imperialismus's recent activity

  1. Comment on The Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in ~news

    imperialismus
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    This is a problem the various committees have struggled with for a long time: Nobel’s testament says to award the person(s) responsibile for the most advanced of a given field in the previous...

    This is a problem the various committees have struggled with for a long time: Nobel’s testament says to award the person(s) responsibile for the most advanced of a given field in the previous year. But that is clearly something that can only conclusively be determined long after the year it was achieved. The scientific and literature prizes tend to be based on a life’s work; meanwhile, the Peace Prize has been struggling with its definition lately, rewarding a number of things that are only indirectly connecting to the core message. So now they’re trying to focus more on issues that directly create peace and end war right now - but then there’s a chance that it won’t work out long-term. The alternative would be to only award the resolutions of very old conflicts decades after the fact (as in the sciences), or exclude issues that indirectly affect global conflicts. All of which also violate the mission statement.

    It’s not easy for the Nobel to be the prize that everyone wants it to be. It has to stay within the spirit of its founding document, which means move fast, but it also has to maintain credibility, which means move slow. It has to look for actual conflicts ended, but also conflicts prevented via unconvential means. I don’t envy them one bit.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on SerenityOS: From zero to HTML in a year in ~comp

    imperialismus
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    Andreas also shared the backstory of his project, which is really inspiring.

    Andreas also shared the backstory of his project, which is really inspiring.

    5 votes
  3. The 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Olga Tokarczuk, and the 2019 Prize to Peter Handke

    Short link. Probably more to follow. The Swedish Academy handed out two prizes this year, after they were forced to suspend the prize last year amid a metoo scandal which saw most of the Academy’s...

    Short link. Probably more to follow.

    The Swedish Academy handed out two prizes this year, after they were forced to suspend the prize last year amid a metoo scandal which saw most of the Academy’s members either resign voluntarily or be forced to resign. There’s been a lot of speculation about how they were going to restore their reputation this year, and they spent a long portion of the press conference explaining their new process, whereas in past years they haven’t felt compelled to do so.

    It was expected that at least one of the two prizes would go to a woman, with Margaret Atwood being one of the odds favorites (the bookmakers’ picks never win, so I don’t know whether we should put much stock in them, but they do reflect pre-award buzz). I’m not too familiar with either author, but it’s interesting that they chose Peter Handke. He’s one of Europe’s most controversial authors for his decades-long support of Serbia and Slobodan Milosevic’s actions during the Yugoslav Wars. He once compared Serbians to the Jews during WW2, visited Milosevic in prison when he was on trial for war crimes, and spoke at the man’s funeral. He’s also hailed as one of the greatest living German-language authors. It’s like the Academy decided to throw feminists a bone by awarding a woman the prize, but then couldn’t resist jumping headlong into controversy again right away.

    10 votes
  4. Comment on macOS Catalina is available today in ~tech

    imperialismus
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    Well, I certainly didn't mean to imply you were going absolutely ballistic or anything. However, it seems like you took one look at a comment, disliked its tone, and went on to unfairly...

    Well, I certainly didn't mean to imply you were going absolutely ballistic or anything. However, it seems like you took one look at a comment, disliked its tone, and went on to unfairly characterize that comment in general, and also reached for some generalizations that didn't really apply to this thread. In short, an overreaction. I can't claim to know your emotional state, but I know when I overreact, it tends to be because I see something, and it reminds me of something else, and that thing pisses me off, and so I transfer those emotions onto a target that might not be entirely deserving.

  5. Comment on macOS Catalina is available today in ~tech

    imperialismus
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    Gruber is a terrible example, because he buys into almost everything Apple does unconditionally. I honestly can't stand his writing, because I've rarely seen a greater degree of rationalization....

    Take Gruber, Snell, or Arment for example: they're good examples of how to disagree with Apple's decisions.

    Gruber is a terrible example, because he buys into almost everything Apple does unconditionally. I honestly can't stand his writing, because I've rarely seen a greater degree of rationalization. He also has a very condescending attitude to anyone who disagrees with Apple's decisions, of exactly the sort that the stereotypes against Apple users portray. If "how to disagree" means rarely ever disagree with anything, that's like the definition of an echo chamber.

