Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
I feel like this is so very charmingly naive on the part of Hulu. Will I put a little of my time to help with the better distribution of advertising? Sure, Hulu. I'd love to.
Well, Valentine's Day is behind us, but before we move on to Presidents' Day (incorrectly called President's Day, as though we're only honoring one...), take a look at this new revamp for Valentine's Day. I'm totally in favor of the symbol (on the right) and the color palette, although I think the Cupid replacements... well, let's just keep looking.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
"Over the years I have come to appreciate how elusive the answers to those questions can be. During my first book tour 15 years ago, an interviewer noted that the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould had dedicated his first book to his father, who took him to see the dinosaurs when he was 5. What was the event that made me become a cognitive psychologist who studies language? I was dumbstruck. The only thing that came to mind was that the human mind is uniquely interesting and that as soon as I learned you could study it for a living, I knew that that was what I wanted to do. But that response would not just have been charmless; it would also have failed to answer the question. Millions of people are exposed to cognitive psychology in college but have no interest in making a career of it. What made it so attractive to me?
As I stared blankly, the interviewer suggested that perhaps it was because I grew up in Quebec in the 1970s when language, our pre-eminent cognitive capacity, figured so prominently in debates about the future of the province. I quickly agreed — and silently vowed to come up with something better for the next time. Now I say that my formative years were a time of raging debates about the political implications of human nature, or that my parents subscribed to a Time-Life series of science books, and my eye was caught by the one called “The Mind,” or that one day a friend took me to hear a lecture by the great Canadian psychologist D. O. Hebb, and I was hooked. But it is all humbug. The very fact that I had to think so hard brought home what scholars of autobiography and memoir have long recognized. None of us know what made us what we are, and when we have to say something, we make up a good story."
-- Stephen Pinker, describing why he decided to sequence his own genome.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I wish it were that simple, but the things I'd put on that checklist are cognitive, which presents a whole 'nother layer of problems - mostly the fact that people can justify anything.
Guy's checklist idea wouldn't correct the structural inequalities that would make it harder for people from certain backgrounds to be qualified for various jobs-- just as blind orchestra auditions doesn't change that the fact that learning to master a musical instrument is expensive-- but it's an interesting thought experiment.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
His most recent is called Yala Ama Yutma, translated roughly as, "Lick But Don’t Swallow". An Islamic fundamentalist newspaper called Yakit has begun an attack on the production, and the company producing the show is actually in fear for their lives. Supporters of Yakit have been known to assassinate the targets of the paper's ire in the past.
Vakit has made factually incorrect and libelous statements about the authorship of the play, the producer of the play and the intent of the play. Vakit’s website includes posts which are dangerous and which appear to be inciting others to violence and criminal action. The venue Kumbaracı50 that is rented by the independent theatre group had been receiving threatful phone calls and emails from unknown callers, which have referred to Vakit’s inaccurate statements. On February 8, Kumbaracı50 has been closed down by officals of Beyoglu district. The reason given for the closure was the absence appropriate fire escape.
On February 9, the mayor of Beyoglu has announced that he is supporting the independent theatre and their play “Lick But Don’t Swalllow”. He also claimed that the venue will be open after they had their fire escape completed. He also announced that if the fire escape cannot be completed in time, he will provide a suitable venue for the production. However, threatening commentaries are continuing on some websites and a provocative propaganda against the play are being created in these websites by mostly anonymous guest writers. The future of the play is still uncertain because of the growing potential for violence, the loss of valuable rehearsal time, and the financial costs of disrupted produciton.
- I responded to Isaac's charge, quoted at the end of the piece, that I was taking Thomas Garvey in good faith here.
