Tag Archives | Society

How a PhD in linguistics prepared me for motherhood

peasap (CC BY 2.0)

peasap (CC BY 2.0)

Annabelle Lukin

Unlike most newborns, on his arrival into the world, my newly-minted son found himself in the arms of someone well-versed in the the most fiercely contested question in contemporary linguistics: is language innate?

Are babies born with grammar hard-wired into their brain? Or is language something bestowed by culture and socialisation?

The early exchanges of gaze, attention and vocalisations with my baby in his first hours, days and weeks were experienced against the melodrama of modern linguistics’ greatest schism. This happens to revolve entirely around the role of mothers and significant others in the development of a child’s language.

In the story of how language emerges in the child, as told by Noam Chomsky, nature is largely the lone hero. The child comes with a “language organ” already installed in her or his brain, as a sudden and isolated gift of evolution – out of nowhere, all-at-once, fully formed and forever unchanging.… Read the rest

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Considering ‘The Philosophy Of The Web’

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Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)

 

Tania Lombrozo via Public Radio East:

We associate technology with the shiny and new. But humans have been using technology to change the environment and themselves since at least the lower Paleolithic period, when our ancestors were making stone tools.

Is the technology of today fundamentally different? In particular, does it change the way we think of ourselves or our relationships to each other and the environment? Does it change the way we think about what exists (metaphysics), about what and how we can know about it (epistemology), or about how we ought to live (ethics)?

These are traditionally philosophical questions, but they’re questions that some have been revisiting in light of one of today’s most pervasive developments: the rise of the Web.

A few weeks ago, two of us at 13.7 (Alva Noë and myself) participated in a workshop at the Googleplex on the “Philosophy of the Web.” The workshop was organized by Harry Halpin, a research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab who has been at the forefront of this emerging area of philosophy.

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Art Profile: Seishiro Matsuyama

flying saucer kingdom

This was originally published on The Moot Art Gallery.

Manic vibrancy pulsates in us everyday. We are saturated in light and colour so much so that it causes some people to become over-saturated and subsequently die or, even worse, imprisoned in a sea of grey misery (depression). It is a struggle, a constant war. Colour poses a risk as does the continual bombardment of information that we face in most of our daily routine. With an array of materials, from the high end products of oil and silicone to human excrement, crayon wax and markers, we choose materials and their instruments that lead to the exorcism of these bombardments of a techno-gizmotronic society. One by one the information is stored in log books, on sheets of paper, on the screen of a computer laptop, or hand held smartphone device via cloud storing technology to be contextualised for ourselves and for the enjoyment and the wellbeing of others.… Read the rest

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White Fragility

Georgie Pauwels (CC BY 2.0)

Georgie Pauwels (CC BY 2.0)

Robin DiAngelo writes at the Good Men Project:

I am white. I have spent years studying what it means to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless, yet is deeply divided by race. This is what I have learned: Any white person living in the United States will develop opinions about race simply by swimming in the water of our culture. But mainstream sources—schools, textbooks, media—don’t provide us with the multiple perspectives we need.

Yes, we will develop strong emotionally laden opinions, but they will not be informed opinions. Our socialization renders us racially illiterate. When you add a lack of humility to that illiteracy (because we don’t know what we don’t know), you get the break-down we so often see when trying to engage white people in meaningful conversations about race.

Mainstream dictionary definitions reduce racism to individual racial prejudice and the intentional actions that result.

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Self-Help and Existential DIY

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Everybody’s got qualms. Nobody I know is assessing their reality and the realities around them as something to be thrilled about. Even spirited people draped in “joie de vivre have their misgivings, and their vibrancy is in spite of them, not without them. There is a brand of millennial millenarianism wherein a palpable feeling of tension and accumulating energy on the cusp of discharge is identified as a harbinger of doom and gloom: we all feel the anxiety and the prickliness, the shakiness of the old foundational assumptions about the ways of the world. Things can be better. Things aren’t working the way they used to, or at least the way they are supposed to. Government is corrupt, unresponsive, increasingly authoritarian and in bed with Big Business, all while Big Business wrecks the planet so the rich get can richer and the poor get poorer.… Read the rest

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Hal Hefner’s “They Live” Inspired “Consume” Series

Artist and storyteller Hal Hefner has created a gorgeous series of poster style art pieces called “Consume” inspired by the 1988 John Carpenter film “They Live,” which, as each commercial break passes, seems to be more of a prescient (and depressingly accurate) warning of the totalitarian conformist consumer dystopia to come, much in the vein of “Network” or “1984,” than some mere sci-fi, space, alien slugfest starring wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper and a host of everyman character actors.

