Alex Kriss: The job of the psychotherapist is, in no small part, to help the patient find middle ground between extremes. This is what Janet Malcolm called “the freedom to be uninteresting.” When the patient can imagine more ordinary ways of being than the Gothic binaries of love/hate, depression/mania, or serenity/suicide, she begins to discard oppressive patterns of behavior in favor of living like herself.
The same philosophy should be applied to considering the role of technology within the psychotherapy context: it is not pathology or balm, but something in between, and what that something is depends entirely on how it is used. …
By Scott Malcomson
The Kenyan tech scene was born in pain.
On December 30, 2007, Ory Okolloh was blogging as quickly as she could. A Nairobi-based lawyer and investment adviser, Okolloh was writing about the recent presidential election — which the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, had just won amid allegations of fraud. The election had been violent. The post-election was going to be worse.
“I can barely breathe,” Okolloh wrote, “I’m so upset at the circumvention of democracy.” A few days later, as clashes continued between the ethnic group aligned with Kibaki and those that opposed him, Okolloh blogged about the deteriorating situation in Nairobi. “I hang out with people on both sides yesterday evening at different times and you cannot have a civil conversation if you’re not on the same side,” she wrote. …
Garth Greenwell is a novelist from Louisville, Kentucky. His debut novel What Belongs to You (2016) received universal critical acclaim — The New Republic called it “the Great Gay Novel for our times.” Garth spoke to us about porn, cruising, and why he’s ambivalent about the impact of technology on gay sexual life.
You’ve spoken before about the internet literally saving the lives of queer teenagers. I wonder if you could start by talking about that a little bit.
I belong to the last generation of gay people who came of age without the internet. I remember first being shown an AOL chatroom when I was, I don’t know, seventeen or eighteen. That was my introduction to gay life online. But the life-saving qualities of technology for queer people really became clear to me when I was living in Bulgaria. …
Interview by Xiaowei Wang
Eric Meltzer is a Peking University dropout and a founding partner at Primitive Ventures, an Asian blockchain investment firm. He first acquired his extensive knowledge of the cryptocurrency world as a partner at INBlockchain, one of the world’s top blockchain and crypto funds. As a frequent trans-Pacific traveler, he’s embedded in both Chinese and US crypto scenes, and chronicles the bleeding edge of crypto development in his weekly newsletter Proof of Work.
Logic’s Xiaowei Wang sat down with Eric Meltzer in early 2019 to discuss the past, present, and future of crypto in China.
Xiaowei Wang: Could you start off by introducing yourself and what do you do? …
Originally published in Logic on April 1, 2018.
Everyone knows that the internet enables new kinds of scale. Companies can grow very big very fast; organizers can put huge numbers of people into the streets on short notice.
But until recently, no one had tried it with a think tank. In 2017, Matt Bruenig used the internet to build a socialist think tank from scratch. Entirely crowdfunded, People’s Policy Project now pulls in roughly $10,000 per month on Patreon and ActBlue, and publishes reports, posts, and videos at peoplespolicyproject.org.
We sat down with Matt to discuss how he started and scaled People’s Policy Project, and his broader thoughts on the prospects of using the internet to build alternative political institutions. …
By Alyssa Battistoni
On September 26, 1991, surrounded by the cameras of the world media, eight people dressed in bright red jumpsuits sealed themselves inside a three-acre steel-and-glass dome in the Arizona desert filled with over three thousand species of animals and plants. They planned to remain inside for two full years, aiming to show that the structure — known as Biosphere 2 — was capable of sustaining life while completely sealed off from Biosphere 1, also known as Earth.
Amidst Biosphere 2’s seven biomes — desert, rainforest, savannah, marsh, ocean, city, farm — the Biospherians would grow their own food and conduct research on the workings of the closed system. They would rely on the plants and animals they lived alongside to produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, fertilize the soil, and consume waste. …
By Clayton Aldern
Before the first drone came, the most unusual thing the birds of South Rupununi would glimpse above the canopy could have been mistaken for a lone, tough fruit. It was a transient thing: bobbing up, then pausing, then dipping back into the forest, only to rise again elsewhere at irregular intervals. You’d forgive the birds if they were confused.
To the people below, though, the object was a GPS unit tied to a pole; and if you were to follow the pole down past the canopy, almost to the forest floor where service was sparse, you’d find a hand hoisting it up. Not long before the drone came, this was how the cartographers would stitch together their maps: pin-drop by pin-drop, with smartphones and GPS units, geo-referencing the data with satellite imagery. …
Online harassment is pervasive, but platforms generally do a terrible job defending their users from it. Our techniques, our tools, and even our definitions of harassment are woefully inadequate. How do we get better?
Caroline Sinders is a design researcher at the Wikimedia Foundation, and previously designed machine learning systems to combat harassment as an Eyebeam/Buzzfeed Open Labs resident. We sat down with her to discuss doxxing, trolling, techno-utopianism, and why Twitter needs to hire anthropologists.
This interview was conducted in early 2018.
Logic Magazine: What is the Wikimedia Foundation, and what do you do there?
Caroline Sinders: The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit that powers Wikipedia. We run the servers. We make sure the site runs. We’re responsible for designing things, like the iOS app you have if you read Wikipedia on your phone. …
By Ben Tarnoff
For a long time, a certain set of assumptions dominated our digital imagination. These assumptions should be familiar enough. Information wants to be free. Anything that connects people is good. The government is bad. The internet is another world, where the old rules don’t apply. The internet is a place of individual freedom, which is above all the freedom to express oneself.
Such ideas were never 100 percent hegemonic, of course. They were always contested, with varying degrees of success. Governments, for one, found several ways to assert their sovereignty over online spaces. …
By Zero Cool
I remember being nervous when I flew into Atyrau, Kazakhstan. Before boarding the flight, one of the business managers who organized the trip sent me a message with precise instructions on how to navigate the local airport:
Once you land, get into the bus on the right side of the driver. This side opens to the terminal. Pass through immigration, pick up your luggage, and go through Customs. The flight crew will pass out white migration cards. Fill them out, and keep it with your passport. …