The New York Times Won’t Stop Profiling Smart People Who Talk About Race

I’ve developed this view of journalists lately as the mouthpieces of the intellectual world. That’s not much of a compliment, and if anything they exist on the bottom rung, where their modal operation is flapping their gums without being forced to put much thought into it. At one point there was an internal hierarchy in journalism with amateurs in local news and blogs being on the bottom and entrenched institutions like the New York Times being on top. But now the New York Times is nearly indistinguishable from BuzzFeed: it’s all click bait, no substance, no thought towards the impact of the drivel they’re putting out, and a complete condescension towards the intellects of its readers. Continue reading “The New York Times Won’t Stop Profiling Smart People Who Talk About Race”

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The Culture of Computers

you i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” – Bob, Facebook Chatbot

Culture is a weird thing for humans and the few animals who exhibit it. As biologists have explored the animal kingdom for longer and more continuous periods, our understanding of what culture is and what culture isn’t is being pushed by our many case studies in creatures ranging from chimpanzees to chickadees. What progress has been made is in our understanding of culture as a far more mechanical, rigid, and adaptive process than we could have ever anticipated. Like in genetics, the transfer of information is the basis of culture, and the recapitulation of genetic patterns of transmission onto cultural ones only highlights that information theory, as applied in our understanding of dual inheritance, is a unifying theme between the two. An understanding of genetics can help us understand what culture is and what culture isn’t, as can an understanding of any other type of information transfer, especially in the realm of communication, especially in the realm of artificial intelligence. Continue reading “The Culture of Computers”

Boston’s Brains, Bicycles, and Behaviors: Casual Observations in Cambridge

I’m in the New England area for the next few weeks and have been spending a bit of time around the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s a beautiful campus, with large, dark red brick buildings set in between some old New England neighborhoods with much greenery that are perfect for evening strolls. The picture above was taken on the second-to-last floor of their psychology building. Being a casual observer, I have noted a couple of things that struck out as different from where I’m coming from (the South).

Compared to Texas and Florida, the first thing I noticed is the near-complete absence of soft drink vending machines. Almost every business and building on campus at my university and my undergraduate institution have at least one

Continue reading “Boston’s Brains, Bicycles, and Behaviors: Casual Observations in Cambridge”