live in???!!?? don't stay in school &c. &c.]
september 2017
Maligning Hillary Clinton From the Left Is a Conscious Embrace of the Extreme Right
I cannot begin to imagine how these people think. How can they be so blind to the utter disconnect between their "verifibley not fake news" brand and this utter Clinton propoganda.

"Anybody on the left criticizing us centrists is consciously supporting the right", okay whatever.

It can't be in earnest, right, that can't be that unintelligent? They must know that they're trying to give their Clinton-diehard position the sheen of verified fact. Which is just sad. News with true facts that falsely contextualises them is still fake news lads.
politics  verrit  lol 
september 2017
The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial
I didn't read more than a quarter of this but I'll probably get around to it at some point.

Worried about the quality from the start though, and not just the bad ref to slatestarcodex as a blog for enlightened readers. Consider this:
It’s rare for an ambiguous neologism like this to generate such strong consensus about what it denotes without careful priming and curation by a skilled shitlord.

This seems almost exactly wrong. Ambitious neologisms (i.e. a form of meme) become popular precisely because they generate a strong consensus about what they denote: that's what neologisms (and memes) are for, they're condesated meaning.
culture  via:engles 
september 2017
subculture to counterculture to culture – Freddie deBoer – Medium
Corbyn-style sincerity is much healthier for left discourse than nth-degree irony.
Ain't that the truth?

The irony is really fun & cathartic though, and much much more fun on twitter than posting earnestly.
old  freddie-deboer 
september 2017
Struggling with mathematics at Cambridge
This is a nice example of someone who went on to be eminent in their field (automated theorem proving) admitting to not being naturally brilliant (most maths bios are pretty humblebrag imo, this is just humble).
maths  life 
september 2017
in defence of Laura Pidcock
Likewise, the fact that Brexit was supported by a bunch of cunts should have been a clue that it wasn’t a good idea**. Being on the opposite side of Farage is generally a comfortable position."

I do like my sober left-leaning economics blogs with a good dose of occasional heavy language. Shakes a fellow up, like a couple of slices of chilli with your poached eggs for breakfast.
august 2017
China, CUP and ‘Academic Freedom’
A decent dispassionate take, gets it pretty right. More should be made of the argument that not giving in to the censor requests runs the very real risk of China banning all of the publisher's content, maybe just in humanities, maybe all academic publishing, and that we know that this has happened to other publishers who have refused. I don't think the problem of whether to comply and censor oneself or not comply and cause thousands of Chinese researchers to lose access to scholarship in their fields is a completely trivial one, although you can probably guess what I would have done (hint: not what actually happened). Which is not to say that CUP's decision wasn't at least partly informed by the financial angle; it's just not the only angle to consider.

This was better than pious academics with no real exposure to risk writing quick opinions about "trading academic freedom for $$$" to raise their own media profiles anyway.
publishing  censorship 
august 2017
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