Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe unleashed a storm of brutal, genocidal violence after losing the 2008 elections — and now we know that it was funded by western hedge-funds and banks, led by Och-Ziff Capital Management, the largest publicly traded fund, with assistance from Blackrock, GLG…
"According to the report, chair production can cease entirely with no negative consequences for American consumers, as the many good chairs now on store shelves and available at garage sales are sufficient to satisfy the country’s seating requirements for the immediate future."
Amusing. And a good reminder that so many existing items can be found in second-hand shops and/or in antique stores, listed on Craigslist, Freecycle, eBay, and even found in many of your friends’ homes and/or those of family members (“hi, Dad!”); so why would consumers need to buy newly made merchandise?!
Clay Shirky has some some truths: “Maybe 25 year olds will start demanding news from yesterday, delivered in an unshareable format once a day. Perhaps advertisers will decide ‘Click to buy’ is for wimps. Mobile phones: could be a fad. After all, anything could happen with print. Hard to tell, really.”
Bit worrying seeing this trend combined with the growth in ‘native advertising’ (aka camouflaged paid advertorials) - watch this from John Oliver:
I think this is a deeply flawed way of looking at the world.
Now, I have talked about Ferguson, and I’ve talked about Gaza. (In fact, I’ve been writing and talking about Israel and Palestine for more than a decade.) But there are many important problems facing the world that I haven’t talked about: I haven’t talked much about the civil war in South Sudan, or the epidemic of suicide among American military personnel, or the persecution of Muslim Rohingya people in Myanmar.
Is that okay? Is it okay for me to talk about, say, racism in football and lowering infant mortality in Ethiopia? Or must we all agree to discuss only whatever is currently the ascendant news story? Is it disrespectful to Ferguson protesters to talk about continued political oppression in Egypt now that we are no longer reblogging images of the protests in Tahrir Square? I think this is a false choice: If you are talking about Ferguson and I am talking about Ethiopian health care, neither of us is hurting the other.
I think the challenge for activists and philanthropists online is in paying sustained attention, not over days or weeks but over years and decades. And I worry that when we turn our attention constantly from one outrage to another we end up not investing the time and work to facilitate actual change. We say “THE WORLD IS WATCHING,” and it is…until it isn’t. We’ve seen this again and again in Gaza and the West Bank. We’re seeing it in Iran. We’re seeing it in South Sudan. And we’re seeing it in the U.S., from net neutrality to Katrina recovery.
The truth is, these problems are complicated, and when the outrage passes we’re left with big and tangled and nuanced problems. I feel that too often that’s when we stop paying attention, because it gets really hard and there’s always a shiny new problem somewhere else that’s merely outrageous. I hope you’re paying attention to Ferguson in five years, anon, and I hope I am, too. I also hope I’m paying attention to child death in Ethiopia. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive.
I really don’t want to minimize the effectiveness of online activism, because I know that it works: To use a personal example, I’ve learned a TON from the LGBT+ and sexual assault survivor communities in recent years online. People on tumblr make fun of me for apologizing all the time, but I apologize all the time because I am learning all the time, and every day I’m like, “Oh, man, Current Me has realized that Previous Me was so wrong about this!”
But we can only learn when we can listen. And when you call me a hypocrite for talking about X instead of talking about Y, it makes it really hard to listen.
At times, online discourse to me feels like we just sit in a circle screaming at each other until people get their feelings hurt and withdraw from the conversation, which leaves us with ever-smaller echo chambers, until finally we’re left only with those who entirely agree with us. I don’t think that’s how the overall worldwide level of suck gets decreased.
I might be wrong, of course. I often am. But I think we have to find ways to embrace nuance and complexity online. It’s hard—very, very hard—to make the most generous, most accepting, most forgiving assumptions about others. But I also really do think it’s the best way forward.
Iceland made history this week, but not in a good way. For the first time since the nation became an independent republic, armed police shot and killed a man, startling a population accustomed to peace.
It’s the first time someone has been killed by armed police in Iceland since it became an independent republic in 1944. Police don’t even carry weapons, usually. Violent crime in Iceland is almost non-existent.