  6. Comment on macOS Catalina is available today in ~tech

    imperialismus
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    I've found in general that the apostate and the person who's too invested to leave, but also deeply critical of the direction something is going, are among the harshest critics. I wasn't speaking...

    I've found in general that the apostate and the person who's too invested to leave, but also deeply critical of the direction something is going, are among the harshest critics. I wasn't speaking purely about Apple.

    If you're lumping me in with the thin skin crowd, feel free not to. I just don't really understand broadcasting "I don't care about this" messages. If I don't care about something, I don't post about it.

    Well, you're freaking out over a single negative comment, and also generalizing about haters when most people in this thread are being civil. I wasn't addressing you specifically, but I do think you should take a step back. I think you should reread the comment you're so upset about, because it essentially amounts to this: "This update introduces no features I care about, while removing features I depend on. I wish I could bring myself to leave, but there are still benefits to the platform that I can't get anywhere else." That's my paraphrase as a neutral third party. It wasn't just "broadcasting indifference". This is clearly a person who does care, because they are invested in the system, and that's why it matters to them that, in their view, the new update is taking a step back in some areas while failing to take a step forward in others.

    It would be pretty silly of us to continue the discussion here, when it would be better suited as a series of replies to the original comment. But when you so clearly misrepresent what is, whether you agree with it or not, clearly a sincere critique from an invested user, and also say you prefer to focus on the positives, it did sound like you were saying that we shouldn't be talking about negatives.

  7. Comment on macOS Catalina is available today in ~tech

    imperialismus
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    I think you'll find the most savage critics are also the most dedicated fans. It's totally legitimate to critique the release of a new, high-profile product. I don't see any evidence of a troll...

    I find that most Apple related things specifically get the anti-apple team out en masse to talk about the things that suck about Apple.

    I think you'll find the most savage critics are also the most dedicated fans.

    It's totally legitimate to critique the release of a new, high-profile product. I don't see any evidence of a troll brigade in here. Honestly, the most annoying thing about Apple fans is their thin skin. I don't say that because I'm a hater, I own and use several Apple products. But if you're concerned about trolls, maybe overreacting to any criticism is not the way to go. That's the sort of thing that actively attracts trolls, like flies to a lightbulb.

    I find it pretty easy to delight in the hardware and software that they put out, and I try to focus on that.

    You're free to delight in whatever you want. But this is a consumer product, and it's natural that people would discuss negatives they see. How can we have a real conversation if we only focus on the upsides?

  8. Comment on Where should I start to make a minimalist Python command-line text editor? in ~comp

    imperialismus
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    Urwid was actually built for Python. Curses is a thin wrapper around an older C library. You can compare a minimal text editor in Urwid vs one in curses.

    Urwid was actually built for Python. Curses is a thin wrapper around an older C library. You can compare a minimal text editor in Urwid vs one in curses.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on Swedish King Carl Gustaf removes grandchildren from royal house – observers say move reflects a wider view that there is no need to pay so many members of the royal family in ~news

    imperialismus
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    The queen, acting in her figurehead role on behalf of the prime minister and cabinet, prorouged parliament. This happens every year between the end of one session of parliament and the beginning...

    The queen, acting in her figurehead role on behalf of the prime minister and cabinet, prorouged parliament. This happens every year between the end of one session of parliament and the beginning of another. It's not unusual. What was unusual was that Boris Johnson had the queen prorogue parliament for a much longer period than is customary, and he clearly did so in order to sabotage parliament's ability to do its job. This is what the supreme court ruled was illegal.

    Now some people are asking whether the queen should have pushed back against Boris Johnson's advice. But she hasn't done so because that would constitute a constitutional crisis, in which the conflict between the queen's formal powers and her practical role as a figurehead would come to a head. Most decisions made by "the queen" are actually made by the queen-in-council, meaning the queen acting on advice from her privy council, which consists of members of the ruling party. This "advice" is in practice a command, but in theory, merely a suggestion that could be refused. So this "petition" is a formality, it happens all the time and the queen can't really refuse. It's just that this time, Johnson is using it to do things that are outside the scope of his powers, but technically inside the scope of the monarch's, and some people think she should push back. But that would raise too many uncomfortable questions. Unless you actually want to dissolve the monarchy, which only a minority on either side of the Brexit issue wants, the best thing to do is for parliament and the courts to deal with this, and leave the queen to execute her ceremonial role.

