The end of the empire

A furious and sustained backlash by a betrayed and angry populace, one unprepared intellectually, emotionally and psychologically for collapse, will sweep aside the Democrats and most of the Republicans and will usher America into a new dark age. It was the economic collapse in Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in Tsarist Russia that opened the door for Lenin and the Bolsheviks. A cabal of proto-fascist misfits, from Christian demagogues to loudmouth talk show hosts, whom we naïvely dismiss as buffoons, will find a following with promises of revenge and moral renewal.

Chris Hedges — American Psychosis

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How virtue goes rancid in the sun

Good intentions, like mother’s milk, are a perishable commodity. As wealth accumulates, men decay, and sooner or later an aristocracy that once might have aspired to an ideal of wisdom and virtue goes rancid in the sun, becomes an oligarchy distinguished by a character that Aristotle likened to that of “the prosperous fool”—its members so besotted by their faith in money that “they therefore imagine there is nothing that it cannot buy.

Lewis H. Lapham — Feast Of Fools

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The hindsight bias

When we attempt to understand past events, we implicitly test the hypotheses or rules we use to both interpret and anticipate the world around us. If, in hindsight, we systematically underestimate the surprises which the past held and holds for us, we are subjecting those hypotheses to inordinately weak tests and, presumably, finding little reason to change them. Thus, the very outcome knowledge which gives us the feeling that we understand what the past was all about may prevent us from learning anything from it.

B. Fischhoff — Hindsight ≠ foresight: the effect of outcome knowledge on judgment under uncertainty

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Translation is a design task

About a translation world where Harry Potter’s arch enemy is “Du-weißt-schon-wer,” Facebook users click “Me gusta”, and the Dude is named “le Duc.”

Antoine Lefeuvre — Translation is UX

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Now or never
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Words I loathe

  • AwesomeObviously
  • Ninja — When used outside of the 忍び context, which is always
  • Guru — When used outside of the guru-shishya context, which is always
  • Badass — A piss poor substitute for ‘awesome’, see above
  • Troublemaker — When used to describe ‘bros’, see below
  • Bro — Not without its merits, as it describes all that’s wrong with the USA in three letters

To be continued.

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The “moon hoax” and the fate of knowing

This video is worth watching not only for the clarity of the argument, but especially for the conclusion it leads to.

From the description:

Collins is not sure if men went to the moon. but he is sure they could not have faked it.

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If airlines sold paint

Customer: Hi. How much is your paint?

Clerk: Well, sir, that all depends on quite a lot of things.

Customer: Can you give me a guess? Is there an average price?

Clerk: Our lowest price is $12 a gallon, and we have 60 different
prices up to $200 a gallon.

Customer: What’s the difference in the paint?

Clerk: Oh, there isn’t any difference; it’s all the same paint.

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I Miss

…holding soft skin and quiet respiration in my arms.

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