Omnium Gatherum: January 26, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for January 26, 2019

If you’d like to participate, head over to Omnium Gatherum on the BBS, or suggest something.

  • The most beautiful boy in the Roman empire” — Max Norman, Apollo; about the Antinous: Boy Made God exhibit at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford through 24 February.

    Norman Apollo The most beautiful boy in the Roman empire

    “Antinous is always on the verge of unrecognisability, hovering between equivocations, between particular and idealised forms. The object of Winckelmann’s hyperbole – the so-called Albani Antinous – is the most idealised of all, and doubly idealised in the ghostly white resin cast displayed in the Ashmolean show. It shows the boy in profile, wearing a laurel and grasping another in his left hand; his right emerges from the relief, loosely open, as if holding the reins of a chariot. Winckelmann fantasised that he was driving out of this world to his apotheosis – an allegory of the power of art to elevate the human to the divine.”

  • Aristotle’s binary philosophies created today’s AI bias” — Twain Liu, Quartz [HT Damien saw the Time-Knife once. Highly Recommended]

    “When you think of Aristotle, you probably think of the Ancient Greek philosopher as one of the founding fathers of democracy, not the progenitor of centuries of flawed machine logic and scientific methods. But his theory of “dualism”—whereby something is one or other, true or false, logical or illogical—is what landed us in this sticky situation in the first place.

    Alas, Aristotle’s hierarchical classification system got implemented into AI, load-weighting in favor of men like him. The very system on which all modern technology is built contains the artefacts of sexism from 2,000 years ago.

    Until we design non-binary and more holistic modes of categorization into AI, computers won’t be able to model the technicolor moving picture of our intelligence.”

  • Marie Kondo and the Life-Changing Magic of Japanese Soft Power. The tidying guru is heir to a long tradition: Japan marketing itself as spiritual foil to a soulless West.” — Christopher Harding, The New York Times [HT Sam Kestenbaum]

    “Marie Kondo is by far the most successful participant in a larger trend of the past few years: packaging inspirational but fairly universal lifestyle advice as the special product of Japanese soil and soul, from which Westerners might usefully learn. We’ve had “ikigai,” which translates as the familiar concept of value and purpose in life. We’ve had forest bathing, as though the soothing power of nature had not occurred to people like Wordsworth and Emerson. Such advice books may be having a moment, but they are not new. Rather, they’re the latest installment in a surprisingly old tradition: Japan and its culture marketed as a moderating force in a world otherwise overwhelmed by the West.”

  • The New Sabrina Practices What it Preaches (Not Just Satanism)” — Carrie Mannino, Yale Daily News

    “The series is great for its plotline alone: It’s exciting, creepy and, in every episode, dappled with humor. The aesthetics are also fantastic: The outfits are fantastic and colorful; Sabrina’s house is a wallpapered, wood-banistered imagining of an old magical home; and the shots, especially towards the beginning of the series, are terrifically framed. If you get a kick out of the occult, the demons, magic and gore that Sabrina faces is horrifically wonderful. It is everything a Halloween-loving viewer could want. However, the reason I feel the show is one especially worth watching, though, is its broad positive representation of people often excluded from mainstream TV, especially sci-fi shows like this.

    It is wonderfully suited that a show that highlights these themes in the context of a fantasy world also represents the diversity of our real world, echoing the issues of intolerance in our society and the triumph of acceptance, empowerment and love.”

  • New Documentary Explores The Satanic Temple Rise in US” — Cathy Burke, Newsmax [HT Dr Death Studies]

    “The reason this became a feature length documentary was that I found so many interesting surprises at each stage of discovery”

  • It just got easier to buy young blood using PayPal” — Raquel Laneri, New York Post; from the Bathory dept.

    “Ever wanted to have the blood of young virgins coursing through your old, withered veins?”

  • Conspiracy Theories by Gauche [HT The Baffler]

  • Research Suggests We’re Not as Irrational as We Think. Decades of psychological research have emphasized the biases and errors in human decision-making. A recent approach challenges this notion.” — George Farmer & Paul Warren, Undark

    “Suppose you toss a coin and get four heads in a row — what do you think will come up on the fifth toss? Many of us have a gut feeling that a tails is due. This feeling, called the gambler’s fallacy, can be seen in action at the roulette wheel. A long run of blacks leads to a flurry of bets on red. In fact, no matter what has gone before, red and black are always equally likely.

    The example is one of many thought to demonstrate the fallibility of the human mind. Decades of psychological research have emphasized the biases and errors in human decision-making. But a new approach is challenging this view — showing that people are much smarter than they’ve been led to believe. According to this research, the gambler’s fallacy might not be as irrational as it seems.

    The perception that we are irrational is one unfortunate side effect of the ever growing catalogue of human decision-making biases. But when we apply computational rationality, these biases aren’t seen as evidence of failures, but as windows on to how the brain is solving complex problems, often very efficiently.”

  • Philosophy must be useful. For Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, much of philosophy was mere nonsense. Then came Frank Ramsey’s pragmatic alternative.” — Cheryl Misak, Aeon

    “Ramsey was the bridge between 20th-century pragmatism and analytic philosophy, and when he died, that route was obscured – only to be recently rediscovered and put on the map.”

  • Tweet by (((Howard Rheingold))); about J. Corneli, C. J. Danoff, C. Pierce, P. Ricaurte, and L. Snow MacDonald, eds. The Peeragogy Handbook. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL./Somerville, MA.: PubDomEd/Pierce Press, 2016.

  • The best way to use social media is to act like a 19th-century Parisian” — Ephrat Livni, Quartz [HT David Pecotić]

    “If you’re not quite ready to quit Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, a more measured approach is to treat virtual spaces more like a bustling street—a place where, like a flâneur, you can pick up a lot of information by observing the action, while being more reticent to offer opinions and circumspect about posting.”

  • Glastonbury Occult Conference, 23rd – 24th February, 2019 [HT Treadwells Bookshop]