Month: November 2012

The Architecture of Evil

(Photo: Albert Speer with Adolf Hitler, from the German Federal Archive, via Wikimedia Commons)

The New Atlantis
Roger Forsgren

For the commission to do a great building, I would have sold my soul like Faust. Now I had found my Mephistopheles. He seemed no less engaging than Goethe’s.
—Albert Speer

Someone designed the furnaces of the Nazi death camps. Someone measured the size and weight of a human corpse to determine how many could be stacked and efficiently incinerated within a crematorium. Someone sketched out on a drafting table the decontamination showers, complete with the fake hot-water spigots used to lull and deceive doomed prisoners. Someone, very well educated, designed the rooftop openings and considered their optimum placement for the cyanide pellets to be dropped among the naked, helpless men, women, and children below. This person was an engineer, an architect, or a technician. This person went home at night, perhaps laughed and played with his children, went to church on Sunday, and kissed his wife goodbye each morning.
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Shyam Sankar: The rise of human-computer cooperation


The Empathy Machine

Maria Konnikova
Aeon Magazine

Sherlock was right – new research shows that seeing through another’s eyes takes a detached mind not just a warm heart.

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