Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Mueller Rents Giant Warehouse to Store Evidence Against Trump


(New Yorker::The Borowitz Report) – Andy Borowitz:

Robert Mueller is renting a massive warehouse facility in suburban Virginia to accommodate the approximately forty cubic tons of evidence against Donald Trump that the independent counsel’s investigation is generating on a daily basis.

“It’s like a city all its own,” one warehouse worker said. “There are people working in the Michael Flynn section who’ve never met the people working in the Paul Manafort section.” …

borowitz-report giant-warehouse



Planetary Boundaries


(Wikipedia) – Planetary boundaries is the central concept in an Earth system framework proposed by a group of Earth system and environmental scientists. In 2009, the group proposed a framework of “planetary boundaries” designed to define a “safe operating space for humanity” for the international community, including governments at all levels, international organizations, civil society, the scientific community and the private sector, as a precondition for sustainable development. This framework is based on scientific research that indicates that since the Industrial Revolution, human actions have gradually become the main driver of global environmental change. The scientists assert that once human activity has passed certain thresholds or tipping points, defined as “planetary boundaries”, there is a risk of “irreversible and abrupt environmental change”. The group identified nine Earth system processes which have boundaries that, to the extent that they are not crossed, mark the safe zone for the planet. However, because of human activities some of these dangerous boundaries have already been crossed, while others are in imminent danger of being crossed. …

Planetary Boundaries
Earth-system process Boundary
Boundary crossed Preindustrial
1. Climate change 350 400 yes 280
1.0 1.5 yes 0
2. Biodiversity loss 10 > 100 yes 0.1–1
3. Biogeochemical 35 121 yes 0
11 8.5–9.5 no −1
4. Ocean acidification 2.75 2.90 no 3.44
5. Land use 15 11.7 no low
6. Freshwater 4000 2600 no 415
7. Ozone depletion 276 283 no 290
8. Atmospheric aerosols not yet quantified
9. Chemical pollution not yet quantified

wikipedia Planetary_boundaries

Planetary Boundaries (2015)

How the Aristocracy Preserved their Power


(Guardian::long read) – Chris Bryant:

After democracy finally shunted aside hereditary lords, they found new means to protect their extravagant riches. For all the modern tales of noble poverty and leaking ancestral homes, their private wealth and influence remain phenomenal. …

theguardian 2017/sep/07 aristocracy

Drumlanrig Castle

The Ungrateful Refugee


(Guardian::long read) – Dina Nayeri:

Dina Nayeri was just a child when she fled Iran as an asylum seeker. But as she settled into life in the US and then Europe, she became suspicious of the idea that refugees should shed their old identities and be eternally thankful. …

theguardian 2017/apr/04 refugee

Dina Nayeri: Refuge

How America Lost Its Mind


(Atlantic) – Kurt Andersen:

The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. …

theatlantic 534231

American fantasies

The Right to be Forgotten


(Guardian Comments) – Suzanne Moore:

The data protection bill is about refusing to give ownership of our identity to the likes of Facebook and Google – because we all make mistakes when young. …

theguardian 2017/aug/07 data-protection-bill

smartphone users

One Thing They All Seem to Agree On


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

While the governments of the world occasionally appear to be in disagreement about this, that, or the other thing, there is one thing that they are sure of: their data is not yours, but your data is theirs. They own you, they control you. You do not control them. …

stderr 2017/08/02 one-thing

Internet Big Brother

The Magnitsky Act


(Atlantic) – Julia Ioffe:

Let’s get something straight: The Magnitsky Act is not, nor has it ever been, about adoptions.

The Magnitsky Act, rather, is about money. It freezes certain Russian officials’ access to the stashes they were keeping in Western banks and real estate and bans their entry to the United States. …

theatlantic 2017/07 magnitsky-act

Magnitsky Act protest

HJ Hornbeck: William Browder and the Magnitsky Act

Human Courage and Solidarity


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Many of you would have heard or read about the incredible rescue of people who had been caught in a rip tide off the coast of Florida. Two young boys, Noah and Stephen Ursrey were initially caught up by the tide and when other people became aware of their distress and tried to help them, they too got caught in the strong tide so that in the end 10 people were in danger of drowning. There was no lifeguard on duty.

What happened then was inspiring. Dozens of other people formed a human chain and a couple of strong swimmers got to each drowning person and passed them back to safety along the chain. …

singham 2017/07/13 no-miracle


Driving the Faithful Away


(Guardian Comments) – Catherine Pepinster:

Sexual assault charges against the pope’s adviser, Cardinal George Pell prolong a familiar, appalling story. No wonder people are turning their backs on the church. …

theguardian 2017/jun/29 sexual-abuse

Church vs. Law