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Neil Gaiman on the Good Kind of Trolls | Literary Hub Sep 2019
I keep trying to write a measured and sensible introduction to this book, and I keep failing. I keep failing because in order to find out what I think I pick up the proofs and start to read—or rather, at this point, to reread and to rerereread—any one of the Norwegian folktales waiting between these covers, and then I’m swallowed by them. I don’t read them critically. I don’t even put my compare-this-story-from-this-tradition-to-this-other-story-that-it-somehow-resembles hat on. I just start to read, and I’m following the adventures of Ash Lad, or the Girl Whose Godmother Was the Virgin Mary, and I feel satisfied.

Someone is telling me a story.
books  reviews  folktales  Neil-Gaiman 
23 days ago by pierredv
George Hansen seem site
The paranormal encompasses everything from levitating monks to ESP, from spirits to cattle mutilations—an incredible and unsavory hodgepodge. The mix seems incoherent. But the trickster makes sense of it.
Among other things, this book explains:...
George-Hansen  paranormal  books  tricksters 
12 weeks ago by pierredv
A Social Imagination - review by Dennis O'Brien of Charles Taylor,Dilemmas and Connections, Dec 2001
Dilemmas and Connections is a collection of 16 essays by the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. Most have been or are about to be published in various places, and four appear for the first time.
For Taylor, philosophy ultimately emerges as commentary on the social imaginary. A notable expositor of Hegel, he might agree with the latter’s dictum: “The Owl of Minerva first takes flight at twilight.”
Charles-Taylor  social-imaginary  morality  books  reviews  quotations 
june 2019 by pierredv
GPS gives directions, but what does it take away? | Popular Science, M.R. O'Connor April 30, 2019
an excerpt from "Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World, a new book by M.R. O'Connor.

“The GPS receiver’s answer to a spatial question (e.g., where to go) is provided by a mechanism that is physically detached from it (a network of satellites) and required no involvement of the traveler with the environment,” Aporta and his coauthor, Eric Higgs, wrote in their paper “Satellite Culture: Global Positioning Systems, Inuit Wayfinding, and the Need for a New Account of Technology.” “Although the act of physical travel will always involve some connection with the surroundings, this connection is... shallow.”

"So while devices liberate people from toil, freeing our time and energy, they also separate the means from the end. We are disconnected from the environment and the skills required for daily survival. Consider a thermostat: it allows us to control the temperature of our homes with a finger, yet by using it we are no longer responsible for physically gathering the resources needed to heat our own homes—the thermostat conceals the means of heat."
PopularScience  books  GPS  wayfinding 
june 2019 by pierredv
Karl Ove Knausgård on his book about Norwegian painter Edvard Munch. Studio360 May 2019
Knausgård commends Munch for continually ridding himself of his familiar habits as an artist. He tells Kurt Andersen that it’s a method that both painters and novelists benefit from.

“If you want to get rid of all the automatic ways in, then you have to do something from scratch so to speak and build something that you haven't done before,” Knausgård says. “It's like you do it for the first time. And I think that's that's the best place to be in writing…. And I think Munch somehow searched for those places in his painting throughout his life.”
audio  Studio360  interviews  books  novels  creativity  podcasts 
may 2019 by pierredv
20 Must-Read Dystopian Novels That Are Set In A Futuristic World
Books on predicting the end of world and the raise of a calamitous society are gaining more prominence of late. If you are a Sci-Fi fanatic who derives great pleasure in reading plots set in a futuristic world then this collection of 20 great dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction books is for you.
Sci-Fi  BestOf  reviews  books  stories  fiction  novels 
may 2019 by pierredv
Modernity’s Spell - The New Atlantis, Clare Coffey, Winter 2019
Review of "Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism " by Emily Ogden

"Whatever beliefs the mesmerist professed, on the mesmeric stage his craft depended on performing the technique of mesmerism with seriousness and intent. With subjects selected for their predisposition to belief, mesmerist and subject constituted what Daniel O’Keefe, in Stolen Lightning: The Social Theory of Magic (1982), calls an “act-as-if group”: a social interaction that temporarily redraws the accepted borders of reality by mutual agreement.