- One odd omission from the Guardian piece is RVCBard's stance on the issue, since after all it was her comments that Garvey latched onto and started the whole thing, and without her the issue would probably have died away much quicker and been less interesting. Anyways, this is her biggest response to the debate, and this is her last one. They're crucial to understanding what happened.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The two different questions examine identical dilemmas; saving one third of the population is the same as losing two thirds. And yet, doctors reacted very differently depending on how the question was framed. When the possible outcomes were stated in terms of deaths⎯this is the "loss frame"⎯physicians were suddenly eager to take chances. They were so determined to avoid any alternative associated with a loss that they were willing to risk losing everything.
Kahneman and Tversky stumbled upon loss aversion after giving their students a simple survey, which asked whether or not they would accept a variety of different bets. The psychologists noticed that, when people were offered a gamble on the toss of a coin in which they might lose $20, they demanded an average payoff of at least $40 if they won. The pain of a loss was approximately twice as potent as the pleasure generated by a gain. Furthermore, our decisions seemed to be determined by these feelings. As Kahneman and Tversky put it, "In human decision making, losses loom larger than gains."
If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response.
(1) The game lasts until there are no longer any terrorists, and;
(2) If terrorists manage to ever kill or injure or seriously frighten any Americans, they win.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
IQALUIT, Nunavut (Dow Jones)--European members of the Group of Seven nations told their counterparts that budget problems in Greece are "no matter" for the International Monetary Fund, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Saturday.Speaking to reporters at the end of a meeting with top G-7 financial officials, Schaeuble said there was "no doubt" that the euro-zone members oppose any outside involvement in helping Greece to solve its problems."All our partners outside the euro zone have the firm impression that the Europeans will solve the problem and can deal with it and that we are aware of the problem," Schaeuble said. "But we have strongly and unanimously refused to discuss internal problems." To make that point, he added that Europe isn't discussing problems occurring in the U.S. state of California either.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Here’s the deal: men, without thinking, will almost without fail select men. And women, without thinking, will too often select men. It’s a known fact that among children, girls will happily read stories with male protagonists, but boys refuse to read stories with female protagonists. J.K. Rowling was aware of this: if Harry Potter had been Harriet Potter, none of us would know about her.
And we don’t change our spots when we grow up. Last year, I was one of nine judges awarding an international literary prize for a writer’s body of work. Each of us nominated a candidate, and five of us were women; but only one of our nominees—only one out of nine—was female. (I myself enthusiastically nominated a man.) Our cultural prejudices are so deeply engrained that we aren’t even aware of them: arguably, it’s not that we think men are better, it’s that we don’t think of women at all. The absence of women from lists and prizes leads, then, to the future absence of women from lists and prizes. Now, lists and prizes mean nothing, of course; except that they inform curious readers about who and what to read.
I can take comfort, however, from Tony Kushner who, when he proposed in his outstanding speech and essay "A Modest Proposal" (American Theatre, Jan98, Vol. 15 Issue 1) that we "abolish all undergraduate art majors," recognized that "Since[undergraduate arts education] so very lucrative, I can say let's get rid of it and we don't have to worry that anything will actually happen. So my speech is rather like theatre in this regard, and this frees us to consider the validity of my proposal...as a pure abstraction ultimately productive of nothing more unpleasant than a spasm of conscience and perhaps something as pleasant as a whiff of scandal and a flicker of ire." I should be so lucky.
Combining Robert Morris' Box With the Sound of Its Own Making with Baudrillard's writing on the art auction this sculpture exists in eternal transactional flux. It is a physical sculpture that is perptually attempting to auction itself on eBay.Every ten minutes the black box pings a server on the internet via the ethernet connection to check if it is for sale on the eBay. If its auction has ended or it has sold, it automatically creates a new auction of itself.If a person buys it on eBay, the current owner is required to send it to the new owner. The new owner must then plug it into ethernet, and the cycle repeats itself.“A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter” is tangibly linked, via Ethernet, to the intangible world of taste, aesthetics and worth. It doesn’t matter if the work becomes astronomically valuable—you’re legally required to keep putting it up on eBay once a week until someone else buys it. The argument is you can’t own anything conceptual, neither in copyright or theoretical terms, and the artwork’s logistics ensure that no third party—the highly ridiculous art market—can change that.
