Just some links

March 02, 2021

Low key day, low key links.

How Borges predicted Nate Silver; or, the connections between simulations and our perceptions of reality since World War Two.  


A fascinating, and bleak, diagnosis of how US mideast policy was skewed for decades by the 1991 Persian Gulf war.  In my impression, the piece seems to excuse every other actor—Iraq, France, Jordan, Iran, and the like—and only see US policy as at fault.  That seems crazy to me.  But maybe I am being reflexively defensive.  Anyway, this is hard, but good, to read.


YES: “Decades of education policy, practice, research, and rhetoric reinforce the idea that schools exist to prepare students academically for college and career.

But, as I argue in the piece, while we were preoccupied with preparing students for the 21st-century economy, we failed to prepare them for our 21st-century democracy.”


This writer does a nice job exposing the corporatist inanities of an earlier generations futurism, but she seems to think that some of the new versions of futurism coming online now will stand at a greater distance from the nostrums of contemporary culture.  I don’t think they will.

“whether business-banal or cyber-gnostic, the classic pop-futurist canon presupposes an audience who wants to disrupt industries while preserving the status quo. Even futurists like Kurzweil, one of the most recognizable of the current era and an heir to Toffler, present concepts that seem revolutionary—the singularity, the possibility of immortality—in language that is bounded by individualist, entrepreneurial thinking. Threaded through it all is the logic of optimizing everything, even our souls.”


Nice brief piece on Sherry Turkle, who is a thoughtful critic of the technological turn the culture has increasingly taken.


Stay safe everyone!