O’Keefe believes that the act-as-if groups are the basis for magic. Mutual agreement overvalues a temporary subjective state, giving it new meaning, creating a framework around it. The agreement then allows the subjective state to be sustained. So, by Ogden’s account, you have an odd tension. By one light, the mesmerists who identified imagination as the active agent stand for greater enlightenment than those who believed in the non-existent magnetic fluid. And yet their attempts to control imagination in others hinged on encouraging and ritualizing false beliefs — exactly what some sociologists say magicians do."

"Ogden describes the process by which the debunking of mesmerism produced successor generations in terms of the “idol function” played by false beliefs. The destruction of an idol, the thinking goes, is not a closed and final process. When you destroy an idol, you must supply some account of the undeniable effect the idol had on the lives of its followers. Christians hewing down a tree sacred to the pagans, for example, might say that the boons received by worshippers of the tree were really the gifts of demons. In exploding the existence of animal magnetism — ostensibly a physical substance producing foreseeable effects — the debunkers imbued their subjects with much more powerful, protean, and elusive forces: credulity, credenciveness, imagination."

"Ogden’s animating insight — that irrational beliefs, at least in others, help one to build up a rational self — is probably true as individual psychology, unprovable as a universal law, and extremely plausible as a process of secularism in particular."

"Identifying primitive belief and calling it “enchantment” — the term for that state of the world before modernity when one is in awe but in error, like Max Weber’s propitiating savage — is a defining aspect of modern secular culture. Enchantment is a periodizing word, that is: The world used to be enchanted, and now it is not. In this way, enchantment and modernity are not opposing forces but belong together."
TheNewAtlantis  books  reviews  history  culture  magic  belief 
may 2019 by pierredv
Dialectics of Enlightenment | by Kwame Anthony Appiah | The New York Review of Books
via Pierre-Yves Saintoyant

Review of
Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason
by Justin E.H. Smith
NYReviewOfBooks  reviews  books  TheEnlightenment  history 
may 2019 by pierredv
Capitalism’s New Clothes | Evgeny Morozov
"Shoshana Zuboff's new book on “surveillance capitalism” emphasizes the former at the expense of the latter"

Thesis I: "a phenomenon called surveillance capitalism"; "a set of observations, not a hypothesis"

Thesis II: "it posits that surveillance capitalism not only produces effects that are unequivocally worse than those of alternative digital regimes, but that it’s also becoming the hegemonic form of capitalism"

Thesis III: "the tautology ...: surveillance capitalists engage in surveillance capitalism because this is what the imperatives of surveillance capitalism demand"

Thesis II is a bundle of several propositions:

i) information civilization could choose between surveillance capitalism and advocacy capitalism;

ii) both leverage data extraction: one to procure behavioral surplus, one to improve services;

iii) certain features of information civilization have made surveillance capitalism hegemonic;

iv) as it becomes hegemonic, so do its imperatives;

v) in its social effects, surveillance capitalism is worse than its alternatives.

surveillance  capitalism  economics  books  review  Shoshana-Zuboff  Evgeny-Morozov  TheBaffler 
march 2019 by pierredv
NASA's first 60 years, in pictures - CNN Style
Some 400 of the best, including a selection of lesser-known images, have been collected in the book "The NASA Archives: 60 Years in Space," a visual celebration of NASA from its inception to its near future.
Time  NASA  photography  photojournalism  history  books 
march 2019 by pierredv
'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | Technology | The Guardian, John Naughton, Jan 2019
"Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world. Observer tech columnist John Naughton explains the importance of Zuboff’s work and asks the author 10 key questions"

"The headline story is that it’s not so much about the nature of digital technology as about a new mutant form of capitalism that has found a way to use tech for its purposes. The name Zuboff has given to the new variant is “surveillance capitalism”. It works by providing free services that billions of people cheerfully use, enabling the providers of those services to monitor the behaviour of those users in astonishing detail – often without their explicit consent."

Zuboff: “Surveillance capitalism unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioural futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behaviour.”

Change in scale drives change in kind: "Thus Google decided that it would digitise and store every book ever printed, regardless of copyright issues. Or that it would photograph every street and house on the planet without asking anyone’s permission."

