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This is another great episode of the  +You Are Not So Smart podcast. This subject is one near to my heart. That's not true. It's more like a subject comprised of a collection of atoms in my brain.

Whatever. I'm predisposed to quibble over pedantic descriptors when searching for the proper words. The point is this: You are You. Or are you?

Tons of great stuff about the brain's elaborate deception of our senses -- for a good cause, of course: survival. In aggregate, though, many of these things sorta manifest as The Self.

Talk about a convoluted origin story...
 
According to psychologist Bruce Hood, the person at the center of your life isn’t really there; it’s all neurological smoke and mirrors. Learn more in the latest podcast...

YANSS 054 - The Self - Bruce Hood: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2015/07/20/054-the-self-who-wasnt-there/
Is the person you believe to be the protagonist of your life's story real, or do you daily witness the unfolding tale of a completely fictional character? In other words, is your very self somethin...
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I didn't go to Comic-Con. I didn't watch any coverage. I barely paid attention to the news because... Well, there are many reasons. Mainly, I'm pretty tired of super heroes. Anyway, this is pretty funny.
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Here's a great piece over at +Bryan Alexander's blog examining a recent +Slate article about college students. Rather, it's about the tiniest fraction of college students but calling it representative of the whole body.

“We” are not the parents of traditional-age students attending public universities or community colleges – a majority of higher education students.  “We” are not adult learners, also representing a major chunk of the real college demographic.  “We” are not veterans.  “We” is actually a small but well-addressed niche.

“Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out” is a good example of how to write for the socio-economic elite while attaching a veneer of popular appeal.  Put another way, it’s a case study in writing for the general education world, but really having the elite at heart (cf Andrew Delbanco’s College for another example).  A general readership site like Slate can situate this 1% lifestyle piece under the wider headers of parenting or women’s issues (it appeared in their Double X department, “WHAT WOMEN REALLY THINK ABOUT NEWS, POLITICS, AND CULTURE”) without context, probably because it assumes a readership at that SES level or, more likely, aspiring to reach it.

As higher education suffers from growing economic disparities, and as American society increasingly divides into classes, such writing carries a strong political charge, and we need to pay careful attention.
A popular article on Slate this week offers a nearly perfect demonstration of how not to write about college students.  The lesson is on how to pretend a small fraction of students stand in for the...
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Thank you for the link, Matt.

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As usual, +The Onion nails the essence of the Trump presidential campaign.
ARNOLDS PARK, IA—Appearing at a campaign event in the early primary state, real estate mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump told an assembled group of dairy farmers Monday that his cows were 500 times bigger than theirs.
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The faithful worry about secularism. Intellectuals worry about anti-intellectualism. In our dualistic-society, they cancel each other out. If I'm going to bore people about Ideas, I think empathy is the most important one. We can debate the ‘how’ all we like, as long as we drag the focus there.

Niose's idea that "ignorance (anti-intellectualism) is at the root of racism" is only partially helpful. We have to recognize that the racist reasoning that the killer absorbed had its own strange, defensive logic, much of it based on fear and anger.  What it lacked was empathy. It was very self-centered and biased in favor of the "in-group": a particular kind of white male. Niose's reasoning does promote a division, an us vs. them mentality, which is in itself a bias, a failure of empathy, and perhaps even of critical reasoning. It enables us to, as comedian Eddie Pepitone said, "project our insecurities onto other people and then judge them."
A lack of empathy is at the root of our ills
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I love accessories which can float past people who aren't in on it. These surely qualify, being artistically rendered heart containers from Legend of Zelda. Twenty bucks covers the set.
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At this stage of life, technology conventions only emit white noise. I just sort of zone out. As it is, PAX tests the limits of my focus. And all this is a long-winded way of saying I totally missed this great trailer for X-Com 2.

Technically, it's gameplay footage. I'm pretty mistrustful of E3 trailers, though. Some companies present Totally Natural gameplay footage that actually has all the expansive options of a puppet show.

I've thoroughly enjoyed X-Com, though. All the familiar notes were there, only with more drama. That's never a problem. Plus, putting us in even more of an underdog state seems natural. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Plus, by the time I can afford it, all the kinks will be worked out. :)
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That looks awesome indeed!

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I've been accepted to be a volunteer at PAX Prime 2015. This means that three of the four con-days, I'll work. For one day, I will get to play (of course, the whole thing is play to me).

