64 posts tagged with progress.
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Ice Bucket Challenge funds ALS Breakthrough

Want some good news for terrible times? It seems the Ice Bucket Challenge viral fundraiser for ALS research has yielded identification of a common gene amongst 15,000 ALS patients. It's still early days for this research, but it's progress: progress funded as the result of a viral phenomenon.
posted by hippybear on Jul 27, 2016 - 27 comments

"Now is not the time to despair, but to act."

Author Rebecca Solnit: "Hope is a​n embrace of the unknown​."
posted by zarq on Jul 20, 2016 - 5 comments

Trekonomics

The Economic Lessons of Star Trek's Money-Free Society - "[Manu Saadia] points to technologies like GPS and the internet as models for how we can set ourselves on the path to a Star Trek future. 'If we decide as a society to make more of these crucial things available to all as public goods, we're probably going to be well on our way to improving the condition of everybody on Earth', he says. But he also warns that technology alone won't create a post-scarcity future... 'This is something that has to be dealt with on a political level, and we have to face that.' " (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 21, 2016 - 102 comments

Sapiens 2.0: Homo Deus?

In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 24, 2016 - 23 comments

Redefining Wealth and Prosperity in the 21st Century

Kennedy was right - "Much that is valuable is neither tangible nor tradable... Gross domestic product (GDP) is increasingly a poor measure of prosperity. It is not even a reliable gauge of production."* [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 11, 2016 - 10 comments

WORLD OF TOMORROW

World After Capital by Albert Wenger [Work in Progress; GitHub; GitBook; PDF; FAQ] - "Technological progress has shifted scarcity for humanity. When we were foragers, food was scarce. During the agrarian age, it was land. Following the industrial revolution, capital became scarce. With digital technologies scarcity is shifting from capital to attention. World After Capital suggests ways to expand economic, informational and psychological freedom to go from an industrial to a knowledge society." (previously)
posted by kliuless on May 7, 2016 - 23 comments

A proper reckoning

Feminist economics deserves recognition - "In 2014 only 12% of American economics professors were female, and only one woman (Elinor Ostrom) has won the Nobel prize for economics.[1,2,3] But in terms of focus, economists have embraced some feminist causes. Papers abound on the 'pay gap' (American women earned 21% less than men for full-time work in 2014), and the extra growth that could be unlocked if only women worked and earned more. A recent paper, for instance, claimed that eliminating gender discrimination in Saudi Arabia could bring its GDP per person almost level with America's. (Feminists, of course, consider gender equality a worthy goal irrespective of its impact on GDP.) That raises a question. Does 'Feminist economics', which has its own journal, really bring anything distinctive?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2016 - 17 comments

Should 'adjustment' be the goal?

In a 'sick' society, sanity is relative - "Is it good to be 'well-adjusted' to rapacious capitalism and consumerism? What defines 'mental health' (or illness) in such a culture?" Is Humanity Getting Better?[1,2] (via)
posted by kliuless on Feb 21, 2016 - 23 comments

UBI in NYT

It's Payback Time for Women - "Society is getting a free ride on our unrewarded contributions to the perpetuation of the human race." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 11, 2016 - 79 comments

Faced with gaping moral and economic holes in society

Rewrite the rules to benefit everyone, not just the wealthy - "If there's one thing Joseph Stiglitz wants to say about inequality, it's that it has been a choice, not an unexpected, unfortunate economic outcome. That's unnerving, but it also means that citizens and politicians have the opportunity to fix the problem before it gets worse." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 11, 2015 - 112 comments

Basic Income: How to Fix a Broken Monetary Transmission Mechanism

FINLAND: New Government Commits to a Basic Income Experiment - "The Finnish government of Juha Sipilä is considering a pilot project that would give everyone of working age a basic income."[1,2,3] (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 4, 2015 - 24 comments

Why Do Activists Do What They Do?

How can climbing a flagpole or hanging from a bridge reform society or improve our political system? How can marching down the street with a cardboard sign that reads “Black Lives Matter” do anything other than disrupt traffic? Why do activists do what they do?
posted by aniola on Aug 21, 2015 - 43 comments

The Country's Largest Mental Health Hospital

The Cook County Jail, the nation's largest single site jail, recognizing that it handles the largest number of mentally ill people of any facility in the country, has been taking steps to help the mental ill in its cells. Last month, Nneka Jones Tapia, a clinical psychologist who previously ran the mental health program at the jail, was appointed as the executive director. Many of these improvements were put in place after a damning 2008 report by the US Department of Justice. Sheriff [more inside]
posted by Hactar on Aug 20, 2015 - 5 comments

