Data shamans

[This piece was first published on [Slow News](https://www.slow-news.com/).]

 

“This I realized all along:
reason is always
in the wrong.”

Giorgio Caproni, Tutte le poesie (Milan, Garzanti 2013) [our translation]

Only a few months ago: despite information about the epidemics coming from China, Italy took too long to react. A few weeks later: despite news coming from Italy, the United States took too long to react. And so on…

How is it that the mountain of data and records elaborated by medical personnel, researchers, national and international agencies can barely be put into action – despite the fact that the products of science definitely shape our age and mind?… Read the rest

{#10} The days of the virus /1

In this newsletter:
- A socially-distanced hug
- Suggested readings
- The age of (in)security: meeting Jeff Halper
- How to participate?

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“Like wire models of molecules the students moved through the yard, always maintaining the distances between them, as if they were attached to steel connecting pipes. A human mobile. Sometimes just watching made you dizzy, said Dr. Rudolph […] He always felt really strange when they moved back and forth in that way and talked with one another as if all this were completely normal.

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Science, War, Society. Second meeting.

5th February, meeting with Jeff Halper

Genova, 02/05/20. Meeting with Jeff Halper, anthropologist and peace activist from Israel, author of War Against the People (Pluto press, 2015).

War as an international affair

This book comes out of my work on Palestine and Israel. I’ve been an activist for many years. I am the head of an organization called the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. We try to fight Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes. And the question that comes up all the time is: how does Israel get away with this?… Read the rest

Q/?: Weapons of Math Destruction

[A few years ago we read and discussed Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil. Here some questions we would ideally like to pose to the author, if we ever get to meet her (in collaboration with Giuseppe De Nicolao)]

Question 1. “Models are opinions embedded in mathematics” (quote from the book). My question will focus on the educational aspect of maths, as one of the key subjects we are taught in school, from the early years until the end of high school.… Read the rest

The (modified) NIM game

«The game here discussed has interested the writer on account of its seeming complexity, and its extremely simple and complete mathematical theory. The writer has not been able to discover much concerning its history, although certain forms of it seem to be played at a number of American colleges, and at some of the American fairs. It has been called Fali-Tan, but as it is not the Chinese game of that name, the name in the title is proposed.»… Read the rest

{#6} Living with the trouble

«I dreamed that the visible universe is the physical person of God; that the vast worlds that we see twinkling millions of miles apart in the fields of space are the blood corpuscles in His veins; and that we and the other creatures are the microbes that charge with multitudinous life the corpuscles.»

Mark Twain, 3,000 Years Among the Microbes

«Twain drew upon contemporary scientific theories of disease, specifically, the new germ theory, which postulated that disease was caused by microbes, and spread through contact with infectious individuals.

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