Sunday, August 12, 2018

humans working socially

Automation is that jagged little pill you can't get down no matter how much water you drink.

A lot of traditional human work is getting automated, by machines or software.

I don’t know how much work will be automated or what sectors will be hit the hardest, as estimates by all experts vary widely. But I do know that people make bad computers and very unhappy robots. Therefore we should not compete with the machines for the type of work they do well, requiring — perseverance, compliance, intelligence, and diligence. There are some human attributes that machines are not very good at — intuition, empathy, creativity, and social intelligence.

As machines do more repeatable processes and even complicated work, people have to look at what we do best. Working socially, we can address barely repeatable processes for complex situations and over time make parts of them repeatable for the machines to handle. In addition, when we combine the analytical capabilities of machines, we can develop machine-assisted processes and tap into machine expertise in order to do even more complex and creative work.

In my opinion, this is the future of work. To prepare for it people have to develop social learning skills in addition to working in this machine-augmented world. We will have to play nice with other people, and play well with the machines. If a workplace is not optimized for humans working socially, it will be left behind.

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Bunker Mentality: Start Preparing for Ecological & Economic Disaster Free Of Corporate Overlords

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Let’s face it: reading stories about the ongoing destruction of planet Earth, the life-sustaining blue marble that all of us – aside from maybe Elon Musk – are permanently trapped on, has got to be one of the least-favorite topics of all time. The reasons are understandable, but no longer feasible.

In the realm of politics, replete with its cast of colorful culprits, the possibility of radical change always hovers just over the horizon, which gives the subject much of its universal appeal. Stories devoted to environmental issues, on the other hand, inundate the reader with a dizzying array of mind-boggling statistics that are not only incredibly depressing, they seem impossible to do anything about.

For example, take what I consider to be the most depressing story in recent memory – the so-called ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ a swirling garbage dump trapped in a vortex between Hawaii and California, estimated to be twice the size of Texas. How is anyone expected to wrap their brain around that modern monument to our collective stupidity over their morning cup of coffee? Somehow we always expected the oceans, due to their sheer size and vastness, to remain beyond the reach of mankind’s destructive tendencies. Yet the story of the slowly dying oceans and its vibrant sea life – despite some truly fantastic schemes to reverse the trend – proves not just how wrongheaded that belief is, it belies the destructive nature of our hedonistic and materialistic lifestyles.

This leads to yet another reason so many people shy away from apocalyptic stories of environmental degradation: their own collusion in the ongoing tale of planetary destruction, which is part and parcel of our inquisitive lifestyles. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all deeply indebted consumers of the corporate cornucopia. The majority of us spend a disproportionate amount of our time earning a living just to feed the monkey of our worldly desires, which our corporate overlords happily provide in superabundance – at excessive interest rates, I might add.

In fact, when our situation is viewed critically and objectively, human beings now live like astronauts, totally cut off from the natural world, yet, at the same time, connected by a fragile umbilical cord to the corporate world. Such a scenario must give any thinking person tremendous pause, for it highlights our dangerous level of dependency on external economic forces – namely, the corporate world – to sustain us. Here is where the idea of ‘environmental destruction’ should really pique our interest.

It is not so difficult to conduct a thought experiment that involves the ramifications of a massive economic downturn, or some unexpected natural disaster (on the scale of Hurricane Katrina, for example, multiplied by 10,000) of such magnitude that corporations are no longer able or willing to provide for our most basic daily needs. It may be exceedingly difficult to imagine such a grim scenario, especially since we now take it for granted that grocery stores will always remain open for business and stocked full of goodies, but the majority of us would quickly perish in the event that some unexpected crisis brought the global economy down on our heads. Such a nightmare may be easier to imagine when it is considered that just 10 companies control the entire global food supply, while most people have no means or knowledge of tilling the land for their food supplies.

Perhaps it is on this point that the topic of ‘environmental destruction’ can become not only sexy, like the exciting world of politics, but vital for mankind’s continued existence. It’s time to stop acting like children and face an ugly truth: our current materialistic lifestyles are not sustainable in the long-term, and probably not in the short term either. Our incredible level ofwastefulness, compounded by Earth’s finite resources, guarantees that the planet’s 7 billion people are living on borrowed time. Exactly what ‘short-term’ means, however, is a question none of us can really answer. It may mean the day after tomorrow or another 500 years. Again, nobody can say. But given the upsurge of interest, for example, in “doomsday prepping” among people of average means (a topic that even the high-brow Financial Times reported on), to the construction of sprawling underground bunkers for the elite, there is a growing consensus among many people that it is time to start taking back some control of our lives.

