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The Harm in Hustle Culture
“Techies should read Zola. They may actually believe hustle culture is the road to happiness rather than a clever ploy to extract more work. They should recall, however, that the 40-hour week was a hard-won concession, a victory for humanity over the barbaric 19th-century work conditions and relentless hours of early industrial capitalism.

The pursuit of happiness does not equal the embrace of 80-hour weeks. Take some time. Read a newspaper. It’s a revolutionary act.”
politics  hustle  tech  culture  how_we_work  how_we_live  social_media  millennials  work_culture  trump 
13 days ago
Twitter is the crystal meth of newsrooms - The Washington Post
“Twitter is the crystal meth of newsrooms — a drug that insinuates itself into our vulnerabilities only to leave us toothless and disgraced.

What are these vulnerabilities? For one, many journalists are surprisingly shy. We chose a trade that involves watching and witnessing rather than risking and daring. For many of us, the most difficult part of the job is ringing the doorbell of a bereaved family, or prying into the opinions of unwelcoming strangers. Twitter has created a seductive universe in which the reactions of a virtual community are served up in neatly quotable bits without need for uncomfortable personal interactions.

For another, many journalists are these days under intense pressure to produce quick “takes” on the news to drive website traffic. Twitter offers the amphetamine hit that makes such pressure survivable. No reporter can go to the scene of a dozen events per day, observe what happens, interview those affected, sort the meaning from the dross and file a story. But Twitter offers an endless stream of faux events: fleeting sensations, momentary outrages, ersatz insights and provocative distortions. “News” nuggets roll by like the chocolates on Lucy’s conveyor belt.”
twitter_backlash  politics  journalism  culture  twitter  media  social_media  media_twitter 
19 days ago
The End of Economics? – Foreign Policy
“Recent events have hammered still more nails into the coffin of traditional economics. If the great divide of 20th-century politics was over free markets, the key splits that have emerged in the past few years involve immigration, race, religion, gender, and a whole set of related cultural and identity issues. Where in the past one could predict a voter’s choice based on his or her economic standing, today voters are driven more by concerns about social status or cultural coherence than by economic self-interest.”
politics  economics  culture  behavioral_economics 
19 days ago
Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?
Oh yes.

“Welcome to hustle culture. It is obsessed with striving, relentlessly positive, devoid of humor, and — once you notice it — impossible to escape. “Rise and Grind” is both the theme of a Nike ad campaign and the title of a book by a “Shark Tank” shark. New media upstarts like the Hustle, which produces a popular business newsletter and conference series, and One37pm, a content company created by the patron saint of hustling, Gary Vaynerchuk, glorify ambition not as a means to an end, but as a lifestyle.”
wework  how_we_work  startups  millennials  hustle  burnout  tech_backlash  work  work_culture  tech 
19 days ago
Have Aliens Found Us? An Interview with the Harvard Astronomer Avi Loeb About the Mysterious Interstellar Object ‘Oumuamua | The New Yorker
Neat.

“I should say, just as background, I do not view the possibility of a technological civilization as speculative, for two reasons. The first is that we exist. And the second is that at least a quarter of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy have a planet like Earth, with surface conditions that are very similar to Earth, and the chemistry of life as we know it could develop. If you roll the dice so many times, and there are tens of billions of stars in the Milky Way, it is quite likely we are not alone.”

###

“An advanced technological civilization is a good approximation to God. Suppose you took a cell phone and showed it to a caveperson. The caveperson would say it was a nice rock. The caveperson is used to rocks. So now imagine this object—‘Oumuamua—being the iPhone and us being the cave people. We look at it and say it’s a rock. It’s just an unusual rock. The point of this analogy is that, for a caveperson, the technologies we have today would have been magic. They would have been God-given.”
science  aliens  space  oumuamua 
19 days ago
The Suffocation of Democracy | by Christopher R. Browning | The New York Review of Books
Horrifying.

“If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings.”
ww2  nazis  mitch_mcconnell  culture  mcconnell  america  trump  fascism  democracy  history  authoritarianism  government  politics  war 
25 days ago
Selective shutdown? Trump tries to blunt impact, takes heat
“But if you’re a sportsman looking to hunt game, a gas company planning to drill offshore or a taxpayer awaiting your refund, you’re in luck: This shutdown won’t affect your plans.”
government  politics  shutdown2019  trump 
5 weeks ago
Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face encounters with Putin from senior officials in administration - The Washington Post
Unbelievable. “Because of the absence of any reliable record of Trump’s conversations with Putin, officials at times have had to rely on reports by U.S. intelligence agencies tracking the reaction in the Kremlin.”
russia  trump  putin 
5 weeks ago
How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation
Christ this is SO good.

