Woke Technology, a History of Tap, and the Scientific Case for Two Spacesafter a Period


I woke up in the middle of the night last night and did what you shouldn’t do if you want to go back to sleep quickly: browse the Internet. I did some work for this post but somehow found myself reading about Andy Rourke, the bassist for The Smiths, and his money troubles. In 1989, drummer Mike Joyce and Rourke sued Morrissey and Johnny Marr for a combined 50% of the band’s royalties (25% each). (Morrissey and Marr had each apparently kept 40% over the years, paying both Joyce and Rourke just 10%). Rourke settled almost immediately for £83,000 to pay for a rather expensive heroin habit. Joyce didn’t and won a £1 million judgement in 1996. The lesson? Sometimes it pays to keep fighting, National Review. (Also: Don’t do drugs.)

Today’s useless technology news is brought to us by The New York Times: A new software has been developed to count the number of lines by women in scripts to make sure they are “equitable for men and women”: “The stats are familiar to anyone who cares about the place of women on screen: year after year, they appear less often, say fewer words and generally don’t do as much in front of the camera [no, we’re not talking about Val Kilmer characters]. Numerous studies [aka Science] have corroborated the disparity between male and female characters in films, TV shows and ads. But what if there was a way to analyze the gap before a movie hits the multiplex, when there is still time to address that persistent imbalance?” Because everyone knows that when it comes to women what matters is not what they say but how much they say it.

The scientific case for two spaces after a period.

Aristotle and the politics of the middle class: “The basis for politics, given at the start of Aristotle’s treatise, is the reasoned speech with which men distinguish good and bad, useful and harmful, just and unjust. With these notions they claim the power to rule their city or country not merely in order to be on top but to be there for a purpose. In that purpose—some view of the good life chosen and defended—lies the nobility of politics as opposed to mere power-seeking. The purpose can be stated in many ways, but the most characteristic difference is between those who want to include all in the city and those who want to prefer the best or strongest or richest. The former are democrats calling as they do today for inclusiveness in the common good; the latter are oligarchs, insisting on recognition of the greater value of their contribution to the common good. Between these two extremes lies the middle class, the ‘middling element’ that is Aristotle’s concern.”

A short history of tap.

Thomas Cole, a conservative conservationist.

Alexa’s secret commands: “Researchers can now send secret audio instructions undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.”

Essay of the Day:

In The New Atlantis, Algis Valiunas explains how a hedonist became a scientific hero:

“‘Energy is eternal delight,’ the poet and painter William Blake declared, and the consummate physicist Richard Feynman — born in May 1918 — embodied that credo as far as a human being can in his allotted earthly span. The modern world is sometimes called disenchanted, denuded of magic, because science has annihilated the invisible homeland of the spirits, where angels, demons, and God himself were believed to dwell. But Feynman spoke unabashedly of the wonders and miracles to be found in nature as modern science describes it; the physical world enchanted him because it gave him so much to think about. His mind cavorted as he unlocked some of nature’s most daunting puzzles. The quantum world with its intricate bizarrerie, which upended the established order of classical physics indisputable since Newton, flummoxed an intelligence as monumental as Einstein’s. But Feynman made himself comfortable there, as though it were his native habitat.”

* * *

“As much as he despised philosophy, and especially ancient philosophy, Feynman was willy-nilly a descendant of Epicurus, the philosophical champion of pleasure. Though Feynman’s pursuit of pleasure was more frenetic than that of the tranquil garden-dweller, both found political life deeply displeasing compared to the joys of the life of the mind and the liberating thought that all is matter. Feynman begins his famous lectures on physics by noting that ‘all things are made of atoms’ — a characteristically Epicurean doctrine, and to Feynman the most important single statement of scientific knowledge. And like the ancient philosopher, he saw in natural science a way to refute received religious ideas and to accept the inherent meaninglessness of the universe…Religion held no appeal for Feynman, to put it delicately. Displays of piety could provoke him to rage. At his father’s graveside, he fell into a snit at the rabbi’s prayers, which he believed went unheard by the God who wasn’t there. Afterward he fulminated at the hypocrisy of observing religious proprieties for a man who was an atheist. Despite Feynman’s transportive rapture at the wonder and miracle of nature, nature’s God never entered the picture. Feynman believed in the mind, not in the soul.

“And yet he was given to raptures that were not purely intellectual. He was no thinking engine but a man of acute sensibility.”

Read the rest.

Photo: Neuchâtel

Poem: Rachel Hadas, “Cold Prose”

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