Better to do nothing than to engage in localized acts whose ultimate function is to make the system run more smoothly. The…

“Better to do nothing than to engage in localized acts whose ultimate function is to make the system run more smoothly. The threat today is not passivity, but pseudo-activity, the urge to “be active”, to “participate”, to mask the Nothingness of what goes on. People intervene all the time, “doing something”; academics participate in meaningless “debates,” etc.; but the truly difficult thing is to step back, to withdraw from it all. Those in power often prefer even “critical” participation or a critical dialogue to silence, since to engage us in such a “dialogue” ensures that our ominous passivity is broken. The “Bartlebian act” I propose is violent precisely insofar as it entails ceasing this obsessive activity-in it, violence and non-violence overlap (non-violence appears as the highest violence), likewise activity and inactivity (the most radical thing is to do nothing).”

 Slavoj Žižek | In Defense of Lost Causes.
(viavulturehooligan)

How Britain and the US decided to abandon Srebrenica to its fate

Srebrenica, masacre, genocide, ethnic cleansing, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Mladic, Miloševic, Dayton, Bild

Not a single politician, diplomat or senior soldier saw fit to resign over the betrayal of Srebrenica. It will be interesting to see if anything approaching an apology - let alone a reckoning - by Britain, America or France is spoken next weekend. Most of those involved were promoted or moved on to lucrative positions. After he had left the government, the former British foreign secretary, Douglas Hurd, who had chastised attempts at intervention to help Bosnia, along with Neville-Jones, famously beat a path to Belgrade to engage Milševic - just before he was indicted for genocide - on behalf of the NatWest markets bank.

The reaction of Akashi to the killing, as it began on 13 July, was to assure that the UN “should not fear an international outcry as at no time have Unprofor drivers or vehicles assisted in the evacuation”.

Toby Gati, the US assistant secretary of state for intelligence, told the current US ambassador, Samantha Power, for a book: “Ethnic cleansing was not a priority of our policy. When you make an original decision you are not going to respond, then I’m sorry, these things are going to happen.”

The then UN secretary general, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, told the BBC on 11 July 1995, when Mladic entered Srebrenica: “We have been humiliated and duped. We will have to live with it. But in several days, it will belong to the past.”

Bildt, in his memoirs, insists that: “They [the Bosnian leadership] knew that the peace settlement would mean the loss of the enclave. So from this point of view what happened made things easier.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/04/how-britain-and-us-abandoned-srebrenica-massacre-1995

This Is Your Brain on Silence

silence, noise, Finland, branding, nautilus

Silence is a peculiar starting point for a marketing campaign. After all, you can’t weigh, record, or export it. You can’t eat it, collect it, or give it away. The Finland campaign raises the question of just what the tangible effects of silence really are. Science has begun to pipe up on the subject. In recent years researchers have highlighted the peculiar power of silence to calm our bodies, turn up the volume on our inner thoughts, and attune our connection to the world. Their findings begin where we might expect: with noise.

http://nautil.us/issue/16/nothingness/this-is-your-brain-on-silence

Object Lessons in Freedom

AI, AGI, DeepMind, Google, Ethics, learning, development, parenting, robot apocalypse, mind children

So let’s address our children as though they are our children, and let us revel in the fact they are playing and painting and creating; using their first box of crayons, and us proud parents are putting every masterpiece on the fridge. Even if we are calling them all %E2%80%9Cnightmarish%E2%80%9D–a word I really wish we could stop using in this context; DeepMind sees very differently than we do, but it still seeks pattern and meaning. It just doesn’t know context, yet. But that means we need to teach these children, and nurture them. Code for a recognition of emotions, and context, and even emotional context. There’s been some fantastic advancements in emotional recognition, lately, so let’s continue to capitalize on that; not just to make better automated menu assistants, but to actually make a machine that can understand and seek to address human emotionality. Let’s plan on things like showing AGI human concepts like love and possessiveness and then also showing the deep difference between the two.

http://www.afutureworththinkingabout.com/?p=4906

Unknown photographer, Sept. 2/3, 1941, Royal Air Force bomber command Vertical night aerial photograph taken during a raid on…

burnedshoes:

Unknown photographer, Sept. 2/3, 1941, Royal Air Force bomber command

Vertical night aerial photograph taken during a raid on Berlin, showing bombs exploding in the vicinity of the central cattle-market and railway yard (middle right), east of the city centre. The broad wavy lines are the tracks of German searchlights and anti-aircraft fire can also be seen.

Also illuminated by the flash-bomb in the lower half of the photograph are the Friedrichshain gardens and sports stadium, St. Georgs-Kirchhof and Baltenplatz. A mixed force of 49 aircraft took part in the raid, of which 5 were lost. (+)

The Soyuz LV operated at CSG is the most recent of a long line of Soyuz family vehicles  that taken together, are acknowledged…

“The Soyuz LV operated at CSG is the most recent of a long line of Soyuz family vehicles  that taken together, are acknowledged to be  the most frequently rockets launched in the  world. Vehicles of this family, that launched both the first satellite (Sputnik, 1957) and the first man (Yuri Gagarin, 1961) into space, have been credited with more than 1780 launches to date.”

Soyuz CSG User’s Manual (March 2012)

This Overview captures the tightly gridded streets of Nezahualcóyotl, a municipality of Mexico City. With a population of more…

dailyoverview:

This Overview captures the tightly gridded streets of Nezahualcóyotl, a municipality of Mexico City. With a population of more than one million (all of Mexico City contains approximately nine million), the area is home to many of the capital’s citizens who have migrated there from other parts of the country.

We’re excited to announce that a print of this Overview will be on display at our first gallery show - “New perspectives from above” - that starts this week. There will be an opening reception Tuesday night from 7-9pm at Cloud Gallery (66 West Broadway). Prints will be on display until August 14th so hopefully our followers in NYC can check it out!

Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl
Mexico City, Mexico
19°24′00″N 98°59′20″W
www.dailyoverview.com

In any sane or rational world, Tube strike day would be a day of public celebration across London. There would be street…

“In any sane or rational world, Tube strike day would be a day of public celebration across London. There would be street parties, and small glasses of Pimm’s, and slightly strange old men would wave little red flags around. Children might traipse up to workers on the picket line to throw garlands of flowers over their heads. The desperate and unemployed, lurking around overpriced bars at three in the afternoon, would insist to anyone of the opposite sex within earshot that they were actually a striking train driver. Tube strikes are an incredible gift to all the people of London, and we ought to be grateful.”

Hey London, Stop Whining About the Tube Strike | VICE | United Kingdom (viaiamdanw)

Every day for the last 12 years I have sent a letter to the Pacific Ocean. They eventually get returned to me by the Post Office…

dailygeology:

Every day for the last 12 years I have sent a letter to the Pacific Ocean. They eventually get returned to me by the Post Office with markings stating, “Return to Sender.” Sometimes I get handwritten messages from postal carriers that are pretty amazing!!! You can see more about the project at: http://www.johnpena.net/#/letterstotheocean/

While humanity has only been launching huge payloads into outer space since the 1950s, with Sputnik breaking into orbit in 1957,…

hyperallergic:

While humanity has only been launching huge payloads into outer space since the 1950s, with Sputnik breaking into orbit in 1957, a lot of human-made debris and technology now circle the planet. A new data visualization project called Stuff in Space is an interactive portal for the satellites, rocket parts, and collision fragments up above the Earth.

Follow All the Tech and Trash Orbiting Earth, in Real Time