2,702 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2024
    1. Robust to the inclusion of other features of culture such as individualism and residential mobility in the statistical models, the findings revealed that display rules in heterogeneous cultures favor higher emotion expressivity than in homogeneous cultures

      more out there

    2. Results revealed that the heterogeneity of the country of the expresser (but not the perceiver) was related to emotion recognition accuracy, such that expressers from historically heterogeneous cultures made displays that were easier to recognize across cultures. This finding supports the idea that a boost in the signal value of emotion in the face and the voice may constitute an adaptation to the pressure of interacting with individuals with whom one shares few expectations about emotions, and no nuanced emotion language. In other words, the intermingling of people from diverse cultural backgrounds over an extended time period appears to be associated with the use of facial and vocal expressions that are relatively unambiguous and easily decoded by unfamiliar others.

      you can only play twelve-dimensional irony games with others who share twelve-dimensional irony rulebooks

    1. There is a conceit in musical theater that when a character becomes too emotional to talk, that’s when they begin to sing, and when they become too emotional still, that is when they dance. This concept applies to blogging as well; when you become too emotional to simply write, you write a screed, and when you become too exasperated to screed, then and only then do you write a hate read.

      me on Andy Matuschak on books

    1. But science is a social process; the AI folks under­stand this very well. How would AI-generated “raw theory” be channeled into the real world of science and tech­nology? How would you know when your virtual Pauli had a theory worth testing? What if it spat out a million theories, and you had good reason to believe one of them was correct — a real paradigm-buster — but you didn’t know which?

      This is fun because it also gets into the world of "what processes would you want to build around a coworker who had zany and valuable ideas, but whom you didn't totally trust" and/but the exact right boundaries there are going to look very different for an actor who can't respond to social pressure.

    2. This is what digi­ti­za­tion does, again and again: by removing friction, by collapsing time and space, it under­mines our intu­itions about produc­tion and exchange.

      What are other technological developments that break intuitions? Most of them, I suppose. Distilling high-proof alcohol and urbanization together.

    1. All of this means that ALT tags are not so much descriptions of image contents as they are artifacts of the web’s workings and of creators’ retail ambitions.

      This feels familiar but I don't have a print-era analog in mind

    1. The importance of this difference is underscored by the early history of safety efforts in anesthesia. The earliest work conducted in the 1950s (e.g., Beecher) used a traditional epidemiological approach, and got nowhere. (Other early efforts outside of anesthesia similarly foundered.) Progress came only after a fundamental and unremarked shift in the investigative approach, one focusing on the specific circumstances surrounding an accident—the “messy details” that the heavy siege guns of the epidemiological approach averaged out or bounded out. These “messy details,” rather than being treated as an irrelevant nuisance, became instead the focus of investigation for Cooper and colleagues and led to progress on safety.

      Case studies, post-mortems, in enough detail.

    1. And the fourth market failure is the exploitation of public goods. So we have the ocean in common, and we don’t want people destroying it for profit. Sidewalks are also a kind of common good. We don’t let restaurants expand onto the sidewalk without some sort of regulation. And all of human attention is kind of a public good. What happened in just a few years is that a few companies, especially Google and Facebook, basically monopolized human attention for billions and billions of people. They took huge amounts of it, and we don’t have it back.

      This is a wild way to conceive of “public goods” and by wild I mean I may not have a PhD, but…

    1. There's no faster way to totally sink my credibility, as a new team member, by making a huge fuss over something that's not a problem, or that the team doesn't see as a problem, or that there's already an effort to fix, or that there's a really simple way to fix that I just didn't see at first. There are always so many problems on a team, so many things that could be better, that I'm only ever going to solve a handful of them. Working on problems in the order I noticed them is rarely the most effective order. So the WTF Notebook gives me a place to park the impulse to fix it now, damn it! until I have more context for deciding what to work on first.

      And the more egregious something arbitrary is, the more likely that there are other even more egregious things out there – so it's no sign that that's the one thing that should be top priority!

    2. Generally, I'll find out that the things that problems I've noticed are around for one of a few reasons.The team hasn't noticed itThe team has gotten used to itThe problem is relatively new, and the old problem it replaced was much worseThey don't know how to fix the problemThey've tried to fix the problem before and failed

      Number three sounds real familiar

    3. Once I've got a nice big list, I start crossing things off. There are four reasons at this point that I might cross off something I've put on that list:There's actually a good reason for itThe team is already working on a fixThe team doesn't care about itIt's really easy to fix

      How things leave the list...

    4. Every time I join a new team, I go to the next fresh page, and on top of that page I write: "WTF - [Team Name]." Then I make a note every time I run into something that makes me go "wtf," and a task every time I come up with something I want to change.For two weeks, that's all I do. I just write it down. I don't tell the team everything that I think they're doing wrong. I don't show up at retro with all the stuff I think they need to change. I just watch, and listen, and I write down everything that seems deeply weird.

      The practice...

    1. Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable — perhaps everything. No science will ever replace myth, and a myth cannot be made out of any science. For it is not that “God” is a myth, but that myth is the revelation of a divine life in man. It is not we who invent myth; rather, it speaks to us as a Word of God. The Word of God comes to us, and we have no way of distinguishing whether and to what extent it is different from God. There is nothing about this Word that could not be considered known and human, except for the manner in which it confronts us spontaneously and places obligations upon us. It is not affected by the arbitrary operation of our will. We cannot explain an inspiration. Our chief feeling about it is that it is not the result of our own ratiocinations, but that it came to us from elsewhere.

      Being spoken to; meaninglessness as illness

    2. A further development of myth might well begin with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, by which they were made into sons of God, and not only they, but all others who through them and after them received the filiatio — sonship of God — and thus partook of the certainty that they were more than autochthonous animalia sprung from the earth, that as the twice-born they had their roots in the divinity itself. Their visible, physical life was on this earth; but the invisible inner man had come from and would return to the primordial image of wholeness, to the eternal Father, as the Christian myth of salvation puts it.

      I had never put together the root of "affiliation" until this moment

    3. The third and decisive stage of the myth, however, is the self-realization of God in human form, in fulfillment of the Old Testament idea of the divine marriage and its consequences. As early as the period of primitive Christianity, the idea of the incarnation had been refined to include the intuition of “Christ within us.” Thus the unconscious wholeness penetrated into the psychic realm of inner experience, and man was made aware of all that entered into his true configuration. This was a decisive step, not only for man, but also for the Creator — who, in the eyes of those who had been delivered from darkness, cast off His dark qualities and became the summum bonum.This myth remained unassailably vital for a millennium, until the first signs of a further transformation of consciousness began appearing in the eleventh century. From then on, the symptoms of unrest and doubt increased, until at the end of the second millennium the outlines of a universal catastrophe became apparent, at first in the form of a threat to consciousness. This threat consists in giantism — in other words, a hubris of consciousness— in the assertion: “Nothing is greater than man and his deeds.” The otherworldliness, the transcendence of the Christian myth was lost, and with it the view that wholeness is achieved in the other world.

      Greatness within us from without us vs. greatness of us

    4. ANY biography of myself must, I think, take account of the following reflections. It is true that they may well strike others as highly theoretical, but making theory of this sort is as much a part of me, as vital a function of mine, as eating and drinking.

      Affection sent to his grave

    1. “One of the purposes a transsexual identity serves is to make the rest of us look contented and well-adjusted by comparison,” wrote Patrick Califia. “There are many levels of gender dysphoria, many aberrant accommodations other than a sex change. Feminism, for example.” I basically never agree with Patrick Califia, and Patrick Califia definitely never agreed with Andrea Dworkin, but he’s right. The trans experience is not some bizarre and isolated silo. The patriarchal gender binary is coercive and violent and unjust for everyone — it’s just that trans people are in a situation that requires thinking about it consciously, and coming up with some kind of livable accommodation.

      The extent of consciousness, and the extent of accommodation: cis women, more accommodated without effort than before, perhaps also less conscious?

    1. There is no distinction between woman and Girl online. We must throw out any binary thinking. Online, we are all Girls. Girl exists as a condition rather than a fixed gender or age. “Girl” is a valuable marketing term in the same way that “authenticity” is. It is performed, refined, but never able to be perfected—hoisted upon us and impossible to embody.

      this kind of "ackshually I rise above the tension you've identified" is shit basis for any kind of political change

    1. Huxley, as it turns out, was mostly right about the ability of drivel to entomb dissent in a way that heavy-handed censorship never could. What he couldn’t anticipate was the form that this would take. Today, we live with the irony that the intense pitch and total saturation of political conversation in every part of our lives—simply pick up your phone and rejoin the fray—create the illusion that important ideas are right on the verge of being actualized or rejected. But the form of that political discourse—millions of little arguments—is actually what makes it impossible to process and follow what should be an evolving and responsive conversation. We mistake volume for weight; how could there be so many posts about something with no acknowledgment from the people in charge? Don’t they see how many of us are expressing our anger? These questions elicit despair, because the poster believes that no amount of dissent will actually be heard.

      The illusion of discourse

    1. Listen to upcoming artists at your favorite venues, all on Spotify. Updated every Monday.

      Blog post for sure!

    1. The battles today are still essentially between the three big families of ideas which have structured the political battles since the 18th century: liberalism, nationalism, and socialism. Today, we’re in an era where neoliberalism hasn’t collapsed but has reached its limits. What is going to come next? It is a confrontation between some form of neo-nationalism and some form of new democratic socialism, which is still very weak. This is to the advantage of neo-nationalism, which we’ve seen enjoy electoral success around the world, from the US to India. The only priority now is to construct a socialist alternative.

