node created 2019/09/29
Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
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.
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
The only way to live on this planet with any human dignity at the moment is to struggle.
"Committed To Life" by Asian Dub Foundation
If you define "niggers" as someone whose lifestyle is defined by others, whose opportunities are defined by others, whose role in society are defined by others, then Good News! You don't have to be black to be a "nigger" in this society. Most of the people in America are "niggers".
on the outrage about the song "Woman Is the Nigger of the World" by John Lennon
In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.
What ultimately lies behind the appeal of bureaucracy is fear of play.
"The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"
Show me a people unwilling to be vigilant about their liberty 24/7, and I'll show you a government happy to lord over them with absolute power.
I know this goes against the ethos of high-tech, but humans don't have an imperative to be as productive as possible. They don't have to make the most use of their time. They don't have to get as efficient as they could. These are metrics that work fine for our machines, our code. But humans are not machines. Sure, we shepherd the machines, and sure sometimes we are in rivalrous dynamics that increasing efficiency has a payoff, but it is never the goal in itself.

The real "currency" we have, if we are using the term in the sense of denoting essentialness, is our humanness, our mortality, our psyches, our connection with other people and seemingly mundane but meaningful parts of our lives. I mean, look how many of us started baking their breads and enjoying it. It is not a wise use of the "currency of time", but it is part of life very well spent, as our internal reward mechanisms have been telling us.
There was a time when academia was society’s refuge for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical. No longer. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers. As for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical: it would seem society now has no place for them at all.
"The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy"
Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered. He spends part of his time in a fantasy world in which things happen as they should — in which, for example, the Spanish Armada was a success or the Russian Revolution was crushed in 1918 — and he will transfer fragments of this world to the history books whenever possible. Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning. Events which it is felt ought not to have happened are left unmentioned and ultimately denied.
"Notes on Nationalism"
Google Plus is like the movie Dark City. It's a group of technical aliens picking apart the human experience, trying different scenarios in order to find out what the human soul is.

Once per day, humans wake up and find themselves in its meticulously-constructed parallel universe, doing things as ordinary humans do on other websites. Their activities, such as appreciating music and searching for lovers, feel familiar, necessary and meaningful, but at the same time, the unsettling atmosphere prevents the existential questions from settling deeply repressed where they should be. Instead, we're left wondering, "Why are we doing this here?" Isn't there something better? Is there a Shell Beach out there somewhere? Couldn't I just do this all myself on 1999-style website and live a more natural life?
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
The problem with all current "AI"-driven systems be it facial recognition, voice recognition, translating, fraud detection, navigation, whatever, is that they are not 100% right, and when they're wrong, they're hilariously devastatingly super-wrong in a way that humans are not wrong.

But since the success modes are good and human-like, we assume that the failures are going to be human-like as well, but the failure-modes of these system are usually bizarre and alien.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
The idea that a majority of gun owners are going to rise up and then support human rights is a fantasy of right-wing Americans who currently don't support human rights.

Functioning democracies are not propped up by guns. They are propped up by institutions heavily supported by the public. Institutions such as independent government agencies, independent courts, and free media outlets.
That's the genius of our ruling class. They're so brilliant that no one knows they even exist. The political-science professors, perfectly sane men, look at me with wonder when I talk about the ruling class in America.

They say, "You are one of those conspiracy theorists. You think there's a headquarters and they get together at the Bohemian Grove and run the United States."

Well, they DO get together at the Bohemian Grove and do a lot of picking of Secretaries of State, anyway.

But they don't have to conspire. They all think alike. It goes back to the way we're raised, the schools we went to -- after all, I'm a reluctant member of this group. You don't have to give orders to the editor of The New York Times. He is in place because he will respond to a crisis the way you want him to, as will the President, as will the head of the Chase Manhattan Bank.
We're constantly being bombarded by insulting and humiliating music, which people are making for you the way they make those Wonder Bread products. Just as food can be bad for your system, music can be bad for your spirtual and emotional feelings. It might taste good or clever, but in the long run, it's not going to do anything for you.
If only we organized. And worked together. And stopped thinking of success as something that individuals obtain, for their own self-interests.
First principle of hacking: tools do not have inherent purpose, they can be used to do whatever we want; they only can be better or worse at a particular task. The world didn't collapse into logical contradiction the last time I cut pizza with a sound card, because of lack of any other sharp tool nearby.
Since no one is capable of forming his own opinion without the benefit of a multitude of opinions held by others, the rule of public opinion endangers even the opinion of those few who may have the strength not to share it. This is one of the reasons for the curiously sterile negativism of all opinions which oppose a popularly acclaimed tyranny. [...] public opinion, by virtue of its unanimity, provokes a unanimous opposition and thus kills true opinions everywhere.
The aim of the laborer should be, not to get his living, to get "a good job," but to perform well a certain work; and, even in a pecuniary sense, it would be economy for a town to pay its laborers so well that they would not feel that they were working for low ends, as for a livelihood merely, but for scientific, or even moral ends. Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.
Any one who in discussion relies upon authority uses, not his understanding, but rather his memory. Good culture is born of a good disposition; and since the cause is more to be praised than the effect, I will rather praise a good disposition without culture, than good culture without the disposition.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1. Corinthians 1
I used to call myself a war photographer. Now I consider myself as an antiwar photographer.
If something is right (or wrong) for us, it’s right (or wrong) for others. It follows that if it’s wrong for Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and a long list of others to bomb Washington and New York, then it’s wrong for Rumsfeld to bomb Afghanistan (on much flimsier pretexts), and he should be brought before war crimes trials.
The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind - not the fiend or the sadist.
When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts, it will not be with jackboots, it will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts. Smiley smiley.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.