Watch December 2, 2011 on PBS. See more from TO THE CONTRARY.


Watch this Video: 

Watch this PBS produced video, featuring Natalie Imbruglia and Monique Colman, which focuses on the important role of celebrities in raising awareness for social causes. The video was made for the September 13th 7 Billion event: Unleashing the Power of Women and Girls that took place in Washington D.C.


James Bridle:

We are witnessing a profound assault on book publishing and literature, on the text itself—not from ebooks, which publishers are slowly, painfully coming around to after a long resistance, or the internet, which is after all entirely made of text—but from applications, “enhanced” books and reductive notions of literary experience. As I’ve written about before, in the context of advertising, publishers’ reactions to new technologies betray a profound lack of confidence in the text itself. We are being distracted by shiny things.

via Craig Mod

1M to 11M Users in 2011


18 months ago, Pulse was created as a class project at Stanford University. We did not imagine that we would come as far as we have today. In 2011 alone, we went from just under 1 million users to over 11 million users. Here’s a quick visualization of how Pulse has grown in the last year. Thank you for joining Pulse and supporting us through our journey!


We plan to continue this growth in 2012 and we’re hiring more team members to make that happen. 

- The Pulse Team

Beautiful Equations



on the recent work of Percival Everett.


Illustration of Percival Everett © Joe Linton


Identity Crisis

Percival Everett

Graywolf Press, October 2011. 225 pp.

Percival Everett

Graywolf Press, October 2011 (orig. 2001). 272 pp.

Over the course of more than 20 books, Percival Everett has produced as rich a body of fiction as just about any contemporary American writer, but mainstream literary recognition has proved elusive. As an African-American writer deeply interested in the American West, and one with an experimentalist bent, he’s certainly no marketer’s dream. His books range so freely — from satire to absurdism, from realism to metafiction — that it’s difficult to get a fix on him. Then again, the same might be said of Cervantes, Sterne, or Twain.

Identity is the bedrock of the rational. Aristotle’s theory of identity holds that each entity has a specific nature. An owl cannot be a monkey; an elevator cannot be a marimba. Destabilize identity and the ground beneath our feet crumbles: We risk falling into madness. It’s no accident that Everett’s two variations on Greek myth, For Her Dark Skin (1990) and Frenzy (1997), bring readers inside the minds of Medea and Dionysus, those avatars of the irrational. Indeed, so thoroughly do his books complicate identity and undermine logic — in terms of both content and form — that they elude critical categories.

Everett’s new book, Assumption, begins as a standard crime novel, though anyone familiar with the author will know it’s unlikely to stay that way. The protagonist, Ogden Walker, a deputy sheriff in remote Plata, New Mexico, likes his job well enough, even if he’s not especially good at it. He’s bothered by the imagined disapproval of his dead father, a black man who didn’t care for police and generally despised white people even though he married one. Ogden’s mother lives nearby and is the only person outside of work who Ogden sees regularly. The narrator remarks, “It was hard for a son to think that his father hated half of him,” underscoring the internal split, or doubling, that becomes clearer as the narrative unfolds. Ogden “deeply love[s]” the New Mexican landscape yet feels “like a failure remaining there,” sensing there was “a life he was not pursuing.” Like many of Everett’s protagonists, Ogden comes to us burdened by the past, by others’ expectations, by accumulated disappointment and stress, and by an ever-sharpening sense of mortality.

Read More

Fab.com… It’s where people go for a little product porn during their lunch break.


Digital Will Play a Key Role in Shaping Voters' Opinions of Candidates

A new study fielded by Digitas shows the importance of a strong social-media strategy for this cycle’s presidential hopefuls. Social media was certainly a contributor to President Obama’s success in 2008, and with its growth in popularity since then comes a growth in impact. This graphic…


One longtime campaign manager said a system like Votizen could become a powerful tool. “On the surface it seems like a great gold mine of data” and could be “a terrific advancement in voter contact,” said Steven Glazer, the vice mayor of Orinda who managed Jerry Brown’s successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign. “For all the junk we invest in, that person-to-person contact is always the most persuasive, and if it comes from a friend, doubly so.”

…Mr. Dufty, the 56-year-old former San Francisco supervisor, is a believer in the tool. In an interview, he said Votizen will “absolutely” get him more votes. “I haven’t asked volunteers…to knock on strangers’ doors,” he said. “Instead, I’ve said, ‘You can tap into your social network and help me ID voters.’ “

If you’re at all concerned about the possibility that the US government might gets its mitts on your data without you knowing about it, then the American cloud is not for you.


After Anonymous knocked them offline for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Stratfor has returned. Their first episode back explains what the world should expect from Russia in 2012. 

See also: Stratfor founder and CEO George Friedman’s statement