"The combination of state surveillance and its capitalist counterpart means that digital technology is separating the citizens in all societies into two groups: the watchers (invisible, unknown and unaccountable) and the watched. "

"Nearly every product or service that begins with the word “smart” or “personalised”, every internet-enabled device, every “digital assistant”, is simply a supply-chain interface for the unobstructed flow of behavioural data on its way to predicting our futures in a surveillance economy."

"Once we searched Google, but now Google searches us. Once we thought of digital services as free, but now surveillance capitalists think of us as free."

"The tech leaders desperately want us to believe that technology is the inevitable force here, and their hands are tied. But there is a rich history of digital applications before surveillance capitalism that really were empowering and consistent with democratic values. Technology is the puppet, but surveillance capitalism is the puppet master."
TheGuardian  Shoshana-Zuboff  surveillance  capitalism  technology  interviews  quotations  books  behavioral-advertising 
january 2019 by pierredv
The Market as God: Harvey Cox: 9780674659681: Books
"The Market has deified itself, according to Harvey Cox’s brilliant exegesis. And all of the world’s problems―widening inequality, a rapidly warming planet, the injustices of global poverty―are consequently harder to solve. Only by tracing how the Market reached its “divine” status can we hope to restore it to its proper place as servant of humanity.

The Market as God captures how our world has fallen in thrall to the business theology of supply and demand. According to its acolytes, the Market is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It knows the value of everything, and determines the outcome of every transaction; it can raise nations and ruin households, and nothing escapes its reductionist commodification. The Market comes complete with its own doctrines, prophets, and evangelical zeal to convert the world to its way of life. Cox brings that theology out of the shadows, demonstrating that the way the world economy operates is neither natural nor inevitable but shaped by a global system of values and symbols that can be best understood as a religion.

Drawing on biblical sources, economists and financial experts, prehistoric religions, Greek mythology, historical patterns, and the work of natural and social scientists, Cox points to many parallels between the development of Christianity and the Market economy. At various times in history, both have garnered enormous wealth and displayed pompous behavior. Both have experienced the corruption of power. However, what the religious have learned over the millennia, sometimes at great cost, still eludes the Market faithful: humility."
Amazon  books  theology  religion  markets 
january 2019 by pierredv
Are We Ready to Defend Our Freedom? Book Review: "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism"
This is a total cop-out: "This predatory use of personal data is not an inevitable result of digital technology. The technology is neither good nor bad. Its ethical performance comes from how we humans decide to use it."

It's a "guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument. Use is part of technology, and design is made with a use in mind. The ethical performance isn't just after the fact ("how we humans decide to use it") but baked in at the beginning

Cf. technology with spectrum, defined as the conjunction of radio signals with the rights & means to use them.
CircleID  books  reviews  Klaus-Stoll  capitalism  DNS  technology 
january 2019 by pierredv
Are We Ready to Defend Our Freedom? Book Review: "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" Klaus Stoll, Jan 2019
"It is not often that you read a book where afterward nothing seems the same again. Like Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Shoshana Zuboff's book: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, (...), puts what we do in these times into a context and gives a focus to ongoing issues of privacy and governance with regard to the Domain Name System. This is even more astonishing as the book does not even mention the DNS, the Internet ecosystem or even Internet Governance directly."

"Lastly, readers be warned! The book is 700 pages long. Besides people with a deep interest in these topics, others will find it a lot to digest and may object to repetitive explanations."
books  reviews  Shoshana-Zuboff  internet  capitalism  surveillance 
january 2019 by pierredv
Punishment | Rattle: Poetry - Nancy Miller Gomez
Via American Life in Poetry 718, 12/24/2018
Here's what Ted Kooser wrote, and the poem

Nancy Miller Gomez lives in California and directs writing workshops for incarcerated men and women. This poem gives us a glimpse of innocent delight inside those walls. It's from her chapbook, Punishment, from Rattle.

Growing Apples

There is big excitement in C block today.
On the window sill,
in a plastic ice cream cup
a little plant is growing.
This is all the men want to talk about:
how an apple seed germinated
in a crack of damp concrete;
how they tore open tea bags
to collect the leaves, leached them
in water, then laid the sprout onto the bed
made of Lipton. How this finger of spring
dug one delicate root down
into the dark fannings and now
two small sleeves of green
are pushing out from the emerging tip.
The men are tipsy with this miracle.
Each morning, one by one,
they go to the window and check
the progress of the struggling plant.
All through the day they return
to stand over the seedling
and whisper.
poetry  books 
december 2018 by pierredv
The 2018 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books - The New York Times
Written by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Lane Smith
In this tale of children who discover an abandoned house, Lane Smith’s deftly layered and lyrical pictorial world shimmers with a whirr of woodland color and line work that caroms from wispy to razor-sharp. — L.M.