After Capitalism, Humanism

Shared Prosperity, Common Wealth, National Equity and a Citizen's Dividend: Nirit Peled takes a look at social experiments in basic incomes for VPRO Tegenlicht, a Dutch public television documentary series. Starting with a German crowdfunded UBI chosen by raffle -- kind of like the opposite of Le Guin's Omelas (or Shirley Jackson's Lottery in reverse) -- the focus moves on to Albert Wenger who wants to disconnect work from income not only as automation progresses but to accelerate the process. Then it's on to Guy Standing who has conducted basic income experiments in India and Namibia (pdf) and is trying to get one off the ground in Groningen (Utrecht apparently is also a go). Finally, a stop in Alaska to ask some of its residents about their views on the state-owned Permanent Fund. This last part brings to mind the question: just what is wealth anyway? [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 2, 2015 - 7 comments

Delivery on time or your astronauts back.

The launch of Progress M-28M, now set for July 3rd, 2015, 0055 EDT has become critical to the sustained manning of the ISS. [more inside]
posted by eriko on Jun 29, 2015 - 65 comments

EQUAL · MARRIAGE · UNDER · LAW

Jim Obergefell and John Arthur had been together nearly two decades when John was stricken by terminal ALS. With their union unconstitutional in Ohio, the couple turned to friends and family to fund a medical flight to Maryland, where they wed, tearfully, on the tarmac [prev.]. After John's death, however, Jim found himself embroiled in an ugly legal battle with his native state over the right to survivor status on John's death certificate -- a fight he eventually took all the way to the Supreme Court. And that's how this morning -- two years after U.S. v. Windsor, a dozen after Lawrence v. Texas, and at the crest of an unprecedented wave of social change -- the heartbreaking case of Obergefell v. Hodges has at long last rendered same-sex marriage legal nationwide in a 5-4 decision lead by Justice Anthony Kennedy. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 26, 2015 - 1258 comments

How to fix inequality: Squash the finance industry and redistribute more

Joe Stiglitz on Inequality, Wealth, and Growth: Why Capitalism is Failing (video; if you don't have 30m, skip to 20m for discussion of political inequality, wealth, credit and monetary policy) - "If the very rich can use their position to get higher returns, more investment information, more extraction of rents, and if the very rich have equal or higher savings rates, then wealth will become more concentrated... economic inequality inevitably gets translated into political inequality, and political inequality gets translated into more economic inequality. The basic and really important idea here is that markets don't exist in a vacuum, that market economies operate according to certain rules, certain regulations that specify how they work. And those effect the efficiency of those markets, but they also effect how the fruits of the benefits of those markets are distributed and the result of that is there are large numbers of aspects of our basic economic framework that in recent years have worked to increase the inequality of wealth and income in our society... leading to a society which can be better described, increasingly, as an inherited plutocracy." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 2, 2015 - 27 comments

If productivity improves, that is morally good.

"But the problem runs much deeper, because Silicon Valley’s amorality problem arises from the implicit and explicit narrative of progress companies use for marketing and that people use to find meaning in their work. By accepting this narrative of progress uncritically, imagining that technological change equals historic human betterment, many in Silicon Valley excuse themselves from moral reflection. Put simply, the progress narrative short-circuits moral reflection on the consequences of new technologies."
posted by ignignokt on May 17, 2015 - 43 comments

"I don't want you to hate me, and I don't want you to disown me."

Oklahoma. This was a place where Kathryn's workplace had a cussing jar, a quarter per swear, and the words written on it, “Let Go and Let God.” Here, Christianity was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and Oklahoma football was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and people could be decent and kind and judgmental, sometimes all at once, which was why, when Tracy told some Rotary Club friends that she and Kathryn were getting married, she kept her eyes planted above their heads so she wouldn't have to look at their faces.
posted by Rhaomi on Jan 24, 2015 - 70 comments

Dealing with the transition to the information age

BIG and BOT Policy Proposals (transcript) - "Many of our current economic policies originated during times of scarcity. But now, says investor Albert Wenger, we live in an era of 'digital abundance', when creating new products costs virtually nothing. To adapt to the resulting economic upheavals, we won't need just more tech, says Wenger, but some strong policies. Here he explores two: basic income guarantee and the right to be represented by a bot." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 23, 2015 - 14 comments

The Tsunami: 10 Years Later

Today is the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that changed life in South and South East Asia. Aceh bore the heaviest losses and the ASEAN remembers the toll of destruction. This event changed the way global agencies coordinate large scale disaster relief. Many lessons were learnt. Other regions which felt the impact hold memorial services too.
posted by infini on Dec 26, 2014 - 24 comments

The Lasting Impact of World War I

"The Wall Street Journal has selected 100 legacies from World War I that continue to shape our lives today." You can sort according to your interest via the tabs at the top of the page. [Previously]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 27, 2014 - 13 comments

"It is at times difficult to see past the shrillness of the debate"

A federal judge in Oregon has overturned that state's ban on same sex marriage, opening the door for couples to begin getting married immediately. (PDF) [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 19, 2014 - 112 comments

Go Rams!

