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There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

there is no try
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:18 am EST, Nov 20, 2013

Career advice from pianist Alexandre Tharaud:

After this residency at the Cité de la Musique, he will take a vacation of three months, during which he will move into a new apartment, with a view of the Seine. He will still not have a piano at home, which he offers as advice to many young musicians. Most important, he says, is not to play on a beautiful piano, because it does not encourage you to work.

Tom Huizenga:

"Pianomania" follows the adventures of Stefan Knüpfe, chief piano technician for the German branch of Steinway & Sons, who over the course of the film preps pianos for Lang Lang, Alfred Brendel, Rudolf Buchbinder, Julius Drake and the high priest of fussiness, Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

When Knüpfe asks him if he wants a big, blossoming tone for the note or a more compact, intimate tone, Aimard responds, "I would like to have both."


Is our curse the endless pursuit of a happiness which can never be attained?

Kevin Kelly:

Five years is what any project worth doing will take. From moment of inception to the last good-riddance, a book, a campaign, a new job, a start-up will take 5 years to play through. So, how many 5 years do you have left? This clarifies your choices. What will they be?

G.K. Chesterton, in 1915:

It is perfectly obvious that in any decent occupation (such as bricklaying or writing books) there are only two ways (in any special sense) of succeeding. One is by doing very good work, the other is by cheating. Both are much too simple to require any literary explanation. If you are in for the high jump, either jump higher than any one else, or manage somehow to pretend that you have done so. If you want to succeed at whist, either be a good whist-player, or play with marked cards. You may want a book about jumping; you may want a book about whist; you may want a book about cheating at whist. But you cannot want a book about Success. Especially you cannot want a book about Success such as those which you can now find scattered by the hundred about the book-market. You may want to jump or to play cards; but you do not want to read wandering statements to the effect that jumping is jumping, or that games are won by winners.

you know quite well
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:37 am EST, Nov 18, 2013

Doris Lessing:

Don't imagine you'll have it forever. Use it while you've got it, because it'll go.

Doris Lessing:

Writers are often asked: "How do you write? With a word processor? an electric typewriter? a quill? longhand?" But the essential question is: "Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write? Into that space, which is like a form of listening, of attention, will come the words, the words your characters will speak, ideas - inspiration." If a writer cannot find this space, then poems and stories may be stillborn. When writers talk to each other, what they discuss is always to do with this imaginative space, this other time. "Have you found it? Are you holding it fast?"

Doris Lessing:

What's terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better.

a surfer in the more challenging sense
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:36 am EST, Nov 18, 2013

Jack Cheng:

Remember that no matter where you go, you always end up alone with your thoughts. This is your true home and its landscape is vast and much uncharted. You can travel there at any time, and the flights aren't nearly as expensive.

Tim Kreider's married friend:

It's not as if being married means you're any less alone.

Sanford Schwartz:

If Julian Schnabel is a surfer in the sense of knowing how to skim existence for its wonders, he is also a surfer in the more challenging sense of wanting to see where something bigger than himself, or the unknown, will take him, even with the knowledge that he might not come back from the trip.

the underlying architecture of emotional capitalism
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:36 am EST, Nov 18, 2013

Matt Buchanan:

Attention is the real currency of social-media companies, and it can be mercilessly capricious, particularly among the most coveted demographic of all, youth.

The question, then, is less why Snapchat is able to turn down three billion dollars than why and how attention has come to be so valuable, and if it will continue to be.

Tyler Cohen, on the future:

The good jobs will be about branding. They're all about figuring out how to get other people's attention ...

Emily Falk:

You'd expect people to be most enthusiastic and opinionated and successful in spreading ideas that they themselves are excited about. But our research suggests that's not the whole story. Thinking about what appeals to others may be even more important.