SHE MADE A MONSTER: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein
Written by Lynn Fulton
Illustrated by Felicita Sala
Felicita Sala’s archly horror-struck portraits and faux-eerie settings open a magnificent, cobwebbed window into the English novelist Mary Shelley’s wild and fiery imagination. — L.M.

Written and illustrated by Antje Damm
In Antje Damm’s remarkable “The Visitor,” a boy rushes into a lonely woman’s black-and-white 3-D collage world, bringing an explosion of color, light and life. — B.C.
books  reviews  NYTimes  illustration 
november 2018 by pierredv
How Writers Map Their Imaginary Worlds - Atlas Obscura
A new book, The Writer’s Map, contains dozens of the magical maps writers have drawn or that have been made by others to illustrate the places they’ve created.
books  writing  maps  Geography 
november 2018 by pierredv
The photographers shaping the way we see modern civilisation
review of Civilization: The Way We Live Now, Ewing and Roussell
Lots of sample photos
photography  urbanism  architecture  books  reviews 
november 2018 by pierredv
Civilization - William A Ewing, Holly Roussell
"Our fast-changing world seen through the lenses of 140 leading contemporary photographers around the globe"

"We hurtle together into the future at ever-increasing speed – or so it seems to the collective psyche. Perpetually evolving, morphing, building and demolishing, rethinking, reframing and reshaping the world around and ahead – and the people within it – an emerging, planetary-wide Civilization is our grand, global, collective endeavour. Never before in human history have so many people been so interconnected, and so interdependent."
books  architecture  urbanism  photography  design 
november 2018 by pierredv
There's no escaping the internet, says artist James Bridle | New Scientist, Aug 2018
"In New Dark Age, James Bridle expends no little shoe leather mapping the current walls of our eerie futuristic home, in the real and the virtual realm"

“Complexity is not a condition to be tamed,” Bridle cautions, “but a lesson to be learned.”
NewScientist  Internet  quotations  books  reviews 
october 2018 by pierredv
Englishing the Iliad: Grading Four Rival Translations | The New Yorker, Oct 2011
This week in the magazine, Daniel Mendelsohn reviews a new version of Homer’s Iliad, translated by Stephen Mitchell.

Richard Lattimore
Robert Fagles
Stephen Mitchell
Alexander Pope
reviews  books  NewYorker  Homer  Iliad  translations 
october 2018 by pierredv
Science isn't everything – and it's not even after the truth | New Scientist 28 Feb 2018, issue 3167
"Although science is an admirable achievement, we look silly when we claim there are no limits to what it can do, say two new books"

"Understanding trumps truth: scientists will generally settle for a less accurate model if it is more cognitively transparent."

"There is no “scientific method”, but there is a collection of tried-and-tested principles: try to use reason, compare theory against experiment, attempt to replicate results, that kind of thing. The precise emphases differ by discipline."
NewScientist  science  scientific-method  books  philosophy 
may 2018 by pierredv
The merits of revisiting Michael Young - Bagehot, Feb 2018
AFTER much searching, Bagehot has found a book that at last explains what is going on in British politics. This wonderful volume not only reveals the deeper reasons for all the bizarre convulsions. It also explains why things are not likely to get better any time soon. The book is Michael Young’s “The Rise of the Meritocracy”—and it was published 60 years ago this year.
TheEconomist  politics  meritocracy  books  culture  opinion  education 
february 2018 by pierredv
Identifont - Cochin
Used in Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology, Norton 2016
fonts  typography  books 
october 2017 by pierredv
(12) The Seabird's Cry - YouTube
Professor of Ornithology Tim Birkhead FRS joins historian and writer Adam Nicolson FRSL explore how to re-associate the analytical and imaginative aspects of understanding animals. Can we move beyond anthropomorphism to a point where we recognise an equal coexistence with animals?

