Haptic Field


Chris Salter’s immersive art-work, open to visitors at the Chronus Art Center, M50, Shanghai, is definitely worth exploring.* It’s hard to review, because even among our small party, it took people to very different places (including the Curtains of Yog Sothoth) — none of them more than very remotely terrestrially recognizable. Almost insanely intense is a distinct possibility, so come prepared for metamorphic passages into the outer cosmos.

As usual in the contemporary arts, the overlay of verbal commentary is worthless junk, so don’t be distracted by that.

* This post is probably too late to be useful (it’s about to close) — so count the recommendation as saying: Look out for it wherever it travels next.


Deep Blue’s accidental genius (with video).

According to the film, Deep Blue was trapped in a loop, and rather than spin its wheels, IBM had programmed the computer to just make a “safe legal move.” Essentially, this means it just made a nothing move that would force the onus back on Kasparov without losing a piece or position. The grandmaster, however, had assumed that there was some deeper logic at work, and was rattled.

(AI will be an accident, and according to some estimations a mistake.)

Fiction As Method

@ Goldsmiths. (Clearly an event whose time has come.)

The event Twitter account.

(Suggestive aside: Eugene Thacker is quoted at Zero Hedge. The author of the post, from Artemis Capital Management, writes insightfully: “Volatility is about fear… but extreme tail risk is about horror. The Black Swan, as a negative philosophical construct, is when fear ends and horror begins.”)

May Day

Evangelism it ain’t:

Conferences like Milken have an inherent bias towards optimism. Want to know about the world’s innumerable problems? Open a newspaper. People pay good money for a conference like Milken not just to rub elbows with the global economy’s biggest players, but to feel like at least some of these problems are solvable. […] But a spend a few minutes at the finance-focused panels at this year’s conference, and the only optimism you’d hear is the very guarded kind. Investors and policy makers are scared: about demographics, central bank policy, growing income inequality, and much else besides. […] Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner set the tone at a panel on Monday where he shared the stage with Hank Paulson, Bob Rubin, and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. When asked where the economy was headed in the coming years, Geithner reassured the audience, “We live in a scary, dark, messy, and uncertain world. That is the normal state of mankind.”

“Kant is a Moron”


Philosophy today:

Russian police say they’re looking for the intellectually minded miscreants who graffitied “Kant is a moron” — along with a flower and heart — on the philosopher’s home outside Kaliningrad. […] With Arthur Schopenhauer dead for 155 years, however, authorities start off with few strong leads.

Four Comprehensives

A tradition revives:

Connoisseurs of Chinese political numerology can finally take a breath: After more than two years in office, Chinese President Xi Jinping has uncorked his own ordinal political philosophy.

In the past, Chinese leaders have tended to fall into two camps when expounding their theories of development: those who favor numbered lists, and those who opt for more conventional proclamations. Late Premier Zhou Enlai and former President Jiang Zemin were in the former camp, pushing the “Four Modernizations” and “Three Represents,” respectively. Meanwhile, Deng Xiaoping (“Reform and Opening Up”) and former President Hu Jintao (“Scientific Outlook on Development”) opted to eschew the integers.

Questions have loomed about what slogan Mr. Xi, who replaced Mr. Hu at the helm of the Communist Party in November 2012, would use to represent himself in the party’s theoretical pantheon. For a time, some thought he might follow his non-numeric predecessor and go with the “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation, a notion he put forward shortly after taking power. It now appears he has decided otherwise.

On Wednesday, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper People’s Daily and other Chinese media gave blanket coverage to what Mr. Xi has taken to calling the “Four Comprehensives,” a set of principles emphasizing the need to “comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively govern the nation according to law and comprehensively be strict in governing the party.”

TINA vs Demos

Now the fun begins.


For those (like this blog) who think Austerity® — when on those rare occasions when it isn’t a myth — is math, the outcome of this is already written vividly on the wall. By the autumn the new government will have been denounced as traitors by the left, and have become a teaching aid for the right.

Alternative predictions warmly welcomed in the comments.

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