The first image in this collection of pictures of smartphone users around the world reminds me of nothing so much as those images of 1950s movie audiences wearing 3D glasses. Will those images of smartphone users look as quaint and innocent in 50 years?
From ProPublica: the number of IRS audits of a poor county in Mississippi makes it the most heavily audited county in America.
In a baffling twist of logic, the intense IRS focus on Humphreys County [in Mississippi] is actually because so many of its taxpayers are poor. More than half of the county’s taxpayers claim the earned income tax credit, a program designed to help boost low-income workers out of poverty. As we reported last year, the IRS audits EITC recipients at higher rates than all but the richest Americans, a response to pressure from congressional Republicans to root out incorrect payments of the credit.
The logic is clear, as the final sentence indicates: Republicans in power want to remind you who’s in charge, no matter what the cost in dollars or fairness.
Brilliant, tough, compassionate story from Buzzfeed’s Joe Bernstein on the Baraboo photo:
The culture of racist irony that prevails online and offline today is, in part, a distancing technique that creates the space people need to dehumanize and harm other people. The Christchurch shooter’s video is the most chilling and extreme documentation of this phenomenon. But it’s a mistake to think this dynamic only exists in extreme cases. Intolerance in Baraboo frequently came from a distance: shouted from a speeding car, carved into a sidewalk and left to shock, posted to the doors of the middle school. What does a racist joke do except create the cognitive distance necessary to do harm, dissolve the bonds of moral obligation? Ironic hatred, captured at the wrong time, was capable of pulling bedrock feelings of belonging and safety in a close community into question.
Another part of the story got my attention: the lack of context not just of the photo, but of each community member’s — parent and child — lack of knowledge of history and in some cases willful blindness of possible harm caused to others.
During the last semester of my master’s program, I was crunching the numbers on my survey and writing my thesis. Since I had to be on campus anyway, I wanted to take a fun, just-for-me course.Read More
From Robin Sloan’s latest newsletter:
Beware, anytime you hear anybody talking about reading novels as self-improvement – because they “increase empathy” or something like that. A close cousin is when people say you should read science fiction because it “helps you imagine the future.”
Here is my proposed alternative: read novels because there are novels…
It’s unfortunately very common in the San Francisco of 2019, this quest for a deeper “because” that finds its foundation in self-improvement. Resist.
Michael Allen Smith’s nine tips for getting out of Facebook (see his post for details):
Define the Reasons You Want to Leave
Remove the Facebook Mobile App
Log in and Out With Every Visit
Find Other Ways to Connect to Good Sources
How Will You Spend Your Liberated Time?
Start Data Scrubbing (optional)
Create a New Profile Page Elsewhere (optional)
I’m still tied to FB because of the various programs I’m a paid member of, so I have not quit yet. But my participation is minimal. I send direct messages to friends and will take a few minutes to scan the first screen of notifications once a day or so. But that’s it. I rarely post in any of the forums.
I’ve been on FB since 2006 or 2007, when it was available only to college students. Even if I left, they have years worth of analytics on me.
A great find, via the ever-essential Open Culture:
For those who think 50 minutes is too short and those piano notes too recognizable, may we suggest this 6-hour, time-stretched version of the album [Brian Eno’s Music for Airports], created by YouTube user “Slow Motion TV.”