8.11.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

The inevitable decline of power and capacity that comes with age notwithstanding, life’s marvels maintain their mellifluous magic in relation to the psychic salutations that live in our heads till we gasp our very last agonal breaths on the beds of death’s final mercy, a happenstance which all and sundry face as the best possible case of existence’s terminal velocity; in this vein, the happiest sojourners on this trek through space and time revel in the simplest expressions of nature’s awesome array: how light’s luminosity and luster play with every surface that comes our way, how a lover’s tender touch ignites the fiery joyous rush of lusty abandon, how lungs’ forges and hearts’ pumping create the foundation for brains’ conscious consideration of all these matters in such a fashion as to choose hope and meaning despite the incalculable vastness and seeming void of most of what we can see and seek to understand in the inevitable mystery and mayhem of infinity’s inherent eternity.

  Quote of the Day  
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton

 This Day in History  

Today in Japan is Mountain Day; meanwhile, in ancient Central America five thousand one hundred thirty-one years ago, multiple pre-Columbian cultures innovated a calendar that some people would follow for millennia more; one thousand nine hundred and eleven years before the here and now, what has become modern Romania became one piece of the Roman Empire, Roman Dacia; five hundred forty-four years prior to the present pass, Ottoman forces won a decisive victory against the armies of Uzun Hassan, consolidating Ottoman rule in Southwest Asia; three hundred thirteen years subsequently, in 1786, British personnel established the imperial colony in Malaysia; one hundred nineteen years ahead of today, U.S. troops continued the conquest of Puerto Rico by taking over Mayaguez; twenty-one years hence, in 1919, the Weimar Constitution became the law of Germany, and Andrew Carnegie died; three hundred sixty-six days beyond that, in 1920, the Soviet Union signed a treaty granting Latvia independence in its civil war; another year further on, in 1921, the infant who became popular historian Alex Haley came into the world; thirteen years further in the future, in 1934, Alcatraz accepted the first civilian prisoners in San Francisco Bay;jail prison alcatraz three years even nearer to now, in 1937, acclaimed chronicler of the ruling class, Edith Wharton, breathed her last; half a decade subsequent to that juncture, in 1942, a famous actress and a composer patented a “frequency hopping spread spectrum,” which became the basis for wi-fi and other later breakthroughs; four years henceforth, in 1946, a baby girl drew her first breath who would make a mark on the world as the genius Marilyn vos Savant; sixty-seven years in advance of this moment in time, the baby who became the cofounder Apple Computer, Steve Wozniak, was born; six years later, in 1956, the king of artistic splatter, Jackson Pollock, splashed the canvas of his life with a final array; a mere year nearer to the here and now, in 1957, the baby boy was born who would come to be the playwright and storyteller of Asian America, David Henry Hwang; another half decade afterward, in 1962, a Russian cosmonaut became the first person to walk, or float, in space; three years even closer to today, in 1965, the Watts riots began in Los Angeles; seven years after that point, in 1972, the last U.S. combat units left Vietnam; three hundred sixty-five days more proximate still to the present pass, in 1973, the Jamaican American DJ, who went by the name Kool Herc, introduced techniques of ‘spinning’ records that became fundamental to Hip-Hop music; another six years on the path to now, in 1979, novelist and thinker, J.G. Farrell breathed his last just prior to Troubles, one of his works, receiving the Lost Man Booker Prize; thirty-three years prior to the present pass, Ronald Reagan joked as he prepared for a National Public Radio broadcast, “We begin bombing in five minutes;” fourteen years ago, NATO assumed nominal command of combat operations in Afghanistan, the first formal deployment of European ground troops outside Europe since World War Two; four years back, the union leader George Barasch died, three hundred sixty-five days beyond that point, in 2014, the iconic comic and thinker Robin Williams took his own life.

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 Interesting People Places Things of Note 

Humans, Curiouser and Curiouser

A Long Reads look at curiosity from a very curious human being:  “Livio’s latest book, Why?: What Makes Us Curious, is, by his own admission, the farthest afield from his usual subjects of study. But it’s no surprise that someone with as wide a scope of interests as Livio would want to know more about the nature of curiosity itself. We spoke by phone one Thursday morning in early June about what we know thus far about how curiosity works, the purpose it serves, and how to nurture curiosity in children. Livio also answered, with the patience and enthusiasm of an excellent teacher, my rudimentary questions about telescopes and astrophysics, and calmed the terror I feel when I think about how our universe is expanding into nothingness. “

 Writers Tools Issues 

Advocating Fairy Tales

A Lit Hub piece that looks at the literary and socially useful dimension of fairy tales: “It’s not that I want my daughter traumatized. (Nor will she be, as anyone who’s read their Bruno Bettelheim knows; “The child intuitively comprehends that although these stories are unreal, they are not untrue,” he writes in The Uses of Enchantment.) But I want us to stop pretending that if we say a thing is so, it must be so. We can write as many books as we want about heroine princesses conquering the world—and I welcome them—but it doesn’t stop women from being stalked, from being doxxed, from being harassed, silenced, raped, married off, targeted, kept fighting for our reproductive rights. It’s one thing to help our daughters understand that they have it within themselves to be smart, to be tough, to take on the world on their own terms. It’s another thing entirely to whitewash the very real difficulties they (and their mothers) almost certainly will face, regardless of how empowered they are. We are born into a certain world, and how we navigate that world is part spunk and part, frankly, wariness and warning.”

 General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues 

More on Media Censorship

A World Socialist Web Site look at new facebook censorship attempts: “Facebook announced Wednesday that it would open a new control centre in Essen with 500 employees. The number of workers responsible for censoring and checking content in Germany will almost double as a result. The company has thus far only one such centre in Berlin.

Facebook has gone to great lengths to cover up the work of the control centres. While the training documents and internal guidelines for the workers have been kept strictly secret, the company organised a tour of the Berlin centre for selected media outlets a month ago.”