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Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret - The New York Times
Dozens of companies use smartphone locations to help advertisers and even hedge funds. They say it’s anonymous, but the data shows how personal it is.
tech  security  capitalism  data 
1 hour ago by nathanwentworth
Another Europe is Unlikely: Why Socialist Transformation Won’t Happen Within the EU | Novara Media
Putting to one side the continued influence of financial institutions and special interest groups on European politics, a more fundamental challenge comes from the national interests of the most powerful states within the EU. For Germany, the priority is reducing inflation and resisting any attempt at debt mutualisation – the guaranteeing of the sovereign debt of other states. For France, it is transforming the rhetoric of ‘ever closer union’ into reality. For the Visegrád group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), it is maintaining their authoritarian grip on power and securing the EU’s borders.
EU  capitalism  regulation  singleMarket  rules  financialisation  UK  stateAid  reform  EuropeanCommission  democracy  socialism  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=BlakeleyGrace 
13 hours ago by petej
Report: Johnson & Johnson knew about asbestos in baby powder for decades | TheHill
“Executives at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) knew for decades that the talcum in its baby powder contained asbestos and failed to tell federal regulators, according to a Reuters report.

“Reuters examined documents, trial depositions and trial testimony that reportedly shows that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, J&J executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers knew that the company’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.

“The people involved discussed the problem and how to address it, while failing to disclose it to regulators or the public, Reuters found.

“The reporting also shows how J&J sought to influence regulators’ plans to limit asbestos in cosmetic products with talc, as well as research on the health effects of talc.”
asbestos  johnsonandjohnson  2018  capitalism 
yesterday by handcoding
'Artifact' Isn't a Game on Steam, It's Steam in a Game - Waypoint
Facebook dreams of capturing all that is social (which is to say everything), and while Artifact has a different target in mind, the underlying principle of enclosing more is the same. Artifact does to Magic what Facebook did to friendships because capturing metagames is not, in the end, all that different from capturing the social. Dr. Garfield was right that “games without metagames … don’t really exist.” Yet where he saw metagames as the essence of what made games matter, Valve saw an opportunity to turn Magic’s metagames—its proxy cards, its aftermarkets—into markets of its own, a transmutation only Steam was equipped to do. That, in the end, is Artifact in its iron heart: a machine for capturing metagames.
game  capitalism  markets  steam  tech 
yesterday by nathanwentworth
Sam Byers on Twitter: "Jack’s thread on Vipassana meditation is fascinating."
[referenced thread: ]

"Jack’s thread on Vipassana meditation is fascinating.

It’s significant, I think, that he sees it as a practice that is of value primarily when he returns to work. He likes it because it enables him to refresh and then return to doing more of what he did before.

There is no suggestion, in his thread, that he regards his personal practice as being part of any wider, more selfless contribution to life and the world. It’s simply a method of personal betterment, a hack.

He’s also, it seems, unable to let go of metrics. He wore his Apple Watch and thingummyjig ring throughout and regards the data he gleans from those devices as objectively significant - more significant, in fact, than any inner insight he might have achieved.

Throughout, there’s a distinctly macho emphasis on discomfort. He emphasises the pain of sitting, the mosquito bites, the tough guy willpower and endurance he had to summon.

He’s at pains to labour the point that this is not easy, or gentle, or something anyone can do. It’s tough, it’s gritty, it’s for the hard core.

And then he returns unchanged, determined to do even more work and, one presumes, keep getting richer.

I find this intriguing because I think it’s indicative of a very specific cultural and economic moment in which very old and very traditional belief systems are effectively ransacked for anything they can contribute to the modern cult of productivity.

No emphasis here on empathy or compassion, for example.

This doesn’t tell us a great deal about Vipassana meditation, but it tells us a huge amount about the belief system that is Silicon Valley tech-bro capitalism.

It is closed, highly individual, inward-looking, metric-driven, proud of itself.

It’s easy to see how the practice of meditation, which seems so solitary, even solipsistic, when poorly framed and understood, might be appealing as an adjunct to this world view, but the way these ideologies and practices intersect merits a lot of unpicking, in my view.