    6 votes
  10. Comment on Hearthstone Player Banned from Grandmasters Tournament for Voicing Support for HK Protestors in ~games

    imperialismus
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    Blizzard actively promotes Pride, because it doesn't offend anyone they care about. But as soon as supporting human rights activism offends someone in a way that impacts the bottom line, they do...

    Blizzard actively promotes Pride, because it doesn't offend anyone they care about. But as soon as supporting human rights activism offends someone in a way that impacts the bottom line, they do this. That's not to say that insincere support of a good cause can't have positive consequences. But you don't deserve any credit for being "progressive" when that clearly is contingent first and foremost on the question "is it profitable?" rather than "is it good?"

    8 votes
  11. Comment on Norway decides against participation in Nato missile defence system in ~news

    imperialismus
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    It's working for me, but you're not missing much. They're being very vague about this and didn't even announce it properly, it's just one item among a thousand others in the newly released budget...

    It's working for me, but you're not missing much. They're being very vague about this and didn't even announce it properly, it's just one item among a thousand others in the newly released budget for 2020, and not one of the talking points.

    However, the reasoning is fairly obvious: Norway doesn't want to antagonize Russia. All of Norway's defense decisions are carefully weighed so as to be an effective deterrent to Russia without needlessly increasing tensions. This goes all the way back to the cold war when Norway was the only NATO member that directly bordered the Soviet Union. It's become more relevant in recent years due to Russia's increased aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere. Norway is currently trying to make a deal with Russia to release a convicted spy, retired border guard Frode Berg, and this month there will be celebrations of the 75-year anniversary of the Russian liberation of Eastern Finnmark. This celebration will be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Relations between the two countries were so cool that a year ago there were plans to celebrate the liberation of parts of Norway by Russia without inviting any representatives of Russia; eventually, the government relented.)

    Norway is kind of squeezed up against the lair of a huge bear (Russia) and the bear, or eagle in their corner (the US) is threatening to pull out of the fight. So in essence, putting a missile defense system in Norway at this time is politically impossible. This decision shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

    4 votes
  12. Comment on Collapse OS in ~comp

    imperialismus
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    The person behind this is apparently a legit doomsday prepper. I initially assumed this was just a project for fun that could theoretically be useful in the extremely unlikely event of a total...

    The person behind this is apparently a legit doomsday prepper. I initially assumed this was just a project for fun that could theoretically be useful in the extremely unlikely event of a total collapse of the global computer supply chain. But no, the author fully expects "our global supply chain to collapse before we reach 2030", and even complains that the Hacker News userbase isn't "collapse-aware". Which presumably means accepting the overwhelming likelihood of such total collapse within a decade.

    4 votes
  13. Comment on What is a subject you could talk for 2+ hours about with a great degree of accuracy and no preparation whatsoever? in ~talk

    imperialismus
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    Absolutely! I think the artistic value of a photograph is largely independent of the exact nature of the recording medium. And if you want to experiment with the medium itself, there's so much...

    Absolutely! I think the artistic value of a photograph is largely independent of the exact nature of the recording medium. And if you want to experiment with the medium itself, there's so much stuff you can do with analog photography that you can't easily do with digital! You can't create your own digital camera, but you can quite easily make your own pinhole camera. Large-format cameras naturally have the movements which you need a special tilt-shift lens to recreate on digital, no matter the lens. Cross-processing can create interesting artistic options that you can only create a discount version of in Photoshop. And despite the fact that presets exist to mimic pretty much any analog film digitally, none of them, in my opinion, achieve the actual look of those films. I haven't been able to replicate the colors of my favorite film, Kodak Portra, digitally despite trying many different presets that purport to mimick it. In addition, there is a special look and a special way of working with medium and large format film that can only be done digitally if you have the kind of money that the vast majority of photographers don't.