Their conversation, chaired by science writer and broadcaster Claudia Hammond and is hosted in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature, was recorded on 16 October 2017. For more information on events -
RoyalSociety  ornithology  birds  books 
october 2017 by pierredv
Perrow, C.: Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies (Paperback and eBook) | Princeton University Press
Via Steven Bellovin

"Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety--building in more warnings and safeguards--fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of accidents. (At Chernobyl, tests of a new safety system helped produce the meltdown and subsequent fire.) By recognizing two dimensions of risk--complex versus linear interactions, and tight versus loose coupling--this book provides a powerful framework for analyzing risks and the organizations that insist we run them."
books  risk  technology 
october 2017 by pierredv
Sagan, S.D.: The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons (Paperback) | Princeton University Press
Via Steven Bellovin

"Environmental tragedies such as Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez remind us that catastrophic accidents are always possible in a world full of hazardous technologies. Yet, the apparently excellent safety record with nuclear weapons has led scholars, policy-makers, and the public alike to believe that nuclear arsenals can serve as a secure deterrent for the foreseeable future. In this provocative book, Scott Sagan challenges such optimism. Sagan's research into formerly classified archives penetrates the veil of safety that has surrounded U.S. nuclear weapons and reveals a hidden history of frightening "close calls" to disaster."
books  risk-assessment  nuclear  safety 
october 2017 by pierredv
Book review: "The Political Spectrum" by Thomas W. Hazlett — PolicyTracker: the spectrum management newsletter
"US spectrum guru Tom Hazlett, who was the chief economist at US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the early 1990s, has written a spectrum thriller."
books  reviews  Tom-Hazlett  PolicyTracker  spectrum 
july 2017 by pierredv
"The entrepreneurial state" -by Mariana Mazzucato - Economist book review, Aug 2013
"Economists have long recognised that the state has a role in promoting innovation. It can correct market failures by investing directly in public goods such as research, or by using the tax system to nudge businesses towards doing so. But Ms Mazzucato argues that the entrepreneurial state does far more than just make up for the private sector’s shortcomings: through the big bets it makes on new technologies, such as aircraft or the internet, it creates and shapes the markets of the future. At its best the state is nothing less than the ultimate Schumpeterian innovator—generating the gales of creative destruction that provide strong tailwinds for private firms like Apple."
books  reviews  economics  Government  entrepreneurship 
july 2017 by pierredv
How number words may have changed us from zeroes to heroes | New Scientist, issue 3124
"In his exemplary new book Numbers and the Making of Us, Caleb Everett dissects the role that culture and language play in giving us our numerical smarts"
NewScientist  books  reviews  toread 
july 2017 by pierredv
Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art, Camille
"What do they all mean – the lascivious ape, autophagic dragons, pot-bellied heads, harp-playing asses, arse-kissing priests and somersaulting jongleurs to be found protruding from the edges of medieval buildings and in the margins of illuminated manuscripts? Michael Camille explores that riotous realm of marginal art, so often explained away as mere decoration or zany doodles, where resistance to social constraints flourished.

Medieval image-makers focused attention on the underside of society, the excluded and the ejected. Peasants, servants, prostitutes and beggars all found their place, along with knights and clerics, engaged in impudent antics in the margins of prayer-books or, as gargoyles, on the outsides of churches. Camille brings us to an understanding of how marginality functioned in medieval culture and shows us just how scandalous, subversive, and amazing the art of the time could be."
books  toread  MiddleAges  art 
may 2017 by pierredv
Manifesto man: Douglas Carswell against the world | The Economist, April 2017
"Mr Carswell thinks that a new oligarchy is the biggest threat to the welfare of mankind."

"Big companies are tightening their hold over the global economy. Established parties are rigging the political system in their own favour. And business and politics are becoming ever more intertwined as companies offer jobs to ex-politicians. Journalists snobbishly dismiss populism as proof that their fellow citizens are bigots rather than as evidence that they are waking up to the fact that the system is rigged. Yet Mr Carswell has no time for the leftist solution—enlisting the state to regulate capitalism and redistribute wealth."