      Oh, we love big schemata

    2. To be deliberately provocative, I would say that the kind of societies we live in, at least in the core capitalist countries of Western Europe, North America, Japan and Korea, are still best characterised as social democratic. The economic and social systems in these regions are now so different from the capitalist systems of the past. When I talk about participatory socialism or a new form of democratic socialism for the 21st century, people counter that these notions are unrealistic and have nothing to do with the world today. What I want to stress, however, is that what I try to describe for the future is different from what we have today, but it is less different from what we have today compared to the difference between the system now and the form of capitalism that existed around 1910 – colonial, patriarchal, authoritarian.

      argument after my own heart

    1. THE GATES OF DREAMLAND It's a lonely road through bogland to the lake at Carrowmore, And a sleeper there lies dreaming where the water laps the shore; Though the moth-wings of the twilight in their purples are unfurled, Yet his sleep is filled with music by the masters of the world. There's a hand is white as silver that is fondling with his hair: There are glimmering feet of sunshine that are dancing by him there: And half-open lips of faery that were dyed a faery red In their revels where the Hazel Tree its holy clusters shed. "Come away," the red lips whisper, "all the world is weary now; 'Tis the twilight of the ages and it's time to quit the plough. Oh, the very sunlight's weary ere it lightens up the dew, And its gold is changed and faded before it falls to you. "Though your colleen's heart be tender, a tenderer heart is near. What's the starlight in her glances when the stars are shining clear? Who would kiss the fading shadow when the flower-face glows above? 'Tis the Beauty of all Beauty that is calling for your love." Oh, the great gates of the mountain have opened once again, And the sound of song and dancing falls upon the ears of men, And the Land of Youth lies gleaming flushed with rainbow light and mirth, And the old enchantment lingers in the honey-heart of earth.

      Tis the twilight of the ages and it's time to quit the plough!

    1. “The game speaks to a trend in younger people who want to avoid competitive games, instead favouring teamwork and collaboration working towards a fun goal together,” Brett Smitheram, the current UK number one Scrabble player and 2016 World Scrabble Champion, said in the statement.

      Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not Scrabble victory nor Scrabble defeat.

    1. Even the language we use to describe ourselves online needs prodding: those who tend websites as worlds, gardens, and rivers, might be invited to evaluate what they are looking to carry from these real-world spaces. If language is world-shaping, why limit ourselves to the borders and failures of the offline, where existing words and languages might exacerbate inequities? Why limit the mythology of the internet rather than write new ones?

      yeah, why don't people prefer the theremin

    1. In an unprecedented move, according to two of the sources, the army also decided during the first weeks of the war that, for every junior Hamas operative that Lavender marked, it was permissible to kill up to 15 or 20 civilians; in the past, the military did not authorize any “collateral damage” during assassinations of low-ranking militants. The sources added that, in the event that the target was a senior Hamas official with the rank of battalion or brigade commander, the army on several occasions authorized the killing of more than 100 civilians in the assassination of a single commander.

      If this policy was ever written down anywhere (admittedly not something I can imagine anyone doing), surely this should short-circuit the interminable "but is it a war crime" discourse

    1. There’s the gaggle of Harvard millennials cold-shouldering people who went to state schools like some kind of Temu Avengers (you are literally pushing forty). All those eyes roving around in the middle of conversations, waiting for someone better to talk to. “Everything doubles as a networking event,” someone joked to me once at a book launch event. Wrong. Everything should double as an opportunity to take our nipples out. Anything else is a waste of time and, frankly, racially-charged hate bordering on a macro-aggression.

      If you're not trying to be this aggressive in the tonal posture of your email newsletter, I don't want it

    1. The fact that tech culture is torn between the two towers of accelerationism vs effective altruism is, in hindsight, a completely foreseeable scenario. Given absolute wealth, absolute power, and absolutely no contact with actual humans, the islanders will start erecting golden statues of Harry Potter fanfic. When you free people from the ‘distraction’ of living in the world, you create a microsociety of human-shaped aliens. You start seeing other people only as users, as wells of data, as sheeple, as walking blood-banks.

      it'd be interesting to frame this around Amazon's isolation-without-isolation, no perks or campus, but...

    1. t is a powerful and catchy meme, although one that is offered in the best spirit.

      I mean, maybe – Gioia's a bit too savvy at selling jeremiads

    2. Accordingly, Rieff writes that “a culture survives principally … by the power of institutions to bind and to loose men in the conduct of their affairs with reasons which sink so deep into the self that they become commonly and implicitly understood.” “Culture,” Rieff adds, “is another name for a design of motives directing the self outward, toward those communal purposes in which alone the self can be realized and satisfied.” But modern culture is different. “The systematic hunting down of all settled convictions represents the anti-cultural predicate upon which modern personality is being reorganized,” Rieff argued. This new anti-culture, he explained, “aims merely at an eternal interim ethic of release from the inherited controls.” Permissions all the way down. Which, it is absolutely worth noting, happens to correlate remarkably well with the demands of a consumer economy.

      Do I think this is true? I want someone else to read on this...

    3. In any case, I’d go so far as to argue that the dopamine framing actually subsidizes the social imaginary that reduces the human being to the status of a machine, readily programmable by the manipulation of stimuli, which may itself be the deeper and more malignant problem.

      🙌

    4. “But take away their devices diversions,” Pascal observes, “and you will see them bored to extinction. Then they feel their nullity without recognizing it, for nothing could be more wretched than to be intolerably depressed as soon as one is reduced to introspection with no means of diversion.”

      Personality types dictate philosophers may be overindexing on the idea that introspection is the natural condition absent distraction

    5. “The king is surrounded by persons whose only thought is to divert the king, and to prevent his thinking of self,” Pascal writes. “For he is unhappy, king though he be, if he think of himself.” We are all of us kings now surrounded by devices whose only purpose is to prevent us from thinking about ourselves.

      Thinking of the self is half the misery IME

    6. Do we keep coming back because we are addicted or because we imagine that we have no better alternative or no good reason not to?

      Are these so cleanly opposed?

    1. In other words, we’re still in the land of precise guesses built on weak evidence, but now the stakes are higher and the numbers are distant probabilities. Longtermism lays bare that the EAs’ method is really a way to maximize on looking clever while minimizing on expertise and accountability. Even if the thing you gave a 57 percent chance of happening never happens, you can still claim you were right. These expected value pronouncements thus fit the most philosophically rigorous definition of bullshit.

      Confidence in estimates should decrease massively with distance, spatial or temporal. The methods wouldn't be so obviously offensive if they weren't so wildly overconfident, maybe? Or would I still object to the Singerness of it

    1. By not calling out Ricardo’s confusion of physical machinery with monetary capital, economics fell into what Schumpeter later called “the Ricardian Vice”: the practice of deriving logically watertight conclusions from impossible premises that today economists euphemistically call “simplifying assumptions.” Schumpeter eloquently characterized Ricardo’s method as follows: The comprehensive vision of the universal interdependence of all the elements of the economic system that haunted Thünen probably never cost Ricardo as much as an hour’s sleep. His interest was in the clear-cut result of direct, practical significance. In order to get this he cut that general system to pieces, bundled up as large parts of it as possible, and put them in cold storage—so that as many things as possible should be frozen and “given.” He then piled one simplifying assumption upon another until, having really settled everything by these assumptions, he was left with only a few aggregative variables between which, given these assumptions, he set up simple one-way relations so that, in the end, the desired results emerged almost as tautologies. . . . The habit of applying results of this character to the solution of practical problems we shall call the Ricardian Vice.9 The Ricardian Vice is well evidenced by Ricardo’s arithmetic example that became the foundation of international trade theory. If it were true that the machinery for producing wine could be converted (at no cost and with no loss of productivity) into machinery for producing cloth and vice versa, then it would also be true (assuming continued full employment, and less controversially the capacity for a vigneron to retrain as a shepherd, and vice versa) that the ending of autarky and the overnight opening up of free trade between England and Portugal would have increased the aggregate output of both industries across the two countries. Ricardo’s conclusions follow from his premises. But his premises are manifestly false.

      A more elegant name for spherical cows

    2. The researchers used the measures of ubiquity and diversity to develop a composite index they called “complexity,” which quantified “the amount of productive knowledge” products and economies contain.23 This complexity metric correlated well with living standards—with countries like Japan and Switzerland at the head of the 2015 index (at 2.47 and 2.18 respectively) and Papua New Guinea and Nigeria at its tail (–1.81 and –2.18 respectively). But movements up the complexity scale also correlated strongly with improved growth performance: An increase of one standard deviation in complexity, which is something that Thailand achieved between 1970 and 1985, is associated with a subsequent acceleration of a country’s long-term growth rate of 1.6 percent  per year. This is over and above the growth that would have been expected from mineral wealth and global trends.24 The success of this index in predicting which countries are likely to outperform growth expectations in the future was related to the role of product diversity within a country, which enable new products to be invented. The authors of The Atlas found that a country was more likely to develop a new product if the country had other industries which were close to that product in a third metric they called “proximity.” Technically this was measured as the likelihood that a country exported one product given that it exported another; practically, it indicated that invention of new products required knowledge of existing, closely related products. A country with a diversified export profile (and by implication a diversified industrial base),25 rather than one with a specialized portfolio, is more likely to have the product proximity that allows new products to be invented and the economy to grow.

      You need to do things like but not equal to what you already do – so doing more things is a good way to have more opportunities for that

    3. Their methodology was to classify products on the basis of their “ubiquity,” which they defined as how many countries exported the product, and countries on the basis of “diversity,” which they defined as how many products a given country exported. The theory of comparative advantage would lead you to expect that in a world with very low trade barriers—basically the modern globalized world—most countries would have specialized trade profiles, so that they would score low in both ubiquity and diversity. This proved to be true of underdeveloped economies like Ghana, in which the top three exported products—fuels, precious metals, and cocoa—make up 81 percent of its exports. But it was not true of advanced economies like Germany, where the top three products account for only 46 percent of its exports.

      Specialization is a mark's game

    1. Chernoff faces, invented by applied mathematician, statistician and physicist Herman Chernoff in 1973, display multivariate data in the shape of a human face. The individual parts, such as eyes, ears, mouth and nose represent values of the variables by their shape, size, placement and orientation. The idea behind using faces is that humans easily recognize faces and notice small changes without difficulty. Chernoff faces handle each variable differently.

      If science fiction weren't created by cowards, every time you see a bank of High Tech Screens monitoring some system, there would be a bunch of cartoon faces with expressions subtly animating...

    1. The Price Is Wrong illustrates a central problem of capitalism from the Keynesian perspective, which is that it features not one price system, but two. There is the price of goods (such as a megawatt of electricity) which is set by supply and demand today, and there is the price of financial assets (such as the right to a windfarm’s revenue stream) which is set by expectations for tomorrow. Those expectations are determined by sentiment, convention, politics and culture. All of these are malleable, but adjusting them requires centralised authorities willing to step up and shape them. The myths of the ‘free market’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ have been a gift to rentiers, enabling inordinately high profits to be presented as an accurate reflection of innovation and courage, rather than a political settlement that nobody dares challenge. There is no shortage of financial capital available to support the energy transition, just a debilitating insistence on the rewards demanded for doing so.

