node created 2019/09/29
Where once corporations could impose their advertisements on us through television, we now have PVR which can block TV ads. Where once corporations could impose their advertisements on us through websites, we now have browser plugins that can block those ads. It would almost seem as if we have the power to determine how much content we are fed by corporations and how much content we genuinely want to pay attention to.

Except we don't, because it's still accepted that when a corporation creates an advertisement that does something 'neat' or 'cool', it gets reproduced and transmitted through various mediums without any critical appraisal, just because it's different and original. Corporations know this; they know that they have to go above and beyond merely putting a billboard on a highway to attract eyeballs. They know that it's not enough to beat their rivals at pure visibility. They know that they have do something 'different', something 'cool', something 'unique', something 'neat', something that will make it through to those eyeballs and minds that have become desensitized to all those tired, traditional means of advertising.

The companies that create these advertisement (not companies like British Airways, but the PR and marketing companies that they hire), are acutely aware of the fact that the number of people that will look at these kinds of billboards are no higher than the number of people that will look at any other similarly aesthetically pleasing (given contemporary style and taste) billboards. But they do know that if they offer something else, something that piques a viewer's curiosity, a viewer's sense of inquisitiveness or fascination with technology, or a viewer's eye for novelty and originality, then those people will spread the word. They will tell others about this cool and unique and original advertisement. They might not go right up to their friends and say: "Did you see that cool new British Airways advertisement?" because they might be just the kind of person who wouldn't spread the gospel of corporations so directly, but they very well might be the kind of person who would post to a social media site that has millions of anonymous viewers.
Maybe young students must ask their parents the answer to this question. They should ask the principals of schools and colleges, elderly neighbours, relatives, friends, and even the strangers on the road. Once we all start asking ourselves about our apathy, maybe a few hearts will be stirred.
The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to.
People who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction.
People who are willing to rely on the government to keep them safe are pretty much standing on Darwin's mat, pounding on the door, screaming, 'Take me, take me!'
Alt.Sysadmin.Recovery
Freedom in the future will require us to have the capacity to monitor our devices and set meaningful policies for them; to examine and terminate the software processes that runs on them; and to maintain them as honest servants to our will, not as traitors and spies working for criminals, thugs, and control freaks.
"You can’t be neutral on a moving train," I would tell them. Some were baffled by the metaphor, especially if they took it literally and tried to dissect its meaning. Others immediately saw what I meant: that events are already moving in certain deadly directions, and to be neutral means to accept that.
"You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times"
There always seems to be two sides to a genius. Most people look at Jimi Hendrix as this amazing rock/blues musician, which he was. What people don't realize is Jimi Hendrix was probably the most humble musician to ever walk the face of the earth. He was a journey into the soul through the sounds of an instrument. If Jimi Hendrix grew up in today's age and messed around with electronic music the way he played guitar, all these dubstep assholes would bow. Jimi Hendrix didn't have much of an ego, that is what allowed him to become such an amazing musician.
Every day it feels like more producers truly believe they're the next Bach of beat making and think their "Masterpiece" deserves none other than the best. News flash, they wrote three other beats that same day that all sound the same.
I guess I should add my own story - when I was in high school, this army recruiter gave a talk to our class. What follows is a paraphrase of his speech:

"How many of you support the war in Iraq?"

no one raises hand

"What about Hitler? Saddam Hussein is doing the same things Hitler did to his own people. So If you oppose the war in Iraq, you support Hitler!"

None of us quite had the nerve to speak up about it, but if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of a thousand little bullshit detectors going off.
To me, it feels like Google's entire strategy behind reCaptcha is to make it harder to protect your privacy. We've basically given up on the idea that there are tasks only humans can do, and to me V3 feels like Google openly saying, "You know how we can prove you're not a robot? Because we literally know exactly who you are." I don't even know if it should be called a captcha -- it feels like it's just identity verification.

I don't think this is an acceptable tradeoff. I know that when reCaptcha shows up on HN there's often a crowd that says, "but how else can we block bots?" I'm gonna draw a personal line in the sand and say that I think protecting privacy is more important than stopping bots. If your website can't stop bots without violating my privacy, then I'm starting to feel like I might be on the bots' side.
[..] intellectual freedom is a deep-rooted tradition without which our characteristic western culture could only doubtfully exist. From that tradition many of our intellectuals are visibly turning away. They have accepted the principle that a book should be published or suppressed, praised or damned, not on its merits but according to political expediency. And others who do not actually hold this view assent to it from sheer cowardice.
We've been exposed to so much propaganda that we instinctively know what is "worse", and who is "allowed" to kill without due process.
If there is really authentic popular participation in the decision-making and the free association of communities, yeah, that could be tremendously important. In fact that's essentially the traditional anarchist ideal. That's what was realized the only time for about a year in Spain in 1936 before it was crushed by outside forces, in fact all outside forces, Stalinist Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini's fascism and the Western democracies cooperated in crushing it. They were all afraid of it.
None of us can save himself; we are the instruments of one another’s salvation, and the only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into light.
[Computers] are useless. They only give us answers.
In his stunning 2010 book, “The Death of the Liberal Class”, the seminary-trained journalist, Chris Hedges observes that for the most part, the institutions which have been pillars of liberalism, including the media, the university, the arts, the unions, the Democratic party, and the mainline churches have bought into the neoliberal ideology of corporate-capitalism, which revolves around the mythology of growth at the expense of human and nonhuman wellbeing, thriving, and increasingly, life itself.

In a word, political liberals talk a good talk but (just like political conservatives) have sold out people at the bottom and the planet. A splintering of “causes” and the reduction of politics to “issues” has left the liberal class “obsolete” and clinging “to its positions of privilege within liberal institutions.” And “[l]iberal religious institutions,” writes Hedges, “which should concern themselves with justice, embrace a cloying personal piety… and small, self-righteous acts of publicly conspicuous charity.”

If Hedges is correct, then Douthat is also correct about one thing: the Church should split from the secular liberal class. We should split from those who talk a good game but make peace with all manner of corporations whose time has frankly come.

We might start by challenging the power of coal, oil, and gas industries and the big banks that fund them, as has been prophetically suggested by Bill McKibben, a lay-Methodist, in this disturbing new piece in Rolling Stone. Thankfully, resistance of this sort is now official church policy since Resolution B023 on climate justice was adopted by this year’s General Convention.

In theological terms, we are tasked with affirming life in this moment of planetary exhaustion and pervasive social death. Ours are the works of resistance and restoration, of resurrection and reconciliation. Such works require us, always, to undertake some risk.
Give them a chance. Give them money. Don't dole them out poetry-books and railway-tickets like babies. Give them the wherewithal to buy these things. When your Socialism comes it may be different, and we may think in terms of commodities instead of cash. Till it comes give people cash, for it is the warp of civilisation, whatever the woof may be. The imagination ought to play upon money and realise it vividly, for it's the - the second most important thing in the world. It is so slurred over and hushed up, there is so little clear thinking - oh, political economy, of course, but so few of us think clearly about our own private incomes, and admit that independent thoughts are in nine cases out of ten the result of independent means. Money: give Mr. Bast money, and don't bother about his ideals. He'll pick up those for himself.
We will never have a perfect world, but it's not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.
They who have put out the people's eyes reproach them of their blindness.