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tsuomela : metaphor   117

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The evolution of lossy compression | Journal of The Royal Society Interface
"In complex environments, there are costs to both ignorance and perception. An organism needs to track fitness-relevant information about its world, but the more information it tracks, the more resources it must devote to perception. As a first step towards a general understanding of this trade-off, we use a tool from information theory, rate–distortion theory, to study large, unstructured environments with fixed, randomly drawn penalties for stimuli confusion (‘distortions’). We identify two distinct regimes for organisms in these environments: a high-fidelity regime where perceptual costs grow linearly with environmental complexity, and a low-fidelity regime where perceptual costs are, remarkably, independent of the number of environmental states. This suggests that in environments of rapidly increasing complexity, well-adapted organisms will find themselves able to make, just barely, the most subtle distinctions in their environment."
evolution  culture  fitness  perception  metaphor  computer-science 
january 2018 by tsuomela
Paul Ryan, Überwonk | Emmett Rensin
An entertaining parallel between Nietzsche ubermensch and wonkdom. Wonks master something but don't act.
politics  wonk  rhetoric  change  metaphor 
april 2017 by tsuomela
The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media, Peters
"When we speak of clouds these days, it is as likely that we mean data clouds or network clouds as cumulus or stratus. In their sharing of the term, both kinds of clouds reveal an essential truth: that the natural world and the technological world are not so distinct. In The Marvelous Clouds, John Durham Peters argues that though we often think of media as environments, the reverse isjust as true—environments are media."
book  publisher  media  sts  science  technology  environment  cloud  metaphor 
july 2015 by tsuomela
Introduction to Peter Morville book - Interwingled.
book  excerpt  complexity  ecology  information  metaphor 
october 2014 by tsuomela
Shaka, When the Walls Fell - Ian Bogost - The Atlantic
"A charming sentiment, and a move that always works for Star Trek—the juxtaposition of classical antiquity and science-fictional futurism. But Picard gets it wrong one last time. To represent the world as systems of interdependent logics we need not elevate those logics to the level of myth, nor focus on the logics of our myths. Instead, we would have to meditate on the logics in everything, to see the world as one built of weird, rusty machines whose gears squeal as they grind against one another, rather than as stories into which we might write ourselves as possible characters. It’s an understandable mistake, but one that rings louder when heard from the vantage point of the 24th century. For even then, stories and images take center stage, and logics and processes wait in the wings as curiosities, accessories. Perhaps one day we will learn this lesson of the Tamarians: that understanding how the world works is a more promising approach to intervention within it than mere description or depiction. Until then, well: Shaka, when the walls fell."
title(StarTrek)  language  linguistics  metaphor  logic  philosophy  culture  television 
june 2014 by tsuomela
Project MUSE - Configurations - Our Posthuman Past: Victorian Realism, Cybernetics, and the Problem of Information
"This essay argues that Victorian realism pre-imagines the conditions of early artificial intelligence by reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford (1853) alongside key cybernetic texts. In doing so, it claims that Victorian realism influences twentieth-century definitions of what it means to be human—definitions that have sparked contemporary debate about information and embodiment. By examining realism’s representation practices, information practices can be better understood, not just in the twenty-first century, but as part of an ongoing debate."
sts  history  literature  realism  information  information-science  rhetoric  metaphor 
august 2013 by tsuomela
Patterns of Refactored Agency
"I’ve found it to be a good general-purpose cognitive tool to try to see the world with agency located in unconventional places. Normally, we like to imagine ourselves as the chief agents in our lives – making choices, taking actions, pursuing our own interests that we have identified for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with this, of course. It’s no doubt much more healthy to think in that way than the inverse – to view yourself, for example, as nothing but a puppet of external forces. But it is not so good to be trapped in a single fictional model of the universe. To understand large systems we need to go beyond the everyday model of agency and think in new ways."
agency  metaphor  causation  free-will  philosophy  psychology  patterns 
april 2013 by tsuomela
The Locust Economy
"Thinking about locusts and the behavior of customers around services like Groupon, I’ve become convinced that the phrase “sharing economy” is mostly a case of putting lipstick on a pig. What we have here is a locust economy. Let me explain what that means."
economics  sharing  commons  metaphor  community 
april 2013 by tsuomela
The People of the Petabyte - Forbes
"You Too Can Become a Data Scientist

So the bottomline is that there is big money looming. Fortunes will be made and lost. Which means you too should attempt to become a data scientist.

