Friday, November 11, 2011

unashamedly cribbed from Making Light

The description below of "Social Media" is so brilliant and so right that I felt obliged to steal it and post it here. No apologies.

There’s no way to take a time-out from our social life and describe it to a computer without social consequences. At the very least, the fact that I have an exquisitely maintained and categorized contact list telegraphs the fact that I’m the kind of schlub who would spend hours gardening a contact list, instead of going out and being an awesome guy. The social graph wants to turn us back into third graders, laboriously spelling out just who is our fifth-best-friend. But there’s a reason we stopped doing that kind of thing in third grade!

You might almost think that the whole scheme had been cooked up by a bunch of hyperintelligent but hopelessly socially naive people, and you would not be wrong. Asking computer nerds to design social software is a little bit like hiring a Mormon bartender. Our industry abounds in people for whom social interaction has always been more of a puzzle to be reverse-engineered than a good time to be had, and the result is these vaguely Martian protocols. […]

We have a name for the kind of person who collects a detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others for personal advantage—we call that person a sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep into stalker territory with their attempts to track our every action. Even if you have faith in their good intentions, you feel misgivings about stepping into the elaborate shrine they’ve built to document your entire online life.

Open data advocates tell us the answer is to reclaim this obsessive dossier for ourselves, so we can decide where to store it. But this misses the point of how stifling it is to have such a permanent record in the first place. Who does that kind of thing and calls it social?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

my country t'is of thee

It pains me to what is going on in my home country right now. I was one of the many who saw no choice but to leave in order to save my family and myself from what I saw as the inevitable destruction of society being visited by Thatcher and her slightly redder successors. Now the grandchildren of those years have risen up and expressed themselves in the only voice left to them. The destruction is horrible and the violence is foul but the systematic opression that so many people in the class formally known as working have lived through for so long made this sort of outbreak almost inevitable. And nothing will come of it except for more opression, more suppression and anything but the deep social remedies that have been needed for far too long. They say you can never go home but my home doesn't even exist anymore.

Monday, August 8, 2011

southern entertainment at it's best

Given the appearance (from the outside at least) that the US has been systematically creating a population of undereducated and uninformed drones for some time now how can one be surprised at the results? Representative democracy within the states really does appear to be representative of what those amongst the US people who actually bother to vote have come to believe in. Sad but true for the rest of the world. I'm sure there are reasonable and well-informed people there. I just wish they would get out and vote for people who will bring their points of view into the political world. Until that happens the mob will get what the mob wants.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

suffering to be beautiful

Not that being beautiful has ever been something I've had to worry about. But I'm undeniably getting older and am in the hollow middle ground between caring about how I live and actually doing something about it. Eat well, eat healthy, watch your weight. So many opinions so few facts. The industry that purports to reverse aging (or at least the "signs" of aging) is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle and we all work terribly hard on our individual denials don't we. Wear your lines with pride for they are campaign medals in the battle for the human soul.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

another one bites the dust

RIP Gerry Rafferty, your voice filled an empty place in my soul.