August 6th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

Daily Stormer

I highly recommend Right Wing Watch. It’s this website which does a round-up of stuff around the internet that is right-wing content. I’ve pretty much wanted to do the same kind of stuff since I saw it.

Stormer article on a video that Molyneux put out. Couple of thing that stand out here. The first is where Molyneux fits into this entire narrative. He does share some alt-right views, but there’s a curious kind of vague, mystical tone to what he says. Though, fundamentally, he’s a guy who stands against what the alt-right considers the whole “politically correct” SJW brigade, whatever that means. In the video, he talks about what he considers his “red pill” moment. For him, it was the fact that a democrat and a liberal (Clinton) got away with what most considered sexual assault. He thought that since Nixon got his reputation muddied because of Watergate, Clinton should have too. This is something that often gets repeated by alt-right individuals. The fact that they feel that feminists and liberals have a double standard.

The second that I would like to point out is the fact that the article boasts about the fact that the alt-right is winning the war on the internet. I would agree with this, even though I personally don’t like it. You just have to get on Youtube or Twitter to see the kind of disparity that exists between liberals and the number of nationalists/alt-right individuals. This applies to India too. It’s like they’re fighting for their lives. I have never seen an individual as motivated as a right-wing troll.

Race

Bradford Delong

Extremely interesting article on negotiations and the creation of a contract. I think we would all agree that is the model for how a constitution is created. You have various interest groups and then they for the most part agree on this legal document. Except, like the author points out, the slaves were never considered to be of equal standing and so were never really part of the negotiating process of creating the constitution. I haven’t done any more reading on this, so I’m going to trust what the author says as being true (that black people were in no meaningful way consulted in the initial drafts of the constitution), and that I interpreted it correctly. What this implies is very interesting. Once they were legally on equal footing, after the whole civil rights movement happened, you have an entire group of people, who were retroactively added to the constitution (which they were never a part of in the first place). If African Americans took this to court, they would win.

Internet

Cyborology

Article on cam models (by a cam model) on ideas of consent on the media that you create, and ownership of said media.

Zoey Foxx (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Zoey Foxx (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

August 5th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

Breitbart

Steve Bannon found a guy who managed to find his way to the white house with a book. He also endorsed him in a photo that’s doing the rounds. A lot of people were mad because this was like the Ivanka Trump endorsement fiasco, except with a poorly written book. In this excerpt from Breitbart, the author makes his point about how the left is the real bastion of fascism. I really hate reacting emotionally to stuff that I write about and I usually try as best as I can to avoid berating people and using emotive language to describe something that somebody wrote and clearly believes in, but this is the most patently absurd idea that I have ever heard.

He also gets it ass backwards by trying to explain why nationalism does not get to the core of what fascism means.

You can be nationalist without being a fascist, but fascism has always needed nationalism, ethnicity and religion, as a means to mobilize people. This isn’t particularly difficult to see. Literally every time this has happened in the history of the damn world, you can observe this pattern.

I’m not going to get into this in detail here, first because I don’t have the time and second because I really don’t want to engage with an idiot who can’t figure this out.

Steve Bannon (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Steve Bannon (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Race

Pharyngula

Coates on the series that the GoT writers (I think?) are going to make. Alternate history shows are fascinating as an idea, but Coates makes some very good points. It’s one thing to have an alternate history show where Nazi’s have won. Nazism in America obviously does elicit the kind of response that Confederate causes do. Nazis were tried and executed for their crimes. Confederate generals are still seen as an integral part of southern (white) history.

Unions

Splinter News

Slate’s staff are trying to unionize and apparently the management are against it. They have their reasons and the staff obviously have enough incentives to want to unionize. The language that the management are employing to dissuade them is really dodgy though.

August 3rd – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Society

Jezebel

Dave Chappelle is famous and was up until recently pretty well loved by liberals. Good life. At least it felt like that. What the article talks about isn’t really new though. I think Anita Sarkeesian put out a video on how being transgender is the butt of many jokes in movies that are today considered close to many people’s hearts (90s movies and that kind of stuff). I also think this makes people really question the fact that the celebrities, sport players and musicians that they love are complex characters and are going to have divergent views from you. Though it is also a fact that people like Chapelle are opinion makers and the fact that they are this widely viewed in society means that their actions and words have a normalizing effect on the transphobia that undoubtedly exists.

