6.20.2017 Daily Links


  A Thought for the Day   

We all make contracts—with ourselves, significant and less intimate others, with whatever expression of a godly All-That-Is that most of us hold in our consciousness of things—promises that establish a complex skein of responsibility and transgression that may never be possible fully to evaluate, at the same time that two points of view must form a large part of any appraisal of such matters, number one that the potential must exist, for no reason whatsoever other than firm and clear inclination, for any actor to change his mind, for any participant to alter her beliefs, and number two, and more in tune with rational thought, that an ongoing assessment of the costs and benefits of a particular promissory context must allow an out for any avowal that fundamentally ruins the promiser’s life or otherwise destroys the potential humanity that must form the foundation for honoring commitments in the first place—in regard to the first of these, one might nod at the proliferation and basic justice and decency of no-fault divorce statutes, while in relation to the second, one can clearly see the applicability of these precepts to religious devotees who have discovered a particular partner who invalidates otherwise dearly held, even sacrosanct, vows of celibacy.

 This Day in History

Today around the globe, quite pertinently, is World Refugee Day; as Roman imperial power declined and imploded fifteen hundred and sixty-six years ago, the fighters of Flavius Aetius grappled with the forces of Attila the Hun at the Battle of Chalons, in what is now France, the Romans sanguine to declare ‘victory’ when Attila’s troops temporarily withdrew; just three years shy of eight centuries subsequently, in 1248, a first intellectual bastion of a lineal descendant of Roman imprimatur, Oxford University, obtained a Royal Charter in Norman England; in a sort of ‘reverse crusade’ three hundred eighty-six years before this point in time, the Irish town of Baltimore suffered a sacking at the hands of wide ranging Algerian pirates; two years beyond nine decades after that, in 1723, a male child came into our midst in standard fashion who would become the philosopher and thinker, in a sense a kind of ‘grandfather of sociology,’ Adam Ferguson; thirty years more in the direction of today, in 1756, British East India Company military faced the horrors of the black hole of Calcutta when temporarily ascendant Indian forces captured them;  MORE HERE

    Doc of the Day    

1. Eugene Debs, 1893.
2. Anne Hollander, 1965.
3. Richard Blanton, 1997.

Numero Uno — “The Senate of the United States appointed a select committee to  investigate and report to the senate the facts in relation to the employment, for private purposes, of armed bodies of men or detectives in connection with differences between employers and employees.
This select committee has made its report, which shows that the
committee examined fourteen different witnesses on the thug side of the question, including the Pinkertons themselves, and with regard to the Homestead infamy, the part played by the thugs, H. C. Frick, the murderous monster and pimp of Carnegie, and Bob Pinkerton, were examined, and eight other witnesses. The committee, in examining questions directly bearing upon labor and labor strikes, called in 17 witnesses. Four witnesses were examined upon questions relating to the power of the courts to interfere to prevent labor strikes, and fifteen witnesses were examined upon the subject of arbitration and other matters of inquiry proper for the committee to pursue. MORE HERE

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Interesting People Places Things of Note

Manifesting a New Popular Front

A Nation look at the work and motivations of an intriguing activist and intellectual: Even in a world tightly trussed by neoliberal dogma and basted by surges of populist anti-elitism, the role of the left intellectual has lost none of its fascination. … Few figures in the second half of the 20th century fit the romantic version of this profile better than the British historian E.P. Thompson. In the United States, Thompson probably remains best known as the author of The Making of the English Working Class, an indisputable classic of modern historiography and the founding document of a whole school of radical social history in the 1960s and ’70s. But such historical work constituted only one strand of Thompson’s career. No less important were his roles as an activist, polemicist, and writer—though in practice his abundant, restless talents could never be neatly divided or pigeonholed in this way.”

Writers Tools Issues 

Investigative Project Management Tools

A Poynter  post that provides many helpful tools for writers and investigators: “Investigative reporting requires that you create a plan. Typically, it’s a series of four lists of things you need to do, along with an initial schedule. The lists will change — and often grow — and the schedule may change, but you need to start with a plan to keep yourself organized.” 

Recent Events

Southern Baptist White Supremacy Imbroglio

An Atlantic look at some of the longstanding social conflicts inherent in the Southern Baptist Church as they unfold at this time: “The Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting turned chaotic in Phoenix this week over a resolution that condemned white supremacy and the alt-right. On Tuesday, leaders initially declined to consider the proposal submitted by a prominent black pastor in Texas, Dwight McKissic, and only changed course after a significant backlash. On Wednesday afternoon, the body passed a revised statement against the alt-right. But the drama over the resolution revealed deep tension lines within a denomination that was explicitly founded to support slavery.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Math as Biowar Weapon

A Conversation article that examines the role that math and science have on the war against the ravages of disease: “Biological systems are often classified as “complex”. …This biocomplexity has often been mistaken for vitalism, the misconception that biological processes are dependent on a force or principle distinct from the laws of physics and chemistry. Consequently, it has been assumed that complex biological systems are not amenable to mathematical treatment. 

There were some early dissenters. Famous computer scientist and World War II code-breaker Alan Turing was one of the first to suggest that biological phenomena could be studied and understood mathematically. In 1952 he proposed a pair of beautiful mathematical equations which provide an explanation for how pigmentation patterns might form on animals’ coats.”