As discussed previously, on Fridays, I present my weekly social media roundups. Note that toots of articles generally include header images from the articles, which I don’t include here unless their creators happen to have released them for use under a free license, and I notice. Most have not, or I don’t notice. But I now add my commentary here, where I don’t feel restricted by message length.

diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week

Also, I don’t generally attach pictures to posts with quotations.

9:03 – Mon 23 January 2023

Mary Bishop and the surveillant gaze from the Wellcome Collection

Without necessarily considering herself an artist, Mary created hundreds of these paintings during her time at Netherne.

I don’t really have anything to say about this, but it seemed worth sharing.

12:02 – Mon 23 January 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Of two evils, the less is always to be chosen.

Thomas à Kempis

9:05 – Tue 24 January 2023

Saudi Arabia: Call for release of two Saudi Wikipedians from Global Voices

Osama Khalid is one of Saudi Arabia’s most public-facing and well-known internet freedom advocates.

This really seems to expose Saudi Arabia more than anything else, given how inoffensive the activism seems. However, it also exposes much of the media, particularly that styling itself as standing on the political left. They haven’t shown any interest in this story, even while obsessing about the far less credible Julian Assange.

12:01 – Tue 24 January 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

The surest pledge of a deathless name is the silent homage of thoughts unspoken.

Henry W. Longfellow

9:02 – Wed 25 January 2023

America’s Inequality Problem in One Statistic from OtherWords

The typical CEO of a big U.S. corporation…had to work less than one hour more to make $36,460, the average annual pay for a pre-K teacher.

Imagine the sort of person who only needs to work a few hours total for a decent annual income, then has the nerve to publicly whine about the cost of labor…

12:06 – Wed 25 January 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Let a man accept with confidence valuable knowledge even from a person of low degree, good instruction regarding duty even from a humble man…

Manu

9:01 – Thu 26 January 2023

Asian Americans mark Lunar New Year in new ways from the Bureau of Global Public Affairs

For the first time in 2023, it will be an official holiday in California, home to the United States’ largest Asian American population (6 million people).

I like seeing holidays gain some formal recognition. While I can see how they might feel stressful this year, coming immediately on the heels of the broad Christmas season—running from early December to mid-January with the Eastern Orthodox Epiphany—as I’ve said before, we really shouldn’t pass up a good opportunity to celebrate.

12:04 – Thu 26 January 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Virtue beameth from a generous spirit as light from the moon, or as brilliancy from Jupiter.

Nizāmī Ganje'i

9:06 – Fri 27 January 2023

Unearthed Ajami script dispels colonial myth from Futurity

But the note wasn’t in French, it was in a script that looked like Arabic, but sounded like Wolof, a regional West Atlantic language.

In the toot-roundup post from two weeks ago, the “bonus” article talked about the Mayans shopping at someplace much like modern supermarkets. In response, I wrote:

Notice how we keep learning that what we know about ancient communities…mostly comes through a colonial lens that requires people to appear backward and/or dependent. When we look at the actual evidence, though, their world looks increasingly like ours.

This confirms that rather plainly, I think, with evidence of an entire writing system suppressed.

12:05 – Fri 27 January 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Lost money is bewailed with deeper sighs / Than friends, or kindred, and with louder cries.

Juvenal

Bonus

Because it accidentally became a tradition early on in the life of the blog, I drop any additional articles that didn’t fit into the one-article-per-day week, but too weird or important to not mention, here.

OpenAI Used Kenyan Workers Making $2 an Hour to Filter Traumatic Content from ChatGPT from VICE Motherboard

OpenAI partnered with Sama, a data labeling partner based in San Francisco that claims to provide developing countries with “ethical” and “dignified digital work,” to detect and label toxic content that could be fed as data into a filtering tool for ChatGPT.

While I don’t appreciate the exploitation, this does sound significantly more ethical than the treatment of people working for Facebook to moderate content. I believe that they get paid less and I’d argue that once can steel themselves against a block of text than a brutal video.

However, I also feel like all this work has made ChatGPT worse, in many ways. It now refuses to engage with certain topics, even satirically, on the basis that “someone” might feel offended, but feels no hesitation in offending people who don’t draw the same lines. We’ve seen this get out of hand before, after all. For decades, Hollywood barely acknowledged the existence of racial, religious, gender, and sexual minorities, because it might offend “someone.” Now, we don’t know what companies will tell us that we can’t see on that basis.

To predict anti-LGBTQ prejudice, look to personality? from Futurity

People high in these traits seem to adopt these beliefs because they downplay the importance of equality and are less interested in protecting others.

I have an ironic love for this story. Somebody spent untold hours to figure out that we can predict who will hate people of sexual and gender minorities by seeing whether they…don’t care about minority groups in general. Brilliant!


Credits: Header image is Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week from a manuscript drafted during the Carolingian Dynasty.