August 12, 2020

Vlax

#teaching #teachingmanuelacasasoli #education 'Zoom fatigue' is a c...

#teaching #teachingmanuelacasasoli #education
'Zoom fatigue' is a cognitive issue, which presumably has implications for learning.
A collection of useful resources to tackle it.
The Psychology of “Zoom Fatigue”

by Manuela Casasoli

August 11, 2020

Institute of Network Cultures

Patrick Lichty: Zoom Burnout, Teletopics and the Age of Covid

Agony and the Ecstasy: Zoom Burnout, Teletopics and the Age of Covid by Patrick Lichty

The era of Covid lockdown is Zoom-time. Although at the time of this writing, the crest of the wave is starting to pass, its impact is evident. In over three months of lockdown, stay at home, 24/7 Zoom culture has come to dominate global telepresent communications, standing in for ever-present cyber-vernissages, online conferences, talks and visits. The need to work, communicate, and even socially function has necessitated the rise of platforms like Zoom and Adobe Connect[1], and what I have come to understand as platform politics and their neoliberal connotations.  Although places like The Well was founded and John Perry Barlow’s “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” [2] was created under the notion of cyberfreedom and fluid congregation outside of the agendas of capital, the Covid pandemic has created a scenario where the private sector has found tenterhooks into the foundations of institutional communications. This is not to say that Social Media (sic) does not do this, but one of the differences I want to allude to is the institution-in-itself (e.g. Facebook) as opposed to platform as channel of communication for institutions themselves.

Unlike a public utility, Zoom, as well as others like Adobe Connect and Facebook Rooms, are portals in which institutions found a necessity for network that was not facilitated by a commons, but by corporations, and by agendas of maximizing connections and communications. These two effects (institutional adoption of private protocols)[3] and the necessity of a will-to-connect)  are the poles in which capital has pushed further into the control regimes of markets, networks, and political engineering as to where private interests further govern sociocultural concerns. It even got the UAE to release its national ban on VoIP communications, which is usually fairly rigid[4], as it provides a significant revenue stream. Such a comment isn’t so much about any particular country, but the effect that Zoom has had on global communication under the Covid crisis.


Fig. 1 – The next Zoom Generation (Stock Photo, Shutterstock)

The idea of having online platforms be the lens for focusing social interaction isn’t new. Second Life, with its inherently capitalist foundations tried to tout itself as the 3D World Wide Web, almost like an analogy to the 3D Internet analogue in the Robert Longo movie, “Johnny Mnemonic”[5].  With the neoliberal dream of the Linden Dollar superceding John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, FOMO-driven corporations from Domino’s Pizza to American Apparel flooded into the platform.  Christian von Borries’ documentary, “The Dubai in Me,[6] imperfectly compares financial speculative evangelism between Second Life and the ‘Dubai Miracle’, much of which operated on the notion of rotating real estate speculation. For some time, this was reflected in Second Life, when the mythology of Chinese real estate trader Anshe Cheung  (FIG.1) announced that she had made her first million dollars on virtual real estate[7].

However, the differences between a foundation based on a technology (HTTP) and that based on a single-provider platform that clusters technologies under a single provider (Second Life), in that a provider (Linden Labs) takes a majority of the profit, and that the upsurge of traffic caused multiple technical issues, caused most of those glittering dreams to collapse within 2-3 years. Corporation after corporation pulled out of SL, and or years articles announced its demise.[8] With the Covid crisis, Second Life is in a resurgence, but this is driven by its community; not corporate buy-in. Another difference is that while the interaction with the World Wide Web is relatively simple, Second Life required a relatively powerful machine and at least a couple days learning SL’s rather cumbersome interface. In interaction and commerce design, the rule is that the least friction yields the greatest returns.

Fig. 1. Anshe Chung – First Millionaire in Second Life (Image published under Fair Use)

The socio(economic) frictionlessness is actually one of the more problematic points with platforms like Zoom, or Adobe Connect, and so on.  In the artworld, the friction that artists thought had to happen was a value proposition based on an exclusivity or access to an event or an object.  In cities large enough to have a community that harbors a consistent local art “scene” (e.g. Dubai, Istanbul, Tehrran, even Chelsea NYC), there are effects that come along with this social cohesion. Taking this in mind, with accessibility comes the expectation to attend.  Once you are there and become part of the scene, there are expectations to be met, places to go and to be seen. This is a crucial point – the demand to see and be seen. If a community like the art world, that in part is dependent on personal engagement, having access implies a demand to engage. Further linkage to privilege in the case of Zoom is multilayered, from communities that wish to engage, and from the company, wishing to focus social capital through its portal.  These sites of privilege include the access to equipment itself, and the fact that in order to have longer than 40-minute meeting access, one has to pay a fee to Zoom. This imposes another financial protocological layer beyond the assumed internet utility charge.

What is important about this will-to-access is not that it is from the community; it is resultant from the platform as well. These effects are the result of Galloway’s protocological layers in the sociotechnological network. The first layer of a demand-to-access is the expectation to attend by those in the mis-en-scene – but the other is that of the platform itself. In the end, the platform is a cybernetic system that is a control apparatus and a form of Deleuzian regime of control[9].  Although Adobe Connect has also been adopted widely (there is an understanding that it may go offline due to its dependence on Flash technology, which is being phased out by Apple), the frictionlessness of the Zoom platform has allowed it to be quickly adopted by the institutional community.  Again, without having a professional account, interactions are limited to 40 minutes.  This reiterates the socioeconomic limits to access to further neoliberalization of communications.  The emergence of a solution in a panic event-space mitigates an acritical adoption in light of necessity. The notion of panic adoption has resulted in the institutionalization of Zoom as one de facto standard without full best practices development.  There is a need, there has to be a solution, and the market supplies one, and it has to be adopted as soon as possible.  Just Do It.

The other challenge with post-COVID networked society is that the notion of access falls under the panoptic optical regime of neoliberal capitalism.  What this means is that, as Sara Cook noted in the discussions surrounding the Sleep Mode exhibition at Somerset House,[10] that internal documents by companies like Facebook consider sleep a challenge to their business model of attention optics. The show described sleep itself as a tactic against neoliberal infocapitalism’s need to consume and convert every possible resource into use-value. In another text, Event Horizons,[11] I describe that even if sleep were to be conquered, there would be the Malthusian limit of the sidereal day itself. How do you multiply the cognitive load of the attention span of one human being as convertible labor once the physical limits of the system are reached. Perhaps there are exotic solutions like parallel cognitive loading across multiple machines, monitor arrays like the bridge of the hovercraft Nebuchadnezzar from the 1999 movie, The Matrix.[12] Perhaps there are even more abstract metaphors likening the deterioration of attention to the evaporation of a black hole due to Hawking Radiation – but the reality is far more simple. A human being is simply not going to stay awake 24 hours a day to comment on your cat video, and taken to extremes, we simply cannot fulfill Zoom’s, Second Life’s, or whoever’s desire for us to be alone together constantly, forever public, forever panoptic.  It is an ontological equivalent to the 2008 financial collapse – expectations for access, like capital productivity, continue to balloon until all methods to appease the machines collapse, mitigating solutionism.[13]

It’s just not going to happen. Computers, and digital networks for that matter, are simply not sustainable technologies.

With the Covid crisis in the foreground, and the Climate crisis looming behind it, the sociocultural terrain has changed.  With the Coronavirus not going anywhere soon, and the automation of the labor-site, even if that labor is merely visibility, collapsing into the home, institutions see no need to be entirely physical anymore, and like the “gig” economy, investiture in the physical space is no longer entirely necessary.  Therefore look for a more “hybrid” ontology.

Relating to New Media Art of the 1990’s, There are some parallels largely minus the capital, when the network was the necessary channel for connection, then due to the small size of the community, now due to the necessity to distance.  But the frictions of infrastructural support are less with the privately funded model of Zoom.  In the neoliberal environment, when governments pull away from funding of infrastructures, favoring market politics, the ability to link capital to the network facilitates the platform. Period. Even incrementally, with minimal cost, this is a wringing out capital from the socioeconomic frame of need to solution, and Zoom life is the solution.

It’s a cost-benefit solution. Online portals like Zoom that create less frictioned telepresence give access to more programmes, create more opportunity to interact by the screen. But on the other hand, there is the pressure to take ten classes a month, be at twenty vernissages, call ten friends, up your productivity tenfold – from your home. A 2020 Washington Post article cites a National Bureau of Economic Research paper stating that the average American work week increased 48 minutes a day, and that meetings went up 13%.[14] And of course, this extra time behind screens will take mental and physical tolls in the techno-enabled world, like “Zoom anxiety”.[15]

It’s a win-win for neoliberal culture. Actually, it’s back to “The Matrix”, where we are tied into our scopophilic pods, viewing and being viewed. Zoom as new Panopticon, regulated by the frictions of the platform, epidemiology, and socioeconomic politics. As this writer sees the age of 60 on the horizon, speaking from a personal perspective, the cost-benefit of being increasingly online has not always realized itself, and in moving back to America in 2021 from the United Arab Emirates, there is a desire to be truly “hybrid”, that is to say, more engaged with the real, like more family time, friends, cooking, seeing nature, and being physically present.  This is also ironic in that VR artists are becoming more obsessed with realism through programs like Substance and ultra high rez scans, as can be seen on the Unreal Marketplace, an asset space for game-engine based media developers.[16] Reaching back into the real from the “Desert of the Real”.[17]

Fig. 3 “Welcome to the Desert of the Real”, Meme. (Author unknown, published under Fair Use guidelines)

But from this writer’s perspective, this is the frission that venturing closer to the event horizon of total access leads towards; the lure of connectedness while being paralyzed at the computer screen. In Virilio’s “The Third Interval”, from his volume. “Open Sky”,[18] he discusses the impact of networked presence on the body and the urban environment.  The notion of critical mass in the context of the lived environment is presented as analogy to develop the idea of critical space, in which the teletopia eliminated the body’s movement. He dates himself in centering on the megalopolis, where the Covid crisis points toward a return to the countryside, maybe not for the agricultural class, but the telematic class.

While the motor created a general mobilization of the population, collapsing space[19], telematic communication only requires the individual to be mobile on the spot. “Interactive desktop home shopping today”, as was coopted from a British advertisement for this writer’s Haymarket Riot Web series of critical rock videos[20], echoes paleofuturist ideas of pushbutton living, or even the idea of Holodeck technology from television shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation.[21] The conquest of real space by the motor, as Virilio states, is replaced by the control of real time with the frozen, instantaneous 24/7 access of the network.  Stephen Graham, in his introduction to Third Interval,[22] writes provocatively that the model for the future is that of the online disabled citizen; the paralyzed body that is saturated by endless telematic mobilities. While Virilio takes the critical stance toward this movement, contemporary Covid culture at least seems to be seeing the new teletopia with a more idealistic view.

The metaphor for the online disabled individual, constantly seen and viewed, frozen by the will to access, with neoliberal social media desiring the eyeball’ attention, leaves it to be constantly pointed at the screen, like a contemporary version of the scene from Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange.[23] This leaves the McLuhanist individual of the electronic global village in a conundrum of the benefits of immobility, and the instrumentalization by neoliberal capitalism. Having everything you would want from your own Matrix pod is the existential paradox of Zoom-life. The teletopia is the new meme-dream, as long as one accepts its regimes of control and the technical, social and political blind spots that come with it. It is also a site of resistance, as it is neoliberal forces that encourage this effect, and as Sarah Cook suggested, perhaps sleep, managing willful disconnection and social intentionality are the things that will shape the post-Covid culture.  For the time being, the telematic necessity forces humanity’s lifeblood through the funnel of the online telecommunications portal, but the approach to the event horizon of the 86400 second a day attention span event horizon, reconsidering quality of life versus being servile to services begs questions in the time of Covid and the Zoom-time burnout.

