I don’t like this expression “First World problems.” It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.
One event that illustrated the gap between the Africa of conjecture and the real Africa was the BlackBerry outage of a few weeks ago. Who would have thought Research In Motion’s technical issues would cause so much annoyance and inconvenience in a place like Lagos? But of course it did, because people don’t wake up with “poor African” pasted on their foreheads. They live as citizens of the modern world. None of this is to deny the existence of social stratification and elite structures here. There are lifestyles of the rich and famous, sure. But the interesting thing about modern technology is how socially mobile it is—quite literally. Everyone in Lagos has a phone.
Teju Cole (via fatmanatee)
See, this is the kind of stuff to get into my head! Teju Cole is the drill instructor for my brain.
Ayesha Siddiqi: “A ‘Mindy Project’ Round Table”
This is really good! (via bmichael)
Man, at first I was reading this and was just like “yeah, I guess it’s a problem that Mindy only dates or interacts with white people, like 95% of the show, but I don’t really need to read a conversation about it.”
But then I kept reading and really gets into some very fascinating stuff, like this:
"I kind of think about the way people make jokes about things like “Starbucks is for white girls” in a similar way to how people make “first-world problems” jokes — in that things are coded as white, completely flattening that brown people live textured lives."
UGH, you guys! That’s so spot on it hurts! And I have said “First-world problems” (or, “white people problems”, or “white whine”) so many times and its so silly because it somehow asserts privilege and denies validation in the same breath! It essentially says “your life is too fancy/rich/privileged to have legitimate problems” while also saying “third-world (read: non-white people) could never aspire to have such superficial problems.”
Anyway, I like hearing thoughtful criticism of things I like, and this round table fits that paradigm.
Malaria risk zones in the world. -
Hold the phone! How did tiny little Lesotho completely eradicate malaria while surrounded by the malaria-spewing mosquito pit that is South Africa?! (No disrespect to South Africa)
Testing of the F-117 Nighthawk (aka the Stealth Fighter) c. 1988
WHAT IS THIS, A PLANE FOR ANTS?!?!
The true Future Islands performance masterpiece.
For reference: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ee4bfu_t3c
Whoa Did Warren Buffett Get This Massively Important Prediction Wrong
In November 22, 1999, Warren Buffett gave a speech in which he famously said he didn’t invest in technology stocks. His rationale was that you can’t predict who the winners and losers will be, only that society usually benefits. He cited the auto and airplane industries as losers for investors but winners for society. Anyway, on to Buffett’s bad prediction - in the speech he noted that the next 17 years of returns for equities would probably be lower than the spectacular returns from 1983-1999 (true), but that the standard of living for most people would be much higher.
They will have by then grown considerably wealthier, simply because the American business establishment that they own will have been chugging along, increasing its profits by 3% annually in real terms. Best of all, the rewards from this creation of wealth will have flowed through to Americans in general, who will be enjoying a far higher standard of living than they do today. That wouldn’t be a bad world at all—even if it doesn’t measure up to what investors got used to in the 17 years just passed.
Here’s a graph of median income for the last 17 years.
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
I am hungry
and the spending
what it once
Do you ever think that the creation, patent, and subsequent failure of GMO crops to provide any real benefit to world food production has some sort of True Detective level of creepiness and terror locked within?
Time is a flat crop circle? Sorry. I just mean that this is like the perfect example of human hubris and error and us being unable to see the constellation effect of our actions beyond the front of our collective face.
Also, not for nothing, but follow my thought process: If we create corn that kills corn bugs, then there are no corn bugs, then no food for birds, then no birds, then no bigger birds, then the repercussions become impossible to grasp (aka, if small mammals have no bigger bird predators, their numbers explode and thus their food source is depleted, etc etc forever).
This is a concept with which I am endlessly fascinated called Trophic Cascade. It happens primarily because we humans can’t stop meddling, but I mean, duh. Life finds a way.
In the initial deployment, collection systems are recording “every single” conversation nationwide, storing billions of them in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears the oldest calls as new ones arrive, according to a classified summary.
The call buffer opens a door “into the past,” the summary says, enabling users to “retrieve audio of interest that was not tasked at the time of the original call.” Analysts listen to only a fraction of 1 percent of the calls, but the absolute numbers are high. Each month, they send millions of voice clippings, or “cuts,” for processing and long-term storage.
As outrageous as it is that the NSA is recording every single phone conversation in multiple countries, doesn’t this sound like the WORST job?
"How was work today, honey?"
"Oh, I don’t know, I listened to 12 hours of two Chinese teenagers fighting, breaking up, and getting back together three separate times. During lunch, I idly wondered how far into my ear I could shove a pencil before passing out. Sometimes I wonder if our live here on earth isn’t actually some great cosmic joke, whereby God traps us in a box with billions of hours of inane conversation in order to drive us slowly mad, using our despair to paint the colors of the next grim hell that awaits us on the other side. What’s for dinner?"