    (A note on "tilt-shift": the well-known effect you can fake in Photoshop only partially replicates what you can do with tilt, and doesn't replicate shift at all. It's also quite gimmicky and not what camera movements were designed for.)

    Negative film has distinct disadvantages compared to modern digital cameras. It's far noisier in low light. Once you load a film into your camera, you can't change your ISO until you're done with that roll of film. You can't "gimp" i.e. take a photo, look at it on the screen, and adjust your composition or your settings. (This can be a bad habit that disrupts flow, though, so that's a mixed blessing.) But negative film also has advantages. It has a comparable dynamic range to digital cameras, but it's more located in the highlights whereas digital sensors have more DR in the shadows. The "shoulder" of negative film, that is its response to the highlights, is much smoother and more pleasing to the idea than digital. You can underexpose a digital photograph quite far and still recover a usable image with a modern camera, which you can't really do with film, but you can overexpose film a lot more than digital without blowing your highlights.

    I think there's no clear "winner" when it comes to the choice of digital versus analog for art photography. They each come with their own advantages and disadvantages, distinct techniques and approaches which are easier or harder to do (or sometimes outright impossible) with one or the other. It's all down to how you use it.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on What do you prefer Diesel or petrol ? in ~hobbies

    imperialismus
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    Yes, however CO2 emissions are lower and diesel requires less energy to produce. Basically, there's a disconnect between policies discouraging air pollution (directly toxic to humans) versus...

    Yes, however CO2 emissions are lower and diesel requires less energy to produce. Basically, there's a disconnect between policies discouraging air pollution (directly toxic to humans) versus policies discouraging greenhouse gas emissions (indirectly disastrous to the environment, including to humans). So some countries encourage diesel usage while others encourage gasoline. As I understand it, in the US, diesel is actually more expensive than gasoline, and almost every vehicle (at least personal vehicles) is gasoline powered; whereas in Europe, diesel is generally less taxed and cheaper, and most personal vehicles are diesel powered.

    3 votes
  15. Comment on Is programming science? in ~comp

    imperialismus
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    I would consider programming as separate from computer science as primarily engineering. It can certainly be used for art, or science - and some programs, like quines and code golf and certain...

    I would consider programming as separate from computer science as primarily engineering. It can certainly be used for art, or science - and some programs, like quines and code golf and certain other very clever programs, are art in the same way that a diagram of a Rube Goldberg machine are art, or the way that some math can aspire to art.

    1 vote
  16. GoDaddy Customer Newsletter - A Poem

    A few years ago I got a rather self-congratulatory email from GoDaddy, the domain host, about all the amazing things that their customers do, apparently. Here is a representative excerpt: "One of...

    A few years ago I got a rather self-congratulatory email from GoDaddy, the domain host, about all the amazing things that their customers do, apparently. Here is a representative excerpt: "One of the clearest lessons we've learned is that the one word to describe you best is 'courageous.' You go after what you really love, you chart your own course, and you create something (often from nothing) that usually makes the world a better place."

    I found this rather silly coming from a corporation that hosts fucking domain names. So I was inspired to write the following poem:


    1.

    Dear Firstname Lastname

    earlier this year we embarked on an effort to learn more about you

    what makes you so incredibly unique

    and the values you all have in common

    we learned an equal amount about ourselves

    you go after what you really love

    you chart your own course

    you create something

    (often from nothing)

    whether it’s

    a neighborhood pizza shop

    an organization to help those in need

    or a company poised to launch a new industry

    you believe where others don’t

    you have the guts to strike out on your own

    that’s courage

    and it’s worth every ounce of support we can give

    you’ll always be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone 24/7

    sincerely

    semi-legible signature

    digitally scanned

    followed by a name typeset in Arial

    and a twitter handle

    2.

    i don’t create

    neighborhood pizza shops

    organizations to help those in need

    or companies poised to launch a new industry

    my values are not your values

    i have a blog

    it has a domain name

    which i pay you to maintain

    that is the extent

    of our relationship

    i will go cry in a corner now ok

    sincerely

    a customer

    17 votes
  17. Comment on The Asian MMA unicorn taking on the UFC in ~finance

    imperialismus
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    One is an interesting promotion, but I’m not convinced by this article, which seems to be riding on PR rather than any real experience with MMA. The article positions One as different from the UFC...