References:

[1] Although at the writer’s institution Adobe Connect was discontinued; apparently this was just licensing, but as Adobe’s discontinuation of support for the Flash technology takes place at the end of 2020, the future of the platform is in question.

[2] J.P. Barlow, Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Davos: Electronic Frontier Foundation. 1996.

[3] Alexander R. Galloway. “Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization” Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004.

[4] Bernd Debusmann. VoIP Services Banned in UAE, Telecoms Warn. ArabianBusiness.com, ArabianBusiness.com, 31 Dec. 2017, www.arabianbusiness.com/technology/386703-voip-services-banned-in-uae-telecoms-warn.

[5] Longo, Robert, William Gibson, Peter M. Hoffman, Don Carmody, Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, Takeshi Bīto, Ice-T, Dina Meyer, Denis Akiyama, Henry Rollins, Tracy Tweed, Don Francks, Barbara Sukowa, and William Gibson. Johnny Mnemonic. Culver City, CA: Tri-Star Pictures, 2003.

[6] Christian Von Borries, THE DUBAI IN ME – Rendering the World. Masseundmacht, Film, 2010.

[7] Roger Parloff, Anshe Chung: First Virtual Millionaire. Fortune, Fortune, 27 Nov. 2006, fortune.com/2006/11/27/anshe-chung-first-virtual-millionaire/.

[8] Rather than include one of the endless articles that heralded one of the many gleeful announcements of Second Life’s “demise” (an effect that I attribute to the corporate sector’s bitterness on a failed ROI). included is an article on its persistence. Emanuel Maiberg, “Why Is ‘Second Life’ Still a Thing?, 2020, www.vice.com/en_us/article/z43mwj/why-is-second-life-still-a-thing-gaming-virtual-reality.

[9] Patrick Lichty.  Notes on Control by Patrick Lichty. Arebyte Gallery, 2018, www.arebyte.com/notes-on-control.

[10] Sarah Cook. Sleep Mode Broadcast. Somerset House – Sleep Mode Broadcast, Somerset House , 23 June 2020, www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/sleep-mode-broadcast.

[11] At this time, Event Horizons is currently a set of notes in development on the limits of the leverage of human attention and strategies of resistance.

[12] The Matrix. Village Roadshow, Film, 1999.

[13] Robert Reich. director. Who Rigged the System, 27 June 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_sjfchNsiM.

[14] As an academic who had to adjust to Covid-19 situations abroad, McGregor’s appraisal seems extremely accurate, or even somewhat modest. McGregor, Jena. Remote Work Really Does Mean Longer Days – and More Meetings. The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 Aug. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/04/remote-work-longer-days/.

[15] Constant online interaction has created new classes of pathology, like Isolation Sickness and Zoom Anxiety. Degges-White, Suzanne. Dealing With Zoom Anxiety. Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 13 Apr. 2020, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/202004/dealing-zoom-anxiety.

[16] The irony of this is that this quote came from one of the endless processions of online conferences that “Zoom-time” has facilitated, providing almost more insights and information than can be tracked.

[17] Although this quote, coined in the “Construct” scene of “The Matrix” is often attributed to Jean Baudillard in relation to his text, “Simulations and Simulacra”, it is actually the title of a title of Lacanian media theorist, Slavoj Zizek. Welcome to the Desert of the Real. Verso Books, 2013.

[18] Paul Virilio, “The Third Interval” The Cybercities Reader, by Stephen Graham, Routledge, 2004.

[19] The notion of spatial collapse through the technological acceleration of the body through the motor in the form of transportation technology the central theme of  Paul Virilio, “The Art of the Motor” University of Minnesota Press, 1998.

[20] While Haymarket Riot is a progressive Southern Rock band founded in the 1980’s by frequent creative partner, sociologist Jon Epstein, during the 1990’s, it changed to an Industrial genre trio with Sam Seawell, in which I created a series critical/tactical theory rock videos that were inserted into American graduate sociology programs as a early tactical media intervention. The quote was included in the first of the “Web” series, “The Voice of World Control” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CIvqdVUH34&list=PLFrQ2uiujisaR7OuJOenh-bU65CbdcOMW&index=6&t=142s

[21]  “Star Trek – The Next Generation, Episode 13: The Big Goodbye. Video, Paramount, January 11, 1988.

[22] Actually, Graham does “The Third Interval” a service in teasing out the notion of the online disabled individual in the introduction, which is only inferred in the original Virilio text.

[23] Stanley Kubrick and Anthony Burgess. A Clockwork Orange. Los Angeles: Warner Bros, 1971.

Bibliography:

J.P. Barlow, “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace”. Davos: Electronic Frontier Foundation. 1996.

Sarah Cook, “Sleep Mode Broadcast.” Somerset House – Sleep Mode Broadcast, Somerset House , 23 June 2020, www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/sleep-mode-broadcast.

Bernd Debusmann, “VoIP Services Banned in UAE, Telecoms Warn.” ArabianBusiness.com, ArabianBusiness.com, 31 Dec. 2017, www.arabianbusiness.com/technology/386703-voip-services-banned-in-uae-telecoms-warn

Alexander R. Galloway, Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004.

Stanley Kubrick and Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange. Los Angeles: Warner Bros, 1971.

Patrick Lichty, “Text: Notes on Control by Patrick Lichty.” Arebyte Gallery, 2018, www.arebyte.com/notes-on-control.

Robert Longo, William Gibson, Peter M. Hoffman, Don Carmody, Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, Takeshi Bīto, Ice-T, Dina Meyer, Denis Akiyama, Henry Rollins, Tracy Tweed, Don Francks, Barbara Sukowa, and William Gibson. Johnny Mnemonic. Culver City, CA: Tri-Star Pictures, 2003.

Emanue Maiberg, Why Is ‘Second Life’ Still a Thing?, 2020, www.vice.com/en_us/article/z43mwj/why-is-second-life-still-a-thing-gamling-virtual-reality.

“The Matrix.” Village Roadshow, Film, 1999.

Jena McGregor. “Remote Work Really Does Mean Longer Days – and More Meetings.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 Aug. 2020, www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/04/remote-work-longer-days/.

Roger Parloff,.“Anshe Chung: First Virtual Millionaire.” Fortune, Fortune, 27 Nov. 2006, fortune.com/2006/11/27/anshe-chung-first-virtual-millionaire/.

Robert Reich. Who Rigged the System. Who Rigged The System, 27 June 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_sjfchNsiM.

“Star Trek – The Next Generation, Episode 13: The Big Goodbye. Video, Paramount, January 11, 1988

Paul Virilio, The Art of the Motor, University of Minnesota Press, 1998.

Paul Virilio, Paul. “The Third Interval, .” The Cybercities Reader, by Stephen Graham, Routledge, 2004.

Christian Von Borries. director. THE DUBAI IN ME – Rendering the World. Masseundmacht, Film, 2010.

Slavoj Zizek. Welcome to the Desert of the Real. Verso Books, 2013.

by Geert Lovink

August 10, 2020

Zero Days

VITA DA... DPO (S01 E02). Dialoghiamo con l'Avv. Nadia Martini di Rödl & Partner

In questo secondo episodio di "Vita da DPO" dialoghiamo con Nadia Martini, partner di Rödl & Partner sul passato, presente e futuro della figura del Data Protection Officer.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

August 08, 2020

n-gate.com. we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of August, 2020.

Unbricking a $2k bike with a $10 Raspberry Pi
August 01, 2020 (comments)
A webshit upgrades an iPad accessory. Hackernews lines up to explain why paying a company to tell you to ride a stationary bicycle is unassailably superior in every way to just riding an actual bicycle like some kind of dipshit would.

Laws of UX
August 02, 2020 (comments)
A webshit lectures us on "user experience." The website is almost completely inaccessible to visually-impaired users. Even if you can see the text, some of it is sideways. Hackernews doesn't like how it looks on their iPhones. There are two primary avenues of discussion: "I am smarter than this author, so I will complain about this website," and "I am smarter than you are, so I will tell you how to interpret this website." None of the information presented in the website or the Hackernews commentary is of any use to anyone.

A ride that takes 10^20k years to complete in Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 [video]
August 03, 2020 (comments)
An Internet reports a bug in a video game. The developers fix the bug. Hackernews tries to tell us that they know a lot about mazes, but they can't agree on what a maze is. The original video has all of the relevant mathematics, but Hackernews decides to tackle the problem from first principles anyway.

In spite of an increase in Internet speed, webpage speeds have not improved
August 04, 2020 (comments)
Webshits can ruin the internet faster than the internet can keep up. The report includes a long list of verified evidence that this is bad for everyone. Some Hackernews ask why webshits absolutely refuse to learn any problem-solving approaches that do not involve adding compute cores to every client device on Earth. The only believable answer boils down to "because it's easier for the programmers that way," and the rest of the discussion devolves into Hackernews talking past each other based on whether they hold the assumption that there is no more valuable resource on the planet than a person who knows how to type javascript into a computer.

Moved a server from one building to another with zero downtime
August 05, 2020 (comments)
A Reddit goes to great lengths to enable an abusive asshole. Hackernews can think of way better ways to enable abusive assholes, and has tons of personal anecdotes to demonstrate it. We are then treated to a list of every dumb thing Hackernews has been paid to do to a computer, and some dumb things they did for free.

Germany plans to dim lights at night to save insects
August 06, 2020 (comments)
Germany tries to repair its damaged insect ecology, at the risk of endangering its existing Laser Floyd ecology. Hackernews has all kinds of weird-ass opinions about environmental conservancy, but they're all drowned out by the lunatics who are only interested in ranting about the deleterious effects of electricity, light, sound waves, and whether or not members of Home Owners Associations are free citizens.

I'm Open Sourcing the Have I Been Pwned Code Base
August 07, 2020 (comments)
A webshit couldn't get any money for a hash table with a search box and suddenly cares about 'betterment.' Not 'betterment' in any sense that means useful data could be had for free, but 'betterment' in the sense that other people should write a lot of software to enable future profits from this data. Hackernews briefly notes that no code has actually been released, then sets about reverse engineering it.

by http://n-gate.com/hackernews/2020/08/07/0/

Zero Days

Pillole di sicurezza #2: I problemi di sicurezza degli assistenti vocali

Il Garante italiano per la protezione dei dati, sul suo sito istituzionale, si è interessato al tema degli assistenti vocali e ai numerosi problemi di sicurezza e di privacy che questi apparecchi possono sollevare.

In questo episodio ripercorriamo, commentandole, le riflessioni dell'Authority analizzando punto per punto le sue (corrette) considerazioni.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

August 07, 2020

Zero Days

Gli studi legali tra crisi e innovazione: oggi dialoghiamo con Nicola Di Molfetta (e il suo Lex Machine)

In questo episodio continuiamo la discussione su studi legali, crisi, innovazione e nuove tecnologie con Nicola Di Molfetta, giornalista e autore di Lex Machine, un libro sull'evoluzione del settore legale e le sue trasformazioni.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

August 05, 2020

Zero Days

Generare e riconoscere i DEEPFAKE: un dialogo con il Professor Sebastiano Battiato

I deepfake sono uno dei fenomeni più interessanti nella attuale società digitale, e sollevano preoccupazione tra gli studiosi di investigazioni digitali e multimedia forensics.

