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The Smartphone Has Changed How History Is Written - The Atlantic
Was there something to the long, paper-rich archive visit, though? As with so many things in the digital age, the downsides have often been less obvious than the conveniences, but they emerge eventually.

In a 2016 essay, the University of Pittsburgh historian Lara Putnam argued that archival visits used to require picking up local knowledge. But the rise of digital searching generally “decouples data from place.” You don’t have to know anything about a particular neighborhood, city, region, or nation to find relevant information to a project. “Peripheral vision was prohibitively expensive,” Putnam writes. Now you’re expected to know what might lie outside the frame of your argument. If you’re writing about Germany, why not take a database peak at Switzerland, or if you’re working on Brazil, why not search Angola (or Mexico)?

But you might lose another kind of peripheral vision—what’s going on locally at the archive you’re visiting. All the difficulty of getting to and staying near an archive might have had some purposes. “This experiential friction, the very thing that made international historical research in an analog world inefficient, tends to teach border-crossing researchers things they need to know, whether they know it or not,” Putnam observes. “When foreign researchers slog away in archives day after day next to in-country intellectuals, they can be forced to confront the value of locally produced expertise.”

Wellerstein points to a related problem he found himself fighting. When you digitize more, you can be tempted to believe that your record is complete, even though historians know that only certain things are captured in documentary evidence. “You can overestimate your knowledge when it looks like you have everything,” he says.

Like so many changes in day-to-day life brought on by smartphones, it’s hard to sort out the directionality or even the angle of change, because the devices we use intersect with other layers of our societies. This being history, then, it’s important to note the other contexts for this era of historical inquiry: a decline in Cold War funding of “area studies,” a deepening financial globalization, the precarity of most graduate students (and some professors), a widening of the historical profession to include historically excluded groups, a reevaluation of the post-colonial position of research universities in Western countries, and many other things.
history  AlexisMadrigal 
27 days ago
The Myth of Self-Reliance
But my copy of Emerson’s Essays has only one Post-it flag, in the introduction by Douglas Crase (an Emerson quote: “It seems the one lesson which this miraculous world has to teach us, to the sacred, to stand aloof, and suffer no man and no custom, no mode of thinking to intrude upon us and bereave us of our infinitude”). After that, I lost my bearings.
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My sense is that what’s at stake here is really rethinking the human as a site of interdependency. And I think, you know, when you walk into the coffee shop … and you ask for the coffee, or you, indeed, even ask for assistance with the coffee, you’re basically posing the question, do we or do we not live in a world in which we assist each other? Do we or do we not help each other with basic needs? And are basic needs there to be decided on as a social issue and not just my personal, individual issue or your personal, individual issue? So there’s a challenge to individualism that happens at the moment in which you ask for some assistance with the coffee cup. And hopefully, people will take it up and say, yes, I, too, live in that world … in which I understand that we need each other in order to address our basic needs. And I want to organize a social, political world on the basis of that recognition.
Emerson 
5 weeks ago
So You Want to Go to Grad School? - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Are you the one in five?" Really? Well, that's what the other four think too. Take my advice (I secretly care about you as a person): Don't go.

If you speak this way, four out of five students will think you're a crank and find a more flattering adviser: "Of course, my little genius, you can be anything you want to be."
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If you have a burning passion for Victorian poetry, you can probably satisfy this passion by yourself. Force yourself to read a few dozen academic books before deciding to dedicate your life to a subject. That is what one does in graduate school anyway. Most learning is unsupervised, independent, and onerous. Why pay or work according to an institutional timetable unless one needs an academic credential?
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It can involve poverty-level wages, uncertain employment conditions, contradictory demands by supervisors, irrelevant research projects, and disrespectful treatment by both the tenured faculty members and the undergraduates (both of whom behave, all too often, as management and customers.)
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"I hardly know anyone who was a grad student in the last decade who is not deeply embittered."
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"Don't be in such a hurry to re-institutionalize yourself. Throw your mortarboard in the air. Consider yourself free for the first time in your life. If you really love knowledge and teaching, there's a whole world of both outside the academy. Find it or create it! Go!"
GradSchool 
10 weeks ago
the idols and the true God - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
Here’s the chief point I want to make is that the combination of idol-worship and belief in a selectively-available Creator is an ancient one, and indeed is generally characteristic of non-Abrahamic religions. Consider this passage from Mircea Eliade’s The Sacred and the Profane:

The phenomenon of the remoteness of the supreme god is already documented on the archaic levels of culture. [There follow two pages of examples.] It is useless to multiply examples. Everywhere in these primitive religions the celestial supreme being appears to have lost religious currency: he has no place in the cult, and in the myths he draws farther and farther away from man until he becomes a deus otiosus. Yet he is remembered and entreated as a last resort, when all ways of appealing to other gods and goddesses, and ancestors, and the demons, have failed. As the Oreons express it: “Now we have tried everything, but we still have you to help us.” And they sacrifice a white cock to him, crying, “God, thou art our creator, have mercy on us.” (122, 125)

A few interesting and (I think) important points emerge from these juxtapositions.

