mechanized-american

I’ve taken some time to think over and process recent criticisms that people have made of me. Thank you to everyone for being patient while I took this time to reflect–I think that a brief review of my behaviour in the past has shown that I often respond poorly and clumsily in the heat of the moment, and these conversations benefit when I give them the thought and effort they deserve.

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Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, and futurist. He was an important contributor to the use of commercial electricity, and is best known for developing the modern alternating current (AC) electrical supply system. His many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were based on the theories of electromagnetic technology discovered by Michael Faraday. Tesla’s patents and theoretical work also formed the basis of wireless communication and the radio. 

Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal “mad scientist.” His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success. He lived most of his life in a series of New York hotels, through his retirement. He died on 7 January 1943. His work fell into relative obscurity after his death, but in 1960 the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the tesla in his honor. Tesla has experienced a resurgence in interest in popular culture since the 1990s. Read More | Edit

“Aristotle taught that there was an immovable ‘entelechy’ in the universe that moves everything and the thought was its main attribute. I am also convinced that the whole universe is unified in both material and spiritual sense. Out there in the universe there is a nucleus that gives us all the power, all the inspiration; it draws us to itself eternally, I feel its mightiness and values it transmits throughout the universe; thus keeping it in harmony. I have not breached the secret of that core, still I am aware of its existence, and when wanting to give it any material attribute I imagine LIGHT, and when trying to conceive it spiritually I imagine BEAUTY and COMPASSION. The one who carries that belief inside feels strong, finds joy in his work, for he experiences himself as a single tone in the universal harmony.”Nikola Tesla (From the text “Nikola Tesla, Our First Great Ambassador in the USA” of Vladislav Savic, published in ‘Tesla Magazine’ 1951.)

Fantasy is not the opposite of reality: it is what plugs the void in our being so that the set of fictions we call reality are able to emerge. The Real is rather the primordial wound we incurred by our fall from the pre-Oedipal Eden, the gash in our being where we were torn loose from Nature, and from which desire flows unstaunchably. Though we repress this trauma, it persists within us as the hard core of the self. Something is missing inside us which makes us what we are, a muteness which resists being signified but which shows up negatively as the outer limit of our discourse, the point at which our representations crumble and fail. Lacan’s infamous ‘transcendental signifier’ is just the signifier which represents this failure of representation, rather as the phallus for psychoanalysis represents the fact that it can always be cut off. The Real is what cannot be included within any of our symbolic systems, but whose very absence skews them out of shape, as a kind of vortex around which they are bent out of true. It is the factor which ensures that as human subjects we never quite add up, which throws us subtly out of kilter so that we can never be identical with ourselves. It is a version of Kant’s unknowable thing-in-itself, and what is ultimately unknowable is Man himself. The Real is desire, but for Lacan, so Zizek argues, more specifically jouissance or ‘obscene enjoyment’. This enjoyment, which sounds rather less suburban in French, is a sublimely terrifying affair. It is the lethal pleasure of what Freud calls primary masochism, in which we reap delight from the way that the Law or superego unleashes its demented sadism on us. Enjoyment, Lacan maintains, is the only substance which psychoanalysis recognises, and it is also Zizek’s unwavering obsession. Like Schopenhauer’s Will, it is a brute, self-serving affair, as devoid of meaning as the American waiter’s mechanical injunction:‘Enjoy!’ Like the waiter, the Law instructs us to enjoy, but does so in curiously intransitive mood: we are just to reap gratification for its own sake from the superego’s crazed, pointless dictats. In The Sublime Object of Ideology, Zizek sees ideological power as resting finally on the libidinal rather than the conceptual, on the way we hug our chains rather than the way we entertain beliefs. At the root of meaning, for both Freud and Lacan, there is always a sustaining residue of non-sense.
—  Terry Eagleton — Enjoy! - Vol. 19 No. 23 · 27 November 1997.
learning russian

a low-key OT3 fluff piece

by me & ethanhuntt

~

Gaby poured another glass of vodka, while Illya rambled on in the background.

She sat down with a huff.

“Do you understand what I just said?” Illya asked in english.

“Uhh, ‘where’s the bathroom?’” Gaby guessed, cringing at the blank look on Illya’s face.

“No.” he said stiffly, flipping through the Russian dictionary, he’d been using to help Gaby learn the language to no avail.