Michael Sam (previously), being the 249th draft pick, becomes a St. Louis Ram and the first openly gay man (and already endorsed) in the NFL.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 10, 2014 - 68 comments

Evenly distribute the future: Issuing more bio-survival tickets

VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2014 - 20 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

DOMA Unconstitutional, Yippie-Ki-Yay!

SCOTUS declares DOMA Unconstitutional, 5 - 4. The gay rights movement saw a significant victory at the Supreme Court Wednesday, where the justices struck down part of a law barring federal benefits to married same-sex couples. In a 5-4 ruling, the court struck down a provision of the 17-year-old Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal benefits -- like Social Security benefits or the ability to file joint tax returns - to same-sex couples legally married. The impact of the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor, is clear for the nation's approximately 130,000 married same-sex couples. Section 3 of the law, the provision that was struck down, denies same-sex couples federal benefits. That provision impacts around 1,100 federal laws, including veterans' benefits, family medical leave and tax laws.
posted by theora55 on Jun 26, 2013 - 761 comments

Answering Harvard’s question about my personal life, 52 years later

"In 1961, Phyllis Richman applied to graduate school at Harvard. She received a letter asking how she would balance a career in city planning with her 'responsibilities' to her husband and possible future family. Fifty-two years later, she responds." [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Jun 8, 2013 - 54 comments

Watching the world go by from orbit

Serene and hypnotizing video of a Russian Progress spacecraft docking with the International Space Station.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 10, 2013 - 16 comments

sea & sky

seaQuest: what if we could learn to live on/underneath the oceans (or in orbit)? [previously(er)] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 18, 2013 - 14 comments

Essay: Moral Shortcomings in the Technology Debate

Digital and genetic techniques increasingly influence life. Our belief in progress through technology stands in the way of a moral debate on this development. ~ by Rinie van Est
posted by infini on Jan 31, 2013 - 24 comments

the dawn of a Star Trek generation

In Praise of Leisure - "Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.' Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all... He thought this condition might be reached in about 100 years — that is, by 2030." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 22, 2012 - 117 comments

Where Do We Go From Here?

SF author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross talks about the future of "big idea" Science Fiction: If SF's core message (to the extent that it ever had one) is obsolete, what do we do next?
posted by The Whelk on May 23, 2012 - 71 comments

Kazakhstan and Beyond!

In Pictures: Star City and the Baikonur Cosmodrome
posted by Artw on May 17, 2012 - 24 comments

Marriage Suits Educated Women

Stephanie Coontz: The M.R.S. and the Ph.D. "Is this really the fate facing educated heterosexual women: either no marriage at all or a marriage with more housework and less sex? Nonsense. That may have been the case in the past, but no longer. For a woman seeking a satisfying relationship as well as a secure economic future, there has never been a better time to be or become highly educated... The most important predictor of marital happiness for a woman is not how much she looks up to her husband but how sensitive he is to her emotional cues and how willing he is to share the housework and child-care. And those traits are often easier to find in a low-key guy than a powerhouse." [more inside]
posted by flex on Feb 25, 2012 - 50 comments

What humans are doing in space these days

Hey, remember the ISS, that space station the Space Shuttle helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station for a bit. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 30, 2011 - 93 comments

The Future That Wasn’t

The past century . . . is rich with examples, both poignant and tragic, of technological possibilities not realized. On 1 September 1939, a decision was . . . taken by our species to spend five trillion dollars and expend ~72 million human lives. This decision was followed in 1947, and repeated at intervals until 1991, to expend an additional ~12 trillion dollars, and perhaps another 1-2 million human lives. . . . In the midst of the first of these costly escapades, on 15 March, 1944, the architect of the German V-2 rocket, Wernher von Braun, was arrested by the Gestapo on charges of high treason for having privately expressed regret, after dinner at a colleague’s home one evening the previous October, that he and his team were not working on a spaceship . . .
From a wide-ranging essay by Mike Darwin on the future that wasn’t. (Note: Site doesn't seem to display properly in Internet Explorer)
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jun 7, 2011 - 47 comments

Yay Carolyn! Yay GameSpot!