The worship of idols in preference to the Creator is deeply embedded in the human mind: idol-worship is as it were the default religious position of homo sapiens sapiens;
Such worship is the default because for most people religion is in essence a practice of solutionism;
Since digital technologies are also primarily solutionist in orientation, they quite readily step in as substitute (new and improved!) idols;
If it is true, as Eliade says elsewhere in The Sacred and the Profane, that “To whatever degree he may have desacralized the world, the man who has made his choice in favor of a profane life never succeeds in doing away with with religious behavior” (23), then it makes sense to consider at least some of our technological behavior as fundamentally religious in character;
The primary goal of the makers of the idols, or New Gods (in their software and hardware avatars), is to ensure that we continue to turn to the idols for solutions to our problems, and never to suspect that there are problems they cannot solve — or, what would be far worse, that there are matters of value and meaning in human life that cannot be described in solutionist terms.

I might also add that the only strong alternative to this whole complex of fears, hopes and aspirations is the quite different model of religion that arises in Judaism and is then continued in Christianity, the model that bypasses intermediary Powers in favor of a direct encounter with the Creator, and on grounds that are not strictly solutionist in character. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.”
AlanJacobs  technology  religion 
10 weeks ago
Reading Highlights of 2012: Planetary | The American Conservative
What do I mean by “mythopoeic character”? Enter W. H. Auden, stage left:

All characters who are products of the mythopoeic imagination are instantaneously recognizable by the fact that their existence is not defined by their social and historical context; transfer them to another society or another age and their characters and behavior will remain unchanged. In consequence, once they have been created, they cease to be their author’s characters and become the reader’s; he can continue their story for himself.

Anna Karenina is not such a character for the reader cannot imagine her apart from the particular milieu in which Tolstoi places her or the particular history of her life which he records; Sherlock Holmes, on the other hand, is: every reader, according to his fancy, can imagine adventures for him which Conan Doyle forgot, as it were, to tell us.

Tolstoi was a very great novelist, Conan Doyle a very minor one, yet it is the minor not the major writer who possesses the mythopoeic gift. The mythopoeic imagination is only accidentally related, it would seem, to the talent for literary expression; in Cervantes’ Don Quixote they are found together, in Rider Haggard’s She literary talent is largely absent. Indeed, few of the writers whom we call great have created mythical characters. In Shakespeare’s plays we find five, Prospero, Ariel, Caliban, Falstaff and Hamlet, and Hamlet is a myth for actors only.
AlanJacobs  writing 
10 weeks ago
Moralistic therapeutic deism - Wikipedia
The author's study found that many young people believe in several moral statutes not exclusive to any of the major world religions. It is not a new religion or theology as such, but identified as a set of commonly held spiritual beliefs. It is this combination of beliefs that they label moralistic therapeutic deism:

A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
Good people go to heaven when they die.[4]
MTD 
10 weeks ago
accelerationism and myth-making - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
One might take as a summary of what I'm thinking about these days a recent reflection by Warren Ellis, the author of, among many other things, my favorite comic:

Speculative fiction and new forms of art and storytelling and innovations in technology and computing are engaged in the work of mad scientists: testing future ways of living and seeing before they actually arrive. We are the early warning system for the culture. We see the future as a weatherfront, a vast mass of possibilities across the horizon, and since we’re not idiots and therefore will not claim to be able to predict exactly where lightning will strike – we take one or more of those possibilities and play them out in our work, to see what might happen. Imagining them as real things and testing them in the laboratory of our practice — informed by our careful cross-contamination by many and various fields other than our own — to see what these things do.

To work with the nature of the future, in media and in tech and in language, is to embrace being mad scientists, and we might as well get good at it.

