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No one is owed your attention. Choose.
If the world is obsessed with the Beatles, you can still be an Elvis fan. Contrary to what the finger waggers will tell you, you have no obligation to drink from the firehose, especially one contaminated with swill that will poison your soul.

This isn't an anti-Twitter post (though I long ago found I couldn't manage that space), or an anti-Politics post (though I have a personal pet peeve with slactivism). This is about what you chose to eat, to put into your body, mind, and soul. Whatever we need to do to solve the problems of our society, gorging on sewage isn't it.

As I understand it +Laura Gibbs still lives healthy on Twitter, so it can be done.

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The Unreality of Modern Life.
My wife and I were talking last night after catching up on Doctor Who episodes we had missed. I noticed on the TV (muted) the channel had defaulted to some Disney-tween-sitcom. And I couldn't stop and gawk at the bizarro world presented there that was every bit as unnatural as the aliens of Doctor Who, but was presented as a sort of "what's really going on in the lives of the happy popular people next door." This article about Hammacher Schlemmer perfectly captures the experience.
In the white voids, beige beds, and green backyards of this universe, the men of Hammacher Schlemmer confront not just their purchases, but themselves. (Sometimes, in the case of the Best Fog Free Mirror, literally.) Their private terror is the struggle to prove that they are not similarly useless, that they endure disappointment and insecurity, shell out $9,950 for the Climbing Wall Treadmill, in the name of a worthy and manly fight for fulfillment, family, fatherhood. The catalog copy only reinforces the masculine anxiety in these images: the Pepperphile’s Peppermill, for instance, “holds over 2-lbs. of peppercorns and towers over table centerpieces or double magnums of wine, conveying the peppercorn’s dominance over all other spices in your pantry.”

The Hammacher Schlemmer website includes an entire section labeled “The Only,” featuring products unavailable anywhere else: the Only Unkinkable Garden Hose, the Only Music Box Espresso Machine, the Only Seven Person Tricycle. Let’s take this all the way: these men live in the realm of The Only. Theirs is the soul-consuming masculinity of allegiance to self-control and self-invention, a drive for purpose, a search for an imagined utility, as infinite in possibility as it is empty of meaning. They are the Only Men.

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From the days of my youth, days of orangeade and fries cooked in beef tallow, long now past. Also wood paneling, there was a lot of wood paneling.

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It takes a lot of guts to cover Otis Redding.
It takes even more to deliver.

And he does, yes, he does.

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There's something in this that traps my eye.
They are at once particular persons, clearly each unique, while somehow capturing the archetypes of life. While viewing a painting often hits me all at once, line drawings seem to lure me in to examine the details as much or more than the whole.

These "anonymous portraits" are all the more powerful as they depict real people―rather than types—with astonishing immediacy. The fact that most of the tradesmen and tradeswomen appear strongly individualized suggests that Bouchardon found them visually compelling as genuine people, endowed with unique facial features and expressions and, most of all, a presence of their own. These figures seem to matter in their own right, not just as archetypes of their professions.

You can see a more complete record of the series here:

I highly recommend taking the time to examine a few.

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Snobs come in all shapes and sizes. Nerd shapes perhaps even more so.
I like liking what I like and that can turn into a bit of narcissism if I'm not careful. But I've never been the type to slam other people for what they like, even though I've known plenty of folks who do.

I majored in music when I first got to college and I remember listening to a CD of Sousa marches one day and getting all sorts of flack from other folks in the program (as if Sousa wasn't a master of the particular form he specialized in). It seemed weird because I didn't understand tribalism then and frankly, I still don't.

I'm not even going to get into the bizarre arguments folks would have at the college radio station, but they sounded a lot like these clips from High Fidelity.

Warning: Language.

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An Armchair Adventure.
Since once we stood in awe of such things, we could again:

And we too turned away, our last look bent,
On those old Tombs, while, like a bright dream spent,
The wild, free life upon the Desert plain,
The beauteous and sublime infinitude,
The gorgeous colored ocean, rainbow hued,
Those rosy Temples with their golden stain,
All lovely things we shall not see again.

Let us hope we might yet see them again.

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Am I the only one around here who thinks this is a good thing?
"These platforms are central to our democracy," John Borthwick, a New York tech investor, told the Financial Times. "Something has started to go wildly wrong."

No, John Borthwick, New York tech investor, I think, perhaps, something just might be going right--I'm speaking of the low trust numbers across the board, not just the clickbait title.

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A computer as a brain has always been a metaphor gone wrong.
Our obsession with Cartesian dualism has produced some distracting fruit that made it possible for us to ignore the underlying errors.

A wave in the ocean doesn't exist apart from the water that makes it up. Which is not to say that a wave cannot be made of many things (a sound wave can be converted to electric energy by a microphone and reproduced into the air again at some other location by a speaker) but in any case a wave is a wave of something.

Trying to make a mind from logic puzzles and statistical modeling abstracted this process to absurdity. This is probably interesting to +Richard Lucas among others.
" Nature ‘has built the apparatus of rationality not just on top of the apparatus of biological regulation, but also from it and with it’, wrote the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio in Descartes’ Error (1994), his seminal book on cognition. In other words, we think with our whole body, not just with the brain.

I suspect that this basic imperative of bodily survival in an uncertain world is the basis of the flexibility and power of human intelligence. But few AI researchers have really embraced the implications of these insights."
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