Currently, I am living in Russia, where the difference between Russians and Americans when it comes to preparing for the ‘unknown’ could not be greater. While Americans spend untold hours per week mowing their lawns, pulling weeds and trimming the hedges, Russians are toiling at their ‘dachas’ (in Russia, it is common for people to own an apartment in the city and a piece of land in the countryside), growing fruit and vegetables in greenhouses, and collecting mushrooms in the forest (picking mushrooms is a veritable art form, where it can literally mean the difference between life and death to choose the correct variety among dozens of species). Every Russian I have met in the countryside also have their own private source of water from painstakingly dug wells on their land. This is no small consideration when it is remembered that corporations are gradually buying up, in addition to our food supplies, the rights to our water supplies as well.

The entire notion of ‘prepping’ in Russia is completely nonexistent since the knowledge of working the land, which became absolutely critical during the severe food shortages of the communist years, has been a traditional part of Russian life since the country’s inception. Although Russians, like any other people, would suffer grave hardships in the event of a severe economic downturn, many of them would still be able to feed themselves due to their time-tested ‘survival’ skills. I am not sure the same could be said of their American and European counterparts.

There is a memorable scene in the 2009 post-apocalyptic US film, The Road, where a father and son, forced to trek across a devastated American landscape following some sort of unspeakable disaster, stumble upon a discarded underground bunker that is loaded with food, allowing them to survive the next leg of their impossible journey.

It is a film I would highly recommend every person watch to get a sense of what an unexpected turn of environmental and economic events could mean for them and their loved ones.

Since corporations not only greatly control to what extent the environment will remain viable for our survival, but also the keys to the corporate cornucopia, there is no better time than the present to consider what would happen if or when, to put the matter bluntly, the shit hits the fan.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Frank Zappa’s 1980s Appearances on The David Letterman Show

Zappa. I want to be more like him than anyone.

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I’ve never been a huge fan of Frank Zappa’s music and gravitated more toward the bizarre yet bluesy sonic world of his sometime collaborator and lifelong frenemy Captain Beefheart. But I get the appeal of Zappa’s wildly virtuoso catalog and his sardonic, even caustic, personality. The phrase may have devolved into cliché, but it’s still worth saying of Zappa: he was a real original, a truly independent musician who insisted on doing things his way. Most admirably, he had the talent, vision, and strength of will to do so for decades in a business that legendarily chews up and spits out artists with even the toughest of constitutions.

Zappa, notes the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its profile, “was rock and roll’s sharpest musical mind and most astute social critic… the most prolific composer of his age,” who “bridged genres—rock, jazz, classical, avant-garde and even novelty music—with masterful ease.” Recording “over sixty albums’ worth of material in his fifty-two years,” he famously discovered, nurtured, and collaborated with some of the most technically proficient and accomplished of players. He was indie before indie, and “confronted the corrupt politics of the ruling class” with ferocious wit and unsparing satire, holding “the banal and decadent lifestyles of his countrymen to unforgiving scrutiny.”

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Needless to say, Zappa himself was not prone to banality or decadence. He stood apart from his contemporaries with both his utter hatred of trends and his commitment to sobriety, which meant that he was never less than totally lucid, if never totally clear, in interviews and TV appearances. Unsurprisingly, David Letterman, champion of other fiercely talented musical oddballs like Warren Zevon, was a Zappa fan. Between 1982 and 83, Zappa came on Letterman three times, the first, in August of 82, with his daughter Moon (or “Moon Unit," who almost ended up with the name “Motorhead,” he says).

The younger Zappa inherited her father’s deadpan. “When I was little,” she says, “I wanted to change my name to Beauty Heart. Or Mary." But Zappa, the “musical and a sociological phenomenon,” as Letterman calls him, gets to talk about more than his kids’ weird names. In his June, 83 appearance, further up, he promotes his London Symphony Orchestra album. As he explains, the experience of working with cranky classical musicians on a very tight schedule tested his perfectionistic (some might say controlling) temperament. The album gave rise, writes Eduardo Rivadavia at Allmusic, “to his well-documented love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with symphony orchestras thereafter.”

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But no matter how well or badly a project went, Zappa always moved right along to the next thing. He was never without an ambitious new album to promote. (In his final Letterman appearance, on Halloween, above, he had a musical, which turned into album, the triple-LP Thing-Fish.) Since he never stopped working for a moment, one set of ideas generating the next—he told Rolling Stone in answer to a question about how he looked back on his many records—“It’s all one album.” See a supercut below of all of Zappa’s 80s visits to the Letterman set, with slightly better video quality than the individual clips above.

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Related Content:

Frank Zappa Explains the Decline of the Music Business (1987)

Hear the Musical Evolution of Frank Zappa in 401 Songs

Hunter S. Thompson’s Many Strange, Unpredictable Appearances on The David Letterman Show

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Sunny Toy Instrument Cover of the 1985 Huey Lewis and the News Single ‘The Power of Love’

Love the tone. The-Wackids-Power-of-Love.jpg

In a middle of the road departure from their usual revolutionary rock/heavy metal style, the incredible Wackids performed a sunny toy instrument cover of the 1985 Huey Lewis and the News single “The Power of Love” while standing in front of a highly distinctive DeLorean from that era.

