Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend web readin'

From The GuardianWired for Culture by Mark Pagel; Beyond Human Nature by Jesse J Prinz; Together by Richard Sennett – review
Money quote:
Central to his thesis is the fact that humans do not co-operate mindlessly, unlike other creatures that establish elaborate societies, such as ants and termites. In these cases, the role of the individual is suborned totally to the greater good of the nest or hive. Humans are still capable of expressing great individuality within a society. So think of our role in society as more like that of a venture capitalist who is trying to invest money, says Pagel. We seek out individuals with whom we can form the best alliances needed to set up friendships and businesses. The rewards are bountiful and can be seen in all the glories of modern civilisation, though we have to take care. This process only works if we select good candidates for co-operation and are selected, in turn, by others. To make sure this happens, says Pagel, we need to have good reputations. "Reputations act as the currency we use to buy trust and co-operation," he states. Thus we hold open doors, stand aside for others, help the elderly, give to charity and even risk our lives to save animals. It is all done to build up our own reputations so that others will seek us out and co-operate with us. 
But sometimes, says Pagel, it all goes a little bit too far and reputations are elevated to an almost religious status. They are considered to be heritable and are reckoned to run in families. As a result, those who are thought to be endangering a family's reputation are attacked by their close relatives. The result is an honour killing. Seen from this perspective, the act is a co-operative one taken to a grotesque, overzealous level. "A reputation acquires the worth of a human life," as Pagel puts it.
From TV By the Numbers, Syfy Original Series 'Monster Man' Will Showcase Hollywood Creature-Making Family Beginning Wednesday, March 14
Money quote:
Syfy will premiere its latest original docuseries Monster Man on Wednesday, March 14 at 11PM (ET/PT), immediately following the second season finale of Face Off at 10 PM (ET/PT). Monster Man will return to its regular timeslot, Wednesdays at 10 PM (ET/PT), the following week on March 21. 
Monster Man goes behind the scenes of one of Hollywood’s most respected practical effects workshops. For more than thirty years, when studios want a bizarre creature or out-of-this world alien, they turn to Cleve Hall and the team at SOTA FX. Only the horrifying monsters they build match the craziness of this extremely talented family. 
From Digital Life on Today, The "lost" cell phone project, and the dark things it says about us
Money quote:
At 6:30 a.m., the finder opened the calendar, private pix, social networking, online banking, HR salaries, remote admin, corporate e-mail and passwords. For the rest of the day, there was near continuous rummaging through the phone, including the eventual launch of File Manager to see the entire phone's contents.  
"It's relentless. He can't get into online banking so he goes back to the file that has passwords in it, checks the passwords again and tries again,” Haley said. “He tries to log in remotely to the computer, can't get on so he goes to password to get the password and tries again." 
By nightfall, activity on the phone stopped, and it remained relative dormant until it was moved to New York City's Chinatown area at 5:35 a.m. Feb. 9 -- one week after it was lost -- and wiped clean, probably for sale on the black market.
From Dispatches From the Culture Wars,  Badass Quote of the Day
Money quote....okay, only quote:
‎”Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves and the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.” — Howard Zinn.

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