Dave Chappelle (Image Source: Flickr)
Dave Chappelle (Image Source: Flickr)

AI

Motherboard

Deep Blue beat Kasparov way back in 1997. Looking back, maybe people were too enthusiastic on how AI would turn out and the pace at which this would continue. Starting with the basic name that we have given to it, Artificial Intelligence. Kasparov feels that calling out AI is a bit of a stretch. Playing against Deep Blue apparently didn’t feel like you were playing against an intelligent player. Instead, it felt like brute force. How much do neural networks rely on brute force algorithms to induce deep learning? Is it a fraction of it? Is it all of it in some cases?

Bitcoin

Motherboard

Bitcoin split into two different versions. One is the standard one, and the other one is called Bitcoin Cash, which is apparently a more populist alternative, according to another Motherboard article. I’m not sure what that means though. Anyway, I want to step away from the implications of this financially in the world right now and concentrate on what this presents in terms of a consensus on how value should be stored. I mean, this was literally a bunch of people who owned a certain “thing” who decided on how best to handle a situation that might have wrecked it. Instead, they came out pretty much unscathed and inspired enough confidence to send Bitcoin to new heights.

Genetics

Motherboard

Has this never happened before? I don’t believe that for a second. Also, the scientist quoted in the article goes out of his/her way to use terminology that does not imply any genetically modification/ enhancement. This is just “editing” apparently. Okay then.

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

Bare Naked Islam

Right wing website which shared a CAIR video with the message that Castle Rock, Minnesota did not want the Muslim Cemetery in the first place. The message is this: you have been warned.

July 30th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Society

Understanding Society

Extremely interesting article. Based on a paper that uses data to develop a model by which the authors analyzed medieval cities and came to the conclusion that medieval cities were strikingly similar to modern cities in how they presented themselves in the model. This, to them, suggested that life in these cities might have been similar to what we experience today in modern cities (in terms of social mixing and mobility).

Uganda

Al Jazeera

AJ throws some shade at the media about their obsession with the Ugandan refugee policy story. The story also covers why this narrative is beneficial to Uganda and EU countries that want to stop the influx of refugees.

United States

Salon

interview with a guy who wrote a book on tea party reactionary politics and how America came to the state that it is in today. He says that the surge of voters that you saw who ended up voting for trump were always there. There is also some truth to the urgency of his call to progressive to embrace the fact that the voice of “resistance”, so to speak, needs to be couched in identity politics. It needs to be about race. It needs to be about sexual orientation. Maybe he’s right.

Vox

There’s been a lot written on the number of people in United States prisons based on minor drug charges. Apparently, all of that data comes from federal prison, which hold a small percentage of people imprisoned in the country. Most criminals in the system are there for violent crimes, such as murder, but there isn’t enough being done to reintegrate them into society. They’re just locked away to rot.

Math

Quanta Magazine

Any social science kid knows about Game Theory and the Nash Equilibrium. The basic idea is that given a game, and a certain number of players, playing the game repeatedly (the N value will change depending on the situation), will result in a stable equilibrium, which everybody will be equally satisfied with. It’s a way of achieving societal compromise. It’s also apparently quite the pipe dream. Researchers picked some games that involved about a 100 people and apparently the time required to reach Nash Equilibrium in them would be a time period that would be greater than the life of the universe. That’s not helpful. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to skin this cat. We have something called a “correlated equilibrium” which are equilibrium which aren’t exactly the Nash Equilibrium, but which serve to stabilize the game at an equilibrium point.

“Nash’s equilibrium concept, which earned him a Nobel Prize in economics in 1994, offers a unified framework for understanding strategic behavior not only in economics but also in psychology, evolutionary biology and a host of other fields. Its influence on economic theory “is comparable to that of the discovery of the DNA double helix in the biological sciences,” wrote Roger Myerson of the University of Chicago, another economics Nobelist.”

Philosophy

Edward Feser

Philosopher Edward Feser on the incorporeal nature of Angels in the continuum of life, as imagined by Aquinas.

“The problem facing the Cartesian is rather how to explain mind-body interaction in a way that doesn’t reduce it to something comparable to demonic possession.  A fallen angel moves a bit of matter around in something like the way a poltergeist is popularly thought to move material things around.  A Cartesian res cogitans controlling a res extensa is essentially like a demon’s control of one of the Gadarene swine – the manipulation of something utterly extrinsic to the manipulator, to which it is only contingently related.”