"Mr Carswell makes his case well. He is right that capitalism is going through a worrying period of concentration: .... He is also right that today’s meritocratic elite is hard to stomach, ... But he is wrong to think that people-power is the answer. There is a good reason that America’s Founding Fathers, whom Mr Carswell so admires, built up checks and balances to the will of the people: the people are often moved by short-term passions, swayed by demagogues, deceived by rumours. Crowds are often mad rather than wise."
TheEconomist  reviews  books  quotations 
april 2017 by pierredv
'You, Too, Could Write a Poem' is literary criticism at its best - Feb 2016
Eventually, he arrives at a fascinating conclusion, as in this section from “The Great(ness) Game”: “When we lose sight of greatness, we cease being hard on ourselves and each other; we begin to think of real criticism as being ‘mean,’ rather than as evidence of poetry’s health.... Perhaps most disturbing, we stop making demands on the few artists capable of practicing the art at its highest levels.”
poetry  books  reviews  toread  CSMonitor 
march 2017 by pierredv
'Millennium' is full of gratitude for the staggering advances of 1,000 years - Dec 2016
The four core changes he identifies in his book, the “four primary sources underlying change over the last millennium,” are a) the weather in terms of how it affected food supply, the need for security, the fear of sickness, and the “desire for personal enrichment." And the method Mortimer uses to track the fluctuating fortunes of these four core items (and plenty more) is at once thought-provoking and self-evidently artificial: He looks at each of the last 10 centuries as discreet, watertight eras and tries to assess the predominant changes each century saw that the others didn't see, prefacing the whole exercise with a smile-inducing bit of understatement: “Many of the important developments in Western culture do not fit neatly within the borders of a single century.”
change  trends  books  reviews  history  toread 
march 2017 by pierredv
Cognitive science: Mind as mirror : Nature : Nature Research
Review of
Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking
Douglas Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander

"In fact, this intriguing, frustrating book seems to exist almost in an intellectual vacuum. Unless one combs through the bibliography, one could mistakenly imagine that it is the first attempt to explore the idea of analogy and metaphor in linguistics, overlooking the work of Raymond Gibbs, Andrew Ortony, Esa Itkonen and many others."
metaphor  analogy  cognition  books  reviews  NatureJournal 
march 2017 by pierredv
The eyes have it | Books | The Guardian Sep 2004
"Nearly three years on from his death, WG Sebald has become a huge cult figure. His last book, a collaboration with the German artist Jan Peter Tripp, is a haunting testament to his singular and lasting vision"
TheGuardian  books  reviews  WGSebald  Jan-Peter-Trip  art  writing 
february 2017 by pierredv
Book review: "5G Spectrum and Standards" by Geoff Varrall — PolicyTracker - Dec 2016
"In 5G Spectrum and Standards, Geoff Varrall says 5G will only be a success if it can do the same thing. The book outlines the hard maths of the various visions of 5G and Varrall, like many vendors and operators, sees 5G as an evolution rather than a revolution. For all the technological advancements, “5G’s delivery economics will be determined by improving existing technologies and the efficiency with which we exploit these technologies,” he says."
PolicyTracker  5G  books  reviews  spectrum-auctions 
december 2016 by pierredv
100 Actual Titles of Real Eighteenth-Century Novels - The Toast
Argal; Or The Silver Devil, Being The Adventures Of An Evil Spirit, Comprising A Series Of Interesting Anecdotes, With Which The Demon Became Acquainted, During His Confinement In The Metalline Substance To Which He Was Condemned. Related By Himself.
books  writing 
october 2016 by pierredv
Is Your Big Data Project a “Weapon of Math Destruction”? - IEEE Spectrum - Oct 2016
"But amid all the excitement, we’re beginning to see hints that our nice, tidy algorithms and predictive models might be prone to the same shortcomings that the humans who create them are. Take, for example, the revelation that Google disproportionately served ads for high-paying jobs to men rather than women. And there’s the troubling recent discovery that a criminal risk assessment score disproportionately flagged many African Americans as higher risk, sometimes resulting in longer prison sentences."

"One of the things that makes big data so attractive is the assumption that it’s eliminating human subjectivity and bias. After all, you’re basing everything on hard numbers from the real world, right? Wrong. Predictive models and algorithms, says author Cathy O’Neil, are really just “opinions embedded in math.” "
AI  algorithms  morality  ethics  values  books  interviews 
october 2016 by pierredv
Lionel Shriver’s Address on Cultural Appropriation Roils a Writers Festival - The New York Times
"Officials in charge of an Australian writers festival were so upset with the address by their keynote speaker, the American novelist Lionel Shriver, that they publicly disavowed her remarks.