Mat Honan:

If you use Twitter actively, it almost inevitably becomes unwieldy. It needs a way to only show us the stuff we need to see. Discover is an interestingness surfacing tool that looks at the signals you give Twitter -- things like who you follow and which tweets you interact with -- to determine what to show you. Yet when you click the Discover tab and start scrolling, you'll see lots of updates from people and organizations you don't follow. While it is finding some things from your own timeline you may have missed, far more of what it brings to light are tweets that you would not otherwise have seen at all. In simple terms, it's adding tweets to your reading list, when what it should be doing is taking tweets away.

Robert W. Gehl:

The great sin of Facebook is that it made "like" far too important and too obvious. Marketing is in part the practice of eliding the underlying complexity, messiness, and wastefulness of capitalist production with neat abstractions. Every ad, every customer service interaction, every display, and every package contributes to the commodity fetish, covering up the conditions of production with desire and fantasy. As such, Facebook may reveal too much of the underlying architecture of emotional capitalism. The Like button tears aside this veil to reveal the cloying, pathetic, Willy Lomanesque need of marketers to have their brands be well-liked. Keep liking, keep buying. Like us! Like us! Like us!

they don't want you to pay for anything
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:17 am EST, Nov 14, 2013

Amir Hirsch:

Technology is not a prerequisite for business success, but marketing is.

Jeremy Grantham:

American entrepreneurs all know they're going to win. Only 10 percent survive, but they all think they're going to win.

Mary Meeker and Liang Wu:

60% of the top 25 public US tech companies (by market capitalization) were founded by first- and second-generation Americans.

Scott Adams:

The most useful thing you can do is stay in the game.

Mary Meeker, Scott Devitt, and Liang Wu:

Do humans want everything to be like a game?

Newton Gimmick:

Ultimately the new pricing reveals the true goal of Yahoo's new Flickr. They don't want you to pay for anything.

Dave Winer:

Next time, please pay a fair price for the services you depend on. Those have a better chance of surviving the bubbles.

Clive Thompson:

Facebook only makes five dollars a year off of each user.

Horace Dediu:

In the last 12 months, the average iOS user contributed about $48 to the ecosystem via Apple's own properties.

The Twitter user today generates about $1.36 of revenue per year or one thirty-fifth of what an iOS user generates through iTunes and iCloud alone.

Ben Evans:

Facebook did not solve the unbundling problem by buying Instagram - even in photos. It bought just one of many mobile social products, and not even the biggest.


Netflix (31.6%) holds its ground as the leading downstream application in North America and together with YouTube (18.6%) accounts for over 50% of downstream traffic on fixed networks.

Brian Abelson:

What is the meaning of this cargo cult of counter-analytics?

the hunting is incidental
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:06 am EST, Nov 11, 2013

Billy Kenber:

Defense lawyers have been ordered by the chief defense counsel in the military commissions system to stop using Defense Department systems for confidential files when working in government offices in Rosslyn. Instead, they have been forced to rely on a nearby Starbucks and hotel lobbies to communicate with colleagues.

Michael Hayden, to American businesses, regarding cyber security:

You're responsible for your safety.

Margaret Atwood:

What happens to us if we must be "on" all the time? Then we're in the twenty-four-hour glare of the supervised prison. To live entirely in public is a form of solitary confinement.

T. Bone Burnett:

The worldwide web was supposed to give everybody access and democratize everything. It was supposed to create a level field and increase the middle class and everybody had more access and more information. But now anybody can say anything and nobody cares.

Greg Grandin:

What brings members of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps to the border, Harel Shapira writes, "is less a set of beliefs about Mexicans than a sense of nostalgia for days long past when their lives had purpose and meaning and when they felt like they were participating in making this country." Tired of bowling alone, they come together to hunt Mexicans. But what matters is the coming together; the hunting is incidental.

Mat Honan:

The phone isn't the problem. The problem is us ...

the latest in a parade
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:29 am EST, Nov  8, 2013

Kenneth Chang:

It is the latest in a parade of spacecraft falling from the sky in what are worryingly called "uncontrolled entries." About 100 tons of debris will fall from the sky this year alone.


