Wednesday 21 April, 2021

Salad-dressing as art object

The things you can do with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Quote of the Day

”A drama critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned.”

  • George Bernard Shaw

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Miles Davis | So What


Long Read of the Day

Ferment is Abroad: Techlash, Legal Institutions, and the Limits of Lawfulness

Thoughtful post by Salomé Viljoen on the LPE Blog.

On the one hand, we have the “techlash.” Over the past several years, enthusiasm for Silicon Valley’s California Ideology as a source of hope and vigor for the Western capitalist imaginary has begun to fade. No longer does the tech industry enjoy unquestioned goodwill and enthusiastic popular support for their narratives of technological determinism and profitable do-goodery. On the contrary, the industry has been the focus of increased public distrust, civil and worker activism, and regulatory scrutiny—a collective curdling of goodwill referred to as the “techlash.” There is a growing recognition that technology is deeply political and a growing distrust of the neoliberal politics our current political economy of technological innovation materializes.

In near parallel, ferment is (once again) abroad in the law. In the face of highly controversial court appointments and clear failures of justice in how the law responds to challenges like climate change, mass incarceration, and growing economic inequality, methods that separate out the task of legal reasoning from its political urgency and distributive consequences ring increasingly false. Both popular and scholarly commentators challenge the incapacity of our legal institutions to protect against (or even to acknowledge as legally relevant) the worst abuses of our time. These critiques emphasize the limits of (anti-democratic) progressive political strategies that rely too heavily on appeals to existing legal institutions and methods rather than developing strategies to democratically re-invigorate (or replace, or abolish) those institutions.

It’s good, even if it’s predominately about what has happened to the American legal system.

Haven’t we got our ideas about wearing masks the wrong way round?

Answer: yes we have. Nice piece by Derek Thompson

Last week, I covered my nose and mouth with close-fitting fabric like a good citizen and walked to a restaurant in Washington, D.C., where I de-masked at a patio table to greet a friend. I sat with my chair facing the entrance and watched dozens of people perform the same ritual, removing a mask they’d worn outside and alone. It seemed like the most normal thing in the world. Until, suddenly, it seemed very weird. The coronavirus is most transmissible in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, where the aerosolized virus can linger in the air before latching onto our nasal or bronchial cells. In outdoor areas, the viral spray is more likely to disperse. One systematic overview of COVID-19 case studies concluded that the risk of transmission was 19 times higher indoors than outside. That’s why wearing a mask is so important in, say, a CVS, but less crucial in, say, the park. At the restaurant, however, I saw an inversion of this rule. Person after person who’d dutifully worn a mask on the uncrowded street took it off to sit still, in close proximity to friends, and frequently inside. I felt like I was watching people put on their seatbelts in parked cars, then unbuckle them just as they put the vehicle in drive.

Other, hopefully interesting, links

  •  Take a Flying Leap, but Bring Your Paper Parachute How to make a parachute with paper and tape. Warning: it only carries tiny payloads. Link
  •  How Fit Can You Get From Just Walking? Pretty fit, actually. Link
  • Herman Miller is buying Knoll So fancy office chairs will all come from the same place. Link

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