I would also say that the replies are pretty fascinating too. People are extraordinarily proud of their cynicism, and their ability to communicate that cynicism with wild hostility, as if this in itself is part of some kind of holistic world view.

When in fact those replies are just the *same* solipsistic, cynical, and very western mindset redoubled and reflected back.

So the whole exchange becomes a kind of pissing contest to see who can be most sure of themselves.

We’re right at the toxic intersection, here, of co-opted “eastern spirituality” and vapidly unquestioning capitalistic self-certainty and the result is frankly wild - just a total shitshow of confusion and anger.

Nothing new of course. Post sixties hippie capitalism is by now so entrenched as to be the norm, but the whole thing is hugely illustrative on all sides and merits a great deal more thought than, ironically, Jack’s medium will allow.

It’s also important to remember that Vipassana meditation doesn’t “belong” to Jack - it’s an ancient and significant tradition. Using that as a means to ridicule him actually just winds up ridiculing a whole big chunk of culture as an unintended consequence.

Short version: it *might not* be possible to interrogate spiritual materialism using... non-spiritual materialism."

[full text of referenced thread:

"For my birthday this year, I did a 10-day silent vipassana meditation, this time in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar 🇲🇲. We went into silence on the night of my birthday, the 19th. Here’s what I know 👇🏼

Vipassana is a technique and practice to “know thyself.” Understanding the inner nature as a way to understand…everything. It was rediscovered by Gautama the Buddha 2,500 years ago through rigorous scientific self-experimentation to answer the question: how do I stop suffering?

Vipassana’s singular objective is to hack the deepest layer of the mind and reprogram it: instead of unconsciously reacting to feelings of pain or pleasure, consciously observe that all pain and pleasure aren’t permanent, and will ultimately pass and dissolve away.

Most meditation methods end with a goal of strengthening concentration: focus on the breath. This was not Gautama’s goal. He wanted to end his attachment to craving (of pleasure) and aversion (of pain) by experiencing it directly. His theory was ending attachment ends his misery.

Imagine sitting on a concrete floor cross-legged for an hour without moving. Pain arises in the legs in about 30-45 minutes. One’s natural reaction is to change posture to avoid the pain. What if, instead of moving, one observed the pain and decided to remain still through it?

Vipassana would likely be good for those suffering chronic pain to help manage it. That’s not the goal of course, but definitely a simple practice to help. Being able to sit without moving at all for over an hour through pain definitely teaches you a lot about your potential.

Meditation is often thought of as calming, relaxing, and a detox of all the noise in the world. That’s not vipassana. It’s extremely painful and demanding physical and mental work. I wasn’t expecting any of that my first time last year. Even tougher this year as I went deeper.

I did my meditation at Dhamma Mahimã in Pyin Oo Lwin. This is my room. Basic. During the 10 days: no devices, reading, writing, physical excercise, music, intoxicants, meat, talking, or even eye contact with others. It’s free: everything is given to meditators by charity.

I woke up at 4 am every day, and we meditated until 9 pm. There were breaks for breakfast, lunch, and walking. No dinner. Here’s the sidewalk I walked for 45 minutes every day.

The 2nd day was my best. I was able to focus entirely on my breath, without thoughts, for over an hour. The most I could do before that was 5 minutes. Day 6 was my worst as I caught a nasty cold going around the center. Couldn’t sleep from then on but pushed through til the end.

On day 11, all I wanted to do was listen to music, and I again turned to my favorite poet, @kendricklamar and his album DAMN. The greatest effect coming out of silence is the clarity one has in listening. Every note stands alone.

Myanmar is an absolutely beautiful country. The people are full of joy and the food is amazing. I visited the cities of Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan. We visited and meditated at many monasteries around the country.

The highlight of my trip was serving monks and nuns food, and donating sandals and umbrellas. This group of young nuns in Mandalay and their chanting was breathtaking and chilling.

We also meditated in a cave in Mandalay one evening. In the first 10 minutes I got bit 117 times by mosquitoes 🦟 They left me alone when the light blew a fuse, which you can see in my heart rate lowering.

