December 2011

Razib Khan and Shoring Up Stereotypes With Statistics

Promoting stereotypes through the careful application of "statistical" evidence.

Razib Khan’s treatment of vocabulary variance by region and ethnicity is, as many of his articles go, academic for academia’s sake. In other words, there’s little practical purpose or insight to be gained, other than to provide some conversational fodder to the statistically minded. That said, it’s also just a little insulting. These two characteristics seem to align closely with much of Khan’s work, who is a regular contributor to Discovery Magazine’s Gene Expression blog. If anything, these displays of attempting to quantify people, culture, and society (I envision a world of constantly scrolling numbers a la The Matrix) simply narrowly objectifies the human experience; a frontal lobe circle jerk for relationally disinclined.

Israeli Entrepreneur Changes Name to Mark Zuckerberg, Gets Sued

Facebook objects to name change and "Like Store"
If the Social Network taught us anything, it's that one Mark Zuckerberg in the world is plenty. But one intrepid Israeli businessman didn't quite see things that way. Wishing to take advantage of a kind of capital that doesn't quite exist in solid terms yet, Rotem Guez set out on a journey to become the next Mark Zuckerberg--literally. As in, he legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg in the hopes that it would offer him a little more credibility in his online business. We live in a world where people do this stuff, kids. It's getting pretty weird out there.

Geek Apparel Gifts

How to outfit your friends in nerd culture


No geek's wardrobe is complete without a splendid array of geeky t-shirts. Whether sourced from Threadless or ShirtWoot, most of the nerd persuasion has plenty of novelty tees to call their own. But that doesn't mean they're not always on the lookout for more. Thankfully, the internet is an endless engine of geek culture and there's always more apparel to collect. If you've got a beloved geek in your life who would be delighted with just a few extra additions to their apparel collection, here are a few gift ideas for them as we creep up on the end of the holiday season.

Teen Name-drops Anonymous in YouTube Threat

Strange video doesn't quite work as probably hoped

Social movements, no matter how noble their original direction, easily lose power when their language and aesthetic are co-opted for alternate purposes. And one of the dangers of a movement with no discernible members is that it can all too readily be subverted, some of its momentum siphoned away to an irrelevant or contrary channel. Anonymous has been seen frequently in conjunction with the Occupy Wall Street protests, and many of their recent feats of activism had almost painted them in a constructive light in the eyes of the media. Then you get jerks like this one, who hijack the name of Anonymous for juvenile purposes--like making vague threats to destroy their high school.

The best tumblrs of 2011

Kim Jong Il, Retrogasm and I'm Remembering.

Tumblrs are a really sweet invention. You can look like a genius by captioning somebody else’s really epic photograph. Truly, it’s minimal work for everyone involved because a tumblr only takes off when somebody looking at the tumblr reposts it. Which really isn’t much work at all. Let’s take a look at the reign of the lazy with some of the most awesome tumblrs of 2011: