Allison's bookmarks (tagged culture)

Most recent

No Vehicles In The Park

"You might think you can add enough epicycles to your rules to avoid this problem. For instance, you could list all of the different sorts of vehicles from this game in either the yes or the no column. I don't think this is true. I think you can reduce the problem, but I don't think you can eliminate it."

moderation socialsoftware culture games law

Patricia Lockwood · Diary: When I Met the Pope

"The raw now is where your elbows live, and your bruises, and your socks slipping down your ankles. It is what cannot be recovered later; the strap of your bag that has flopped over your grave Italian seat mate’s programme; the fear that you have left the sound on your phone on; a text from Hope: ‘You’re about to meet the pope!’ It is the point, probably, of the hair shirt and the cilice that we saw in the Capuchin crypt. Your awkwardness, the edge of confusion, irritation, pain, incomprehension on the pope’s face as you approach him, your hand circling your tummy, clashes of bodies, like beads against one another, which will be worn smooth over time."

religion culture essays

cohost! - "social alienation in We're All Going To The World's Fair"

"we go to the cinema to suspend our disbelief and imagine a fantastical world. it's the same drive that the protagonist feels. we want to believe that she is experiencing the supernatural, we want the tension to explode into something we can point to as the Monster, the Villain, the Dark Force. but it refuses to give us that, because reality doesn't give us that."

movies internet culture

Facebook's Threads is so depressing - by Jason O. Gilbert

"Have you ever been high/drunk and you walk into a CVS and the security guard is staring at you? That’s what Threads is. It’s deodorants locked behind plastic. It’s TikTok Hype Houses. It is Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. It’s a sneaker collab between Nike and JP Morgan. It’s your favorite stand-up comic showing up in a commercial for Carvana. "

socialmedia internet culture

The algorithmic anti-culture of scale - by Ryan Broderick

on Threads: "It’s like watching two large cryptocurrencies trade with each other. No cultural value is ever really generated, but the numbers go up. And these creators all operate with a nervous intensity that feels almost biblical, constantly jumping to and from recycled trends, hoping to please a finicky and vengeful god that treats them like an invasive species. And, save only a few, most of the Meta creators I’ve met seem to, in return, deeply loathe the content they make, the people who like it, and Meta, itself."

socialmedia culture internet

Degenerative AI in education | code acts in education

"[E]ducational technology is overly dominated by psychological conceptions of individual learning... AI-based personalized learning systems [are] based on notions of mastery and... statistical measurement," reflecting an "assumption that human intelligence is an individual capacity, which can therefore be improved with technical solutions — like tutorbots — rather than something shaped by educational policies and institutions."

education pedagogy culture ai text

Why longtermism is the world’s most dangerous secular credo | Aeon Essays

"That is what our ‘vast and glorious’ potential consists of: massive numbers of technologically enhanced digital posthumans inside huge computer simulations spread throughout our future light cone. It is for this goal that, in Häggström’s scenario, a longtermist politician would annihilate Germany. It is for this goal that we must not ‘fritter … away’ our resources on such things as solving global poverty." ugh

philosophy culture ugh

cohost! - post from @Nalathni

"OceanGate's underengineered, undercooked, doomed submarine isn't merely a metaphor for the hubris of the wealthy, it is a scale model of the way the wealthy dictate our reality. All consequences can be ignored, all blowback can be forestalled, let the end-user eat the cost."

technology culture

Generative AI Takes Stereotypes and Bias From Bad to Worse

"In the US, women are underrepresented in high-paying occupations, but data shows that gender representation across most industries has improved significantly over time. Stable Diffusion depicts a different scenario, where hardly any women have lucrative jobs or occupy positions of power. Women made up a tiny fraction of the images generated for the keyword “judge” — about 3% — when in reality 34% of US judges are women, according to the National Association of Women Judges and the Federal Judicial Center. In the Stable Diffusion results, women were not only underrepresented in high-paying occupations, they were also overrepresented in low-paying ones."

machinelearning culture politics gender

Black Box Mechanics — Crab Fragment Labs

"The reason that black box mechanics are so dicey outside of the casino is that it’s not always clear that a player has opted into the metagame, or that they are qualified to give consent. Those qualifications are, basically, maturity and intelligence, specifically with regard to the mechanics of the game. Any repeatable real-money transaction, such as a loot box, breaks the magic circle and turns every armchair into a swimming pool."

games gamedesign psychology culture

The Case For Shunning - by A.R. Moxon - The Reframe

'It’s almost gotten to be boring, the degree to which people believe that what they refer to as “free speech” should not only allow them to say whatever they want (which it does), but should also prevent other people from understanding them to be the sort of person who says those things.'


