August 22nd – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Ecuador

Ecuador Times

A public prosecutor has found evidence of criminal liability against VP Jorge Glas. However, he cannot be prosecuted without authorization from the legislature.

Society

Vox

Report hung out with Witches during the solar eclipse.

Salem Witch Trials (Image Source: WIki Commons)
Salem Witch Trials (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Philosophy

Philosophical Disquisitions

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.”

Public Policy

A Dragons Best Friend

A Cambridge citizen on the changing nature of his city and what on earth to do for kicks.

Security

Breitbart News

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.

August 12th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Guam

Daily Dot

The Government of Guam has issued a 2-page document that details what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

Kenya

Sputnik

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.

North Korean Conflict

Zero Hedge

Breitbart

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.

Society

Zero Hedge

The guy who wrote the diversity memo and got fired wrote an op-ed for WSJ. You can’t read the complete thing because you need an account, but the link above has a part of the article.

Immigration

Quillette

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.

Society

The Cut

Article on the politics of “blondeness.”

Legally Blonde - The Musical (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Legally Blonde – The Musical (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

August 12th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Religion

Jim Bakker Show via Right Wing Watch

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.

Klontzas Georgios - The Second Coming (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Klontzas Georgios – The Second Coming (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Society

Washington Post

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.”

Philosophy

Edward Feser

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.”

United States

Rewire News

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.

Media

Geographical Imaginations

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.

Korea

Vox

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.

August 11th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Algeria

Foreign Policy Association

Algeria’s problems when it comes to terrorist groups that reside on home soil, the threat of radicalization, and what can be done about it.

Pharmaceuticals

Slate Star Codex

A cautionary tale on nootropics.

United States

Splinter News

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.

Society

Vice

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.

Vice

An artist in New York who used Grindr to meet the subject of his sketches. Interesting read.

Tech

Motherboard

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.

Ride Share

Motherboard

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.

Security

Foxtrot Alpha

If North Korea pulls the trigger and attacks the waters off Guam, the missile path of the HS-12 will take it over Japan. That’s not going to end well, for anyone.

North Korea Army (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
North Korea Army (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Sexuality

Youtuber’s on what it means to identify as asexual.

Philosophy

Brain Pickings

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.”

August 10th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Right Wing

Right Wing Watch

Rick Joyner is a pastor who says that Trump is sensitive to the word of the Lord. He also says that there is hope since they now have the “most evangelical cabinet in U.S. history.”

Economics

Mainly Macro via Economists View

UK is an anomaly. Article has a chart form the FT about how GDP growth has been positive and real wage compound growth has dropped in the same period (post crisis). So, what gives?

Vox EU (CEPR Policy Portal) via Economists View

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.

Marxism

Stumbling and Mumbling via Economists View

How the authors version of socialism differs from the conventional statism that is often associated with it. Along the way he also argues from a smaller government.

Society

Louis Proyect

National anthems and their influence on the country. Author goes into when it first started being used as a proxy for getting crowds to conform and stand up.

Colin Kaepernick (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Colin Kaepernick (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

A Dragon’s Best Friend

On sustainable models of tourism in popular cities/towns. How to ensure that the citizens of a town get something out of it.

Vice

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.

Religion

Times of Israel

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.

Guam

Savage Minds

Guam has been in the headlines because North Korea threatened it. Guam has a huge US military presence. This is what inspired the threat.

August 9th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Religion

The Immanent Frame

On the politics of Islam in America, caught between the appropriation of the Liberal and the Conservative spheres.

Tech

The Daily Dot

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?

Finance

Center for Financial Inclusion

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.

Society

Vox

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).

Gizmodo

An alternative to the anti-diversity google memo. Article on how science has always been used to justify the men over women argument, apart from various other things.

Timeline

Fascinating article on an article who explores Greenwich in New York City and how the forces that forced the young, black, gay and homeless of Stonewall now own it. Did they win?

Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

United States

Vox

Article on the unprecedented ethical concerns that affect Trump and this administration.

War

USA Today

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.

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.