      Futurologists selling stories

    2. Companies such as Shell expect to make at least 15 per cent returns on their investments in fossil fuels, but only 5-8 per cent returns on their investments in renewables. The appeal of fossil fuels, from the vantage point of the ‘antimarket’, is that they continue to offer the kinds of monopoly rent that the far more competitive, more marketised industry of renewables does not.

      not a demand-side problem

    1. Japan’s Ise Grand Shrine is an extraordinary example in that genre. Every 20 years, caretakers completely tear down the shrine and build it anew. The wooden shrine has been rebuilt again and again for 1,200 years. Locals want to make sure that they don’t ever forget the production knowledge that goes into constructing the shrine. There’s a very clear sense that the older generation wants to teach the building techniques to the younger generation: “I will leave these duties to you next time.” Regularly tearing down and rebuilding a wooden temple might not sound like a great use of time. But I’m not sure if local priorities are entirely screwed up here. These people understand that it’s too difficult to write down every instruction necessary for building even a single wooden structure; imagine how much more difficult it is to create instructions for a machinery part, or a chip. Every so often we discover ancient tools of which we have no idea how to use. These shrine caretakers have decided that preservation of production knowledge is important, and I find that admirable.

      reminiscent of every generation bringing up the next's children

    2. Anyone with detailed instructions but no experience actually fabricating chips is likely to make a mess. I believe that technology ultimately progresses because of people and the deepening of the process knowledge they possess. I see the creation of new tools and IP as certifications that we’ve accumulated process knowledge. Instead of seeing tools and IP as the ultimate ends of technological progress, I’d like to view them as milestones in the training of better scientists, engineers, and technicians.

      contrast to a "discovery" living somewhere among the platonic forms

    1. Collegial relationships, where you’re all in it together and all have a common share price, reduce the psychological and emotional barriers to “betraying” your team or department by engaging in this sort of horizontal whistle-blowing. Conversely, the commercial relationship between a company and its subcontractor is governed by documents that will eventually be adjudicated in an adversarial legal system. This massively increases the personal and organizational stakes of any information leak.

      Being on the same team necessary to mutual disclosure

    1. There is no glory apart from sacrifice. That is what your strength is for. That is what you were made for. You were made for the glory of sacrifice, and when that sacrifice is obedient to the King, you can be sure that you are following your King into the very same grave He once went down into, and He is there waiting for you, to lead you out into a glory that will never fade.

      this is a very good line for a blog that listed one of the three related articles to be "As Gay As Pre-Ripped Jeans" and another "Do Not Give Your Strength to Women"

    1. And if ever he should wish to honor someone, it seemed to him fitting to call him by name. Those who think they are known by their ruler seemed to him both to have a greater yearning to be seen doing something noble and to be more inclined to refrain from doing anything shameful.

      gotta grind the org chart

    2. When you’re taught from textbooks, you quickly learn a set of false lessons that are very useful for completing homework assignments but very bad in the real world. For example: all problems in textbooks are solvable, all problems in textbooks are worth solving (if you care about your grade), all problems in textbooks are solvable by yourself, and all of the problems are solvable using the techniques in the chapter you just read. But in the real world, the most important skills are not solving a quadratic by completing the square or whatever, the most important skills are: recognizing whether it’s possible to solve a given problem, recognizing whether solving it is worthwhile, figuring out who can help you with the task, and figuring out which tools can be brought to bear on it. The all-important meta-skills are not only left undeveloped by textbook problems, they’re actively sabotaged and undermined. This is why so many people who got straight As in school never amount to anything.

      People show up at my work without them, and they learn them

    3. Of all Cyrus’s many qualities: willpower, strength, charisma, glibness, intelligence, handsomeness; Xenophon makes a point of emphasizing one in particular, and his choice might strike some readers as strange. It is this: “He did not run from being defeated into the refuge of not doing that in which he had been defeated.” Cyrus learned to love the feeling of failure, because failure means you’re facing a worthy challenge, failure means you haven’t set your sights too low, failure means you’ve encountered a stone hard enough to sharpen your own edge.

      written and taped up

    4. This is a society which believes that men are more easily destroyed by luxury than by hardship, and that it’s especially important that the leaders be seen to scorn luxury, for “whenever people see that he is moderate for whom it is especially possible to be insolent, then the weaker are more unwilling to do anything insolent in the open.”8 What I love about Xenophon is that unlike many Greek authors, who would deliver that line completely straight, he instead subverts (or at least balances) it with the observation that any kind of suffering is easier to bear when you’re in charge, and even easier when you’re bearing it in order to be seen to be bearing it.

      for some reason this reminds me of how restrictive the performance of masculinity can be

    5. I am not well-read in the classics. My excuse ultimately boils down to the same argument that all the classicists give for why you should be well-read in the classics: reading a book that has been widely admired for a very long time isn’t just reading a book, it’s entering into a “great conversation” taking place across the aeons. I feel awkward reading a book like that without knowing something about the commentaries on the book, all the people it has influenced, all the people who influenced it, the commentaries on the commentaries, and so on. It’s exhausting and overwhelming, and when I ignore all that and plunge ahead, I often don’t enjoy the book and then I feel dumb. A “great conversation” sounds nice, but only if you’re one of the participants and you actually get the inside jokes and references. Otherwise it’s as alienating and isolating as showing up to a party where you don’t know anybody, and where everybody else has already been chatting for a few thousand years.

      oof, too relatable. Maybe good annotations ought to be enough for a bit of this?

    1. The Mariner, whose eye is bright, Whose beard with age is hoar, Is gone: and now the Wedding-Guest Turned from the bridegroom's door. He went like one that hath been stunned, And is of sense forlorn: A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn.

      is this ending cheap or not

    2. The other was a softer voice, As soft as honey-dew: Quoth he, 'The man hath penance done, And penance more will do.'

      this would be good to memorize

    3. The self-same moment I could pray; And from my neck so free The Albatross fell off, and sank Like lead into the sea.

      from the blessing? or..

    4. The many men, so beautiful! And they all dead did lie: And a thousand thousand slimy things Lived on; and so did I.

      guilt

    5. Her lips were red, her looks were free, Her locks were yellow as gold: Her skin was as white as leprosy, The Night-mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she, Who thicks man's blood with cold.

      "looks were free" feels unfamiliar

    6. The very deep did rot: O Christ! That ever this should be! Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs Upon the slimy sea.

      quotable

    7. Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.

      ye classic

  2. Mar 2024
    1. In fact, public preferences often lean towards traditional or seemingly “worse” designs, so long as they’re backed by an appropriate connection to nostalgia. One notable example is the recent rebrand of Bahlsen, a renowned German biscuit manufacturer. In 2021, Bahlsen’s redesign was acclaimed by the design community for its clean, bold modernity (even winning them a D&AD award). Nonetheless, the rebrand resulted in a 12% drop in sales the following year. This decline was attributed to a variety of factors: low on-shelf recognition, reduced emotional resonance, and smaller, less appetising photos than the original, “dated” packaging. In other words, even if the branding was good, it didn’t feel right.

      The old one really is pretty ugly

    1. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between healthy lifestyle habits (eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables daily, exercising regularly, consuming alcohol in moderation, and not smoking) and mortality in a large, population-based sample stratified by body mass index (BMI).

      HAES

  3. Feb 2024
    1. In his major intellectual work, Observations on Man, His Frame, His Duty, and His Expectations (1749), Hartley proposed a harp-like theory of consciousness: vibrations in the environment generate sensations in the body, which then rattle around inside the body and generate ideas, which can then be expressed in language. It is a proto-neuroscientific theory—wherein consciousness is the product of sensations vibrating inside the human instrument—and many of Hartley’s Romantic critics accused him of reducing the human to mere mechanism. But Coleridge saw it differently. For him, Hartley’s vibrational theory suggested a vibrating, animate, poetic cosmos. The role of the poet was to tune into the cosmos and translate its many vibrations into beautiful verse, much like the harp translates the wind into music. Poetry was not dredging up internal, subjective emotion but attuning to one’s environment.
    2. The idea struck Coleridge powerfully, prompting him to write a poem called “The Eolian Harp,” which is structured like the galaxy-brain meme, escalating in philosophical profundity with each stanza until it reaches its crescendo:      And what if all of animated nature Be but organic Harps diversely framed, That tremble into thought, as o’er them sweeps Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze, At once the Soul of each, and God of all? In other words, what if we’re all just self-playing harps? *** There is something in this metaphor that seems distinctly un-Romantic. It figures the poet not as the paragon of humanness but an indolent plaything that generates verse via mechanistic and aleatory interactions with external forces.

      Are we speaking the same language? How do you read "the Soul of each" as "mechanistic"

    3. Real songwriting arises from the “internal human struggle of creation,” a process that “requires my humanness.” “Algorithms don’t feel” and cannot participate in this “authentic creative struggle.” Therefore, ChatGPT’s poetry will forever suck, because no matter how closely the lyrics replicate Cave’s own, they will always be deficient. In Cave’s weltanschauung, as laid out in the letter, the machine is a priori precluded from participating in the authentic creative act, because it is not, well, human. If this argument sounds hollow and slightly narcissistic, that’s because it is. It follows a circular logic: humans (and Nick Cave) are special because they alone make art, and art is special because it is alone made by humans (and Nick Cave).

      bothers me less than the narcissism of siting everything with the audience

    1. According to a 17th century account, the Andalusian inventor Abbas ibn Firnas makes a tower jump in Córdoba. He wraps himself with vulture feathers and attaches two wings to his arms. The alleged attempt to fly is not recorded in earlier sources and is ultimately unsuccessful, but the garment slows his fall enough that he only sustains minor injuries.

      Sounds pretty successful to me!

    1. The question to ask of trapsmay not be how to escape from them, but rather how to recapture them and turn them tonew ends in the service of new worlds.

      god I hate academia

    2. Conflating satisfaction and retention helped mediate a tension between developers,who often expressed to me a strong desire to help users, and business people, who wantedto capture them. Appeals to user ‘satisfaction’ hold a moral power within the softwareindustry, and are thus turned to justify a variety of technical decisions (Van Couvering,2007). But they also express a basic ambivalence in technologies of enchantment: peopledesire and enjoy enchantment, and the tension between ‘satisfying’ users and capturingthem is not easily resolved.

