On Girlfriends and Chaos

It is common knowledge that singles, particularly bachelors, live in complete chaos and their dwellings remember troll caves rather than human houses. Once they get married, their place magically change into perfect —or at least passable— residences. (Well, until they have kids.)

I want to challenge this discriminating notion about singles. Demonstrating, with a little math, that it’s not a problematic male trait but just a consequence of the situation.

By the way, it’s not just males that are weird when they live alone:

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Assorted links, 26/jan/2013

  1. Data is Eating Clocks, by Venkatesh Rao, author of “Tempo: timing, tactics and strategy in narrative-driven decision-making“. A book that’s been sitting on my reading list for too long.
  2. Small Wars Journal is always interesting. The Military deal with complex and messy situations and can provide many insights that are often lost to civilians. Tip: search past articles for discussions of “Design” theory.
  3. Wolfram Alpha powered up its “facebook report“. It provides lots of interesting analysis about your social network.
  4. John D. Cook highlights how programming is like “Teaching an imbecile to play bridge“, as William Kent wrote in “Data & Reality“.

Blogging, Personal Branding and the Big Corporation

You may have notice that this blog lately is much less about its title, “Lupi on Software…“, and much more about its subtitle, “…and everything else“. The fact is, I am struggling with my new status as an employee of a big corporation that excels at my art.

When you grow up professionally as a lone player, blogging becomes less of a mean of self-expression and more of an exercise of personal branding.

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Assorted links, 20/jan/2013

Some highlights from what I have been reading this weekend:

  1. The Deification of Hugo Chávez, by  (Abandoned Footnotes), a Venezuelan who teaches political theory and political science at Victoria University of Wellington.
  2. A long essay on interaction rituals, by Randall Collins, professor of sociology at University of Pennsylvania:

    IR theory is an explanation of what people will think, as well as what they will do. At any particular moment, people are speaking certain words or thinking certain thoughts; the thoughts that go through one’s head are internalized from previous talk with other people; more innovative thoughts are assembled out of the ingredients of verbal ideas already internalized. The world is a network of conversations, and what people think at any point in it is a product of what has circulated in previous conversations.

    It has interesting applications for entrepreneurs, companies and startups. In my personal experience, the most successful companies I worked for where the ones who had the best organizations and cultures. They also were the most innovative and the less competition-shy ones, but that was as much an effect as it was a cause of their success.

  3. My friend Ilaria Mauric reports her experience attending a UX course at Cooper U (in Italian): intro, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4.

Deleuze and Computers

A lecture by Alexander Gallaway on Deleuze’s Postscript on Societies of Control. Recommended if you’re interested in philosophy and critical theory.

Deleuze poses the basis of a critique of contemporary societies, the kind of stuff that Jaron Lanier loves to talk about.

I think hearing critics is the only way for a discipline to progress in a sane way and prosper. IT has way too few intelligent critics, and a plethora of stupids both among its cheerleaders and luddites.

Assorted links, 6/Jan/2013

  1. Online comments hurt science understanding, study finds. A meta-proof that science articles are the perfect troll bait.
  2. Slavoj Zizek: I am not the world’s hippest philosopher! To me, Zizek —as a public figure, not for the content of his work— feels a bit like Houellebecq:

    “My big fear is that if I act the way I am, people will notice that there is nothing to see. So I have to be active all the time, covering up.”

    A orderly-crafted public image of disorderly behavior.

  3. The Post-Productive Economy. On Industrial Revolution vs. today’s Information Revolution.

Assorted links, 29/dec/2012

  1. Five Jobs in Reading. Interesting tale from America poorest town.
  2. Of Malevolent Democracies and Benevolent Autocracies: A Very Short Quantitative History of Political Regimes. Data science applied to regime analysis.
  3. Ford equips Engineers with MakerBots, cheap desktop 3D printers.
  4. Causal Universes, or why Harry Potter’s Time-Turners violate the quantum hamiltonian operator. In short, it’s geek porn.

Flavors of Propaganda

I have a life rather devoid of visual treats. I walk to the office, it takes less than ten minutes and most of them are spent in a pleasant park bordering the Sihl river. My company feeds me breakfast, lunch and dinner. No need to go out, no need to socialize with the locals. It feels almost like living in an embassy or a monastery. My German atrophied since I switched jobs this summer, but it wouldn’t matter anyway. No TV exists in my home, I prefer the company of books. In my monastic world, commercials and propaganda pretty much do not exist.

Traveling from Switzerland to Italy became a fascinating experience. Just traveling to Zurich airport, seeing the celebratory —festive would be too strong— Christmas billboards for the first time. It felt like wearing glasses from John Carpenter’s They Live: OBEY, YOU’RE RICH, IT COULD BE WORSE. All was about how posh and how secluded from world’s maladies, Switzerland is. Few smiles, the protestant streak runs strong in Swiss fancy. Elite and status messages all over the place, Zurich is truly the capital of Protestant ideas. Nothings sums it up better than this butter ad:

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Compare it to Italy, where I went to watch “The Hobbit” film. It was Thursday afternoon and just four brave souls adventured in the dark hall. The cinema was truly empty, the crisis and the ungodly time I choose contributed to the tranquillity. The lords of the movie theater inflicted on us half an hour of commercials. I am not kidding, they even noted out the time on a sign at the reception that I foolishly dismissed. They probably figured out we were the only guys with some money left in our pockets, or they wanted to punish us because we weren’t out shopping at that time.

In these thirty minutes, the message was clear: CONSUME, CONSUME, CONSUME. I have never seen so many car commercials in my whole life.

Truly, it was an unexpected journey.