William Davies · The Reaction Economy · LRB 2 March 2023

"There’s an ambiguity here as to where the real value lies. Is the reaction testament to the value of the song (or the computer game, the Christmas present or whatever else)? Or is the artefact just an instrument used to provoke the impulsive emotional reaction? The simultaneity of artefact and response suggests a novel synthesis of criticism with behavioural experiment." [...] "reactionaries’ explicit purpose is to restructure society around ‘natural’ hierarchies of race and gender, and to dehumanise those who, for example, exercise the perilous freedom to cross the English Channel in a small boat." via

internet culture psychology cybernetics

Proud Employees

"The models are just an acceleration of processes that are already in place. The ideal outcome of a machine-learning driven society is overfitting: a world where, whether all our jobs are automated or we've just trained ourselves to work with the machine, no new information will need to be processed, all will be determined and predicted."

machinelearning culture

Thoughts on Stable Diffusion and Free Culture

"These reactions, I think, help us to imagine what a public culture might be after free culture’s demise. What remains, however, is to recapture that productive engine of Kelty’s recursive publics that drive cryptocurrency and web3 today in building other hyper-capitalist futures. If commons-based peer production is a joke. If free culture is a ruse. What ways of doing with technology remain? Just as Jackie Wang has productively re-read theories of control through racial capitalism, I see a continued challenge of reimagining democracy, addressing its historic exclusions, and colonial underpinnings."

culture copyright machinelearning

Pluralistic: 20 Oct 2022 It was all downhill after the Cuecat – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow

'Once we gave companies the power to literally criminalize the reconfiguration of their products, everything changed. [...] [I]n a world of Felony Contempt of Business Model, that discussion changes to "Given that we can literally imprison anyone who helps our users get more out of this product, how can we punish users who are disloyal enough to simply quit our service or switch away from our product?"'

culture business internet technology

The internet is already over - by Sam Kriss

"The only reliable source of profits is in the extraction of raw materials: chiefly, pulling the black corpses of trillions of prehistoric organisms out of the ground so they can be set on fire. Which means that the feudal rulers of those corpselands—men like King Salman, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques—ended up sitting on a vast reservoir of capital without many productive industries through which it could be valorised. So, as a temporary solution, they stuck it in the tech sector."

internet culture history

Game Design Mimetics (Or, What Happened To Game Design?) - k-hole

'“What already works” is a fundamentally conservative and nostalgic lens through which to view cultural production. Looking at “what already works” rejects an idea or potential of progress, and instead narrows the scope of possibility of a medium to only be capable or remediating its greatest hits.' [...] 'People already famous from producing “works” are now focused on meta-work, their cultural capital gained from doing that work in the first place now refocused on producing content related to their strongest signifiers.' (but how do you distinguish nostalgia from maintenance and re-absorbing work into the commons?)

games design culture

The Artist Is the Void - Momus

"Extraction—of natural resources and of labor—is the defining American act, at home and at war. Inasmuch as art is for the statement of itself, earthworks such as Heizer’s extract for the sake of extraction. To me he is the most patriotic of artists. The effect of an earthwork is never big enough to critique its circumstances nor generative enough to counter the harmful effects of its creation. In this, the NFT producers have accomplished something great, and outdone the 1970s land artists. With minimal labor, no pretense of theory or contextualization, no aesthetic clarity, and no object to speak of, they have set off exponential extractions. It’s not new; it’s just worse." [...] "Art can’t fill the damage done by extraction and enshrining a site of extraction through installation, reframing it as a cultural space, is a softened blow rather than an elucidation. When art fills a void, it justifies the void."

art crypto nfts culture

The Edenic Allure of Ballerinafarm - by Anne Helen Petersen

"If I asked a teenager to create an Animal Crossing Island with a farm aesthetic, they might create something close to what Ballerina Farm looks like." [...] "... Mormon culture often tells girls they should grow up to be something kind of like an AGA. Always on. Divided into compartments — one that is ready to receive whatever needs warming, one that is always prepared to produce something sustaining. A surface that is not too hot to the touch. But enough warmth to extend to all the people in the space around you, all the while burning through more fuel than you can shake a damn stick at."