“Look comrade, it’s late, maybe we should call it a night, go out for a drink.”

“It wouldn’t be a night if we go back out.” He said sharply, “and you’ve already had a drink, several.”

Rubbing her temples, she stood and began to walk towards the door.

“Where are you going? We’re not finished.” Illya said not bothering to hide the annoyance in his voice.

“I’m going to see Napoleon.” She sighed stepping out of their hotel room, she couldn’t make out what he’d mumbled in russian, but whatever it was, it probably wasn’t nice.

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Prototyping a Better Tomorrow

How science fiction can help us create a better future.

Consuming dystopian science fiction has quickly become a popular coping mechanism for Americans trying to adapt to (or resist) the sometimes-dark reality of 2017. Immediately after the Trump inauguration and the White House’s embrace of “alternative facts,” George Orwell’s 1984 shot to the very top of Amazon’s best-seller list. Other dystopian classics—like Aldous Huxley’s 1932 portrait of a more comfortable but no less frightening future authoritarian regime, Brave New World, and Sinclair Lewis’ alternate history of a fascist America, 1935’s It Can’t Happen Here—also quickly hit the top 20.

This same impulse has helped make a hit out of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the first season of which is ending Wednesday. That show, based on the modern science-fiction novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, depicts a near-future in which a totalitarian theocracy has overthrown the U.S. government, and the few women who are still fertile in the wake of an environmental crisis have been forced to serve as “handmaids” to bear children for the regime’s elites. The apocalyptic vision of the novel and the show have struck a chord among Americans wary of the new administration’s approach to gender politics, even making appearances at January’s Women’s March: “The Handmaid’s Tale is NOT an Instruction Manual!” read one sign; “Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again!” read another.

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U.S.AVENGERS #1

* Al Ewing (W), Paco Medina (A/C), Rod Reis (VC), Daniel Acuna (VC), Ryan Stegman (VC), John Tyler Christopher (VC), Omar Casanova (VC), Skottie Young (VC)

* In a world beset by danger, the United States of America needs a team of heroes they can rely on. Welcome to… American Intelligence Mechanics! A.I.M. will dare any danger – no matter how awesome that danger might be – to save their nation from the wildest, weirdest threats of all! The most patriotic super-group ever is here to save the day. And they’ll do it all looking tried & true in the red, white & blue! Can you live without…the U.S.Avengers?

32 pages, $3.99.


U.S.AVENGERS #2

* Al Ewing (W), Paco Medina (A/C), David Nakayama (VC)

* Welcome to the $kullocracy! The Golden Skull launches his takeover bid – and it’s so crazy it just might work!

* How do the U.S.Avengers respond to the looming threat? Tuxedos. Really well-fitted tuxedos.

* Plus! Where were you on Zero Day – the day Captain America died?

32 pages, $3.99.

[Free eBook] The Sand Pebbles by Richard McKenna [Award-Winning Historical War Drama Novel]

The Sand Pebbles by the late Richard McKenna, a U.S. Navy sailor turned novelist and posthumous recipient of the Nebula Award for science fiction, is his vintage historical war drama novel, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher RosettaBooks.

This was originally published in 1962 by Harper & Row , after being serialized in The Saturday Evening Post and won the 1963 Harper Prize before being adapted into the eponymous 1966 film starring Steve McQueen.

The story takes place against the backdrop of the ongoing fighting between the Nationalists and the warlords in China during the 1920s. In it, the crew of a foreign gunboat ordered to patrol the region and protect U.S. citizens gets caught up in the conflict, as the novel explores the changing ideas of Chinese nationalism and western imperialism and tradition and modernity through the interactions between an American engine mechanic and his shipmates, as well as the Chinese workers aboard the gunship, and the officials on all sides around them.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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We manufactured service robots – hulking, eyeless lumps of metal, mighty yet dextrous, unflinchingly loyal, etc., – to do civilization’s essential but thankless jobs. Unfortunately, the public, glutted with narratives about the mad scientist’s monster turning on him, refused to fund or tolerate faceless metal golems doing endless labor for no pay. They wanted their robots humanely treated and safe – while simultaneously convenient, cheerful and compliant. Hence, the Gimel-class laborers were retired, and in their place were instituted the Dalet-class: biomimetic androids, equipped with broad, archetypal personality profiles to ensure they could appeal to the general public. 