I also wore my Apple Watch and Oura ring, both in airplane mode. My best meditations always had the least variation in heart rate. When I wasn’t focused, it would jump around a lot. Here’s a night of sleep on the 10th night (my resting heart rate was consistently below 40).

Vipassana is not for everyone, but if any of this resonates with you even in the slightest, I’d encourage you to give it a try. If in the US, this center in Texas is a great start:

And if you’re willing to travel a bit, go to Myanmar:

Thanks for reading! Always happy to answer any questions about my experience. Will track responses to this thread. I’ll continue to do this every year, and hopefully do longer and longer each time. The time I take away to do this gives so much back to me and my work. 🇲🇲🙏🏼🧘🏻‍♂️

I’ve been meditating for 20 years, with the last 2 years focused on vipassana. After experiencing it in Texas last year, I wanted to go to the region that maintained the practice in its original form. That led me to Myanmar.

I took this time with a singular objective of working on myself. I shared my experience with the world with the singular objective of encouraging others to consider a similar practice. Simply because it’s the best thing I’ve found to help me every day.

I’m aware of the human rights atrocities and suffering in Myanmar. I don’t view visiting, practicing, or talking with the people, as endorsement. I didn’t intend to diminish by not raising the issue, but could have acknowledged that I don’t know enough and need to learn more.

This was a purely personal trip for me focused on only one dimension: meditation practice. That said, I know people are asking about what Twitter is doing around the situation, so I’ll share our current state.

Twitter is a way for people to share news and information about events in Myanmar as well as to bear witness to the plight of the Rohingya and other peoples and communities. We’re actively working to address emerging issues. This includes violent extremism and hateful conduct.

We know we can’t do this alone, and continue to welcome conversation with and help from civil society and NGOs within the region. I had no conversations with the government or NGOs during my trip. We’re always open to feedback on how to best improve.

Will keep following the conversation and sharing what I learn here. 🙏🏼"]
jackdorsey  buddhism  religion  meditation  compassion  empathy  metrics  gamification  spirituality  quantification  vipassana  sambyers  individualism  materialism  capitalism  us  self-certainty  solipsism  cynicism  siliconvalley  californianideology  ideology 
yesterday by robertogreco
an xiao mina on Twitter: "The Silicon Valley version of Vipassana meditation is an extension of much of the US iteration of Buddhism — a lot of focus on mindfulness and individual suffering, without paying attention to the larger discourse of Buddhist e
"The Silicon Valley version of Vipassana meditation is an extension of much of the US iteration of Buddhism — a lot of focus on mindfulness and individual suffering, without paying attention to the larger discourse of Buddhist ethics focused on compassion and interconnectedness.

Which is not to say that the non-US iterations of Buddhism have some kind of perfect moral grounding (cf. Myanmar), but rather that US Buddhism takes on a distinctly US character —> individualist, capitalist, goal-oriented. We could say the same of yoga."

[referencing this thread, I think, by Jack Dorsey ]
buddhism  us  religion  individualism  mindfulness  interconnected  interconnectedness  capitalism  goals  morality  2018  anxiaomina  jackdorsey  vipassana  californianideology  siliconvalley 
yesterday by robertogreco
Pocan and Lujan join Warren’s Accountable Capitalism Act - Vox
The conceit tying the legislation together is that if corporations are going to have the legal rights of persons, they should be expected to act like decent citizens who uphold their fair share of the social contract and not like sociopaths whose sole obligation is profitability — as is currently conventional in American business thinking.
capitalism  politics  accountability  usa 
yesterday by browneyedgirl65
Atlas Weeps: Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge’s strange elegy for capitalism.
"While some readers may be frustrated by this coyness, it is in keeping with the overall approach of the book, which downplays public policy in favor of broad statements about America’s great economic culture. Greenspan and Wooldridge insist that our principal problem is that the United States has become “encrusted with entitlements” that crowd out other forms of saving and diminish America’s spirit of entrepreneurialism. Meanwhile, “overregulation forces business founders to endure a Kafkaesque nightmare of visiting different government departments and filling in endless convoluted forms.”