The skills have become increasingly easy to acquire, and are getting easier by the week. But at the same time, cultural barriers to people self-classifying into the data scene are being erected.

Redefine yourself while you can. Let me know if you need any pickaxes."
data-science  data-curation  description  metaphor  business  economics 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: From Metaphor to Myth · Econ Journal Watch: Adam Smith, invisible hand, metaphor
"Adam Smith and the ‘invisible hand’ are nearly synonymous in modern economic thinking. Adam Smith is strongly associated with the invisible hand, understood as a general rule that people in realising their self-interests unintentionally benefit the public good. The attribution to Smith is challengeable. Adam Smith’s use of the metaphor was much more modest
people(AdamSmith)  history  economics  ideology  invisible  metaphor  ideas 
march 2012 by tsuomela
Belated Debt Post: Ancient Efficient Markets Hypotheses — Crooked Timber
"And yet: human beings (not just economists), when called upon to explain how society works, have a strange tendency to reach first for efficient market hypotheses, and to hold on like grim death. Natural or even cosmic orders of orderly payback. That’s the ticket. We are ‘in debt’ to the gods, or our parents, or society. Graeber is quick to point out the inadequacies of these metaphors." Annotated link
book  review  debt  metaphor  philosophy  ethics  anthropology  ancient  principles  sociology  society 
march 2012 by tsuomela
Home Economics and the Nation Against the State | Savage Minds
"What does it mean that people are inclined to think of the federal budget in the subjunctive, as if it were like the budget of a typical household? What “work” does it do for the people who espouse it?"
economics  metaphor  politics  state  family  nation  anthropology  culture  common-sense 
august 2011 by tsuomela
A Crude and Simplifying Metaphor | Easily Distracted
"But let me propose instead a metaphor that I find more congenial for understanding the architecture of the political moment.

Let’s say you’re a player for a perpetually losing sports team in a league where there’s two or three teams that always dominate the competition year after year. Everyone but the die-hard fans have deserted you. Some of your former fans have just given up watching the sport altogether, some watch the winning teams diffidently from afar.

It’s a familiar scenario from a zillion sports films and even occasionally resembles the real-life narratives that emerge out of sports and games.

As a member of the always-losing team, you have a few explanatory options, which then suggest a few possible ways to act:"
politics  metaphor  explanation  leftism  liberal 
july 2011 by tsuomela
Codename: Geronimo | Savage Minds
"A little excess social capital couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Playing Indian is a dynamic practice, changing with time as American anxieties change from one generation to the next. Giving Bin Laden the code name “Geronimo” rises out of the need to address the ambivalence Americans have over the value of the current war. By imbuing it with Indians the war is legitimated but it is also made comprehensible. The current war is made legible in terms of previous wars. In fact, the ideology of American/ Indian martial conflict and the contradictory imagery of Indians as Us and Not-Us plays itself out, over and over again, in every American military conflict. This is part of American culture and shows how we make war make sense."
war  terrorism  metaphor  identity  native-american  sensemaking 
may 2011 by tsuomela
markets as… «
"OK, this is admittedly very, very loose — but here are some different characterizations of markets, sort of a rough and naive meta-taxonomy of markets:"
markets  metaphor  list  ideas 
april 2011 by tsuomela
‘Wordquakes’ can shake the political blogosphere (Wired UK)
"A new study of word frequencies in political blogs finds that equations describing earthquake evolution fit the eruption of topics onto political blogs.

News tends to move quickly through the public consciousness, noted physicist Peter Klimek of the Medical University of Vienna and colleagues in a paper posted on Readers usually absorb a story, discuss it with their friends, and then forget it. But some events send lasting reverberations through society, changing opinions and even governments."
public-opinion  words  language  weblog-analysis  weblog-research  weblog  statistics  earthquake  metaphor 
april 2011 by tsuomela
The New Atlantis » The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings
Here, then, is my question: Are you and I machines? Are we analyzable without remainder into a collection of mechanisms whose operation can be fully explained by the causal operation of physical and chemical laws, starting from the parts and proceeding to the whole? It might seem so, judging from the insistent testimony of those whose work is to understand life.
biology  explanation  metaphor  machine  science  philosophy 
april 2011 by tsuomela
What it's like to Write a Dissertation
"Writing a dissertation is like playing center field with one difference:

