Categories
media politics Psychology

Hate Speech: Caveat Emptor

Context: Hate on the Rise After Trump’s Election. It is no surprise, really, that hate crime has surged.  As a far-flung observer of these events it has always been apparent (because it has always been the case) that politicians who do not cautiously vet their own words and public statements can let loose all manner […]

Categories
ignorance media

Post-Truth: Ignorance is Not Strength

We have now graduated past “my ignorance is as good as your knowledge” and have entered a “post-truth” world where any witless assertion whatsoever might be interpreted as defensible fact.  There can surely now be no turning back.  There can be  no “peak post-truth” or “post-post-truth”. We appear to be inextricably trapped in an infinite […]

Categories
technology

Technosphere

It’s interesting to consider the collective, aggregated mass-density of all of our associated technological paraphernalia, our Technosphere. The aggregated totality of all our buildings, vehicles, dwellings, cities, the flotsam and jetsam of commerce and industry, our possessions and everything we throw away: it all has an estimated mass of 30 trillion tons. More information after […]

Categories
culture

Miami Beach: Lost Souls and Sandy Shoals

A very Cuban or otherwise South-American domain. It was summertime in the long stretch of Art Deco and sand-covered concrete, between the secure private condominiums and the cheap or garishly upmarket neon-lit beachside hotels and restaurants which gradually fade in a Westerly direction to apartments and strange villas housing mysterious perversions, under the sluggish feet […]

Categories
literature movies

The Counselor: a Perfectly Flawed Diamond-Script.

This film confirms a long-standing suspicion of mine that a “Cormac” is in fact the metric by which bleakness and the narrative representation of evil is measured. Cormac McCarthy’s script sparkles with philosophical rumination and psychological observation while weaving a tragic path through the world of drug-smuggling and its associated terrors. The film is finely […]

Categories
Science

Why Life Exists

The notion that life just naturally “falls out” of physics as a more or less inevitable consequence of the symmetries and physical parameters of nature is quite beautiful. It also implies a Universe absolutely overflowing with unimaginably many expressions of life and potentially exotic configurations of living matter. More information after the jump: http://www.businessinsider.com/groundbreaking-idea-of-lifes-origin-2014-12?IR=T

Categories
Futurism

The Pentagon’s Dystopian Predictions

The Pentagon doesn’t see the future as being a particularly bright or happy place.  It’s not the most pleasant thing to consider what is likely to go wrong but as the expression goes: “forewarned is forearmed”. Find out more after the jump: https://theintercept.com/2016/10/13/pentagon-video-warns-of-unavoidable-dystopian-future-for-worlds-biggest-cities/

Categories
Digital

Digital Gluttony: from Kardashian to Kardashev

From postcard Kardashian to podcast Kardashev: a veritable smorgasbord of digital choice unfurls itself before us.  From the ridiculous to the sublime (and back again), so much noise, so much emptiness, so much colour and so many hues of bland grey.  Feeling somewhat adrift upon this ocean of information, we are lost for effective words […]

Categories
Psychology

Ego Extinction in Zen

Sentience is clearly a magnificent experience, infinitely more to be preferred than the antagonistic conditions of unconsciousness or death, but for all its grandeur and richness it carries within itself a bitter seed: foreknowledge of personal death. The grave awareness of personal extinction is not even necessarily a purely human curse. We can do little […]

Categories
Complexity culture technology

Go with the Flow: the Illusion of Choice ?

I wonder sometimes if all this digital media and virtual space we share is really something other than what it seems. We perceive a rich tapestry of choice and self-expression, a veritable cornucopia of tittilation, education and ideological assertion. It may actually be much simpler at base, that we are all following simple rules in […]

Categories
culture

The Perils of Paywalls

One of the most annoying things I have come across online is the tendency for some scientific and academic journals to percolate their content through paywalls. When this is done with journalistic news content, it is usually not difficult to find equivalent content freely available elsewhere. When this is done with academic reference or technical […]

Categories
advertising culture

What is the Function of Commercial Culture ?

  Digital television was progressively rolled out over a period of several years. I find it ironic that although I now have several dozen channels to choose from I still remain fairly exclusively interested in the content of about four or five non-commercial channels. I find myself for the most part irritated, distracted and annoyed […]