      Are you happy with your Instagram reels

    3. As the research community’s center of gravity moved into industry andas companies shifted to streaming, they accumulated data that could replace the explicitratings that had previously defined the field. Logs of interaction data could be read as‘implicit’ ratings: users stopping a video partway through, skipping over recommendeditems, or listening to songs multiple times all became interpreted as ratings data. Thesedata were more plentiful than explicit ratings, being generated by any interaction a userhad with a system, and, in an interpretive move inherited from behaviorism, they werealso taken as more truthful than users’ explicit ratings.

      "more truthful" ...

    1. And arguably the culmination of that is ChatGPT, which promises to give you exactly the information you’re looking for in an unobtrusive “neutral” prose style. Much as I hate ChatGPT — and I do hate it with all my heart, unconditionally, unchangeably, eternally — I do get why that fantasy is attractive. But it is a fantasy, because as the man says, there is nothing outside the text. There is no such thing as the raw information devoid of presentation and context. We can’t get at that raw information, and we certainly can’t program computers to do so, because it does not exist. It is a fantasy, and it is increasingly a willful lie.

      reminiscent of matuschak (antithetically)

    1. Beer correctly diagnoses this impulse, one that I detest. It is moral narcissism for intellectuals to exhaust their human capital endowments debating about how they can minimize their own sins while the forces of technocapital grow stronger by the day. Beer’s now-quaint description of the threats we face illustrate just how badly we have been losing over the past fifty years—the “Electric Mafia” he fears is easily recognizable in the control technologies of algorithmic feeds and product recommendations “What is to be done with cybernetics, the science of effective organization? Should we all stand by complaining, and wait for someone malevolent to take it over and enslave us? An electronic mafia lurks around that corner.”“We allow publishers to file away electronically masses of information about ourselves—who we are, what are our interests—and to tie that in with mail order schemes, credit systems, and advertising campaigns that line us all up like a row of ducks to be picked off in the interests of conspicuous consumption.”

      Electronic mafia!

    2. It happens that the Center for Information Technology and Policy, where I’m visiting at Princeton this year, shares a building with the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE). I was excited to learn this – a chance to walk downstairs and talk to someone about Operations Research, this strange postwar discipline which seems to have absorbed the cybernetic impulse that had flourished across the social sciences and hidden it away in business schools? But one of the grad students told me that actually the name is somewhat anachronistic—no one really does Operations Research anymore, it’s all just financial engineering aka math and stats.

      I wonder what old theory-laden stuff I could find...

    1. He’s absolutely correct that there is no “ongoing stasis” option—but we can still try to slow things down! In fact, this is the center of my political program! There is no possibility of democratic action if the speed of change eclipses the speed at which democracy functions. I am still a liberal — and the only way to be be a liberal today is to be a conservative, to try to slow down technological change.

      this sounds like it links to something obnoxious, but sentence three is solid

    2. But Cowen’s “maximizing economic growth subject to avoiding collapse” is also merely haggling over the price. There is a strong positive commitment in this nominally normative statement. By outlining this principle, Cowen is arguing that at the margin, we are too worried about avoiding collapse and not enough about maximizing economic growth.

      damn okay we understand constraints and objectives differently

    3. Before linear history came the eternal recurrence of magical time: the sun caused the moon and the moon caused the sun, the seasons cycled through, and human experience was terrifying and strange. Nothing was explained in the sense of a historical causal chain, the familiar scientific “tides are caused by the moon.” History is this attitude applied to human societies, and is co-extensive with concept of progress. The current temporality, what I call cybernetic time, is once again circular. But this circularity, of the feedback loop, combines the circle with the line in what Flusser calls “circular progress.” Each time through the feedback loop intensifies the action, so that we return to the same place but with everything amplified. This is what Flusser calls “the circularity not of the wheel, but of the whirlpool.” Hayek’s optimism was premised on humans existing within history, within time, within the world. If that ceases to be the case, if we produce a runaway feedback loop which overwhelms any dialectical response, then we are post-historical. We continue to go, and indeed we go faster than ever before, but we lose both the past and the future; we don’t know where we are going.

      these three paragraphs are satisfying enough to the brain that I do not trust them

    1. Internet culture writing can surely fight the opacity that conceals abuses of power by connecting moments in culture to strains of ideology and changes in technology. But more interestingly, I look forward to seeing how internet culture writing can help us metabolize changes in hierarchies and cultural values – and transform how we write in general.

      this feels like an editor did their best

    2. When she writes about the mommy bloggers of the 2000s, Lorenz credits WordPress, the blogging and content management service, for turning ‘media consumers into media producers’. However, a more interdisciplinary and historically attuned approach can be found in Lisa Nakamura’s 2007 book, Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet. Instead of baptising the mommy bloggers as users-turned-creators, Nakamura finds their spaces to be a prime example of how the social internet collapses these categories. She describes how pregnancy puts women in positions where they interact with sonograms and other medical technologies that create images of them as background for the newly prioritised foetus. ‘The internet,’ however, ‘provides a space in which women use pregnancy Web sites’ modes of visuality and digital graphic production to become subjects, rather than objects, of interactivity.’

      This paragraph sounds like the author is saying "I prefer criticism to be based less in this kind of observation and more in phrases like 'subjects, rather than objects, of interactivity.'"

    3. On the internet we’re users, subscribers, creators, commenters, customers and commodities. Algorithmic feeds collect and metabolise hoards of our personal data, so no matter what we’re doing – posting or scrolling – we are always doing two things: using and being used. As such, it’s never as simple as traditional media and entertainment writing or cultural criticism, where the creating side is clearly demarcated and the audience can be placed at a distance. The work of internet culture writing is to outline how we all vacillate in our roles as subjects and objects.

      Subject and object. It's not wrong! And yet: vom.

    4. The use (or abuse) or the passive voice produces a sense of doomerism, a neoliberal helplessness where companies can’t change, capitalism rages on, nobody is unique and the user (and writer) is helpless in it all.

      if you can't see the pineapple-weed growing in the cracks in the pavement, you're not writing about now, you're writing about your feeling about the past (confirmatory of max read's suspicion)

    1. Marketing is not new, nor is its deleterious effect on young women’s self-image. To acknowledge this historical continuity is not to undermine the above statistics.

      Did we always spend so much of our days being marketed at, though?

    2. Mothers control up to 85 percent of household spending in the United States, and white women have been the face of this market and its targeted consumers since the nineteenth century. Algorithmic recom­mendation systems are changing things; targeted advertising is no doubt offering companies finer tools with which to capture “niche” demographics and hawk products For You. But the fine line between aspiration and relatability that has always fueled the American entertainment and advertising industries—and that has always been most available to white Americans for toeing—remains their stimulus for sales.

      White women speaking with bleached teeth to mothers

    3. To imagine one’s recommendations as wholesale “generic,” rather than generic to one’s demographic, is a step stranger. It may be a tacit acknowledgment of one’s own claim to cultural domi­nance—the world might look flat if you are looking at it from above—or a concession to one’s own frictionless passage through space, online and off. A U.S. passport, white skin, straightness, cis-masculinity: it is easy enough to attach these characteristics to the internet itself, along with its cultural output. Most histories of the internet do, aligning The Algorithm with its most famous found­ers and profiteers: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Elon Musk, and so on and so on.

      Tones and tactics are genericized, though, even when "content" is For Me

    4. Whatever culture is to Chayka—whether individual “pieces” or dominant aesthetics—it seems to exist outside of politics, which is why it can be said to grow “organically” or to be debased by a technological invention, rather than by the social and institutional forces guiding its development and distribution.

      oof

    5. Why should any of us trust a black box to define our tastes? One could argue that taste has always been a black box and that having it has always depended less on liking the right things than on aligning oneself with the right peo­ple. But even though Chayka spends a chapter on theories of taste that passes through Pierre Bourdieu, he does not seem to believe this.

      hell of a burn on that qualifier

    1. The “social media” frame allows us to see how The Apparatus transforms existing communication technologies. Yelp makes restaurants more social, sure. But higher education is more social thanks to the efforts of the U.S. News & World Report. And books are more social thanks to Goodreads, sure, but this is simply an intensification of a trend that includes the New York Times Bestseller List.

      This seems like a sloppy frame if you're grouping in the US News & World Report with the actual bottom-up aggregations

    2. The most important technological component of social media is quantified audience feedback. Indeed, I think this is the correct definition of “social media.” It’s not a binary—media is more social the more the audience is present, the more that the media object facing the consumer is co-created by the original author and their audience.

      hm. I feel a distinction between the prior active comment/share and the audience feedback of "paused a bit longer on this reel than we would have expected given the topic model misalignment"

    3. This is an ideological explanation for why “The Algorithm” is a bad answer. Ideological explanations are red meat for the kind of people who read Substacks, tweets, and The New Yorker, which is why I led with that. But the problem is more fundamental.

      and for the same group, meta-asides are – red meat? no: cocaine

    1. But sometimes, uncharitably, I imagine that what’s at the bottom of the consumption of this kind of writing is a desire not to overcome one’s apparent helplessness in the face of “the algorithm” but to affirm it--a compulsion to wallow in one’s perceived estrangement from the motions of culture and commerce and politics in the 21st century, to have one’s learned helplessness excused. Articles and books in this vein (and I have written plenty of them!) tend to emphasize the power, scale, novelty, and opacity of the platform giants, and to de-emphasize user agency, statistical context, historical precedent, and even little things like “the economy” and “the world outside.”

      can't trust anyone who comes in as a fan or an outsider

    2. the genuinely contradictory movement of globalization: Not a second-law-of-thermodynamics-style constant and unvaried overall increase in homogeneity, but an unpredictable and spiky process in which difference emerges from uniformity and uniformity from difference. Chayka is extremely attentive to the narrow and often class-bound domains in which “algorithms” hasten and expand homogenization. But he is less interested in the ways in which they complicate and redirect it, or even retard and reverse it.

      the every noise at once chart

    1. making the paint is easy - you add binder to the pigment and mull it and pour it where you want it to dry. the drying process takes a couple of days. don't ask me for actual measurements because i'm an italian american not otherwise categorized.

      This is poetry

    1. The Cimicidae family, to which bed bugs belong, comprises about 100 species. Almost all prefer to bite animals other than humans, often birds. Biologists have observed cliff swallow chicks jumping to their deaths from heavily infested nests rather than enduring the bites.

