Geertz’s theory of involution holds that a greater input (an increase in labor) does not yield proportional output (more crops and innovation). Instead, a society involutes. The Chinese term for involution, neijuan, which is made up of the characters for “inside” and “rolling,” suggests a process that curls inward, ensnaring its participants within what the anthropologist Xiang Biao has described as an “endless cycle of self-flagellation.” Involution is “the experience of being locked in competition that one ultimately knows is meaningless,” Biao told me.
Suppose you’re a well-known journalists hosting a weekly rather left podcast around topics such as migration, the climate and criticism of right-wing frames in the media. And then suppose you let yourself get baited majorly by an American alt-right activist.
This particular video was going around on German twitter and all the usual suspects were letting themselves get baited by it including above mentioned Friedemann. I wrote about their podcast previously and I couldn’t resist so I confronted him on it.
So I got blocked.
I mean “obsessive”, sure. Being a major league hypocrite is one of the best ways to bait me.
I did listen to this podcast very regularly but after October 7th it’s become so absurdly pro-Israel that it invalidates their entire previous position. The only situation where I’ve seen people parrot a line so hardcore like that was Dutch men with Russian wives after Putin had just invaded the Crimean Peninsula (“You have to understand Putin has a point.”).
Listening to the Trash Future team describe CulturePulse.ai and the digital twin profile created for entire populations seems very very reminiscent of “The Red Men” by Matthew de Abaitua which didn’t get the attention it deserved but was quite prescient.
https://trashfuturepodcast.podbean.com/e/waltz-with-the-sims/ (minute 23 and on)
Elements from the book such as the corporation known as “Monad” (!) and robotic public service utilities called “Dr. Easy” are looking back from our current hellscape period a bit too on the nose.
See Dr. Easy act in this short film: https://vimeo.com/68368877
“Squashing destroys this information. I’ll take a merge with 1000 +50/-50 commits over 1 squash every. single. day.”
I’ve been hammering on this fact as well that it’s silly to use git and then throw away so much information that you could use later. But then again most people don’t know git bisect exists.
Just some more German insanity from the anti-Deutsch group that I have to archive here for when it may come in handy later.
Given the current developments around the German debt brake, I think it’s good to refer to this bit about German financial politics and Adam Tooze’s initial prediction (FT, Zeit) that Christian Lindner as finance minister would not be good.
Fragment from around 45:00 clipped below:
“We got quite a lot of shit for doing that actually. Not entirely popular with my German colleagues. ‘Nicht zum Volkskörper zugehörig’ is a phrase that was used. ‘Wie trauen sie sich ein solches Urteil zu.’ Not belonging to the body politic of Germany. How dare you make a judgement like that. We don’t have any reason to regret it. We were clearly right.
I don’t think about the Roman Empire that much, but when I do it’s great to have it be because of Mary Beard who in this podcast (from the mark) talks about Zuckerberg’s fascination with August and how leadership then and now has not changed that much.
Last week I was making a presentation and I came across Deming and his principles. I have often gotten the question: “If you don’t measure X, then how will you know we’re doing well or improving?” which I always felt was misguided.
It turns out that Deming was way ahead of me there, he says: “Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.”
After reading this I get to appreciate a lot more how big of a problem Python packaging is (mostly because Python is so big and diverse) and what kind of a miracle it is that these systems work and keep working at all.