On the days in which I work, I must wear The Official T-Shirt of the Enforcer. For that one free day, though, I will dress nicely. That's just Me. I need to find a stylish tie. This one looks pretty darn good. For $20, I might just order it.

I particularly like how it's called "I love video games" but everything on it is a Nintendo product. Just vague enough to avoid brand royalties, I bet. :)
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A month or so back, I spent many hours painstakingly removing that dumb Windows 10 opt-in pre-load from my system. Well, it came back. I don't know how, but I'm sure it has something to do with +Microsoft Corporation's disregard of its customer's will.

It is this simple: I have very little room on my C: drive. I need that for caching. You do not get to fill it up with an OS I have no interest in obtaining. And yes, I know it's free. By foisting it on me, you increase the odds that I HATE YOU FOREVER.

But whatever. It's just customer loyalty shit. Anyway, here's a link for those others who are trapped in the dumb hell of malware-marketing.

Keywords include: GDX.exe and Update KB3035583 and Clippy Must Die.

UPDATE: I know what the problem is. The problem is that the preload is an Important update and so re-emerges in that list (rather than optional WHICH IS THE THING THAT IT IS BTW. I must now remember never to install that thing and will now perma-hide the Windows Update tray-icon.

Are you happy, MS? No, you aren't. You have that dumb smirk on your face even now. Good luck.

UPDATE of the UPDATE: Microsoft can kiss my ass. Basically, every time I shut down the computer, Windows forces the installation of the pre-load. So I have this dance going: I remove the thing, I shutdown. I boot up, and then the next time I shut down, Windows always installs the Win 10 preload.

Then I start up and repeat the process. If any of you know anyone at Microsoft... then keep them away from me. I don't trust myself in their presence.
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Well, whatever it is, the fact remains: Every time I shutdown and then restart, Windows fills my C: drive up until I'm riddled with 'no-space' errors.

Every time I accidentally shutdown, I have to run the damned program again to kill the pre-load. Fuck Microsoft. Been doing this for the past week and I'm exhausted by it. So weird.

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As a Seattle resident, this really speaks to me. Actually, it screams. Frothing, even.

Thanks to that work, we now know that the Pacific Northwest has experienced forty-one subduction-zone earthquakes in the past ten thousand years. If you divide ten thousand by forty-one, you get two hundred and forty-three, which is Cascadia’s recurrence interval: the average amount of time that elapses between earthquakes. That timespan is dangerous both because it is too long—long enough for us to unwittingly build an entire civilization on top of our continent’s worst fault line—and because it is not long enough. Counting from the earthquake of 1700, we are now three hundred and fifteen years into a two-hundred-and-forty-three-year cycle.
The next full-margin rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone will spell the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent. Credit Illustration by Christoph Niemann; Map by Ziggymaj / Getty
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I've never seen an earthquake. I don't think they exist. Also global warming is only a thing in the summer and it doesn't exist in the winter.

Matt Warren

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This is a powerful piece by +Gary Younge that serves as a sort of summary of his time as a US correspondent. But now he's going back home. He knows the risk of being black in America.

To even try to have the kind of gilded black life to which these detractors alluded, we would have to do far more than just revel in our bank accounts and leverage our cultural capital. We would have to live in an area with few other black people, since black neighbourhoods are policed with insufficient respect for life or liberty; send our children to a school with few other black students, since majority-black schools are underfunded; tell them not to wear anything that would associate them with black culture, since doing so would make them more vulnerable to profiling; tell them not to mix with other black children, since they are likely to live in the very areas and go to the very schools from which we would be trying to escape; and not let the children go out after dark, since being young and black after sunset makes the police suspect that you have done or are about to do something.

The list could go on. None of this self-loathing behaviour would provide any guarantees, of course. Racism does what it says on the packet; it discriminates against people on the grounds of race. It can be as arbitrary in its choice of victim as it is systemic in its execution. And while it never works alone (but in concert with class, gender and a host of other rogue characters), it can operate independently. No one is going to be checking my bank account or professional status when they are looking at my kids.

Exactly.
The long read: After 12 years in the US, Gary Younge is preparing to depart – as the country’s racial frictions seem certain to spark another summer of conflict
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The whale is right. As usual.

Another great installment of +SMBC Comics by Zach Weiner. You can find the thing here: http://smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3782

Also, if you'd like to demonstrate your strong opinions this election cycle, I recommend this $5 bumper sticker that both Liberals and Conservatives can really get behind: http://smbc.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/tax-policy-bumper-sticker
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