Tag Archives | Activism

Can Transhumanism Overcome a Widespread Deathist Culture?

Mort

Zoltan Istvan via IEET:

The rapidly growing field of transhumanism—an international social movement whose highest immediate priority is overcoming human death via science and technology—is facing a colossal challenge. About 85 percent of the world’s population believes in life after death, and much of that population is perfectly okay with dying because it gives them an afterlife with their perceived deity or deities—something transhumanists often refer to as “deathist” culture.

In fact, four billion people on Earth—mostly Muslims and Christians—see the overcoming of death through science as potentially blasphemous, a sin involving humans striving to be godlike. Some holy texts say blasphemy is unforgivable and will end in eternal punishment.

So what are transhumanists to do in a world where science and technology are quickly improving and will almost certainly overcome human mortality in the next 30 years? Will there be a great civil rights debate and clash around the world?

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Wrongfully Treating Academic Debate as Anti-Semitism

Shannon Kringen (CC BY 2.0)

Shannon Kringen (CC BY 2.0)

Saree Makdisi writes at the Los Angeles Times:

The principle of academic freedom at our universities is under attack by those seeking to shield Israel from criticism by silencing dissent, shutting down discussion and imposing a stifling atmosphere of intimidation at the University of California, in particular.

A coordinated set of petitions, including a letter signed by 57 rabbis, asks UC administrators to adopt the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism as a means to “accurately identify” and “publicly condemn” it in campus debate, protest and discussion. That problematic definition conflates principled criticism of Israeli policies with genuine anti-Semitism; if the university accedes to this demand, such criticism — and academic freedom — could be suppressed by administrative fiat.

The State Department definition explicitly draws on a formulation provisionally adopted by a European Union body but long since discarded. It stretches the concept of anti-Semitism to include “demonizing” Israel, comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis and “denying Israel the right to exist.”

Such emotionally charged language attempts to preempt criticism of Israeli policies.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Greenpeace Staff to Work for Free after India Blocks Funds

Linh Do (CC BY 2.0)

Linh Do (CC BY 2.0)

Rupam Jain Nair writes for Reuters:

Greenpeace is determined to keep operating in India even after the federal government froze its bank accounts, leaving it with no funds to pay wages to hundreds of staff, its country head said on Thursday.

The home ministry blocked foreign funding to the local branch of the environmentalist group in April as part of a wider crackdown against international and domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) found to have misreported foreign aid.

Greenpeace took legal action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist government after bureaucrats found holes in its balance sheet and suspended transactions for six months.

“The government has made it impossible for us to operate but our employees are willing to work without pay for one month because they see that the larger commitment has always been to fight against injustice,” said Greenpeace India head Samit Aich.

Greenpeace workers – who have campaigned against genetically modified crops, nuclear power and toxic waste management – said their activism did not hurt the country’s economy.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Why You Should Ignore Politics and Politicians

Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Stephen Mills, writing at the Rat Race Trap:

This article is going to suggest that participating in politics at any level is generally not a good idea.  Many, maybe even most of you are going to disagree with this.  I also know that people will tend to take it as a categorical statement and offer counter-examples. You will notice that I said “generally” because I don’t mean it in a categorical way.  I can think of scenarios or places where I would not apply my general advice, but those are increasingly rare.

I can’t help but absorb a little bit of what goes on in politics through the media (my wife watches the news and the morning shows) or through reading some political satire, but I treat it mostly as a little bit of entertainment.  I’m not participating in any real way.

Here is the basic question you need to ask yourself. 

Read the rest
Continue Reading

RITHIKA MERCHANT- Mosaics of Myths

port2

RITHIKA MERCHANT

Rithika Merchant (1986) deals with creating mosaics of myths that question received histories that are available to us throughout culture. An inherent feminism exists in her decoration undermining the minimalism of modernity that views a woman just as a muse.

In 2008 she graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design in New York. She has studied painting and conceptual practice at the Hellenic International Studies In The Arts in Paros, Greece. In 2008 she was a resident at the Convento Sao Francisco Mertola in Mertola, Portugal.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

Read the rest
Continue Reading