I like languages (spoken & programming) and live in the Midwestern US but enjoy all places and cultures.
Friends, I'm a terribly incompetent social medialyte—I don't see many toots since I follow almost no one, don't check local or federated timelines, don't get follow/fave/boost notifications—just at some point I lost the taste for being plugged in.
But! I'm more than happy to read, learn, discuss, answer, and mentor:
or whatever 🤗!
(I'll pin this toot, so don't link to it!)
Ideas I frequently invoke:
- Philip Guo on silent technical privilege http://pgbovine.net/tech-privilege.htm
- Bryn Hammond on silenced history https://amgalant.com/
- Duncan Watts on cumulative advantage, or, MusicLab, in the top ten scientific experiments ever https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/magazine/15wwlnidealab.t.html
- AnimeFeminist for their critiques and season guides https://www.animefeminist.com/
(Don't link to this toot, it'll be edited+deleted, but it'll be pinned to my profile on Octodon.social.)
"Earlier in my career I was surrounded by #piracy-obsessed sasquatches. Later, by free-culture zealots. Ultimately I think both miss the point. The only way to completely protect work is to not release it. At which point the revenue potential is $0. OTOH if you make everything free, the potential also goes to $0. Therefore, somewhere in between is the optimal level of freedom (or piracy if you prefer)."
The prolific Matthew Butterick, typographer, lawyer, #Racket coder https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/pollenpub/3EExGxXLckk
Everything about John #McWhorter’s Lexicon Valley, a #podcast about #linguistics, is delightful. I find myself listening to it (at 1.5x speed, which spoils the songs 😔) at night instead of my usual reading, it’s that good.
The Sep 4 episode about colors was amazing: many languages have words only for white and black and get on just fine. If a language has three color worlds, they’re black and white and red. And…!!
(I listen on Spotify if it matters. Sometimes it does.)
(2) John #McWhorter reminded me of that:
My favorite linguist says that the development of texting language "has been one of the most revolutionary things I have seen in my life" because of how comfortable and easy it made writing:
(paraph) "Before, when you wrote you were afraid of breaking all these rules."
Today, we think nothing of informally writing toots, blogs, math, READMEs, tech Q&As, Markdown…!
Writing doesn't need ties/hats any more, thanks to "LOL".
Once my father-in-law and I were in a department store (you know, Macy's or whatever) with our spouses when he turns to me and says something extraordinary:
"When I was a kid, and we went to stores like this, the men all had to wear ties and the women all wore hats."
I thought of that later because (1) when we lived in the Midwest US, I'd roll to the store in my pajamas, but when we moved to the US East Coast, I'd change out of bedclothes to walk to the Whole Foods down the block.
'an intelligence analyst was asked to substitute numerical probability estimates for the verbal qualifiers in one of his own earlier articles. The first statement was: "The cease-fire is holding but could be broken within a week." The analyst said he meant there was about a 30-percent chance the cease-fire would be broken within a week. Another analyst who had helped this analyst prepare the article said she thought there was about an 80-percent chance that the cease-fire would be broken.'
Perceptions of probability, cf.,
- Sherman Kent CIA study https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/art15.html and
- Philip Tetlock's *Superforecasting*.
Ridge plot in Bokeh (#Python plotting library).
Huge shoutout and many thanks to https://scholar.social/about/more standards:
'Users of Scholar Social are expected to have the literacy to understand that "reverse discrimination" is not real, and so attempts to re-centre discussions of marginalized people around the feelings of the privileged will be taken as manipulative behaviour undertaken deliberately in bad-faith. … a straight person who reports a queer person for writing "I hate straight people" may find their own account suspended.'
This bit in Milton:
"hope never comes / That comes to all"
reminds me, for its complete contrast, of something from #Buddhadasa Bhikkhu:
"Hopes and expectations are troublesome things. … Don’t bother with hope."
