Presented without comment #26

About Twitter Limits (Update, API, DM and Following)‘ by Twitter Support.

The current technical limits for accounts are:

  • Direct Messages: 250 per day.
  • Updates: 1,000 per day. The daily update limit is further broken down into smaller limits for semi-hourly intervals. Retweets are counted as updates.
  • Changes to Account Email: 4 per hour.
  • Following (daily): Please note that this is a technical account limit only, and there are additional rules prohibiting aggressive following behavior. You can find detailed page describing following limits and prohibited behavior on the Follow Limits and Best Practices Page. The technical follow limit is 1,000 per day.
  • Following (account-based): Once an account is following 2,000 other users, additional follow attempts are limited by account-specific ratios. The Follow Limits and Best Practices Page has more information.

No one cares about property damage‘ by Voyou Desoeuvre at

…the liberal position is based around a belief that we can control how we are perceived, and how the state (and its ideological apparatuses like the media) will respond to us. Or actually this could be put more strongly: the criticism reveals the liberal’s desperate need to be in control. The fact that protestors have very limited ability to prevent state crackdowns, and certainly individual protestors can do almost nothing, is scary, and it conflicts with deeply held liberal beliefs about how the state works, and how protesting can change it.

Deep Intellect‘ by Sy Montgomery at Origin Magazine.

“Octopuses,” writes philosopher Godfrey-Smith, “are a separate experiment in the evolution of the mind.”

A woman’s opinion is the min-skirt of the internet‘ by Laurie Penny at The

An opinion, it seems, is the short skirt of the internet. Having one and flaunting it is somehow asking an amorphous mass of almost-entirely male keyboard-bashers to tell you how they’d like to rape, kill and urinate on you. This week, after a particularly ugly slew of threats, I decided to make just a few of those messages public on Twitter, and the response I received was overwhelming. Many could not believe the hate I received, and many more began to share their own stories of harassment, intimidation and abuse.

The implication that a woman must be sexually appealing to be taken seriously as a thinker did not start with the internet: it’s a charge that has been used to shame and dismiss women’s ideas since long before Mary Wollestonecraft was called “a hyena in petticoats”. The internet, however, makes it easier for boys in lonely bedrooms to become bullies.

You and your entire family are full of shit. You’re welcome.‘ by Jonathan McCalmont at Ruthless Culture.

While the internet does feature a lot of bullying and ‘calling people out’, the real mechanics of the blogosphere are those of the social world. If you start doing things that alienate you from the group, chances are that people will not tell you that you are acting strangely, they will simply start ignoring you. In other words, they will exclude you from discussion until you get fed up and go away. As someone who struggles with these sorts of group-dynamics in real life, I admire the internet’s potential for freeing us from passive-aggressive exclusion techniques and so I admire Bbot’s decision to tell a number of bloggers that he simply cannot continue to read them. His explanations as to why he has ditched some of his subscriptions are fascinating as they show how a genuine desire to engage with what another person has to say has lead only to frustration, boredom and annoyance

There are times when telling someone that they are wrong, deluded and completely full of shit is the most supportive and generous thing that you can do and the relative anonymity of the internet should free us from the rules of passive-aggressive social interaction that make this sort of honesty so difficult to implement. So next time someone calls you out on the internet, say thank you because having them ignore you until you go away is so much worse.

Audio: Neuroscience, Technospectacularism and the Mind

On Wednesday the 9th of November I presented a paper to the Knowledge/Culture/Social Change International Conference at UWS Parramatta. The title of my paper was “Neuroscience, Technospectacularism and the Mind” and I recorded my talk which you can listen to below. The 29 minute recording includes some questions asked by the audience at the end – the first from Greg Haigne Associate Professor in the School of Languages & Comparitive Cultural Studies at UQ (Who presented a very interesting paper the day previously), and one from Professor Penny Harvey from the University of Manchester)

[haiku url=”http:/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Ben-Abraham-Neuroscience-technospectacularism-1.mp3″ title=”Ben Abraham – Neuroscience, Technospectacularism and the Mind”]

Direct download.

The phrase “Technospectacularism” is an adapted version of a phrase from the opening pages of Ian Bogost’s How To Do Things With Videogames and I think it’s an incredibly apt phrase to describe our time. The thesis of the paper itself is a reaction to what I see as an upswing in the use of Neuroscientific findings as a blunt weapon of persuasion for academics, journalists and authors outside of – or on the periphery of – the field itself. To counter this dangerous misuse of the unfinished science of the brain I drew on William Uttal’s critically important work suggesting that the brain-mind problem may be intractable. From there I spun out a hypothesis based on the “external mind” thesis, by Andy Clark and David Chalmers, as well as Graham Harman’s Object-Oriented Philosophy, suggesting that the mind is a real object with just as much reality as the touchable stuff of the brain, despite being made up of  different “stuff” to the brain alone.

I’m very interested to hear your comments or concerns, and will certainly entertain requests for clarification – my email address is on the sidebar.

Presented without comment #25

Full Cost Accounting & the B53‘ by Jeffrey Lewis at Arms Control Wonk.

It turns out that the nuclear weapons complex simply doesn’t do “full cost accounting.”  If you build a municipal solid waste facility, for example, the “back end” costs are part of the consideration.  After all, part of the cost of any activity is cleaning up after one’s self (or one’s generation).  That’s not, apparently, true for nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons facilities.  The cost estimates for RNEP and RRW, for instance, only described what it might cost to make the weapons.  Not what it might cost to take them apart someday.  The same goes for all the big ticket infrastructure items in the Obama Administration’s modernization of the nuclear weapons complex like the Uranium Processing Facility. The clean-up costs get passed along to the future, quite possibly including individuals born after the weapons or facilities were retired.

Of course, that’s bad management and, from a generational perspective, a little selfish. It is irresponsible for policymakers to simply pay for the construction of nuclear weapons and related facilities, while leaving dismantlement and clean-up costs to future generations.

A rough, sprawling take on digital rhetoric and writing‘ by James Schirmer.

These differences are even more apparent in digital and online forms as we write for some kind of audience beyond ourselves, thereby revealing acts of performance. This can be more pronounced when others get involved as not only an audience but also as contributors and even co-authors on a text, which is a term still seeing change in the moves toward online compositions. In moving online, we find other people placing demands, but the technologies we use do, too. Just as page in my Field Notes memo book invites me to write, various and sundry social media tools ask me to create, discuss, promote, and measure.

Part of what’s revealed in certain research in digital rhetoric, too, is the impermanence of our discourse. With changes and subsequent questions swirling about the nature of academic and literary publishing, we see plenty of consternation and worry about the future. The recent inclusion of Twitter hashtags in my memo books for archival organizing purposes marks another change, perhaps potential fuel for the fires burning down the English language. Still, I think much of what we have online now is what Sirc hopes for: “writing as assemblage, with a structure based on association and implication; piling stuff on to create a spellbinding, mesmerizing surface” (284).

I’m Tired of Being a “Woman in Games.” I’m a Person.‘ by Leigh Alexander at Kotaku.

Sexism in games remains an unsolved problem, it’s clear. Some of you will be nodding along, and some of you will hear the s-word and roll your eyes and go, “oh, this again?” You guys can piss off-–go click on some new screenshots or a trailer consisting of a release date slowly fading into view. You’re hopeless.