aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Looting v finding
Xeni jardin at Boing Boing, Black people loot, white people find?
The images were shot by different photographers, and captioned by different photo wire services. The Associated Press caption accompanying the image with a black person says he’s just finished “looting” a grocery store. The AFP/Getty Images caption describes the white couple “finding” bread and soda from a grocery store. No stores are open to sell these goods.
Perhaps there’s more factual substantiation behind each copywriter’s choice of words than we know, but the difference in tone suggests bias.
She’s got photos and links to both images and the comparison image.
Print a product to your desktop
Andrew Zolli is the guest in the ITConversations’ debut of Globeshakers with Tim Zak:
[My transcription at 21:42] There’s technological change in virtually every area, from material science, to energy, to robotics, all of them are going to play an important role in continuing to dematerialize the economy in many Western nations and continue the shift from a national manufacturing productive sector to an international globalized services sector where much of the manual labor of production is outsourced, not simply because it can be done better by automatic or artificial or robotic means but because it can only be done by those things.
The thing about automated manufacturing is not that a chip is made better by a robot but it’s that it can only be made by a robot. You can actually make a chip today by hand if you wanted to you’d have to build a robot to build it.
Zolli has been chief curator for Pop!Tech, an annual conference taking place in Camden, Maine in October:
[My transcription at 21:42] We’re going to have a fellow there named Neil Gershenfeld who runs MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. He’s currently working on personal desktop fabrication. Imagine a device about the size of a laser printer sitting on your desk, you hit a few strokes on your keyboard and an object is printed on your desktop instead of a document on a piece of paper.
Cool. Can’t wait!
Around here, cursing is frowned upon. In New York I cussed with the best of them. Even there I wondered why and thought that, for my own personal esthetic, I’d rather not. Here I hardly do.
Pupils are being allowed to swear at one Northamptonshire secondary school - as long as they limit their use of bad language to five times a lesson.
“Within each lesson the teacher will initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all students can see the running score,” [assistant headmaster Richard White] wrote in the letter.
“Over this number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the lesson.”
All is not lost. Parents of children who do not swear in class will receive “praise postcards.”
When being right is wrong
I understand the urge to make fun of Intelligent Design, because, frankly, it’s laughable. And FSM follows in a long philosophical tradition of making a serious point--in this case that intelligent design is just as consistent with any deity, even a silly one, as it is with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic deity.
The problem is that phrasing the criticism this way is that it’s likely to alienate the people you’re trying to convince. I suspect that most people who believe in ID are honestly ignorant, not mendacious. Making fun of them probably isn’t the way change their minds. Worse yet, the FSMers aren’t just saying that the FSM is an equally good explanation as Genesis, they’ve also made up a new parody religion based on it, complete with Jesus-fish parody logos. Unsurprisingly, most people who believe in ID are Christians. I’m skeptical that openly mocking their religious beliefs is the best way to convince them of one’s point of view.
I agree with Eric but I’m uncomfortable even with his “honestly ignorant” characterization. Daniel Dennett, unintentionally I think, does a better job of explaining the ID phenomenon.
He concedes that evolution is “mind-boggling” and “seems to deny one of the best reasons we have for believing in God.” And he implicitly acknowledges that for the large majority of us evolution, like much of science, has to be taken on faith:
[I]magine how easy it would be for a determined band of naysayers to shake the world’s confidence in quantum physics - how weird it is! - or Einsteinian relativity. In spite of a century of instruction and popularization by physicists, few people ever really get their heads around the concepts involved. Most people eventually cobble together a justification for accepting the assurances of the experts: “Well, they pretty much agree with one another, and they claim that it is their understanding of these strange topics that allows them to harness atomic energy, and to make transistors and lasers, which certainly do work...”
Fortunately for physicists, there is no powerful motivation for such a band of mischief-makers to form. They don’t have to spend much time persuading people that quantum physics and Einsteinian relativity really have been established beyond all reasonable doubt.
I was at a terrific lecture by Eugenia Scott of the National Center for Science Education last winter that authoritatively proved that these Intelligent Design people are just bringing back a watered down Creationism.
At the end I thought, “that’s all well and good but we’re losing. Only 35% of the American public believes in evolution.” So I asked Ms. Scott, “What do you suggest we do to change that?”
She disputed my statistic - you might too - and she had some ideas but it seemed to me that her real take was that she’s right on the facts and that alone should be persuasive.
I don’t think so.
I’m reminded here of Jack Balkin’s list of progressivism’s defects:
They include elitism, paternalism, authoritarianism, naivete, excessive and misplaced respect for the “best and brightest,” isolation from the concerns of ordinary people, an inflated sense of superiority over ordinary people, disdain for popular values, fear of popular rule, confusion of factual and moral expertise, and meritocratic hubris.
It seems plain to me that the Right has learned it from those of us on the Left. They’ve successfully co-opted our rhetoric of protecting “controversial ideas” and our elevation of “debate” and “diversity” and “academic freedom” to create an effective argument that we can call illegitimate all we like, but majorities of the American public are buying into it.
They’re only asking that our notions of multicultural tolerance and acceptance of differences and moral relativism include them. How can it be, I imagine them wondering, that we can teach gay tolerance in schools but not what they just as deeply believe?
My answer is that it’s our turn to learn from them. The way to address their critique is not by proving them wrong or winning on points. It is by answering on their own terms. I think we have to talk about what we believe and why.
For example, the God I learned about put man on earth and set him free. Free to make mistakes. Free to grow. Free to be. In the words of John Haught, “to meander around, to experiment with various possibilities, to become [one’s] self in the presence of God… The idea that God is primarily a designer is entirely too stiff and dead and lifeless a concept to represent the biblical understanding of God.”
I think if we talk about belief and conviction and our own moral certitude, we can earn some respect. My views on abortion and the market economy and social justice and same sex marriage and pretty much any other topic you want to name are rooted in my morality and I’m glad to defend them on those grounds.
Now I’ve got to go. The Discovery Institute’s Stephen Meyers is on Tavis Smiley…