"Back in the 19th century, according to the authors, the government saw its primary role as upholding property rights and enforcing contracts, rather than trying to redistribute wealth or protect people from the vagaries of economic change. "


"Despite Capitalism in America’s libertarian hue, its explicit intellectual reference point isn’t Ayn Rand, whose name is barely mentioned, but the Austrian economic thinker Joseph Schumpeter, especially the oft-cited notion of “creative destruction” developed in his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Greenspan and Wooldridge return repeatedly to Schumpeter and the “perennial gale” of economic change in their analysis of American history. Under capitalism, Schumpeter argued, new production processes are constantly displacing old ones, leading to great tumult (the decline of cities, the wiping out of whole occupations)—but also rapid growth. In the past, Greenspan and Wooldridge argue, “America has been much better than almost every other country at resisting the temptation to interfere with the logic of creative destruction.” But today, this is no longer the case."

"The authors trace the hospitality of the United States toward capitalist growth, including its destructive possibilities, to the restrictions that its founders placed on popular or majority rule. “The Founding Fathers had been careful to put limits on both the scope of the state and the power of the people,” they write. Even though they hail American capitalism as “the world’s most democratic” example of the system—in that people born in obscurity have risen to riches, and also in the spread of mass consumption—they approve of the ways in which American politics constrains democratic power.

The result, in their view, is what led to the era of entrepreneurial dominance that lasted for most of the 19th century—the “age of giants.” Greenspan and Wooldridge praise the high “respect” with which Americans then treated businesspeople; apparently, they have long understood that “the real motors of historical change were not workers, as Marx had argued, nor abstract economic forces, as his fellow economists tended to imply, but people who built something out of nothing.”Americans rightly worship at the shrine of business, what Greenspan and Wooldridge call the “cult of the entrepreneur.”


"For Greenspan and Wooldridge, the age of gold was not always a golden age. They are careful to point out the underside of growth. American men lost an average of two inches in height over the course of the late 19th century; there was horrific pollution as well as terrible industrial accidents; and deflation hurt debtors and wage earners. Early in the book, they point out that slavery and the displacement of indigenous peoples also constituted stains on America’s history. But none of this matters as much, in their view, as the fact of the country’s remarkable economic growth."


"The “active inactivism” of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge is cited for praise, but it was a brief “paradise before the fall.” Then came the Great Depression and the era of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, and the nation has never recovered since."


"reenspan and Wooldridge’s historical scholarship leaves much to be desired. Their depiction of the 19th-century American economy as a paragon of laissez-faire seems at a distant remove from actual history. True, it did have the gold standard, and taxes were few, and the federal government did not employ many people. But the enslavement of millions of people—whose labor was actually the engine of economic growth in the early years of the 19th century—in fact required an activist state. The decentralized violence of slavery should not disguise the intrusive regime that was needed to uphold in practice the idea that human beings could be treated as commodities."


"After the end of slavery, too, the state played a key role in economic life. Breaking strikes with the National Guard, giving Western lands to railroad companies, overturning state and local regulations for the labor market via the Supreme Court—all of these involved the active use of state power."
--> Yes, but this should not be surprising. One fundamental belief of Libertarianism—and this writer states it earlier in this article—is that gov't role in business *should* include intervening on behalf of business (but not on behalf of people). Enforcing contracts, property rights and preventing monopolies that reduce competitive opportunity.


"There was no near-unanimous sentiment, even among the educated, about the virtues of the idea that society should be governed by the “survival of the fittest”—from the American Revolution on, many were critical of the outsize power that economic might could give some people over the lives of others."


"Rather than the tale of a free people coming to be dominated by government control, the story of the United States in the late-19th and early-20th centuries is really one of political conflict over who would control the state. And our contemporary politics remains centered on this conflict: Should business leaders be able to dominate government? Or is there something in democratic politics that authorizes the majority of people to shape their society together? Greenspan and Wooldridge seem to view the market and the state as two distinct and antagonistic realms, but in truth they were never as easy to separate as Capitalism in America suggests."


