The Null Device

2004/8/5

Insightful essay of the day: The Monkeysphere; that's related to the concept by which humans have a hardwired limit of 150 people they can care about, or even intuitively consider as people rather than abstractions. Understanding this explains a lot of the suffering and cruelty in the world (via caycos@lj):

But think of Osama Bin Laden. Did you just picture a camouflaged man hiding in a cave, drawing up suicide missions? Or are you thinking of a man who gets hungry and has a favorite food and who had a childhood crush on a girl and who has athelete's foot and chronic headaches and laughs when a friend farts, a man who wakes up in the morning with a boner and loves volleyball and fusses over his spoiled children and haggles over the price of a car and who goes on Seinfeld-esque rants about too much ice in his drinks?
Something in you, just now, probably was offended by that. You think I'm trying to build sympathy for the murderous bastard. Do you see the equation? Simply knowing random human facts about him immediately tugs at our sympathy strings. He comes closer to our Monkeysphere, he takes on dimension.
Now, the cold truth is my Bin Laden is just as desperately in need of a bullet to the skull as the raving four-color caricature on some redneck's T-shirt. The key to understanding people like him, though, is realizing that we are the caricature on his T-shirt.

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2004/8/4

A Member of the Scottish Parliament is calling into an inquiry into allegations at traffic light controllers in Edinburgh and Glasgow are deliberately creating traffic mayhem to encourage people to use public transport, undoubtedly motivated by some extremist green agenda. There have been rumours of this sort of thing happening in London too; could Loony Left Red Ken be behind it?

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France's first drive-thru boulangerie has opened in a suburb of Paris, allowing rushed French motorists to get their baguettes rapidement; and so, the accelerating pace of the world adapts to local sensibilities. It'll be interesting to see how the anti-McDonalds movement receives this new innovation. (via WorldChanging, and not the Onion)

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Manchester-based expatriate Australian electropop duo Cartwheel now have a new website, that's not hosted on Geocities or wherever. No MP3s there yet, though they have just recorded a new EP, which will be coming out in the UK soon.

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