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@AJ Campbell I don't doubt Kurzweil's assertion that tech will advance rapidly, nor even that computers will surpass human brain power, eventually. I do have a problem with characterizing the advancement of tech as a "force" distinct from the character of the actual people creating it. The gentleman's comment about how there is no collective human will is a really complex question but not one that I was addressing. The point of this essay is less to assert _whether_ tech will advance than _how_ it will. Kurzweil asserts only one trajectory, and that people have very little input as to what tech they decide to make and how and why, that the impulse for "going forward" is as strong as the biological impulse to survive (not that biological evolution is necessarily "immutable"). I disagree with that, at least according to the argument he's given.
1 year, 2 months ago on Ray Kurzweil is wrong: The Singularity is not near
@jameswilliamiii Thanks for that. We've corrected the story.
2 years, 6 months ago on How do you make a developer in five months? Denver is about to find out
@adders Hi Adam. Very sorry. We've added your credit at the bottom of this story.
2 years, 6 months ago on Tickets for our San Francisco PandoMonthly with Kevin Systrom on sale now!
So thrilled about this. Cant even tell you.
2 years, 8 months ago on NFW: Adam Penenberg Joins PandoDaily as Editor
@secretmirth Thank you! Should be fixed now.
2 years, 10 months ago on Take That Crowdfunding Cynics! Rally Raises Largest AngelList Deal Ever
This is amazing.
2 years, 10 months ago on Those Yammer / Microsoft Acquisition Rumors: A Former MS Spokesperson Weighs In
@PaulCarr You should change the name of this series to "Why Isn't This J'accuse!"
2 years, 10 months ago on Why Isn’t This News? Kittens, Lady Gaga, and Apple Every Five Minutes
@sarahlacy Haha, NEVER!
2 years, 10 months ago on Why Isn’t This News? Three Things You Don’t Hate About You
RE: the chivalry discussion. As a rule, I love chivalry -- big fan of Medieval-themed restaurants, for instance. But most of the genteel behaviors extended toward women, which still persist into modern times, don't have any specific gender-designation, do they? One can offer one's seat up to a man, if he looks tired, right? Rather than eliminating courtesy, why not just make it applicable to everyone?
@godofbiscuits Ah well, I disagree but thanks for reading.
2 years, 10 months ago on Can You Handle the Truth? Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie is Going to be a Disaster
@godofbiscuits Nice to meet you, Jeff. The phrase "sources close to ______" and inserting oneself into a story are fairly common in journalism these days, but I hear you.
@godofbiscuits Where have I done that?
@godofbiscuits No, I think it's relevant to the argument that you're accusing someone of stating mistruths while yourself hiding behind a veil of anonymity.
@godofbiscuits At least she has a name, "godofbiscuits."
@mchasewalker Don't sub-comment me. You did, in fact, compare "The Social Network" to "The English Patient." I'm looking at that comparison right now. Also, how "great" a writer is has nothing to do with being on the right side of an argument, or how a moral he or she is. There are plenty of great artists and journalists who were deplorable human beings. There were also a lot of them on the wrong side of very important arguments. As far as who will be talking about whom in the future, there is no surer way to secure one's legacy than to behave deplorably. History is full of them.
Farhad wouldn't have to be the excellent writer he is to be right about whether Aaron Sorkin is a moral human being. In fact, I'm arguing that he's wrong about Sorkin, but that he's still an excellent writer.
Why is everything you say put so nastily? Can't you argue something without insulting those who disagree with you?
@paulcarr @mchasewalker And I guess, in a movie, those ten-foot high letters should be implied where the message "This is fact" isn't used. In a movie, the default setting should be fantasy, as far as I can see. I absolutely understand your point, and in some ways it's a very humanist, kind point to make. I just think silly people are catered to enough in our culture. I mean, if the movie-going public has such a tenuous grasp on reality, one wonders whether anyone should be making any movies at all, lest someone believe that vampires are real and starts staking anyone with a slightly pale complexion.
@paulcarr @mchasewalker Again, I don't agree the guy comparing 'The English Patient' with 'The Social Network,' but it's telling that your distinction between 'The Social Network' being totally irresponsible and it being a work of art rests upon such a fine point as whether real names are used. Isn't there a place, where a movie can say "This is a fictional story," and where news journalists can say, "Well, in fact that's not what happened," without either of them being "immoral"?