      Misery is not a human experience.

    1. The problem is that all human preference and pleasure, even flavor, are contingent on context and experience. And one important context is that we like some cultural products more when we work to acquire them. This is likely related to status: at an unconscious level we connect the belabored discovery process with scarcity. Time is an important signaling cost. Algorithmic culture that effortlessly pushes culture to you, therefore, is bound to create less meaningful and valuable culture. Chayka writes, “I worry that [lean-back consumption’s] fundamental passivity is devaluing cultural innovation as a whole, as well as degrading our enjoyment of art.” That’s correct! So what will we do about it?

      Less compelling than the non-denotative meaning conferred by the rich context of the process, no?

  4. Jan 2024
    1. Summerson called his second category of ornament subjunctive architecture—that is, “as if something were otherwise than it is.” Among the oldest examples of such ornament are the leafy column capitals that originated in ancient Egypt (palm fronds and lotus buds), were adopted by the Greeks (acanthus leaves), and were further refined by the Byzantines, whose diaphanous marble capitals are so delicately carved that they appear to be made of lace. Whether palm fronds or flowers, such insubstantial forms have the effect of making the beams above seem to float. Pilasters, which are flattened columns with no structural function, are another example of subjunctive architecture. So are Renaissance frescoes, which often include putative arches and columns. This was partly a question of cost—painted columns were cheaper than the real thing—but it also had to do with the curious appeal of trompe-l’oeil, literally “tricking the eye.” We see one thing, yet we intellectually know another. I’m not sure why this is so beguiling, but it is.

      Subjunctive! Yes, it's inherently charming, but also somehow wonderful because it calls past an idea of "falsity". In language, the truths you can express without the subjunctive mood are limited ones.

    1. If you’re a regular reader of The Verge, you might have noticed some changes to our author bylines in recent months: they’re a lot longer, with more details, name-dropping, and quantifying our professional experiences. You can thank Google for that.

      Would it be funny enough to be worth the effort to write fake bios by my posts? I wonder

    2. To understand what pure SEO-optimized writing looks like, I put my recent story about Google-optimized local businesses through an SEO tool called Semrush that’s reportedly used by 10 million people.  Among its suggestions: write a longer headline; split a six-sentence paragraph up because it’s “too long”; and replace “too complex” words like “invariably,” “notoriety,” and “modification.” Dozens of sentences were flagged as being confusing (I disagree) — and it really hated em dashes. I rewrote my prose over and over, but it didn’t seem to satisfy my robot grader. I finally chose one thought per sentence, broke up paragraphs, and replaced words with suggested keywords to get rid of the red dots signaling problems.  The result feels like an AI summary of my story — at any moment, a paragraph could start with “In conclusion…” or “The next thing to consider is…” The nuance, voice, and unexpected twists and turns have been snuffed out. I’m sure some people would prefer this uncomplicated, beat-by-beat version of the story, but it’s gone from being a story written by a real person to a clinical, stiff series of sentences. Now imagine thousands of website operators all using this same plug-in to rewrite content. No wonder people feel like the answers are increasingly robotic and say nothing.

      This is horror, to me

    3. Companies like Mediavine, a popular ad-management company, released web design frameworks optimized for this new Google metric and Stimac Bailey, like many others, switched and redesigned her site. But she found the new theme “sterile,” she tells me, and it lacked customization options. It didn’t feel like part of her brand.

      I hate the way this internet looks. On the other hand, I almost never give credence to information I find there – so maybe having that visual evidence of SEO-ed-ness is a helpful signal, perversely

  5. Dec 2023
    1. Let a dude lift weights and hit a heavy bag for a while and then put him in a room full of unathletic people and he will be seized by an almost paralyzing desire to assert his own will, because he knows that he could kick everyone’s ass in there. Put that same dude in a room full of New York Jets linebackers, and he will suddenly come to feel that reasonable discussion is the only humane method of solving disagreements. This is essentially what you will learn in a college Introduction to Ethics class, although it’s possible the professor would have some additional details.

      Citations, maybe

  6. Nov 2023
    1. The Survey of Adult Skills, a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)

      About half of people in OECD countries are literate.

    1. The Reply merges the public and private lives of the internet into something unruly and unstable. Among friends, it is a performance: bantering on the timeline instead of in private messages is saying, “Look at us. Wouldn’t you like to join?” Among strangers, the Reply begs to be noticed, and thus bleeds into abjection. The Reply is a cry for attention, a voice in the wilderness, a shout into the void.

      "Why is this public rather than a DM" is the question to be asked of any Reply

    2. Once a comedian I used to follow tweeted that she was looking for suggestions for “breakfast soup” and then spent hours in the reply section belittling anyone who suggested either Asian soups commonly eaten for breakfast (because she wanted “American” breakfast) or soups featuring eggs (because she didn’t like eggs). I read the entire thread. I couldn’t look away. It was incredible to watch a person behave, in real time, as if the failure of strangers to perfectly intuit her unstated preferences was an affront that merited rudeness in reply. I kept thinking—but you asked! You asked about the breakfast soup!

      "You asked about the breakfast soup" is going to be my mental category for this now

  7. Oct 2023
    1. What goes into a work is selected and by virtue of its selection becomes necessary to the work. It is not unnecessary. It is not nonessential. For some experiences and reads of a given text, those things are critical.

      Try sending that quote back in response to edits.

    2. This feels like something that is wrong with the way we read or conceptualize our reading rather than a thing that is wrong with a text or a story or a movie or a novel or even a relationship with another human being.

      Classing these together is weirder than the sentence makes you think on first reading.

    3. Often, what feels necessary or unnecessary in art is as simple as our own preferences and whatever agenda governs our engagement with a given work. And what feels necessary to you on this read might not feel necessary on the next because your attention has shifted slightly. When someone says that something was not necessary to the text, I imagine that what they are saying is that they personally found it boring as a reader or they found it disengaging or alienating and are unable to consider that alienation is an aspect of engagement. It's like a long conversation with someone you are getting to know. There are these pockets of inattention, sure, moments when your focus goes soft and slack, when you are less receptive to what they are saying and so you let them blur slightly. But that doesn’t mean that those moments are unnecessary. They are just places where you stop paying attention, and where, upon reflection or revisitation, you might actually find a lot of value or insight.

      But what about the times when there actually isn't a lot of value or insight to be found there?

      I read and appreciated The Pale King, I can handle intentional reader disengagement. But sometimes there's no nut in the shell, you know?

    1. Explicit secunda pars The second part ends ____________________________ Sequitur pars tercia The third part follows

      Have I seen this in other books?

    2. That oon of you, al be hym looth or lief,                    That one of you, whether he likes it or not, 1838        He moot go pipen in an yvy leef;                    He must go whistle in an ivy leaf;

      you must go pipe in an ivy leaf

    3. She woot namoore of al this hoote fare,                    She knows no more of all this passionate business, 1810        By God, than woot a cokkow or an hare!                    By God, than knows a cuckoo or a hare!

      if I die without being able to get this off in a comment section in response to thirst, I shall have lived poorly

    4. And softe unto hymself he seyde, "Fy                    And softly to himself he said, "Fie 1774        Upon a lord that wol have no mercy,                    Upon a lord that will have no mercy, 1775        But been a leon, bothe in word and dede,                    But be a lion, both in word and deed, 1776        To hem that been in repentaunce and drede,                    To those who are in repentance and fear, 1777        As wel as to a proud despitous man                    As well as to a proud, spiteful man 1778        That wol mayntene that he first bigan.                    Who will persist in what he first began. 1779        That lord hath litel of discrecioun,                    That lord has little sound judgment, 1780        That in swich cas kan no divisioun                    That in such cases knows no distinctions 1781        But weyeth pride and humblesse after oon."                    But considers pride and humility equal."

      Ode to judicial discretion in sentencing

    5. Two woful wrecches been we, two caytyves,                    Two woeful wretches are we, two miserable people, 1718        That been encombred of oure owene lyves;                    Who are burdened down by our own lives;

      Who be encumbered of our own lives

    6. Whan ech of hem had leyd his feith to borwe.                    When each of them had laid his faith as a pledge.

      I have laid my faith to borrow

      I would not read this phrase correctly in modern english, but that’s the point of this

    7. Nere it that thou art sik and wood for love,                    Were it not that thou art sick and mad for love,

      Nere it for were it not

    8. For ire he quook; no lenger wolde he byde.                    For anger he trembled; no longer would he wait.

      Quake conjugating as shake!

    9. And now I am so caytyf and so thral,                    And now I am so wretched and so enslaved,

      caitiff and thrall as unmarked adjectives

    10. Whan that Arcite hadde romed al his fille,                    When Arcite had roamed all his fill, 1529        And songen al the roundel lustily,                    And sung all the rondel cheerfully, 1530        Into a studie he fil sodeynly, nbsp;                  He fell suddenly into a state of anxiety, 1531        As doon thise loveres in hir queynte geres,                    As these lovers do in their strange manners, 1532        Now in the crope, now doun in the breres,                    Now in the tree top, now down in the briars, 1533        Now up, now doun, as boket in a welle.                    Now up, now down, like a bucket in a well. 1534        Right as the Friday, soothly for to telle,                    Exactly like the Friday, truly for to tell, 1535        Now it shyneth, now it reyneth faste,                    Now it shines, now it rains hard, 1536        Right so kan geery Venus overcaste                    Just so can fickle Venus sadden 1537        The hertes of hir folk; right as hir day                    The hearts of her folk; just as her day 1538        Is gereful, right so chaungeth she array.                    Is changeable, just so she changes her array. 1539        Selde is the Friday al the wowke ylike.                    Friday is seldom like all the rest of the week.

      making fun of moodiness like a bucket in the well is very good

      but also, Venus having authority over the moods of her day of the week is interesting

    11. But sooth is seyd, go sithen many yeres,                    But truly it is said, since many years ago, 1522        That "feeld hath eyen and the wode hath eres."                    That "field has eyes and the wood has ears." 1523        It is ful fair a man to bere hym evene,                    It is very good for a man to act calmly, 1524        For al day meeteth men at unset stevene.                    For every day people meet at unexpected times.

      field hath eyes and the wood hath ears

      unset steven… I need to grok stevene

    12. Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May,                    Welcome be thou, fair, fresh May, 1512        In hope that I som grene gete may."                    In hope that I can get something green."

      rhyming may and may

    13. Who koude ryme in Englyssh proprely                    Who could rime in English properly 1460        His martirdom? For sothe it am nat I;                    His martyrdom? In truth it is not I; 1461        Therfore I passe as lightly as I may.                    Therefore I pass on as quickly as I can.