Michel Dorigny - Hagar and the Angel (Source: Wiki Commons)
Michel Dorigny – Hagar and the Angel (Source: Wiki Commons)

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

The Daily Dot

Cop is being investigated for having a shirt on with white supremacist symbology on it. The sun cross is an alternate version of the Celtic cross. It’s also part of the logo for stormfront. I can’t figure out where it’s from. It would be interesting to sort of track how this was adapted in this manner. In certain contexts, it might be benign. Probably not in this one though.

Iraq

Iraqi News

Hama has apparently witnessed mass-displacement of people because of conflict. Article attributed this to Russian air strikes and Syrian forces attempting to retake the area.

July 29th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

United States

The Washington Post

Republicans need tax reform to go through. Apparently, the country hasn’t had major tax reform in 31 years. Losing that would be too many losses for the first year of the Trump administration.

Political Wire

This doesn’t explain why Priebus is gone and the Mooch is still around!

Vox

Kelly was one of three generals that Trump placed in his cabinet. He’s been the one who has stayed out of the spotlight for the most bit. The article points out that he presents the Trump administration with a tough “soldiers general” type personality. Presumably, this will at least please the people who voted for him primarily on the issue of migration.

John F. Kelly (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
John F. Kelly (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Jezebel

Trump bites harder into the anti-immigrant narrative. Watch the speech in full, if you can. A more robust stance on domestic soil will deflect from the fact that there is tremendous opposition from the legislative bodies. As mentioned before, this will also please a large portion of his support base that voted for him to be harder on immigration. The article also states sources that point out that this isolates illegal immigrants and drives them into the arms of MS-13. What incentive do immigrants have to help law enforcement authorities in an environment like this?

Drug Trade

Fusion

Cocaine produced and packed in Mexico relies on Guatemalan drug cartels to supply to the United States. It’s a stop off point on the trade route, so to speak.

Society

Rewire

On the subject of disasters and how the ensuing displacement of people can result in a permanently altered city. Naomi Klein spoke of this in the shock doctrine. There seems to be mounting evidence that she was quite right.

In Defense of Marxism

A Marxist interpretation of the Catalan question and how the author sees the proletariat of the Catalan region as having been let down by the petty bourgeoisies, at the first sign of external resistance.

Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi

The Daily Stormer

An Alt-Right/ Neo-Nazi writer actually posted made a reference to a song by The Clash and posted a link to the song on Youtube. The irony is killing me.

The Daily Stormer

There’s some gushing about Scaramucci at the very end. It’s quite fascinating that liberal media and websites like the Daily Stormer can mention the exact same things and feel completely different about them. All of the incidents that the media reports as being indicative of crippling instability in the trump administration are exactly what the people who write for publications like the Daily Stormer want. They want the chaos.

Sudan

Sudan Tribune

Khartoum is denying that the Jebel Marra area has any need for assistance. This comes in the wake of the weekly UN bulletin that said otherwise. The government also pointed out that the World Food Program and various EU officials can attest to the fact that Jebel Marra was not in fact facing the kind of acute crisis of food, nutrition and security that the UN reported it as.

Jul 27th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Alt-Right/ Neo- Nazi

National Alliance via VNN Forum

Article is the transcript of a radio broadcast. It’s actually the first article that I have read that very clearly details the basis of the worldview of all those who are on Daily Stormer and the Vanguard Network and the entire Neo-Nazi alliance. The specific question that I had was what was the fount of much of this rhetoric. According to the Dr. Pierce that is said to have been the man behind the broadcast, the Jewish world that he sees as taking hold in the world, all came from this one transcript: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which had been published by a Russian, who had got him from another Russian official who had got it from a member of the Russian Nobility, who had herself got it from a Jew in Paris.

He then goes on to explain how communism was essentially harnessed by this alliance of Jews to wrestle power away from the gentiles. It’s difficult to see how communism could have been one monolithic institution that could have been manipulated to a specific end. Dr. Pierce counts Marx and Stalin as players in this game that he sees playing out in the world. Interestingly he points out that the Russian who published the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was not publishing an already finished document, but was instead a patriot who recognized how “harmful” the Jews were to Russia and decided to create this bit of literature to illustrate his point.

Sounds like baiting to me.

