Thanksgiving Is Ruined
June 12, 2014
from Brazuca to Banzhaf
Below is TiR's current favorite World Cup factoid, about 2014's official soccer ball, the Brazuca, which replaces the little loved Jabulani from last time around:
"To stem criticism this time, Adidas showed the ball to more than 600 of the world's top players, a third of whom were not Adidas-contracted players."
(from USA Today)
Adidas seems to be a believer in weighted voting -- if not in its shareholders meetings (TiR is too lazy to figure that one out), at least with regard to footballs.
We glean that the Banzhaf power index might be what one resorts to, to make sense of these things.
A quite good Sports Illustrated profile of the factory where the ball is manufactured, in Sialkot, Pakistan, is here.
Though, as stated therein, four-fifths of all of its raw materials come from China.
Basic monthly salary at the factory? 10,000 rupees, per here.
Current US dollar equiv.? $102.90, per here.
Current price of an official Brazuca on Amazon? $144
Yes, TiR knows that you saw the last link coming a mile away.
May 31, 2014
discussion with B. Eno in which he recalled that for a time in early 70s he experimented w/ painting random letters onto his eyelids as part of his everyday makeup.
TiR asked him if he began with the easiest letters to paint whilst looking in a mirror, i.e., those with vertical line symmetry
e.g., A, H, I, M, O, T, U, V, W, X, Y
he replied that, yes, that's exactly what he did
2 posts here w/in 4 mos. that relate dreams? involving musicians?
are these indeed the depths to which this blog has sunk?
April 30, 2014
Hopefully, it won't be, in the case of issue # 12, the latest, spring 2014 edition of Or, the "literary tabloid," edited by Paul Vangelisti, of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art & Design.
Nevertheless, the ominous phrase above is emblazoned, unexplained, on the cover of #12.
TiR's glimpsing it caused us to put the new issue aside and leave it unread for days, then weeks, until a moment when we felt greater fortitude to open it and read the likely announcement of the death of yet another terrific print publication.
However: no such announcement! we are happy to (not) find, apparently, behind the cover and within the contents. Or on-line.
What a scare.
Would be a greater shame than ever to lose Or, given that, only last month, it published in # 11 a poem that TiR believes might be the most wonderful that we have ever read about a library:
It's downtown but it's in the mountains. It has no computers but there's a full bar (the bartenders double as librarians). The walls are solid books except for the plate glass facing the redwood groves. Late last night, or was it early this morning, they were serving Akhmatova gimlets while a chanteuse was scatting a remarkably long riff of Dewey decimals. . . . This place is a refuge at all hours, a shelter for those with no place else to go, and there's always entertainment, dead or alive. . . The barkeeps recommend books -- no bestsellers . . . These nights and days on the last barricades before paper is obsolete have the intense flavor of our final kiss, when we could savor Paradise disappearing. . . .
The above is approximately half of "My Dream Library" by Stephen Kessler.
[The latest issue, meanwhile, features Amiri Baraka's* fashion this, from the irony of the world (2003):
. . . Each night I fill my notebooks with formula
And instructions to myself and others on what to do of what to study of where to
Go who to talk to and when. I make lists of words, names, events, processes,
necessary stages of what we have come to realize is protracted. And what we do we
*now "lift[ed] into the outer waygonsphere"?
TiR often wonders whether the true ur- or sous-texte of this blog is the death, and survival, of print culture.
March 31, 2014
The 50 Club
Forget the "27 Club."
This past month, when reading some of the newer memorials and moving remembrances of the brilliant Maggie Estep, TiR realized that her name sadly joins an astonishing list, almost certainly one closer to TiR's heart than that of the "27s," one which no one else heretofore seems to have noticed, and which deserves its own small-c canonization:
The Fifty Club.
Which would now then, in part, include:
Jelly Roll Morton
Dee Dee Ramone
Dave Prater (of Same & Dave)
Dave Brockie (of GWAR)
St. Thomas Aquinas, and
February 28, 2014
guns and (literally) perception
The following incidents all seem to have something in common:
also August 2011:
"Orange County Cop Shot Man Holding Cell Phone, Claims He Thought It Was A Handgun"
Bordering on the unfathomable . . .
unless, in some small part . . . neuroscience to the rescue?
as so often seems to be the aspiration nowadays. . . .
