Notes from the Library

Mon, 21 Jul 2014

Anyone who works with computers learns to fear their capacity to forget. … [M]emory is strictly binary. There is either perfect recall or total oblivion, with nothing in between.

[…]

The offline world works like it always has. I saw many of you talking yesterday between sessions; I bet none of you has a verbatim transcript of those conversations. If you do, then I bet the people you were talking to would find that extremely creepy.

[…]

The online world is very different. Online, everything is recorded by default, and you may not know where or by whom. If you've ever wondered why Facebook is such a joyless place, even though we've theoretically surrounded ourselves with friends and loved ones, it's because of this need to constantly be wearing our public face. Facebook is about as much fun as a zoning board hearing.

(source)

Noam Chomsky: America’s corporate doctrine of power a grave threat to humanity | Salon (original)

Chomsky argues that corporate interests dictate US foreign policy in a very strong sense. It is not that corporate and humanitarian interests unite behind international action, but that any humanitarian story is purely to keep the citizenry quiet. Presumably this is true of other great powers, and it's only because the US is the world's only superpower that historically significant interventions in the name of corporations are almost always down to the US.

He tries to link this to Snowden's revelations. That part is less convincing.

Sun, 20 Jul 2014

Future historians, pondering changes in British society from the 1980s onwards, will struggle to account for the following curious fact. Although British business enterprises have an extremely mixed record (frequently posting gigantic losses, mostly failing to match overseas competitors, scarcely benefiting the weaker groups in society), and although such arm’s length public institutions as museums and galleries, the BBC and the universities have by and large a very good record (universally acknowledged creativity, streets ahead of most of their international peers, positive forces for human development and social cohesion), nonetheless over the past three decades politicians have repeatedly attempted to force the second set of institutions to change so that they more closely resemble the first. —Stefan Collini

(source)

Sun, 13 Jul 2014

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek) | Films for Action

Tue, 03 Jun 2014

America dumbs down: a rising tide of anti-intellectual thinking

I really want to know how much this is also true in Britain. It's hard to judge when I'm rarely around people who haven't been educated at good universiites.

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