An interesting article (via Mefi):
Nothing human makes it out of the near-future.
Can what is playing you make it to level 2?
Nick Land embarked on a speculative exploration of the post-human, at great cost to his own sanity. Someone had to do it.
I’m not quite as optimistic as some friends about the future, though I am aware that Collapse is based on false facts. Easter Island did not collapse; the people adapted. Humans are nothing if not adaptable.
Still, an intriguing question in a world that will surely see true AIs in the near future, in which economic and political systems have little interest in actual people, in which the most profitable corporations are already man-machine cyborgs, and which faces near-certain climate catastrophe: Can what is playing you make it to level 2?
We measured the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs of 37 breeds during defecation (1,893 observations) and urination (5,582 observations) over a two-year period. After complete sampling, we sorted the data according to the geomagnetic conditions prevailing during the respective sampling periods. Relative declination and intensity changes of the MF during the respective dog walks were calculated from daily magnetograms. Directional preferences of dogs under different MF conditions were analyzed and tested by means of circular statistics.
Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm MF conditions. This directional behavior was abolished under Unstable MF. The best predictor of the behavioral switch was the rate of change in declination, i.e., polar orientation of the MF.
— Frontiers in Zoology, Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field
To be clear, I think that having smart people who do very smart things explain what they doing in a way that everyone can understand is a good thing. But TED goes way beyond that.
Let me tell you a story. I was at a presentation that a friend, an astrophysicist, gave to a potential donor. I thought the presentation was lucid and compelling (and I’m a professor of visual arts here at UC San Diego so at the end of the day, I know really nothing about astrophysics). After the talk the sponsor said to him, “you know what, I’m gonna pass because I just don’t feel inspired …you should be more like Malcolm Gladwell.”
— The Guardian, We need to talk about TED
Truthiness isn’t just for the right wing. NYTimes-reading, NPR-listening “liberals” are awash in truthiness as well. It may not be as pernicious, but it’s fraudulent and intellectually dishonest all the same.
Looking back on an eventful year, I’d like to thank my family and friends, new and old, who helped me through some trying times and who brought so much joy into my life. It’s been a year of grand adventures, frustrating changes, and, now and again, satisfying though improbable successes.