Channeling pop culture icons, ad campaigns that have been scratched into the surface of all of our brains by endless repetition, the aforementioned alien overlords and graffiti artist gone good Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obama poster, Hefner has given us each a pair of those special sunglasses that we can’t just take off and ignore anymore.

Static Hopelessness or Hope and Change we can actually Believe in?

BUY MORE STUFF. BE HAPPY.… Read the rest

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Kris Kuksi’s ‘False-Patriot Revolution’

Disinfo.com features this iconic work by an artist making some of the most influential and recognizable art of our time.

Kris Kuksi ‘False-Patriot Revolution’ was exhibited at the Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles

KRIS KUKSI – Antiquity in the Faux Nov 15 – Dec 20, 2014 | All photos by Kris Kuksi.

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Kris Kuksi’s ‘False-Patriot Revolution’

Kris Kuksi Interview with Disinformation

Disinfo: What can you tell us about the guillotine piece  ‘False-Patriot Revolution’?

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CCTV Looking Out For Them Not You

cctv advocates reading list
Essential reading for all CCTV advocates

How did the United Kingdom, a country that supposedly had such high regard for individual freedom, fall under the spell of an all pervasive surveillance state? To understand how the spell was cast and why it was effective, we need to look back to the 1990s when the CCTV camera gold rush began in earnest.

A key catalyst was the manufacture of consent — the government, assisted by its trusted media, went on a charm offensive to create support for CCTV cameras. Despite the fact that the technology was untested and therefore had no evidence in support of their claims, they promoted cameras as a magical solution to fix all of society’s ills.

Central government funding and the creation of the CCTV myth

In the 1990s, the central government invited local councils to bid for funding in a series of “competitions” called “City Challenge”. Shortly after the announcement of one such funding round in 1994, the Home Office published a guidance document entitled ‘CCTV – Looking out for you’ [1].… Read the rest

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Ring her bell – you’ll unleash hell!

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Via KC Star:

Missouri woman pleads guilty to assaulting doorbell pranksters.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield woman could get a 10-year prison sentencing for threatening boys who rang her doorbell and ran away.

Prosecutors say 32-year-old Ashley Crossland pleaded guilty on Feb. 17 to burglary, assault and unlawful use of a weapon after becoming angry because of a January 2014 prank.

A probable cause statement says Crossland tried to run one boy down with her van and punched another three times while holding a knife to his chest.

The Springfield News-Leader reports she was also charged with going to the home where the boys were having a sleepover and illegally entering the home.

One of the boys reportedly told police that Crossland came out of her home and began yelling at them as they ran away after they rang her doorbell. The boy said that after he turned a corner, he saw a van “driving crazy.”

Probable cause documents said the van tried to run the boy over, and backed him up against a fence.

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Posthumanisms: A Carnapian Experiment

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Via Daryl Wennemann at IEET:

In his article, “What is the Difference between Posthumanism and Transhumanism?”, Kevin LaGrandeur sets out to clarify the meaning of the terms “posthuman”, “transhuman” and “posthumanism”. (http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/lagrandeur20141226) He notes that the relative newness of the terminology is a source of confusion among many who employ these terms.

Carey Wolfe made the same observation in his study of 2010, What is Posthumanism?, noting that “the term has begun to emerge with different and sometimes competing meanings.” (p. xii) I would like to carry out a sort of philosophical experiment to disambiguate the meanings of the term “posthuman” in an attempt to dispel some of the confusion surrounding the use of this term.

LaGrandeur posits that the term “posthuman” has the sense of “that condition in which humans and intelligent technology are becoming increasingly intertwined.” He then refines its meaning as follows, “the posthuman is a projected state of humanity in which unlocking of the information patterns that those who believe in the posthuman say make us what we are—will shift the focus of humanness from our outward appearance to those information patterns.” Identifying the human will then depend upon the functioning of a being rather than its outward form.

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