We are the early warning system for the culture. Cultural critics, read and heed.
AlanJacobs 
10 weeks ago
After Climate Despair - The New Atlantis
We are stuck waiting for a breakthrough. The sort of breakthrough we await says much about who we are and where we hope to go. The consensus austerity view would have us hope for a moral breakthrough of penitential retrenchment. The abundance view would have us hope for a technological breakthrough to enable a flourishing future. One says that we have used too much energy, and our descendants should use less. The other implies that we have not devoted enough energy to capturing and storing carbon dioxide, and that we must leave our children and grandchildren as much energy capacity as possible to clean up our carbon waste.
ClimateChange 
11 weeks ago
Where Does Religion Come From? - The Atlantic
If you ever have been to Japan or know anything about Japanese religion, what is called Shinto, a waterfall, a beautiful tree, these are kami. Yes, you can call them gods, but they're certainly nothing like Yaweh. They're spirits, they're alive. That notion that nature is alive, that there's a spiritual element everywhere.

The physical world is not as dead and quiescent as Newtonian physics would have us think. And we still don't know where life came from. I don't think anyone in their right mind thinks God came out of somewhere to create life, but the emergence of life from inanimate matter does remain a bit mysterious. I'm not saying it won't be explained in perfectly good natural scientific terms, but it involves things that are not your usual run-of-the-mill behaviors you'd expect to see. The world is full of questions and we can't take anything for granted, because the more we know, the more questions are raised.
religion  evolution 
11 weeks ago
There are no good movies - Austin Kleon
I was thinking about these two characters from Jojo Rabbit and how much I wished the whole movie was just about them, and I remembered Errol Morris saying:

I believe that there are no good movies, no good books, no good music compositions just great scenes, great passages, great moments.

I do not want this to be true, but I do think there’s something to it.

Whatever you want more of, that’s where your work begins.
AustinKleon  art  writing 
11 weeks ago
excerpts from my Sent folder: criticism – Snakes and Ladders
But if someone takes the trouble to pay attention to what you’ve written, to grasp your argument and to show where they think it goes wrong, or to bring in evidence that you’ve neglected (or didn’t know about) — that kind of thing is above rubies. But it’s very very rare.
AlanJacobs  criticism 
september 2019
The End of 'Evangelical' - The Atlantic
So if you need something a little pithier, here’s the definition that Kidd offers in his new book: “Evangelicals are born-again Protestants who cherish the Bible as the Word of God and who emphasize a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.” It would be difficult to do much better in a single sentence.
evangelical  AlanJacobs 
september 2019
vengeance – Snakes and Ladders
So, again: fantasy as a means of exposing and/or punishing the author’s enemies. You could put a positive spin on this and say that fantasy is preoccupied with justice; and sometimes that would be right; Tolkien’s treatment of Saruman seems the least vengeful, largely, I think, because Saruman is so often and so explicitly given the opportunity to choose a different path than the one he settles on — an opportunity Tolkien doesn’t give to Orcs, as Auden was I think the first to note. It’s when enemies are portrayed as unreformable, as incapable of repenting or in any significant way changing, that the love of justice tends to be transformed into a crowing over their wickedness, or a delight in vengeance taken upon them.
AlanJacobs 
august 2019
Paris Review - Les Murray, The Art of Poetry No. 89
We have three minds, I reckon, one of which is the body, while the other two are forms of mentation: daylight consciousness and dreaming consciousness. If one of these is absent from a work, it isn’t complete; and if one or two of them are suppressed, kept out of sight, then the whole thing — whatever it is you’ve created — is in bad faith. Thinking in a fusion of our three minds is how humans do naturally think, at any level above the trivial. The questions to ask of any creation are: What’s the dream dimension in this? How good is the forebrain thinking, but also how good is the dream here? Where’s the dance in it, and how good is that? How well integrated are all three; or if there is dissonance, is that productive? And, finally, what larger poem is this one in? Who or what does it honor? Who does it want to kill?
poetry 
june 2019
working the refs – Snakes and Ladders
I have come to believe that this is what almost all of our culture is about now: working the refs. Trying to get the refs, whoever the refs might be in any given instance, to make calls in our favor — to rule against our enemies and for us, and therefore justify us before the whole world.
ethics  basketball 
may 2019
walking and chewing gum
Is student loan debt forgiveness regressive, considering that most people who hold student loan debt are in significantly better financial shape than those who don’t? If we lived in a vacuum and were doing nothing else, sure… but we don’t and we aren’t. I support student loan debt forgiveness as part of a broad set of economic and social policies which will benefit the worst off most of all, as well as helping the income-rich but heavily indebted. And people of conscience will fight to ensure that the most is done for those with the greatest need. They will not be forgotten.

