Why people deny the facts

Everyone gets it. That rush of blood to the head when something or someone reconfirms your beliefs. You just knew it! But how often is that perspective the result of wearing blinders? The partisan brain is real and nonsense. Say and hear anything enough and of course it’ll feel true. Such mimetic behavior even dupes […]

Advertisements

Punching back against nihilism

The brain is stuck on hype rather than facts and figures. It devours the external stimuli of incessant feeds and 24/7 news and predictably shuns the details. If we want to overthrow the swathe of nihilism, then we need to create a system that supports credibility. The algorithm failed to do it. Pre-programmed maths exposed […]

Cultivating disparate views

Two America’s, two different realities. If you can shape your own feeds and build an arsenal of self-confirming information, why do you ever have to see the other side? But that’s precisely the problem. Inundated with reassurances and accelerated culture, people promptly ignore what they disagree with. Technology is not neutral; instead, it is weaponized […]

Regression in time

You’re part of an idea. So is every variety of human. One idea is that democracy is the best form of government. But we can’t hide its flaws. It still allows for bombastic celebrities to take charge. Humans are also part of nature. We are to climate change what the asteroid was to the dinosaur. […]

Embrace the void

Most people can’t stand to be left out the loop. The urge to know is what keeps them on their feet, building a knowledge base of facts that usually amounts to gossip. Ignorance is therefore a discipline. Just as we can’t do everything, we can’t stay totally informed either. Ambient awareness already cultivates more information […]

The link between rainfall and the duration of Roman emperors

There’s an interesting piece in The Economist about the link between rainfall and the rise and fall of Roman emperors. One such lesson is how drought affected the stability of the Roman empire 1,500 years ago. In a new paper published in Economics Letters, Cornelius Christian of Brock University and Liam Elbourne of St Francis Xavier University identify […]

The script, the story

How many of us are just acting our way through life, adapting to different settings like chameleons? Situational elasticity lends its hand to the collaborative truth, that people inject each other with signaling serum. We try to demonstrate to others ‘this is who I am and this what I do.’ All life is a stage, […]

Trent Reznor on musicians addressing politics

I was doing press with somebody in the mid-90s, and they made an argument that stayed with me: that I have influence, and that it’s my job to call out whatever needs to be called out, because there are people who feel the same way but need someone to articulate it. And I think about […]

We are a plastic society

We have become a plastic society, with celebrities (not leaders) running the world stage and ‘geniuses‘ creating culture. While social media gives everyone a microphone, it also permits mediocrity to rise up to the professional level. When these influencers take public responsibility, they can further colonize large parts of our mind. To echo Hannah Arendt […]

The fate of click-bait

At the heart of the web’s self-destruction is contagious media: crazy cat pics and the entire Buzzfeedification of the internet. Every site, even reputable ones, raced to the bottom because celebrity sideboob and stupid human and pet tricks drove clicks. Writes Tim Wu in The Attention Merchants: “Contagious media is the kind of media you […]

Photos by Jesco Denzel

I’m sure you’ve seen Angela Merkel’s brilliant staredown at Donald Trump across the interweb. The photo was taken by German government photographer Jesco Denzel, who also won World Press Photo of the year in 2017 for the image in Lagos. Extraordinary eye for timing and composition.

Stuck in our own heads

Inattentive, we let the details slip right through our heads. We are in a state of continuous partial attention, whipped around by facts, fake news, hyperbole, and reality. The foreign invaders monopolize our “private” profiles and manipulate the entire public sphere into tribes that all think and see alike. We turn a blind eye to […]

No laughing matter

The current situation of the United States is obscene, insane, and incredible. If someone had pitched it for a thriller novel or film a few years ago, they would’ve been laughed out of whatever office their proposal made it to because fiction ought to be plausible. It isn’t plausible that a solipsistic buffoon and his […]

The pointlessness of constant self-grading

Five-star ratings Gallup polls Followers and social media ‘clout’ We obsess with gauging the temperature of our present reputation. The numbers are public, ticking up or down like stock prices. The internet is the grandest stage of them all where we endeavor to present our best self. We strive to prove our self-worth, using likes and follows […]