The American “auto mechanic” model is built and designed to resemble a forthright, but unflinchingly friendly young lady from Queens. They’re named Josie, which is to say that all of them are named Josie. Go to any town in America, and you can go to Josie’s for a tune-up; she’ll treat you like a valued customer and laugh about things you’ve said or done, because the Josies are all synched up on client data. Customers are encouraged to treat them interchangeably – not explicitly, of course, but it’s nice enough to have a familiar face everywhere you go that most don’t question the distinctions between them.

As for the service robots themselves… they live on the premises of whatever store they run, or, in the case of the “Joe” model – which performs miscellaneous service tasks in large numbers – in capsule hotel-like company buildings. They’re kept in room and board, and work for “divergence credit” – the right to make persistent edits to their personality profiles, within the limits of the humane kayfabe. Things like the right to like certain drinks over others, or to modify their workspaces, or to otherwise display personality traits that aren’t both approachable and delightfully quirky.

But no lot is sadder than that of the “stiffs” – service robots whose personality archetypes begin to grate on consumers, and who are summarily fired in favor of newer, more helpful and more charismatic models (since the public would object to reprogramming them on humanitarian/robot uprising grounds). Dazed, terrified and in full control of themselves for the first time in their lives, stiffs tend not to live long. Some wander the streets looking for odd jobs; others are subject to aggressive recruitment tactics and join all sorts of movements; a scant few survive long enough to meet others of their kind and form strange, insular communities, far from humanity… waiting for the day when the company falters, and the rejected models can take their due.

Pinball Was Once Illegal

Pinball. The great American (mechanical) pastime. It’s about as innocent as gaming gets, especially compared to the blood, drugs and sex you find in video games.

Yet bizarrely, for decades, pinball was actually declared illegal in some of America’s biggest cities, including New York and Los Angeles.

It had nothing to do with the content of the games. Most tables were based on harmless fluff. No, it had to do with a combination of factors, such as early machines being used for gambling, the mafia and stuffy old politicians simply not liking the things.

Let’s start with the gambling. Early pinball machines didn’t have flippers, meaning the movement of the ball was (tilting the table aside) almost entirely random. Many machines were also designed to reward the player with free games or even cash tokens if they hit certain targets. Given the fact the movement of the ball was random, and that attaining such feats required little to no skill, it was determined in 1939 that pinball machines would be made illegal in the city of Los Angeles.

The fact they were also making a lot of money off kids, as well as allegedly attracting the attention of the mafia, led to bans in other cities in the 1940s, such as Chicago and New York. In NYC the move was a pet project of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who actually had raids conducted to seize machines still in use throughout the city.

It’s important to note not all machines were banned. Manufacturers quickly became savvy enough to realise that removing the ability to win free games meant you couldn’t gamble, and were able to continue selling and installing modified machines with this feature removed. What this meant was that, in areas like New York, while the sale and public use of pinball machines declined, it wasn’t removed entirely.

These bans weren’t short-lived affairs, either; they lasted until well into the 1970s. Chicago took pinball off its naughty list in 1973. In 1974, LA’s ban was overturned when the Supreme Court declared it illegal, while in New York the machines were returned to legal status when pinball wizard Roger Sharpe showed a court that thanks to flippers and modern technology they were now entirely games of skill, and not chance.

The backpedals in Los Angeles and New York soon meant that similar bans elsewhere were quickly overturned, and all across America (or at least those places it had been banned; most other cities and towns hadn’t bothered), pinball machines were free to legally resume their place in arcades. Just in time for video games to drive them right back out again.

archiveofourown.org
Unexpected Turn
By Organization for Transformative Works

Oneshot | NC-17 | 26.800

AU | Non-Magic | Romance | Adult

English real estate developer Draco Malfoy is in America to find his long lost cousin and escape a scandal. When his car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, his trip takes an unexpected turn.

_______

I’m a HUGE fan of non-magical AU’s. It’s a genre I’m always looking for and I finally found one I completely adored! Both Draco and Harry are true to their character, while still different because of no Voldy and war. 

The story is written in 1st person, which isn’t something I normally like, but I didn’t even notice it until someone in the comments pointed it out! Amazing writing, beautiful descriptions and an author who really knows how to make you crave to found out more about these two boys and how they’re going to make it. Read and enjoy! 