In questo episodio ne parliamo con il Professor Sebastiano Battiato dell'Università di Catania, che insieme al suo team di ricerca studia il fenomeno sin dalle sue origini.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

The Society for Social Studies of Science

Science and Democracy Reconsidered

To what extent is the normative commitment of STS to the democratization of science a product of the democratic contexts where it is most often produced? STS scholars have historically offered a powerful critical lens through which to understand the social construction of science, and seminal contributions in this area have outlined ways in which citizens have improved both the conduct of science and its outcomes. Yet, with few exceptions, it remains that most STS scholarship has eschewed study of more problematic cases of public engagement of science in rich, supposedly mature Western democracies, as well as examination of science-making in poorer, sometimes non-democratic contexts. How might research on problematic cases and dissimilar political contexts traditionally neglected by STS scholars push the field forward in new ways? This paper responds to themes that came out of papers from two Eastern Sociological Society Presidential Panels on Science and Technology Studies in an Era of Anti-Science. It considers implications of the normative commitment by sociologists working in the STS tradition to the democratization of science.

by Joseph Harris (josephh@bu.edu)

Hidden Injustice and Anti-Science

This essay responds to the five articles on Anti-Science in this journal issue by discussing a significant theme identified across all of them: hidden injustice. Some of the ways that injustice is hidden by organizational forces related to anti-science are identified. In response, the essay points to the need for empirical data on anti-science policies, a symmetric approach to anti-science contexts, and institutional analysis of anti-science power imbalances. Additionally, a reflexive question about whether anti-science analysis in STS leads the field toward racial justice is raised. The essay calls for further organizational level research with a critical STS lens to uncover hidden injustice.

by Laurel Smith-Doerr (lsmithdoerr@soc.umass.edu)

Learning in Crisis: Training Students to Monitor and Address Irresponsible Knowledge Construction by US Federal Agencies under Trump

Immediately after President Trump’s inauguration, US federal science agencies began deleting information about climate change from their websites, triggering alarm among scientists, environmental activists, and journalists about the administration’s attempt to suppress information about climate change and promulgate climate denialism.  The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) was founded in late 2016 to build a multidisciplinary collaboration of scholars and volunteers who could monitor the Trump administration’s dismantling of environmental regulations and science deemed harmful to its industrial and ideological interests.  One of EDGI’s main initiatives has been training activists and volunteers to monitor federal agency websites to identify how the climate-denialist ideology is affecting public debate and science policy.  In this paper, we explain how EDGI’s web-monitoring protocols are being incorporated into college curricula and how, in this way, EDGI’s work aligns with STS work on “critical making” and “making and doing.” EDGI’s work shows how STS scholars can establish new modes of engagement with the state that demand a more transparent and trustworthy relationship with the public, creating spaces where the public can define and demand responsible knowledge practices and participate in the process of creating STS inspired forms of careful, collective, and public knowledge construction.

by Gretchen Gehrke (gehrke.gretchen@gmail.com)

Du Boisian Propaganda, Foucauldian Genealogy, and Antiracism in STS Research

This essay explores the relationships between the “new” anti-science formation under Trump and the kinds of anti-Black racisms we are experiencing at present. What appears at first glance to be a new anti-science formation, isn’t new at all, but old wine in new cloth, all dressed up to confound and distract our gaze from power. The vast majority of Black and Brown people are not surprised nor fooled by Donald Trump and the danger he represents to truth, to our lives, to our precious Earth. For that matter, how are STS scholars working to produce anti-racist knowledge that directly benefits Black people? In this commentary, I briefly respond to these questions by exploring how wildly contrasting accounts of propaganda, truth, and science by W.E.B. Du Bois and Michel Foucault might help STS scholars make sense of the relationship between anti-Black racism and the current anti-science moment in American society.

by Anthony Ryan Hatch (ahatch@wesleyan.edu)

We Have Never Been Anti-Science: Reflections on Science Wars and Post-Truth

This essay addresses the so-called "post-truth" era in which scientific evidence of, for example, climate change, is given little weight compared to more immediate appeals to emotion and belief, and examines the relationship of alleged anti-science and populist irrationality to left- and right-wing political alignments.  It also addresses charges of anti-science that were once leveled at Science and Technology Studies (STS) itself, and particularly in relation to the “symmetrical” posture taken toward scientific controversies.  Recently, "symmetry" in STS has been linked to the media conventions and argumentative strategies that have sustained controversies over climate change and other health and safety concerns.  This essay argues that "symmetry" was originally set up in a circumscribed way to encourage research on controversies, but that it does not amount to a general conclusion to the effect that science is no different from any other system of belief.  Instead, an effort to pursue "symmetrical" research on scientific controversies can document how, far from being displaced from all relevance, scientific authority and its institutional supports are being duplicated along parallel tracks which sustain disputes and delay concerted action. 

by Michael Lynch (mel27@cornell.edu)

STS Currents against the “Anti-Science” Tide

This essay considers some possible relationships that STS scholars can have with activists who are resisting attacks on environmental science. STS scholars can document the counter-currents to the “anti-science” moment, work in partnership with activists outside of academia, use access to institutional resources to give environmental movements strength, use STS research to help activists better understand the policy process and the history of science funding, and help people to develop a sociological imagination about science and the environment.

by Abby J. Kinchy (Kincha@rpi.edu)

Drought, Hurricane, or Wildfire? Assessing the Trump Administration’s Anti-Science Disaster

We describe the Trump Administration as an “anti-science disaster” and approach study of the phenomenon as other disaster researchers might study the impacts of a drought, hurricane, or wildfire. An important, but rare, element of disaster research is identification of baseline data that allow scientific assessment of changes in social and natural systems. We describe three potential baselines for assessing the nature and impact of Trump’s anti-science rhetoric and (in)action on science, science policy, and politics.

by Christopher M. Rea (rea.115@osu.edu)

Lessons from Theranos: Changing Narratives of Individual Ethics in Science and Engineering

The meteoric ascent and equally dramatic fall of Theranos has been covered prolifically in the media. Presented as an ambitious inventor gone rogue, the discursive construction of the Theranos scandal in popular media and in the biomedical community reifies tired narratives of the role of ethics in science and engineering fields more generally: narratives that emphasizes individual integrity and common sense rather than the structures and norms that leave scientists and engineers vulnerable to ethical quandaries. In this short critical engagement, I argue that the ways Theranos has been captured obscures important conversations about ethics in bioscience and biotechnology, both in the private sector and in university spaces. I call for STS scholars to engage with scientists and engineers to imagine ways to structurally embed ethics and justice in future technoscientific endeavors.

by Melanie Jeske (mel.jeske@ucsf.edu)

Sticks, Stones, and the Secular Bones of Indian Democracy

While being inspired by the compelling social protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens in India, the authors of this critical engagement argue that now, more than ever, is time to reflect on the nature of secularism that is being invoked by nonviolent protesters. What can a focus on lathi-wielding and stone-throwing, all low technologies of governance, tell us about the practices and challenges of liberal democracy in India? This piece excavates a brief history of the lathi and stone-pelting to show what kinds of "illiberal" protests are deemed aesthetically pleasing and palatable to elites in India and abroad, which ones are not, and the dangers of this kind of exclusion with respect to new forms of Islamophobia.

by Sreela Sarkar (ssarkar@scu.edu)

<b>From Sideline to Frontline: STS in the Trump Era</b>

The Trump presidency and its relationship to science and truth have prompted considerable reflection as well as significant action by STS scholars.  Among those thinking, speaking, and acting are the authors of the articles in this thematic collection.  This brief introduction summarizes the major strands in each of the articles, placing them in the context of current political trends.

by Daniel Lee Kleinman (dlkleinman@gmail.com)

August 04, 2020

Zero Days

L'impatto psicologico del Covid sulla professione legale: dialoghiamo con lo psicologo del lavoro Dott. Paolo Lanciani

In questo episodio dialoghiamo con uno psicologo del lavoro di Milano, il Dott. Paolo Lanciani, sul delicato tema dell'impatto psicologico della pandemia sulla professione e sul professionista legale.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

August 03, 2020

Zero Days

VITA DA... DPO (S01 E01). Dialoghiamo con il Prof. Avv. Pierluigi Perri dell'Università di Milano

In questo primo episodio di "Voices from DPO" dialoghiamo con Pierluigi Perri, DPO dell'Università degli Studi di Milano e coordinatore dei Corsi di Perfezionamento in data governance e cybersecurity dell'Ateneo.

 

I temi trattati spaziano dal ruolo del DPO alle sue competenze, dal futuro di questa figura sino ai problemi pratici che si manifestano nell'attività quotidiana.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

August 01, 2020

n-gate.com. we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of July, 2020.

Breach exposed more than one million DNA profiles on a major genealogy database
July 22, 2020 (comments)
In a turn of events absolutely nobody on earth could have predicted, some bootlickers got their shit pushed in and lost control of all of their customers' data. Hackernews is briefly disturbed by the realization that these leaks do not merely affect the lives of those who are stupid enough to do business with internet DNA vultures, but also affect the lives of everyone related to them. This momentary experiment with empathy is quickly overshadowed by the terrifying realization that someone being an incompetent failure might prevent them from getting rich, which is obviously the most terrifying possible state of affairs, if you are a Hackernews.

Amazon met with startups about investing, then launched competing products
July 23, 2020 (comments)
Amazon violates Microsoft's business process patents. A fight breaks out on Hackernews about whether and how deeply Amazon spies on the data that customers pay to store with Amazon Web Services, whether such shitty behavior is morally justified because money, or whether Amazon just happened to have the same ideas around the same time it talked to people with the original ideas. Several dozen Amazons arrive to insist that they were working on the garbage product in question as many as seven years ago.

Editorial board of Index and more than 70 staff members resign
July 24, 2020 (comments)

The Hungarian government continues the war against its own users. Hackernews fights about whether the United States is a democracy, then about what the European Union is, then about why journalism is circling the drain. For dessert, some Hungarian throwaway accounts show up and whatabout as many other countries as they can think of. No technology is discussed.

Doing stupid stuff with GitHub Actions
July 25, 2020 (comments)
A webshit slowly begins to discover that other people's computers are also programmable. Hackernews marvels at the concept of a computer program execution service executing computer programs. Hackernews appreciates what passes for ingenuity these days but there's nothing interesting to say on the matter, so there are almost no comments.

New ‘Meow’ attack has deleted almost 4k unsecured databases
July 26, 2020 (comments)
An Internet vigilante helpfully secures customer data around the world, for free. Hackernews is of the opinion that database vendors should be held responsible for lax security, primarily because the alternative is holding programmers responsible, and there is no way Hackernews is setting foot on that slippery slope. I cannot resist sharing this quote: "Depending on what data is being deleted, it may have real life economic consequences for individual people. What if one of the databases has a record of credits you've purchased at your local spin studio?" This is a real opinion held by an actual concerned Hackernews, followed by the most wonderful possible example of "real life economic consequences."

