07.06.18

Documentarian Frederick Wiseman Insists He Is Not ‘A Fly On The Wall’

“It’s an insulting term. Most flies I know aren’t conscious at all, and I like to think I’m at least 2% conscious. … I come across this thing as a matter of chance, and maybe occasionally good judgment. I take the risk of shooting it because I think it might be interesting – then my job as an editor is to decide what it is saying, whether I want to use it, in what form, and where I’m going to place it.”

The Story Of The Nag Hammadi Codices – Is It Total Bunk?

News of the discovery of these Gnostic manuscripts in 1940s Egypt – manuscripts that ultimately upended everything scholars had thought they knew about early Christianity – came with an all-too-colorful story: precious ancient books lying unnoticed in the desert for generations, exotic peasants engaged in blood feuds stumbling upon the volumes, a last-minute rescue from fire. Nicola Denzey Lewis points out just how improbable (and Orientalizing) it all is, looks at what we know for sure about how the codices were found, and works out a more likely, and more unsavory, story.

When Numbers And Math Overtook Literacy As The Way Of The World

Even the mathematically averse among us today recognize the basic geometry that Radolph and Ragimbold failed to grasp, for we live in a numerate society, surrounded by countless manifestations of mathematics. Broadly defined as the ability to reason with numbers and other mathematical concepts, numeracy underlies our current information explosion. Its clichés dot popular speech: “do the math,” “crunch the numbers,” “figure the odds.” From birth to death, numbers track our lives institutionally and demographically. Some scorn such customs (think of Mark Twain’s “figures” of “lies, damned lies, and statistics”), but we all acknowledge numeracy as a cultural given, and agree that mathematics fuels the science, technology, and industry of our world.

French And UK Governments Sign Agreement For Loan Of Bayeux Tapestry

“The Bayeux Tapestry is a step closer to returning to the UK after the British and French governments finalised a deal earlier this week. … The 70-metre-long tapestry tells the story of the Norman victory over the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Bayeux Museum in Normandy, where the work is kept, is due to close for renovations and reopen spring 2024. The historic embroidered piece has not left France since the 11th century.”

How Technology Has Killed The Public Square

It took centuries for the public sphere to develop—and the technology companies have eviscerated it in a flash. By radically remaking the advertising business and commandeering news distribution, Google and Facebook have damaged the economics of journalism. Amazon has thrashed the bookselling business in the U.S. They have shredded old ideas about intellectual property—which had provided the economic and philosophical basis for authorship. The old, enfeebled institutions of the public sphere have grown dependent on the big technology companies for financial survival. And with this dependence, the values of big tech have become the values of the public sphere.

The Global Rot That’s Killing Vancouver

Metro Vancouver, in its way, with its Ferraris and Lamborghinis and its glorious backdrop of the mountains and the sea, is just as much a case study in the dark, broken and ugly side of globalization. At least 20,000 Vancouver homes are empty, and nobody’s really sure who owns them. The rental vacancy rate is less than one per cent. Another 25,000 residences are occupied by homeowners whose declared taxable household incomes are mysteriously lower than the amount they’re shelling out in property taxes, utilities and mortgage payments.