Enlightenment Now

2018/02/24

(Nature::Books&Arts) – Ian Goldin:

Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now builds on his 2011 The Better Angels of Our Nature in offering another engaging, compelling set of reasons to be cheerful. In this new combined survey, analysis and manifesto, he convincingly demonstrates that when it comes to health and life expectancy, poverty reduction and income, education, human rights, peace and security, the global data provide solid grounds for optimism. But the book’s premise lies in the past.

Enlightenment Now is not a balanced account of the present or future. But for the many overwhelmed by gloom, it is a welcome antidote. …

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Steven Pinker: Enlightenment Now

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Julius Caesar: Act 5, Scene 5 (part 1)

2018/02/23

(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

Here we are at last! The final scene of Julius Caesar! As with all Shakespeare, it’s not over until the highest status surviving character makes a speech. …

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Mya Gosling: Julius Caesar: Act 5, Scene 5 (part 1)

You’re Banned

2018/02/23

(Atheist Pig) – “Well, another mass shooting. And do you know why? It’s because liberals and atheists banned God from society.” …

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The Atheist Pig 96: You're banned

Self-Driving Issues

2018/02/22

(xkcd) – Randall Munroe:

I worry about self-driving car safety features.” …

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Randall Munroe: xkcd 1958: self-driving issues

The Biggest Myth In Quantum Physics

2018/02/22

(Starts With A Bang!) – Ethan Siegel:

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Many-worlds interpretation of Schroedinger's cat

Julius Caesar: Act 5, Scene 4

2018/02/21

(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

We’re getting close to the end now …

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Mya Gosling: Julius Caesar: Act 5, Scene 4

None of This Really Happened

2018/02/20

(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

Everything that happened in the first five books of the Bible is pure fiction. And the next few books don’t get much better. They are stories made up to teach lessons and to provide some kind of political basis for competing factions of ancient Israel, quarrels which no longer mean anything to us today but leave us with the mistaken impression that this people group existed many centuries before it actually did. …

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Malmesbury Bible

AmazonCare

2018/02/19

(Guardian Healthcare) – John Naughton:

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is ahead of the game again, spying an opportunity for big data to transform the healthcare system. …

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AmazonCare

Democracy Incorporated

2018/02/19

(Marx & Philosophy Review of Books) – Tom Angier:

Sheldon Wolin is best known for his magisterial work, Politics and Vision (1960), covering the course of Western political theory from Plato to modern liberalism.

Democracy Incorporated could be said to deepen this move into the present, since notwithstanding its brilliant forays into the American and European political past, it is firmly focussed on the first decade of the 21st century (or what Wolin, only half-jokingly, labels the reign of ‘George II’). …

The system is one of ‘inverted totalitarianism’, and it works through what Wolin calls ‘managed democracy’.

In elucidating ‘inverted totalitarianism’, Wolin uses ‘classical totalitarianism’ as a foil. Whereas German Nazism, Italian Fascism and Soviet Communism all attempted the mass political mobilisation of their respective citizenries, inverted totalitarianism thrives amid passive, politically demobilised citizens, who rarely move beyond their allotted role as ‘viewer-consumers’. Whereas classical totalitarianism has aims that are largely in step with its propaganda, inverted totalitarianism trumpets its ‘democratic’ aims and credentials, though its priorities are overwhelmingly economic and expansionist. While classical totalitarian regimes are comparatively deliberate and overtly coercive in their mode of action, relying on the cult of a charismatic leader, inverted totalitarian regimes result from a largely unintended confluence of circumstances, and rely on leadership that resembles most closely that of a CEO. While classical totalitarianism has some socialistic aspects (sometimes systematically and obviously so, as in Communism), inverted totalitarianism is wedded to the corporations, which are profoundly indifferent to the welfare of the poor. …

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Sheldon S. Wolin: Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

G.O.P. Inaction Figure

2018/02/18

(New Yorker::Daily Cartoon) – Brendan Loper:

“… from the makers of the AR-15” …

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Brendan Loper: G.O.P. Inaction Figure

Adam Gopnik: Four Truths About the Florida School Shooting

Robinson Meyer: The Righteous Anger of the Parkland Shooting’s Teen Survivors

Wikipedia: School shootings in the United States