The post A Sunny Toy Instrument Cover of the 1985 Huey Lewis and the News Single ‘The Power of Love’ appeared first on Laughing Squid.

Trump Comes Out Against 3-D Printed Guns

Sentence you will rarely, if ever, see: I agree with he who must not be names. I wonder how much the 3-D printing business will be boosted by these plans.

President Trump appeared to voice his opposition to 3-D printed guns being sold to the public, in a tweet this morning, saying that he had already spoken to the National Rifle Association about the issue and that it did not appear to make much sense...

I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018

As The Daily Caller notes, the issue of 3-D printed guns has reached a fever pitch in recent days after a Texas non-profit organization won the right to post the plans for such weapons online for public consumption.

The downloadable plans range from rudimentary handguns to rifles similar to an AR-15. The plans can be used by anyone with a 3D printer and minimal outside materials to create an untraceable firearm.


A selection of 3-D printed gun files already available on the Defense Distributed website, Defcad.com.

Several states have intervened to ask the Trump administration to federally ban such firearms.

“These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history. If the Trump Administration won’t keep us safe, we will," said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D), who represents one of the eight states suing the Trump administration.

The fight over 3-D printed guns stems back to 2013 when the U.S. Department of State banned the Texas non-profit from posting plans for such firearms online because it was in violation of export control trade practices.

The non-profit argued that the ban stifled its freedom of speech and eventually forced the government to back down. The plans will be posted online Aug. 1.

As The Hill reports, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer chimed in, saying that Trump’s tweet was a display of “incompetence and dangerous governing.”

Your administration approved this. What kind of incompetence and dangerous governing is this?
And to check with the NRA? Holy moly. https://t.co/MyctYPoci0

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 31, 2018

Monday, July 23, 2018

Misojyu: A New Eatery in Tokyo Serves Just Miso Soup and Onigiri

So simple. So easy. I want so much to eat some miso here. Guess I'll just scarf down some seaweed. Pretty good seaweed, actually. Yum.

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Miso soup and onigiri (rice balls) are my ultimate comfort food. I take them with me when I travel, especially on long flights because nothing puts me at ease quite like sipping warm miso soup. It’s a simple pleasure but one that Misojyu, a new eatery in Tokyo, wants to share with locals and visitors […]

Joana Varon retweeted: Only one species on Earth is so arrogantly alienated from its ecosystem it has to set aside a day just to reluctantly acknowledge it lives on a planet. #EarthDay

God is pissed that every day isn't Earth Day. And there will be hell to pay when Gaia gets home from work. Bloody hell.
6hlNZ0_Y_normal.jpeg God
@TheTweetOfGod
Joana Varon retweeted:
Only one species on Earth is so arrogantly alienated from its ecosystem it has to set aside a day just to reluctantly acknowledge it lives on a planet. #EarthDay

Sunday, July 22, 2018

If you have privilege (whether real-world or wikiprivilege) please use to help us all! - Asaf #Wikimania #Wikimania2018

Not sure I understand. Do you want me to be privileged or not, to have power or not. If you insist on categorizing me as a privileged white male, then I will act as someone who feels guilty and ashamed for being who I am. Silenced, too, because anytime I speak it is by definition privileged speech. If you ask me to act for you as a privileged white male then this is just like days of old when women only had power via men. If you are going to pretend that I am female by using the ruse of "feminist male", then that is a classic double bind and a lie, a way of using 'definition' as an evil rhetorical tool. We just redefine the privilege away by calling my a female. I am, therefore, not privileged any more, just powerful. You cannot have it both of these ways. If, you ask me for help as a human being who is able to help you get power, then perhaps we have a place to start. Until then, sorry, fuck off. I am human, first, last and always. Start there. I got a pretty good, if imperf
OW3wkYzR_normal.jpg Sarah Kiden
@MsKiden
If you have privilege (whether real-world or wikiprivilege) please use to help us all! - Asaf #Wikimania #Wikimania2018

DitB8WGXkAE24fZ.jpg:large

Erie retweeted: bauch grapes, painted by deborah griscom passmore, 1902

Gorgeous
fVS3lvM8_normal.png old fruit pictures
@pomological
Erie retweeted:
bauch grapes, painted by deborah griscom passmore, 1902

DirqGC8V4AAZTYm.jpg:large

Blair Semenoff retweeted: Facebook global usage (measured in minutes) down 54% from peak. I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure that ain't good.

This is a happy day, kaloo kalay.
VWDGrO28_normal.jpg J Pierpont Morgan
@pierpont_morgan
Blair Semenoff retweeted:
Facebook global usage (measured in minutes) down 54% from peak. I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure that ain't good.

DijwxM_VQAE9NJY.jpg:large