Intel ousts its chief engineer, shakes up technical group after delays
July 27, 2020 (comments)
Having failed to appease the Seven Nanometer Gods, the Council of Elders at Intel cast their Lead Technowizard into the void, and shatter the Magekeep into disparate pieces, entrusting their protection to a legion of Bureaucracy Golems nestled deep in the Pits of Corporate Synergy. Hackernews takes a break from furiously ordering two-hour Prime delivery of Chinese counterfeit Hydroflasks to express deep concern for the death of American manufacturing. They follow up with some noise about national defense, but soon they have to get back to work shoveling other people's information into the hands of stateless international corporations incapable of patriotism or humanity.

Historical programming-language groups disappearing from Google
July 28, 2020 (comments)
Google (business model: "Uber for shutdowns") decides the easiest way to search all of the Usenet data is to keep deleting shit. Some apostate Hackernews suggest that perhaps taking the output of years of public collaborative effort and entrusting its care to a pack of sapless profit hounds who are accountable to nobody might eventually result in sadness. Plenty of other Hackernews arrive to explain that the good people who sign their paychecks are in no way to blame for this or any other bad move, and that the fault lies squarely with people who don't run their own blogs. Somehow.

Del.icio.us
July 29, 2020 (comments)
Delicious (business model: "Uber for Ctrl+B") finally seems like it might eventually make a profit. Hackernews suffers a paralyzing nostalgia attack, which turns into complaints from old people about the webshit companies they used to work for. A side discussion occurs wherein Hackernews attempts to define racism.

Apple does not keep the 30% commission on a refund
July 30, 2020 (comments)
An Internet was wrong about something unimportant. An apology and correction is issued. Hackernews votes for the apology tweet fifteen hundred times and spends three hundred fifty comments bikeshedding Apple's terms of service.

Nvidia is reportedly in ‘advanced talks’ to buy ARM for more than $32B
July 31, 2020 (comments)
nVIDIA shops at Softbank's garage sale, and at last discovers a way to be taken seriously in the mobile market. Hackernews absolutely cannot figure out why anyone would want to own the most widely used processor technology on Earth.

Ask HN: Is all of FAANG like this?
A Very Special Episode of Webshit Weekly
I don't normally pay attention to "Ask HN" or "Show HN" or any of the navel-gazing shitposting festivals in which Hackernews obsess over their pageantry; there are other sites focused on such autofellation, and it's generally not interesting enough to spend five minutes reading a weekly summary of some asshole's opinion of webshit forum moderation policy. But this post is special.
In it, a Hackernews makes a disposable account to report experiences at a FAANG company. In it, we are treated to a description of daily life: do jack shit, half-ass your way through everything, and try to slide past as often as possible. Our deponent expresses some concern that if one leadership-class Silicon Valley Hype Machine sucks this much... might they all?
While I can't tell whether this is Look How Much Smarter I Am humblebragging from the author or a doe-eyed naïf's first personal contact with a real live Silicon Valley treadmill, the response from Hackernews is sure to delight any spectator, as their advice ranges from "just work harder so your new masters will treat you like a human one day" to "quit all jobs and immediately borrow money to start a company and keep borrowing money until you are Jeff Bezos."

by http://n-gate.com/hackernews/2020/07/31/0/

Zero Days

Pillole di Sicurezza #1: Come proteggersi dal ransomware

Il Garante per la protezione dei dati italiano ha spiegato sul suo sito istituzionale, in sintesi e in maniera molto chiara, che cosa sia un ransomware e come ci si possa proteggere anche in un'ottica di tutela dei propri dati personali.

Sono indicazioni preziose, dal momento che questo tipo di virus è in costante aumento e mutazione.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

July 31, 2020

/tmp/lab

Kubernetes Security tech session [Upcoming]

Covid19 won’t block us! So let’s go virtual. We’re going to organize a virtual Kubernetes Security tech session soon so that interested people can join and share experiences about this. Goal is to look into:

  • Seccomp
  • AppArmor
  • Capabilities
  • Nodes isolation and security
  • Admission controllers
  • K8S Scheduler and controller
  • APIs Security
  • Misc CNCF projects such as:
    • Vitess
    • Jaeger
    • Lyft’s Clutch
    • Spotify’s Backstage
    • KOPS

For now, best way to show your interest is to join a newly created RIOT Element chat room #tmplab-public and say you’d like to participate.

Depending on interest, we’ll chose a date for start. We’ll then update this page (or post a new one) to announce dates and start.

Best regards, philpraxis.

by phil

July 29, 2020

Zero Days

Studi legali, professioni, marketing e tecnologie in tempo di crisi: un dialogo con Paola Parigi

In questo episodio dialoghiamo con l'Avvocatessa Paola Parigi, consulente ed esperta di marketing e comunicazione per le professioni legali e per gli studi.

I temi trattati spaziano dalle nuove forme di marketing e comunicazione alla crisi della professione tradizionale, sino alla de-materializzazione e alla de-localizzazione delle attività tipiche.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

July 27, 2020

Zero Days

La sanzione a Wind Tre da (circa) 17 milioni di Euro e il consenso nel marketing per il GDPR e il Garante

Il 9 luglio 2020 il Garante per la protezione dei dati italiano ha sanzionato Wind Tre per circa 17 milioni di Euro.

L'ordinanza-ingiunzione è stata pubblicata sul sito istituzionale e consente delle riflessioni interessanti sul ruolo del consenso nel marketing delle società di telefonia e telecomunicazioni, sulla accountability, sulla privacy by design e sulla privacy by default.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

July 25, 2020

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 4x42 - AgID e cloud nazionale e europeo - FINALE DI STAGIONE

Primo: per l'estate leggete "Capitalismo Immateriale" di Quintarelli.<br />Poi: undicimila datacenter della PA dovranno migrare sul cloud nazionale, che a sua volta ha senso solo come parte del cloud europeo GAIA-X voluto fortemente dalla Commissione Von Der Leyen. Chiudiamo l'anno con una nota positiva.

by Walter Vannini

July 23, 2020

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 4x41 - Cloud USA bye bye

La Corte Europea di Giustizia ha demolito anche il Privacy Shield: il cloud USA (anche se su server europei) non può garantire sufficiente sicurezza per i dati personai delle persone nella UE. Tempo di svegliarsi, e mettersi al lavoro per scuole, ministeri e aziende.

by Walter Vannini

July 22, 2020

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Senior software engineers fight technical debt while the last...



“Senior software engineers fight technical debt while the last wave of scope creep is added in the background”

By Pieter Brueghel the Elder

Institute of Network Cultures

LAVA BRIGADE: LAVA #2 / AIR & EARTH & FIRE

“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion.”
Henry David Thoreau, Resistance to Civil Government.

Please check the CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS for the new issue of LAVA – Letters from the Volcano! https://lavaletters.org/ & https://lavaletters.org/call-def.pdf

We can’t breathe.

After 50 years of neoliberal barbarism – which has accelerated the necrotic tendencies inherent to the cancerous logic of white growth and colonial and post-colonial depredation –, the resources of the planet, together with the political awareness of (white) humankind in terms of ability to handle the on-going collapse, are running short.

After the mutation and expansion of capitalism metastasis as a way to resist the social movements that have raised worldwide in recent history since ’68, and that have been trying to provide the antibodies to the depraved looting of the planetary body, we’re reaching a global necrotic edge. At this pick, which produces all the symptoms of vertigo (spinning, tilting, swaying, nausea, vomiting, eye jerking, headache, sweating, ear ringing), breathing turns into the root of all other political categories, and the strategy to deal with the panic associated to vertigo.

We can’t breathe.

Social movements in recent history have attempted to articulate a variety of new breathing patterns against the automatic and mechanical hyperventilation enforced by the capital, trying to give a collective body to the millions of brains that across these last 50 years felt they couldn’t breathe at the pace of the planetary slaughter. Carbon dioxide has been taking over the brain of civil society and the lungs of the planet, capitalism hyperventilation has been gobbling all the available oxygen and is now disposing of the zombified body of the collective planetary intelligence and sensitivity as a mere externality. The planetary body is now filled up by the metabolic waste produced by capitalism hyperventilation, and the trillions of human and non-human entities that compose it, are asphyxiating.

We can’t breathe.

We can’t breathe because the expiration phase of planetary capitalism entered a phase of spasm that not only flood the collective human and non-human body with toxic by-products, but also impede the proper inspiration of oxygen to the parts that willingly or not have been almost completely swallowed by the system. This produces awful contraction and neurotic jerks that not only hinder the functioning of the singular body but also its capability to coordinate metabolically and politically with the heterogeneous elements that compose the planetary collective it is part of, and depends upon – and which, ultimately, make it always and from the beginning, plural, and not singular. Inspiration lacks oxygen and inhales poisoned AIR, while the expiration of the human and non-human parts becomes cumbersome because their bronchioles are clogged. As a consequence, the possible conspiration of the multiple bodies which tries to articulate a new breathing pattern is under siege, and the collective body colonized by the capital is either taken by spasms, or paralyzed.

We can’t breathe.

Both spasms and paralysis are revealing the current condition of suffocation, and the challenge ahead consists in finding ways to build an insurrectional politics capable to listening to the spasms and the stiffens: to reticulate the spasms when they converge towards forms of collective and autonomous breathing away from the iron lung of the capital, and to diverge them when they stiffen accelerating the expansion of the cancer they’re the expression of. Jerks and paralysis not only produce spastics movements, but also the internal bleeding of the organs in charge of supporting the vital function of a complex heterogeneous system, both at the individual and collective level, human and non-human alike. The bleeding leaks out from the membranes that contain it, and reveals its incandescent nature.

LAVA spills out at every latitude and longitude, in its human and non-human forms. Do we remember the last spasm and its bleeding? Do we remember the visceral sound of the Volcano exploding, only a few months ago, and its furious LAVA running unchecked, burning everything on its way? Do we remember the fires burning from Australia to California to Siberia to Middle-East and Africa, as a result of capitalism’s ecological devastation, revealing once more the deep gash cutting through the strangled planetary body?

The convulsions of a planet under the pressure of a chocking game gone wrong for too long trigger its incontinence, which bleeds out into a hemorrhaging scream of toxins, and enters into a vicious feedback loop with the human forces that produce them, accelerating the destruction of ecological niche able to support complex forms of life and their diversity and the delicate condition necessary for a virulent and fragile species called humankind. By doing so, these forces turn into subject-less meta-political vectors and become signals for a politics that need to involve from its inception the non-human breathing pattern our seemingly “own” is indissolubly bound to, to turn them as symptoms of a disease and political action and not as accelerators of the catastrophe.

Do we remember the almost simultaneous human spasm which echoed this planetary non-human bleeding? Do we remember the global insurrection that took over more than fifteen countries worldwide in the fall of 2019, during which the exasperated body of an inter-worlding coalition of youngsters attempt to gasp some oxygen out of the gas chamber of global neoliberal barbarism, in contexts as diverse as Chile, Lebanon, France, Hong Kong, and counting? For a moment, the intrusion of the EARTH as a political vector resonated with the violent scream of its human counterpart, and articulated a gasping which lasted long enough to give a glimpse of a new breathing pattern where human and non-human LAVA melted together to become a new ground for FIRE, from where ultimately a new form of life could emerge.