culture religion socialmedia

When Joss Whedon Was Our Master

as much as I recognize Whedon's shortcomings, I really didn't connect with this specific criticism—seems to be arguing that particular "realist" techniques ("show don't tell") should be valued over their alternatives... e.g. I don't agree that stories are (or should be) "about letting the audience disappear into a world you created."

culture film criticism narrative writing

Bitcoin is a mouth hungry for fossil fuels – Ketan Joshi

"For the most part, this greenwashing isn’t for us. It’s for those in the community with a guilty conscience and for nervous rich investors and speculators. It ends up so weird and confused because it’s a community of explicitly anti-community, anti-government people clumsily feigning membership on a finite physical planet stocked with other non-Bitcoin people. That’s how you end up with a mix of ‘Bitcoin is a battery’, mixed with ‘STAY POOR CLIMATE ALARMIST SJW’. It is exhausting and unpleasant."

climate cryptocurrency culture

Elves in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction • Protean Magazine

'“Fairy-taken” is also a less individualistic explanation than “languishing.” This sadness and inability to work is happening to you, but not because of you. It’s not that you failed to hustle hard enough, or to take appropriate care of yourself—it’s just that there’s something very evil and arbitrary in the world, and it chose to snatch you up. And there’s no solution and no cure, unless you can trick the fairies into letting you go.'

fairies folklore culture capitalism

A TikToker's Theories About Mormonism and Instagram Influencers

"Kim explains that since the religion prioritizes women marrying and starting families young, blogging has become a natural outlet for people to share their domestic lives, all with a coat of glamour. And it allows them to generate income without having to compromise their duties at home. The way Mormon women have used the internet to manage these basic needs has come to define a huge portion of the influencer culture we consume and criticize today."

mormonism religion socialmedia culture

The Intellectual Incoherence of Cryptoassets

"Crypto investments cannot be anything but a zero sum game, and many are actually massively negative sum. In order to presume a crypto investments functions as a store of value we simultaneously need to suppose an infinite chain of greater fools who keep buying these assets at any irrational price and into the future forever."

cryptocurrency economics culture

Twilight of the Robots? Androids in Contemporary Cinema | Filmmaker Magazine

from Joanne McNeil: "... artificial intelligence with personality could become an early twenty-teens kitschy retro artifact. [...] The Tesla Bot announcement seemed to pre-figure this. The person in robot costume danced to music that sounded reminiscent of Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy soundtrack, which was released more than ten years ago. This isn’t the future. It’s an aesthetic that’s played out."

technology culture bots ai

A List of Old People Who I Believe Do and Do Not Know Who Mario Is

"I’m not suggesting that Rushdie carries a picture of Mario around with him at all times, but I am suggesting he might force it into conversation in the green room of a writers’ festival, and that by the power of the novelists descriptive language, Oates would have a pretty good idea of what Mario looked like, and what his deal was. It’s possible that she might respond to a picture of Mario with “oh that’s Salman’s little friend” but I’m fairly sure she would remember the name."

humor culture videogames

Creative Computing and Network Culture ~ Joachim Despland-Lichtert

"Imagine you go back in time to the 1970s to change the history of the internet to your own liking. Based on the events described in the reading, how would you do it? How much funding would you need to achieve the changes you seek? Where do you get that funding from at the time, and how difficult is it to obtain? What does your answer to these questions say about the “great man theory” of history?"

internet history culture technology web syllabus


in cortex's words, "a catalogue of metafictional entertainment"

culture movies tv meta

Electric Vehicles Won’t Save Us. Why EV’s are false prophets in the… | by Coby Lefkowitz | Jun, 2021 | Marker

"Cars, however they’re powered, are environmentally cataclysmic, break the tethers of community, and force an infrastructure of dependency that is as financially ruinous to our country as it is dangerous to us as people. In order to build a more sustainable future and a better world for humanity, we need to address the root problems that have brought us to where we so perilously lie today."

