Savage Minds Around the Web

We’re All Sick…of hearing doomsday reports on the H1N1 virus (well, I suppose there enough of us who enjoy bad theater). Luckily, the folks at both Somatosphere and Medical Humanities Blog have given us good synopses why all we all need to get a grip. Daniel Goldberg at MHB reminds us of the political dangers and the basic ineffectiveness of trying to identify a “patient zero.” Meanwhile Erin Koch (somatosphere) discusses the systemic problems in agroindustry that created the conditions for a massive outbreak. And in a followup, Erin wrote a brief piece on the various ways organizations and individuals have started to track the spread of the virus.

May Day, Marx, and Economic Mayhem: On the subject of futile searches for patient zero, Leo Panitch wrote an article imagining what Marx would say about the current global economic crisis. Panitch concludes by reminding us that Marx would not try to pinpoint specific causes of a crisis, but the inherent inequalities within capitalism.

Privacy and the Public Justice: Seems like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia just can’t get enough of his own medicine. Who could forget in 2005 when an NYU lawstudent (and my highschool classmate) asked Scalia if he practiced sodomy with his wife? This past month, Fordham law professor Joel Reidenberg put Scalia’s out of hand dismissal of the need to protect private information to the test–he assigned his students to find all the private information on Scalia. Scalia, a bit miffed, called Reidenberg’s assignment legal but irresponsible. You can read a partial response by Reidenberg at Feminist Law Professors blog. Too bad Reidenberg isn’t on Slate’s reader poll on who should join Scalia on the bench. Write in campaign?

Science’s New Hope: Barack Obama’s address to the National Academy of Sciences have left the bloggers at Discover Magazine’s Cosmic Variance speechless. You can see the president’s speech on the Academy’s website.

Altruism On Wheels: Pamthropologist first linked to this student art project in New York on tweenbots–simple robots that rely on human interaction to navegate (and narrate) the city. Tweenbots creator Kacie Kinzer writes:

In New York, we are very occupied with getting from one place to another. I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots.

See some of the preliminary results:

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