    One is an interesting promotion, but I’m not convinced by this article, which seems to be riding on PR rather than any real experience with MMA. The article positions One as different from the UFC in two aspects: Use of social media, and a focus on ‘family-friendly’ entertainment. Unfortunately, they seem to just be taking One’s CEO’s word for it. UFC also puts out a lot of social media content; without knowing their numbers, it’s impossible to know if ONE is doing it more successfully.

    As for family friendliness, that’s really sketchy. ONE doesn’t use the Unified Rules of MMA, which are employed by the UFC, their biggest North American competitor Bellator, and many smaller promotions in NA and Europe. Instead, they launched their own ruleset that allowed, among other things, kicks and knees to the head of a grounded opponent, which are banned under the unified ruleset. I’m not sure if there’s any data that proves this to be objectively more dangerous than other techniques, but it certainly looks more brutal and is likely to put off a lot of casual watchers. Eventually, they banned soccer kicks to the head of a grounded opponent, but still allow knee strikes. (Soccer kicks, stomps and knees to the head of grounded opponents were a prominent feature of Pride FC, the long-defunct Japanese promotion that, at its height in the early 2000s, was a legitimate competitor to the UFC. Since it went under, there hasn’t been any question anymore: whoever’s the best in the UFC is the best in the world.)

    On the other hand, they did introduce a rule change that is clearly designed to protect fighters: They banned weight cutting. Fighters are required to come in within a small percentage of their average weight over the previous several months, and they even do urinalysis to determine that the fighters are not dehydrated shortly before the fight. People have actually died from dehydration trying to cut weight, and it’s a process that’s at the very least highly unpleasant even when done safely. But you have to do it to be competitive unless the promotion actually introduces rules to prevent it. In other promotions like the UFC, the norm is for fighters to actually be at least one, sometimes two weight classes heavier in the cage than when they weigh in the day before, which is actually insane. It also leads to anticipated fights getting canceled frequently because people fail to make weight. If you go by average weight over several months, both potentially lethal dehydration and last-minute cancellations should be a non-issue.

    That they’re still not profitable is also kind of worrying. The last time there was a legitimate competitor to the UFC in East Asia, it went under amid a scandal involving tax evasion and organized crime.

    1 vote
  18. Comment on What is a subject you could talk for 2+ hours about with a great degree of accuracy and no preparation whatsoever? in ~talk

    imperialismus
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    Unfortunately, it seems like studium and punctum are more applicable outside photography than in photography.

    Unfortunately, it seems like studium and punctum are more applicable outside photography than in photography.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on What is a subject you could talk for 2+ hours about with a great degree of accuracy and no preparation whatsoever? in ~talk

    imperialismus
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    I’ve tried to read Camera Lucida and found it to be uninspired and overhyped. Barthes was not a photographer and it really shows. He was a superstar theorist who wrote an anti-theoretical book on...

    I’ve tried to read Camera Lucida and found it to be uninspired and overhyped. Barthes was not a photographer and it really shows. He was a superstar theorist who wrote an anti-theoretical book on photography that’s as much a eulogy to his mother, and obsessed with death. I don’t think his book deserves its reputation, but perhaps because it appeals to emotion and elevates naive intuition (in direct opposition to prevailing theory), and because its author was already well-known, it’s captured the imagination of a lot of people who have little exposure to the theory of photography.

    I’m far from the only photographer to be unimpressed: here is a largely critical review from the New York Times at the time it was first released.

    My favorite photographic theorist is John Szarkowski. He was Director of Photography at MoMa in New York for three decades starting in the early 1960s, and is probably the most influential curator in the history of the medium. His The Photographer’s Eye (1966) deserves to have every citation handed to Barthes on photography. Where Barthes snarkily remarks that ‘color is a coating applied later on to the original truth of the black and white photograph’, an ultra-conservative and stubborn view, Szarkowski had already championed color photography as legitimate art years before. In the introduction to William Eggleston’s Guide, the exhibition and book that more than anything else forced people to take color photography seriously in art, Szarkowski writes:

    Most color photography, in short, has been either formless or pretty. In the first case the meanings of color have been ignored; in the second they have been considered at the expense of allusive meanings. While editing directly from life, photographers have found it too difficult to see simultaneously both the blue and the sky. (...)