Cyber criminals are planting chips in electric irons and kettles to launch spam attacks, reports in Russia suggest.

The Economist, in a special report on Korea:

The McKinsey Global Institute reckons that the lifetime value of a college graduate's improved earnings no longer justifies the expense required to obtain the degree.


Is our curse the endless pursuit of a happiness which can never be attained?

a virtual reality predicated on the plenitude of absence
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:53 am EST, Nov  5, 2013

Tom Bissell:

When I worked my way through the earlier Grand Theft Autos, I marveled at the freedom they allowed and the astonishing vastidity of their worlds. When I played GTA V, I mostly wondered how the traffic flowed so convincingly. The more technically mindful of video games I've become, the more conscious I am of their innumerable moving parts, the more miraculous and impressive they seem -- and the more impossible it feels to vanish inside one.

J. Hoberman:

To watch Gravity on the huge IMAX screen to appreciate the power of illusion -- what André Bazin described as "total cinema." The movie is a virtual reality predicated on the plenitude of absence, the being of nothingness. In an act of technological prestidigitation, Alfonso Cuarón has created a sense of unlimited space where the mind knows that none actually exists.

Michiru Hoshino:

Oh! I feel it. I feel the cosmos!

Matthew Battles:

The network that was supposed to abolish space ended up moving to abolish time instead. Although we once dreamt of cyberspace as a frictionless grid, the network we ended up with needs the x, y, z of realspace. It reminds us of it constantly; it wants to reside in the spaces we inhabit, rather than the other way round. Space is the network's chief uncanny affordance, lending it a kind of cultural potential energy, a latency of meaning.

We find that everywhere we look, the internet makes light of time. Time is the internet's too-cheap-to-meter cultural resource, and it's only just begun burning through it, generating a storm of atemporal media traces that pile up before us as our wings beat furiously.

Ali Dhux:

A man tries hard to help you find your lost camels.
He works more tirelessly than even you,
But in truth he does not want you to find them, ever.

Topic: Miscellaneous 7:14 am EST, Nov  4, 2013

Dan Geer:

Politicians know that the surest way to win an argument is, as they say, to "frame the question", by which they mean painting a picture that their opposition has to work to overcome. Every time there is a televised debate where some self-important interlocutor asks a question that is impossible to answer succinctly, and then gives the candidate sixty seconds of airtime, painting into a corner by way of selective disclosure is what is happening.


I like the judicial process -- it enables a discussion of issues in a forum where there isn't as much room for bullshit as there is in the legislature.

Yaniv Bernstein:

It's amazing the amount of difference a cultural intolerance to bullshit can make.

Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore:

Few U.S. officials think of their ability to act hypocritically as a key strategic resource. Indeed, one of the reasons American hypocrisy is so effective is that it stems from sincerity: most U.S. politicians do not recognize just how two-faced their country is.

Turkeys Voting for Christmas:

In contemporary politics, if you can fake sincerity, you have got it made.

John Horgan on the theories of Robert Trivers:

The more we believe our own lies, the more sincerely, and hence effectively, we can lie to others.

the indispensible machine
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:58 pm EDT, Nov  1, 2013

Martha Stewart:

I believe a sewing machine is as indispensable today as a personal computer or smartphone.

On the time of Jane Austen:

The sheer amount of sewing done by gentlewomen in those days sometimes takes us moderns aback, but it would probably generally be a mistake to view it either as merely constant joyless toiling, or as young ladies turning out highly embroidered ornamental knicknacks to show off their elegant but meaningless accomplishments. Sewing was something to do (during the long hours at home) that often had great practical utility, and that wasn't greatly mentally taxing, and could be done sitting down while engaging in light conversation, or listening to a novel being read.

Vannevar Bush:

The process of tying two items together is the important thing.

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