and my ramblings about being human aren't entirely
unrelated to politics.
See Also (or instead)
Severn Cullis-Suzuki (age
a speech to the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. I advise everyone above the age of 12 to listen to
those younter than themselves. I'll leave the 12-year-olds (and yonger) to
decide who they should listen to, but won't be surprised (or offended) if
they're a bit shy of listening to the grown-ups.
the essentials of life include whatever is necessary to take your place in
public without shame, which includes an adequate income. The same article
also tells me (indirectly) that the UK national median income in 2022 is around
£19,600, roughly what I pay in tax each year; UK taxpayers with income levels
similar to mine pay less, so I hope they (and those paid even more) have the
good grace to not grumble about what they do pay, when half the nation's
population has less income before tax than half what they're left with
A visit to Roberto di
Cosmo's web site will give some interesting insights into Micro$oft's
antics. Those who can't read French might benefit from buying one of his books,
CyberSnare or The Planetary Hold-Up instead.
Bruce Schneier on the common
falacy that alleges a conflict between privacy and security.
are usually lies, e.g. Historians who investigated the files of the
Gestapo in Nazi Germany estimated that personal malice motivated 40% of
denunciations to the secret police…
shouldn't trust a messaging app's claims of security. Any mob of gansters
could have done the same as the AFP and FBI did, and blackmail you with what
they gleaned. Or just use it to take out their competitors.
Amita Guha's account, Fingered by the
movie cops, of how the DMCA can cause someone to be punished for being
falsely accused. This article is a perfect illustration of the common fallacy
that law-abiding folks have nothing to fear from being snooped on: when
the snoop makes a mistake, law-abiding folks can get punished for things they
didn't do; and, in this case, there is no means either for them to obtain
compensation or even to oblige their accuser (and the ISP who punished them) to
acknowledge their innocence.
tax rate proposal, in which a quite straightforward tax system would, in the
U.S.A., raise the same total revenue as the existing one while reducing the
taxes on all but the insanely rich – while making it way easier to map
pre-tax income to tax paid. I discuss Hoke's proposal in comments
blog post, via which I found a link to it.
of how a meritocratic elite, by wealth the top 10% except for the top
0.1% of America's wealth, has held onto roughly 60% of the nation's wealth
throughout the last century, albeit declining slightly (to around 55% now) to
the benefit of the bottom 90% in the post-war era. The top 0.1%, meanwhile, has
now recovered to about 20% (where it was around 1930, having been a little
higher in the late 1920s) after dropping down to less than 10% in the late 1970s
(a state of affairs Reagan managed to fix, at the expense of raising the
national debt to unprecedented highs, millions of millions of dollars). The
9.9%'s share has bumbled along roughly steady in the mid-50s% since then, while
the top 0.1% has dragged the bottom 90% down from the 35% they had in mid-1980s
to barely 20% now. The top 0.1% and the bottom 90% have roughly half each of
the mid-40s% that the intervening 9.9% doesn't own. That 9.9% is the bulwark
that protects the 0.1% from the 90%, while ever striving to join the former and
living in fear of falling into the latter.
follow the same script, from the opponents of slavery two centuries (and
more) ago to the present-day climate-deniers. When their prior case is blown to
smithereens, they pretend they never argued that case and invent a new set of
lies. They are not interested in learning from those who know better, only in
propping up the status quo from which they're used to profiting.
Ann Jones, in The Nation (USA),
reports: After I Lived in Norway, America Felt
Why. (For reference: I live in Norway. I like it here.)
Robert Reich reports
evidence that now unequivocally shows trickle-down is a myth and
tax-cuts for the rich increase inequality, whereas putting prosperity within
reach of the masses benefits everyone,
I see a common thread
from the religious
upheavals around the British Civil War that leads
ideas on freedom of religion. Jefferson's writings on the subject contain
clear echoes of the reasons the Levellers, among others, gave for their strident
rejection of authority.
I'm pleased to see that the EU seems to have caught the clue-train in
regard to Open
Access to data.
shares motivate fishermen to be ecologically responsible.
