The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

November 24, 2013 at 8:20 am | In links | Comments Off on The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)
  • No doubt there are some flaws in this study, but the conclusions are intriguing. Is it the commute? Is it the isolation that commuting often entails (sitting singly in one’s car, or avoiding eye-contact on public transit)? We forget how to be social when we commute?
    QUOTE
    The longer the commute, the less likely people are to participate in politics through behaviors like voting, frequently talking about politics, or giving to political campaigns. And the authors believe this is a causal relationship, not merely a correlation between people who travel long distances to work and those who live in cloistered bedroom communities.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: commuting atlantic_cities emily_badger cars socialcritique politics

  • Beautiful article. Here’s to polymathy.
    QUOTE
    The average job now is done by someone who is stationary in front of some kind of screen. Someone who has just one overriding interest is tunnel-visioned, a bore, but also a specialist, an expert. Welcome to the monopathic world, a place where only the single-minded can thrive. Of course, the rest of us are very adept at pretending to be specialists. We doctor our CVs to make it look as if all we ever wanted to do was sell mobile homes or Nespresso machines. It’s common sense, isn’t it, to try to create the impression that we are entirely focused on the job we want? And wasn’t it ever thus?

    In fact, it wasn’t.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: aeon_magazine robert_twigger polymath monopath neuroscience

  • Great article.
    QUOTE
    If one was to judge by sheer wealth, the last half-century should have been an ecstatically happy time for people in the US and other rich nations such as Canada, Japan and Great Britain. And yet the boom decades of the late 20th century were not accompanied by a boom in wellbeing. The British got richer by more than 40% between 1993 and 2012, but the rate of psychiatric disorders and neuroses grew.
    (…)
    As much as we complain about other people, there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert. The more connected we are to family and community, the less likely we are to experience heart attacks, strokes, cancer and depression. Connected people sleep better at night. They live longer. They consistently report being happier.

    There is a clear connection between social deficit and the shape of cities. A Swedish study found that people who endure more than a 45-minute commute were 40% more likely to divorce. People who live in monofunctional, car‑dependent neighbourhoods outside urban centres are much less trusting of other people than people who live in walkable neighbourhoods where housing is mixed with shops, services and places to work.
    (…)
    Stutzer and Frey found that a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office. On the other hand, for a single person, exchanging a long commute for a short walk to work has the same effect on happiness as finding a new love.
    (…)
    “…we adapt quickly to the joy of a larger house, because the house is exactly the same size every time. But we find it difficult to adapt to commuting by car, because every day is a slightly new form of misery.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: cities walkability cycling happiness commuting sustainability the_guardian

  • Big Brother scariness taken to the nth…
    QUOTE
    Capable of geo-locating smart phone and computer users across the city, Seattle acquired its “mesh network” the same way other cities got theirs: the Department of Homeland Security helped pay for it, a private contractor built it, and the city council approved it without public debate. Then The Stranger ran a lengthy exposé in which a member of the Seattle PD responded to a question about rules governing the use of the mesh network by saying, “[We’re] not comfortable answering policy questions when we do not yet have a policy.” (The Stranger also published a list of questions the Seattle PD refused to answer.) Roughly a week later, Seattle PD Sgt. Sean Whitcomb told the alternative weekly, “The wireless mesh network will be deactivated until city council approves a draft policy and until there’s an opportunity for vigorous public debate.”
    UNQUOTE

    tags: atlantic_cities seattle surveillance big_brother policing cities

  • Love it just for its take-down of Malcolm Gladwell. (The rest of the article is good, too!)
    QUOTE
    On a basic factual level, Gladwell doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about. Contrary to his claim in Outliers, the Beatles didn’t have to wait until 1964 to enjoy “their first burst of success.” They scored their first top 20 hit in late 1962 and their first number one single in either February or May of 1963, depending on which chart you consult; as of New Year’s Eve, they had notched two additional U.K. chart toppers and sold nearly 300,000 copies of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the U.S. By the time 1964 began, Beatlemania was blossoming on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Gladwell seems confused by his own statistics, too. According to Lewisohn, The Beatles played roughly 1,110 hours of music in Hamburg, the equivalent of three hours every night for a full year; when Gladwell writes that they “performed live an estimated twelve hundred times [emphasis mine],” he’s either mixing up his measurements or claiming that the Beatles averaged more than one show per day from the time they went professional until the day they invaded America. The former seems much more likely. Finally, the Beatles weren’t the only act to play endless hours in Hamburg. So did Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and Tony Sheridan, who landed in Germany before the Beatles and stayed on long after they left. None of them became the Fab Four.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: malcolm_gladwell the_beatles daily_beast andrew_romano

  • QUOTE
    If Ronald Reagan was the first Teflon President, then Silicon Valley is the first Teflon Industry: no matter how much dirt one throws at it, nothing seems to stick. While “Big Pharma,” “Big Food” and “Big Oil” are derogatory terms used to describe the greediness that reigns supreme in those industries, this is not the case with “Big Data.” This innocent term is never used to refer to the shared agendas of technology companies. What shared agendas? Aren’t these guys simply improving the world, one line of code at a time?
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov faz internet ideology silicon_valley

  • QUOTE
    Leute, die bezahlt werden, das Internet zu studieren, bekommen im Grunde ihr Geld nur, um dessen Logik, Vokabular und Weltsicht zu perpetuieren. Es ist lächerlich, das Internet erklären zu wollen. Was erklärt werden müsste, ist das beständige Bedürfnis, das Internet zu erklären, als wäre es eine theologische Kraft mit Bedeutung. Eine selbsternannte Priesterklasse hat sich formiert, um das Wesen und die Auswirkungen des Internets zu erklären. Ich halte das für ein moralisches Denken und Reden, das man besser vermeiden sollte.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov internet faz

  • QUOTE
    Simitis knew even in 1985 that this would inevitably lead to the “algorithmic regulation” taking shape today, as politics becomes “public administration” that runs on autopilot so that citizens can relax and enjoy themselves, only to be nudged, occasionally, whenever they are about to forget to buy broccoli.

    Habits, activities, and preferences are compiled, registered, and retrieved to facilitate better adjustment, not to improve the individual’s capacity to act and to decide. Whatever the original incentive for computerization may have been, processing increasingly appears as the ideal means to adapt an individual to a predetermined, standardized behavior that aims at the highest possible degree of compliance with the model patient, consumer, taxpayer, employee, or citizen.

    What Simitis is describing here is the construction of what I call “invisible barbed wire” around our intellectual and social lives. Big data, with its many interconnected databases that feed on information and algorithms of dubious provenance, imposes severe constraints on how we mature politically and socially.
    UNQUOTE

    tags: evgeny_morozov privacy mit_techreview big_data democracy

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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