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This Day in History
Today in Hungary is Inventor’s Day; in an arguably revolutionary development in human history, and almost certainly in ‘Western’ history, three years more than seventeen centuries ago, Emperor Constantine, the Great, and his co-emperor Licinius signed the Edict of Milan, which putatively granted religious freedom everywhere in imperial Rome; a thousand sixty years subsequent to that momentous occasion, in 1373, the United Kingdom and Portugal initiated the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, which remains in effect today, the longest running such pact in the world; eight years beyond that coalition, in 1381, England’s small farmers and untitled country folk arose in the Peasants’ Revolt, which culminated in the burning of Savoy Palace and some modicum of both butchery and reform; a hundred thirty-three years onward from that, in 1514, the world’s first thousand ton warship glided into the water at England’s Woolwich Dockyard; more here
A Thought for the Day
Canvases or pages for representation or narrative arise everywhere: driftwood, for instance, beaver-bitten, human-hewn, or merely shaped by calamity and gravity and wind and water and stone into the classic shapes of daggers and handles or panels or blocks of one sort or another, these forms are not what most passers-by would consider prepossessing, often stuck in muck, covered with dirt and detritus, or moldy and buggy on the surface, exemplifying nature’s sculpted forms, from beasts to short-swords, in appearance often both common and homely; yet one might beg to differ, since a collection of samples of such items, cleaned, sanded, shaved, developed like made-up faces so as to be more presentable, left to sit and gather their underlying themes, one might listen for what each one has to say until a semblance of sense emerges from a piece and the potential takes tangible form for craft & wisdom, and, just possibly, art.
"ruling class" communication OR engagement OR meetings OR planning OR groups bilderberg OR cfr OR "council on foreign relations" OR "bohemian grove" OR "trilateral commission" OR davos OR "world economic forum" analysis OR investigation history OR origins = 121,000 Results.
POLITICAL ECONOMIC CRISES LURK BEHIND OTHER PREDICAMENTS
A quartet of articulations to begin, with Michael Hudson and a powerful disquisition on the perfidy and putridity of neoliberalism on Naked Capitalism via the Real News Network, with an InternationalLabor Organization monograph that details the ‘race to the bottom’ of globalization next, a raw and bitingly sarcastic screed about work and jobs from Counterpunch to follow, and a powerful briefing from Dmitri Orlov at Information Clearinghouse to end, with simple advice to pay attention to scrappy scribes and stalwart citizens who want either to understand or have a chance to take meaningful action about crisis—all of which fits into a list of materials from the past few weeks, perhaps a tenth of a percent of what might deserve close attention in the realm of political economy, such as MORE HERE
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FUTURESCAPES WRITING CONTEST
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A Salon post by a thoughtful correspondent who informs us of HIllary’s true colours: “Wall Street has thrown its weight behind Hillary Clinton. Some of the biggest names in the U.S. right-wing establishment have also expressed support for her.
Another neocon added his name to the pro-Clinton list on Thursday. James Kirchick penned an op-ed in The Daily Beast titled “Hillary Clinton Is 2016’s Real Conservative — Not Donald Trump.””
A Common Dreams look at the increased bellicose actions of our current administration, by a fearless reporter: “Despite a vow to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2017, President Barack Obama this week veered the opposite direction, widening the U.S. military’s role in the entrenched, 15-years-long conflict.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday evening that the Obama administration’s new measures “authorize U.S. troops, stationed in Afghanistan on a dual training and counterterrorism mission, to begin accompanying conventional local forces on the battlefield in a way that now occurs only with elite Afghan forces.””
A National Science Foundation blog piece that looks at some scary amazing robots: “Biological inspiration for robot locomotion, control and design may save lives in disasters”
A Fusion look at a brave new experiment in managing the many problems of capitalism without having to resort to changing the means of production, and at the lucky recipients of the trial: “Universal basic income—the proposal that everyone be paid a flat wage by the government, regardless of their economic status—is getting lots of attention these days thanks to the looming threat of mass job losses to automation. This week, start-up incubator Y Combinator announced plans for a pilot program, in which it’ll give basic income to a test set of people in Oakland to see how it goes. Also this week a small collective in San Francisco raffled a one-year basic income package of $1,250 per month to a single winner, a man in Florida.”
A fascinating Melville Books piece that captures some of Wharton’s genius and literary contributions: “I feel bad about spending so much of this piece on Wharton talking about James. Hermione Lee, in her biography of Wharton, spends some pages exploring Wharton’s relationship to the older writer, suggesting that she often inverted or critiqued his plots and situations; she points out, for instance, that The Touchstone “turned The Aspern Papers on its head” in terms of the gender of the dead letter writer and the “publishing scoundrel” who seeks to expose them. This may be true, so far as situation and plot are concerned, but Lee doesn’t really address the question of style, which is where Wharton, it seems to me, is flat-out imitating James – and failing to reach his heights.”
An Ars Technica look at a fascinating new media product that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible yet again in regards to AI and creativity: ” You know it’s the future because H (played with neurotic gravity by Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch) is wearing a shiny gold jacket, H2 (Elisabeth Gray) is playing with computers, and C (Humphrey Ker) announces that he has to “go to the skull” before sticking his face into a bunch of green lights. It sounds like your typical sci-fi B-movie, complete with an incoherent plot. Except Sunspring isn’t the product of Hollywood hacks—it was written entirely by an AI. To be specific, it was authored by a recurrent neural network called long short-term memory, or LSTM for short. At least, that’s what we’d call it. The AI named itself Benjamin.”
A Salon look at studies that condemn the internet and digital media in regards to perpetuating dismal reading and writing skills: “The study found students who consume primarily digital content (such as Reddit and Buzzfeed) had the lowest writing complexity scores, while those who often read literature and academic journals had the highest levels of writing complexity.”
A New York Times post that looks at what it takes to ensure the security of the internet: ““We are living in the middle cyberage, the dark ages of cyber,” said Mr. Kaspersky, whose modest corner office with glass walls overlooks a stretch of canal and a boat club. He has longish salt-and-pepper hair, a trim beard and a ruddy, tanned complexion. “Right now, it is more functionality, more technology, more services, but not enough security.””
A Fusion look at the sad consequences for raw, honest, fearless media in regards to the recent bankrupcy of Gawker: “By filing for bankruptcy and announcing a stalking-horse bid from Ziff-Davis, Gawker has started the clock on an auction of all of its assets, which will be overseen by a bankruptcy court looking to maximize proceeds. In other words, this isn’t like Don Graham selling the Washington Post to a friendly Jeff Bezos, or Chris Hughes selling The New Republic to a friendly Win McCormack. This is a raw capitalist sale to the highest bidder, whomever that bidder might be; the court will pay no regard to whether or not the bidders are aligned with Gawker’s existing editorial policy.”
A Wall Street on Parade posting that looks at some of the things that occurred during the financial meltdown which are not widely known: “A little noticed 2008 email from former Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, raises serious questions about his official narrative on the collapse of Lehman Brothers. We’ll get to the email in detail, but first some necessary background. “