Links to her appearance were also temporarily unavailable on the festival website, leading supporters of Ms. Shriver to complain of censorship, but festival officials said it was only a technical malfunction on their website, which was repaired later."
books  censorship 
october 2016 by pierredv
New age nonsense seeks to censor writers’ imagination - Sep 2016
via Johan Myburgh, Skrywers & Boeke Sep 2016

"For those who missed the original brouhaha, American ­writer Shriver — actually, we should probably say the straight, white, female American writer, since it’s apparently important that we know all this before we read her books — was invited to give the opening ­address at the Brisbane Writers Festival."

"Then came the chilling aftermath. The festival organisers — ­director Julie Beveridge and her team — were shaken to the core, not by Shriver’s speech but by the idea that people were offended. There were meetings behind closed doors and in the writers’ green room where I sat watching as they grappled with what to do."
censorship  books  opinion 
october 2016 by pierredv
Book Review: Patry on Copyright
"In the current environment of rapid technological change, copyright law and ‘controversy’ go hand in hand. The recent history of the intersection between copyright and technology – from the videocassette recorder to Internet file sharing – is full of charges that copyright law is either too full of loopholes, or wholly inadequate, to provide the technological neutrality needed in legislation for the digital age.

"Among the recent crop of books on copyright law, William Patry’s treatise stands out as offering a particularly comprehensive and critical view of copyright in the United States."
books  reviews  copyright 
october 2016 by pierredv
The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease – Brain Pickings
"But no researcher has done more to illuminate the invisible threads that weave mind and body together than Dr. Esther Sternberg. Her groundbreaking work on the link between the central nervous system and the immune system, exploring how immune molecules made in the blood can trigger brain function that profoundly affects our emotions, has revolutionized our understanding of the integrated being we call a human self. In the immeasurably revelatory The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions (public library), Sternberg examines the interplay of our emotions and our physical health, mediated by that seemingly nebulous yet, it turns out, remarkably concrete experience called stress."

"Indeed, the relationship between memory, emotion, and stress is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Sternberg’s work. She considers how we deal with the constant swirl of inputs and outputs as we move through the world, barraged by a stream of stimuli and sensations"

Sternberg quote: "Every minute of the day and night we feel thousands of sensations that might trigger a positive emotion such as happiness, or a negative emotion such as sadness, or no emotion at all: a trace of perfume, a light touch, a fleeting shadow, a strain of music. And there are thousands of physiological responses, such as palpitations or sweating, that can equally accompany positive emotions such as love, or negative emotions such as fear, or can happen without any emotional tinge at all. What makes these sensory inputs and physiological outputs emotions is the charge that gets added to them somehow, somewhere in our brains. Emotions in their fullest sense comprise all of these components. Each can lead into the black box and produce an emotional experience, or something in the black box can lead out to an emotional response that seems to come from nowhere."

"Rather than asking if depressing thoughts can cause an illness of the body, we need to ask what the molecules and nerve pathways are that cause depressing thoughts. And then we need to ask whether these affect the cells and molecules that cause disease."

"Memory, it turns out, is one of the major factors mediating the dialogue between sensation and emotional experience. Our memories of past experience become encoded into triggers that act as switchers on the rail of psychoemotional response, directing the incoming train of present experience in the direction of one emotional destination or another."

