As discussed previously, this is my weekly Twitter roundup. Note that tweets of articles generally include header images from the articles, which are not included here unless they happen to be available under a free license. Most are not. But I now add most of my commentary here, where I’m not restricted by the message length.
I also don’t generally attach pictures to posts with quotations.
9:04 – Mon 25 October 2021
Corporatism made John Deere ripe for a strike from Pluralistic
And they convinced the Washington Post to credulously repeat the lie that it pays its employees $60k/year. In reality, it’s $40k.
The story of John Deere almost sounds like satire or allegory, loading on every sleazy thing that employers do, but making it a single company that takes all the actions at once. Yet somehow it isn’t; they’re just terrible, and their bad behavior is finally catching up to them.
12:05 – Mon 25 October 2021
Falsely luxurious, will not man awake?
9:03 – Tue 26 October 2021
Avoiding an Oppressive Future of Machine Learning: A Design Theory for Emancipatory Assistants from the Montreal AI Ethics Institute
The authors also describe how, in a system of unchecked free-market capitalism, “multiple organizations could develop [machine learning] infrastructures…resulting in a massive [behavior] control infrastructure.”
This sounds far-fetched, but keep in mind that marketing—the core of both capitalism and machine learning-driven advertising—is entirely focused on dividing the population into abstract behavioral groups and coercing people into those groups. So automating it with free access to personal data has always had the potential to head in this direction.
12:03 – Tue 26 October 2021
It was a saying of his that education was an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.
9:01 – Wed 27 October 2021
I was invited to celebrate ‘Columbus Day.’ This is what I answered from Global Voices
Thus, in several countries, the day of celebrating the invasion has changed to the Day of Black, Indigenous and Popular Resistance.
I realize that Columbus Day had already passed by the time that this was published, let alone when I posted it or today, but it still bears repeating: Columbus was a vile person for his time, dying in prison because Spain thought that his actions were criminal. He also died convinced that he found India, despite literally all evidence to the contrary. In addition, he’s a symbol to over a billion people of the settlement of the Americas including pillage, destruction, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.
12:02 – Wed 27 October 2021
Adorn thy mind with knowledge, for knowledge maketh thy worth.
9:05 – Thu 28 October 2021
Scientists Have Discovered Traces of Stars From the Dawn of Time from VICE Motherboard
According to the study, it’s not a coincidence that this unique star was found in the Sculptor galaxy.
I have to admit, this is a fairly impressive find.
12:01 – Thu 28 October 2021
The constant man loses not his virtue in misfortune. A torch may point towards the ground, but its flame will still point upwards.
9:02 – Fri 29 October 2021
Public Transit, Built Back Better from OtherWords
…when it comes to transit — the lifeblood of many communities and a key driver of economic growth — just avoiding disaster is not enough.
In a lot of ways, the automotive industry pioneered the tactics that have been used by the tobacco, petroleum, and now the social media industries, hiding evidence of problems, while selling a “rugged individuality” to head off any collective action. As a result, we have public transit that is—as its managers are sometimes caught describing it when they believe the journalists have left—slow, unreliable, and expensive.
12:04 – Fri 29 October 2021
Let him take heart who does advance, even in the smallest degree.
Because it accidentally became a tradition early on in the life of the blog, here are any additional articles that didn’t fit into the week, but too weird or important to not mention.
Bee gold: Honey as a superfood from Knowable Magazine
The findings hint at ways to help bees, which have been hit hard in recent years by parasites, pesticide exposure and habitat loss.
It’s always nice when the story about bees gets better, for once, instead of piling on apocalyptic visions.
Credits: Header image is Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week from a manuscript drafted during the Carolingian Dynasty.
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