Samir’s Selection 05/05/2013 (p.m.)

  • A kind of landscape that once seemed barely imaginable now seems inevitable and necessary: that’s the logic and the illusion in so much of California, urban and rural. I can’t help marveling and despairing at the transformation, the way agriculture, here and elsewhere, has created a landscape that is fundamentally inhuman, devoid of people.

    Every scenario for the future of the valley must begin with what is now a biological desert, a place where only a handful of species are allowed to thrive, a place utterly alien to all but a few machine operators wearing hazmat-like suits.

    tags: California geoengineering Klinkenborg

  • But one thing kept sticking for me as I thought about how remarkably and cleverly constructed the Facebook world really is: While the interface and words might not attract your attention, they are still structuring your behavior. And you’ll probably never even notice. It’s kinda nice that Facebook doesn’t guide you to think about divorce while you’re entering in your engagement. But that decision is still a reflection of an ethos, and that’s something the company doesn’t seem to want to own…

    After she told me that Facebook’s writers try to talk like humans, I replied “But it is fundamentally still the voice of the borg. It’s not like [users] are talking to a human. It is still a system that they are interacting with and not another person.”…

    what responsibility do the system makers have in helping us think about the system? 

    Can we wave away the structure of our tools so easily? And are we comfortable with doing so around the highway system or the way food is produced in this country or gun ownership? Are all technologies neutral? (“Facebook doesn’t friend request, people do.”)

    tags: Facebook design technology thought mind perception AlexisMadrigal

  • Harvard professor and famous historian Niall Ferguson reportedly made some bizarre and offensive remarks about economist John Maynard Keynes at an investment conference yesterday.

    tags: NiallFerguson Keynes Krugman austerity quote homophobia

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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