An argument on the nature of the Private-Public argument when it comes to services rendered.
“They argue that every privatisation agreement will have to afford the private agent a ‘zone of permissibility’ (or ‘autonomy’) in which they are free to exercise their own judgment about what to do. This zone of permissibility will necessarily remove them from the kind of public deference that is required. The reason for this is that in order to make any sense at all, a privatisation agreement must defer to the skills and judgment of the private agent. Recall, that the whole point of privatisation is that private agents are able to provide a good or service more efficiently than public agents.”
There’s two sides to the conservative in the United States coin. One wants more troops pumped into Afghanistan, and the other wants nothing to do with foreign wars anymore. Even the ones who want troops in Afghanistan, want them to be private soldiers and not American military. It seems like private security contractors don’t really know how to feel at the moment. America has to win the war. America does not lose. But nobody has the political capital to send more troops into Afghanistan, even with the resurgent Taliban.
The incumbent Kenyatta won the presidential elections in. His main rival claims the vote was rigged. There were stand-offs between government loyalists and opposition supporters. The last time this happened (2007), thousands died.
We’re going to have to wait and see if even the hardline trumpists like Zero Hedge will get behind this administration opening a two-front war. From what I read, they thought the interventionism of Obama and Clinton was the worst thing to happen. They were firm isolationists, for the most part. Though I don’t think anybody really believes that anybody in the White House actually thinks this is an option that could be explored.
Argument against open borders. Author claim that this is not against immigration in general, but says that cases for open borders must be more nuanced. That’s a statement that I agree with in general, though the author does make one absurd claim: that tribalism is so robust because small groups are better at achieving certain results which lead to prosperity. This is ridiculous. Tribalism is a feature of politics which sees ethnic classes banding together. It’s not particularly self-aware or reflexive. In other word, tribalism justifies itself on the basis of ethnicity, not on the basis of efficacy.
Panel of Christians with shelves stacked with food behind them. The table that they are seated at has a lot of food on it too. This is really the first time I’ve actually sat down and watched an entire one of these shows, I usually just watch the snippets that Right Wing Watch puts out. You’re going to watch the entire thing yourself, but there are a few things that should be pointed out. He encourages people to buy food from his store, and stores that are his partners. The reason for this is that apparently all of their food has an extended shelf life, which means it’s all powdered and desiccated.
I checked out their online store, and they have powdered fruit.
The reason that this is a good thing, is because, according to Jim, Churches need to stock up for when Jesus comes back to lead his army, and that people (all non-believers), will flock to churches, because that would be the only source of food. They would all have food sourced from the Jim Bakker show.
Fascinating. It’s always really interesting to see the different forms that monetized religion can take.
Shifting demographics and the state of the American dream.
“Cultural shifts are also underway. In surveys, Millennials often say they want to own homes one day, but they are a generation that’s embraced the “sharing economy.” They don’t like to own much. They take Lyft and Uber instead of owning a car. They tell their parents and grandparents “no thanks” when they are offered the family china or trinkets. They prefer to spend their money on experiences — eating out, concerts, travel, gyms — instead of stuff.”
Feser on the mindscape as being a realm from which all ideas come from. They precede us and will be there long after we are gone.
“The Mindscape, then, is essentially the collection of all the propositions and concepts that might possibly be grasped, entertained, affirmed, denied, etc. The Pythagorean theorem would be an example of a denizen of the Mindscape. When you entertain the theorem and I do not, you are accessing a part of the Mindscape that I am not, at least at that moment, accessing. When we are both entertaining it, we are accessing the same part of the Mindscape. But the theorem was there before either of us accessed it and will remain there long after we are gone. The same is true of every other proposition or concept. They are all out there waiting to be accessed, as it were.”
Overview of what is going down in Virginia, USA. Though it’s probably over by now. Article does a good job of fleshing out how diverse the two sides are and how there are clearly ideological differences even between the both of them. I’ve read alt right articles which pan the entire “alt lite” moment for being a bunch of idiots who can’t recognize what is happening. The point is, there’s definitely more nuance here than you would think.
Someone made a movie that can be found of multiple platforms. It’s apparently a bunch of imagery that tries to convey the kind of paranoia that should accompany the threat of nuclear warfare. It uses a lot of jarring imagery, clips of destruction and individuals commenting on nuclear warfare, to achieve this effect.
The North Korea – South Korea dynamic reminds me a lot of Pakistan – India. They both were a nation state at one point of time. There was an acrimonious split. There’s a demographic divide when it comes to opinions about the split, and a lot more. Most importantly though, the South Korean journalist in the article explains why South Koreans themselves aren’t panicking about the nuclear holocaust. It’s because they’re just used to this.