No satisfying recoil. "
academic  baseball  sports  metaphor  writing  dissertation 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Tomgram: Rebecca Solnit, The Earthquake Kit | TomDispatch
"Who, then, does it serve to imagine that we are wolves and sheep, fools and savages? Lee Clarke, a disaster sociologist and professor at Rutgers, wrote after Hurricane Katrina, “Disaster myths are not politically neutral, but rather work systematically to the advantage of elites. Elites cling to the panic myth because to acknowledge the truth of the situation would lead to very different policy prescriptions than the ones currently in vogue.” That is to say, if we are wolves and sheep, and so not to be trusted, then they are the shepherds and the wolf-killers."
disaster  media  metaphor  propaganda  militarism  government  framing  crisis  earthquake  country(Japan) 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Metaphors Matter: Disaster Myths, Media Frames, and Their Consequences in Hurricane Katrina
"It has long been understood by disaster researchers that both the general public and organizational actors tend to believe in various disaster myths. Notions that disasters are accompanied by looting, social disorganization, and deviant behavior are examples of such myths. Research shows that the mass media play a significant role in promulgating erroneous beliefs about disaster behavior. Following Hurricane Katrina, the response of disaster victims was framed by the media in ways that greatly exaggerated the incidence and severity of looting and lawlessness. Media reports initially employed a “civil unrest” frame and later characterized victim behavior as equivalent to urban warfare. The media emphasis on lawlessness and the need for strict social control both reflects and reinforces political discourse calling for a greater role for the military in disaster management. Such policy positions are indicators of the strength of militarism as an ideology in the United States. "
disaster  media  metaphor  propaganda  militarism  government  framing  crisis  law 
april 2011 by tsuomela
Yglesias » Households and States
"The United States of America also uses dollars as a unit of account for tallying up assets and liabilities, but the wealth of the United States is properly measured not by how many dollars there are but by what real production we’re engaged in and what real stock of assets we possess. "
economics  metaphor  budget  spending  deficit  money  fiscal-policy  family 
march 2011 by tsuomela
The Avengers Help You Understand Your Fears About Transhumanism | Science Not Fiction | Discover Magazine
"Transhumanism is a big, complicated, sprawling idea. The central concept – that humans can be made better with technology – touches on a lot of hopes and fears about the future of humanity. Though I’m always going on about how great human enhancement could be, I’ve got my fair share of fears myself. But my fears are probably way different than many of your fears. But how in the world can we represent those concerns? As it turns out, I’ve found a pretty good set of archetypes that represent our hopes and fears: Marvel Comic’s Avengers."
transhumanism  future  biology  psychology  change  metaphor  comics 
march 2011 by tsuomela
The Deadliest Rhetoric - Reason Magazine
"Official government violence against nonviolent Americans and residents, by contrast, occurs daily. And for the last 30 years it has been increasing at an alarming rate. From the early 1980s to the mid-2000s, University of Eastern Kentucky criminologist Peter Kraska conducted an annual survey on the use of SWAT teams in the United States. Until the late 1970s, SWAT teams were generally used in emergency situations to defuse conflicts with people who presented an immediate threat to others, such as hostage takers, bank robbers, or mass shooters. But beginning in the early 1980s, police departments across the country began using SWAT teams to serve drug warrants.

Kraska found that the number of SWAT deployments in America increased from 3,000 per year in the early 1980s to around 50,000 by the mid-2000s. That’s about 135 SWAT raids per day. The vast majority of those are for drug warrants."
crime  police  terrorism  drugs  war  metaphor  politics  rhetoric  militarism  military-industrial-complex  weapons 
march 2011 by tsuomela
Our Obsession with the Word "Random": Fear of a Millennial Planet | The Awl
"When Ringle opened his Washington Post article with the line, "We have seen the future and it is random," I believe he was making a moral point. The post-World War II "neat" may have been an ignorant oversimplification of the world and its inherent messiness, but the post-9/11 random is an exaggeration of this messiness and an unwillingness to find resolve or connection. There is something unthinking and uncurious and unfeeling in its use. It is defensive. It indicates a lack of empathy.