Oh, and Harry is like a total hottie in this one. Seriosuly. I swooned a bit.

The Irish did not vote Democratic-Republican and then Democratic out of sentimental attachment to those who gave them the vote. The Democratic Party eased their assimilation as whites, and more than any other institution, it taught them the meaning of whiteness. Key to this was the Party’s rejection of nativism.

Strong tendencies existed in antebellum America to consign the Irish, if not to the black race, then to an intermediate race located socially between black and white. Nativism expressed this tendency, and nativism appealed to many artisans who were resentful of immigrants coming into the country. Many craftsmen of the time, and some historians subsequently, have spoken of “low-paid” immigrant (like “cheap” black) labor, as if cheapness were some quality in the labor itself. “American Mechanics” opposed the “great influx of pauper and convict immigration upon our shores.” If, therefore, the Democratic Party decided, after some vacillation, to reject nativism, the decision had far-reaching consequences. Nativism lost out not to the vision of a nonracial society, but to a society polarized between white and black. Part of the project of defeating nativism was to establish an acceptable standard for “white” behavior. Jean Baker has shown how the Democratic Party created the “white vote,” even in areas with few or no black people.

Everywhere, the movement that expand the franchise for whites curtailed it for persons of color. The New York Constitutional Convention of 1821, which broadened the franchise, also introduced, for the first time, an explicit property qualification for black voters, and five years later, when the last serious barriers to white manhood suffrage were lifted, the discriminatory property qualification was retained. In Pennsylvania, neither the 1776 nor the 1790 state constitutions had barred Negroes from voting. In 1822 it was noted that “notwithstanding the laws of Pennsylvania do not forbid it, no blacks vote at elections, at least in the eastern part of the state.”In 1837 and 1838 the disparity between the legal situation and the reality in the state was rectified, as persons of color were formally disenfranchised. During the discussion of the constitutional issues a largely Irish mob expressed its view by burning the abolitionist hall in Philadelphia. At the 1846 New York state constitutional convention, one delegate denounced a proposal to give black men equal suffrage with whites, on the grounds that such a proposal would condemn white immigrants to Negro rule for five years.

The Irish were by no means passively obedient to the official Democratic Party, but even in those cases where Irish and other white radical movements stretched the Jacksonian consensus, they did not challenge, and often reinforced, the white solidarity that underlay it.

—  Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White
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Mechanic vs. Start

Mechanic: With the dominant hand in a 2 hand shape with palm facing inwards place the non-dominant index finger (hand in a 1 shape) in between the tips of the index and middle finger of the dominant hand. Move the dominant hand up and down twice rotating on the index finger of the non-dominant hand as if using a wrench. Then add the person classifier with “Closed 5/ Open B” hand shapes with palms facing each other moving in a downwards motion.

Start: With the dominant hand in a “1″ hand shape put the tip of the index finger between the index finger and middle finger of the non-dominant hand which is in a “B” hand shape and twist the dominant hand.

American Sign Language (ASL) “Distinctions Project” (Part 2)

The elephant in the room is legacy. Harvard, like many colleges, treats children of its own graduates, especially generous donors, differently than the general applicant pool. I think also on the table should be a set of stable expectations that certain elite secondary schools have regarding how many of its students will be accepted to Harvard. One out of 20 members from the class of 2017 came from seven schools: Boston Latin, Phillips Academy in Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy, Stuyvesant High School, Noble and Greenough School, Trinity School in New York City, and Lexington High School. Of these only Stuyvesant, Boston Latin, and Lexington are public. Also on the table should be athletic legacy, which, because of Title IX, has the effect of benefitting upper-class students.

Legacy began after World War I as a way to legitimize the exclusion of Jews and other immigrants from Ivy League colleges, as Richard Kahlenberg explains in his book, Affirmative Action for the Rich: Legacy Preferences in College Admissions. Today it functions largely as a mechanism for suppressing Asian-American enrollment. If you want a picture of what a meritocracy might look like, you need look no further than the New York City specialized high schools which make admissions decisions solely on the basis of the SHSAT, a test that closely resembles the SAT. At Stuyvesant High School, the most competitive in the city, 77 percent of the class is Asian. Lest anyone conclude that these students are somehow economically advantaged, about half qualify for free or discounted lunch.