Brian W. Vaszily's assorted articles discussing some scary
truths about marketing.
engineering and the new world order, a fine diatribe against the culture of
distraction our media peddles; 'though the author associates all morality and
virtue with religion, and I have some disagreement on what constitute morality
and virtue, the general thrust is sound. If you want to find the cause of moral
decline in our culture, look to the corporate media, not your political
beginings of the history of making folk feel bad about themselves in order
to con them into buying products they didn't need; insecurity sells !
… higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate
with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD
infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies
William Dalrymple casts a critical eye over the history of
India Company and pokes the obvious parallels with contemporary corporate
Jane Gleeson-White, of a family that includes three generations of
about the massive flaw in orthodox economics – the resources (natural
and relational) and labour (principally domestic) it ignores –
characterises what economics should be about: economics is the art of
managing and caring for the Earth, this planetary household, and therefore for
ourselves, all of us, equally; and that the economy is a sacred social space
organised around relationships of care.
Bee's video on Grading
is a Scam (and Motivation is a Myth). From
you want your students to engage with material, if you want them to grow to
be curious and critical thinkers, then you have to get rid of grades, you have
to communicate with your students, you have to relinquish your control, you have
to give your students freedom and trust them with it. You are not their master,
their interrogator holding a gun to their head unless they do what you want.
One might well say the same, to governments, of their citizens; or, to
businesses, of their staff. A little later, she explains that we need
change if we
want to end up with a more equitable society full of critical thinkers and
curious, motivated, passionate people. Equally, I add: if those with power
reisst such change, it's rational to suspect they do so because
they don't want that outcome.
A brief (and fascinating) history
of the neutron bomb
– and its creator – sheds some scary light on political
As context to the recent transition in public attitudes towards and the
legal status of gay marriage, XKCD 1431
contrasts its history to those of interracial marriage. The public seems to
have become broad-minded faster than legislatures.
Apparently Randal shares my suspicion
that financial analysis is less scientific than its proponents claim. (The
hover text on this is an insightful quote from 1984, too. James Tobin rather
Before taking seriously anyone who claims our modern grasp of genetics
will let us breed a race of super-humans,
Rutherford's advice (author of Control: The Dark History and Troubling
Present of Eugenics, published by Orion): Rather than meddling at the
edges of a science that we barely understand, why not concentrate resources on
that triumvirate of inventions that have, over centuries, been shown to
transform and improve human capacities beyond all imagining: education,
healthcare and equality of opportunity ? (And, incidentally, anyone
claiming they'll produce people with IQs of 1000 has failed to undertand how the
IQ test scores are computed. The artificial massaging of scores to make them
fit a Gaussian distribution with mean 100 and variance 15 makes nonsense of the
The Doonesbury comic
strip is full of insightful satires on politics; unfortunately, it's now on a
site which only gives you the latest month without a premium
subscription, so I can no longer offer you a link to their page for the
1993/Nov/29th strip which begins Trudeau's excellent take on the conspiracy
theorists … but (oh, irony) I can link to the images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
Trump's lies are legendarily common: when his supporters ask for evidence,
the hard part is chosing which and finding good explanations. Here's some
and politifact.com's false
on fire categories.
In stark contrast to everything that spewed from the cheetos-hole that
followed him, here's
Obama's thoughtful address to a room-full of journalism students on the
importance of participating and, especially, voting.
Another Obama speech, this
time to the Canadian
Parliament, in which he makes the case for prosperity and security for all
– within each nation, and world-wide – being the only way to assure
our own prosperity and security.
Lawrence of Arabia foreshadowed the modern Iraqi
situation. He was an expert on guerrilla insurgency – having fomented
one, among the arab peoples of an area including much of what is now Iraq.
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or
that we are to stand by the president right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and
servile, but is morally treasonable to the American
If you run into someone who desperately needs
to prove something about
himself (and this is usually him; I guess there may be exceptions),
it's because: it isn't true, he knows this and he
doesn't want to face up to that. Read pretty much any biography of a
prominent Nazi on Wikipedia and you'll see this pattern played out with
(sickeningly) comic clarity. It's not just the Nazis:
the Brigatte Rosse
desperately needed to prove their alleigance to the working classes; the
September 11 mass-murderers despertately needed to prove to other Muslims
that they weren't spoilt Europe-raised children of well-to-do families.