Friday, February 5, 2010
- You want to convince Garvey to change his mind
- You want to convince your blog-roll readers that Garvey is wrong
- You want to have some sort of public catharsis by screaming at a wall
Thursday, February 4, 2010
- Thomas Garvey says: "But please, try to skip the temptation to continue the "ongoing dialogue." Let's not "dialogue" anymore - let's just bring city services to Roxbury instead, okay? Let's just pass national healthcare. Let's improve education. Let's move forward."Sorry - you can't stop a dialogue, unfortunately. There will always be a dialogue about race. That's just the way it goes.
- 99 Seats says: "Did I mention fuck you? Because, if I didn't, hey, pal, fuck you."It's a tough conversation we're having, and I believe you're pissed. And you make some good criticisms of Mr. Garvey. Imagine how much more powerful that post would be if it wasn't lost in a sea of fucking.
- The part of RVCBard's original post that start all of this: "In contrast, my experiences with White people have been confusing, uncomfortable, frustrating, and exhausting in this regard. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I always feel a kind of pressure to perform around White people. It's like I have to prove I'm worthy of their presence. It's proven very difficult to get a White person's attention, especially a White man's. It's even harder to maintain it for more than about 15 minutes. And if you're White, and you met me in person, I'm probably talking about you."
Time for some carefully chosen words.
Well, as someone who I guess is white (half-African doesn't count for me because it's Jewish African... anyways) sometimes it is confusing, uncomfortable, frustrating, and exhausting for the White People too. That's what Chris Matthews was talking about. NOT THAT I AGREE WITH WHAT HE IS SAYING. But Matthews has been told a lot that he's racist (because sometimes he is), and he doesn't want to be, so he's relieved for a moment to escape that confusing, uncomfortable, frustrating, and exhausting feeling.
If you've read good books on this subject like Blink or a million others, you understand that there's a difference between what I usually call hard racism, where like Strom Thurmond you actually believe that one race is better than all others and it should be raised to the top, or soft racism, which can either be stupidity/ignorance like Chris Matthews or institutional and unconscious.
There's a study that shows that blind auditions can greatly improve the diversity of an orchestra. This is not a proof of hard racism -- it's a proof of soft racism. The problem is that seemingly open-minded people may, inadvertently, through tricks of their own unconscious mind, wind up mis-evaluating different applicants based on their race.
The point is, we White Americans want to bridge this gap. But sometimes, we're going to screw up the way we screw up at a lot of things we want to do.
Why am I rambling on this way?
Well, from our half of the conversation, RVCBard, here's what happens. We show up to a meeting with someone who says that this is a White Supremacist country and is clearly on her guard to smell us out: are we the White man who's playing fair, or are we in the category of racists? And we know that we're open-minded, but we also know that
So we want to be on our best behavior. We're nervous, and self-conscious. Like in sex, the more nervous we get, the less pleasant the experience is, and the more likely we are to screw up. It is, as you put it, "confusing, uncomfortable, frustrating, and exhausting." Then it becomes a Catch-22 -- we're confused, uncomfortable, frustrated, and you're confused, uncomfortable, and frustrated, and the chances we'll try it again are low.
Does this mean I agree with Thomas Garvey, then, that it's Black people's fault, and y'all need to move on?
Thomas Garvey thinks the way to solve the difficulty of this conversation is to avoid it. It's irritating, and as all three players have demonstrated it can lead to incredible anger. But we can't avoid the conversation. I'm not so concerned about the frustrated/uncomfortable quality of the conversation as I am by the people who get up after 15 minutes.
Part of it is we like to pretend that we're not having the conversation. White people meet Black people but they don't want to be talking about race. I don't like talking about it. And nobody wants our only dialogue to be "hey I'm black you're white let's talk about that" / "hey I'm white I don't really know what you're experience is like." And yet it may be necessary.
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