The Internet is Exploding: 10 Must-Read Articles This Week

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The internet was slow this week. Highlights: Yanny v. Laurel was a thing, computers are taking over, Becky needs to mind her own business, Candance Owens used to hate Trump, prisoners are caring for each other in hospice, we need to stop dehumanizing each other, Palestinians have no choice but to continue their struggle, we need gun control now, and the Royal Wedding happened. 

1. New York Times: We Made a Tool So You Can Hear Both Yanny and Laurel

The Laurel v. Yanny debate broke the internet for literally no reason. Basically, there is an audio clip that to some people sounds like “laurel” and to others sounds like “yanny,” and people are fighting over it. It is 2018’s dress debate, which I just learned has its own Wikipedia page.

2. The Atlantic: How the Enlightenment Ends

I am always skeptical of design and how much societal value we put on computers. Technological innovation is advancing at an unprecedented rate, but we are not taking enough time to consider how it could change what it means to be human. “What [machines] do uniquely is not thinking as heretofore conceived and experienced. Rather, it is unprecedented memorization and computation. Because of its inherent superiority in these fields, AI is likely to win any game assigned to it.” 

Scientists and AI developers are encouraged to explore all that technology has to offer, along with answering philosophical and policy questions about their creations, which they are usually ill-equipt to answer. “The Enlightenment started with essentially philosophical insights spread by a new technology. Our period is moving in the opposite direction. It has generated a potentially dominating technology in search of a guiding philosophy.”

3. Blavity: These Hysterical Memes Of The Becky Who Hates Black Barbecues Deserve Some Kind Of Twitter Award

Lol… I think memes are the best part of the internet. After a white woman called police on a black family having a barbeque in a park in Oakland, the black people of Oakland and Twitter clapped back. A huge cookout was thrown in the same spot of the original barbeque. Twitter did what Twitter does and made many memes of Becky calling the police on black people.

4. BuzzFeed: The Newest Star Of The Trump Movement Ran A Trump-Bashing Publication — Less Than Two Years Ago

Candace Owens has been getting a lot of media attention recently, from the left, the right, and Kanye. Owens seems to have come into the public eye overnight, and I did not know about her until Kanye mentioned her. This article is interesting because it tracks Owens’ trajectory and that “less than two years ago [she was] the CEO of an online publication that frequently mocked then-candidate Trump, including conducting a mock ‘investigation’ into his penis size.”

When reading this I could not help but draw parallels to Rikki Carter, Tessa Thompson’s character in season 2 of Dear White People. Carter is black conservative that goes to the fictional Winchester University to give a lecture. We find out that Carter holds many of her views just for the fame and attention. I wonder if Owens is doing the same.

5. New York Times: The Prisoners Who Care for the Dying and Get Another Chance at Life

It is well known that the prison industrial complex in the US is a tragedy. Many tough-on-crime policies are now reaching 30 years in effect, and “prisoners older than 55 serving time in federal and state prisons make up the fastest-growing age group behind bars, increasing more than 500 percent since the 1990s.” Prisons are facing a new issue: what to do with dying inmates.

The California Medical Facility is a licensed hospice unit within a prison. It was created in “1993 in response to the AIDS crisis and inmate-led demands for more humane care, the hospice was originally populated with young men dying of complications of the disease.” Amongst doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, inmates “most of them are convicted murderers serving life sentences who have been granted an unusual role: providing dignified deaths to their fellow inmates.”

6. Brene Brown: Dehumanizing Always Starts With Language

I actually don’t like this article. I find the way it is written condescending and way too simplified. I know it is an adaptation of a larger body, so maybe some of my issues are dealt with later, but I am analyzing what I read here.

I picked this article because its analysis of dehumanization mirrors notions of Infinite Justice, the term first given to the War on Terror by the Pentagon, but was quickly changed. I first learned about the term through Jacques Ranciere who defined it as “a type of justice without limits, one that disregards all the categories which traditionally define its exercise: legal punishment as opposed to individual vengeance; the juridical and the political by contrast to the ethical and the religious; criminal proceeding, which a police forms, as distinct from military form of conflict between armies.”

In order for Infinite Justice to occur, there must also be an infinite evil to commit an infinite crime and an absolute victim. Dehumanization must occur to see people in these ways. When all of this infinites and absolutes coalesce, almost anything can seem ethic in the quest for what is good and just.

7. Washington Post: Palestinians have no choice but to continue the struggle

The past week was a particularly deadly one in Gaza. “Over the past month and a half, thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have taken part in a series of weekly protests called the Great Return March, culminating Tuesday with Nakba Day, when Palestinians mark their mass expulsion during Israel’s establishment in 1948.” As Noura Erakat, Palestinian American human rights attorney and author of the article, points out, the amount of violence Israel inflicts on Palestinian civilians can only happen with their radical dehumanization.

8. The Guardian: Santa Fe shooting: Texas governor confirms 10 people dead and 10 wounded

There was another school shooting, this time in Santa Fe. I don’t really have anything to say about except gun control. There is not much else to say, except this: 2018 has been deadlier for schoolchildren than service members.

9. NPR: Remembering The Soprano Who Sang Like A Laser Beam

I didn’t know if I should add this article this week. It is very specific, and posting it feels a bit selfish. Birgit Nilsson was the dominate dramatic soprano of her generation, and her performances garnered headlines around the world. This article did not have a big impact on the internet, although I did see it a few times on my admittedly classical music/musician heavy Facebook feed.

I had not listened to Nilsson in a while and clicked on one of the recordings in the article. The size and clarity of Nilsson’s voice is inescapable. Everything seemed to slow down when she began to sing, then stop altogether.

People always ask me why I am so into opera, and I can never fully articulate my reasoning, but maybe that is why I love it so much. It is nice to take a break every now and again.

10. YouTube: The royal wedding ceremony in full

So I am in Europe right now and no one is really talking about the royal wedding. Personally, I do not find it that interesting because it is not my life but Meghan Markle is now a princess. I did like looking at all of the hats at the wedding. A lot of people are saying Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, stole the show with his sermon on love. It was a pretty good sermon, and definitely very American, but interestingly, he preached the same thing that Kanye has been condemned for saying. Yes, they informed, or misinformed, from very different perspectives but I still think it is interesting.

*All images taken from reference articles*

Have a suggestion for next week? Email with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”

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