This week, Rockstar Games released L. A. Noire, a video game that's--perhaps not unusual for a Rockstar game--getting stellar reviews. One review, and one reviewer in particular, though stands out. Carolyn Petit, a new member of the staff at GameSpot, made her video game review debut yesterday. Carolyn is transgender. Note: if you're not a GameSpot member, you'll have to do an age check on the video [more inside]
posted by PapaLobo on May 17, 2011 - 117 comments

brittle efficiency and shallow triumphalism

Fareed Zakaria: Are America's Best Days Behind Us? - "We have an Electoral College that no one understands and a Senate that doesn't work, with rules and traditions that allow a single Senator to obstruct democracy without even explaining why. We have a crazy-quilt patchwork of towns, municipalities and states with overlapping authority, bureaucracies and resulting waste. We have a political system geared toward ceaseless fundraising and pandering to the interests of the present with no ability to plan, invest or build for the future. And if one mentions any of this, why, one is being unpatriotic, because we have the perfect system of government, handed down to us by demigods who walked the earth in the late 18th century and who serve as models for us today and forever. America's founders would have been profoundly annoyed by this kind of unreflective ancestor worship." [for/against]
posted by kliuless on Apr 17, 2011 - 93 comments

21st Century Vampires

True Blood: The First 21st Century Vampires. [Spoilers, Previously, Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 14, 2010 - 206 comments

Four Economic Benchmarks We Need Now

With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 13, 2010 - 15 comments

planning a revolution? contribute to greater net good by doing better

Moving beyond GDP for an information-based society - If indeed[1,2] "A 'Quantum Leap' in Governance" is needed[3] then, as part of the solution,[4] we might start looking past GDP[5,6] and perhaps more toward "betterness instead of business, pursue awesomeness instead of innovation — and maximize good, instead of quarterly profits..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 16, 2010 - 29 comments

Pessimism

Pandora, Prometheus, and Pessimism. "Pessimism deserves serious consideration in today’s culture of Oprah-quick-fix happiness, Prozac induced euphoria, and unjustified optimism for our species. Unlike Oprah and Prozac, pessimism is not easy to swallow. It is time we consider this tradition in a culture steeped in farcical, puerile conceptions of happiness; an environment where every person who is able to grin on a book-cover can tell us how to achieve happiness now; where angels or god or some other fairy-tale character cares about our actions in this world. Life is not a grand, heroic narrative with a happy ending. It is not a place where we are overcoming obstacles in order to achieve a time in our lives of perfect serenity. In order to combat such serious obstructions to clear-thought, boundaries to reality and gateways to delusion, pessimism can help us shape our thoughts on matters which resonate with all us rational, bipedal apes."
posted by homunculus on Apr 15, 2010 - 65 comments

"Real men marry women"

When Washington D.C. began licensing same-sex marriages last week, this story came out on the paper edition of the Washington Post with this photo on the front page. (WARNING: the photo depicts two men kissing) The paper received complaints from upset readers, some of whom canceled their Post subscription. Andrew Alexander, the Post's ombudsman, responds: "There was a time, after court-ordered integration, when readers complained about front-page photos of blacks mixing with whites. Today, photo images of same-sex couples capture the same reality of societal change."
posted by Baldons on Mar 10, 2010 - 86 comments

funemployment

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come. (via rw)
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2010 - 84 comments

American declinism

The End of Influence - the latest in a long series documenting the US' relative decline (esp wrt China 1 2 3 4 5) Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen reflect on what has brought us to our past, but now fast-fading glory: "Roosevelt's strategy [entering WW2] was to make Britain broke before American taxpayers' money was committed in any way to the fight against Hitler." Before delving into our present predicament, however, it might also be useful to briefly consider some of the lessons from Bretton Woods and what the wealth of nations is really built upon.
posted by kliuless on Jan 31, 2010 - 39 comments

George Soros on the Way Forward

Soros lectures
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2009 - 13 comments

Cost of a dozen eggs: $5.29

Evolution of the household 1950s to today, with values adjusted for inflation. (via Geek Press)
posted by caddis on Feb 10, 2009 - 49 comments

We are defined by those parts of the earth that we haven’t changed.

The New Road. A photo essay by Rob Amberg on the building of I-26 through Madison County in the mountains of North Carolina. via
posted by 1f2frfbf on Feb 3, 2009 - 10 comments

"It is very dangerous to try picking and choosing which truths we dare acknowledge."

"The more we understand why we demonise certain scientific advances, the better we will be able to decide whether some areas of research are so sensitive they should always remain off limits to science." Is Science Out of Control?
posted by tybeet on Jan 10, 2009 - 60 comments

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