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The Internet Is Dying. Repealing Net Neutrality Hastens That Death

The internet is dying.

Sure, technically, the internet still works. Pull up Facebook on your phone and you will still see your second cousin’s baby pictures. But that isn’t really the internet. It’s not the open, anyone-can-build-it network of the 1990s and early 2000s, the product of technologies created over decades through government funding and academic research, the network that helped undo Microsoft’s stranglehold on the tech business and gave us upstarts like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Netflix.

Nope, that freewheeling internet has been dying a slow death — and a vote next month by the Federal Communications Commission to undo net neutrality would be the final pillow in its face.

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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The History of Photography is a History of Shattered Glass

It has only been a few weeks, but I can already feel the events in Las Vegas slipping away from me. The horror that unfolded there is indelible: A single shooter killed at least 58 people and injured hundreds more. And yet the horror is not indelible; it is fading, as most public tragedies eventually do. (You might even have wondered, reading the above, Which events in Las Vegas?) Since Oct. 1, there has been a terrorist attack in New York City, a mass shooting in Texas and other gun violence throughout the country, as well as numerous distressing public scandals. What trace of these events remains for those of us not personally affected by them? Names, dates, photographs, videos: all retrievable, but most archived away in a cloud of faint memory.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Why you need to touch your keys to believe they’re in your bag

As virtual reality headsets hit the market, they bring with them the echoes of Macbeth’s words: the world they immerse you in might look or even sound right, but can’t be touched or grasped. Seeing a dagger on the table before you, you might try to reach for it, but as your arm simply goes through the air, you are left with the ghostly feeling that things are not so real. Impalpable objects are not convincing, and integrating touch into new technologies is the next frontier. But why, to Macbeth and to us, does touch matter so much? What does it bring, that vision doesn’t?

Missing a whole family of sensations can be disturbing – yet the absence of tactile experiences seems to have more damaging consequences than the absence of other experiences, for instance olfactory ones.

https://aeon.co/ideas/why-you-need-to-touch-your-keys-to-believe-theyre-in-your-bag

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Predicting the Future of AI

We are surrounded by hysteria about the future of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. There is hysteria about how powerful they will become how quickly, and there is hysteria about what they will do to jobs.

As I write these words on September 2nd, 2017, I note just two news stories from the last 48 hours.

Yesterday, in the New York Times, Oren Etzioni, chief executive of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, wrote an opinion piece titled How to Regulate Artificial Intelligence where he does a good job of arguing against the hysteria that Artificial Intelligence is an existential threat to humanity. He proposes rather sensible ways of thinking about regulations for Artificial Intelligence deployment, rather than the chicken little “the sky is falling” calls for regulation of research and knowledge that we have seen from people who really, really, should know a little better.

https://rodneybrooks.com/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-predicting-the-future-of-ai/

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Why Go Out?

For many years I have asked myself, Why do you spend time with other people? but I never really attempted to come up with an answer. I always believed I was asking myself a rhetorical question, but recently I‘ve wanted to find an answer, because a question you ask yourself a thousand times eventually deserves to be answered.

 

I figure if I know why I go out, I might feel less suspicious of myself for going out. I might criticize myself less. I might be able to look around a party without thinking, What a fool – why did you come – you should have stayed at home.

 

The first thing I did in my search for an answer to Why go out? was write down a list of every single reason I could think of to go out – there were about twelve. Then I noticed, after staring at the paper, that those smaller reasons could be divided up into four basic, major reasons for leaving the house:

http://www.sheilaheti.com/whygoout2

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Left Social Movements: What Electoral Tactics?

The central difficulty for left social movements is determining electoral tactics that will enable them to win both in the short run and in the middle run. On the surface, it seems that winning in the short run conflicts with winning in the middle run.

In the short run, the primary objective of a left movement must be to defend the urgent needs for survival of all the so-called 99% of the population, but especially those of the poorest strata. In order to do this, they have to control state institutions at all levels. This means participating in elections.

https://www.iwallerstein.com/left-social-movements-electoral-tactics/

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Will the new rules of sexuality be like an ashtray with a no-smoking sign?

Women’s protests are a great awakening, but with many dangers. It could eventually be a case of rules being made to be broken.

Last week, the American philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler helped organize an, outwardly straightforward, conference in São Paulo, Brazil. Butler may be well-known for her work on transgenderism, but the title of the event was ‘The Ends of Democracy’ and thus had nothing to do with the topic. Yet, nevertheless, a crowd of right-wing protesters gathered outside the venue where they burned an effigy of Butler while shouting “Queimem a bruxa!” (Portuguese for “Burn the witch!”).

This weird incident is the latest in a long series, which prove that sexual difference is today politicized in two complementary ways: the transgender fluidification of gender identities and the resulting conservative backlash.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/410064-women-protest-sexuality-rules-dangers/

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Is goodness natural?

‘In moral philosophy it is useful, I believe, to think about plants.’ The words were spoken to an audience of American philosophers in 1989. The speaker was trying to provoke a reaction, but this might have gone unnoticed. After all, Philippa Foot – nearly 70 by then – didn’t look like a heretic.

There is a clue in her reference to moral philosophy. For at least the past 200 years, people who have thought about these things have suspected – or hoped – that morality is the one thing that sets human beings apart from nature (or should one say, the rest of nature?). Nature is the realm of laws, stern and unbreakable, and morality that of freedom. Nature is how things are, morality how they ought to be. If there’s anything to these points of contrast, then what seems at first a mere platitude sounds more like an absurdity. We are not, in the relevant sense, part of nature – not even of that part of nature that consists in our fellow animals, and, still less, plants.

Have we anything to learn about morality from plants? This might well depend on that bigger question: are we, or aren’t we, part of nature? One of the many things that set Foot and her allies in philosophy apart from others of their generation was their refusal to make an either/or of it.

https://aeon.co/essays/how-philippa-foot-set-her-mind-against-prevailing-moral-philosophy

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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How colonial violence came home: the ugly truth of the first world war

Today on the Western Front,” the German sociologist Max Weber wrote in September 1917, there “stands a dross of African and Asiatic savages and all the world’s rabble of thieves and lumpens.” Weber was referring to the millions of Indian, African, Arab, Chinese and Vietnamese soldiers and labourers, who were then fighting with British and French forces in Europe, as well as in several ancillary theatres of the first world war.

Faced with manpower shortages, British imperialists had recruited up to 1.4 million Indian soldiers. France enlisted nearly 500,000 troops from its colonies in Africa and Indochina. Nearly 400,000 African Americans were also inducted into US forces. The first world war’s truly unknown soldiers are these non-white combatants.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/nov/10/how-colonial-violence-came-home-the-ugly-truth-of-the-first-world-war

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Louis Theroux on Charles Manson

When we heard the news of Charles Manson’s death, we asked Louis Theroux if we could reprint this piece he wrote for Idler #1 in August 1993. In it Louis examines transcripts of Manson’s parole hearing from 1992.

Every few years since 1977, Charles Manson has appeared before the California board of prison terms and been considered for parole. And every few years Manson has been returned to prison. Looking over the transcripts of his latest hearing, dated April 1992, it isn’t hard to see why.

Manson gets off to a shaky start when the various board commissioners are spelling their names for the benefit of the transcriber.

Presiding Board Commissioner Koenig: Mr Manson?

Inmate Manson: Charles Manson, inmate, B-33920.

Koenig: Would you spell your last name please?

Manson: M-A-N-S-U-N.

https://idler.co.uk/article/louis-theroux-on-charles-manson/

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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