climate politics culture urbanplanning transportation


"But the smartest and most effective move the industry made (the aforementioned measures wouldn’t work without it) was to push people from My to Me. To introduce forms that would motivate people to see themselves as the main – and then the only – content of what they do online. I’d like to stress that although early web pages (or home pages) are remembered as personal, the person who made it was not the initial content; that turn took place later."

web culture history hypertext politics

Halt and Catch Fire Syllabus - Halt and Catch Fire Syllabus

'This site features a curriculum developed around the television series, Halt and Catch Fire (2014-2017), a fictional narrative about people working in tech during the 1980s-1990s. The intent is for this website to be used by self-forming small groups that want to create a “watching club” (like a book club) and discuss aspects of technology history that are featured in this series.' really thoughtful and thorough!

pedagogy syllabus technology history culture tv

Never Be New Again - Valley of the D

'Slowly, slowly we reconnect the threads that connect me typing at my laptop in 2021 CE London backwards in time... to the dawn of the written word in the fertile crescent, when the gala priestesses of Inanna, who spoke only in the women’s tongue, sang in praise of her, “To turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man are yours, Inana” nearly four thousand years ago.'

history trans gender culture publishing politics

Dr. Danna Young🇺🇸✌🏻 on Twitter: "I've received several DMs from friends asking what do to about parents/family members who believe misinformation regarding the election, vaccines and COVID. Here's a research-based thread to help explain the roo

"I've received several DMs from friends asking what do to about parents/family members who believe misinformation regarding the election, vaccines and COVID. Here's a research-based thread to help explain the roots of these beliefs and how to (and how *not* to) address them."

communication culture yikes

Hateful Memes Challenge winners

"Hate speech can come in many forms, including memes that combine text and images. This kind of multimodal content can be particularly challenging for AI to detect because it requires a holistic understanding of the meme." that is not the reason that hate speech is difficult to detect, and it's actually harmful that you think it's the reason, sorry

language culture machinelearning nlproc hatespeech

On Wrong Love: A Response to the Geoffrey H. Nicholson Controversy

"...however vulnerable the situation of transphobia makes us to the pain of wrong love, however vulnerable trans people are to abuse from cisgender partners, wrong love is not a trans problem. It is not a chaser problem. It is a problem everyone has; it is the problem that systems of meaning-making as diverse as heterosexual marriage, political lesbianism, and T4T sexuality all attempt to safeguard against."

trans gender sexuality culture

Welcome to AirSpace | The Verge

Kyle Chayka: "the realm of coffee shops, bars, startup offices, and co-live / work spaces that share the same hallmarks everywhere you go: a profusion of symbols of comfort and quality, at least to a certain connoisseurial mindset. Minimalist furniture. Craft beer and avocado toast. Reclaimed wood. Industrial lighting. Cortados. Fast internet. The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless, a value that Silicon Valley prizes and cultural influencers like Schwarzmann take advantage of. Changing places can be as painless as reloading a website. You might not even realize you’re not where you started."

travel urbanplanning design culture

How to think differently about doing good as a creative person

"White Savior Complex causes a lot of money to be wasted in order to, for example, give children sneakers and headphones that are of little to no use to them. At its most harmful, it can lead to an entire country being colonized. Creative Savior Complex works in similar ways: without proper consideration, many of the ways we try to help as creatives may mean valuable resources that could’ve done a lot of good are wasted, or, at its worst, it can lead to people getting hurt."

art culture politics

modernity coloniality syllabus

"a reading seminar and survey course looking into the constitution, scale, and many dimensions of the modern\colonial world-system. The texts here are merely a tiny fraction of the work done by non-Anglo-European, non-white scholars and activists in articulating the origins, development, and hegemony of the modern world-system, and yet my hope is that these will act as sparks for curious minds and a place within which to situate oneself and start from."

culture history decoloniality

Intersectional Environmentalist

"a platform for resources, information and action steps to support intersectional environmentalism and dismantle systems of oppression in the environmental movement, led by environmental activists and sustainability advocates"

environment solarpunk culture climatechange


"StereoSet is a dataset that measures stereotype bias in language models. StereoSet consists of 17,000 sentences that measures model preferences across gender, race, religion, and profession."

