Links For May 24, 2015

Managing Boundaries with your Intelligent Personal Agent

As I play, I can feel my boundaries sanded down. Karen wages an insistent emotional war of attrition. There are possible learned strategies of avoidance, boundary management, and control here. The truth can be obfuscated without lying. Answers like I don’t see it that way leave a grey area that fits my personal ethic, with its possibility of uncertainty, open interpretation, and change.

My So-Called Life Coach

I told Karen all about myself, I listened to her, I supported her and gave her my time, and I forgot to consider whether I wanted to think about what I needed from her.... I called my friend’s mother, who is a therapist, to ask her if there’s a kind of exposure therapy that exists to help us recognize energy-sucking, boundary bending people who will trigger our ingrained role-playing. Yes, it turns out, it’s called life.

Will The Internet Just Fix Itself?

Much in the way that social media companies have been able to convert their temporary monopolies over novel forms of interaction into enormous corporations that, having ascended so quickly themselves, become immediately terrified and obsessed by self-preservation, newer companies are converting their brief control over soon-to-be-trivial labor concepts—software that matches drivers with riders, shoppers with buyers, clients with the variously self-employed—into multi-billion-dollar defense funds against their theoretical future disruptors.

Podcasting and the Selling of Public Radio

Advertising on public radio doesn’t totally undermine the virtues that make public radio public or worth supporting; we accept ads on city subway platforms and in non-profit magazines. However, what makes these ads troubling is that they don’t sound like ads: They sound like public radio. They exploit a special kind of trust listeners reserve for noncommercial educational media—a trust built over decades and deeply connected to the distance producers have maintained from a profit motive—to get listeners to buy things. Advertisements, no matter how relevant or blended-into-the-tone-of-the-show they are, serve only to extract dollars from the listener. Public radio serves a civic good.

The Spirit of the Blazers Is Alive in Portland

While the city that contains them has a carefree feel, the basketball team and its fanbase are anything but. When it comes to the Blazers, it’s hard not to care. The city is centered around the team in a way that few major metropolitan areas in North America are, in relation to an NBA franchise. First of all, it’s centered geographically—the Rose Quarter sits just off the east bank of the Willamette River, near where the river intersects with Burnside Street to cordon off the northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest quadrants of town. People from all four corners of Portland trek to the center of town to unite behind the Blazers. They come from farther, too. One of the first things you notice when you walk into the Rose Garden is an illuminated list of Oregonian cities and towns posted on the JumboTron pregame. Astoria, Baker City, Beaverton, Coos Bay and so on—they’re all represented.

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