Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Okay. Love.



Yeah, otherwise, still grading midterms, reading sf, watching Buffy high with Eric -- the first hundred days.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Grading

Grading mid-term papers this weekend, which should pretty much park a truck in the middle of my brain for the next couple of days.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Your crappy product isn't "New" and "Improved" because you slapped those words on it.

Your AI theory is stupid and slapping the word "super" in front of the word AI doesn't help.

Your anarchism is facile and slapping the word "deep" in front of the word "state" doesn't help.


Be a revolutionary if you want to be a revolutionary...

...but you shouldn't confuse whining about Democrats as the same thing as being a revolutionary because it is not.

Could Be Useful



In case the throwaway character of this post leads to the wrong impression, I really do quite love this beautiful and funny and forceful work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

No computer has ever won a game of chess.

No computer has ever even played a game of chess.

No computer has ever played anything.

No computer has ever played.

All survival has style.

Survival radically underdetermines style, but all survival has style.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How Low Can He Go?

Not fifty days in, and the execrable Trump has already managed approval numbers lower than Obama ever had in eight years. Will Nixonian depths have been plumbed prior to the end of the first hundred days? And what would that even mean under current conditions?

Spring Break

Papers to grade and lecture prep for the back end aside, my plans for Spring Break (well underway) are to read Nnedi Okorafor's Binti: Home, Becky Chambers' A Closed And Common Orbit, Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140, and Kameron Hurley's The Stars Are Legion.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Here In California, The Numbers Are Much The Same

Friday, March 17, 2017

Memories

This is the first CD I ever bought. I still own it -- and listen to it! Something magical happens during her rendition of "Fascinating Rhythm" and Sassy is seized by her genius and the concert just never lets up after that. I got this on the the same day I got my first CD player back in 1983 as a first-year undergraduate at IU Bloomington. I bought it at a record store called The Glass Harmonica, where a jolly couple like two gray acorns in thick gray sweaters sold mostly classical music and Broadway cast albums. My best friend Kathleen and I got a second musical education sampling music at Glass Harmonica Saturday afternoons, Sondheim, Shostokovich, and so on, and then to Mother Bear's pizza and then to the movies... Good gods, this was thirty four years ago!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Don't Count On It

I mean, sure, hold out hope, cheer even brief successes, call your Congress critters, give to the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the Immigration Law Center and so on... but understand that it is ongoing education, messaging, organizing, protesting, campaigning that will resist Trump and repair the damage done by Republicans and make a world that works for the majority who have to work for a living. I'm happy the Courts are dealing the Republicans some early blows, but we're not a hundred days in yet and I daresay the Courts will no more save us from Trump than they saved us from W.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It Pays To Advertize

Until Democrats insistently and consistently celebrate government doing well what only government can (that is, to maintain the public and common goods of which political freedom is made), Republicans will continue to decry and dismantle as "waste" everything government does that doesn't simply protect and expand the wealth of the richest.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Rhet Vet

I am perplexed by the preference of many for the opaque term "single payer" over the (to me) much clearer and usefully stakes-foregrounding "Medicare for All." It's oddly counterintuitive to persist in crafting a rallying discourse around a form of the word "pay," for one thing. And the intrusion of the isolating individuating figure "single" here is discursively deranging. The point of dem-left healthcare politics in the American context, surely, is to emphasize the collective nature of public health, healthcare as a universal right and public investment and source of commonwealth: Whatever the wonky reference of "single" in "single payer" in the insurance policy imaginary, as a slogan it is pushing buttons, making connections, opening up possibilities for action in different ways once it is no longer a phrase in an educational lecture about optimal outcomes to students, an organizational shorthand about ideal outcomes among activists, but a phrase that is activating the diversity of hopes and histories of a working coalition capable of electing enough legislators to enact a longer-term agenda while accountably solving the shared problems in real time of an even greater diversity of stakeholders. Part of this is the difference between discussing engineering and discussing politics, part of this is the difference between discussing ethics and discussing politics, part of this is the difference between movement politics and partisan politics, part of this is the difference between expertise and commonsense and hegemonization...   

Saturday, March 11, 2017

And then you're caught.

The assimilation of Platonic doxa to Marxist ideology is an easy hook to bite down on.

Friday, March 10, 2017

So Useful

Every word you use is a scientific hypothesis.
Every word you use is a magic spell.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Reader

These last few months I have drawn sense and solace from reading much more than from writing (or, heaven help me, my teaching) and that has made this blog an even more than usually slipshod affair lately. Obviously, the volume of my writing here has waxed and waned over the years, but it occurs to me that as a general matter the life of this blog has co-incided with an unusually long stretch in which I have drawn my sense and solace instead mostly from my own writing. Nowadays, though, it seems I prefer to mull. Thinking back to a childhood spent hiding with books I'd say my hunger for reading these days but distaste for saying much of anything myself is pretty familiar. Even if I spent well over a decade unceasingly over-confidently blathering several Tolstoy novels' worth of words onto this blog, for instance, the comparative recent reticence feels like a return to form. Probably this change has been a gradual thing, but the dramatic blows to my confidence represented by last year's unexpected medical emergency and then the catastrophic Presidential election have left me floundering in ways that exposed what otherwise I wasn't paying too much attention to. This blog began years ago in an effort to produce an extended piece of writing, my dissertation, and this blog has testified since to my sense of myself as a writer more than anything else, not because my writing here has been especially good or anything but simply because my writing here has been writing I had to do, that I figured things out with, that would remain unchanged if it never attracted a reader. These days, I'm feeling much more like a reader than a writer. Not saying I'm not going to blog anymore, I'm just reading and listening is all, and probably something is changing.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Blogged

When every tweet feels like the ritual exorcism of an essay you didn't write that also will never be read...

Saturday, March 04, 2017

What Is Happening?

My working theory is that Scalia's passage into hell seems to have deranged the timeline for us all ever since...