Only a few months ago, the human and non-human LAVA involuntary converged to bleed together with the anguished state of things: capitalism is rotting and it is rotting everything inside of it, capitalism is hyperventilating because its resources are running short: the human/non-human assemblages start giving signs of agony and torment, and capitalism needs to consume them faster and faster wrongly believing it can gobble what’s left to gobble to sustain its accelerated infecting breathe before its sources of breathing can generate the antibodies necessary to regain control over their singularizing breathing. Capitalism doesn’t work differently from cancer, taking over the whole organism part by part to finally consume it until it dies, eventually halting also its own reproduction, and leaving nothing behind for reconstruction. Capitalism is pandemic.

We can’t breathe.

We can’t breathe because the virus of capitalism doesn’t push forward evolution via the transversal recombination of genetic sets, allowing evolutionary jumps that increase diversity exponentially. This is what lysogenic viruses do since before the beginning of life, against the biological myth of autopoiesis, which conceptualizes the livings as individually and independent closed units, mimicking in biology the neoliberal doctrine of individualism at the level of the single organism in the very same way that Darwinism does at the level of the specie. Instead, the virus of capitalism proceeds via necrotic exponential zoonosis that infects living and non-living alike, turning them into ashes. The virus of capitalism produces SARS-CoV-2, a biological virus which is human-engineered not because it is a weapon of biological warfare went out of control, but because if it has been capable to branch out to the world of the humans it is because capitalism has actively destroyed the biological niches from where this virus is coming from, or eradicated from there the animals who carry it, selling their plumes, skins, bones, organs, at the fair of human gratuitous inter-species genocide.

We can’t breathe.

The on-going pandemic expresses the bleeding of the planet by turning the spilling non-human LAVA of the fall of 2019 into an invisible entity capable of permeating humans’ orifices first and later the cells’ membranes whose metabolic filtration allows organisms to survive, hacking their engines, and reproducing endlessly. Like LAVA, SARS-CoV-2 is formless and capable to take the forms it encounters, yet it marks the passage from a visible and incandescent material which is how the LAVA appears with the fire burning and the human upraises during the last fall, into an invisible and rarefied being filling the interstices and the intervals between humans and things, and making them, all of a sudden, visible. SARS-CoV-2 is paradoxical because, by its very invisibility, it makes visible, by its very formlessness, it takes and gives form, turning the explosion of the human and non-human LAVA into its implosive phase, suspending the roaring scream of the explosion by bringing an apparent silence and suspension, turning the magmatic element into something closer to AIR, rather than WATER – to which the human magma have resembled, during the 2019 insurrection.

The non-human LAVA of fires produces clouds of smoke and releases tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while the human LAVA and its watery, shapeless consistency partly solidifies and partly evaporates, stiffen under the toxic repression of the State or forced to change elemental status after the arrival of the virus, which impede public gatherings and the erotic conjunction of bodies defining the human magma in the fall. The toxic AIR – infested of carbon dioxide, tear gases, and similar chemical weapons – turns even more weaponized by the particles which humans emit while breathing or talking, potentially containing a virus capable to attack other humans and engulf their breathing. The implosion of the Volcano traps the LAVA inside a crust of digital mirrors, outside of which a fully invisible cloud of smoke takes over the world of the humans. SARS-CoV-2 assaults specifically the respiratory traits of human beings, producing shortness of breath difficulty breathing fever chills cough fatigue muscle aches headache new loss of taste and smell sore throat congestion runny nose nausea vomiting diarrhea persistent pain or pressure in the chest confusion inability to wake or stay awake bluish lips or face – roughly making visible to a greater number of people the result of the strangling grip of capitalism.

The disease the virus produces, COVID-19, forces capitalism do slow down, and attacks also the white parts of the world which have been partially screened from capitalist acute damages (or which have been affected at a lesser degree than the poorer parts of the planet), and gives a taste of the on-going conditions of catastrophe non-white humans have been exposed to since a long time. Nevertheless, capitalism manages to react immediately attempting to produce its last virulent mutation, accelerating the production of the alienated and zombified forms of life it requires for its subsistence.

The exogenous colonial orientation which allows the primary accumulation necessary to bootstrap capitalist globalized society – exogenous spatially in the starting process of colonization of faraway lands and people – intensifies lately its endogenous traits (long-lasting in the colonization of the female body, dating way before the exogenous colonial phase) towards minorities and all kind of diversities (bodily, neuronal, and broadly biological and ecosystemic) in both militarized occupation toxic exploitation and normalization of the human (personal and public spaces) of life, as much as of the non-human elements (living and not) that allow him to survive.

Lately, because of the pandemic, the neoliberal barbarism based on designing molecularly the expressivity of desires and its consequent immediate capture and capitalization slow down for a moment in the offline world to intensify in front of the screens: millions of humans are locked up into their houses, interacting only via digital devices that sterilize their bodily fluids and track every single click, while they order compulsively on Amazon or while they stare, terrified, at the dizzying numbers growing exponentially from statistics obsessing over a curve to flatten, without any agency beside that of staring at their screen, and buy more on Amazon.

The LAVA of the fall of 2019 implodes into a hygienist securitarian dystopia which gives form to the last schizophrenic mutation of neoliberal barbarism: on one side, the system wants to open and go back to normal as soon as possible to halt the economic collapse, on the other, it displaces the attention from both essential and non-essential workers being forced to work during the pick of the pandemic (either without proper gears and health coverage, and the latter risking their life not even to provide basic services but simply to allow the rich to get richer), to the need of arresting runners with their dogs, because if you have a dog you’re allowed to go out, because in this last mutation a dog is freer than its owner. In so doing, capitalism injects the policing demon into civil society, which cheerfully supports drones and cops chasing people exercising on empty beaches, forgetting about the non-essential workers dying of COVID and spreading the virus around.

On one side, it gives the right of expression to people willing to open the economy and, as a consequence, to eugenically exterminate the weakest and poorest members of the society, mainly non-white, on the other, everybody else needs to fuck the shut up, and polices each other from the windows when not busy staring at screens, breathing at the rhythm of the next death toll notification.

We can’t breathe.

Although at the beginning of the pandemic crisis, the virus has been ingenuously looked as an ally to the previous phase of volcanic eruption, capable to lock financial markets and global logistics, it became clear quite quickly that the implosion of the Volcano was preparing a phase of a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, and that the vulnerability of the classes in need would have increased – and that, ultimately, capitalism was attempting its ultimate genetic mutation. For doing so, capitalism needed to attempt its latest massive hyperventilation, depriving the weakest of the last bits of oxygen available, and getting rid of them the same way an infected limb gets chopped off from a moribund organism to increase its possibility of survival.

The cancer of capitalism – cancer that has already transformed itself into a composite, flexible and yet monocultural body –   tries to get rid of the elements it can exploit less or it needs to provide for, so to be able to concentrate its effort to the resilient parts of the body which try to resist it. Mass testing has been avoided pretty much everywhere because capitalism has money to store bombs and weapons but not enough to store reagent or produce and distributes immediately test-kits, and if during a war any kind of factory can turn into a factory of weapons and bombs, during a pandemic which kills the weakest, it cannot turn into a facility to produce masks and ventilators. Yet, capitalism claims it is a war, but only to scare people, enforces security policies which instrumentalize care (of which capitalism doesn’t give a damn, as proven by delaying locking down economy, betting on herd immunity, forcing non-essential workers to go to work), and concentrates wealth.

We can’t breathe.

The human and non-human spasms and stiffens of the last years reveal as Janus-faced, ambiguous, with toxins turning anti-bodies, and vice-versa. When the liberating spasms attempt to free themselves from the strangling of capitalism, they produce and accelerate its very stiffening as the sole necrotic answer of a system that, closed to collapse, cannot handle them differently without otherwise burying itself, and yet paradoxically burying itself (and everything with it, and this is the problem) by doing so, as well. When the stiffening spasms attempt to recompose the rotting pieces of the system – in the form of the allegiances between de-territorialized global capital and localized fascism, which play opposite on the surface but in reality preserve the same structure of power – new insurrectional explosions emerge which try to smooth up the rigor mortis of a walking cadaver and reanimate the parts still capable to breathe enough oxygens to face reality and do something about it.

The implosive phase of the Volcano, in the form of the SARS-COV-2, understood as a non-human force driven by capitalist factors and immediately capitalized by them, served to contain the previous explosive phase in which non-human forces in the form of fires and human forces in the form of insurrections burning up the symbols of capital – from police cars and military vehicles to banks to high-end shops to malfunctioning supposed to be public transportation privatized and turned into speculation engine – were finally producing a spasm capable to synchronize and diverge similarly fashion to how neoliberal barbarism proliferate, and with the same violence.

After a few months of lockdown, which has produced revolutionary stiffens and fascist spasms, a new insurrectional subjectivity seems to emerge at the pick of the necrotic horizon, resilient to vertigo. Playing death during the crisis hoping that the disruptive force of the virus would have helped to unmount some of the bolts of capitalism, didn’t seem to work alone – or, better, did work in the form of acts of refusal such as organized rent strikes or work strikes only once supported by an active agenda which helped these refusals to be sustained in the long term, and sided by pro-active activities such as re-appropriation and re-distributions.

The inflamed WATER of the 2019 fall in its human and EARTH(ly) expressions evaporated into a toxic AIR, where oxygens is taken away and human and non-human beings alike are forced to a form of atomized digitally supported breathing never experienced in history, which accomplished the detaching of the breathing from the planetary body, in a form that resists the endo-symbiotic metabolic laws of the planet, where breathing is circular, cyclical, transversal across beings, heteropoietic, and intrinsically opposed to capitalism forced hyperventilation, covered by an autopoietic dress which masks the heterogeneous elements that instead are necessary for its survival, and which the vest is suffocating collapsing them at an increasing speed, to sustain its growth, a growth which indeed starts to lack its substratum, a growth of mirroring respiratory machines which start exhaling their metabolic waste on each other, covering up their toxicities by cosmetic interventions and botox surgeries appealing crowds on Instagram and Facebook but eventually incapable to resurrect a dead body of which the primary sources are starting to lack.

The toxic AIR can be infused with oxygen again only if the painful spasms of the collective planetary body manages to expropriate enough oxygen from the cancerous cells of the capital to initiate an intra-planetary breathing exercise capable to precipitate a trophic cascade of inter-species ontological eroticism repristinating the cycling equilibrium of intra-respiration. Circulating clean oxygen into the locked coffin of capitalism where the zombified planetary body oscillates between spasms and stiffens will inevitably make the atmosphere inflammable, and produce FIRE. The cancerogenic prison of capital could at that point burn and turn into ashes, and the remnants of the collective planetary body surviving from the final explosion of the Volcano could finally start anew.

Because enough is enough, and we can’t breathe.

After the first pick of the pandemic, FIRE is the new WATER for the fight of a transversal inter/intra-species insurrectional spasm inside an almost completely sealed coffin, of which the last spikes are tentatively nailed down in the upcoming decade. Most likely, the pandemic will hit back, but the securitarian iron spell seems now broken and unable to contain the magmatic rage of the Volcano, and dogs will not be freer than their owners, no more. FIRE erupts again in the world of the humans with the slaughtering of an Afro-American named George Floyd (Rest in Power) by a US pig who has suffocated him for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, and which has prompted the alchemic transformation of toxic AIR into purifying FIRE, fueled by the pressure that the implosion has exercised to the magma which exploded in the fall of 2019, triggering a new explosion.