“In their writing on homelessness, social psychologist Devon Price has said that “laziness,” at least in the way most of us generally conceive of it, simply does not exist. “If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you,” they write, “it is because you are missing a part of their context. It’s that simple.” My behavior didn’t make sense to me because I was missing part of my context: burnout. I was too ashamed to admit I was experiencing it. I fancied myself too strong to succumb to it. I had narrowed my definition of burnout to exclude my own behaviors and symptoms. But I was wrong.”
millennials  how_we_live  productivity  work  career  media  how_we_work  creativity  social_media  sociology  psychology  tech  life  burnout  america  science  culture  health 
5 weeks ago
Mitt Romney: The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short. - The Washington Post
“To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation. A president should unite us and inspire us to follow “our better angels.” A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. As a nation, we have been blessed with presidents who have called on the greatness of the American spirit. With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”
government  trump  foreign_policy  romney  politics  policy 
6 weeks ago
It’s weirdly hard to steal Mark Zuckerberg’s trash | The Outline
Brutal.

“It’s interesting to ponder the ways in which privacy can be a privilege only for the wealthy. Not everyone can afford an army of hired goons and corporate secret police, an absurd wall in their backyard, and a buffer zone of razed lots around their house. Might similar class privileges someday extend into our digital lives? In the future, who will have the luxury of owning their data?”
zuckerberg  data  facebook  privacy  trash  silicon_valley 
november 2018
No time for despair
“Whenever I hear this I immediately think of George Orwell: “The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.” And Margaret Atwood: “You’re supposed to do one thing. If you do more than that, people get confused.””
art  policy  culture  creativity  politics  inspiration  political_action 
november 2018
Gloom (and doom) | Seth's Blog
Doom is inevitable.

Gloom is optional.

Gloom has no positive effects on ameliorating doom.

Doom happens. Gloom is a choice.
doom  gloom  politics  news  how_we_think  culture  how_we_live 
november 2018
The Autocracy App | by Jacob Weisberg | The New York Review of Books
Whoosh.

“Yet Zuckerberg and his company’s leadership seem incapable of imagining that their relentless pursuit of “openness and connection” has been socially destructive. With each apology, Zuckerberg’s blundering seems less like naiveté and more like malignant obliviousness. In an interview in July, he contended that sites denying the Holocaust didn’t contravene the company’s policies against hate speech because Holocaust denial might amount to good faith error. “There are things that different people get wrong,” he said. “I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong.” He had to apologize, again.”

###

“The dangers modern societies face, Postman contends, are less censorship or repression than distraction and diversion, the replacement of civic engagement by perpetual entertainment.

Vaidhyanathan sees Facebook, a “pleasure machine” in which politics and entertainment merge, as the culmination of Postman’s Huxleyan nightmare. However, the pleasure that comes from absorption in social media is more complicated than the kind that television delivers. It encourages people to associate with those who share their views, creating filter bubbles and self-reinforcing feedback loops. Vaidhyanathan argues that by training its users to elevate feelings of agreement and belonging over truth, Facebook has created a gigantic “forum for tribalism.””

###

“What would the world look like if Facebook succeeded in becoming the Operating System of Our Lives? That status has arguably been achieved only by Tencent in China. Tencent runs WeChat, which combines aspects of Facebook, Messenger, Google, Twitter, and Instagram. People use its payment system to make purchases from vending machines, shop online, bank, and schedule appointments. Tencent also connects to the Chinese government’s Social Credit System, which gives users a score, based on data mining and surveillance of their online and offline activity. You gain points for obeying the law and lose them for such behavior as traffic violations or “spreading rumors online.””
democracy  social_media  tech  facebook  tech_backlash  politics  autocracy 
november 2018
An Alternative History of Silicon Valley Disruption | WIRED
“They promised the open web, we got walled gardens. They promised individual liberty, then broke democracy—and now they’ve appointed themselves the right men to fix it.”
tech_backlash  tech  startups  politics  culture  business  how_we_work 
november 2018
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