Nenhum eleito, Todos nomeados

Paulo Portas não voltou à política, mas foi de política que falou esta segunda-feira: de consultas populares (veja-se o Brexit), de eleições primárias nos partidos (que escolheram Trump) e de eleições diretas (nos partidos portugueses). Todas têm um problema. Não são abençoadas: “Quanto mais vejo referendos e suas consequências, primárias e suas consequências, diretas e suas consequências, mais admiro o método cardinalício”, disse o ex-líder do CDS. “O que é a democracia representativa em grande qualidade? Um coletivo de 120 pessoas sem carisma mas com função, nenhum deles curiosamente eleito, todos nomeados, que foram capazes de eleger o Papa Francisco, na hora em que o Papa Francisco foi capaz de responder ao novo mundo para a Igreja. Vejam lá se não são melhores consequências do que referendos, primárias e diretas”. Foi desta forma que Paulo Portas terminou a sua intervenção no almoço-palestra sobre o tema “Globalização e Desglobalização”. Uma “última provocação“, advertiu o ex-vice-primeiro-ministro, que levou Durão Barroso a terminar o encontro com um brinde às “democracias, às sociedades e às economias abertas”.


Cut and Paste Engineering

Unlike today, there was no Google, no Stackoverflow, no open source at your fingertips, rarely even someone to email to ask for help. You were basically programming on an island, and anything you needed to figure out or solve, you had to do it yourself. What you need today is searching, understanding and evaluation. You have access to the world’s smartest (and sometimes dumbest) people. The chances that something you need hasn’t been done elsewhere is rare and the real skill is in finding it, relating it to what you need, deciding if it is useful or adaptable, and if it is of a decent quality. [Andrew Wulf]
One of Mr Dennett’s key slogans is “competence without comprehension”. Just as computers can perform complex calculations without understanding arithmetic, so creatures can display finely tuned behaviour without understanding why they do so. The mental items that populate human consciousness are more like fictions than accurate representations of internal reality.
The psychologist Don Norman coined the term conceptual model to refer to the rough knowledge of a technology we need to have in order to use it effectively. [Pedro Domingos (2017), The Master Algorithm, Penguin]
The bigger problem of understanding “my” code or “this” code is ” has somebody else already solved this problem”. My feeling is that most problems have already been solved but we write code because it’s quicker to write code than discover it. [Joe Armstrong]

Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, Meditazione

The Cuckoo’s Nest

The argument is that diversity leads to racism, which leads to lower support for the welfare state. What follows from this particular argument is pretty clear: you can have diversity or you can have economic justice, but you can’t have both. Not keeping diversity down and different groups separated from one another, conservatives maintain, will destabilize society, turn politics into a dangerous racialized contest for political power, and immiserate people in all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. More and more, it seems like liberals agree with this basic conservative assessment of how diversity affects society. But, despite that underlying agreement, they somewhat bizarrely resist the conservative conclusion. Conservatives are very clear: diversity has all these problems and so it should be restricted. But the liberal view,  that diversity has all these problems and yet it should be expanded without restraint ,  is just incoherent on its face. That is what the pragmatic centrism that gives in some to the supposed difficult challenges of a diverse society actually looks like: a racist wet dream.

American Nazi Party at a Nation of Islam gathering


Canada has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources, and also has been very fortunate to have people with the ability to convert these resources from potential assets into useful products at a price others are willing to pay.

Bird’s Eye View of the City of Omaha Nebraska, 1868