The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Conversion Therapy

I really don’t know what the big deal is about “reparative” or “conversion” therapy, as it’s known. Yes, I definitely think we should do more careful studies of it to make sure any deleterious psychological effects are completely offset by the psychological benefits, but many people nowadays seem unwilling even to let those studies happen.

If a person is unhappy with his sexuality and wants to change it, and we attain the ability to do so clinically, safely, possibly even chemically, why not oblige? It’s not like there’s going to be a huge population-wide rush for the service. (Hell, if it didn’t take too long, I might even pop into a clinic and give girls a try for a weekend or so, just to see what all the fuss was about.)

Anyway, put me on the record as being all for conversion therapy.

And let’s begin by turning this poor bastard gay.

Comments Lays It Down
 /, the sweet entertainment site coded by the Anakin Skywalker of online journalism*, Adrian Holovaty, re-launched recently with some new features. I love the site’s pitch for RSS:

Web feeds (RSS)

We’ve added web feeds (a.k.a. RSS feeds) to many of our site’s pages — including best bets, MP3s, blogs, venues and bands. This is full-blown computer geek orgasm-type stuff. It’s incredibly useful, and, in a few years, it’ll be all the rage among today’s AOL users. Be the first among your friends to really “get it” — try RSS now! For full information, check out our RSS page.

*I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, it just sounded right

The site has a longer tutorial, too, aptly titled: “WTF is RSS?”

Which reminds me: Snarkmarket has an RSS feed! Subscribe to it, dawg!

May I say, in closing, that I wish there was a for every city in the U.S.? It would be to bars, restaurants, and local bands what craigslist is to jobs, apartments, and lonely dudes.


The Frontier of Sociolinguistics


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Armageddon Can't Get Here Too Soon

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. It’s not the end of civilization as we know it. It’s still just the beginning of a really, really crappy one.


A Coveted Crowd

Look out… the market of snark has just received, for the first time in its brief but luminous history, a review copy of a book.

Like, for free!

Take a moment to understand the implications, faithful readers and commenters: A well-established publishing house seeks to curry favor with you!

It’s a cool book. (I will not reveal its title, because I am a marketing genius.) Look for the Snarkreview this weekend.


Link Dumper (or) Apollyon's Cruel Laugh


I was just looking at Snarkmarket’s traffic stats, and noticed that one of our top referrers, or pages from which people come here, is currently

And dude: This is where you buy the program that spams blogs.

It’s called Link Dumper, and I feel like I’ve just looked into the Eye of Sauron.

Check out the description:

Spread your sites into the farest reaches of the internet! Link Dumper is an amazingly powerful little WIndows tool that you can input site name, URL, and description into, which it then automatically inserts into open “linkdump” sites all over the internet. Linkdump is a term for sites that allow people to contribute links which are then instantly shared with thousands of people, and they have become very popular during the last 6 months. This really is the perfect way to start a site, as linkdump surfers are of the kind to further spread (over e-mail, forums, linkdumps, et cetera) URLs they find interesting, shocking, pornographic, or funny.

Gahhh! It’s so offensive in its blithe practicality!

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More Notes from 2014

Check out the awesome convolutions applied to EPIC 2014 on Farai Chideya’s blog. (No permalinks, so click fast while it’s still up top.)

Farai writes:

Who is Evan Emerson? This almost feels like one of those frustratingly addictive follow-the-clues marketing campaigns…. but for what, I don’t know.

First, a friend in Miami sent me [a link to] an eight-minute lo-tech short on the disappearance of news as we know it. The conceit is that Amazon and Google join forces to form a super-tech-engine that filters news based on databasing and recommendations (think your iTunes favorites list meets Amazon meets Google News) that ends up killing the New York Times.

Who IS Evan Emerson? If you went to this EPIC mirror and stripped out the /epic you might start to wonder…

Shades of the alternate-reality gaming fans’ suspicions, there!

And then there’s this follow-up:

Meanwhile, Andrew Blau found out who Evan Emerson is, or isn’t. I was right–it’s not a real name. A friend emailed Andrew info that two California-based journalists, Robin Sloan (Sacramento Bee) and Matt Thompson(INdTV) did the piece. […]


News of this investigation was passed on to me by “Evan Emerson” — who may or may not be a rogue AI bot sent back in time from 2016… the year EPIC went mad.

And yeah, with that mind, I want to re-publish Matt’s excellent comment on the original EPIC post in case you missed it:

It’s funny to see where the super-old-school thinking and the super-new-school thinking bend back around and meet up. (And crash, and lie inert, secure in the knowledge that this exact future will never come to pass.) When we presented this to the editors, it was always, “Oh, no, nothing like this would ever happen. The sensible citizens of America are far too enamored of our beautiful agate type to ever pay much attention to those dreadful noisy light-emitting contraptions.” And some of the most thought-out responses from the technopagan crowd have been along the lines of, “Come on, this is nothing like the future. This doesn’t even take into account last year’s Quantum Fluthinger API, which outcalculates Google’s Helsinki7 algorithm by a factor of 10^23.”

So true!

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This Must Be What Neal Stephenson's Dreams Are Like

OMG, this rules. From Saheli Datta’s blog:

*The dream also involved some friends juggling torches on a Shakespearan stage set inside a magnificent library, while other friends and I watched and flitted about the mezanine with billowing scarves tied to our wrists–nanofabric scarves that were catching information from the WiFi network and displaying it to us as we danced. That, I think, will stay in dreamspace for a while.

There is also a whole post about a Bruce Sterling speech and “spimes.” And a nice Snarkmarket shout-out.

But nanofabric scarves, people!!


Schindler's Inn

Most accounts I’ve heard of the genocide in Rwanda include at least one mention of Paul Rusesabagina, a Kigali hotel owner whose derring-do saved hundreds from the slaughter. If you haven’t heard his story, Philip Gourevitch tells it in this excellent episode of This American Life (it’s the third story, and starts about 38 minutes in). Basically, Rusesabagina uses three unlikely weapons — liquor, influence, and the telephone — in his battle against the unthinkable. But he employs a wonderful savvy and a knack for misdirection. “I think the key thing about Paul,” Gourevitch says, “is his instinct that everything is negotiable.”

Paul’s story, and (I hope) the story of the genocide, will be told in theaters for the first time next month, with Don Cheadle in the main role. The main site is awful, but it’s got clips from the film (hint: to turn off the music, click the microscopic text in the upper-right corner), and offers an excellent repository of links about the tragedy that I hadn’t seen (like this page, where you can hear an incomprehensible-but-nevertheless-chilling sample of the RTLNM radio network, the chief instrument the killers used to incite the genocide).


Whither the Liberal Arts? (Plus An MSU Shout-Out)

Cool article in the BoGlo’s Ideas section about the fate of the liberal arts education.


Indeed, if you look at the humanities today, there is considerable excitement and growth at places that don’t look or feel anything like Dartmouth or Harvard or MIT, for that matter. Michael Bub, for example, a star in literary studies and a leader in the field of disability studies, is based at Penn State University the kind of place that Gaita might say isn’t hospitable to serious scholars because it offers degrees in a range of decidedly non-liberal-arts fields. Or look at the development of a serious philosophy program at Texas A&M University, or at how H-NET, a series of websites and Internet-discussion groups created by Michigan State University, has created “communities of scholars” across the humanities and social sciences, and around the world.

Also noted:

“Garbage is garbage,” Menand said, “but the history of garbage can be scholarship.”