A Thought for the Day
The easiest thing in the world is often enough to imagine that the bounty of our current standard operations justifies proceeding on our present path, at once promising plenty from science and technology and undermining all critique, from the most esoteric and erstwhile spiritual caviler to the most materialistic and purportedly dialectical complainant: indeed, much of the public relations industry operates to affirm how simple pretending and make believe are to sell; on closer examination, quickly and obviously in the event, the relentless physical toxicity of the present pass first of all clearly guarantees a Fukushima or Hiroshima sort of meltdown if we continue on this course of producing more and more and more of everything except the useful items and healing relations that we need, while second of all the psychic and emotional toll of today’s SOP promises ever more blunting of the life force, whether these blunt force impacts take the form of hypermedicated masses or suicidal individual behavior that increases over time in extent to the extent that anyone at all might immolate himself, or annihilate herself, at any moment of any day—in manifesting this subversion of abundance, this visceral evisceration of the altogether natural longing for ‘security’ and adequacy in terms of basic necessities, contemporary political economies and sociopolitical interactions inevitably seem perverse and cruel even as people daily struggle to find a way out of the trap toward each other in a fashion that rewards mutuality and mandates collectivity.
Dying is something we human beings do continuously, not just at the end of our physical lives on this earth.
This Day in History
Today in Ukraine is Independence Day, when the nation declared its complete independence from Soviet control, and this evening in Uruguay is Nostalgia Night; in what is now Algeria, along the Bagradas River, two thousand sixty-six years ago, Roman imperial forces that sought to dispose of Rome’s African colonies as Caesar dictated faced a crushing defeat at the hands of Numidian fighters who wanted to order matters differently; more or less a century and twenty-eight years after that bloody set of facts, in 79, the volcano Vesuvius erupted to catastrophic effect on the other side of the Mediterranean; MORE HERE
energy OR electricity "nuclear fuel cycle" OR "nuclear power plants" versus OR "compared to" OR "contrasted with" solar OR renewable OR wind cost risk fraud OR corruption OR "influence peddling" OR "hidden agendas" history OR origins analysis = 1,390,000 results
Interesting People Places Things of Note
A Philosophical Saloon article that looks at the newest commodity fetish that seeks to solve a problem through the commodity nexus: “Fidgeting may indeed make workers and students more efficient, but only if their work and learning requires only attentiveness in place of creative thought. Cleaning up code and mining data sets, responding formulaically to formulaic emails, memorizing lists of science-textbook information: these tasks, since they demand us to abandon originality in favor of robotic accuracy, are most easily imperiled by any distractedness in the worker. And by reducing the stress we (understandably) feel when we’re reduced to performing such mechanical tasks, fidget toys can help us stay happier and healthier for longer. I’d say it’s a win-win for the managerial class, but they’re probably busy fidgeting away their despair and frustration as well.”
Writers Tools Issues
An Understanding Society look at an intensive philosophical workshop that can be of interested to scrappy scribes: “The critical realism network in North America is currently convened in Montreal in a three-day intensive workshop (link). In attendance are many of the sociologists and philosophers who have an active interest in critical realism, and the talks are of genuine interest. A session this morning on pragmatist threads of potential interest to critical realists, including Mead, Abbott, and Elias, was highly stimulating. And there are 29 sessions altogether — roughly 85 papers. This is an amazing wealth of sociological research.”
General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues
A Scholarly Kitchen look at the role of corporate money and agendas on research: “Fast-forward a decade or more and many changes in how academic research (and academia itself) is funded, how government supports scientific researchers, and how tenure tracks and academic lifestyles are managed, and we find an environment in which 65.2% of funding of research comes from business, according to the 2016 Science & Engineering Indicators from the National Science Board, with 26.7% of research funding comes from government. This represents a slow reversal over the past 40 years, where the two lines intersected as business’ share of R&D expenditures climbed and government’s fell. Now, business funds nearly 3x as much research as the government.”
A Pro Publica post that contextualizes recent tragic events in Charlottesville: “Hate crimes and bias incidents are a national problem, but there’s no reliable data on the nature or prevalence of the violence. We’re collecting and verifying reports to create a national database for use by journalists, researchers and civil-rights organizations.”
General Past & Present Issues
A Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist essay that looks at the ongoing significance of the tragic bomb deployment against the citizens of Japan: “The design for the first atomic bomb was frighteningly simple: One lump of a special kind of uranium, the projectile, was fired at a very high speed into another lump of that same rare uranium, the target. When the two collided, they began a nuclear chain reaction, and it was only a tiny fraction of a second before the bomb exploded, forever splitting history between the time before the atomic bomb and the time after.”