Other Ten Percent 6/26/12

Jun 26 2012

I really didn’t do all that much today since I’m still sort of recovering from my trip up to Seattle and so neither my new diet nor my new productive work schedule ended up being… implemented at all. But that’s all going to change now that there’s a guy wandering my block doing a full on Bella Legosi evil laugh for no discernible reason because there’s no way that CAN’T mean more fun things in my future. There are also more fun things in your future like these links and also my big Friday post which I will continue subtly hinting at all week so you are inevitably let down when you actually see it.

A Secret Society That Plans Civilized Brunches in Unusual Circumstances
What is it with San Francisco and secret societies that do cool things? I mean obviously given my history I have no problem with that in concept but in practice it’s like either invite me or actually keep this shit a secret. Every other week there’s a new awesome secret club that like makes elaborate 1950’s space suits for everybody in the club or some bullshit and they just want to send around photos to let me know they won’t teach me the secret handshake.

Sonic.net stopped saving logs for more than 14 days in order to frustrate copyright trolls
So this is all as cool and interesting as the problem it is combatting is depressing but I’m mostly posting this to remind myself to go with Sonic.net when I move into a new apartment. Since they’re DSL they probably won’t be QUITE as fast as my current cable speeds but what the hell at least I won’t have to give comcast any more money.

Sorkinisms – A Supercut
This has been making the rounds today and though there’s a few cheap shots (some of these pass from Sorkinisms into the realm of “things people say all the time in conversation”) it’s actually a really fascinating thing to watch divorced of how rightfully en vogue it is to bash Sorkin this week. Some of these like the “what’s the virtue of a proportional response” line Sorkin’s pretty much owned up to and there’s a fascinating story there and some of these are clearly just turns of phrase he really enjoys. What’s most interesting to me are the moments of manufactured emotional sincerity that he reuses. It’s almost like he’s so structurally locked in that he’s just explored the entire problem space of emotional appeals at his disposal and circled back around.

Abandoned On A Desert Island: A Trip To Dry Tortugas
Guys! Lots of pictures and history of an island with an abandoned bunker on it!

Elinor Ostrom Remembered (1933-2012)
Hey guys, who wants to hear about a really cool female economist who basically single handedly saved the concept of sharing from the scrap heap so that the internet could come along and deify gift economies and the commons as the be all and end all? Cool, well tragically you have to learn she recently died to do it. The good news is that she got a Nobel Prize in economics first.

Key to the Gustavademecum
Man with a name like that this thing should be summoning up weird non-euclidian culinary delights that drive men mad with a single taste. Which…I dunno maybe it does if you go to the right restaurants in New York? I mean it’s certainly got enough weird symbols to be the key to waking up cookthulu.

Turing Centenary Speech (New Aesthetic)
Welp, Sterling went and posted another 30,000 word opus on some weird shit that’ll be making everybody stand up and take notice for a week or two. This one’s slightly less fun than the last one since he seems to have given up on having designers design the New Aesthetic and now he’s trying to talk engineers into it while the New Aesthetic designer guys take all the credit which…is probably not a bad plan given engineers. There’s also some weird gender essentialist framing when he gets into gender, cognition and computation but the core ideas he starts throwing around in there are so fascinating I find it sort of hard to really stay mad at the guy. Especially since if you sat him down with enough feminist lit on the topic I feel like he’d start clapping excitedly and relating it to metacognition and algorithms instead of telling you why your lived experience doesn’t count. Dude seems super big on lived experience. You’d kind of have to be to start suggesting we build female and suicidal AI’s if we really want to start exploring the realities of thought.

How We Died 200 Years Ago, Compared to How We Die Today
I kinda can’t decide if this review of what we’ve thought about death for the last 200 years is a downer or not. I mean besides the obvious level on which it’s a downer. It kinda relates to the Bruce Sterling piece in weird ways though since it kinda becomes about really staring down some of the darker parts of our brains we tend to kind of gloss over when we can.

Capacitor Robots from an Art-o-mat
Hey look, after that downer everything is fun and cute now. YAY. WOO. HOORAY!…

Why Women Still Can’t Have It All
Wait fuck. Our third feminist, or at least feminist adjacent piece of the day is also probably the longest (just edging out the Sterling piece by my estimation though I haven’t double checked that). It’s also the one I had the most trouble getting into because it kind of read as remedial reading at first. “Oh hey, women actually can’t have it all and the system screws them over? The next thing you will be telling me is that institutional racism is still alive even though we have a black president.” Around the end of the first page though it starts to transform into a really specific and incredible dismantling of the arguments made by Facebook’s female COO about how women can totally win if they just stop making a big deal about how they’re women all the time. I was going to make broad statements about stuff based on this but now I’m not because I sort of don’t think they’re as interesting as just telling you to read it.

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