Q:what about Gaza and Ferguson John? do they not deserve your respect? you're such a hypocrite, i's disgusting
I think this is a deeply flawed way of looking at the world.
Now, I have talked about Ferguson, and I’ve talked about Gaza. (In fact, I’ve been writing and talking about Israel and Palestine for more than a decade.) But there are many important problems facing the world that I haven’t talked about: I haven’t talked much about the civil war in South Sudan, or the epidemic of suicide among American military personnel, or the persecution of Muslim Rohingya people in Myanmar.
Is that okay? Is it okay for me to talk about, say, racism in football and lowering infant mortality in Ethiopia? Or must we all agree to discuss only whatever is currently the ascendant news story? Is it disrespectful to Ferguson protesters to talk about continued political oppression in Egypt now that we are no longer reblogging images of the protests in Tahrir Square? I think this is a false choice: If you are talking about Ferguson and I am talking about Ethiopian health care, neither of us is hurting the other.
I think the challenge for activists and philanthropists online is in paying sustained attention, not over days or weeks but over years and decades. And I worry that when we turn our attention constantly from one outrage to another we end up not investing the time and work to facilitate actual change. We say “THE WORLD IS WATCHING,” and it is…until it isn’t. We’ve seen this again and again in Gaza and the West Bank. We’re seeing it in Iran. We’re seeing it in South Sudan. And we’re seeing it in the U.S., from net neutrality to Katrina recovery.
The truth is, these problems are complicated, and when the outrage passes we’re left with big and tangled and nuanced problems. I feel that too often that’s when we stop paying attention, because it gets really hard and there’s always a shiny new problem somewhere else that’s merely outrageous. I hope you’re paying attention to Ferguson in five years, anon, and I hope I am, too. I also hope I’m paying attention to child death in Ethiopia. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive.
I really don’t want to minimize the effectiveness of online activism, because I know that it works: To use a personal example, I’ve learned a TON from the LGBT+ and sexual assault survivor communities in recent years online. People on tumblr make fun of me for apologizing all the time, but I apologize all the time because I am learning all the time, and every day I’m like, “Oh, man, Current Me has realized that Previous Me was so wrong about this!”
But we can only learn when we can listen. And when you call me a hypocrite for talking about X instead of talking about Y, it makes it really hard to listen.
At times, online discourse to me feels like we just sit in a circle screaming at each other until people get their feelings hurt and withdraw from the conversation, which leaves us with ever-smaller echo chambers, until finally we’re left only with those who entirely agree with us. I don’t think that’s how the overall worldwide level of suck gets decreased.
I might be wrong, of course. I often am. But I think we have to find ways to embrace nuance and complexity online. It’s hard—very, very hard—to make the most generous, most accepting, most forgiving assumptions about others. But I also really do think it’s the best way forward.
"At times, online discourse to me feels like we just sit in a circle screaming at each other until people get their feelings hurt and withdraw from the conversation, which leaves us with ever-smaller echo chambers, until finally we’re left only with those who entirely agree with us."
That should be Facebook’s new slogan.
The head of my office HR team is wearing a supa-fly wide striped blazer this morning with his Casual Friday jeans.
Doesn’t change the fact that once upon a time, his team got waxed in a game of Human Foosball.
Thought of the day.
If I go to a furniture store hoping to buy a magazine rack are the employees more likely to:
a. stare at me blankly?
b. point me to the antique store down the street.
Me Walking Into Class w/ Pizza John Shirt
- Neighbor: So, Pizza?
- Me: Oh, yeah, its a.... an inside joke?
- Neighbor: Oh, so you made the shirt yourself?
- Me: Oh, no, not at all
- Neighbor: oh, ok...
- Me: No like, do you know that movie that came out in theaters? Um, its called (Don't say the abbreviation, don't do it).... The...Fault In Our Stars?
- Neighbor: Yeah
- Me: Yeah, the author of the book, this is his face (points at shirt)
- Neighbor: ....ok
- It can be hard to explain . . .
Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero. In 2012 the figure was just one. Even after adjusting for the smaller size of Britain’s population, British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014 the police force of one small American city, Albuquerque in New Mexico, shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s 43 forces during the same period.
The explanation for this gap is simple. In Britain, guns are rare. Only specialist firearms officers carry them; and criminals rarely have access to them. The last time a British police officer was killed by a firearm on duty was in 2012, in a brutal case in Manchester. The annual number of murders by shooting is typically less than 50. Police shootings are enormously controversial. The shooting of Mark Duggan, a known gangster, which in 2011 started riots across London, led to a fiercely debated inquest. Last month, a police officer was charged with murder over a shooting in 2005. The reputation of the Metropolitan Police’s armed officers is still barely recovering from the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian, in the wake of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London.
In America, by contrast, it is hardly surprising that cops resort to their weapons more frequently. In 2013, 30 cops were shot and killed—just a fraction of the 9,000 or so murders using guns that happen each year. Add to that a hyper-militarised police culture and a deep history of racial strife and you have the reason why so many civilians are shot by police officers. Unless America can either reduce its colossal gun ownership rates or fix its deep social problems, shootings of civilians by police—justified or not—seem sure to continue.
A research team at Harvard and MIT announced today that they’ve created a self-assembling robot. The machine, which begins as a flat sheet of material, exploits principles of origami to fold itself into a 3-D robot capable of walking without any human assistance.
"We have achieved a long-standing personal goal to design a machine that can assemble itself," Daniela Rus, an MIT roboticist and one of the study’s authors, said in a press conference about the robot.
The robot is made out of a flat multi-layered sheet of material outfitted with circuitry and motors. In this sheet, the researchers made slices (called hinges) along which folding will occur. The self-assembly works as follows: After the sheet is hooked up to a battery, heating elements embedded in the material activate. This temperature change prompts certain layers to contract. Guided by the hinges, the contraction causes the flat sheet to fold into a predetermined 3-D structure—in this case a walking robot. In all, the assembly process takes around four minutes.
Forget about rogue waves. Now we’ve got self-assembling robots. We’re all doomed.