@paulcarr @mchasewalker But good God, in no way was I trying to stand behind the original comment Paul is responding to here. Because, wow. Where to begin? Farhad's perspective assumes that story-tellers have a responsibility to represent real, living people with a certain level of veracity to those who might not understand that said writers create works of fiction. I disagree with that position, because I think that story-tellers first obligation is to create good art, however they choose, and not worry about how people might misconstrue their work.
So MChaseWalker, I'm wondering why you're judging Farhad to be a lesser writer than Aaron Sorkin, or whether you take into account that Farhad is a (highly skilled, highly successful) journalist, while Aaron Sorkin is a screenwriter? Or do you get that comparing them as "writers" strikes at the heart of this argument, being a misunderstanding of the difference between stylized fiction and news reportage? Just to say that, while I might fall on the same side of this particular argument with you, I don't "agree" with you at all.
@paulcarr I guess, if all that is true, the question becomes whether a filmmaker, or any story-teller, should cater their work to those who misread it.
2 years, 11 months ago on Illustrator Hallie Bateman Joins the PandoDaily Team Full-Time
@sarahlacy Yeah, beyond the question of target audiences, I don't think "TIm and Eric" are going out of their way to be strange. I think they just have different ideas about humor. By the same token, I don't defend them as a part of an argument about audiences, rather they illustrate that argument. Comedians who think differently than the mainstream are oftentimes very good, maybe even moreso than the norm. And a lot of the time, those comedians who were initially beloved within the community, and nowhere else, go on to become huge. Louis C.K. is a great example of this, someone who was called "the comedian's comedian" for years, and then who broke into the mainstream in a big way, without compromising his original vision. People now say his material changed or got better; I say the mainstream moved, he didn't. (Then again, I also love "Sports Night"/"West Wing," etc. Please don't fire me!)
2 years, 11 months ago on Why Isn’t This News: That We Know Of
I have to say, just to throw in my two cents, I love "Tim and Eric." I don't think there is any greater compliment for people trying to be funny than to be called "a comedian's comedian." Being loved by people in the know, as opposed to people in general, is a very worthy goal. I understand that it's not a great business model, but in terms of quality of content, the joke that only the comedians get is often the best one.
@Torba Well, I think I can safely say on Hamish's behalf that absolutely no offense was intended. It's a very tame joke. It MIGHT be possible that you're bringing more to this perceived offense than was actually embedded in the joke itself? Either way, thanks for reading. (And no ad hominem attacks were made, not by me anyway. I was merely going off what you said.)
3 years ago on God’s Incubator: New York Church Brings Hoppit to Life
Wow, this looks awesome. Great story Greg! And as far as rich guys blowing off steam by doing something fun and silly, this particular example beats most other examples I've seen.
3 years ago on The Bootstrapped Rally Charges Forward, Moves Out of Mexico
@Torba Are you joking? Please parse the disrespect, if you can. And it wasn't a "misquote." It was a playful lampoon, the kind one could easily hear in an ACTUAL CHURCH. I'm agog at your lack of simple reading comprehension.
Thanks everyone! I'd go through and "like" all of the well wishes, but I'm afraid that would make me look crazy.
3 years ago on PD Promotions Abound! Michael Carney Joins to Cover LA and Nathan Pensky Becomes Managing Editor
@SiafaAlvin For point #1, your tabloid parallel only works if a trusted celebrity insider were to actually start working with tabloid journalists (not unheard of, I'm sure), and helped them to misrepresent the celebrity lifestyle, in which case the celebrities being misrepresented would, likewise, have very good grounds to be upset with the tabloid-cooperating insiders.
For point #2, that really isn't what you said. You said you believed that "anything portrayed on Bravo is a FRACTION of what's going on, and that Bravo's demographic wouldn't be interested in anything else." The "fraction of what's going on" makes me think you meant that the Silicon Valley community is actually much more severe in its party lifestyle than they're even showing. But then the part about how "Bravo's demographic wouldn't be interested in anything else," makes it sound like this same party lifestyle is the real appeal of the show to viewers. (Am I wrong in that? Isn't that what you said?) So yes, it seems like you're arguing that Bravo is both downplaying the party lifestyle and overtly focusing on it, which to me is confusing.
