6.09.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

The entire standard operation procedure, and one would therefore surmise at least one primary purpose, of contemporary popular culture appears to entail the numbing, dumbing down, or even the elimination of creative and critical faculties of members of mass audiences that imbibe or otherwise partake of standard fare in the form of video games, broadcast television, ‘mainstream’ feature films and other mediated extravaganzas, a dynamic at once crazed, bizarre, self-destructive, and totally in keeping with maintaining both profitability and control on the part of a coterie of aristocratic and plutocratic gangsters whose inherited plunder and nepotistic sinecures basically assure mandated monopolies’ continuity until working people organize to enforce different political and economic relations generally.

  Quote of the Day  

The labor unions are group efforts in the direction of democracy. Like the political efforts in the same direction, they become many times stultified and lead up blind alleys. But the effort creates power. While the economic gains are themselves important and are measures of strength, the significance of the labor union is its assertion of the manhood of labor.

HELEN MAROT, American Labor Unions

 This Day in History

Twenty-four and a quarter centuries  and a year ago, a brief coup against Athenian ‘democratic’ rule established an oligarchy in place of Greece’s very limited democracy; nineteen hundred forty-nine years before this moment, Nero committed suicide, quoting Homer’s Iliad as he prepared to kill himself and encourage Rome’s descent into civil war; twelve hundred and ninety-six years ahead of today, fighters under the leadership of Odo of Aquitaine defeated a Moorish invading force at Toulouse; just a year more than a quarter century later, in 747, further unrest in the Mediterranean Levant occurred when Abu Muslim Khorasani rose up against the Umayyad rule as part of the Abbasid revolt; MORE HERE

    Doc of the Day    

1. Charles Dickens, 1842.
2. Miguel Angel Asturias, 1967.
3. Eric Hobsbawm, 2009.

Numero Uno“Before leaving Boston, I devoted one day to an excursion to Lowell.  I assign a separate chapter to this visit; not because I am about to describe it at any great length, but because I remember it as a thing by itself, and am desirous that my readers should do the same.I made acquaintance with an American railroad, on this occasion, for the first time.  As these works are pretty much alike all through the States, their general characteristics are easily described.

MORE HERE

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SEARCHDAY"commons versus property" OR "critique of private property" OR "problems with private property" OR "corruption of private property" OR "alternatives to private property" = 351,000 Results.

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                    Nearly Naked Links               

From Thursday’s Files

Berry Farming Assessments –
http://bittersoutherner.com/leveling-the-field-for-family-farms-wendell-berry-institute

High Fructose Corn Syrup Research –
https://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/food-agriculture/high-fructose-corn-syrup-your-health

Gloria Steinem on Handmaid’s Tale –
http://www.earlybirdbooks.com/gloria-steinem-on-the-handmaids-tale/

MORE HERE

Interesting People Places Things of Note

Roy’s Powerful Return to Fiction

A New Yorker look at the new work of an impactful and honest writer: “Arundhati Roy’s “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” (Knopf) is a book that people have been waiting twenty years for. In the late nineteen-nineties, when Roy was in her thirties, she did some acting and screenwriting—she had married a filmmaker, Pradip Krishen—but mostly, she says, she made her living as an aerobics instructor. She had also been working on a novel for five years. In 1997, she published that book, “The God of Small Things.” Within months, it had sold four hundred thousand copies and won the Booker Prize, which had never before been given to a non-expatriate Indian—an Indian who actually lived in India—or to an Indian woman. Roy became the most famous novelist on the subcontinent, and she probably still is, which is a considerable achievement, given that, after “The God of Small Things,” she became so enmeshed in the politics of her homeland that, for the next two decades, she didn’t produce any more fiction.”

Writers Tools Issues 

Apt Advice From Jamaica Kincaid

A Lit Hub look at the wise words of a timely and wise novelist: “Today, the brilliant writer Jamaica Kincaid turns 68. Kincaid, I shouldn’t have to tell you, is an Antiguan-American writer known primarily for her novels and her nonfiction (much of the latter about gardening), whose short story “Girl” has been widely anthologized and taught in countless writing classrooms (including several of my own, both as student and instructor). She has always struck me as a fearless, clear-eyed writer, with a pure approach to her craft and an irreverent, passionate take on life. Obviously, we should all be more like her. To mark Kincaid’s birthday—though honestly, this is a gift to all of us, not to her—I’ve collected some of her words of wisdom on how to live well and how best to go about the strange business of being a writer.”

General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues

Resisting Confirmation Bias

A Farnam Street look at the utility of actively seeking out content, knowledge, and ideas that go beyond our preconceived or preordained ambits of experience: “Why we use this cognitive shortcut is understandable. Evaluating evidence (especially when it is complicated or unclear) requires a great deal of mental energy. Our brains prefer to take shortcuts. This saves the time needed to make decisions, in particular when under pressure. As many evolutionary scientists have pointed out, our minds are unequipped to handle the modern world. For most of human history, people experienced very little information during their lifetimes. Decisions tended to be survival based. Now, we are constantly receiving new information and have to make numerous complex choices each day. To stave off overwhelm, we have a natural tendency to take shortcuts.”

Recent Events

Interpreting Assange’s Victimization

A Consortium News post that evaluates ‘what now’ for Assange, as well as why he’s in the predicament he finds himself: ” The long legal ordeal of Julian Assange – and the continuing threats against the WikiLeaks founder – make a mockery of the West’s supposed commitment to press freedom and the public’s right to know, as Marjorie Cohn explains.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Conversations about ‘Curtains’

An Edge look at evolution, science, technology, AI, and the myriad ways we could keep the show going in spite of earthly catastrophes: ” Stephen Jay Gould […] thought if you were to rerun evolution, and if the dinosaurs hadn’t been wiped out, then you might end up with a different biosphere with no intelligent life. Ernst Mayr thought the same thing. Others somehow feel that the evolution of life is going to be rather like what happened on Earth, that something will emerge with intelligence. Even though we’re completely uncertain, it’s such a fascinating question that it’s worth using every possible effort to see if we can find evidence for something artificial—something beeping, some apparent artifact or something that could not be natural. That’s why I’m very keen to support Yuri Milner, a Russian investor who has put a substantial sum of money, $10 million a year for ten years, into the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. This will allow a much deeper search than has been done in the past.”