United States

FiveThirtyEight

FiveThirtyEight and their weekly political chat on what Trump hopes to gain from this Sessions fiasco, what’s going to happen to Comey and if this is a bad situation for the administration (yes, it is.)

Tech

Motherboard

Motherboard (VICE) video on what you need to build an ethereum mining rig and the parts that you need to do it. Use the links and VICE Media gets kickbacks. Support them if you like them, maybe. Or alternatively you could go on Youtube and learn how to do it. It’s not that complex. Though I will have to warn you that it’s not worth the effort unless you have the money to really scale up the process and know how to create cooling solutions for these monster mining rigs that people have.

Ethereum (Image Source: Flickr)
Ethereum (Image Source: Flickr)

(1) MSI Z-170a Motherboard – http://fave.co/2vGI3LV

(2) 470rx Gigabyte graphics processing units –
http://fave.co/2h0XzyP

(2) powered risers – http://fave.co/2h19X22

(8) ½ in. aluminum angles – http://fave.co/2h1a1P8 cut to 14 inches

(5) ½ in. aluminum angles – http://fave.co/2h1a1P8 cut to 24 inches

(3) 1×2 wooden blocks – http://fave.co/2h1uyTJ

(1) 1000 watt Corsair power supply unit – http://fave.co/2vH129p

(1) Intel Celeron G3900 central processing unit –
http://fave.co/2h132pH

(1) 4 GB stick of RAM – http://fave.co/2vGLcvc

(1) power switch – http://fave.co/2h0y0hE

(1) ethernet cable – http://fave.co/2h1diOs

(1) 16 GB USB stick – http://fave.co/2vGJMkk

(1) computer monitor – http://fave.co/2vH9y8i

(1) computer keyboard – http://fave.co/2vGPIK6

(1) computer mouse – http://fave.co/2h1iGRC

(1) pack of zipties – http://fave.co/2h11I69

(36) self-driving screws – http://fave.co/2vGLjXP

July 24th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Economics

MPRA

Study that explores the empowerment of women by various means and how this affects the child birth decision.

Egypt and Palestine

Daily News Egypt

The League of Arab States is to meet to decide how best to handle the escalating situation at the Al- Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

“On Friday, Egypt called on Israel to immediately stop the violations and security measures against Palestinians in Jerusalem after three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces at the compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

In a separate incident, Omar Abdel Razek, a Hamas lawmaker was arrested.

Al Aqsa Mosque
Al Aqsa Mosque (Image Source: Pixabay)

Artificial Intelligence

Motherboard

Google researchers, Hui Fang and Meng Zhang, tried to test if they could write an algorithm, that could mimic the composition skills of a professional photographer. They started by defining the different aesthetic aspects of “good” photographs and then tried to make the program learn to do it in an automated manner. Apparently, it turned out semi-professional.

Sociological/Political

Aeon

Essay on the permeating effect of cold war philosophy and the big red scare of the post- WWII years in the United States.

Alt-Right

Daily Stormer

Where will the alt-lite fall? Is occupying the grey space in-between the resistance and the alt-right really worth the effort?

Society

Vogue

Tamara Shopin on growing up in New York City, the curious characters and how it shaped her.

“Whatever the opposite of helicopter parents, that’s what my parents were,” Shopsin remarks. Her childhood was refreshingly free-range; the Shopsin kids soaked up the magic of The Store—the only rule was don’t touch the meat slicer—bounced around the neighborhood, and consorted with its many characters. “Things the rest of the country found odd or disgraceful were welcomed with open arms in the Village,” she writes. “It became a symphony of oddities, and acted as a magnet for the country’s fringe people.”

Tech

Fair Observer

Basic productivity tools have not changed much over the past 2 decades. Soundcloud discussion and article on the state of productivity and what can be done to improve it.

Iran

RT

Iran and Iraq have signed an MoU that will improve military cooperation and also help the countries battle against extremism and the threats of terrorist violence. The Iraqi defense minister also praised the Iranian Popular Mobilization Forces and stressed their legitimacy.

“The main credit [in the Mosul victory] goes to the Iraqi soldiers, people’s militia, Iraqi air force,” al-Maliki underlined.

He added that he “regrets and denies [Americans] claiming the victory [in Mosul] is their achievement” which Washington now plans to use as a way to establish military bases on Iraqi territory in order to maintain influence in the region.”