Quotable (#139)

PHNOM PENH: One of the Khmer Rouge’s top surviving leaders on Wednesday (Feb 18) challenged his life sentence for crimes against humanity and said he had only fought for “social justice” in Cambodia, in rare comments made to a UN-backed court. […] … “What I want to say today and what I want my countrymen to hear is that as an intellectual I have never wanted anything other than social justice for my country,” Khieu Samphan told the court’s seven judges on the final day of the appeal hearing.

Fair enough.


Quick links (#32)

Shenzhen rises. Global Shanzhai. A giant (but mediocre) FT special report on Shanghai.

Anomie in Japan. A deadly nap in North Korea. Hersh swears by his story.

Complexity economics (plus). What is money? Non-economics.

Singularity — don’t hold your breath. A step towards brain mapping. Accelerated genomics. Crypto-frenzy and schizo-security. Robophobia. Retrocomputing. Social media polarization. After the cookie.

Evolutionary heresy, today. DSM-5 as OCD. Experimental music (plus, math and music).

Wark on Pasquinelli. Marxian eschatology. Weak cosmists. The ‘crawling horror’ of kludge. Refactored agency. Banana media.

Quick links (#31)

Rudd against the China bears (related), but on the other hand … Political engineering. The AIIB challenge. The limits of comedy. Hacktastic. Chinese mobile app trends.

The new Eurasia. Jehu’s hangover begins.

“The Cuban revolution has always viewed money as a problem, not a solution. That’s why the peso of the old republic had to be destroyed overnight in 1961. Having money let people be independent and operate outside the system. “It’s part of the DNA that Fidel imprinted on the revolution,” notes Ted Henken, a sociologist at Baruch College who has specialized in the island.

Architectural visions.

Shale did it. Corporate dark matter. Thiel on innovation.

The Internet — lame when not terrifying. Writing in the Internet Era. Buterin on proof-of-stake. IPAs. Machine learning goes mainstream. End asymmetric information. VR-blockchain mash. Exponential energy efficiency. A little Moore. E-Residency ‘in‘ Estonia.

The bamboo ceiling.

Rochat, in contrast, models human cognition as fundamentally social in nature. Each person learns to be aware of himself – is [constrained toward] self-consciousness – by other people being aware of him. He learns to manage his image in the minds of others, and finds himself reflected, as in a mirror, through the interface of language and non-verbal communication. This structure hints at infinite recursion, but cognitive resources are limited, and in practice only the first couple of levels of mutual simulation are salient.

Hidden complexity. Extraterrestrial oceans. Life on orphan planets.

Sherry whine. Discrimination at work (intersectionally related). Societal cybernetics. Castle of Chaos. Cyber-dissidence starts to freak the left out. Death in the Anthropocene. Neoliberalism, the puzzle that keeps on giving. Mutant feminisms (related). Laruelle on power (and religion). Negri on Marx and Foucault. Minor cinema and war.

I gave up shouting about “Peak Zombie;” it’s the craze that refuses to die. Into black. HEXEN2.0. Giorgio de Chirico, the game.

Nonmusicology. Anglossia. Katak sounds (plus, plus, plus).

Quotable (#73)

Just in case anyone thinks it was easy:

In the early 1960s … Singapore was ethnically fractured, under attack by Indonesia in its bizarre policy of “konfrontasi,” reviled by Beijing as “a running dog of U.S. and British imperialism,” and then in 1965 expelled unceremoniously from an ill-fated union with Malaysia. In announcing this devastating rupture on television, Lee became so distraught by the apparent hopelessness of his country’s situation that he ended up weeping.

Lee came from the diaspora of simple, poor emigrants who had been driven from the South China Coast by penury. Stripped of anything but folk culture and an abiding belief in the importance of their families, education and diligence, they had heaved onto the alien shores of this unlikely colonialized city-state. As Lee ruefully observed in trying to imagine his small country’s future, “City-states do not have good survival records.”


The greatest statesman of modern times has died. Without Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), there could have been no Deng Xiaoping.

Mr Lee_0

There is little, if anything at all, listed among his failings that is not more realistically appraised as an unfashionable virtue.

Obituaries at Bloomberg, in The Economist and The Wall Street Journal.

Quick links (#28)

China and the Asian Century. What the Great Firewall really does (+ tightening Cyberspace security in China). A step back from the market? China’s stance on the Ukraine toughens.

Žižek on Syriza (not his best work), is it time for tears yet? A Russian perspective on Dogecoin-backed global chaos.

Apple and robots (they’re coming). Troubles at Lenovo (and Mega). The waves of deep learning — the game (with brief expert commentary), plus. Robots at war. Technology isn’t neutral. Job targets. Technology contra capitalism (more, and more). Drones! A Turing classic.

No blockchain without Bitcoin.

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Quick links (#27)

Recent illiberal signals from Beijing have been upsetting foreign observers, with the Internet (+) and the universities receiving highly-public spankings (and there’s a song). There does seem plenty to clean up. In other news, Dagong thinks we’re all going to starve in the dark.

Himalayan intrigues. The new Hinduism. Set-back for Modi in Delhi.

Ukraine and proxy war. The Middle East is beyond meddling. Patterns of conflict (video). Europe’s Syriza cage fight.

Scott Sumner’s moment (1, 2, 3). (A last huzzah for macro-management before more radical alternatives arrive onstream?) Net-neutrality pushback. Quicksilver. Proprietary cities.

(Soft) AI is here. Facebook in the workplace, and the grave. Twitter and its limits. Subsumption of DNA into the technosphere continues.

Popping the big bang.

Gibson on Neuromancer. Remembering A Canticle for Leibowitz. The great acceleration. Nietzsche and the Engine of Politics. Corey Robin on Nietzsche and Hayek, round two. Hayles on posthumanism. Jaynes in the stack. Against the cloud. Operation Delirium. Death trips are back. A Swiss mess. Double doom.

AAF 2015. Autonomy and automation. The dark side of capitalism. Bitnation. Font archaeology.

Some recent sounds from Biothanatos and Dark Matter.

Oddities (1, 2).

For the UF gossip column: “Serial killer Charles Manson’s supposed budding romance with a woman 53 years his junior has been allegedly exposed as a money-making scheme. […] According to journalist Daniel Simone, 27-year old Afton Elaine Burton, now known as Star, was hoping that she would gain possession of Manson’s corpse through marriage so she and a couple of friends could put it on display in a glass case in LA.”

Quick links (#22)

Chinese inflation, grand strategy, and anti-corruption. Hebei told to clean up. Market turbulence. A post-capital economy? Hong Kong and loyalty. Changi biodome.

Urbanization and inequality. 1WTC is the most expensive building in the world.

Don’t trust economists (even if they’re well informed or objective). The stagnation quandary. Economic impacts of foreign policy and demography. A bubble in the US shale patch?

Difficult times for Venezuela (more, and more). Metamorphosis of Mecca. Cyberwar in Turkey. North Korean hackers. Europe‘s new ‘arc of instability‘. Mesopotamian miseries (1, 2, 3).

Tech-regulation arbitrage. Commercial experimentation at Amazon. AI on the blockchain. Nanotech meets 3D-printing. Memristor update. A path to quantum transistors? BitQuest. Internet decentralization through Project Maelstrom and Ethereum. Skype translator on the way. Attending to the unconnected. AI net nannies. Accelerating AI (more). The week in cyberpanic. What, me worry? Security challenge.

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