A better argument would have been that they're focusing on the party lifestyle to get viewers to watch but also downplaying it (or editing for time) so it can run on television, which actually does make sense, sort of. Except that in the reality TV genre, most of what is edited for content doesn't obfuscate what is actually happening. Say, if in a scene in a reality TV show, someone runs naked across the screen, the producers would blur the person's body. But the person's face would still show, so as the manner in which the nakedness affects the viewers' perception of that person goes unchanged, despite not actually seeing any of their body. This whole discussion is about respectability. It doesn't matter if the producers don't explicitly show every gritty detail. The tenor of the show and their depiction of entrepreneurs is what matters.
3 years ago on An Open Letter To Randi Zuckerberg: How Could You Do This to Real Entrepreneurs?
@SiafaAlvin I would agree with you that the show is worth being ignored, except that Sarah's involvement with it is personal, not based on its supposed entertainment value as a TV show. If someone made a dumb reality TV show about, say, your own life, you would ignore it as a television show, obviously, because you live the real thing and don't need to watch it on TV. But on a personal level, where someone was creating a stylized version of the reality of who you are, you couldn't ignore it. And that's the level she's approaching this show, not as a television watcher who can just tune out the noise, but as an individual whose personal life is wrapped up in its ridiculous portrayal.
On that note, I think she probably has a good idea of what actually happens in Silicon Valley, RE: their supposedly debauched lives. Of course some people in the tech community might lead debauched lives. But her perspective is that, on the whole, this isn't the case, and she should know. But regardless of whether tech people party, her main point is that it's not the partying that actually builds companies or produces tech. Even if we concede to the fact that some tech people lead these sorts of lives, it would be a corollary to the actual work they do. And Sarah's complaint is that the corollary is brought to the fore, while the important work is left to the background.
All that said, your contention that Bravo is, in fact, downplaying this sort of lifestyle, as lived by tech people, rather than engorging it for entertainment value, runs totally contrary to your point that "Bravo viewers only want to see that kind of thing." If viewers only want to see debauchery, then why on earth would Bravo downplay it?
@Justyn The difference between Trevor's coverage of the Chicago startup scene and this show, or one of the many differences, is that Trevor's coverage was the perspective of one writer, while this show is presented in a slickly produced, highly calculated documentary format. Not to say that anyone believes anymore that reality television is "documentary footage," but that the intention of the filming style, and the formal implications of that style, are to give an "inside look" at what really happens. Again, regardless of whether any one takes that perspective at face value, and I don't think anyone does, that is the intent. So the difference between your two examples there is the difference between generalizations as they were expressed from the perspective of one person, for the purposes of summing up that person's individual experience, and generalizations as fabricated by a highly calculated group effort, with a very specific goal in mind. They aren't the same, as far as I can see.
This comment thread is absurd. On the on hand, people are defending the show, claiming that it's the producers' job to fabricate a bunch of false, sensationalistic, "entertaining" portrayals of the Valley so that people will pay attention, operating on the idea that any kind of attention reflects well on its object. On the other hand, people are defending these same portrayals by claiming no one will take them seriously or pay attention, so caring about how ridiculous they are is pointless. Either position is measured by the effectiveness of the promotional misrepresentation, not the morality or rightness of it. Both positions miss the point of Sarah's protest, which is that regardless of the effectiveness of these false portrayals in making people pay attention, it's wrong to misrepresent people, especially the people who define one's own identity, like Silicon Valley does RZ. Why are we even talking about the outcome of the show's promotional materials, when the very idea of the show itself is totally false?
RE: the comment discussion, I feel like @paulcarr is taking the perspective of "writing is a high and lonely road," which is purely invested in the work itself. @sarahcuda , meanwhile, is addressing the issue on a more human level, as a writer genuinely interested in what his or her reader thinks, which is also valuable. (Not to suggest that writers aren't human, but that rightly or wrongly their aims sometimes shoot higher than the day-to-day issues like money, and whatnot.) Wholly apart from those writerly implications particular to journalism, as opposed to other endeavors that rely slightly more on the idea of a customer base or mass approval, the question of defining oneself as an individual or as a part of a greater whole is not easily answered. Whole philosophical treatises have been written about it. Isolated, neither view really satisfies, but together they seem to work okay, right?
3 years ago on Why Isn’t This News: Back In The Habit
"Successful villages will be rewarded much handsomely with fame and luxury goods such as cigarettes and hand lotions." I mean, damn.
3 years ago on Oh. Wow.
So awesome... Knocked it out of the park, @aschwab7 . Really cool to see that these smart, talented people are so humble!
3 years ago on Top 5 Stanford CS Students You Should Know