"But stress isn’t a direct causal function of the circumstances we’re in — what either amplifies or ameliorates our experience of stress is, once again, memory. "
Brainpickings  books  stress  emotion  feelings  memory  depression 
october 2016 by pierredv
Learning to be kind to yourself has remarkable benefits | Aeon Essays - Mark Leary
"Learning to be kind to yourself when you (inevitably) make mistakes could have a remarkable effect on your happiness"
"These two reactions to shortcomings, failures and problems might appear to reflect a difference in self-esteem but, in fact, the key difference involves not self-esteem but rather self-compassion. That is, the difference lies not so much in how people evaluate themselves (their self-esteem) but rather in how they treat themselves (their self-compassion). "
"people who were high in self-compassion had less negative, pessimistic and self-critical thoughts about the events, and experienced fewer negative emotions. Self-compassionate people also indicated that they tried to be kind to themselves in the face of whatever difficulties they experienced, much as they would respond to a friend with similar problems."
"In The Compassionate Mind (2009), Paul Gilbert, a British psychologist who has explored the therapeutic benefits of self-compassion, suggests that self-directed compassion triggers the same physiological systems as receiving care from other people."
"One central feature of self-compassion that helps to lower distress is what Neff calls common humanity. People high in self-compassion recognise that everyone has problems and suffers. "
"These concerns reflect a lack of understanding of what self-compassion actually involves. It is not indifference to what happens or how one behaves. Nor is it a blindly positive outlook or an excuse to be lazy or shirk responsibility. Instead, self-compassion is based on wanting the best for oneself. Just as compassion for other people arises from a concern for their wellbeing and a desire to relieve their suffering, self-compassion involves desiring the best for oneself and responding in ways that promote one’s wellbeing."
"Viewing one’s problems with a gentle, caring perspective allows people to confront their difficulties head-on without minimising them. "
Steps in cultivating self-compassion:
1. start noticing instances in which you are not being nice to yourself
2. When bad things happen or you behave in a less-than-desirable way, remind yourself that everyone fails, ... and experiences myriad negative events.
3. Learn to cultivate self-kindness
AeonMagazine  happiness  compassion  ageing  books  self-compassion 
june 2016 by pierredv
How Meditation, Placebos And Virtual Reality Help Power 'Mind Over Body' : Shots - Health News : NPR
Jo Marchant, about her book "Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body"

"The researchers explained it as our brains only have a certain capacity for attention," Marchant says. "If you've got something that's really commanding your attention, there's less attention left over for experiencing the pain."
"... if you calm the breathing down, you're kind of forcing your body into a more relaxed state and you will then experience probably fewer negative thoughts as a result."
NPR  meditation  placebo  pain  books  ritual 
may 2016 by pierredv
Girls and sex: Two steps forward, one back - Economist April 2016
"For anyone raising a daughter, these books do not make for easy reading. Expect plenty of stories about binge drinking, random hookups, oral sex and misjudged sexting. Intellectually, many young women believe they can achieve whatever they set their minds to, but most still struggle to obey a sexual double-standard that gives them little room between being chided as “sluts” or “prudes”. As one teenage girl tells Ms Orenstein, “Usually the opposite of a negative is a positive, but in this case it’s two negatives. So what are you supposed to do?”"
TheEconomist  sex  gender  books  reviews 
april 2016 by pierredv
Edward Hollis - The Secret Lives of Buildings - Book Review | BookPage
Via sculpture note at US Woordfees Mar 2016: Read chapter "The wondrous fitting of the Holy House" in chapter "The Santa Casa of Loreto"
books  architecture  reviews  toread 
march 2016 by pierredv
Book review: "Spectrum Management" by Martin Cave and William Webb - PolicyTracker Feb 2016
"Two strong advocates of spectrum liberalisation recognise practical difficulties, lament the lack of innovation in Europe and make the case for reform of the ITU Radio Regulations." Their five key recommendations : "1. Replace exclusive licences with less restrictive alternatives to facilitate spectrum sharing 2. Base licences on interference generated rather than power transmitted, like the Spectrum Usage Rights promoted by UK regulator Ofcom 3. Improve receiver performance because insufficiently robust devices, like TV sets, restrict the usage of neighbouring frequencies 4. Reform the category system used by the ITU 5. Reconsider the work of regional and global spectrum bodies"
books  Martin-Cave  William-Webb  spectrum  PolicyTracker 
february 2016 by pierredv
Professionals, your time is up, prepare to be sidelined by tech - New Scientist 21 Nov 2015
"A new book, The Future of the Professions [by Richard and Daniel Susskind], argues that machines will soon do the work of lawyers, doctor and others. Should babies be delivered by robots? "
books  reviews  NewScientist  AI  judgment  professions  law  medicine 
december 2015 by pierredv
Via Skrywers & Boeke Woensdag 4 November 2015: "Prof. Franci Greyling gesels oor Storiewerf, 'n gratis webwerf vol stories vir die kleingoed"
afrikaans  children  books 
november 2015 by pierredv
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