Readings: Beyond the Breathalyzer, Guerrilla Girls, Greek Default, Like Culture

Some interesting reads from across the web:

(1) “Beyond the Breathalyzer” [New York Times] – I thought that science was progressing in tracking genetic markings via blood samples, but there’s this:

Scientists are building sophisticated electronic and chemical sniffers that examine the puffs of exhaled air for telltale signs of cancer, tuberculosis, asthma and other maladies, as well as for radiation exposure.


(2) “Guerrilla Girls: Feminist Masked Avengers” [Washington Post] I had no idea about this guerrilla group, and how under-represented women are in the Metropolitan Museum.

Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? Less than 3% of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women,” the sign continues, “but 83% of the nudes are female.

(3) “Once Greece Goes…” [London Review of Books] – the piece begins with this heavy sentence and picks up from there:

The economic crisis in Greece is the most consequential thing to have happened in Europe since the Balkan wars.


I speak of the Greek default as a sure thing because it is: the markets are pricing Greek government debt as if it has already defaulted. This in itself is a huge deal, because the euro was built on the assumption that no country in it would ever default, and as a result there is no precedent and, more important still, no mechanism for what is about to happen.

The situation in Greece looks grim indeed.

(4) “The Insidious Evils of ‘Like’ Culture” [Wall Street Journal] – this piece is a bit confusing. Does the author want us to like it or not? The author’s conclusions are stuffy: we want to be liked in person, not just online. Still, this contrarian stance is something to think about:

Just as stand-up comedians are trained to be funny by observing which of their lines and expressions are greeted with laughter, so too are our thoughts online molded to conform to popular opinion by these buttons. A status update that is met with no likes (or a clever tweet that isn’t retweeted) becomes the equivalent of a joke met with silence. It must be rethought and rewritten. And so we don’t show our true selves online, but a mask designed to conform to the opinions of those around us.

Your thoughts?

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