Random is anathema to synthesis through imagination, a refusal to enter the unknown."
language  trends  randomness  metaphor  ambition  modernity  scale 
march 2011 by tsuomela
The President's Movie | The American Prospect
"President Obama has been especially disinclined to enter the darkened theater, play actor-in-chief, and replace policy with national therapy. One suspects that he thinks it is demeaning and demagogic -- beneath him and the office. The presidency should be substantive. It should be about serious stuff. It should tackle problems, not pretend that they don't exist or that they will disappear if we just put ourselves in the proper frame of mind. All of which places him at a tremendous disadvantage in the contemporary politics of theatricality. One reason for Reagan's success as a communicator is that he actually believed in his own cheery message. He truly believed the cliches, the simplifications, the optimism. For Obama, as for many liberals, it is all hooey.

And that reluctance to embrace the presidency as a feel-good movie-dream may be the real answer to why the candidate who entered the nation's emotional life became a president who retreated from it."
communication  metaphor  politics  politicians  obama 
january 2011 by tsuomela
Using Information to Extract Energy | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine
In 1929, Leó Szilárd used a similar setup to establish an amazing result: the connection between energy and information. The connection is not that “information carries energy”; if I tell you some information about gas particles in a box, that doesn’t change their total energy. But it does help you extract that energy. Effectively, learning more information lowers the entropy of the gas. That’s a loosey-goosey statement, because there is more than one way to define “entropy”; but one reasonable definition is that the entropy is a measure of the information you don’t have about a system.
physics  information  information-science  entropy  physical  metaphor 
november 2010 by tsuomela
Confessions of a Community College Dean: Business or Town?
Business or Town?
Tenured Radical’s thoughtful post on elite presidential salaries got me thinking about the “run the college like a business” canard.

Most of the people who use that phrase, whether approvingly or damningly, haven’t personally worked in a college that was actually a business. I have -- you’ve heard of it -- and I can report confidently that it’s the wrong metaphor for the community colleges I know.

Having been in all three settings, I’m convinced that community college administration is much closer to town or municipal government than it is to for-profit business.
academia  business  governance  metaphor  money  budget 
november 2010 by tsuomela
This Is Your Brain on Metaphors -
But if the brain confusing reality and literalness with metaphor and symbol can have adverse consequences, the opposite can occur as well.
metaphor  language  brain  neurology  evolution  psychology  behavior  linguistics  cognition  reality  literalism  philosophy 
november 2010 by tsuomela
Post-America II - The Post Post- Society | Corrente
Stirling Newberry begins a multipart examination of pre-, post-, neo- and other dating schemes.
history  language  metaphor  postmodern  time  dating 
july 2010 by tsuomela
Post-America: Part I | Corrente
Stirling Newberry begins a multipart examination of pre-, post-, neo- and other dating schemes.
history  language  metaphor  postmodern  time  dating 
july 2010 by tsuomela
slacktivist: The Indignant Household Budget
One of the more popular voluntary delusions of the IndigNation has to do with the "kitchen table" analogies comparing "your" household budget with the federal or state budget.

These analogies are misleading and distorting in the semi-deliberate way of so much of what the IndigNation does -- preferring self-congratulatory self-righteousness to accuracy or effectiveness or justice or efficiency or, well, pretty much anything.
economics  money  metaphor  family  indignation  tea-party  conservative 
july 2010 by tsuomela
Open Left:: Lakoff hits the nail on the head re Obama--but misses the heart
That's the fundamental reason why Obama hit dribblers in the press conference: because neo-liberalism is all about the dribblers. Don't swing for the fences, it says. Don't go for single-payer--or even for a robust public option that would lead to single-payer over time--even though it's what's needed to dramatically cut the over-priced costs of healthcare "system".
neoliberalism  obama  politics  rhetoric  lakoff  george  language  metaphor  third-way  liberalism  empathy 
may 2010 by tsuomela
George Lakoff: Why "Rational Reason" Doesn't Work in Contemporary Politics |
Lakoff adds to his theory the distinction between real and false reason. "Real reason is embodied in two ways. It is physical, in our brain circuitry. And it is based on our bodies as the function in the everyday world, using thought that arises from embodied metaphors. And it is mostly unconscious. False reason sees reason as fully conscious, as literal, disembodied, yet somehow fitting the world directly, and working not via frame-based, metaphorical, narrative and emotional logic, but via the logic of logicians alone."
metaphor  politics  distributed  cognition  embodiment  physical  neuroscience  conservatism  enlightenment  reasoning  rationality  reason 
march 2010 by tsuomela
The Zombie Zeitgeist by David Sirota on - A Syndicate Of Talent
In fact, I'll go out on a severed limb and take it further: If zombies specifically represent the apocalyptic downsides of immortalized mindlessness, then today's zombie zeitgeist is not merely a result of scary quandaries created by stupidity. It is a reaction to both those problems and the sense that they can never be thwarted.

