Posts Tagged ‘Social’

Israel and Gaza Breaking News Consumer Handbook

Excellent media/news criticism podcast (radio show?) On the Media has posted their Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook for the conflict in Israel and Gaza. This conflict has brought about a lot of misinformation and disinformation, and OTN is trying to help people try to navigate it.

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Book: Saving Time

Much like her previous book, How to do Nothing, Jenny Odell seems to have a knack of picking topics that are incredibly timely (forgive the pun). Seeing as we’ve all collectively gone through the time dilation of the Covid-19 pandemic, this topic feels perfect for the current moment.

Like How to do Nothing, this book reads as a patchwork of loosely-connected ideas and references based around the central theme. To be honest, it reads almost more like a blog—jumping between historical events, philosophers, magazine articles, and even at one point going so far as to recount a comedy sketch from I Think You Should Leave which was loosely related to the chapter at hand. The book manages to build up these scattered and nonlinear thoughts and observations into something bigger, though I think some readers may not be as forgiving of the lack of structure.

The subject of how people experience and interpret time is a topic not unfamiliar to this blog. In the early pages Odell discusses Ancient Greek views of time:

In Ancient Greek, there are two different words for time, chronos and kairos. Chronos, which appears as part of words like chronology, is the realm of linear time, a steady, plodding march of events into the future. Kairos means something more like “crisis,” but it is also related to what many of us might think of as opportune timing or “seizing the time.” At the climate event, Salami described kairos as qualitative rather than quantitative time, given that, in kairos, all moments are different and that “the right thing happens at the right point.” Because of what it suggests about action and possibility, I too have found the distinction between chronos and kairos to be crucial when it comes to thinking about the future.

And finally, Odell touched on this again in an excerpt she included from the book Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World, which feels very much at home with with this previous post:

Explaining Aboriginal notions of time is an exercise in futility as you can only describe it as “nonlinear” in English, which immediately slams a big line right across your synapses. You don’t register the “non” only the “linear”: that is the way you process that word, the shape it takes in your mind. Worst of all, it’s only describing the concept by saying what it is not, rather than what it is. We don’t have a word for nonlinear in our languages because nobody would consider traveling, thinking, or talking in a straight line in the first place. The winding path is just how a path is, and therefore it needs no name.

Odell’s book is about much more than this, though these parts resonate with recent themes here. The book also covers capitalist views of time based from the early days of the Industrial Revolution, time zones, biological time, aging, and a lot more strands woven into one (somewhat messy) tapestry.

What to Do About Fake Drake

Friend of Elsewhat Sean Michaels has a piece up in The New Yorker this week about the intersection of AI and the music industry. It touches on tech, music sharing, sampling, and lots more.

Meanwhile, the pace of A.I. research has recalled the work of West Yorkshire rhubarb farmers, whose stalks grow so fast that they can hear the sound of them stretching. Tools with names like So-Vits-SVC, which has been used to generate A.I. facsimiles of Drake’s, Eminem’s, and Jay-Z’s voices, are introducing a new set of challenges to an industry that has barely recovered from covid-era concert restrictions. Musical artists, confronted by Big Tech’s tempo, influence, and affluence, have shown an understandable willingness to line up behind Big Media. Given a very real fear that generative tools will further erode, or permanently cripple, the already precarious economics of artists’ lives, why not allow globe-straddling labels, studios, and publishers to stand on their behalf?

Read it here →

Book: This Place, 150 Years Retold

A collection of illustrated stories by more than 20 indigenous authors and artists telling stories from history from the perspective of those who were here when Europeans arrived.

As can be expected, many of the stories are dark. Alicia Elliot sums it up well in the foreword:

As I was reading, I thought a lot about the idea of apocalypse, or the end of the world as we know it. Indigenous writers have pointed out that, as Indigenous people, we all live in a post-apocalyptic world. The world as we knew it ended the moment colonialism started to creep across these lands. But we have continued to tell our stories; we have continued to adapt. Despite everything, we have survived.

Deconstructing Power: W.E.B. Dubois Infographics at Cooper Hewitt in NYC

I’m lucky enough to be heading to this show in New York City this weekend. Dubois’ infographics are stunning and hugely important. On display until the end of May 2023. Learn more →

Cory Doctorow's Theory of Enshittification

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

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Via Podcast On the Media.