The upraise of LAVA and of breathing is not a matter of re-composition, as in the wet dreams of white revolutionary theory, but of polyphony, strategic accelerations and slackening, simultaneous disjunctions and conjunctions to resist algorithmic connection and ecological depredation, it is the necessary and extenuating need of constant and daily civic guerrilla within the boiling viscera of the Volcano:

In the concentration camps of Xinjiang.

In the starving crowds of Bogota and Santiago de Chile and Guayaquil forced to protesting and looting, having to choose between risking COVID tomorrow or die of hunger today.

In the Mediterranean graveyard and its coastal concentration camps which have been trying to tame its explosive vitality and the inevitable beginning of a new emerging culture.

In the Hong Kong protesters sharing insurrectional tactics with other movements worldwide and trying to resist the manipulations of a decadent American Empire while fighting an expanding Chinese dystopic nightmare.

In the Beirut Molotov day against financially protected sectarianism. In the prisoners’ upraises of France, Italy, and across Latino-America.

In the foyer of the Gilet Noir, in the Black Live Matter movement burning police stations and looting banks and corporate businesses and re-emerging unpredictably stronger from the rotten-egg-smelling asshole of an increasingly more unequal and fascist United States of America.

In all the places of the planet wracked by anguish and despair slowly but inevitably and at times subconsciously building an insurrectional consciousness as an inevitably survivalist strategy far from the white polite dreams of revolutionary theory.

In the inorganic and haphazard revolts of a wounded planet where the shapeless needs to approach the corpse before re-emerging from the ashes like a phoenix – against the professed normality of glittery silenced and indifferent genocide of difference, against the return to normal and against the new normal. It’s either the survival of one, or the others.

AIR is toxic, and from Eric Garner’s I can’t breathe (another Afro-American chocked to dead Rest In Power by another US pig Fuck 12 a few years ago) to George Floyd, the scream associated to the spasm of asphyxia has turned collective. The lapilli of LAVA seem to be capable to converge and diverge at an increasing speed, the scream of a single turns into the roar of the growing many, and I can’t breathe becomes We can’t breathe. Let’s move towards the inorganic, towards a molecular geological thaumaturgy and become EARTH, let’s diverge anxiety from exhaustion by socializing anxiety so to turn the stiffening emerging from exhaustion into the intervals between the contradictory spasms and their rhythms of implosion and explosion, so to be able to expand the intervals and prepare therein the intensification of insurrectional eruptive spasms, let’s turn the generational betrayal into an inter-generational reversal of roles and responsibility, let’s turn toxins into antibodies as in the plasma therapy.

Come hell or high water, extinction for extinction, better to extinguish throwing rocks at the oppressor and making orgies of sweats and spits and muds dancing and singing with rocks and plants and animals in between battles feeling the warmth of each other breath and proximity, than dying miserably staring at our own deaths live over a screen. We can’t breathe. Let’s the FIRE begin.

(Images copyright: LAVA BRIGADE)

Bibliographical Note

The text is inspired by:

Berardi, F., Breathing: On chaos and poetry. MIT: Boston, 2019.

Azar, M., Berardi, F.,“I can’t breath as schizo-analysis: chaosmosis, poetry and cinema”. Interview with Franco “Bifo” Berardi, La Deleuziana, The schizoanalytic clinic, n. 9 / 2019.

Mbembe, A. “The Universal Right to Breathe”. Critical Inquiry, April 2020.

 

by Geert Lovink

n-gate.com. we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of July, 2020.

Hackers take over prominent Twitter accounts in simultaneous attack
July 15, 2020 (comments)
Twitter soft-launches its new application programming interface, and in the process demonstrates conclusively that advertising on the platform absolutely does not work. The "Hacker" "News" hall monitors point out that the resulting discussion is so large that the forum software used by "Hacker" "News," written by celebrated programming genius Paul Graham, cannot display more than a couple hundred plaintext comments at once. Hackernews thinks that any attack on Twitter must be part of a grand multinational conspiracy designed to subvert the course of human history, instead of the natural outcome of an absentee CEO hiring a few thousand webshits and disappearing back into a yacht club.

When your coworker does great work, tell their manager
July 16, 2020 (comments)
An Internet reminds us that there are more dialog options when conversing with management than "when can I take my office chair home." Hackernews correctly despises common corporate personnel review practices, but espouses directionless micromanagement as the solution. Most of the comments comprise an attempt to crowdsource a solution to disinterested management, presumably to fix whatever the fuck is going on at Twitter.

Former ICANN CEO is now co-CEO of the private equity firm that tried to buy .org
July 17, 2020 (comments)
A burglar successfully reaches the hideout, only to discover all of the loot was left back at the ransacked institution. One Hackernews points out the importance of keeping an eye on the public's shit, but this immediately devolves into other Hackernews bitching that words don't all mean the same things they meant in the Victorian age. The rest of the comments are bloviating about class wars or attempting to solve social problems with blockchains.

OpenAI's GPT-3 may be the biggest thing since Bitcoin
July 18, 2020 (comments)
Only halfway through the year, we are treated to the Hackernewsest headline of 2020. An absolute asshole uses an overgrown Eliza implementation to write a barely-coherent puff piece about itself. This, decides Hackernews, is the beginning of a new era, in which nothing really has changed over previous AI text generators aside from a moderate improvement in the use of punctuation. The only question, debates Hackernews, is whether this new era is destined to have absolutely no effect in any measurable way, or the slightest inching toward a possible future in which OpenAI produces something of use to people who do not run affiliate spamblogs for a living. What a time to be alive!

Fixing Mass Effect black blobs on modern AMD CPUs
July 19, 2020 (comments)
Some Internets spend a lot of time fixing an old computer game by working around Microsoft's bullshit. Hackernews is dissatisfied with the level of effort expended. Some Hackernews prefer to ramble about unrelated flaws in other computer games, but one Hackernews gleefully suggests that links to blogs on the internet is what makes Hackernews special.

Turns out half the internet has a single-point-of-failure called “Cloudflare”
July 20, 2020 (comments)
Cloudflare fucks everything up again and one of their competitors writes the after-action review. Hackernews takes this opportunity to trot out a litany of complaints about Cloudflare, from the poor technical decisions the now-massive company inflicts on webshits, to the audacity of Cloudflare's leadership to operate their corporation as they see fit, to the catastrophic consequences of not consulting Hackernews before making a configuration change. Later in the comment threads, Hackernews tries to ascertain whether establishing a global monopoly on a network service is irredeemably evil or a moral imperative.

Invert, always, invert
July 21, 2020 (comments)
A webshit bureaucrat delivers tips and tricks to appear as though you are capable of rational thought. The author does not seem to know what all of the words involved actually mean, leading to the accusation of pontification being leveled at an apparently-respected source. Hackernews plays around with the idea that one can produce p by ensuring not-q but stumbles and falls when some of the resulting incantations fail to make literal sense. It turns out that the German everyone keeps quoting was talking about mathematics instead of bolstering employee productivity metrics at a massive faceless corporate consultancy, but Hackernews still feels smarter for having been exposed to it.

by http://n-gate.com/hackernews/2020/07/21/0/

July 21, 2020

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Engineers remove dead code after dropping a feature...



“Engineers remove dead code after dropping a feature flag”

Sir Frank Bernard Dicksee, 1893, Oil on canvas

Sakrecoer

House Of Me

With influences from the middle-east mythologies to the western post-modern occult organizations.

by set

July 20, 2020

Zero Days

Luca Bolognini spiega "da zero" il caso "Schrems II" e il trasferimento dei dati all'estero nel GDPR

Il recente caso "Schrems II" ha riaperto il problema del trasferimento dei dati all'estero in un'ottica europea (e nel GDPR).

In questo nuovo episodio del podcast Luca Bolognini spiega, anche al non esperto, come si sia arrivati alla situazione attuale e a un "meteorite" che si è abbattuto sul sistema della protezione dei dati personali in Europa.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

July 15, 2020

n-gate.com. we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of July, 2020.

Linux Mint drops Ubuntu Snap packages
July 08, 2020 (comments)
The maintainers of an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution mistrusts Canonical. Hackernews erupts into civil war over the correct way to install a web browser, to which corporation it is appropriate to swear fealty, and whether or not some rando's spider sense is the proper method to measure software performance. Nobody hits on the real answer, which is to immediately stop using anything Canonical touches and install software provided by anyone else at all. Hackernews has all the necessary opinions to come to this conclusion, but for some reason they can't quite cross the finish line; the general consensus is that using Linux is impossible without some manner of downstream Ubuntu molester getting involved.

U.S. Supreme Court deems half of Oklahoma a Native American reservation
July 09, 2020 (comments)
The United States Government continues the war against its own users. In this episode, a toddler rapist's conviction is overturned, and as a side effect, all of Tulsa soon'll be living in a brand new state. Hackernews declares the decision to be a fine lecture on the topic of standing behind a promise, and immediately begins arguing about the war on drugs. Later Hackernews very carefully construct internally-consistent logical frameworks which allow them to continue not giving a shit about poor people, especially ones who are not white, and most especially of all nonwhite poor people whose families have been ratfucked by the United States Government for centuries.

Don't close your MacBook with a cover over the camera
July 10, 2020 (comments)
Apple continues the war against its own users. Hackernews' attention is piqued by the mention of their laptops. Some Apple apologists insist that a half-millimeter pinhole with a light in it is sufficient for the purposes of knowing if your laptop is looking at you, but nobody is very excited about this plan. In order to decide what the right answer is, Hackernews explores the reasons someone might want to exert control over their own computers. Later, some Hackernews report that their metal-and-glass portable computers can be effectively destroyed by a piece of plastic the thickness of a business card, or by abusive violence such as "picking it up."

How to Understand Things
July 11, 2020 (comments)
A servant of actual evil declares moral virtues to be critical to intelligence. Another claim is that understanding comes to those who pursue it, and naturally the people pursuing it are the people who do not feel that they have sufficient understanding. Hackernews takes the hint and starts listing all the shit they don't understand, so that we may marvel at how intelligent they are. Technology is discussed, but not coherently.

Your DS18B20 temperature sensor is likely a fake, counterfeit, clone
July 12, 2020 (comments)
Buying cheap garbage from shady grifters might land you with flimflam gizmos. Hackernews dimly recalls another hardware manufacturer combating counterfeit gear, and spends some time arguing what hardware programmers should be allowed to break. The rest of Hackernews trades horror stories about trying to buy things over the internet.

Grant Imahara Has Died
July 13, 2020 (comments)
A celebrity passes away. Hackernews was a fan.

Etcd, or, why modern software makes me sad
July 14, 2020 (comments)
An Internet doesn't like a piece of software. Hackernews concludes that disliking trendy software is the surest sign that someone is a tremendous asshole who should not be trusted to make decisions. After a while, some other Hackernews consider that maybe the needs of global megacorporations with billions of dollars of computers scattered across the entire actual planet don't promote simplicity as a driving quality of software development. It's fine, decides Hackernews, because it's not like anyone is learning any of this shit anyway. As long as Stack Overflow provides sufficiently novel copy-and-paste fodder, things will probably keep working.

by http://n-gate.com/hackernews/2020/07/14/0/

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 4x40 - Attraverso il deserto

si può liberarsi dalla morsa dei GAFAM? Sì. Ma non basta "scegliere consapevolmente", occorre proprio cambiare gioco.

by Walter Vannini

July 08, 2020

Institute of Network Cultures

Digital stitch

Written by: Pamela Nelson

Sewing is an act of mindfulness. When we embroider or engage in other creative activities like painting or sculpting, our perception of time can become distorted and give the illusion of ‘slowing down’, as discussed in ‘The Restructuring of Temporality During Art Making’ by Ariana van Heerden. In a fast paced, technocentric world, we must not underestimate the power of being able to slow down.

