Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’
* Transcript from the September 19 meeting of the Cooper Union Board of Trustees. Even putting aside that their short-sighted and obviously bad decisions caused the problem in the first place, the enthusiasm with which these supposed trustees speak about the possibility of closing the school is just unreal.
* All of which brings you back to one central point: if you care about the integrity of elections and people actually being able to vote, the supposed cures for vote fraud are vastly more destructive than the problem. All evidence suggests that vote fraud is a minuscule, minuscule problem. Voter ID and most of the other nostrums are solutions looking for a problem. The people who support these policies are either ignorant of the facts or actually want to cull a certain subsection of the population from democratic participation. There are simply no two ways about it.
* “Since it won’t reform itself, Starfleet needs to be destroyed.” Star Trek into Darkness Hostile to Star Trek, Intelligence.
Remember how Kirk was going to nobly take Khan to Earth to stand trial? Did this actually happen? Is it possible to imagine such a trial ending with a court imposing the punishment of cryogenic stasis? How could a court not demand the other 72 be brought back to life? Wouldn’t such a trial inevitably entail Marcus’s cimes — leading to the exposure of his massive corruption and a public outcry to structurally reform Starfleet?
* The best headline ever? The FBI Investigated the Song ‘Louie Louie’ for Two Years.
* The kids are all right: Teens hate Facebook.
* Historian Helen Fry, who has written a book called The M Room: Secret Listeners who bugged the Nazis, says the information gleaned by the eavesdropping of the German generals was vitally important to the war effort – so much so that it was given an unlimited budget by the government. She believes what was learned by the M room operations was as significant as the code-breaking work being done at Bletchley Park.
* How to Tell if College Presidents Are Overpaid. They’re breathing. Their lips are moving.
* Are you a liberal imperialist? Top ten warning signs.
* Pages currently appearing on Facebook include Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus, Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich, Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs, Raping your Girlfriend and many, many more. Images appearing on Facebook include photographs of women beaten, bruised, tied up, drugged, and bleeding, with captions such as “This bitch didn’t know when to shut up” and “Next time don’t get pregnant.”
* This Michael Kinsley column on marriage equality is probably the single worst thing I’ve ever read on any of the subjects it attempts to discuss. Just totally incoherent on every level. Bonus points for the part at the end where he claims to have personally invented the very idea of gay marriage in the first place.
* And this DVD looks and smells like pizza when it’s finished playing. But don’t get too excited; it smells like Domino’s.
Sunday Afternoon Links: Marx at 193, The Kids Aren’t All Right, The Sixth Season of the Wire, and More
* ‘Employers have feasted on despair’: The War Against Youth.
In the early 1980s, 3 percent of college grads had had an internship. By 2006, 84 percent had done at least one. Multiple internships are common. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than 75 percent of employers prefer students who have interned or had a similar working experience.
There’s some boilerplate tenure bashing in there too, but one can’t have everything.
It’s hard not to conclude from these selected sentences that Marx was extraordinarily prescient. He really did have the most astonishing insight into the nature and trajectory and direction of capitalism. Three aspects which particularly stand out here are the tribute he pays to the productive capacity of capitalism, which far exceeds that of any other political-economic system we’ve ever seen; the remaking of social order which accompanies that; and capitalism’s inherent tendency for crisis, for cycles of boom and bust.
* The bomb in the garden: Matthew Butterick on the slow death of the Web.
Someone’s already tweeting—“Butterick is an idiot. He doesn’t know that information wants to be free.” You know, I have heard that. But I also know that 99.99% of people who mention this line forget to talk about the first and last parts of it.
“What? There’s a first and last part?” Yeah, yeah. The whole line goes like this:
“Information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable … On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower … So you have these two fighting against each other.”
* Seconding @BCApplebaum: Washington Post publishes sixth season of The Wire. There really should have been a season devoted to the prison-industrial complex. There’s still time, Simon!
* And a trailer for the indie film version of Mario Brothers. I think I might have linked to this before, but either way I’d watch the hell out of this.
So what is new about Facebook and the Like button? Oddly enough, it reveals too much. The great sin of Facebook is that it made “like” far too important and too obvious. Marketing is in part the practice of eliding the underlying complexity, messiness, and wastefulness of capitalist production with neat abstractions. Every ad, every customer service interaction, every display, and every package contributes to the commodity fetish, covering up the conditions of production with desire and fantasy. As such, Facebook may reveal too much of the underlying architecture of emotional capitalism. The Like button tears aside this veil to reveal the cloying, pathetic, Willy Lomanesque need of marketers to have their brands be well-liked. Keep liking, keep buying. Like us! Like us! Like us!
* Why Employers Won’t Fire People If We Raise The Minimum Wage To $9. But the picture isn’t all rosy:
1. Improving efficiency. An increase in the minimum wage may lead employers to encourage employees to work harder, since they’re now being paid more. Such an adjustment may be preferable to “cutting employment (or hours) because employer actions that reduce employment can ‘hurt morale and engender retaliation.’” A review of 81 fast-food restaurants in Georgia and Alabama found that “90 percent of managers indicated that they planned to respond to the minimum-wage increase with increased performance standards such as ‘requiring a better attendance and on-time record, faster and more proficient performance of job duties, taking on additional tasks, and faster termination of poor performers.’”
Only the brutal immiseration of low-wage workers can save us now!
* Facebook Paid No Corporate Income Tax Last Year, After Making More Than $1 Billion In Profits. I know, I know: Facebook makes money?
* FreedomWorks outdoes itself. Wow.
* Through behavior like this, the government has turned the entire financial system into a kind of vast confidence game – a Ponzi-like scam in which the value of just about everything in the system is inflated because of the widespread belief that the government will step in to prevent losses. Clearly, a government that’s already in debt over its eyes for the next million years does not have enough capital on hand to rescue every Citigroup or Regions Bank in the land should they all go bust tomorrow. But the market is behaving as if Daddy will step in to once again pay the rent the next time any or all of these kids sets the couch on fire and skips out on his security deposit. Just like an actual Ponzi scheme, it works only as long as they don’t have to make good on all the promises they’ve made.
* “Last year was a great one for the world’s billionaires,” said John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of Red Apple Group Inc., in an email written poolside on his BlackBerry in the Bahamas. World’s 100 richest people got $241 billion richer in 2012.
* Most modern justice systems focus on a crime, a lawbreaker and a punishment. But a concept called “restorative justice” considers harm done and strives for agreement from all concerned — the victims, the offender and the community — on making amends.
* “White House weighs broad gun-control agenda in wake of Newtown shootings.” Probably just a trial balloon, but let’s hope there’s something real here.
* Today’s indescribable nightmare: anesthesia awareness.
* And The Guardian profiles the New York Jacobin/TNI literary scene.
* Great television contrarianism watch: Neoliberal Holmes, or, Everything I Know About Modern Life I Learned from Sherlock. In which I analyze my allergy to Sherlock.
* David Harvey: The financial crisis is an urban crisis.
* Utopia and dystopia in quantum superposition: New parking meters text you when time’s running out.
But there is something troubling about this sea of C.G.I.-perfect flesh, shaved and scentless and not especially medieval. It’s unsettling to recall that these are not merely pretty women; they are unknown actresses who must strip, front and back, then mimic graphic sex and sexual torture, a skill increasingly key to attaining employment on cable dramas. During the filming of the second season, an Irish actress walked off the set when her scene shifted to what she termed “soft porn.” Of course, not everyone strips: there are no truly explicit scenes of gay male sex, fewer lingering shots of male bodies, and the leading actresses stay mostly buttoned up. Artistically, “Game of Thrones” is in a different class from “House of Lies,” “Californication,” and “Entourage.” But it’s still part of another colorful patriarchal subculture, the one called Los Angeles.
* Terrible news, state by state:
* Contemplating these dreary statistics, one might well conclude that the United States is — to a distressing extent — a nation of violent, intolerant, ignorant, superstitious, passive, shallow, boorish, selfish, unhealthy, unhappy people, addicted to flickering screens, incurious about other societies and cultures, unwilling or unable to assert or even comprehend their nominal political sovereignty. Or, more simply, that America is a failure.
* The New Yorker‘s science fiction issue is live. If you wanted to get me to read New Yorker fiction for the first time in years, well, mission accomplished…
* And we’re still pouring college money down the for-profit drain. Because never learning from your mistakes is the most important thing we have to teach.
* kimstanleyrobinson.info has your 2312 interviews and reviews. I’ll have a review of this in the Los Angeles Review of Books next month.
* Lindsey Thomas rounds up the season’s bleak articles on the state of graduate education in the humanities with a focus on the issue that nearly everyone overlooks: “Graduate students, especially in the humanities, are not just students, endlessly toiling away in our foxholes/ivory towers (depending on which side of the “debate” you’re on) in our lurching quests for new knowledge. No; we are also instructors, and along with the ever-growing numbers of adjunct and non-tenure-track faculty, we constitute over 70% of the postsecondary instructional workforce nationwide.”
* Erik Loomis reviews If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front.
* And Facebook may have botched its IPO in much more dramatic fashion than originally thought.