Bernie Sanders was always notoriously dense when it came to the question of race. In fact, as I recall, some Black Lives Matter Activists actually occupied his podium once and refused to get off until he allowed them his platform to speak from. A lot of people that was hurting the cause of colored people as a whole.
Erika Lust is a filmmaker with 100 titles to her name. She also started a non-profit that attempts to engage children in conversation about porn. In the article, she identifies the fact that she and any other non-profit will not be able to have the reach that schools can.
goTenna is a company that is creating a device that can create a mesh net. That’s essentially a bunch of interconnected devices that can communicate with each other. Kind of like the internet, except these devices don’t rely on external net connectivity or even normal cellphone tower signal. Kind of the modern version of that radio you could buy, which people used to transmit and connect with each other. I honestly cannot remember the name.
Article about an Uber experiment in a Canadian town. Uber won’t say if and how profitable the entire thing was. I also do not see how this can be scaled up in any meaningful. In fact, I don’t even see how it could work in anything but a village with 4 houses.
Short article about a Lebanese-American poet, and on the subject of memory.
“We can admit that memory resurrects the dead, but these remain within their world, not ours. The universe covers the whole, a warm blanket.
But this memory is the glue that keeps the universe as one: although immaterial, it makes being possible, it is being. If an idea didn’t remember to think, it wouldn’t be. If a chair wasn’t there, it wouldn’t be tomorrow. If I didn’t remember that I am, I won’t be. We can also say that the universe is itself the glue that keeps it going, therefore it is memory in action and in essence, in becoming and in being. Because it remembers itself, it exists. Because it exists, it remembers.”
Roads and Schools. Article argues that the benefits that communities and the economy accrues from schools is distributed over a longer period of time and takes longer to add up, thus making it a lot less attractive in the eyes of politicians.
Vice article on the changing face of ballet. This could be interesting in a wider sense. I think there are a lot of people who come from many different ethnic backgrounds who are involved in different art forms, professionally and otherwise, which are very firmly rooted in western traditions. It would be interesting to see if they could bring something of themselves to these art forms and if it would continue to be appreciated by the more traditional schools.
A Russian has launched an ICO that he claims is the first Kosher currency. I’m actually really interested in this model of doing business, which incorporates more than just the start operating practice of creating shareholder profit. Whether this will be a success or not will remain to be seen. Read the article for the details on the cryptocurrency that will operate on Jewish financial law.
Boycott Google or Ban Google isn’t working out apparently. They’re pointing out the obvious here, which is that there is no way to get around using Google. Though in my head, all this article serves to do is bring up the fact that there is such an enormous amount of data that Google is able to process and use. Thing is, the fact that you don’t have a choice in the matter, and that they’re big enough for competition to be irrelevant should be reason enough for more anti-trust lawsuits, right?
CFI Blog post on ICICI bank in India and how they hooked up with Stellar, to create a product for their customers. ICICI customers can transfer money using a mobile wallet. This money is process in a cryptocurrency, the unit of which is lumens. It’s not very clear if you can export this cryptocurrency out of its environment. Probably not.
The firing of the Google engineer who wrote the now infamous memo might not be open to arbitration. Google engineers are not unionized and the United States apparently offers no protection to employees at their workplace (in the private sector).
Blackwater will receive more contracts going forward. I’m not sure why every time it gets reported, they open with a shocking line like: “The United States is considering a plan to entrust security to private contractors…”.
They’ve been doing it for a minute now.
The exact nature of their work is not clear, but apparently, they will serve in an advisory role.
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.
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 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.
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.
Article on a study that was conducted on a wide range of consumers, all in the first world, on the kind of purchases they made with their money and how happy it made them. Apparently, these people gained more happiness If they produced time-saving devices/ services with their money.
I think it would be very interesting if someone tried to replicate this experiment in a third world-country. I think there’s a certain value attached to status items when people acquire money in a country that isn’t part of the first world.
Philosophical argument against the death penalty. Blog that is dedicated to right wing philosophers. Article on why the author considers the death penalty to be just: because some people deserve it. He also brings in the question of who authorizes said punishments. As an aside he also mentions that God and the Church can punish him.
With the UK leaving the EU, they will have to renegotiate with the SACU, a bloc of Southern African countries that includes Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa among its members. It’s imperative that they lock that down since they apparently quite a large amount to these countries. The article also points out that since the SACU negotiates as a bloc, this makes things a little more complicated, since there are varying levels of importance in these linkages.
Does MP voting reflect what the MP believes or what his constituents believe? The article feels like since MPs voted for what their constituents felt like on a certain range of issues (free votes?), this would also extend to other issues. I’m not sure about this one. I think the behavior of members of the parliament are dictated by a much more complex array of preferences. One of which is the institution of the political party.