Recently, I have been using stitch as a way of understanding my relationship with technology, while at the same time reflecting on the harmful environmental impact that technology can have. I did this by monitoring my own internet usage and habits and trying to estimate my carbon footprint for certain periods of time. I embroidered diagrams and data onto pieces of whiteboard cloth or old tote bags as a way of visualising this information. I set aside time for myself to embroider that was intended to be ‘tech-free’; no laptop playing Netflix in the background, no podcast streaming from my phone. I was successful for the most part in doing so, but in some cases I gave in to watching a show or listening to a Spotify playlist.

Lockdown

During lockdown, my focus shifted to my changing relationship with technology and growing reliance on it due to Covid-19. I had a ‘worry pillow’ that I would embroider with passing thoughts and changes I was noticing during this time. I found the process of logging and dating these observations useful for keeping track of my ever-changing outlook on technology.  I noted the tension between wanting to be offline but at the same time needing to be online for other work, I thought about ways to allow for a more authentic social experience over Zoom by brainstorming how to ‘make a screen disappear’ and I noted the websites I was visiting most frequently during lockdown, like gov.ie to check for corona virus updates.

I spoke with my tutor at the time who recognised what I was doing as a type of ‘documentary embroidery’, as used by researchers Aviv Kruglanski and Vahida Ramujkic, which uses no previous planning. It encourages the sewer to ‘economise and abstract’ certain information. Consequently they follow a process of encrypting and ‘creating symbolic graphics’ when limiting details. In documentary embroidery, the slowness is considered an opportunity to engage with each other, and share ideas. I wanted to introduce this community aspect into what I was doing too, but it would mean having to compromise the ‘tech-free’ element of my exploration.

The Circles 1

By simply Googling ‘virtual sewing circles’, I discovered that there was an emergence of ‘digital stitch’ communities during lockdown, where many in-person groups from all over the world had gone online for the first time. Sewing circles on Meet-Up, were now adapting and embracing video calls as a way of keeping these communities alive during Covid-19. This opened up opportunities to join dozens of sewing circles all over the globe that would have not been accessible to me otherwise. Of course, there is always a risk involved when opening up to a wider, online audience, so for the Glasgow Virtual Stitch and Knit group, I went through a type of ‘vetting process’ before hand by answering questions to verify who I was and reduce the risk of attacks, like ‘Zoom Bombing’.

First, I was introduced to the members; Rachel*, had been working on a cross stitch piece, but explained that as she was getting older and her eyesight was deteriorating, therefore she would more often knit to wind-down. Emma* had recently suffered from a stroke and as a result had forgotten how to knit. She was taking the time to relearn the basics and was working on a patchwork blanket using an Icelandic wool that her son brought back from a trip last year. I told them a little about my sewing project too, and just by sharing what we were working on, we had already learned so much about each other that was not necessarily directly said. I don’t think any of us were too concerned about producing a ‘finished piece’, the common ‘thread’ here was the act of sewing/knitting had its own set of rewards.

We talked about how they had to adapt to new technologies to keep the circle going, like video calling over Zoom for example, which they had never used before. My general impression was that using this technology was a positive experience for them for the most part as it allowed them to reintroduce structure to their weeks by scheduling these online events. For me, being engaged in conversation and in the act of sewing simultaneously made me less aware of the screen as a barrier. I noticed that I was experiencing less ‘video call fatigue’ as I usually would. I decided to leave after an hour, put my needle and thread down and get some fresh air. I think it is really important to be aware of your own limits and take breaks accordingly when you are online.

The Circles 2

The Fashion Revolution hosted a virtual ‘Stitch and Bitch’ panel event with many fashion/textile revolutionaries from across the globe. This year, all in-person Fashion Revolution Week events were cancelled and held online instead. The main benefit of this was that they reached a far wider audience than possible if the events had taken place locally. Each of the panelists were working away on something; whether it was darning a pair of socks, mending a hole in an old denim jacket or picking lint balls off an Aran sweater. I streamed it and embroidered along with them too. I was beginning to notice how the physical engagement during these calls was counteracting the anxiety I often feel from being on video chats for long periods of time.

It was here that I became aware of the scale of the growing popularity of embroidery and mending during quarantine that was happening all across the globe. Throughout this global crisis, people seem to have turned to sewing as a way of maintaining their mental health. Often times, embroidery is used as a tool in prisons or in refugee centres as a way overcoming trauma. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, refugees in Direct Provision centres in Ireland have also been using sewing as a way of remaining somewhat autonomous during this time by making and selling face masks online. A participant shares words of wisdom passed down from her grandmother, who emphasised the importance of teaching her grandchildren to sew; ‘as a first instinct, we use our hands’.

The Circles 3: Hosting my own circle

I was eager to discuss these insights further with some of my old textile classmates and thought that a sewing circle would be the best format for that discussion. Looking to the book ’Draw it with your Eyes Closed’ for inspiration, I designed a ‘guided-meditation’ session, where the participants followed simple instructions; sew where you are living now, sew a journey that you frequently make, sew how many hours you average online per day, sew the number of video calls you make a week…etc. There were no strict rules or no pressure to complete every task, instead they could stitch the information or answers that were most important to them, or that resonated the most with their own personal stories and experiences of quarantine.

The end result of this sewing circle resembled a small collection of ‘maps’, each an abstract and symbolic representation of our current lives in relation to the technology we are using and the restrictions that currently in place. They felt like souvenirs or memories of that gathering, like a ticket stub from an event that you might hold onto as a memento. I realised that I was now engaging in the digital world in a way that was deliberate, mindful and had a physicality too. I was becoming more aware of being in two ‘spaces’ at once; conversing in a virtual space, while sewing brought me back into my own physical world.

Conclusion

Traditional methods of crafting, like embroidery, seem to reemerge for a number of reasons during times of crisis; whether that is as a coping mechanism, as a practical resource or as a method of storytelling/documentation. The strange thing about this re-emergence for me is the juxtaposition of the return of this craft through technology. The isolating nature of this crisis has left us all at home, some strongly relying on online communities for comfort and support, meaning that most of these groups, for now, exist virtually. The emergence of the ‘digital stitch’ community during Covid-19 makes me wonder that while we are in lockdown or if we should ever be again, will we ever truly be able to disconnect? Instead of interpreting ‘slowing down’ as being offline, we will just have to find ‘slower’ ways of being online? Could hand sewing and the world of ‘digital stitch’ allow us to stay connected with each other but also to our own minds and bodies?

by Inte Gloerich

n-gate.com. we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of July, 2020.

Oppose the Earn IT Act
July 01, 2020 (comments)
Mozilla (business model: "Uber for Also-rans") disagrees with the United States Government's plan to drive as much innovation overseas as possible. It's not clear why Mozilla cares, as it is not in the innovation business. The claim is that Mozilla does not want to install government surveillance colonoscopes in all its products, but given that Mozilla's share of the browser market has recently fallen behind that of Ben & Jerry's nobody knows which users the government would be spying on exactly. Hackernews shares methods for browbeating uninterested acquaintances into agreeing with Mozilla. Other Hackernews argue over which federal representatives are assholes about computers (turns out it's all of them). The United States Government continues the war against its own users.

LinkedIn is copying the contents of my clipboard on every keystroke
July 02, 2020 (comments)
Microsoft stays ahead of US Government policy by just spying on everyone in reach. Hackernews rushes to point out that this is not a case of nefarious behavior, but instead is an example of shitty programming, which Hackernews cannot in good conscience criticize, since shitty programming is the foundation of all of their jobs. Hackernews spends some time bitching about LinkedIn, which they all continue to use no matter how bad it is, until that conversation turns into a heated debate regarding exactly how big an asshole it's appropriate for phone software to be.

Where Am I? NYTimes or Google?
July 03, 2020 (comments)
An Internet is confused by Google's Amp con. Hackernews doesn't like Amp either, but Google sees it as a wonderful opportunity to replace the confusing "address bar" user experience with whatever the hell Google wants. Hackernews insists that Google is not the only Amp vendor, which we are apparently supposed to interpret to mean that Amp is not a dastardly plot where Google uses its browser and search engine to bully news sites into doing business with Google. This explanation fails to account for the fact that Amp is a dastardly plot where Google uses its browser and search engine to bully news sites into doing business with Google, but Hackernews accepts it anyway.

Websites that look like desktop GUIs
July 04, 2020 (comments)
A webshit displays an atrocity menagerie. Hackernews complains about Electron. The rest of the comments celebrate the atrocities.

The Wrong Abstraction (2016)
July 05, 2020 (comments)
An Internet suggests that the proper response to an inappropriate engine might not be adding more wheels. Hackernews can sense a kernel of wisdom here, but struggles to correctly determine what it is. Dozens of comments grapple with identifying the precise method to determine when and how your software has been written incorrectly, but since the official Hackernews selection method is "do whatever React documentation suggests" they're at a bit of a loss what to do about it. Maybe try Vue again?

Google offers free fabbing for 130nm open-source chips
July 06, 2020 (comments)
Google gives away the razor factory so they can expand the shaving cream market. Hackernews regards the sad state of computer hardware design to be the fault of people being insufficiently willing to do work for free en masse. The rest of the comments comprise Hackernews Invents Economics Episode 56,392, with an after-credits scene wherein they attempt to select the appropriate neolithic computer engineering techniques with which to assault Intel's low-earth-orbit aircraft carrier.

YouTube deleted an electronics repair channel [video]
July 07, 2020 (comments)
Youtube continues the war against its own users. Hackernews relates all of the abuses they've suffered at the hands of a faceless corporate void, but some Googles arrive in the comments to explain to us that the things Youtube does are just too hard to do because Youtube is so incredibly successful. Despite this explanation making absolutely no sense, a surprising number of Hackernews are extremely receptive to the idea that the natural evolution of rampant success is miserable failure, sustained indefinitely. Several dozen comments, as one might expect to see when Hackernews is discussing Google, constitute an extended attempt to crowdsource the nature of God. A few Hackernews suggest not using the unreliable services provided by an incompetent pack of assholes, but the Hackernews Armchair Economics League arrives to explain how impossible that is.

by http://n-gate.com/hackernews/2020/07/07/0/

July 07, 2020

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 4x39 - Governare per algoritmi?

Immuni è solo un pallone-sonda che sdogana il governo algoritmico della popolazione.

by Walter Vannini

July 01, 2020

n-gate.com. we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of June, 2020.

I Am Deleting the Blog
June 22, 2020 (comments)
A pseudointellectual shuts down an empathy-removal training camp to deter the likelihood of spilling compromising information to detractors and ethics committees. Hackernews, many of whom took their first steps toward absolutely dehumanizing the Other in this very camp, sadly reminisces about the particular word salads that first showed them their own inherent greatness. Hackernews segments into several work crews: one to explain why all journalists should be exiled to outer space, one to make guesses about the 'real reason' the training camp was evacuated, one to bemoan the difficulty of maintaining anonymity in the face of highly-profitable shitposting under two-thirds of your actual name, and one to remind us that taking responsibility for the things we do and say is a wasteful hobby for stupid babies.

