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Return to form

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — on the East Coast at least, this can pass for a Thanksgiving greeting ]
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I’ve been away sick for a while, with no notes on form, paradox, quincunx etc — but on my return, couldn’t resist this medieval ouroborus of a cat, courtesy Emily Stein

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On the games politics gets compared with, we’ve seen various dimensions of chess, go, and also multi-game mixes such as Alasdair MacIntyre‘s assessment that we’re in a game where “moving one’s knight to QB3 may always be replied to by a lob over the net” — or CalvinBall.

At the opposite end of complexity is simplicity, and there’s no simplicity to compare with PacMan, surely. and as WaPo noted a short while back:

One Republican operative in frequent contact with the White House described Mueller’s team “working through the staff like Pac-Man.”

That’s pretty cool — but is it as cool as Trump’s own use of Hillary-PacMan from a while ago:

— and note that Trump also used PokemonGO in his campaign.

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And myself? I’m hoping to return to form, too, slowly. It’s great to have a computer after a year without.

I expect David Ronfeldt has noted the increasing usw of “tribal om MSNBC and elsewhere, though I’ve mainly seen it on TV without time to rewind & verify, take notes, etc. It has seemed quite remarkable to me, and I wonder whether Jim Gant or David have seen the same.

Greetings, all, Happy Thanksgiving — let’s talk, let’s stir the pot!

Hunger, in the closing lines of a poem

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — of the space race and children unborn, hungry ]
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Here are the closing lines of the poem, The Earth is a Satellite of the Moon, by Leonel Rugama:

The children of the people of Acahaulinca, because of hunger,
are not born
they hunger to be born, only to die of hunger.
Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the moon.

I find these lines quite striking.

Rugama’s moon is a bleak moon, but that’s a function of Rugama’s comparison of the cost of moon shots with the fate of generations hungry in Acahaulinca, wherever that is. I can point you to the moon, though — with the mandatory zen caution.

Ouroboros, btw.

Definitive ouroboros photo

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

[ Charles Cameron — yes, this! ]
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Scaramucci on symmetry

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — & compare the symmetry of projection ]
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White House (new) communications director on symmetrical loyalty. At about the 4.25 mark:

Scaramucci on Trump:

He’s a remarkably loyal guy. The loyalty, though, has to be symmetrical. And good loyalty is always symmetrical, you don’t want asymmetrical loyalty.

File that under “on the importance of form”.

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Symmetry as projection:

Matching Scaramucci‘s symmetry of loyalty is James Fallows‘ symmetry of projection. From an ongoing discussion with readers at The Atlantic:

I argue that “projection,” in the psychological sense, is the default explanation for anything Donald Trump says or does.

Projection means deflecting any criticism (or half-conscious awareness) of flaws in yourself by accusing someone else of exactly those flaws. Is Trump’s most immediately obvious trait his narcissistic and completely ungoverned temperament? (Answer: yes.) By the logic of projection, it thus makes perfect sense that he would brag that he has “the greatest temperament” and judgment, and criticize the always-under-control Hillary Clinton for hers.

One of Fallows’ follwers notes the connection between projection as parallelism and projection as self-reference (ie, our old frined the ouroboros):

In simple terms, one might say his [Trump’s] mind is empty of any thoughts that are not self-referential. And so self-projection is simply a consequence of this vacuity.

There’s more in Peter Beinart‘s article, The Projection President, subtitled Months into his tenure, Trump still responds to controversies by lobbing the same charges at his opponents — and see also Katy Waldman‘s piece, We the Victims, subtitled Trump’s Paris accord speech projected his own psychological issues all over the American people..

Good from Zeynep on Facebook moderation, plus a question

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — wondering, roughly: is the world digital or analog? if that even means anything ]
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This post — Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children — together with the tweet about it below —

— triggered Zeynep Tufekci‘s latest. Here she goes:

And here’s the tweet she’s quoting in that last one:

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A significant ouroboros from that ProPublica article, BTW:

Facebook also added an exception to its ban against advocating for anyone to be sent to a concentration camp. “Nazis should be sent to a concentration camp,” is allowed, the documents state, because Nazis themselves are a hate group.

That should give us pause for thought, I think.

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There’s something very important going on here in this discussion as a whole and Tufecki’s tweets in particular: quite aside from the powerful issue of Facebook and its rules for moderators, there’s a more general question about quality and quantity — or should I say qualitative and quantitative approaches?

I’m wondering how well this distinction between (depending which tweet you quote) “human societies” and “simple, abstract toy models” — or “human society” and “so neat Venn diagrams & uniform rules” or “code” and the “complexities and messiness of human societies” or a “2 billion user base” and “powerpoints” — maps to the distinction between digital and analog..

Any thoughts?


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