Cyborgs and offliners

On the train to work today I had the opportunity to read Aaron Swartz’s My Life Offline and danah boyd’s I want my cyborg back-to-back. The dichotomy between these two pieces, both from respected internet thinkers, is great. They aren’t necessarily contradictory, but they definitely show the range of emotions people have about being connected.

Most hated things on the web

There are a lot of angry people in the world. These people typically have a number of gripes, and sometimes one of them stands above everything else. Those who have web savvy might even take it to the rest of the world through a passionate blog or unifying community website. I was interested in what Google thought the most hated things were, and this is the list:

  1. Cilantro
  2. Brooklyn
  3. Starbucks
  4. Divorce
  5. Emo kids
  6. Clowns
  7. Cubicles
  8. SBC Yahoo
  9. Haggling
  10. Macs

From this logic, I present a highly unsuccessful personals ad:

Part-time clown seeks cilantro-loving emo kid. My house in Brooklyn , my cubicle in Manhattan (selling SBC Yahoo), but my heart is with Austen (die hagglers!). Let’s grab a Starbucks or just chat on our powerbooks!

Surprisingly, I find myself being quite a big fan of most of them. Maybe people just hate the things I like, but probably these things get more attention because they are highly divided topics.

Digging into Satisfaction

Quite a while back I reade a book called Satisfaction: the science of finding true fulfillment. The book is about the scientific escapades of its author, Gregory Berns, as he seeks the answer to a number of questions about happiness. The book varies from extremely technical descriptions of Berns’ research in neuroeconomics to extremely accessible stories and anecdotes that most people can related to. It’s a highly enjoyable read, and I recommend it to anyone who likes reading pop science.

I give a lot of love to authors that use footnotes. When someone can write a completely accessible book but still maintain depth by referencing all of the relevant literature in endnotes, they are a master communicator. Satisfaction has a number of interesting footnotes that I have intended to follow up on; as a service to myself I’m going to place them here as well.