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 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.

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

Gaming

Kotaku

Survival games are a lot of fun. I can’t afford to buy any so I end up watching playthroughs on Youtube a lot. What the author writes about survival games is something that struck me too. All of them are so focused on other facets of the ecosystem surrounding the player (he mentions dinosaurs and magic as examples), that they forget that we are human beings (mostly) who are playing the game, and that there needs to be a focus on the nuts and bolts of survival for players to start to form an emotional connection to the character.

ARK Survival Game (Image Source: Flickr)
ARK Survival Game (Image Source: Flickr)

Tech

Motherboard

I guess nobody really thought that voting machines were impenetrable. Like the article mentions, shouldn’t we be paying more attention to the actual hacks (that were on organizations and their databases).

United Kingdom

LSE Blog

Cities will be hit hardest by Brexit. This makes sense to me. The biggest fear in all this is that London will cease to be a hub for financial services. What makes it worse is that there are cities that are in the EU that can make use of the time that Britain takes to exit the union to shift bases of operation. Not a perfect answer to what’s going to happen, but it’s something. The article also mentions that though it might be intuitive to see that the hardest hit portions would be those that wanted to remain, the effects of this will eventually spread farther. Like during the financial crisis.

July 27th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Society

Consumerist

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.

Right Wing

Acting Man

Person who claims that the British were the best thing to happen to India. Real Uncle Tom vibes from this one.

Rightly Considered

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.

UK

SPERI

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.

LSE Blog

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.

Iran

Al Monitor via The Iran Project

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 & Catalan

Fair Observer

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.

Catalan National Day (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Catalan National Day (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Media

YouTube via Long War Journal

Watch an Al- Qaeda affiliated organization along the Syria-Lebanon border shoot down an armed Hezbollah drone. The drone is seen dropping its payload at various locations, before being shot down.

Israel

Al Jazeera

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.

Middle East

National Interest

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.

United States

Vox

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.

Tech

Zero Hedge

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.

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.”