You Should Be Foam-Rolling

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The Truth About Gun Control

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The Problem With Mass Media

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The Dawn of Cyberwar

In 2001, the age of terrorism was heralded by airplanes flown into the World Trade Center. Now, 13 years later, a new era has dawned. Like the privateers of old, these new enemies – hackers funded by foreign governments –…

Hymn To Big Data

Imagine an all-knowing, all-seeing intelligence that understands you better than you understand yourself; that pays absolute attention to you at all times, and can predict what you will do before you even think of doing it. Is that God? Or is it Big Data? In the haunting “Hymn of Acxiom,” Vienna Teng asks this question by juxtaposing the creepiness of relentless computer data-mining (personified here by the real-life company Acxiom) with the musical forms traditionally associated with religious worship.

For an interesting juxtaposition, watch this marketing video by Acxiom. Notice how the techno-God-like imagery is used by the company itself to promote its services.

For more by Vienna Teng, visit her website. Here are the lyrics to Hymn of Acxiom:

Hymn of Axciom
by Vienna Teng

Somebody hears you. You know that. You know that.
Somebody hears you. You know that inside.
Someone is learning the colors of all your moods,
to say just the right thing and show that you’re understood.
Here, you’re known.

Leave your life open. You don’t have to hide.
Someone is gathering every crumb you drop,
these mindless decisions and moments you long forgot.
Keep them all.

Let our formulas find your soul!
We’ll divine your artesian source in your mind,
Marshal feed and force. Our machines will
design you a perfect love —
Or, better still, a perfect lust.
O how glorious! Glorious! A brand new need is born!

Now we possess you. You’ll own that. You’ll own that.
Now we possess you. You’ll own that, in time.
Now we will build you an endlessly upward world,
reach in your pocket, embrace you for all you’re worth.

Is that wrong?
Isn’t this what you want?
Amen.