Thursday, January 07, 2016

006: Carspotting

img_20160106_173945-01.jpegI saw these two girls up on the roof of one of the old buildings of Uyanguren Street, probably carspotting. It looks kind of fun, actually, a throwback to the old days when you have nothing better to do so you find a nice spot high up and just watch the world go by as you chat with a friend.

My wife, though, thought they looked like ungo -- witches.

Today, I had to verify if a paper by a colleague was published in a journal. The paper was Consumerism and the Post-9/11 Paranoia: Michel Foucault on Power, Resistance, and Critical Thought by Ateneo faculty Ryan Maboloc. No mean feat, this, to be published in an international indexed journal.

Since I had the full copy of his paper already, I went through it. Essentially it used Foucault's theory of power structures to examine the responses in a post-9/11 world. It compared the surveillance infrastructure to Foucault's Panopticon (the all-seeing eye, I presume). This was an interesting angle, but I felt that it faltered in its analogy. I disagreed with his assessment of public punishment as a form of control. Quite the opposite, states operate in utmost secrecy. The paper could have been served better by inclusion of the impact of the Snowden exposes, but that was sadly lacking.

And so there I was, having a late lunch by myself, when I suddenly voiced my disagreement with a snort of disbelief. The lady on the table behind me, also having lunch alone, was startled. "I'm sorry," I said hastily, "I was having an argument with the paper."

Continuing my session with The Talking Machines episode from yesterday, I got to listen about Ben Vigoda's work in probabilistic programming. Utterly new to me, but it sounds exploring some more. I also got a link to his thesis, which apparently became the basis for his first startup.