Nieuwenhuys, Savelsbergh & Opedjans (2012) "Shoot or don't shoot: Why police officers are more inclined to shoot they they are anxious" Emotion 12, 827-33
We investigated the effect of anxiety on police officers' shooting decisions. Thirty-six police officers participated and executed a low- and high-anxiety video-based test that required them to shoot or not shoot at rapidly appearing suspects that either had a gun and "shot," or had no gun and "surrendered." Anxiety was manipulated by turning on (high anxiety) or turning off (low anxiety) a so-called "shootback canon" that could fire small plastic bullets at the participants. When performing under anxiety, police officers showed a response bias toward shooting, implying that they accidentally shot more often at suspects that surrendered. Furthermore, shot accuracy was lower under anxiety and officers responded faster when suspects had a gun. Finally, because gaze behavior appeared to be unaffected by anxiety, it is concluded that when they were anxious, officers were more inclined to respond on the basis of threat-related inferences and expectations rather than objective, task-relevant visual information.
Nieuwenhuys & Oudejans (2010) "Effects of anxiety on handgun shooting behavior of police officers: a pilot study" Anxiety Stress Coping. 2010; 23(2): 225-33
The current pilot study aimed at providing an initial assessment of how anxiety influences police officers' shooting behavior. Seven police officers participated and completed an identical shooting exercise under two experimental conditions: low anxiety, against a non-threatening opponent, and high anxiety (HA), against a threatening opponent who occasionally shot back using colored soap cartridges. Measurements included shooting accuracy, movement times, head/body orientation, and blink behavior. Results showed that under HA, shooting accuracy decreased. Underlying this degradation of performance, participants acted faster and made themselves smaller to reduce the chance of being hit. Furthermore, they blinked more often, leading to increases in the amount of time participants had their eyes closed. Findings provide support for attentional control theory, hereby also pointing to possible interventions to improve police officers' shooting performance under pressure.
But see also:
Zhaoping L, Jingling L (2008) "Filling-In and Suppression of Visual Perception from Context: A Bayesian Account of Perceptual Biases by Contextual Influences." PLoS Computational Biology, Feb. 2008
How Believing Can Be Seeing: Context Dictates What We Believe We See
Scientists at UCL (University College London) have found the link between what we expect to see, and what our brain tells us we actually saw. The study reveals that the context surrounding what we see is all important -- sometimes overriding the evidence gathered by our eyes and even causing us to imagine things which aren't really there. . . .
Miller S, Zielaskowski K (2010) "The basis of shooter biases: beyond cultural stereotypes." Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Oct. 2010
White police officers and undergraduate students mistakenly shoot unarmed Black suspects more than White suspects on computerized shoot/don't shoot tasks. This bias is typically attributed to cultural stereotypes of Black men. Yet, previous research has not examined whether such biases emerge even in the absence of cultural stereotypes. The current research investigates whether individual differences in chronic beliefs about interpersonal threat interact with target group membership to elicit shooter biases, even when group membership is unrelated to race or cultural stereotypes about danger. Across two studies, participants with strong beliefs about interpersonal threats were more likely to mistakenly shoot outgroup members than ingroup members; this was observed for unfamiliar, arbitrarily formed groups using a minimal group paradigm (Study 1) and racial groups not culturally stereotyped as dangerous (Asians; Study 2). Implications for the roles of both group membership and cultural stereotypes in shaping decisions to shoot are discussed.
Who will step up with the funding for some more scientific studies in this realm?
Probably not this guy.
January 31, 2014
A few weeks back. Dreamed about a rehearsal of The Fall
Current band members line the walls of the room. They number a couple dozen.
MES at center, stops the music. Announces: "If you have not read the novel Bye Bye Farrell, you are no longer in The Fall. Leave the room right now." [This novel seems not to exist.]
Adding: "Don't forget on your way out to give a goodbye kiss to Fidel Castro." Indeed, 87-year old Castro has been in corner of room, enjoying the music. Newly fired band members file past him on the way out, do so.
Band now winnowed down to 4 or 5 persons. Brix is among them.
January 23, 2014
A. Baraka joins the ancestors
[A]s a poet, his job wasn’t so much about espousing theories as articulating the subconscious, even when it and he were wrong, or misguided.New Yorker, here
I’m asking you to recognize the discomfort he inspires as a challenge to take his larger message seriously, to reconsider how far we’ve travelled since the 1950s, what’s been lost, what’s been gained, and who’s really benefited.
"In Defense of Amiri Baraka," the Forward, here
The above were the most thoughtful reflections TiR happened to see, iTiRho.
