ISSUE 1.42

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The lie of coming of age, Equifax, AI gaydar, consensual murder, your cosmic place, and more.

Hi there! Have a real moody track to read this one to - Supernal by Adesse. 5 minutes long, repetitive and minimalistic electronica. Love it. Onto the articles!


The coming-of-age con

"The search for the ‘self’ is dubious because it assumes that there is an enduring ‘self’ that lurks within and that can somehow be found. Whereas, in fact, the only ‘self’ we can be sure of is one that changes every second, our decisions and circumstances taking us in an infinite number of directions, moment by moment." This article is great and I have lots of feelings about it. It essentially proposes that the "coming of age" narrative as portrayed in movies is a lie because we as human beings in our current hypermodern economic culture never satisfactorily find a place to fit. And that's true. But you know what we're missing? We're missing a very key component of practically every original culture: initiation. Something that tells you, oh, you're an adult now, here are your responsibilities, here are your expectations, here you go. (Actually, I'd be interested to see a psychological cross-analysis of Jewish people who have had their bar/bat mitzvahs vs. regular people who have not.) The fact that we have no moment that tells you, OK, now is the time to take shit seriously, results in a psychological tailspin for everyone except those annoying kids who knew exactly what they wanted to do since they were kids and then proceeded to just do it. If that's you, fuck you and also congratulations I am very jealous and sorry just a little bitter.

But that's not quite enough, because to tell you to "take shit seriously" implies that there is a "shit" that can be fully understood and perceived from our subjective perspective in a world that is completely chaotic, insecure, and instable. Instead, I think nascent adults need to be told the reality of the situation and be given the mental tools to ride the waves of chaos, to understand that a reliable world is not to be expected, and that you must play opportunistically instead of faithfully. Watch out, kiddo--there's lions and tigers and bears in the jungle and they're not in a circus, no, they're corporations and they wanna nibble on you for as long as you're tasty. Granted, we of the mIlLeNnIaL generation have figured this out, but at the great cost of incredible disillusionment, and most of us have not picked up the necessary skills or psychological grit that comes from a proper orientation to the reality of the world. It's not that people can't cope with a harsh, adversarial reality; it's that it's incredibly difficult to cope with a harsh, adversarial reality that consistently told you that it was something else entirely. So if you've been on the precipice of this realization: consider this your initiation. Go get weird.

a tweet

@wolicyponk on Twitter: mr. burns' \

Equifax Breach Response Turns Dumpster Fire

Have you heard about this? How one of the U.S.'s big 3 credit companies let 143 million American consumers' social security information leak? Oh yeah, you bet I'm one of the lucky 143 million, probably. And their way of coping is real shitty. Sooo shitty. I almost refused to sign up for their support site because it looked so sketch - as I tweeted, "tfw u want to see if ur data was leaked but worry the site that tells u ur data was leaked might be an attempt to get ur to leak ur data". Can we please get rid of social security already? I'm probably not going to live long enough to use it, and if I do, I have even less faith in the institutions that run it, and that's saying something.


New AI can guess whether you're gay or straight from a photograph

Oh thank god! Now I can finally know. Wait--they don't provide the technology for the public to use? Damnit. Well, I guess that would make sense that that would be A Bad Thing. Oh yeah, and in this article, they talk a bunch about all the shit-tastic things you could do with automated, machine-powered (and bigoted human-run) gaydar. On that topic, here's a great Twitter thread on a machine learning system that can identify ~69% (nice) of protestors wearing caps AND scarves to hide their identities and why releasing that technology may just be completely irresponsible.


Florida Police Warn People Not to Shoot Their Guns at Hurricane Irma

No comment (warning: autoplay video). OK little comment, it was just a joke Facebook event that went viral, but you never know with Florida. Anyway, like a tweet said (is this the fourth time I'm referencing a tweet in this issue??), this is like if you get bored playing SimCity and decide to throw every disaster at your world at once.


A death on Usenet: Sharon Lopatka and the strange case of "consensual murder"

Anyway, here's a gross gratuitous sex-violence story. Well, not exactly. It's sensational but also pretty fascinating. I remember in high school there was a story of a guy who posted on Craigslist that they wanted to get eaten, and then that actually happened, and since it was technically consensual the court was like "hmmm i dunno............." but unless I'm mixing my stories, I think I found that story later and it turned out that the eater had actually drugged the guy beyond what he wanted and then it became a horrible murder scenario ok let's move on


You Are Here: A Cosmic Reminder

Here's a lovely thing by a lovely new site I found, showing you in easy, beautiful, digestible imagery just how many years it is until the universe ceases to exist (10 ^ 1000 years). Worth a humble-click.