Friday, January 17th, 2014
21

What If These TED Talks Were Horribly, Unspeakably Wrong?

The long knives have been out for TED Talks for some time. Benjamin Bratton called them "middlebrow megachurch infotainment." Evegny Morozov called the TED publishing arm the "insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering." The gist of these arguments is that TED Talks are vapid, culty mass-selfies that fetishize technology for every solution. It is "placebo science" meant to make its audience feel good about learning and themselves, where ideas can hang out and do whatever, man—just turn the safety off on your brain-gun.

If not read in the voice of a perpetual techno-cynic, these might not be such terrible things. Is middlebrow entertainment bad? If cynics want [...]

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10

The End Of Interns

Our government runs on unpaid internships. During the recent shutdown, as many federal staff members were laid off, unpaid interns filled in the gap. Although considered volunteers, they were doing the work of a five or six figure salary just for the heck of it. That exciting opportunity to work for free may sound appealing to eager college graduates wanting to climb up the career ladder, pad their resume, and avoid working at the local plastic flower factory, but from a labor perspective it’s abominable. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be paid. If the government can’t pay the people it takes to run the government, then there [...]

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9

Miami Terror Machine: Who Is Francisco Chávez Abarca?

According to this convoluted Miami Herald article that macerates its own opening, the recently arrested Francisco Chávez Abarca, who is accused of terrorist attacks in Cuba in the 90s, is actually a double-agent mystery man in a thriller of international suspense and intrigue. He admits to planting bombs in hotels and colluding with others on the bombing of Cubana Flight 455, but maybe he's just a patsy in a game of cloak and dagger and disinformation to tarnish the good name of admitted terrorist Posada Carriles?

Actually, no, none of that makes any sense. Some back-story might be helpful.

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