Sunday Spectacle: We’re Going Feral

FERAL FEMINISM: I’m a sucker for manifestos, so finding “The Poltergeist Manifesto” at Feral Feminisms was like finding a missing jigsaw puzzle piece for my brain.

“Feral Feminisms takes the feral as a provocative call to untaming, queering, and radicalizing feminist thought and practice today.”

While I’m on-board conceptually with resisting the domestication of feminism and queer theory, there’s a lot of language that’s unfamiliar to me. Nonetheless, I love it!


FLIP YOUR FEED: I mentioned last week I read the conservative press and that in Twitter you can create lists without actually following the accounts. Since then I’ve added FlipFeed from MIT Media Lab researchers.

“FlipFeed is a Google Chrome Extension that enables Twitter users to replace their own feed with that of another real Twitter user. Powered by deep learning and social network analysis, feeds are selected based on inferred political ideology (“left” or “right”) and served to users of the extension. For example, a right-leaning user who uses FlipFeed may load and navigate a left-leaning user’s feed, observing the news stories, commentary, and other content they consume. The user can then decide to flip back to their own feed or repeat the process with another feed.”


THERE’S A LAW FOR THAT: Newsletters are a thing again. I started adding some to my email feed about six months ago. Laws of the Universe by Chris Spurgeon is one I can happily recommend.

“The universe is unimaginably vast and mysterious — unfathomably unfathomable. For millennia we humans have been trying to make sense of it all. But every once in a while — very rarely in the grand scheme of things — someone figures out how a tiny, tiny bit of the universe works. Through this newsletter I celebrate these discoveries, and the people they’re named after.”

Here’s an example of the type of content in the newsletter – Maillard reaction. And the archive for more examples.


PERIODICALLY: The American Society of Magazine Editors announced their best-of-the-year finalists here. Categories include best feature writing, best reporting, best websites, best photography, best design, as well as general excellence. The winners are here. Congratulations to Mother Jones for winning Magazine of the Year!


GOOD NEWS FOR YERTLE?: A Florida Everglades full of giant pythons is the new reality. At this point it is unlikely the invasive species can be removed. However, that may mean a resurgence of turtles.

“Where pythons prevailed, the nests were less-disturbed, as would be expected in the near-absence of egg-loving raccoons and opossums. This suggests a possibly turtle-rich future for the Everglades, and is also emblematic of the indirect, cascading consequences of the pythons’ rise.”


OUR CREEPY PRESENT: Should we grow human organs inside pigs?

“Still, the scientists call the work a first step toward “human organ generation” in barnyard animals. Tens of thousands of people die each year awaiting organ transplants.”


WORD OF THE DAY: Algocracy — Rule by algorithm. See The Threat of Algocracy: Reality, Resistance and Accommodation by John Danaher and Technologically Coded Authority: The Post-Industrial Decline in Bureaucratic Hierarchies by Aneesh Aneesh.

via Danaher: “…we may be on the cusp of creating a governance system which severely constrains and limits the opportunities for human engagement, without any readily available solution.”

This substantive PEW Research Center report (Code-Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithm Age) paints a grim future scenario of a world governed by algorithms. It’s already here, it’s just not widely distributed. But, the pace is accelerating. Grab the .pdf of the whole report here.


KILLER APP: Of course, algorithms aren’t all bad. They may help catch serial killers.

“What Hargrove has managed to do goes a few orders of magnitude beyond that. His innovation was to teach a computer to spot trends in unsolved murders, using publicly available information that no one, including anyone in law enforcement, had used before.”


KIND WOMEN: I love this meditation on the difference between ‘nice girls’ and ‘kind women’. Nice Girls vs. Kind Women


THE ELUSIVE ABBIE: Abbie the dog hates having her picture taken. Here’s a rare candid shot.


MOLLY: No editorial today, instead this from Molly Ivins.

“So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.”

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