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This week, Her Majesty was busted for talking smack about Xi Jinping. Jian Ghomeshi was the closest thing to clotheslined. Dilma Rousseff was suspended. Azealia Banks got the boot from Twitter. The Panama Papers called New Zealand the new Cayman Islands. China announced plans to build a Muslim theme park. Hikers steered clear of the volcano from Lord of the Rings. And Obama ordered schools to make all bathrooms trans-friendly. Right on.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education, here’s a balanced if somewhat apologetic look at one of the most dominant trends in Western society today. Yes folks, we’re talking about “wellness.” In its more commercial, aestheticized, upper-middle-class forms, the concept makes us want to roll our eyes so hard they pop out of their sockets. (We’re looking at you, juicers.) Yet the intellectual life that has traditionally spurned softer notions of self-care and body awareness stands to learn a thing or two about how to make thinking and feeling and living visceral again.

First came the anthropologist of Arctic poverty who found me on Instagram and confided that she was a Jazzercise fanatic. Then the intellectual historian who eloquently introduced herself as an expert on a similarly Serious Topic but rapidly and with sparkling eyes, before any of our fellow conferees entered the elevator, effused that it was really her Ashtanga yoga practice that sustained her. And the implacable administrator who waited for the meeting room to clear before explaining to me, her gaze softening, the admirable commitment of her Wednesday-night 'Zumba ladies,' who traveled from three boroughs to their class in the Bronx.

The scandal around Facebook's trending news is not so much about the suppression of certain political perspectives, as the media stories that flew around this week would have us think. What it’s about is the revelation that Facebook’s allegedly algorithmic feed is in fact an editorial product. It’s problematic when power dodges accountability by hiding human factors behind a plush curtain of big data. 

John Herrman, now over at The New York Times on a Carr fellowship, stirred up the hornets in the podcast industry this week with his look at how the medium’s underlying tech, and dependence on Apple, may be holding the industry back. But responses from the likes of Marco Arment suggest that Herrman’s got it all wrong. To their mind, the trackability and data that the big players in the industry crave are the exact things the platform should remain gloriously free of. 

Speaking of the podcast industry: as with all things media, we tend to get caught up in North American perspectives on the issue. We'll admit that it’s hard to resist a piece headlined "Exporting Ira Glass-style podcasts to post-Soviet nations." But it’s just so interesting to see how more languid radio storytelling can be applied in regions such as the South Caucasus, where radio training isn't in NPR think pieces but in traditional hardline reporting. 

As it turns out, the “biological clock” has as much to do with culture as it does with nature. And while the adage has been trumpeted since the 80s for its wonderful utility—to empower women with knowledge of a biological imperative—it’s real impact has been something much darker and less utilitarian. This is Moira Weigel for the The Guardian on the foul reign of the biological clock.

In Aeon, Luciano Floridi breaks down the duelling dogmas of Singularitarianists and AItheists. After Turing—as after Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud before—we must abandon the hubristic notion of human minds as somehow definitive of broader phenomena. The Turing Test was never meant to be an early warning system for the apocalypse, but if that's what you need to trigger an existential crisis, to get off your butt and do something for humanity, then so be it.

The website for Metahaven's The Sprawl project is oppressive, brutal, and entirely impossible to get a handle on. It's a brooding and apocalyptic scream of mediated existence, grasping for a new revolutionary politics of engagement. (Oh god, did we just rewrite the thesis statement of our last Cultural Studies paper?) 

None of the people representing Britain at the Venice Architecture Biennale are traditional or even registered architects, but their interdisciplinary approach to housing shows that there may still be hope for Generation Rent. We need much more than the product-based solutions put forward by Airbnb and WeLive. But you already knew that.



Careful out there. It’s Friday the 13th!

The Overprint is a weekly newsletter from Make Ready + The Alpine Review.
Illustration by Chris Lange.
 
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