Inflation in Iran is set to climb a marginal amount (from 10.2% to 10.9%) in Rouhani’s second term. Iran’s cash economy seems to be one of the biggest reasons why the country struggles to keep inflation in check. Their central bank has to keep up the supply of money in the economy to ensure that it satisfies all potential transactions, and this can lead to inflation if left unchecked. The central bank is also looking to manage the interest rate so that they can manage the balance between investment and inflation.
Scotland and Catalan are both countries within countries. Or at the very least that’s how the local population predominantly feels. They have both tried to hold referendums in the past. Article focuses on why the referendum attempts that they might attempt in the future need the support of the British and Spanish governments, even if it is by coercion.
Israel has removed the metal railings at the Al-Aqsa mosque. They removed the metal detectors on Tuesday. According to an Al Jazeera reporter, this is a very people centric movement and is not directly influenced by any political organization (read: Hamas). I posted a video of the protests outside the Al Aqsa mosque which was essentially Muslims praying on the street. Though, there has been media of major unrest around the area.
Iran is significantly important in the world at this moment. Back before the nuclear deal, Iran was just one bit of the “axis of evil”. The nuclear deal and the restrain that Iran and the United States showed in reaching it, changed all that. Iran sort of came out of the shadows of the world. Sort of. The problem is, with an Iran that could work with nuclear fuel came fear from majority Sunni Gulf States and Israel. The article details how the Iran issue is driving them together. This is a good example of how something can make it seem like there’s some modicum of co-operation, but it’s really more of an alliance of convenience. I think that if the Gulf States and Israel do come closer solely on the basis of the Iran issue, it would be like if you got married to someone just for the sex. Eventually you realize that it’s not enough. There needs to be much wider engagement between the two blocs.
Skinny Repeal is essentially the only thing that the Republicans can get enough numbers behind to pass. Anything else is way too radical. All of them know that they would be impaled by their constituents if they repealed Obamacare wholesale. Not to knock Obamacare, but at this point of time, it really does not matter if Obamacare is the most splendid healthcare bill on the planet. As long as it does a half decent job and people perceive it as kind of fair, it’ll be nearly impossible to repeal. Healthcare and other government services are kind of like that. They’re massive and have such enormous amounts of inertia that it becomes political suicide to touch them.
The internet was around a long time before 1995, but it started to experience 100% growth year upon year from 1995 onwards. That’s the year Netscape was introduced. With respect to the article, I don’t think bitcoin has really had its Netscape moment yet, but time will tell.
Yemeni Houthi’s launched a Burkan-2 ballistic missile at an oil refinery in the city of Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia. The Ansar Allah website declared that this was a new phase in the conflict, though details as to what that means are still in the offing.
“The Burkan-2 ballistic missile, which is akin to a Scud, is a relatively new missile design for the Yemeni rebel group. The Burkan-1 was introduced last year with a reported range to hit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, approximately 800km away. Yanbu, however, sits 300km north of Jeddah. This indicates a longer range for the Burkan-2 missile.”
Turkey’s EU Minister has said that easing tension between the EU and Turkey is of significant importance. His call for a revival of ties comes as Ankara and Berlin have ramped up their offense against the other.
“Turkey will be represented by Çelik and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the political dialogue meeting, which EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn will also attend.”
The elephant in the room will be Turkey’s anti-terror law and its treatment of human rights activists.
A former Army Captain on Dunkirk and how watching this particular movie and engaging with more cinema that deals with issues that affect soldiers could be significantly important to a generation that is so far removed from the horrors of war as we knew it. With a possible military surge immanent under Trump, she feels that these are questions we need to ask.
Al- Aqsa Agitation
Video that is allagedly from Al- Aqsa mosque. Shows a Israeli officer kicking a Muslim protestor.
A bill that is to be proposed in the United States Congress is all set to sanction Russia for meddling in the 2016 Presidential elections. The article explores what an incredibly difficult position this puts Trump in. What compounds the situation is that he has repeatedly maintained that the meddling did not actually occur. You can’t engage with something that you have maintained does not exist.
Democrats have consistently let down the people of the United States. I get that they are trying to carve out an economic and social space for themselves and stand for something other than opposing Donald Trump, but general statements will only make things worse. Once again, the Democrats seem like a party without a strong message, and a conflicted leadership that is too far removed from middle America.
On China and how the Chinese government’s use of soft power could be beneficial in creating an idea of Chinese society in the minds of the world.
“In 2013, Joseph Nye, the originator of the concept of soft power, chastised the Chinese government for relying solely on state-sponsored programs to expand China’s cultural influence. China, Nye wrote, was making “the mistake of thinking that government is the main instrument of soft power,” rather than recognizing that more lasting influence comes from civil society.
On a more irreverent note, the CCTV facebook page is awash with pictures of pandas. They do use the panda well, as something that represents the country. I’m not sure how ethical loaning animals is.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”