"... bemoaning the loss of the growth rates that characterized the 19th century makes little sense. For one thing, rising productivity was even more dramatic between 1920 and 1970—years that Greenspan and Wooldridge insist already contained the seeds of decline."
--> Yes. As Thomas Piketty notes in his book Captial, it's that era—post WW2 1940's through the 70's, that saw the rise of the middle class, which coincided with the corellated drop in wealth inequality. This was the result in a strong labor movement, taxes on the wealthy and great gov't regulation that held corporate power in check. Reagan—whom this writer notes that Greenspan of course praises in his book—began the process of removing the power of labor, shifting it back to corporations, reducing regulation and taxes on the rich. Piketty notes that as a result, wealth shifted away from the bottom 90% and to the top 10% (mostly 1%), wages among the bottom 90% went stagnant as they dramaitically increased for the rich.


"One can almost imagine how Rand and her highly moralized vision of economic life might have appealed to the young Greenspan, coming of age amid the anodyne corporate hierarchies of postwar America: In a way, her vision was a rebellion against the gray-flannel monotony of that order. But today, in a world remade by the cult of business, Greenspan’s vision of an entrepreneurial America is not rebellious so much as an affirmation of the powers that already exist—a class of people relentlessly committed to grasping more of society’s wealth for themselves. Trump’s dislike of free trade aside, his presidency seems the sad reductio ad absurdum of the fantasy of entrepreneurial omniscience. In the final pages of Capitalism in America, the authors reiterate the idea that the United States is trapped in an “iron cage of its own making,” one of “out-of-control entitlements and ill-considered regulations.” Scrap these, and the “madness of great men” like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel will once again be able to transform society. But who—outside of the inner circle, the most devout of the faithful—really believes that this would be a good thing?

While Capitalism in America falls short as a work of history, its larger problems are political. On the one hand, the whole framework of “creative destruction” implies a tremendous condescension toward those who dared to impede the march of progress. Contrary to what Greenspan and Wooldridge suggest, their grievances were not mere sour grapes, the whining and complaints of those left behind; what was at stake was always the question of who would benefit from economic change and the kind of social order it would make possible. By framing the issue as a simple resistance to technology and growth, Greenspan and Wooldridge sidestep the underlying questions about democracy, equality, and freedom that are at the heart of this long-standing struggle."


"The former chairman of the Fed, it seems, never left behind his childhood obsession with railroad barons and glorious entrepreneurs after all. Perhaps at the start of the Reagan years, this invocation of the market’s wonders still seemed inspiring, the opening bell in a beautiful race. Now it reads like no more than a call to protect the wealthy people who benefited from decades of state-backed economic redistribution upward."
capitalism  latecapitalism 
yesterday by jonhall
Mark Fisher’s “K-Punk” and the Futures That Have Never Arrived
This is mainly a reminder to get this book.

"There was a deliberate, almost prickly quality to Fisher’s writing and thinking that is rare nowadays, when criticism is more likely to involve open-minded rationalizing than steadfast refusal. He was not one to frolic in ambiguity or irony. “Just because something is current doesn’t mean it is new,” he writes in “K-Punk,” as he wonders if a time traveller from the nineties would find any contemporary music as radical as post-punk or jungle had once seemed to him. When everything is cheerfully “retro,” Fisher argued, we lose our grasp on history—and, without a sense of why the past happened the way it did, our anything-goes embrace of “happy hybridities” is an empty gesture. “What pop lacks now is the capacity for nihilation, for producing new potentials through the negation of what already exists,” he writes.

...It is difficult to separate Fisher’s own struggles with depression from his critical outlook; he was not inclined to do so, in any case, frequently blogging about the relationship between mental health and modern life. “The depressive,” Fisher writes, is one who is “totally dislocated from the world”—who does not labor under the fantasy that “there is some home within the current order that can still be preserved and defended.”"
mark_fisher  capitalism  books 
yesterday by oceanicbeloved

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