      Excellent bit for avoiding rhetorical difficulties; also “it am not I” excellent

    14. That wood out of his wit he goth for wo?                    That he goes mad, out of his wits because of woe?

      Wode (is there a descendant?) out of his wit he goeth for woe

    15. For he was yong and myghty for the nones,                    For he was young and mighty indeed, 1424        And therto he was long and big of bones                    And moreover he was tall and strong of bones

      long and big of bones

    16. Nat oonly lik the loveris maladye                    Not only like the lover's malady 1374        Of Hereos, but rather lyk manye,                    Of Hereos, but rather like mania, 1375        Engendred of humour malencolik                    Engendered by the melancholic humor 1376        Biforen, in his celle fantastik.                    In the front lobe, in his imagination.

      celle fantastic!

    17. His slep, his mete, his drynke, is hym biraft,                    He is bereft of his sleep, his food, his drink 1362        That lene he wex and drye as is a shaft;                    So that he became lean and dry as is a stick;

      interesting use of … wax, but in a wane context?

    18. So muche sorwe hadde nevere creature                    So much sorrow never had creature 1360        That is, or shal, whil that the world may dure.                    That is, or shall (be), while the world may endure.

      parallel construction of is and shall without “shall be”

    19. I noot which hath the wofuller mester.                    I know not which has the more woeful task.

      I know nought which hath the woefuller master

    20. 1319          And whan a beest is deed he hath no peyne;                    And when a beast is dead he has no pain; 1320          But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne,                    But man after his death must weep and lament, 1321          Though in this world he have care and wo.                    Though in this world he may have (had) care and woe. 1322          Withouten doute it may stonden so.                    Without doubt such is the case.

      pleyne hard to do

    21. 1259          Infinite harmes been in this mateere.                    Infinite harms are in this matter. 1260          We witen nat what thing we preyen heere;                    We know not what thing we pray for here

      Infinite harms be in this matter; we wit not what thing we pray here

    22. Why cridestow? Who hath thee doon offence?                    Why didst thou cry out? Who has done thee offence?

      Why cridestow?

    23. Bright was the sonne and cleer that morwenynge,                    The sun was bright and clear that morning

      morrowning!

    24. 1039          I noot which was the fyner of hem two --                    I do not know which was the finer of them two --

      I ne wot

    25. The pilours diden bisynesse and cure                    The scavengers took great pains and worked hard

      pillage

    26. And rente adoun bothe wall and sparre and rafter;                And tore down both wall and beam and rafter;

      both for a group of three

    27. He wolde doon so ferforthly his myght                (That) he would do his might so completely

      farforthly? furforthly

    28. 945        And wol nat suffren hem, by noon assent,                And will not allow them, not at all, 946        Neither to been yburyed nor ybrent,                Neither to be buried nor burned,

      neither to be buried or burnt

    29. That she ne hath been

      that she nath been, in my version

    30. And of this cry they nolde nevere stenten                And of this cry they would not ever stop

      nolde = would not

      nould

    31. But al that thyng I moot as now forbere.                But all that matter I must now forgo. 886        I have, God woot, a large feeld to ere,                I have, God knows, a large field to till, 887        And wayke been the oxen in my plough.                And the oxen in my plow are weak. 888        The remenant of the tale is long ynough.                The remnant of the tale is long enough.

      God wot I have a large field to ere

    1. If even-song and morwe-song accorde,                  If what you said last night agrees with what you say this morning,

      if evensong and morrowsong accord

    2. 766         Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how.                  I would gladly make you happy, if I knew how

      Fain would I xyz, wist I how

    3. 741         Eek Plato seith, whoso kan hym rede,                  Also Plato says, whosoever knows how to read him, 742         The wordes moote be cosyn to the dede.                  The words must be closely related to the deed.

      the words must be cousin to the deed

    4. But alderbest he song an offertorie;                  But best of all he sang an Offertory;

      alderbest!

    5. 637         And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,                  And when he had drunk deeply of the wine, 638         Thanne wolde he speke no word but Latyn.                  Then he would speak no word but Latin.

      mood

    6. 582         In honour dettelees (but if he were wood),                  In honor and debtless (unless he were crazy

      I need to see if there’s a descendant I should use instead of “wood”

    7. 573         Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace                  Now is not that a very fair grace of God 574         That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace                  That such an unlearned man's wit shall surpass 575         The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?                  The wisdom of a heap of learned men?

      the wisdom of an heap of learned men

    8. At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram.                  At wrestling he would always take the the prize.

      to have the ram

    9. Bothe of his propre swynk and his catel.                  Both of his own labor and of his possessions.

      as a wage laborer, am I a swinker?

    10. 510         To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,                  To seek an appointment as a chantry priest (praying for a patron)

      chantry has a connotation, i see

    11. Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.                  Bold was her face, and fair, and red of hue.

      same

    12. But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe.                  But she was somewhat deaf, and that was a pity

      as scathing, I suppose?

    13. 441         And yet he was but esy of dispence;                  And yet he was moderate in spending; 442         He kepte that he wan in pestilence.                  He kept what he earned in (times of) plague.

      there is a covid joke here somewhere

    14. In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,                  He was clad all in red and in blue,

      sanguine and… perse?

    15. The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,                  The cause known, and the source of his (patient's) harm, 424         Anon he yaf the sike man his boote.                  Straightway he gave the sick man his remedy.

      can’t gloss this but i like it

    16. If that he faught and hadde the hyer hond,                  If he fought and had the upper hand,

      the upper hand the higher hand

    17. He rood upon a rouncy, as he kouthe,                  He rode upon a cart horse, insofar as he knew how,

      as he couth: up to the limit of his ability

    18. And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente;                  And also their wives would well assent to it; 375         And elles certeyn were they to blame.                  And otherwise certainly they would be to blame.

      certain were they to blame

    19. But al be that he was a philosophre,                  But even though he was a philosopher, 298         Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;                  Nevertheless he had but little gold in his strongbox;

      shocking

    20. But, sooth to seyn, I noot how men hym calle.                  But, to say the truth, I do not know what men call him.

      Sooth to say!

    21. For unto a povre ordre for to yive                  For to give to a poor order (of friars) 226         Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;                  Is a sign that a man is well confessed;

      shrift

    22. Or swynken with his handes, and laboure,                  Or work with his hands, and labor, 187         As Austyn bit? How shal the world be served?                  As Augustine commands? How shall the world be served? 188         Lat Austyn have his swynk to hym reserved!                  Let Augustine have his work reserved to him!

      swinken

    23. 71         In al his lyf unto no maner wight.                  In all his life unto any sort of person.

      Unto no manner wight

      (what is the derivation of wight -> person there?)

    24. 67         And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys.                  And evermore he had an outstanding reputation

      A sovereign price! Don't tell me those are false cognates, I don't care

    25. 29         And wel we weren esed atte beste.                  And we were well accommodated in the best way.

      And well we were essed at the best? How to gloss this one

    26. 13         And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,                  And professional pilgrims to seek foreign shores, 14         To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;                  To distant shrines, known in various lands;

      to seek strange strands, far hallows couth in sundry lands

    1. For the most part my efforts at sculpting a musical identity were fueled by an esotericism that disdained common and easily accessible genres. I can see now that this was all largely epiphenomenal to a deeper and “more real” navigation of class identity. I was surrounded in those years mostly by poor white metalheads—a Judas Priest T-shirt, feathered hair, and acne were the default traits of the human male—while at the same time belonging to a white middle-class family perched dangerously close to the lower-class boundary, ever in danger of slipping beneath it. Musical cultivation, in this context, was a sort of currency by which one might hope to maneuver into an imagined aristocracy through seeking out the most obscure representatives of the narrowest genre niches.

      Excellent wording, familiar phenomenon

    1. Why are YouTube comments such rich terrain? Here’s my theory. Watching a YouTube video, perhaps reading the comments at the same time, the feeling is “sitting side by side, facing the same direction”—as in a theater, or, better yet, a moving car. Contrast that with the feeling of “facing each other straight-on”: the death stare of social media. YouTube’s users aren’t stuck looking at each other; rather, they look at this other thing (perhaps a scratchy dub of a music video that played on MTV in 1987) together. Perhaps that arrange­ment suggests different, and generally better, ways of speaking online.

      Cf. Kongregate flash game chat rooms

      Look at fan forums not as a relatively better option than offline practices, but as a relatively better fit for what forums and connectivity can do

      Shared orientation, away from presentation of self. Cf. sin as orienting away from God (and the Good and Love and all that goes with That in the meaning that makes this definition make sense) and reconciliation reorienting toward. The -muni- in communion and community is the same as in municipal, and there's something there I haven't gotten to the bottom of, yet.

      But: earlier days: https://m.xkcd.com/202/

      So: less inherent property of the form, more evidence that giant companies can shape these things when they're inclined (was it PR that did it? Some internal presentation that comment section conflict caused video posters to burn out?)

  8. Sep 2023
    1. What happened? Economic consider-ations cannot account for the differ-ence: for the upper class, money was noobject. For the poor, both meals wouldhave been far out of reach. Well intothe 19th century, they subsisted on veg-etable soups and gruels with bread orporridge. Novel foodstuffs from theNew World do not explain the shift indiet either, because with the exceptionof turkey, the dishes at the second ban-quet depended not on new ingredientsbut on new uses of long familiar ones.The clue to this transformation in eat-ing habits between the 16th and 17thcenturies must be sought instead inevolving ideas about diet and nutri-tion— which is to say, in the history ofchemistry and medicine.

      Arguing that the decline of spices and shift in cuisine wasn't an economic/class thing

    1. Thanks to an abundant supply of local stone—sandstone for the pillars and fieldstone and quarry stone for the walls—around 300 cross-vault stables were built, almost exclusively within Rheinhessen’s borders, between 1830 and 1870. Beneath their curved, whitewashed ceilings, cattle stood facing their troughs at the wall, with their backsides, in the case of those cowsheds featuring two rows of columns, pointing toward a central aisle for efficient mucking out. With a playful nod to their sacred appearance, these cross-vault stables later became known as “cow chapels” (or kuhkapellen, in German).

