News and Links in Bulk, 09-11-2017

Bad Orientalism

Assassin’s Creed Origins portrayal of Cleopatra as a promiscuous femme fatale is a tired old cliché (via Lays Farra) which comes from Roman propaganda.

She declares that she will sleep with any man at the party, so long as he agrees to be executed afterwards.

It’s so strange to establish the character that way. That’s not funny, cool nor sexy in any way. It’s just bad craftsmanship.

Facebook, too big to grasp?

Facebook has grown so big, and become so totalizing, that we can’t really grasp it all at once. Like a four-dimensional object, we catch slices of it when it passes through the three-dimensional world we recognize.

Facebook’s sheer scale, market penetration and integration makes its exact nature hard to comprehend, as Max Read argues in Does Even Mark Zuckerberg Know What Facebook Is? (via Pierre Tissot). The whole piece is fascinating. A must-read. It addresses Mark Zuckerberg’s tour of the United States, the company’s recent introspective impulses in light of how it might have skewed the last presidential election, and its terrifying great power.


China tests a global citizen scoring system (via Stephanie Booth), this Wired piece tells us. To encourage government-sanctioned behaviours, Chinese officials devised a system in which compliance will be rewarded. A single number to evaluate how “good” one is: a credit score on steroids – if you will. They are helped in this by companies competing for the government contracts. Of course, punishments for non-compliance will be introduced at some point down the line.

Seeing how many Chinese citizens signed up voluntarily, a Facebook friend wrote that such an idea would cause riots in Europe. Sadly, I’m not so sure…