The Big Think

April 7, 2014

Silicon Valley scares Americans

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 5:15 pm

Silicon Valley scares Americans: Column:

“‘A level of suspicion and confusion we haven’t had before.’ That’s right. And it’s made worse by the increasing politicization of Silicon Valley, and the transformation of its leaders from rebels into what Joel Kotkin calls ‘the new oligarchs,’ people who once talked about technology as liberation, but who now seem more interested in using technology as an instrument of control. It’s not just NSA spying; it’s that the companies gather data on everyone, with comparatively little legal oversight.

You might have been OK with that a decade or two ago, when Silicon Valley seemed full of people who would stand up to the Man. Now, they are The Man (or The Woman) in many ways, or in cahoots with them. Might the information you gave to OKCupid be used against you someday? Your only protection, really, is their good nature. And how good is that?

After all, OKCupid dug out political donation data to get a CEO fired. If they’re willing to do that sort of thing, how elevated can their standards be, really?”

April 6, 2014

The New Heresy

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 2:30 pm

For the entirety of human history, gay marriage was a veritable non-issue — a thought that had occurred seriously to nobody and for which there was neither a meaningful constituency nor measurable pressure. In the space of a decade it has moved from a fringe and novel proposition to a moral imperative — and, now, to fodder for the new inquisitors. That the issue has now achieved the approval of a narrow majority is to my mind no bad thing. That the movement’s more vocal champions have started bludgeoning their enemies one and a half minutes into their still-fragile victory speaks tremendously ill of them, and does not portend well for the republic…

…Wrapping her intolerance and hysteria in the vapid, saccharine, and malleable language of the graduate-school prospectus, an employee named Sydney Moyer explained on Twitter that because the company offered a “big, open, and messy” “culture of openness and inclusion,” her new CEO should be forced to go away. Once upon a time, individuals who could not square their consciences with their circumstances saw fit to remove themselves. But, safely ensconced under the new cultural carapace, Moyers evidently recognized that she had all the power. I “cannot reconcile having Brendan Eich as CEO with our company’s culture and mission,” Moyers wrote. “Brendan, please step down.” Thus, once again, was the English language — the language of Mill, Shakespeare, Milton, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Churchill — not impressed into the service of individual liberty and defense of conscience but inverted and twisted in the hope of silencing the different. It seems that one can get away with the most extraordinary non sequiturs if one wraps them in enough nonsense. Two spoons of sugar, one of vinegar; let’s hope that nobody notices the taste.

an excellent article concerning the recent burning-at-the-stake of Brendan Eich.

UPDATE:

Well Said/a>:

“whatever you think of gay marriage, the general practice of punishing people in business for bygone political donations is most likely to entrench powerful interests and weaken the ability of the powerless to challenge the status quo. There is very likely hypocrisy at work too. Does anyone doubt that had a business fired a CEO six years ago for making a political donation against Prop 8, liberals silent during this controversy (or supportive of the resignation) would’ve argued that contributions have nothing to do with a CEO’s ability to do his job? They’d have called that firing an illiberal outrage, but today they’re averse to vocally disagreeing with allies.”

Hypothetical situation that exactly reverses the polarities: A woman, who by every single account from coworkers, has shown a long history of great employment, concern for fellow employees, and care for children, is found to have had an abortion years ago (through records leaked by pro-life groups). That woman is then made the target of intense public obloquy and urged in the strongest possible terms to step down. Eventually she does.

What would be the reaction among the pro-abortion Left?

The Eich situation indicates a significant mile marker in our culture. It’s not good.

April 3, 2014

Amen

Filed under: Audio,Business,Education,Music — jasony @ 6:01 pm

The Amen beat and its repercussions for copyright. A really interesting 18:00 piece if you have time for it.

April 2, 2014

Yes, We Can Wait

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:05 am

Best of the Web Today: Yes, We Can Wait – WSJ.com: ” Press secretary Jay Carney opened his daily briefing yesterday with the following gasconade: ‘As you can see by the lines around the country this weekend, we are seeing a surge in enrollment.’

The first thing we thought of when we saw the pictures was the photos we’ve recently seen on Twitter of Venezuelans waiting in bread lines. Waiting in line to purchase necessities is a characteristic not of a prosperous free society but of command economies under repressive regimes. Closer to home, one doubts even the Transportation Security Administration would be so tone-deaf as to advertise long airport lines as an indication it’s doing a great job.”

(Via .)

April 1, 2014

Radiolab: An Appreciation by Ira Glass

Filed under: Audio,Education,Science — jasony @ 6:24 pm

Transom » Radiolab: An Appreciation by Ira Glass: “Artists compete. Not head to head like athletes, but in their souls. Within the appreciation of our fellow artists is the tiny wince, ‘I wish I’d done that.’Ira Glass joins us again on Transom, this time for a loving and envious homage to our friends at Radiolab, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. A radio master salutes his comrades. The great thing about Ira’s analysis is that it’s so detailed. He breaks down exactly what’s so good about Radiolab and why. You could almost learn the tricks and do it yourself. Almost. Honestly, though, you’d lose. It’s better sometimes just to appreciate.”

I’m a RadioLab addict and am always sad when there aren’t any in my feed (a tendency reinforced when I first discovered it a few years ago and mainlined probably 100 hours of the broadcast). If you don’t know this incredible show, you really do owe it to yourself to give it a listen.

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