It's a fact, no time left for eternity. Peripatetic tumblog of Kevin Slavin.
*This is personal; nothing to do with MIT or any companies or projects I'm associated with. I don't endorse everything I'm posting, I don't like everyone I follow. No carts, no horses, no pearls, no swine.
There are a lot of interesting things in this article about the effects of “liking everything” on FB. But far as I’m concerned, that last sentence is really the gem.
(“Trenches have a distinctive zig zag pattern to minimize the damage a single bullet or explosion could cause. This photo also shows the scale of devastation that bombing left on the landscape.” via Aerial Photography From WWI Shows the Massive Scale of Devastation | Science | WIRED)
Inspired in part by Chris Woebken’s work, last semester was spent puzzling over animal perception by the ways that animals build, move, and act. it was really an exercise in armchair phenomenology, in starting to consider human perception with the same distance.
When you look — with that distance — at the evidence of our brief tenure on the planet, you come across these epic collaborative structures built by thousands, or millions of people in short periods of time. This one, from a hundred years ago, is a pretty solid argument for the two unique aspects of our species tangled up so deeply with one another. They are the quality of being seduced and motivated by wildly irrational ideas, and the ability to see things through with rational ant-like precision.
If I have to bet on which impulse determines the fate of the species, I still bet on that first one, the irrational drive. Whether that’s hopeful or hopeless, it’s still a good bet.
Another Near Future Laboratory Press book project done got done! This time — it’s a catalog of the near future, telling a story about the world we’ll get if things continue on their path. It’s in the Design Fiction genre, which means it’s seriously witty and weird. Something you can read as the end-game for Silicon Valley’s fascinatingly weird exuberance. (Thanks Mike Judge for opening that up!) It doesn’t predict, although most everything in here is imminent. It’s more a provocation to help you stop and think about the weird things we take for granted as desirable. Made by hand, published by robot and created with an amazing group of incredibly thoughtful, creative, funny folks
Syria. Civilian sector of Aleppo, April and May of this year.
Made with “barrel bombs,” which are just water barrels filled with explosives and metal shards, dropped from helicopters onto homes. By the government.
I was thinking of this today for reasons that are either perfectly obvious to you, or will never occur to you.
I saw it written up here:
"The poem, “The Night They Burned Shanghai”, was written Robert D. Abrahams. It was about a Philadelphia couple that was driving across town to play bridge with some friends. They talked casually about the heroic revolutionary battles that had been fought on the very land they were driving through, and their conversation evolved into a discussion of world travel. They dreamed aloud about where they wanted to go, and they agreed that they would have to cross Shanghai, China off the list because on that very night it was being burned to the ground by the Japanese Army in a battle that preceded World War II. Then they arrived at their friend’s home and played bridge."
It was written by my grandfather, Bob Abrahams, back when Shanghai burned in 1932. He was always at the very very edges of wars, never in their center, and I don’t know how to answer what he wrote.
It’s not the best poem I ever read, but it’s timeless and timely, and that’s how you know it’s true.
My other grandfather was a refugee in the Shanghai ghetto about 15 years prior. Unlike Bob, he didn’t care much for games.