      Cows could have cross-vault ceilings, and I can't?

    1. The reason our cities are filled with so much of the same kind of building is because it’s the cheapest way to build an apartment. In this case, that’s light-frame wood construction, which often uses flat windows that are easy to install; a process called rainscreen cladding to create the skin of the building; as well as Hardie panels, a facade covering made from fiber cement. The need to cut costs limits facade options, says Black. Hardie Panels run roughly $16 a square foot, roughly the same cost as brick. The next upgrade, metal siding, costs from $25 to $50 a square foot, potentially more than triple the cost.

      Hardie panels are as expensive as brick?

    1. I’m not sure our lives would be that much better if the stick that is beating the people came in a tar.gz with a makefile.

      There's the quote, there it is

    1. Whether they’re representations of the self, projections of fantasy, or verging on the parasocial, the concentration of aesthetics coupled with the ability to focus one’s tastes on a single object is a powerful sensation. But it is just this height of manifested desire that, I think, triggers an ick for the image of the dolls and the people who like them.

      They have gotten too good at doing what they do and being what they are, so we reject them.

    1. A whole strand in contemporary thinking about the production of knowledge is summed up there: data and statistics, all of them, are man-made.They are also central to modern politics and governance, and the ways we talk about them. That in itself represents a shift. Discussions that were once about values and beliefs – about what a society wants to see when it looks at itself in the mirror – have increasingly turned to arguments about numbers, data, statistics.

      It's not that the data can't be contradicted, but that they're so much more expensive to contradict. The opinions of the un-be-PHded need have no bearing.

    1. One way to make it highly improbable that you will enjoy outstanding academic success is to enter contemporary debates in moral philosophy as either a Thomist or a Marxist.

      the ring of a Quip

    2. The first is that of producing a PhD dissertation intended to be publishable in either article or book form by those at an age at which almost no one has as yet anything genuinely of interest to say, something easily confirmed by reading large numbers of recent dissertations in moral philosophy.

      overly dismissive - is it the age, or the uniform conditions of life into which a dissertation writer has been made to conform?

    3. We do not expect serious work in the philosophy of physics from students who have never studied physics or on the philosophy of law from students who have never studied law. But there is not even a hint of a suggestion that courses in social and cultural anthropology and in certain areas of sociology and psychology should be a prerequisite for graduate work in moral philosophy. (It was my great good fortune as a student at Manchester that I was required to take a course in anthropology with Max Gluckman and was driven by my resistance to Gluckman’s views to an engagement with the work of very different anthropologists, such as Franz Steiner, and of such sociologists as Tom and Elizabeth Burns.) Yet without such courses no adequate sense of the varieties of moral possibility can be acquired. One remains imprisoned by one’s upbringing. And the particular form that that imprisonment now takes is that of an inability to recognize, first, that the contemporary morality of advanced capitalist modernity is only one morality among many and second, that it is, as a morality of everyday life, in a state of disorder, a state of fragmentation, oscillation, and contradiction.

      names to read, and a sensible argument to invoke

    4. The widespread loss of a shared practical grasp of the teleological structure of human nature and activity at the threshold of the modern world not only led to the theoretical fragmentation that I described in After Virtue but was itself the result of a prior loss of a shared mode of practical life. And there is no way to make the relevant concepts and arguments once more compelling except within some restored and contemporary version of just such a mode of practical life. Detach those concepts and arguments from the contexts of social practice from which and within which they draw their intelligibility and they too become mere debatable theoretical constructions.

      interesting that it is more acceptable to him here to reform the social ways of being than to reform the expectation of the scope of shared moral context

    5. We need to begin again and to do so by returning to the social context in which we learned the use of good and its cognates. What we first had to learn was how to make the distinctions between what we desire and the choiceworthy, and between what pleases those others whom we desire to please and the choiceworthy. We characteristically and generally learn—or fail to learn—to make these distinctions, as we emerge through and from the family into the life of a variety of practices: such practices as those of housework and farmwork, of learning Latin and geometry, of building houses and making furniture, of playing soccer and playing in string quartets. What we can learn only in and through such practices is what the standards of excellence are in each type of activity and how our desires and feelings must be disciplined and transformed and our choices guided by the standards of excellence in each type of activity if we are to achieve such excellence and through it the goods internal to each type of practice.

      I am skeptical that these other “good at”s are so neatly in a category with “the good”

    6. On the expressivist view, when I assert that “doing such and such is bad,” the meaning of the asserted sentence is such that it gives expression to the speaker’s sentiments of disapproval. But suppose that someone says tentatively, “If doing such and such is bad, then so and so.” Then, since no sentiments of disapproval are expressed, “Doing such and such is bad” as a constituent of this conditional must have a quite different meaning from that which it has when asserted. But if this is so, then inferences of the form “If doing such and such is bad, then so and so, but doing such and such is bad, therefore so and so” must be invalid, which is absurd. So the expressivist account of the meaning of such sentences must fail. It was Peter Geach who argued this thesis powerfully, thereafter referring to it as “the Frege point.”

      This is the kind of cleverness which makes one sad for philosophers who wish they were building with bricks, but who are instead relying on language, which is thus much more like building with marshmallows

    7. For while, so far as I could judge, Ayer, Stevenson, and other expressivists had provided a compelling account of the characteristic uses to which moral judgments were now put in a particular culture, they had taken themselves to have provided an adequate account of the meaning of moral and evaluative sentences as such, whatever the culture.

      the classic “but why are you saying this”

    8. Marx and Engels had argued that every morality is the morality of some particular social and economic order and that every moral philosophy articulates and makes explicit the judgments, arguments, and presuppositions of some particular morality, either in such a way as to defend both that morality and the social and economic order of which it is the expression, or in such a way as to undermine them. And my acknowledgment of the truth of this thesis was reinforced by my encounters with social anthropology, especially first with the work of Franz Steiner and later with that of Rodney Needham. I therefore asked: What is the distinctive morality of this social and economic order that I inhabit, and how does contemporary moral philosophy stand to that morality? And in pursuing an answer to this question I was guided not only by Marx and Engels but also by John Anderson, who had urged that, if we were to understand social institutions and relationships, we should ask not what function or purpose they serve but to what conflicts they give expression. This suggested that both the morality and the moral philosophy of the present age are best understood as milieus of conflict, sites of disagreement. But those disagreements find significantly different expression in the arenas of philosophical debate on the one hand and in those of everyday moral and political practice on the other.

      I shouldn’t nod along to this so emphatically without having read the constituents

    9. I had become and to this day remain convinced of the truth and political relevance of Marx’s critique of capitalism and of his historical insights as presented in the narrative of the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.

      philosophical specificity

    1. In the middle are things that are not quite alive, but definitely not dead. I’m not talking about zombie things being kept alive out of sentiment or sunk-cost fallacies. Those are activities you just haven’t admitted are archival. I am talking about things that are sort of adjacent to living, and might enter (or reenter) the realm of the living at any time. This is the universe of KTLO things. KTLO-space, or K-space, is sort of like the dungeon dimensions of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Fantastical things lurk there that might burst into our world at anytime.

      Am I misremembering "K-space" as a ketamine thing?

    2. Blogs are an indicator species for a world that features a robust public commons. Not just an indicator species, but a charismatic megafauna type indicator species. The health of blogs says things about the health of the public sphere the way the health of polar bears says things about the health of the North Pole. Even where they replicate the affordances of blogs, newsletters and static websites represent other worlds that I don’t care for as much (platform media world and cozy world respectively).

      Blogs as public-sphere-coded. A rejection of their proto-social-media past...

    1. I think all the time about a passage in Sally Rooney's Beautiful World, Where Are You, in which the protagonist—a young, newly famous author—laments a viral tweet complaining about her boyfriend, who hadn't read her books: At first I thought: a perfect example of our shallow self-congratulatory ‘book culture’, in which non-readers are shunned as morally and intellectually inferior, and the more books you read, the smarter and better you are than everyone else. But then I thought: no, what we really have here is an example of a presumably normal and sane person whose thinking has been deranged by the concept of celebrity. An example of someone who genuinely believes that because she has seen my photograph and read my novels, she knows me personally—and in fact knows better than I do what is best for my life. And it’s normal! It’s normal for her not only to think these bizarre thoughts privately, but to express them in public, and receive positive feedback and attention as a result. She has no idea that she is, in this small limited respect, quite literally insane, because everyone around her is also insane in exactly the same way. They really cannot tell the difference between someone they have heard of, and someone they personally know. And they believe that the feelings they have about this person they imagine me to be—intimacy, resentment, hatred, pity—are as real as the feelings they have about their own friends. It makes me wonder whether celebrity culture has sort of metastasised to fill the emptiness left by religion. A sort of malignant growth where the sacred used to be.

      These things would be a lot more legible to us if such thinkers spent more time working to understand the function of energy people put into thinking/talking about those they will never meet. Is the reader insane? Or is she communicating symbolically also, expressing thoughts about this (fictional) author's life as a stand-in for discussing decisions abstractly? How would you know that someone really couldn't tell the difference?

    1. Salt pork. This savor-bomb is responsible for the distinctive richness intrinsic to traditional New England beans, regardless of baking technique. Lumber camp cooks used as much as 2½ pounds of salt pork to season 2 pounds of beans; in other settings, a half-pound might be used.

      Ratio of pork to beans: flexible, conditionally.

    2. Even if this lumberjack ate tons of protein and that one had a sweet tooth, they all ate strikingly similar weights of baked beans each day, from a pound to a pound and a half, furnishing from 10 to 16 percent of their 6,000 to 8,000 daily calories and one-fifth to one-third of their protein intake.

      Imagine eating 1,000 calories of beans! My god!

    3. While a single, long, log-built structure provided virtually all the domestic accommodation for a 50- to 60-man camp—dormitory, cookroom, dining hall, and food storage—only one daily function, besides the outhouse, warranted its own structure, and that was the lean-to protecting the bean-hole. Each day a cookee (the cook’s helper) would fire up the pit and parboil a batch of soaked beans over the cookroom fire—just until the skin would wrinkle when blown upon. He’d then layer them in the bean kettle with salt pork, onions, and maybe dry mustard, drizzle on a big spoonful of molasses, put the lid on tight, bury the kettle in the bean-hole under hot coals and dirt, and leave it to be dug up before breakfast next day. Then, he’d do it all again.

