Diagnostic Politics and National Psychoses - Part 2

I want to continue some of my thoughts on psychotherapy and politics that I started to discuss in Tuesday’s post. I’m following the Politicopsychopathology essay by Benjamin Kunkel a bit more closely. The idea of political dream-work is very intriguing. Kunkel describes the persistent sense of deception that now pervades most political debate and discussion in America. The constant praise for ‘job-creators’ by Republicans like Mitt Romney comes in for some close analysis.

Diagnostic Politics and National Psychoses - Part 1

So I have been thinking in psychiatric terms about a number of topics over the past few weeks, in relation to my own work in data management and the contemporary news of the day, which is inescapably about Donald Trump and the American political world in 2016. As the prospect of Trump becoming the Republican nominee for president in 2016 becomes increasingly certain, I’ve started to see a few characteristic stories published.

Death of a Library Search Box

I’ve been thinking about how libraries can become better at serving researchers and expert users, especially through their front pages. A recent news item from the University of Tennessee library prompted me to make the connection between expert users and library home pages. The University of Tennessee library just announced the launch of their One Search box on the home page. I found this quote especially disturbing “launching a major upgrade to the Libraries’ discovery portal: the search box in the middle of library homepages will yield exponentially more results than in the past.

Managers Think Workers Are Stupid and Other Critical Errors

Today’s feature in meaningless survey research is this new poll by the American Management Association on American workers communication skills. MSN is reporting that ‘American workers fall short’. Should anyone be surprised that this is the conclusion of the American Management Association? There’s an obvious bias right there on the part of the executives who are being surveyed. Would it really be in their interest to say that American’s workers are doing well?

Movies that open and close doors

I’ve been watching a lot of television and movies over the past few weeks, mostly as a thought avoidance tactic. But no matter how hard I try there are always some signifying items that cross my view and threaten to expand into lifelong, or at least week-long, thought obsessions. Two recent movies illustrate this contrasting reaction. The first is In the Loop, a biting satire of the politics that led to the Iraq war a scant ten years ago.

The creepiness factor goes to 11

John Brownlee started a bit of storm on March 30 when he posted a story about Girls Around Me, an app for the iPhone. The idea behind the app is relatively simple - you turn it on, it finds your current location, and then it locates all of the people (men or women) who are currently nearby. The information is taken from public Facebook profiles and Foursquare check-ins. Brownlee tells a great story about the reaction of friends to whom he showed the app; they gradually move from fascination to a tingly ickiness and finally outright worry.

Theory and practices of the soul

I’ve been reading some Habermas the last few days and am particularly struck by the appendix of Knowledge and Human Interests. The appendix is called “Knowledge and Human Interests: A General Perspective.” Habermas begins with the purpose of theory. The study of theory is directly connected to action because theory provides action with energy and ethical significance. The Greeks believed that the study of theory, which was the contemplation of the cosmos, brought the external and internal parts of the world together.

Big data lectures

Summary of the big data explosion from the 2011 Strata Online conference sponsored by O’Reilly. Three interlocking changes exponential economics. The dramatic decrease in storage costs, and the increase in network connections/access points. sensor networks. The ubiquity of data collection. “Instrumented spimes” - term from Bruce Sterling for devices that are streaming information into the cloud/ether. cloud computing. Computational and data resources on demand. Success on the data stack

The Cool Down

The heat wave has broken, at least here in Michigan. A cold front finally moved through earlier this morning. Yesterday the temperatures were in the mid-90s and the humidity was high. Even at night the lows were only into the 70s and the dewpoints stayed high. I had hoped to watch some of the lightning and thunderstorms roll through last night. But the storms were moving west to east, just north of Ann Arbor.

Bifurcations and Other Thoughts

There comes a time in any project where it seems like everything is going in too many directions at once. That the center cannot hold and things are about to fly apart. Blogging is no different. There’s a constant cycle of push and pull inside of me between keeping everything I write here, in a single location, and writing multiple blogs on different subjects. In the past I’ve also been torn between wanting to try different weblog tools.