Sam Harrelson



Sam Harrelson

The Sublime and Silicon Valley

The sublime—whether a feature of the natural world, or of UFOs, or of religious experience—is a sense of our own vanishing smallness before something impossibly vast: a mountain range, a churning ocean, the universe, God. What we get in return for being so existentially demeaned is freedom from the tyranny of our own personalities, a sort of liberating oblivion. But data-extracting platforms don’t sublimate our personalities; they multiply and magnify them. And the Data Sublime, far from making the internet feel thrillingly big, has conspired to make it feel smaller, claustrophobic, and profoundly boring. As Facebook and Google metastasize, the more interesting destinations on the internet are dying off; recent sweeping media layoffs were also largely the result of Facebook, Google, and Amazon’s stranglehold on advertising revenue. The sublime promises a sort of redemptive immensity, but Silicon Valley strives to compress all of digital experience into a single, monotonous feed, mainlining capital into the pockets of billionaires.

— Read on thebaffler.com/latest/close-encounters-of-the-tech-kind-harnett




Prehistoric Proto-Writing System

While studying some of the oldest art in the world found in caves and engraved on animal bones or shells, paleoanthropologist Genevieve von Petzinger has found evidence of a proto-writing system that perhaps developed in Africa and then spread throughout the world.

Source: Stone Age Cave Symbols May All Be Part of a Single Prehistoric Proto-Writing System




Next phase of the web

That’s what Peach is for. It is a place to be real with people who’ve chosen to be real with you. It’s friendly, it’s therapeutic, it’s cathartic. It’s necessary. When it’s not around, those of us who use it go a little bit mad.

We’ve come to lean on confessing out loud. And there are no priests left who can be trusted any more. The only thing we can trust is benign neglect.

Is that the next phase of the web? The web that hardly works, where no one’s paying attention because no one really cares? (Except your friends, including strangers, who somehow care so much?)

Source: kottke.org – home of fine hypertext products

Yep.




Breaking Gender Biased Language

How can we transition to a gender-balanced world, if these biases remain part of our vernacular?  ELaN Languages, an independent translation organisation in Belgium, wants to tackle our unconscious bias by updating their online translation tool with a new feature: ‘the unbias button’. The plug-in offers unbiased translations of biased words. Making us aware of our unconscious bias by translating bias words, such as job titles, into gender-neutral words.

Source: A NEW PRODUCT FEATURE TO BREAK GENDER BIAS – J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam (news)




The Next Social Network is Private Messaging

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Today we already see that private messaging, ephemeral stories, and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communication. There are a number of reasons for this. Many people prefer the intimacy of communicating one-on-one or with just a few friends. People are more cautious of having a permanent record of what they’ve shared. And we all expect to be able to do things like payments privately and securely.

Not saying I called it, but I called it. Look to WeChat for how we’ll be doing “social networking” here in the US within the next 5 years.

Twitter completely flopped and missed the ball by not shipping a DM app.




Gulp




My New Esee 6 Knife

This thing is pretty AND amazing.




Goodbye, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Hello World.

Today starts the liturgical season of Lent. Around 12:03AM this morning (or last night, depending on your biological sense of time), I committed the ultimate mind crime of deleting my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Well, I began the process of deleting them since each of these advertising companies give you a 30-day “grace” period for you to “make sure” that you really want to disengage from the machine.

But, it’s time.

It’s time for me to stop making excuses about where I put my time and attention. It’s time for me to stop making excuses for participating in systems that I don’t want to encourage or necessarily be a part of even if there’s the offer of exposure and connections. It’s just not worth it.

Jump from the hook. You’re not obliged to swallow anything that you despise.




Been here a while




I’m 40 now and it took me all of my adult life to come to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s Supper because of my Baptist upbringing

Similar story to mine here… reflecting heavily as we prepare to enter Lent yet again:

Having been raised in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, I never had learned to be sentimental about the Lord’s Supper; it was something we observed once a quarter on a Sunday night so that no one would confuse us with the Catholics and so that non-church members were less likely to be present. And thus, even as a pastor, I have been somewhat nonchalant about Communion. I often thought other people were a bit too mystical and misty about the whole thing.

Source: What if the church year began on Ash Wednesday? – Baptist News Global