Missives

Oct 01

“XEmacs has never been a particularly good tool for serious Emacs users because even though it’s written in C, it crashes like a mature C application.” — Stevey’s Blog Rants: XEmacs is Dead. Long Live XEmacs!

Managing a Nightmare: How the CIA Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb -

Prior to “Dark Alliance,” Webb said, “I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests.” “And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I’d enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn’t been, as I’d assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job,” Webb wrote. “The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn’t written anything important enough to suppress.”

Sep 30

Preemptive personalization – The New Inquiry -

The point of “being unique” has broadened; it is a consumer pleasure as well as a pseudo-accomplishment of self-actualization. So all at once, “uniqueness” (1) motivates content production for social-media platforms, (2) excuses intensified surveillance, and (3) allows filter bubbles to be imposed as a kind of flattery (which ultimately isolates us and prevents self-knowledge, or knowledge of our social relations). Uniqueness is as much a mechanism of control as an apparent expression of our distinctiveness.

Preemptive personalization – The New Inquiry -

When we start measure the self, concretely, in quantified attention and the density of network connectivity rather than in terms of the nebulous concept of “effort,” it begins to make sense to accept algorithmic personalization, which reports the self to us as something we can consume. The algorithm takes the data and spits out a statistically unique self for us, that lets us consume our uniqueness as as a kind of one-of-a-kind delicacy. It masks from us the way our direct relations with other people shape who are, preserving the fantasy we are sui generis. It protects us not only from the work of being somebody — all that tiring self-generated desire — but more insidiously from the emotion work of acknowledging and respecting the ways our actions have consequences for other people at very fundamental levels of their being.

Sep 02

“Sharing” Economy and Self-Exploitation – The New Inquiry -

The sharing economy’s rise is a reflection of capitalism’s need to find new profit opportunities in aspects of social life once shielded from the market, in leisure time once withdrawn from waged labor, in spaces and affective resources once withheld from becoming a kind of capital. What sharing companies and apps chiefly do is invite us to turn more of our lives into capital and more of our time into casual labor, thereby extending capitalism’s reach and further entrenching the market as the most appropriate, efficient, and beneficial way to mediate interaction between individuals.

Free to Choose A or B – The New Inquiry -

But it turns out Facebook’s users don’t see themselves as compliant, passive consumers of Facebook’s emotional servicing, but instead had bought into the rhetoric that Facebook was a tool for communicating with their friends and family and structuring their social lives. When Facebook manipulates what users see — as they have done increasingly since the advent of its Newsfeed — the tool becomes more and more useless for communication and becomes more of a curated entertainment product,

Aug 05

“Capitalism is, among other things, a massive process of ego formation, the creation of modern selves, the illusion of individual autonomy, the cultivation of distinction and preference, the idea that individuals had their own moral conscience, based on individual reason and virtue. The wealth created by slavery generalized these ideals, allowing more and more people, mostly men, to imagine themselves as autonomous and integral beings, with inherent rights and self-interests not subject to the jurisdiction of others. Slavery was central to this process not just for the wealth the system created but because slaves were physical and emotional examples of what free men were not.” — Capitalism and Slavery: An Interview with Greg Grandin | Jacobin

Jun 14

“neoliberalism fits the no-alternative moment so well because its drive to universalize market dependence tends to depoliticize social life and its outcomes. “The market made us do it” becomes a national excuse” — Unmaking Global Capitalism | Jacobin

Jun 09

“Most of the “work” in a software company is effort spent trying to change the in-house definition of a good programmer (and, to that end, fighting incessantly over tool choices).” — Why programmers can’t make any money: dimensionality and the Eternal Haskell Tax | Michael O. Church

Jun 07

abbyjean:

jakke:

abbyjean:

By race and ethnicity, in 2012, at least 40 percent of all African American applicants, 27 percent of Hispanic, 14 percent of white and 15 percent of Asian applicants were denied GSE loans. Yet of low credit profile applicants, at least 75 percent of African American applicants were denied GSE loans, 67 percent of Hispanic, 50 percent of white and 55 percent of Asian. (via How well do the GSEs serve minority borrowers?)
so blacks and hispanics are much more likely to be denied a mortgage than white of the same credit status.

Also when African American and Hispanic applicants get mortgages their outcomes are also much worse.
During the last bubble, banks didn’t give them mortgages until way later in the bubble than white buyers, meaning they bought at higher prices and had sunk their retirement savings completely into houses that immediately lost value.
Incidentally, hugely recommend House of Debt by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi to anyone who’s interested in who’s getting mortgages and when they get them and how well they do.

additional commentary!

abbyjean:

jakke:

abbyjean:

By race and ethnicity, in 2012, at least 40 percent of all African American applicants, 27 percent of Hispanic, 14 percent of white and 15 percent of Asian applicants were denied GSE loans. Yet of low credit profile applicants, at least 75 percent of African American applicants were denied GSE loans, 67 percent of Hispanic, 50 percent of white and 55 percent of Asian. (via How well do the GSEs serve minority borrowers?)

so blacks and hispanics are much more likely to be denied a mortgage than white of the same credit status.

Also when African American and Hispanic applicants get mortgages their outcomes are also much worse.

During the last bubble, banks didn’t give them mortgages until way later in the bubble than white buyers, meaning they bought at higher prices and had sunk their retirement savings completely into houses that immediately lost value.

Incidentally, hugely recommend House of Debt by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi to anyone who’s interested in who’s getting mortgages and when they get them and how well they do.

additional commentary!