December 31, 2013
2013: TiR's unblogged year in review:
below: an incomplete list of items researched and contemplated but, mercifully for the already informationally overcrowded world, left un-fully-blogged on TiR during 2013. How much more minimal can we keep it in 2014? We shall see.
on missing one’s pre-internet brain -- and everybody else’s
RIP Prince Jazzbo, Charlie Chesterman, Tabu Ley, Maxwell’s
the late Chinua Achebe’s novel No Longer at Ease’s Mr. Okonkwo on reasons to never throw away a piece of paper containing the printed word
Bertolucci’s “Before the Revolution” (1964) on “the medicine of boredom”
Nietzsche’s The Case of Wagner on the boringness of opera: “To sit five hours: the first stage of holiness!” (from Turinese Letter of May 1888)
on Jamaica’s remarkably (oddly?) peaceful “struggle” for independence; The Gleaner (7/15/12): “Jamaicans fought no heroic battle to achieve Independence. . . . all these steps were constitutional advances which were subject to prior discussion and agreement. This smooth passage ensured progress with certainty, but it was devoid of the dramatic lustre of a struggle for victory to create a focal point.”
on “Surfin’ Bird” as Communist anthem: “"Rock and Roll which . . . has an electronic sound and is called ‘junk music’ such as ‘Surfin' Bird’ by the Trashmen is also by no means primitive"; from “Communists Must Give Revolutionary Leadership in Culture” by Henry Flynt (and G. Maciunas) (1966)
“The nation state is the prison of the mind”: Philip Mansel quotes William Haddad
mobile phone: philanthropocapitalism : : stopwatch: Taylorism?
on Laurence Allard’s “Smart Power, Mobile Phone Technology and Philanthropocapitalism in Africa”
Freud on how illness allegedly reveals the mind's crystalline structure: “If we throw a crystal to the floor, it breaks; but not into haphazard pieces. It comes apart along its lines of cleavage into fragments whose boundaries, though they were invisible, were predetermined by the crystal's structure.” (Lecture XXXI The Dissection of the Psychical Personality, 1923)
“Bovaryism,” or words that take an entire novel to define them, and with every word in the book taken as a necessary part of the definition. See K. Burke’s eternally foundational (for TiR) "Litertaure as Equipment for Living" (1938) on Jules de Gaultier on Flaubert.
the teenaged years 16 through 18 as “the age of ingratitude” (Radiguet’s preface to Cheeks on Fire)
poet Henry Vaughn’s “The Retreat” ode to the Backward Traveller
why television? to create a new medium for broadcast of US post-war anti-communist propaganda, of course
know (y)our mercenaries: a rundown & overview of current names in the global private security firm field: Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, DynCorp International, Triple Canopy, Sabre International (Baghdad), Askar Security Services Limited (Kampala), SOC, Dreshak Group (Dubai), Beowulf Defense, Sterling Global Operations; all mentioned herein
meet our new global biometrics wizards, for voting, passports, etc.: Giesecke & Devrient Gemalto, Morpho, Oberthur
Seoul and / vs. Berlin: some parallels and connections
memo to Rand Paul at Howard University, on how hard the GOP worked to lose & alienate the voters of black America: some clear-eyed and devastating contemporaneous accounts, from the mid-60s pages of Ebony, Jet and The Crisis (Henry Lee Moon) . . .
. . . and for good measure: Norman Mailer, 11/64, in Esquire
the Whitney Museum’s 1980 “Light Show,” the 1982 lawsuit, and the Hon. Ralph M. Holman and wife vs. artist James Turrell; mentioned by the latter in passing in interview here
animal rights, and Macarius Magnes’s Apocriticus (4th cent. CE), book III, chapter IV, “Objection based on the incident of the swine and the demons”: “What a myth ! What humbug ! What flat mockery ! A herd of two thousand swine ran into the sea, and were choked and perished! . . . it may be left to babes to make a decision about all this.”
the rise of the robots, 1950s-60s style: James Boggs’ The American Revolution: Pages From a Negro Worker's Notebook (1963), chapter 2, “The Challenge of Automation”
Taban Lo Liyong: “English is a prostitute, and a big prostitute.” -- quoted in Janine di Giovanni’s “A civil tongue: South Sudan tries to learn English”
John Ralston Saul’s Dark Diversions on meeting Vaso Čubrilović: “[H]e had fixed his self-image in the 1930s, in early middle age. Men tend to do that, just at the moment when their public disguise crystalizes.”
on the “match nul” theory of politics
the DDR’s cult of Weimar remembrance, as reflected in stamp and coin collecting (Brecht, Kollwitz, Liebknecht, Luxemburg, Thälmann, Tucholsky, Zetkin)
the quest for the world’s fastest pedestrians
Pinochet’s Secretary of Labor and Social Security, José Manuel Piñera Echenique, Chile’s Administradoras de Fondos de Pensionese, and the potential(ly (even) crapp(y/ier)) future of US unemployment benefits
on philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne and the “Muslim Bergsonians”
on Méliès' absolutely delightful "Les Fromages Automobiles" (1907)