Against Nationalism

Against nationalism, saluting the flag, pledging allegiance, rising for the national anthem, and all blind obedience to authority for all people in all countries.

Today in the news, it’s Egypt, USA, and Germany.



Guardian: Should we ban sex robots while we have the chance?

“Young people who have grown up in the age of online porn might consider shaved pubic hair and double penetration to be completely normal. Similarly, the generation growing up when sex robots are commonplace might see brutally selfish sex as both desirable and achievable. … [I]t’s about the kind of sex that will become normal within human societies if we start having sex with robots.

“Perhaps the most important question to ask is why there is a market for sex robots in the first place. Why do some people find the idea of a partner without autonomy so attractive?”

Don’t we already know the answer to this? We just don’t want to admit it.

Guardian: How education in Turkey is changing

This is how you engineer a people. What children are taught and not taught will uplift or burden them for the rest of their lives. They have no choice in the matter, it will be a part of them, a part that lodges at the core of their being. Don’t think this is only happening in Turkey. This is happening everywhere. All education is brainwashing, but there’s brainwashing and there’s brainwashing. Just because there can be no concept of a perfect education doesn’t mean we can’t identify better forms of education and worse forms of education.

As for Turkey, “[t]he purpose of the new curriculum … [is] ideological. They want to raise a generation best suited to their ideological ideals. … Erdoğan said he wanted a religious, devout generation, and these changes are made for this wish”

Guardian: Facebook bans Rohingya group’s posts

Facebook moderators ordered to delete all posts “by or praising” Arsa, a Rohingya insurgency group. Meanwhile, the pages of the Myanmar military and government continue disseminating their propaganda and misinformation, and I continue to see hate speech on the platform every day.

Facebook is dead. Welcome to Facebook.

Guardian: Facebook’s war on free will

The horror creeps up on you slowly like a good scary movie. Considering how much time we all spend on FB, it’s not too much to take 15-20 minutes to peer behind the veil of this utopian algorithmic persuasion.

“Zuckerberg’s fantasy is that this data might be analysed to uncover the mother of all revelations, “a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about”. If that doesn’t sound creepy, then you’re probably going to be okay with what’s coming.

Humanity is imperfect, inefficient, chaotic. It is not an algorithm, it is not maths. By seeking to impose “a fundamental mathematical law” on humanity, at some point, humanity will have to go.

“The problem is that when we outsource thinking to machines, we are really outsourcing thinking to the organisations that run the machines.” Until the organisation is itself subsumed, as it must, by the laws of the machine, and our entire existence becomes just an automated customer service hotline where the options are finite and hermetic.

Be less human doesn’t mean we should be less than human. We mean to think more, not less.

Read the full article here.

One week to German election

The AfD party is polling at over 10%. Sure that’s not 46.4% but it’s still horrifying. In a country of over 80 million people, we’re talking more than 8 million Germans who are planning to vote for this unashamedly nationalist and violently anti-foreigner party. And of course the 10% aren’t evenly distributed across the country, meaning there are likely areas, maybe even whole towns, where voting AfD is unexceptional. Unexceptional!


Guardian: Hang on to your cash.

Worth more than a cursory glance. Something to think about for the coming decade. If you think there is no danger here, then you’re probably not understanding the extent society can and is being consciously shaped and groomed.

Put succinctly: “The only reason Visa ran its “cashfree and proud” campaign is because Visa loses revenue when you use cash.”

But the dangers go way beyond money-making.

Guardian: New AI can guess whether you’re gay or straight from a photograph

Fascinating study. The consequences of the technology are certainly foreboding. But it’s the fact that our sexual orientation can be deduced with high accuracy simply from our facial features that will deepen our understanding in the long run of what it is to be human. Of course the case is far from closed. For example, do those detectable features reflect our core sexuality, or do they affect the development of our sexuality? Or are these just two sides of the same coin?


Thank you, Mr Steinbeck

From Cannery Row by John Steinbeck: “It has always seemed strange to me … The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

Thank you Steinbeck for capturing so succinctly the core problem of our capitalist society. It’s up to us to change it.

BBC: Why Trump’s supporters will never abandon him

I realise there’s a cultural war going on and you think your side must win at any cost. I understand your motivation though I strongly disagree with your conclusion. So tell me you are a selfish, racist, bigoted, willfully-misinformed asshole and I will concede that you simply have different moral priorities.[1] But stop giving me these bullshit justifications and rationalisations for your views and actions.


[1] Surprisingly, I have heard not one person admit this.