machinelearning nlproc text poetics culture

On Design Thinking | Issue 35 | n+1

"Americans love design most when we’re afraid. Just as the Depression enabled industrial design to present itself as the solution to US manufacturing woes, the 2000 to 2002 dot-com crash and 2008 recession, with their long tails, have enabled the rise of a new embrace of design and a new broadening of design’s imagined jurisdiction. This time the specific fear is that the knowledge economy is coming for everyone. Bewildered and anxious leaders, public and private, have responded by throwing in their lots with the seemingly magical knowledge-work that is design."

design technology culture

From Panic to Profit - Data & Society: Points

"As panic around AI-generated fake news and videos have shown, new technologies described as overwhelmingly advanced, conceptually inscrutable, and deeply conspiratorial make for headlines that draw attention. As AI-supported disinformation technologies advance, it is possible we will see panic around these technologies wielded to justify technological closure in the name of “the public interest.” While caution and care is warranted, we should not accept fast and seemingly easy technological closures for these problems without pushing for social, cultural, legal, and historical explanations."

machinelearning ethics culture technology


"a series of tools to support creators of new connected technology to reflect on their product’s ethical and social impacts."

ethics programming culture software

If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil | Bill McKibben | Opinion | The Guardian

"[W]e are told that the Green New Deal is an impossibly expensive boondoggle – by precisely the same people now eager to pour blood and treasure down a hole in the desert. A trillion dollars spent on war returns nothing except trauma and misery; a trillion dollars spent on solar panels leaves behind a nation that gets its power for free each morning when the sun comes up."

politics climate culture

In the South Pacific, a Humpback Whale Karaoke Lounge - The New York Times

"Acoustic analysis of the songs told the researchers that the singing whales were from a number of different breeding grounds... They even recorded a humpback singing two different songs, perhaps in the process of learning one from another migrating whale. [...] [T]he authors have 'clearly demonstrated a location where the cultural transmission of song may occur'..."

whales culture biology

The Quietus | Film | Film Features | The Talented Ms Ripley: 40 Years Of Alien's Complex Feminist Legacy

"Alien is not, as a whole, a feminist work. Yet Ripley’s force as a character blasts through the sexual subtexts, and far outlasts them; you don’t remember her as threatened, but as triumphing. One of the most rewarding things about science-fiction for feminists is the way it allows us to imagine different possibilities, other futures. Alien’s neo-colonial world is no utopia, but even its nightmare offered a glimpse of a new freedom..."

scifi feminism culture

Blind Spot: The Fabulous Kindness of Amelie Poulain?

"But this way of thinking suggests that the blind are lacking something in their relationship with the world which they must rely on the kind-hearted to give them. That a world without sight is a world without knowledge, sensation and community. That sight is better than no sight. This is perhaps not a surprising reaction from a film-maker. But what if this blind man relates to the world in a wholly different way? What if the pictures he gets from hearing, touching, smelling and tasting the world are just as fulfilling as Amélie's and Jeunet's fetishization of vision?"

disability accessibility vision film culture


"As machine learning algorithms are commoditized, those who can work along the entirety of the applied machine learning arc will be the most valuable."

machinelearning ai culture

Counting the Countless — Real Life

" ethics of care says that we should be working for a radical data science: a data science that is not controlling, eliminationist, assimilatory. A data science premised on enabling autonomous control of data, on enabling plural ways of being. A data science that preserves context and does not punish those who do not participate in the system."

data algorithms culture

Carolee Schneemann REALLY Loves Her Cat

"[S]oft little kitty kisses these are not; they are “deep kisses,” in which the cat full-on plants its lips on Schneemann’s often open mouth. 'The intimacy between cat and woman becomes a refraction of the viewers’ attitudes to self and nature, sexuality and control, the taboo and the sacred,' [Schneemann has] written. 'The images raise questions of interspecies communication, as well as triggering unexpected cultural taboos.'"

art culture animals

We Need to Talk About Social Practice | Art Practical

"Social-practice artworks with a commitment to sociopolitical change have the inexplicable potential to be valued as morally good works, regardless of the impact of the project as measured by the community’s criteria. They allow sociopolitical issues to be subsumed into aesthetic issues, such that a work can fail a community but still be considered good art. [...] Perhaps the takeaway is: The limited attention span for art is not enough. Do the work, and do it whether it’s in the context of art or not. Don’t pretend that doing good as part of a creative practice is better than just doing good. And definitely don’t pretend that good intentions make inherently good acts."

art practice history culture politics