Saturday, February 28, 2015

Facebook Takes Over The World

Some depressing reading. I've been saying for a while that Facebook has basically "reinvented television", the stream fed to passive consumers, reflexively channel surfing or hitting a "like" button like pigeons in a Skinner Box.

But I hadn't realized that it's quite as bad as this. Read these excellent articles from The Awl :

Friday, January 09, 2015

Freedom of Speech

It really doesn't help, the week we're all so enthused by the virtues of freedom of speech, that we're basically putting a man in prison for life because of what he said and wrote.

Oh, I know we have some other things on him too : supplying a phone and being part of kidnapping plot. But, be honest with yourself, if that's ALL he'd done, and he'd never written or said anything else, would he really be getting put in a Supermax prison for the rest of his life?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Momus Album

I can't decide if Momus is just getting more productive or if I'm slowing down in keeping up, as it were.

But there already seems to be a new Momus album out on YouTube.

As always, it's a mixed bunch. But some tracks I'm already liking very much.

The GhostBoxish Bathyscaphe  :

System of Usher :

The Brutalist :

Catholic App is a classic Momus twisted take, satirising the end of privacy.

I probably disapprove of Unreconstructed (after unwrapping its layers of irony) but it's musically and lyrically clever.

Spore is a salacious zero-g love-song with a luscious tune.

If Thunderclown was anything to go by, I'll probably get into the rest after a couple of listens too. Even at his most antipathic or discordantly "experimental"  Momus's songs are always wriggling with little earworms.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Saddam's Chemical Weapons

Status Report:

Saddam's Chemical Weapons :  Existed, sold to him by the US / European companies, covered up by Pentagon at the cost of their own soldier's health due to potential embarrassment.

My cynicism : Undiminished.

Friday, October 10, 2014

20 Years of Blogging

Dave Winer has a mixed mood contemplation of 20 years of blogging and his career.
It is a criminal waste that no institution is able to give him a context to do bigger work. Although perhaps he would end up being too constrained.  

Anyway, congratulations Dave. Happy 20th. And thank you. For the inspiration and everything you've contributed. I'm still using my software based on the Concord outliner every day. And I think more and more people are getting ready for the next reboot.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Champion of Democracy

Owen Jones :
Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive regimes on earth and bans political parties, trade unions and all forms of dissent; deprives women of many of their most basic rights; kills "witches"; has recently declared atheists to be terrorists; and persecutes LGBT people. It should surely be an ostracised regime. And yet this is the biggest market for British arms, with our government approving £1.6bn worth of exports, ranging from equipment for machine guns to "components for military equipment for initiating explosives."

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Cameron and Antibiotic Resistance

Cameron does something important and starts to look into the threat of antibiotic resistance.

But he puts an economist in charge of the project with an explicit assumption its an economic problem that industry has failed to invent more antibiotics.

So lets see if the committee starts recommending the banning of antibiotics in intensive farming practices or if they just come with recommendations to extend "intellectual property" rights or other incentives for big pharma companies.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Facebook Caught Experimenting on Users

Social Network Analysis research gets icky.

I have to admit that I see how this happened, and I would probably have signed off on the ethics of it myself (or been willing to be part of this). But I can see how it looks pretty bad to be caught doing it. And frankly, maybe it is pretty bad.

OTOH : I think what they found out knowledge worth having. But it's largely worth having in order to know the danger that corporations having this power present. You wouldn't want the academic study of this to be banned, and for the research to disappear into internal surreptitious tinkerings where no-one else ever sees the results except in private reports to the marketing department and advertisers.

PayPal Police

Do you have government permission for your privacy?.