"The nation does not want its police force to carry weapons because it’s dangerous, it’s threatening," Arnorsdottir says. "It’s a part of the culture. Guns are used to go hunting as a sport, but you never see a gun."
In fact, Iceland isn’t anti-gun. In terms of per-capita gun ownership, Iceland ranks 15th in the world. Still, this incident was so rare that neighbors of the man shot were comparing the shooting to a scene from an American film.
The Icelandic police department said officers involved will go through grief counseling. And the police department has already apologized to the family of the man who died — though not necessarily because they did anything wrong.
"I think it’s respectful," Thora Arnorsdottir, news editor at RUV, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service says, "because no one wants to take another person’s life. "
Breathtaking The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings illustration by Jian Guo also known as breathing2004
|—||Scott Woods (via nyctaeus)|
Tony Lawson, reader in economics at the University of Cambridge, argues that the 90%+ of economics taught in the Western world that is based on mathematical modelling is useless. He argues that it not only fails to provide insight into social reality, it obstructs other attempts to provide insight.
This presentation was given as part of a seminar entitled ‘Confronting mathematical modelling in economics’, which took place on 26th March 2014. This seminar was part of the Bloomsbury Confrontations seminar series organised by Better Economics UCLU. More info is available here: bettereconomicsuclu.tumblr.com.
Many thanks for Kaiying Yang for producing this video.
image of the week: look there’s gaping ocean between South Korea and China.. oh wait, that’s actually North Korea and it is freaking dark in the night when photographed from the ISS. [credit: NASA]
Crinkle-Crankle wall, England. (From Wiki)
The crinkle crankle wall economizes on bricks, despite its sinuous configuration, because it can be made just one brick thin. If a wall this thin were to be made in a straight line, without buttresses, it would easily topple over. The alternate convex and concave curves in the wall provide stability and help it to resist lateral forces.
Both crinkle and crankle are defined as something with bends and turns (Webster’s), but the term is also thought to come from Old English meaning zig-zag.
Many crinkle-crankle walls are found in the Fen Country of East Anglia.
[There are some in the States too: Thomas Jefferson (1743 to 1826) incorporated so-called serpentine walls into the architecture of the University of Virginia, which he founded. Flanking both sides of its landmark rotunda and extending down the length of the lawn are 10 pavilions, each with its own walled garden separated by crinkle crankle walls.]
Mind blown. This wavy wall actually reduces the amount of bricks required in construction.
This may be the ultimate unconsumption challenge: Can something useful be done with the reported “5.6 trillion used cigarettes,” or filters from smoked cigarettes, more properly, that smokers discard annually? That’s said to add up to 766,571 metric tons of waste material
Motherboard reports that “a group of South Korean scientists recently published a study that proposes a one-step process to turn nasty ol’ flicked butts into something useful—like coating the electrodes of supercapacitors.”
The team from Seoul National University sees, if not beauty in trash, then at least some utility. They found that the cellulose acetate fibers that cigarette filters are made of could be turned into a carbon-based coating for the electrochemical components of supercapacitors.
[These] store extremely large amounts of electrical energy for things like backing up batteries, handling the fluctuating demands of laptops, storing the regenerative electrical power from electric cars’ brakes—all sorts of stuff.
Read more about it here: The Quest To Turn Littered Cigarette Butts into Something Useful | Motherboard
Used cigarette filters are composed largely of cellulose acetate. They are disposable, non-biodegradable, toxic and are a threat to the environment after usage. However, it has been reported that cellulose acetate can be directly utilized in the production of carbon materials containing a meso-/micropore structure by only a carbonization process . That is, used cigarette filters could be used as a proper carbon source for supercapacitors. Importantly, carbonizing used cigarette filters in a nitrogen-containing atmosphere could provide the nitrogen doping on the carbon structure with the formation of such unique pore structures in a one-step process.
(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has executed at least 19 people since August 4, 2014. Local news reports indicate that eight of those executed were convicted of nonviolent offenses, seven for drug smuggling and one for sorcery.
19 people beheaded in 17 days… and it’s not by ISIS.
These are our allies, Saudi Arabia.