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
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

Thirst Is Nothing.
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Personal Activaire is a full service music source for people with iPods. All models accepted.

Tap into burgeoning underground music scenes. Listen and live to the sounds of NYC, London, Berlin, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Tokyo…

Perfect for people on the go! This service is ideal for those who have very little time, but who want to hear and become knowledgeable about current quality underground music. We bring you the best albums from rock, electro, hip hop, minimal-techno, house, and electronica labels from around the world.

Apparently, if your 70-hours-a-week I-banking gig has you too over-scheduled to go cruising the back alleys of Tokyo on your own, just FedEx your iPod to this company, and for a measly $200 a pop, you’ll get it back, loaded with 10 albums from the sonic fringes of the global indie underground.

Note that the assurances of connectedness to the far reaches of the obscure come with no actual markers of musical taste. Except for a ridiculously long list of independent record label links. I imagine this is a sample of the undiscovered urban wilderness I’ll be exploring, right? That’s so gorram crunk. I’ll make sure to catch them live on the BBC.

I’m in love with this. Just seven years after the Gladwell article, we can finally buy our own personal Coolhunters.

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Who is Robert Spitzer?
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According to The New Yorker, Robert Spitzer “revolutionized psychiatry.”

Make that, “according to Alix Spiegel, writing for The New Yorker.” The distinction is important, because a cursory Google-fueled traipse through the Internet reveals that Alix Spiegel is Robert Spitzer’s chief (only?) biographer. Spiegel-authored pieces on Spitzer also appear on NPR and This American Life.

The question “Who is Robert Spitzer?” is important, because if you believe Spiegel, Spitzer might be the father of modern psychiatry. So if Spitzer turns out to be a genius, then this psychiatry business may have something to it. But if he’s a quack, who’s to say his baby’s not as well?

Read more…

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And While I'm Posting …
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… why not go whole hog?

Jared Diamond has a new book. Malcolm Gladwell has a new article. Some correlation exists between these two joyous events.

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Readings, Listenings
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Listening to authors read from their own works is a much better idea on paper than in reality.

But these are some damn fine authors, and those are some damn fine works. The quality of the audio’s pretty bad, sadly.

Paul Auster’s got an awesome gravelly Joe Frank-ish radio voice — he’s an NPR contributor and the author of some of my favorite books — so check out his excerpt from The Book of Illusions. Philip Roth also does a great job. The Mary Gaitskill story is incredible, her reading, not so much, so here’s an excerpt in text. Read the whole thing if you can find it.

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The Quake
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Saheli has compiled an excellent list of organizations assisting in disaster relief, as well as some commentary on the tragedy.

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The Myth That Acting White's a Myth
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The sociological debate over whether black Americans deprecate academic achievement has been raging for decades now with much heat and little light. The item in today’s NYT Magazine about “The ‘Acting White’ Myth” is no better than any of the other mostly uninformed articles on the topic.

I’ve been following this debate for years. Two years ago, I started a MetaFilter discussion on the topic, and today’s NYT article brought it up again. So I chimed in with my attempt to explain why sociological studies come to different conclusions on the subject of alleged black intellectualism.

The phrase “acting white” was unearthed in the sociological community by professors Signithia Fordham and John Ogbu in 1986. The chief problem with these professors’ findings was one of nuance, and they drew much criticism for their paper on the subject. But in 2002, another pair of researchers attempted to polish Fordham and Ogbu’s thesis with a second study. And here I’ll copy and paste from my comment in today’s MetaFilter thread.

What this second study found was that black students were much likelier to reject a plethora of signal behaviors that typically correlate with academic achievement. It’s not the achievement itself. It’s the act of cultural treachery that comes with it. From the study:

Another young man, now a record producer and rap recording artist, had gone away to Exeter, the elite private preparatory school, and come back dressing and speaking differently from when he left. He was accused of acting white. His interpretation of why former friends in the community were a little

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Conversion Therapy
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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.

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Armageddon Can't Get Here Too Soon
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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.

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Schindler's Inn
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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).

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Googlezon Lives
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EPIC

Matt and I had planned to build a full-blown website around a souped-up version of our Googlezon presentation (you know, the one that masquerades as a transmission from the Museum of Media History circa 2014).

Buuut it didn’t look like that was going to happen anytime soon, so we decided to just go ahead and release our eight-minute Flash opus into the world.

Not ideal, as it’s basically without context and therefore somewhat weird, but hey! Let’s see how it fares in the howling chaos of the web.

Here it is: the Googly future of news. (Note: updated link… file has moved as EPIC madness washes over the Internet in a great flood of dread and wonder.)

Watch it spread on Technorati.

34 comments