      Two structures: hall and bean-hole.

    4. as the 20th century dawned, the “coarse fare” that was still the backbone of rural diets was increasingly marginalized by “respectable” indoor people. Baked beans epitomized the very coarsest fare imaginable to most Americans, and they ruled the logging camp.

      Beansfolk

    1. Fanouropita itself is a spiced snacking cake, often studded with nuts, raisins, or both. It’s always vegan, or, as referred to in the church, “Lenten,” meaning that it can be eaten on holy fast days because it doesn’t contain eggs or dairy. Variations abound, but in general, the recipe is olive oil-based, scented with orange juice and spices like cloves and cinnamon, then dusted with confectioners’ sugar to serve. The number of ingredients also matters. Depending on who you ask, people claim it should be seven, nine, or other numbers significant in the church. (Some people say you should serve it to seven people as well.)

      A finding cake: vegan!

    1. The transactions vary from single digits to the tens of thousands of eels. One enormous transaction shows that Ely Abbey, now known as Ely Cathedral, paid Thorney Abbey 26,275 eels to rent a fen (similar to a wetland), according to rare transaction records on parchment fragments held by the British Library.

      counting stacks (of eels)

  9. Aug 2023
    1. Beguine thinking may have influenced notions of purgatory as a process of purification (rather than a place of punishment) that brought sufferers closer to God. Swan traces a special call many beguines felt toward the souls in purgatory, which perhaps grew naturally from their care of the dead. The beguine Agnes Blannbekin, for example, had a vision of purgatory in which there was no punishment at all except the yearning for God. Christina the Astonishing, who claimed to have seen purgatory, wrote that “nothing made God weep more with mercy for sinners than when sinners are moved by mercy toward their neighbors,” presumably including their “neighbors” in purgatory, whose thirst to be with God could be slaked by the merciful prayers of living sinners.

      Beguines and purgatory-as-purification...

    2. At the heart of beguine mysticism, says Swan, was a special devotion to Christ as lover and sufferer. The triune God, wrote one beguine, was Lover, Beloved, and Love itself.

      God is love

    3. As their learning increased, beguines took a lively interest in theology, wrote their own meditations, and even translated Bible stories into the vernacular. They embraced a lively form of worship that involved singing and spontaneous dancing.

      Singing! Dancing?

    4. The availability of textile work and the establishment of schools by the countesses Joan and Margaret of Flanders helped beguine communities to coalesce, writes Swan.

      Material conditions enabling spiritual formation

    1. If one is at a dinner party in London or New York, one is plunged into an abyss of dullness. There is no subject of general interest; there is no wit; it is like waiting for a train. In London one overcomes one´s environment by drinking a bottle of champagne as quickly as possible; in New York one piles in cocktails. The light wines and beers of Europe, taken in moderate measure, are no good; there is not time to be happy, so one must be excited instead. Dining alone, or with friends, as opposed to a party, one can be quite at ease with Burgundy or Bordeaux. One has all night to be happy, and one does not have to speed. But the regular New Yorker has not time even for a dinner-party! He almost regrets the hour when his office closes. His brain is still busy with his plans. When he wants “pleasure,” he calculates that he can spare just half an hour for it. He has to pour the strongest liquors down his throat at the greatest possible rate. Now imagine this man — or this woman — with time available slightly curtailed. He can no longer waste ten minutes in obtaining “pleasure”; or he dare not drink openly on account of other people. Well, his remedy is simple; he can get immediate action out of cocaine. There is no smell; he can be as secret as any elder of the church can wish. The mischief of civilization is the intensive life, which demands intensive stimulation. Human nature requires pleasure; wholesome pleasures require leisure; we must choose between intoxication and the siesta.

      It's a point!

    1. Barbie cries out triumphantly, “By giving voice to the cognitive dissonance required to live under the patriarchy, you’ve robbed it of its power!” (The word “patriarchy” must appear in the film at least forty times.) This is the fantasy of an artist or an analyst—this faith that giving voice to something will rob it of its power—and it gestures implicitly toward the larger aspirations of the film itself: that a corporate-sponsored film about Barbie could repair the damage she’s done by describing it, the brand equivalent of a carbon-neutral flight.

      Oh good someone wrote it

    1. These churches provided a clean slate on which Christians could write in the language of ritual. The building became a symbol for the new religion. It was more than just a different location from those frequented by pagan celebrants and inhabited by their demonic deities. It was a new concept of place particular to Christianity – cleansed of demons, consecrated to that special creator god who does not inhere in his creation (trees, rocks, springs) and should not be worshipped through it.

      It would be interesting to compare early Christian ritual. No worship out of doors??

    2. The character Niceta questions how it is possible to distinguish between Jesus’ miracles and claims to divinity as put forth in the Gospels from those that Simon Magus and false prophets generally proffer. The answer to Niceta’s question emerged from an unexpected quarter. In Matthew and Luke, the virgin birth demonstrates Jesus’ preeminent and singular authority over other itinerant preachers and healers. According to the Patristic interpretation of these two gospel passages, the virginity of Mary was the critical sign that Jesus was not just another prophet, but the Christ called Immanuel. That Jesus was born of a virgin, thus fulfilling Old Testament prophecy, was the most demonstrable evidence of his godhood.

      Connection to an older tradition

    3. Christian and pagan approaches to death differed starkly. For pagans, the grave was a feared, polluted and haunted space from which the living recoiled. Early Christians fashioned a new kind of hallowed place where the dead and the living commingled, and these shrines were protected from the infiltration of the insidious demonic powers swirling around the tombs because they were protected by the supervision of the Church.

      Weren't the Romans huge on memorials, though?

    1. Purple parchment or purple vellum refers to parchment dyed purple; codex purpureus refers to manuscripts written entirely or mostly on such parchment. The lettering may be in gold or silver. Later the practice was revived for some especially grand illuminated manuscripts produced for the emperors in Carolingian art and Ottonian art, in Anglo-Saxon England and elsewhere. Some just use purple parchment for sections of the work; the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon Stockholm Codex Aureus alternates dyed and un-dyed pages.

      There's nothing listed from before the Christian era. Does that reflect reality, or is that just what survived?

  10. Jul 2023
    1. A trained odor panel determined significant differences between polyester versus cotton fabrics for the hedonic value, the intensity, and five qualitative odor characteristics. The polyester T-shirts smelled significantly less pleasant and more intense, compared to the cotton T-shirts. A dissimilar bacterial growth was found in cotton versus synthetic clothing textiles.

      AMEN.

    1. I think that, while useful, internet culture’s intense focus on user interface has been a real damaging factor for the free and open internet. User interface does matter, but the discipline has gotten so complex that the companies that do it most effectively are often willing to pay top-dollar for good design that can shape a better experience. And in some cases, it leads to UX that works directly against the user.

      What would a "designed" conversation look like? Who'd get to design it and what could they get out of that control?

    2. But, ultimately, I think end users deserve a little real talk here: You’re not going to get the internet culture you want if you also expect a Disney World-style controlled-climate experience. You are going to have to deal with janky interfaces, built by people who love and care about what they’re doing, but who don’t have the money or research capabilities of your favorite local billionaire. If we are going to protect the good, interesting, chaotic parts of the internet, we need to be willing to tell people to suck it up and experience some jank.

      pro-jank

    1. Learning styles are also not permanent, although many teachers and students act as if they were. In fact, it is important for a learner to develop a repertoire of learning styles, and it is important for teachers to encourage that development. I occasionally have a student, usually male, who complains (not necessarily in these words) that our course does not accommodate his preferred learning style, which includes working alone and being rewarded or penalized solely on his own ability to �solve problems,� not to write about the process. Such a student is seldom swayed by the argument that he will have to make a living by working with other people and by explaining his work to others -- that it is time to learn how to do those things. I can empathize, because I retained the working-alone mode for much of my professional career -- never letting others see me make mistakes if I could avoid it. My professional life became much richer when I learned that I could share work and learning (and mistakes) with other people, and I can quite honestly recommend that my student not wait as long as I did to make this discovery. I see no disservice in requiring that student to work with others and to explain what he is doing.

      Preferred learning styles – no, you have to explain

    1. In her essay “Art Is for Seeing Evil,” the philosopher Agnes Callard explains that she teaches novels and poems to her students “neither to improve their moral character, nor to offer them literary entertainment” but because it is only in literature that one can find the sort of fear, pain, loss, injustice and cruelty necessary to think about, say, death or courage. If normal life, organized by practical concerns—“aiming, achieving, improving”—is burdened by positivity and the instinct to make the best of things, art succeeds in “suspend[ing] our practical projects, releasing the prohibition against attending to the bad.”

      It seems like this quote is saying something different than it's being pressed into service here to prove, but I like the quote itself

    1. Plebs was the official organ of the National Council of Labour Colleges (NCLC), a workers’ educational organisation with close ties to the trade union movement. By turns both serious-minded and irreverent, with spiky cartoons and anti-capitalist jokes, Plebs facilitated an astonishing range of educational opportunities. Readers of Plebs were encouraged to learn subjects ranging from socialist and Marxist theory (naturally), to history, economics, psychology, English, mathematics and so on. Day schools, week-end schools, teach-yourself books and correspondence courses were all offered at affordable prices. Each edition would contain suggestions for new books to read, a large book review section, and adverts for all kinds of booksellers and pamphlets. The NCLC movement saw education and reading as the path to a better and more hopeful world, encouraging workers to think independently and understand the world as it really was. The slogan of its correspondence courses — “Don’t be a Robot! Think for Yourself” — catches the spirit of the whole movement well.

      Needing to justify existing as more than a factory necessary

    1. During the seminars, some of us questioned whether Nabokov could have possibly kept consciously in his mind such a multiplicity of allusions and reminiscences, fusing them in packed images that so deftly entrapped his readers and laying semantically explosive mines in the dense field of his prose. Could our overzealous interpretations lead us to unintentionally presumptuous fallacies? One of the puzzled students, unable to restrain himself, once exclaimed: “But even if half of what we discover here is true, then Nabokov’s mind had to be a kind of computer!” Timenchik instantly retorted: “Then a computer he was.”

      Nabokov unlike any other: no word could change without bringing the text further away from its core