August 10, 2016
Cancer is not a problem or an illness – it's a gift. Or so Barbara Ehrenreich was told repeatedly after her diagnosis. But the positive thinkers are wrong, she says: sugar-coating illnesses can exact a dreadful cost
Building Ikea furniture is hard. Building it under the influence is much, much harder.
"The Rag Man," a review of Edward Berlin's King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era (2nd edition): "As such, to Mr. and Mrs. America circa 1908, ragtime was not “The Entertainer,” but peppy little songs with peppery little lyrics, that you could get up and dance to. Only through these could one make a living, and Joplin had other ideas...." [more inside]
In 1967 political cartoonist Pat Oliphant drew an editorial cartoon just to win the Pulitizer - "one of the worst cartoons I've ever drawn" - trying to appeal to the judges' tastes and prevailing political opinion. And guess what happened.
Melrose Place served as a covert yet visible exhibit by Mel Chin called In The Name Of The Place, shown in 1997 at MoCA as part of "Uncommon Sense."
Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto performs and has the audience perform with him a Finnish folk song My Darling is Beautiful (Minun kultani kaunis on).
How Did People Migrate to the Americas? Bison DNA Helps Chart the Way [The New York Times] “Two teams of scientists have succeeded in dating the opening of the gateway to America, only to disagree over whether the Clovis people — one of the first groups from Siberia to reach the Americas — ever used the gateway to gain access to the New World.” [more inside]
NO BS, JUST SHOOTING - DOOM overview is a heartfelt game review from Life of Boris. Boris will inform you about many aspects of Slav life, including How to squat like slav and Why Slavs wear Adidas. Also Russian language. [more inside]
"Remote killing outside of war zones, it seems, has become business as usual [...] a remarkable development [for] Obama, who came who came to office as an antiwar president" "The question for President Obama is whether he wants to be remembered as the leader who ushered in the era of permanent, low-level drone warfare. His actions will be looked to for justification by those that follow, here and abroad. As David Reisner, former head of the Israel Defense Forces legal department, has said, “If you do something for long enough, the world will accept it…. International law progresses through violations.”"
The sudden closure of the Port of Churchill leaves Canada without an Arctic deepwater port, and a tenth of the town's population without work. Manitoba's premier thinks the port's private owners are trying to get more money from the government. Others see the closure as a response to changing economic conditions (including the end of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly), leading to questions about the future economic viability of transportation infrastructure development in the North.
Humpback whales are rescuing seals and other animals from orcas. Are the humpbacks being altruistic? Or do they just really hate orcas? National Geographic tries to explain.
Once upon a time there was a tiny brown ant who lived by a swamp at the end of the Paraná River in Argentina. Her name, Linepithema humile, literally means “humble” or “weak”. Some time during the late 1800s, an adventurous L. humile crept away from the swamp where giant river otter played and capybaras cavorted. She stowed away on a boat that sailed to New Orleans. And she went to war.
In 2000, Irom Sharmila began a hunger strike to protest the Malom Massacre and India's statutory immunity from judicial oversight for military and paramilitary personnel in "disturbed areas". After years of detention (attempted suicide is illegal in India), forced feeding, and recognition from human rights agencies, Sharmila ended her hunger strike with a lick of honey and a declaration that she will run for office to work against the Armed Forces Special Powers Acts. [more inside]
Designer babies, the end of diseases, genetically modified humans that never age. Outrageous things that used to be science fiction are suddenly becoming reality. The only thing we know for sure is that things will change irreversibly. [more inside]
"Mr. Bertling, 56, said in an interview that he had not heard what he considered sexist remarks in his decades of practice. But after the fine, he asked a lawyer in his office if she had. She showed him inappropriate comments in deposition transcripts, but said she did not seek penalties for them because, like many female lawyers, she thought doing so was futile." As of this Monday, after months of debate, that may no longer be the case: Goodbye to 'Honeys' in Court, by Vote of American Bar Association. [more inside]
Anamorphic 3D graffiti by Sergio Odeith.
"He talks about music in a way that makes you believe that maybe it can do some good in the world." Damien Abraham, lead singer of Toronto punk band F*cked Up, recounts coming to terms with loving the Hip and his unexpected friendship with Gord Downie. (slVice) [more inside]
Spaceplan A new incremental/idle browser space-based potato-powered web game thingy by Jake Hollands.
We need a new approach to supporting independent media — especially in partially free societies We all know how this story ends. In some cases, especially in Eastern Europe, the influx of foreign investors into the media market instead led to the appearance of collusion between the new media owners and the government (a sell-out hardly worth making for many, who ended up losing money and fleeing those markets a few years later). Many media properties that stayed in local hands fared even worse, bought up and reduced to hand-puppets by well-connected business people. [more inside]
Who would win in a knife fight between all the philsophers. Unlike the United States Presidency, Philosophy has been going on for thousands of years, so instead of 44 contestants there are a whopping 89. Don’t be afraid of the numbers, for I guarantee you won’t get bored; philosophers are a very interesting bunch of people, and the most rewarding part of this post has been researching their lives and finding out how crazy they all are. This will be a wild knife fight. [more inside]
Anime Baseball [SLYT]
If you live in the US, EU or Japan, and feel like economic growth today has not been like it was for your parents' or grandparents' generation, you are correct. Growth in mature markets has been very slow since the late 1960s. Economist Robert J. Gordon calls 1870-1970, the "Special Century" because of how abnormally strong the growth was in that period. [more inside]
By my calculation, over the past 15 years, the American government has spent $100 billion to $150 billion on failed or unworthy homeland-security programs and on acquiring and maintaining equipment that hasn’t worked. However, as with the equipment procured for port inspections, launching the TSA, and grants for protecting New York’s subway tunnels and running emergency drills in Boston, much more than that was well spent. Steven Brill takes a deep dive into the post-9/11 security state. [SLATLANTIC]