Eric

This is the season to read “The End of Summer,” a poem by Stanley Kunitz.

I recommend Mark O’Connell’s book review at the New Yorker, “The Deliberate Awfulness of Social Media”. A teaser:

…the nexus of consumer technologies and submerged algorithms, which forms so large a part of contemporary reality, is deliberately engineered to get us hooked. “We’re being hypnotized little by little by technicians we can’t see, for purposes we don’t know,” he writes. “We’re all lab animals now.”… Social-media platforms know what you’re seeing, and they know how you acted in the immediate aftermath of seeing it, and they can decide what you will see next in order to further determine how you act—a feedback loop that gets progressively tighter until it becomes a binding force on an individual’s free will.

At the Atlantic, Yuval Noah Harari explores an argument that technology favors tyranny. I wasn’t entirely persuaded, but it’s certainly a case worth examining. It did prompt a related question for me, however: I wonder whether all the attention lavished on STEM education might be exactly the wrong formula for the next generation of workers. In a future job market that’s sharply constrained by AI and machine learning, it seems to me that STEM-based careers could be more at-risk of automation and job loss than many other fields. Better, perhaps, to be a plumber or a psychiatrist (or an artist or baker or manager or sales rep or philosopher or teacher).

  • The Stranger covered my son’s school bus route. It’s a rolling disaster of story that probably deserves more attention. And it’s a case study in a cash-strapped school district outsourcing its legally-mandated transportation to a private corporation, one with a history of underpaying its workers and leaving kids waiting for hours, week after week. It’s also the story of a district that seems chronically unwilling to solve the problem or even communicate clearly about it. But I suppose I’m rather biased on this subject.

    Kelsey H.

    Thursday was really hard (and I have a TON of reads but I’ll link them next week). The only real things I even want to add right now for us all are these:

    Ed

    I ran across this Los Angeles Times piece from 1997 that recounts one of the most notorious episodes of sexual harassment in sports media. Lisa Olson was a reporter covering the New England Patriots for the Boston Herald in 1990 when an incident in the locker room occurred between her and five players. The fallout was so terrible Lisa would eventually move to Australia, where she lived for several years. In the wake of the headlines in the news this week, the themes here deeply resonated.

    Aven

    We millennials may be killing Applebees but we’re saving marriage.

    If we’re ever going to tackle global warming, we need to start treating it like the emergency that it is. Climate Mobilization is one organization trying to get us there.

    I have a BRCA mutation – do you?