(Pages 2–3, "Living in the present: without past, without future", lecture delivered by Buddhadasa in 1982, translated by Dhammavidū: https://www.suanmokkh.org/system/books/files/000/000/013/original/Living_in_the_present_Buddhadasa_bhikkhu.pdf?1485354118)
"with ambitious aim /
Against the Throne and Monarchy of God /
Rais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proud /
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power /
Hurld headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Skie /
With hideous ruine and combustion down /
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell /
In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire"
Milton dropping 🔥 right in book one.
Note: Davidson pronounces "impious" as "IM-pee-us", two syllables, so the stress then falls on "WAR": "impious war".
Oh GODS IN HEAVEN, the same narrator for Gulag Archipelago as Milton’s Paradise Lost: Frederick Davidson.
Now I’m going to hear about Soviet totalitarianism in the same voice as Lucifer and Beelzebub—“Whether by strength, or Chance, or Fate”!
That was an amazing audiobook, Paradise Lost read by Frederick Davidson, very memorable for many reasons. English has many, many amazing works of literary art.
Library has all three parts of Aleksandr #Solzhenitsyn’s #Gulag Archipelago in online audiobook. Volume one is unavailable: all four copies are “checked out” and there are thirteen other patrons ahead of me with holds.
But volumes two and three are available for listening now.
Starting on volume two without reading volume one!
Looking forward to learning exactly what order of profession/class Lenin and Stalin murdered people in!
But what Batchelor and Nietzsche imply here, that there’s a way to love our fate to see cruelest suffering inflicted on the least deserving (children in cages or cancer wards, say), that would truly be an Ozeki-grade supa-powa (superpower).
And. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that finding the road to that superpower and walking it and cultivating it is the best chance I have of helping head off the coming genocides.
Because this hating the fascists for existing isn’t getting me anywhere.
I’m not being a fascist apologist here. Ruth Ozeki’s earth-shattering novel *A tale for the time being* has this amazing scene where the teenager narrates how she reads to her great-grandmother (a Zen nun) the news about perverts murdering schoolgirls, causing the great-grandmother to click her juzu beads in prayer for both the murdered and the murderers. She’s not being a murder apologist by praying for the murderers’ enlightenment and awakening, any more than I am for the fascists.
(Ibid.: Stephen Batchelor, *Confessions of a Buddhist atheist*.)
The fascists and the progressives I think are driven to extreme views of each other and extreme action because we are all so incapable of dealing with the inevitability of cruelest suffering befalling the undeserving and innocent. We are so wedded to the delusion that, if only these sociopolitical changes were enacted surely the world would be a better place… the harm caused by this delusion so amplifies the intrinsic suffering.
“creatures are constantly being born, falling ill, growing old, & dying. These are the unavoidable facts of our existence. As contingent beings, we do not survive. & when I am honest with myself, when I drop all my stoic conceits, this is unbearable. To embrace the contingency of one’s life is to embrace one’s fate as an ephemeral but sentient being. As Nietzsche claimed, one can come to love that fate. But to do so one must first embrace it, though one instinctively recoils at such a prospect.”
"The problem with prophets is that they don't always agree with one another. … How do you decide between prophets? This was always a perennial problem for Israel: they never really quite knew how you could determine who was a true prophet and who wasn't. After all, there was no way to test prophetic claims. … Eventually, there has to come a point where you draw a line in the sand and say, 'No more. No more prophets. No more direct revelation.', because it gets to be problematic."
“Prophets are <pause> a difficult <deeper pause> group of people to deal with."
—Steve A. Wiggins, podcast #19, "Moses and the Problem of Torah", https://fasiha.github.io/steve-wiggins-podcast/#episode-19
🤣 in the midst of a deeply learned lecture.
"They used to say ‘if the product is free, you are the product’ but now, if the product is free, you are the training data" http://kim.hfg-karlsruhe.de/manifesto-on-algorithmic-humanitarianism/
(This working hypothesis owes a lot to Stephen Batchelor’s candid writings about his difficulties with the Tibetan Buddhist brand of supernaturalism, starting with rebirth.)