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petronius

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Gender: Male
Hometown: California
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 26,162

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Inveniet quod quisque velit; non omnibus unum est, quod placet; hic spinas colligit, ille rosas.

Journal Archives

The Secret History of Life-Hacking

http://www.psmag.com/navigation/business-economics/the-secret-history-of-life-hacking-self-optimization-78748/

We live in the age of life-hacking. The concept, which denotes a kind of upbeat, engineer-like approach to maximizing one’s personal productivity, first entered the mainstream lexicon in the mid-2000s, via tech journalists, the blogosphere, and trendspotting articles with headlines like “Meet the Life Hackers.” Since then the term has become ubiquitous in popular culture—just part of the atmosphere, humming with buzzwords, of the Internet age.

Variations on a blog post called “50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World” have become endlessly, recursively viral, turning up on Facebook feeds again and again like ghost ships. Lifehacker.com, one of the many horses in Gawker Media’s stable of workplace procrastination sites, furnishes office workers with an endless array of ideas on how to live fitter, happier, and more productively: Track your sleep habits with motion-sensing apps and calculate your perfect personal bed-time; learn how to “supercharge your Gmail filters”; oh, and read novels, because it turns out that “reduces anxiety.” The tribune of life hackers, the author and sometime tech investor Timothy Ferriss, drums up recipes for a life of ease with an indefatigable frenzy, and enumerates the advantages in bestselling books and a reality TV show; outsource your bill payments to a man in India, he advises, and you can enjoy 15 more minutes of “orgasmic meditation.”

Life-hacking wouldn’t be popular if it didn’t tap into something deeply corroded about the way work has, without much resistance, managed to invade every corner of our lives. The idea started out as a somewhat earnest response to the problem of fragmented attention and overwork—an attempt to reclaim some leisure time and autonomy from the demands of boundaryless labor. But it has since become just another hectoring paradigm of self-improvement. The proliferation of apps and gurus promising to help manage even the most basic tasks of simple existence—the “quantified self” movement does life hacking one better, turning the simple act of breathing or sleeping into something to be measured and refined—suggests that merely getting through the day has become, for many white-collar professionals, a set of problems to solve and systems to optimize. Being alive is easier, it turns out, if you treat it like a job.

In fact, one thing that’s striking about this culture of self-measurement and self-optimization is how reminiscent it is of a much earlier American workplace fad—one that was singularly unpopular with the workers themselves.

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http://www.psmag.com/navigation/business-economics/the-secret-history-of-life-hacking-self-optimization-78748/

Interesting framing of life-hacking in terms of early 20th Century 'scientific management' (Taylorism)...

Wikipedia: where truth dies online

From: Sp!ked

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Wikipedia has been a massive success but has always had immense flaws, the greatest one being that nothing it publishes can be trusted. This, you might think, is a pretty big flaw. There are over 21million editors with varying degrees of competence and honesty. Rogue editors abound and do not restrict themselves to supposedly controversial topics, as the recently discovered Hillsborough example demonstrates.

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The self-selection of Wikipedia’s editors can produce a strongly misaligned editorial group around a certain page. It can lead to conflicts among the group members, continuous edit wars, and can require disciplinary measures and formal supervision, with mixed success. Once a dispute has got out of hand, appeals to senior and more established administrators are often followed by rulings that favour the controlling clique.

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Wikipedia may be the ultimate devolved business model. Its content is generated by unpaid and largely uncontrolled volunteers. Its management structure is almost non-existent. Editors earn ‘brownie points’ by obsessively editing as many different pages as possible, preferably in subjects that they know nothing about. Specialist knowledge is frowned upon and discouraged. Those with the best understanding of Wikipedia’s procedures join together to bully and sideline newcomers.

To the casual reader, much of Wikipedia appears adequate, but be warned, nothing can be trusted. If your life depends on it, go elsewhere. Search engines have given us the power to instantly uncover source material that used to take weeks of library research to find – if it was available at all. Sources can be biased, but at least with other sources you know who has written what you are reading. With Wikipedia, you do not. Everyone has an agenda, but with Wikipedia you never know who is setting it.
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http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/wikipedia-where-truth-dies-online/

Some interesting examples of wiki-hoaxes/biases here, most new to me. I do think the writer goes a bit too far in his condemnation: although I agree in approaching Wikipedia with skepticism, it has value (as a starting point, to look up a basic fact, or for a refresher on a common and non-controversial topic, for example)...

A discussion on the dos-and-don'ts of Data Journalism

Old article, but I just ran across it and found it interesting. The specific term 'Data Journalism' is new to me, but apparently a fast growing segment of the media industry.

Programmers explain how to turn data into journalism & why that matters

By now you’ve heard about how The Journal News of Westchester County, N.Y., published the names and addresses of thousands of local gun permit holders.

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We can all agree that sort of violent retaliation went too far. But there’s less agreement about whether the paper erred when it published the information in the first place.

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That seems to be the real sticking point in the broader discussion: Do journalists have a free pass to do whatever they want with public-record data?

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But when a journalist chooses to copy that information, frame it in a certain (inherently subjective) context, and then actively push it in front of thousands of readers and ask them to look at it, he’s taken a distinct action for which he is responsible.

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Lots more at the link above; the snips don't do it much justice...

From: poynter.org
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