Books Magazine

Links 7/4/17

Posted on the 07 April 2017 by Cathy Leaves @cathyleaves
What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation - these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.

In a year where the focus has shifted on the devastation that prescription painkillers are wreaking on entire communities, this is an excellent article on a related monster: why, in spite of the fact that there is an incredibly effective way to battle widespread homecooking of metamphetamines ( making pseudoephedrine containing products prescription only), this kind of legislation tends to die in its infancy (yes, the answer is big pharma).

Always good to read through and be inspired by the Dazed 100 (maybe while listening to this)

This review of The Social Network by Zadie Smith is seven years old but is one of the greatest film reviews I've ever read.

Lanier is interested in the ways in which people "reduce themselves" in order to make a computer's description of them appear more accurate. "Information systems," he writes, "need to have information in order to run, but information underrepresents reality" (my italics). In Lanier's view, there is no perfect computer analogue for what we call a "person." [...]
We know that having two thousand Facebook friends is not what it looks like. We know that we are using the software to behave in a certain, superficial way toward others. We know what we are doing "in" the software. But do we know, are we alert to, what the software is doing to us? Is it possible that what is communicated between people online "eventually becomes their truth"? What Lanier, a software expert, reveals to me, a software idiot, is what must be obvious (to software experts): software is not neutral. Different software embeds different philosophies, and these philosophies, as they become ubiquitous, become invisible.
The New York Review of Books: Generation Why?, November 25, 2010

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