Here we are, a year after a financial implosion that should have driven a stake in the heart of free market fundamentalism. Here we are, a year after an election that was supposed to pour holy water on Wall Street vampires, exorcise the economy's demons and challenge the ancient mummies of neoconservative foreign policy. Yet here we are, with virtually nothing changed, watching the same zombie crises indomitably stumble forward.
zombies  metaphor  rhetoric  art  politics  culture  power 
october 2009 by tsuomela
FLEFF 10 - Ithaca College
Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. Theme: Open Space - A Year-Long Nomadic Exploration
film  festival  school(IthacaCollege)  open-space  metaphor  via:ulisesmejias 
september 2009 by tsuomela
Criticisms of Lakoff’s Theory of Metaphor « Apperceptual
Lakoff’s theory of metaphor has been both highly praised and highly criticized. My own thinking about how the mind works has been greatly influenced by Lakoff’s books, yet I also agree with much of what his critics say. I would like to make a case here that his books are worth reading, although much of the criticism is correct.
metaphor  linguistics  language  philosophy  cognition  analogy  debate  review  about(GeorgeLakoff) 
september 2009 by tsuomela
Whiskey Fire: Distribute the News-Worth, Oaf
We may be about to enter the era of the Beige-golfshirts. Worn by zombies. Huzzah.
politics  town-hall  nazism  metaphor  history  fascism 
august 2009 by tsuomela
Mark Turner
I study the nature and emergence of higher-order cognitive operations that distinguish human beings from other species and appear in the record of our descent during the Upper Paleolithic.
people  cognition  language  literature  metaphor  psychology  science  cognitive-science  philosophy  anthology  education  mind  evolution 
august 2009 by tsuomela
How to Save the World - What It Means to Be Human: Being Covalent Instead of Ambivalent About Community
Who we are, our self-ishness, is, I've concluded, merely the composite expression of our communities, the three communities that are telling us, all the time, what to do and who to be: our visceral community, our social community, our natural community.
community  expressions  self-concept  self-knowledge  philosophy  metaphor 
august 2009 by tsuomela
Ten Rules for 5G Warfare - Umair Haque -
Welcome to 5G warfare. There's a war going on in America today: an information war, being waged digitally. It's not physically violent — but it's culturally, socially, and economically violent. And its ultimate goal is that of any war: political defeat.
information  war  metaphor  politics  about(BarackObama)  collaboration  future  rhetoric  social-media 
august 2009 by tsuomela
The Tipping Point: Fascinating but mythological? | vox - Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists
Tipping point stories are fascinating, but do we observe them in the real world? I became intrigued with this question a while ago and eventually published a paper testing the predictions of the tipping point story for its original application – racial segregation of US neighbourhoods
metaphor  model  economics  sociology  demography  urban  race 
july 2009 by tsuomela
slacktivist: Falling flat
And but so anyway, I told them, that is what I think happened to Pop. That is what I think will happen to us all. One day you and I will be out of time and we cannot conceive or comprehend what that means any more than the poor Linelanders can understand North and South or the poor Flatlanders can understand Up and Down.
death  metaphor  psychology 
july 2009 by tsuomela Books | How to go viral
Bill Wasik is an Internet instigator... Wasik is best known as the creator of flash mobs... he's analyzed how and why some stories became cultural phenomenons and others languish in the nursing home of online oblivion.

Now, in his new book "And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture", Wasik sets out to explain what he's learned from all his Web mischievousness and also what our increasing addiction to the Internet indicates about us as a society. We now have more information at our fingertips than ever before, but Wasik suggests we find it hard to focus on issues that really matter because we're so consumed with myopic, ephemeral things.
internet  online  culture  flash-mobs  viral  metaphor  popular 
july 2009 by tsuomela
Less Wrong: Nonparametric Ethics
Nonparametric ethics says: "Let's reason about which moral situations are at least rough neighbors so that an acceptable solution to one should be at least mostly-acceptable to another
ethics  morality  norms  mathematics  metaphor 
june 2009 by tsuomela
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