    In the past decade a number of photographers have begun to work in color in a more confident, more natural, and yet more ambitious spirit, working not as though color were a separate issue, a problem to be solved in isolation (not thinking of color as photographers seventy years ago thought of composition), but rather as though the world itself existed in color, as though the blue and the sky were one thing. The best of Eliot Porter's landscapes, like the best of the color street pictures of Helen Levitt, Joel Meyerowitz, Stephen Shore, and others, accept color as existential and descriptive; these pictures are not photographs of color, any more than they are photographs of shapes, textures, objects, symbols, or events, but rather photographs of experience, as it has been ordered and clarified within the structures imposed by the camera.

    It could be said - it doubtless has been said - that such pictures often bear a clear resemblance to the Kodachrome slides of the ubiquitous amateur next door. It seems to me that this is true, in the same sense that the belles-lettres of a time generally relate in the texture, reference, and rhythm of their language to the prevailing educated vernacular of that time. In broad outline, Jane Austen's sentences are presumably similar to those of her seven siblings. Similarly, it should not be surprising if the best photography of today is related in iconography and technique to the contemporary standard of vernacular camera work, which is in fact often rich and surprising. The difference between the two is a matter of intelligence, imagination, intensity, precision, and coherence.

    How delightful! Barthes champions a delightfully naive (delightful to the average reader unversed in theory) notion of a direct line between photography and truth. He’s obsessed with it, which was then and is now extremely unfashionable, as postmodernist reflections on the relativity of truth in art (and elsewhere) have gained currency. It is delightful because it establishes something we long for, an uncomplicated, unironic line between the thing itself and the depiction thereof. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. I’m a documentary photographer and I’m very much concerned with truth. I do not subscribe to the idea that everything is subjective. But it would be naive and wrong to think that in art, or even in science, we’re in direct contact with some truth unvarnished by theory or interpretation. Anything, including a very straightforward photograph of a real thing, is meaningless unless we supply additional context. What would a blind man have to say about what is to him a piece of paper? Presumably, to a blind person, the texture of the paper would be more real than whatever is depicted. We don’t have to abandon the obvious observation that there is a relationship between photographs and truth; but we have to be aware of the muddy waters that lie between that truth and us.

    Barthes flippantly asserts that removing information from a depiction of reality (namely, color, or in physics terms, the wavelengths of light) brings it closer to the truth. He seems entirely unconcerned with, and uninformed of, the physics and chemistry of photography. Is he aware that different black and white films have varying sensitivities to different wavelengths of light, that in fact even a B/W photograph is not in any way a ‘neutral’ referent of light intensity? If so, he seems curiously certain that this does not matter. Modern digital sensors have twice the resolution of the green part of the spectrum as red or blue, because human eyes are more sensitive to green light.

    This sort of thing is symptomatic of Barthes’ approach. One gets the sense that he has little interest in learning about the actual practice of photography, and he deals with other theorists primarily by summarily dismissing their approach in order to continue on in his wilfully naive approach. I prefer to read theorists who have actually picked up a camera in a serious capacity; failing that, they should at least engage with the body of theory that precedes them.

    8 votes
  20. Comment on What is a subject you could talk for 2+ hours about with a great degree of accuracy and no preparation whatsoever? in ~talk

    imperialismus
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    Photography, surely. Especially art photography. It’s something I’ve been doing seriously for a decade and studied formally. Programming language implementation and theory, probably. Although the...

    Photography, surely. Especially art photography. It’s something I’ve been doing seriously for a decade and studied formally.

    Programming language implementation and theory, probably. Although the more technical a topic becomes, the harder it is to maintain a high degree of accuracy without preparation, unless you’re willing to hand-wave away the interesting bits.

    6 votes