I Just Hit $100k/year On GitHub Sponsors
June 23, 2020 (comments)
A webshit single-handedly invents a completely novel method of monetizing software development: charging money for it and including documentation. This results in a fully-illustrated two-thousand-word explanation of the miraculous revelation, of which Hackernews is equal parts derisive (because the webshit is insufficiently rich as a result of this effort) and overtly contemptuous (because receiving money in exchange for labor is some kind of sucker's game). The pictures are pretty, though, so Hackernews votes for the article anyway.

iOS14 reveals that TikTok may snoop clipboard contents every few keystrokes
June 24, 2020 (comments)
Apple accidentally dimes out one of their biggest customers. The resulting furor makes everyone mad at the customer. Hackernews is upset less by the fact that TikTok (business model: "Uber for Vine") is collecting scads of information it doesn't need and more by the fact that other companies Hackernews actually likes are doing the same thing. As for Apple, Hackernews can't figure out why they would enable this obviously shitty behavior, until clarity is finally reached: Apple is shipping all your shit to the central government of a genocidal dictatorship* so that you'll get mad at software, which Apple can then beat up on your behalf.

When you type realty.com into Safari it takes you to realtor.com
June 25, 2020 (comments)
A webshit is mad that Apple is redirecting people from some parasitic intercessor to an actual trade association. Hackernews lists about twelve million similar niche search terms which Apple incorrects for them, then spends a couple hundred comments crowdsourcing a lead on which side of some terrible neural network A/B test they're on. Some Apples show up in the comment to explain that nobody cares unless you sign up for a developer account.

Santa Cruz, California bans predictive policing in U.S. first
June 26, 2020 (comments)
A town removes some flawed tools from the hands of its police, on the mistaken assumption that police racism is somehow externally motivated. Hackernews can't decide if fixing problems is something that humanity should be wasting time on, when we could just kill all the people The Algorithm doesn't like and move on with typing javascript into computer keyboards. Anyone caught arguing for the 'maybe the cops should be less terrible' side of the discussion is considered a helpless naïf who cannot fathom the world, and anyone seen arguing for the 'maybe the cops should be less racist' side of the discussion is sternly informed that the real problem to be solved is blue-on-white violence, which is more important by volume.

Lemmy, an open-source federated Reddit alternative, gets funding for development
June 27, 2020 (comments)
Some webshits are excited that someone gave money to Indistinguishable Web Forum Software Package number 16,939,392. Hackernews debates whether this will attract really shitty people of the sort who are famous for getting their Reddit forums closed. It won't, because those people just move to different Reddit forums with slightly different names until the next time a news outlet realizes what a horrific nightmare farm Reddit is. Most of the remaining comments are specific complaints about Reddit or links to other Indistinguishable Web Forum Software Packages nobody uses either.

Textures.js is a JavaScript library for creating SVG patterns
June 28, 2020 (comments)
Some webshits take an existing webshit graphics library and extend it to produce even worse output involving XML. Hackernews enjoys the needlessly-constrained retro vibe of the results, notices that it works slightly better for people who cannot distinguish colors (but would continue to do so without rubbing XML all over it), and has absolutely nothing else to say on the matter.

India bans TikTok, WeChat, and dozens of other Chinese apps
June 29, 2020 (comments)
The government of India shits upon Chinese cyberwarfare assets from a great height. Hackernews is perplexed as to why a government would consider China (a nuclear power bent on ethnic cleansing, territory expansion, and absolute totalitarianism) would be regarded as a threat, while large corporations (international clubs of people who enjoy money) would not, despite those two things being, to Hackernews, indistinguishable. What follows is a slow-motion meltdown as half of Hackernews tries to explain to the other half of Hackernews that 'morality' is a concept that can exist independently of key performance indicators, strategic directives, sprint goals, or initial coin offerings. The message does not sink in.

The End of the Redis Adventure
June 30, 2020 (comments)
An Internet steps away from the helm of a popular malware vector library. Hackernews is not sure that the software can survive in the face of consensus-based leadership, not sure that the software in question should currently exist, and not sure the software in question should ever have existed, but is absolutely positive that they have seen the word 'Redis' somewhere and so this story gets a vote. Later, Hackernews debates whether software engineering as a discipline can continue to exist since Those People (You Know Who) are mean to techbros on Twitter.


* China. The genocidal dictatorship is China. The government of China is violently evil, is what I'm getting at.

by http://n-gate.com/hackernews/2020/06/30/0/

June 27, 2020

Institute of Network Cultures

Selfies Under Quarantine: Students Report Back to Rome (Video Episode)

After the fifth episode of the Selfies Under Quarantine series, here, at the Institute of Network Cultures, we discussed how such online courses, but also lectures and debates, could make more use of the video essay form. If there is such as thing as the ‘visual turn’ in education (in re: popular culture), away from mere reading (text)books and articles and discussing them in class, how can we use the increased visual literacy among students? Why only passively look at video conferencing sessions? Over the past months we heard enough about Zoom fatigue… Can we please talk back to the media, change the architectures, and get more involved to beat the boredom that comes with one-way, top-down webcasting? One possible way is to leave behind the PowerPoint sheet form and start to apply the Snap/TikTok video aesthetics to the world of theory, critique and reflection. Let’s not have fear of (media) freedom and leave behind the Gutenberg Galaxy. Let’s explore post-textual forms of thinking, research and critique.

Three students of Donatella Della Ratta’s selfie class (enrolled in the Selfies and Beyond: Exploring Networked Identities’class at John Cabot University/Rome, Spring 2020) were willing to produce small video assignments on the topic of the politics and aesthetics of the online self.  Thanks to Donatella for organizing the video essays and thanks to Briana Di Sisto, Natalia Stanusch and Giulia Villanucci!

In the coming period INC will focus more on video integration of critical content and networks. What does full video integration mean for book production? How can we take video beyond the trope of the archive (such as our own channel on Vimeo)? Can we think through the video? This is an ancient debate, but one is bound to become even more contemporary, and urgent, with the rise of memes, video witnessing (-> George Floyd case), emojis, short videos, data visualization and the tactical uses of drones.

Enjoy!

Selfies in Quarantine by Briana Di Sisto

Alienation. A Digital Autoetnography by Natalia Stanusch (see also her related essay on the INC site about emojis, here)

Nine to Five, Quarantine Shift by Giulia Villanucci

by Geert Lovink

Vlax

Por si acaso : estas son mis escuchas de temporada. #Radio a la car...

Por si acaso : estas son mis escuchas de temporada.

#Radio a la carta que también le llaman #podcast

https://gpodder.net/user/vlax/

by vlax 0°0

#listen : Sandra , a #radio drama about #internet of things over #h...

#listen : Sandra , a #radio drama about #internet of things over #human contradictions.

I really like it.

https://gimletmedia.com/shows/sandra

A radio art work with a great production team : Directed by Sebastian Silva; written by Kevin Moffett and Matthew Derby; executive produced by Mimi O'Donnell; produced by April Lamb, Katie Pastore and Matthew Boll; associate produced by MR Daniel; sound design and editing by Ryan Billia; mixed by Matthew Boll; score by Daniel Brunelle; Special thanks to Mary-Kim Arnold, Eli Horowitz, Corinna Vallianatos and Alex Blumberg. Sandra is a production of Gimlet Media.

by vlax 0°0

June 26, 2020

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 4x38 - Contro lo smart working

il sindaco di Milano dice che va bene lo smart working, ma adesso è ora di tornare a lavorare

by Walter Vannini

June 22, 2020

Classic Programmer Paintings

Startup fails to convince VC-backed competitor of...



Startup fails to convince VC-backed competitor of integration




Source includes public domain stuff https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Simone_Martini_077.jpg

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 4x37 - Quel ramo del lago

A Como un altro caso di telecamere di sorveglianza "innovative" con riconoscimento facciale *e del comportamento*. Il terribile problema di sicurezza di un parco dove (signora mia!) stazionano dei migranti.

by Walter Vannini

n-gate.com. we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of June, 2020.

Adobe to remove Flash Player from web site after December 2020
June 15, 2020 (comments)
Adobe beats a dead horse. Hackernews spends the afternoon either eulogizing the horse or describing their horrible plans to reanimate its corpse. Since watching webshit cartoons from dying forums is the closest thing Hackernews has to a shared childhood experience, a tremendous amount of labor is wasted in pursuit of the latter. Other Hackernews prefer to pontificate on ex post facto explanations for Apple's visionary refusal to put a shitload of engineering effort into someone else's application platform. Whether the genius of Apple was deployed in pursuit of technical excellence or for the good of all mankind remains Hackernews' highest-stakes debate.

Drive through cities in the browser while listening to local radio stations
June 16, 2020 (comments)
A webshit ports traffic jams to javascript. Hackernews enjoys staring out of windows and daydreaming, and is glad they can finally do it without leaving their loft or having somewhere to go. Most of the comments are complaints of missing neighborhoods or other bikeshedding of the webshit.

Time to Upgrade Your Monitor
June 17, 2020 (comments)
A hero arrives to tell us what to buy. Hackernews agrees with the webshit's opinion, but isn't convinced by the webshit's reasoning. We're treated to a cavalcade of incredibly specific reasons that Hackernews prefers a given monitor configuration, with the only possible conclusion being that we should continue doing whatever we were doing before, with absolutely no regard to the original webshit's insistence that there is a right answer.

Mozilla VPN
June 18, 2020 (comments)
Mozilla, a company known only for producing a perennial also-ran of a web browser, continues to avoid the only task that would ever be worth their time (improving the goddamn browser) and instead builds yet another half-assed networking product that nobody asked for. It will either bankrupt the company or be shut down shortly before they get through the invite-only list of idiots who have agreed to introduce a Mozillan indirection layer to the Cloudflare DNS data collection initiative. Hackernews is desperate to give money to Mozilla, but is apparently unwilling to just donate to the nonprofit, instead demanding subpar imitations of other Google services.

You download the app and it doesn’t work
June 19, 2020 (comments)
A webshit is mad that Apple gets to do whatever the fuck it wants with its servers. Rather than just paying them, a startup decides that rules-lawyering and social media will work, and definitely will not cause Apple to play Lucy to their Charlie Brown. Hackernews is on their side but unwilling to believe there's any way to change Apple's behavior short of a government occupation of Cupertino. Here follows another twelve hours of extemporaneous play-by-plays of imaginary chess games.

Teach Yourself Computer Science
June 20, 2020 (comments)
Some webshits explain to us that advanced computer science degrees are unnecessary, and proceed to recommend reading books and watching videos produced as part of advanced computer science degree programs. We are further informed that if we absolutely require actual instruction, we may pay the webshits a chunk of money instead. Hackernews also has strong opinions regarding how people should spend their time and money, but there is one point of consensus: absolutely nothing matters except how much money someone is willing to give you when you are done. A couple of mavericks enjoy 'creating new knowledge,' but they're disregarded as irrelevant.

Bye
June 21, 2020 (comments)
Some webshits don't like email. Hackernews can't decide if they also hate email or if it's the only part of the internet worth using. Since the webshits are delivering their email-related complaints via a parody of the startup who was mad at Apple a couple days before, Hackernews upvotes the joke, but since the webshit here is almost entirely devoid of actual content, there are not many comments about it.

by http://n-gate.com/hackernews/2020/06/21/0/

June 21, 2020

Classic Programmer Paintings

Wassily Kandinsky “Playing on tensorflow...



Wassily Kandinsky “Playing on tensorflow playground”, 1913