Archive for the ‘the man’ Category
Question: In the movie Interstellar, what is the one thing that an advanced human race can not accomplish?
- Building a five dimensional tesseract allowing people to cross time itself.
- Making a wormhole connecting distant parts of the universe.
- Colonization and exploration of new planets.
- Letting the Black Guy live to the end of the movie.
If you said 1, 2 or 3, then you know jack about science fiction. TV Tropes has a great list: The one guy killed in The Shining is Dick Halloran; in Deep Blue Sea, Samuel Jackson is eaten by a shark; X-Men First class kills the only black character very quickly; in the Alien films, Black characters die early and fast; and so forth. Recent film isn’t much better. The last Riddick film had only 8 characters – and all 4 people of color die. At least they let Jeffrey Wright live in The Hunger Games – but only after crippling him and putting him in a wheel chair.
I had my hopes up for Interstellar. Dr. Romilly is the dude with the most brain power. You’re going to need a Ph.D. in astrophysics if the human race will be saved. So I’m like, ya, this guy will live to the end. But no!!! Blown up by Matt flippin’ Damon, fer cryin’ out loud. At least they could’ve softened the blow by tossing in Affleck.
My co-bloggers are on a roll. Zynep Tufekci and Brayden King have an op-ed in the New York Times on the topic of privacy and data:
UBER, the popular car-service app that allows you to hail a cab from your smartphone, shows your assigned car as a moving dot on a map as it makes its way toward you. It’s reassuring, especially as you wait on a rainy street corner.
Less reassuring, though, was the apparent threat from a senior vice president of Uber to spend “a million dollars” looking into the personal lives of journalists who wrote critically about Uber. The problem wasn’t just that a representative of a powerful corporation was contemplating opposition research on reporters; the problem was that Uber already had sensitive data on journalists who used it for rides.
Buzzfeed reported that one of Uber’s executives had already looked up without permission rides taken by one of its own journalists. Andaccording to The Washington Post, the company was so lax about such sensitive data that it even allowed a job applicant to view people’s rides, including those of a family member of a prominent politician. (The app is popular with members of Congress, among others.)
Near the end of James Heckman’s lecture on the scholarly legacy of Gary Becker, Heckman argued that Becker was a fine addition to the legacy of “Chicago economics.” He didn’t mean that Becker was a monetarist – the “Chicago school” of Friedman and his followers. Instead, he meant that Becker fit in well with the long tradition of great Chicago economic thinkers including not only free marketers (like Friedman) but also liberals (Paul Douglas), socialists (Oscar Lange), and weirdos (Thorstein Veblen). But what does that mean? Here is what it means:
- People know the whole field of economics, they aren’t just narrow specialists.
- Economics is not a parlor game. It is important.
- Empirical work is important and it is not devalued.
Thumbs up. But let me extend it. This Chicago attitude should extend to the whole of social sciences. People ask me, for example, why I was so damn harsh on the critical realists and the post-modernists. Why? Because what I do is important. It is empirical and it reflects what I’ve learned from absorbing the hard earned lessons of my predecessors. So when I see scholarship sink into a miasma of words, or the toy tinkering with cuteonomics, I can only conclude that the person is here to play games, not figure out how the world works. Excuse me while I get back to work.
Due to travel and work, I’ll be on blogcation for about a week. If you want to write a post, send it: 1-3 paragraphs on sociology, management, or a related issue. Self-promotion of papers and books is welcome. Until then, I leave you with this video of Hamlet, starring Doctor Who and Captain Picard.