Archive | Op-Ed

Embracing ‘The Third Wave’

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via Inquirer.net:

One night saw me watching and listening to the performance videos of Charice Pempengco. I realized that Charice, being “the YouTube sensation” that she was once known for, would not have been possible without the Internet. Her success, which is due largely to the exposure that social media has given her, would not have been possible, say, in the 1980s, or even in the early 1990s.

Charice is indeed sensational, one of the few singers who can leave musical greats like David Foster in awe and admiration. And I am obviously a fan, not just of Charice but, as important, of her story. Hers is not the usual Cinderella, rags-to-riches tale, like that of Manny Pacquiao. My admiration for her story stems basically from the fact that whatever she has reached and achieved at this point was made possible by the Internet.

I should hate globalization. That is how I have been taught by dear mentors in the social movements.

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Guidestoned 2014 Documentary Kickstarter

“Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.”
– Oscar Wilde

Help us dig up the Time Capsule.

Let’s dig up the Time Capsule together.

Guidestoned 2014 Kickstarter

Over the past 2 years some fellow filmmakers and I have been filming a documentary surrounding the Georgia Guidestones that we have appropriately dubbed Guidestoned. What has interested us more than the monument and its designers is people’s collective perception of its message. Which was surprisingly positive in person, something I admit was unexpected. Throughout filming the documentary we met groups of people ranging from Mormon Missionaries that travel the world, to a crystal ball stealing Nazi biker gang, and everything in between. Mostly all were welcoming and kind, save a few. This documentary is filled with so many different perspectives. Folks show their true character, which the Guidestones tend to bring out in people.… Read the rest

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Humans, Chimps and Why We Need Personhood for All

Not Tommy the Chimp. By Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr (CC by-nd 2.0)

Not Tommy the Chimp.
By Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr (CC by-nd 2.0)

via Time:

We accord rights to babies, the profoundly disabled and elderly people with dementia. Is Tommy the ape that different?

Advocates of animal rights are eagerly awaiting the results of a case brought before a New York state appellate court in Albany earlier this month that will decide if a chimpanzee named Tommy is a person. The judge’s decision may be handed down at any time between late October and December. If, in the eyes of the law, 26-year-old ape Tommy is deemed a person, he will be released from the small cage where he is kept in isolation by his owner near Gloversville, New York, and sent to an ape sanctuary in Florida.

Tommy would then become the world’s first non-human animal to be legally granted personhood.

The idea behind the court case, argued on October 8th by lawyer Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project, rests upon Tommy’s right to determine what happens to his own life.

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We Are All Confident Idiots

By Tricia via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Tricia via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Pacific Standard Magazine:

The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise. A leading researcher on the psychology of human wrongness sets us straight.

Last March, during the enormous South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! sent a camera crew out into the streets to catch hipsters bluffing. “People who go to music festivals pride themselves on knowing who the next acts are,” Kimmel said to his studio audience, “even if they don’t actually know who the new acts are.” So the host had his crew ask festival-goers for their thoughts about bands that don’t exist.

“The big buzz on the street,” said one of Kimmel’s interviewers to a man wearing thick-framed glasses and a whimsical T-shirt, “is Contact Dermatitis. Do you think he has what it takes to really make it to the big time?”

“Absolutely,” came the dazed fan’s reply.

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Playing Monopoly With Our Lives

By Mike Fleming via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By Mike Fleming via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

In all likelihood, when you were little, you played America’s best-selling board game, Monopoly. The colorful money, antique tokens, and cartoon old man let us pretend to be important, to feel successful, to realize the American Dream of prosperity. This childhood memory becomes something parents share with their children, growing into a cultural touchstone spanning generations.

Perhaps it is the warm memories of playing with siblings that obscures what the game’s objectives are, how it is played, and the lessons it imparts. For one, there is the object of the game itself, plainly stated: The winner is the last player left in the game, having driven their opponents into bankruptcy.

Just recently, Bank of America agreed to the largest court settlement in history: $16 billion with the Department of Justice in a wide-ranging lawsuit over the bank’s collateralized debt schemes. Do you think that the executives at Bank of America that engineered these schemes believed that robbing their customers was okay because it meant they were getting ahead by bankrupting others?… Read the rest

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What will life be like in 2064?

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via World Economic Forum Blog:

That an octopus called Paul had a better success rate than Goldman Sachs when predicting World Cup results (credit to the Wall Street Journal for the headline “Octopus Beats Vampire Squid”) tells you something about the wisdom of guessing the future in public.

Guessing what the world will look like in 50 years’ time, however, is pretty safe, as I won’t be here to see myself proved wrong. Or will I?

If Google’s director of engineering has his way, we’ll all be around indefinitely – in the cloud at least. AI (artificial intelligence) guru Ray Kurzweil is one of a number of technologists, inventors and futurists who believe that the ability to upload our minds to the web, create virtual bodies, and thereby live forever, is within touching distance.

Kurzweil invented the first flat-bed scanning and optical character recognition systems, foresaw the internet explosion and correctly predicted that a computer would beat a chess Grandmaster by the turn of the century.

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Amazon is doing the world a favor by crushing book publishers

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Do you agree? What do you think?

via Vox [Please follow the link to read the entire argument]:

Here’s a little real talk about the book publishing industry — it adds almost no value, it is going to be wiped off the face of the earth soon, and writers and readers will be better off for it.

The fundamental uselessness of book publishers is why I thought it was dumb of the Department of Justice to even bother prosecuting them for their flagrantly illegal cartel behavior a couple of years back, and it’s why I’m deaf to the argument that Amazon’s ongoing efforts to crush Hachette are evidence of a public policy problem that needs remedy. Franklin Foer’s recent efforts to label Amazon a monopolist are unconvincing, and Paul Krugman’s narrower argument that they have some form of monopsony power in the book industry is equally wrongheaded.

What is indisputably true is that Amazon is on track to destroy the businesses of incumbent book publishers.

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The big threats to humanity: it’s time to start talking about solutions

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Alessandro R Demaio, Harvard University

When it comes to our biggest Global Health challenges, it’s easy to get bogged down in focusing only on the problems. How many millions die each year, or the economic cost of disease, the social toll of neglected health issues or the exponential increase in communities affected.

Amira_a / Flickr

Defining the problem is essential, but endless discussion focused solely on the challenges can be dangerous. ‘Doomsday talk’ leads us down a path of feeling overwhelmed, numbed and paralysed; a path where we avoid discussing the issue altogether; a path that leads to inaction and eventually (and most dangerously), political and social apathy.

In 2014, we are in desperate need for a change in focus; a new rhetoric. A shift from talking about the problems facing humanity, to beginning a discussion about solutions.… Read the rest

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Ebola News Gives Me a Guilty Thrill. Am I Crazy?

Ebola virus. (Photo: NIAID/Flickr)

Ebola virus. (Photo: NIAID/Flickr)

via Pacific Standard:

Folks speak blithely about their guilty pleasures. But if you get a little thrill when you contemplate the worldwide obliteration of society in a horrific Armageddon, have you crossed a line from “person with a guilty pleasure” to “person who is a dangerous psychopath”?

This was a question that wrecked most of one afternoon following a discussion of Ebola with some co-workers. We were brainstorming ideas for stories about the awful pandemic, and the topic of American preparedness came up. Although Ebola seems decently isolated on our shores, public health officials are girding our infrastructure for worst-case scenarios.

I made the following confession: Although obviously the West African Ebola crisis sickens and saddens me, and although I of course don’t want Ebola to run rampant … whenever I hear about the idea of our nation crumbling in an apocalyptic plague, I get an amoral twinge of excitement.

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