Engines of Polarization

A small change to an algorithm is at the heart of fake news, tribalism and extreme behavior on social media. In October 2009 Facebook made a fateful change to its algorithm which has had profound and polarizing effects on society. It’s a lesson in unintended consequences — for, on the surface, this tweak to the platform was …

Confessions of a Content Moderatation Kingpin

The following were writing prompts for this satirical piece: The Impossible Job: Inside Facebook’s Struggle to Moderate Two Billion People – in which the herculean task of moderating content is explained. Also this, article: Inside Facebook’s Fast-Growing Content-Moderation Effort. Next to sex doll cleaning, moderating extreme content on Facebook has to be one of the worst jobs humanity …

What we need

Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You is a fresh dose of sincerity, which we so badly need right now. Even though it’s set in a hyperbolic version of our own reality – with surreal and absurd moments sprinkled throughout – it rings true for the entire one hour and forty-five minute runtime. I went in …

Diary of a Madman

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in years – revisit my old blog, Guirilandia. It was curious to see that the analytics looked like, and was surprised to see it still received a steady stream of traffic. One of the most popular posts is one titled, The Real Gas Natural. The title was a …

Character in Sicario

Some quick thoughts on Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the sequel to 2015’s Sicario by Denis Villeneuve. Soldado was written by Taylor Sheridan, just like its precursor, which was brilliantly written, but I was initially hesitant to see it due to a horrible marketing campaign. With creative assets filtered through social media which made it …

A Crucible of Extremes

There’s a remarkable sequence at the end Black Mirror’s Nosedive episode where the main character, driven mad by her quest for higher social media status, winds up in a jail cell, bedraggled, makeup smeared, staring at motes floating in the fluorescent overhead lighting. Bereft of what gives her validation in her outside life – streams …

Keep it simple, stupido

It was the year 2000 and life seemed simpler. The world seemed simpler. 9/11 hadn’t happened and I had no material possessions except for a backpack with about three changes of clothes and an ever-rotating paperback book – usually something I traded with someone in a hostel, so as to not carry extra weight while …

Fiction & Lies

We like affirmation of our own thoughts, especially when they’re inchoate and scattered – I know I do. Despite all the sentences I’ve churned out over the years, I often need someone else to articulate an incomplete thought process, much like a house needs an architect to draft a blueprint prior to being built. In …

Subtlety in Atlanta

Discovering great works of art is always deeply inspiring to me. Even if imperfect, Atlanta, is one of those. I just binged the first two seasons and it’s uneven and ragged, but like a lovable shaggy dog, there’s just something about it which I find endearing. Donald Glover, who I’ve just discovered (forgive me, for …

The burden of self curation

In the days since Anthony Bourdain’s death, I’ve been reeling in a mix of emotions, and have only been able to vent these feelings to my wife. Let’s just say I’ve harbored some politically inexpedient opinions about certain people involved in that affair that could easily be twisted out of context. Especially in my social …

My Anthony Bourdain story

It may seem strange to start a story about my encounter with Anthony Bourdain with an anecdote about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but if it weren’t for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – BJJ for short – I don’t think I’d ever have appreciated him in the way I do. Because of BJJ I met the man first, …

Impressions

Having a nearly 4 year old daughter obliges me – in a way – to see the world through her eyes. Everything I do around her is filtered through her eyes and I try to perceive things as she would. The world is strange, bold, full of surprises. If you look at the world in this way …

2003

So one of the resolutions I have for 2015 is to keep a blog – yep, just like it was 2003 all over again when all the cool kids were blogging. Now that we’re all supposed to post on Facebook and share ephemerally via Snapchat, it’s a little absurd to even think about blogging, not to mention …