In general, any thinking person should be able to grasp that people 1) can be privileged and 2) still need help. Indeed I’d say that grasping this idea, this act of negative capability, is the essential step for a 21st century left.
debt 
april 2019
How to Quit Your Phone and Change Your Life By … Doing Nothing - The Ringer
“I do remember asking myself at the time, ‘At what point can you say that you know a place? How much and what kind of information do you need to know? How long would you have to be there for? Who can lay claim to a place and why?’"
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“Twitter in 2008 was different than Twitter today,” says Newport over the phone. “A lot of the social media platforms re-engineered themselves around that time, led by Facebook, when they had to start thinking about their IPOs. They had to start thinking about being a return to [their] investors. They re-engineered the experience to be much more aggressively compulsive, to be much more algorithmically driven to try to get engagement above all else. Before that, they were just trying to make the platform interesting and get as many users as possible. So the right analogy would be if there was a certain food that you used to really like, and then at some point the food manufacturer started putting an addictive substance into the food without you knowing.”
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“When I’m out on the road and talking to people’s unease about social media, it’s not these issues [about privacy] that come up again and again,” Newport says. “What seems to be upsetting people is the fact that they use it too much and that it’s addictive and that they feel like it’s reducing the quality of their lives.”
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As Odell began doing press for How to Do Nothing, a magazine asked her to contribute “suggestions for how to cut the digital cord” as a part of a larger story. “I was very tempted to say, ‘Just think about your own mortality. Like no. 1, just think about how you’re going to die someday,’” she recalls. “I think that’s actually really effective.”

Odell finds the focus on getting people to put down their screens or log off from social media limiting; fixating on changing an individual’s behaviors ignores what can be done collectively. She sees this new kind of consciousness-raising as a vehicle for political action. As she writes in How to Do Nothing, “I am less interested in a mass exodus from Facebook and Twitter than I am in a mass movement of attention: what happens when people regain control over their attention and begin to direct it again, together.”
Nature  Attention 
april 2019
“Lord, make me an idiot” – Snakes and Ladders
Got that? Okay, so: I’m going to ask you to imagine that Rod is absolutely correct about all this.

Have you done that? Okay, now do this: Imagine that Rod is not correct, that for the foreseeable future Christianity in America is going to stumble along in much the same way that it has been stumbling for all these many decades now.

Now let me ask you to think a third thought: How would God’s call upon your life differ depending on whether Rod’s reading of the signs of the times is correct?

I’m going to argue that it shouldn’t be different at all, in any respect whatsoever. For the Christian, genuine faithfulness always makes the same demand: the whole of your life. As Bonhoeffer says, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
religion  AlanJacobs  BlackLambandGreyFalcon  church 
april 2019
‘This Is Israel’ | Commonweal Magazine
“You’re taking about trying to create dialogue between two traumatized people,” said the official, who requested anonymity. A sense that conflict is natural and inevitable, he said, has shaped the identities and psychologies of Israelis and Palestinians. Some are even “addicted” (his word) to perpetual conflict. At times, the negotiator sounded like the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr when he expressed skepticism in the potential of self-interested people and governments. Even the concept of achieving definitive “justice,” he argued, can become an obstacle to peacemaking. “In a situation like this, where everything is in dispute, this isn’t a simple victim-villain story,” he said. “Both people have been victim and villains to the other. The Hebrew Bible talks about justice and peacemaking as something that should be pursued, but we shouldn’t be so arrogant that you think you can achieve it. That becomes messianic. What you can do is aspire to dignity and fairness. I like to say I believe in the possibility of the presently unimaginable.”
Israel  Palestine 
april 2019
Vengeance – Snakes and Ladders
When a society rejects the Christian account of who we are, it doesn’t become less moralistic but far more so, because it retains an inchoate sense of justice but has no means of offering and receiving forgiveness. The great moral crisis of our time is not, as many of my fellow Christians believe, sexual licentiousness, but rather vindictiveness. Social media serve as crack for moralists: there’s no high like the high you get from punishing malefactors. But like every addiction, this one suffers from the inexorable law of diminishing returns. The mania for punishment will therefore get worse before it gets better.
ethics  Christianity  AlanJacobs 
march 2019
Thinking, Belonging Aright – Covenant
Jacobs also points to the difficulties for thought represented by the “repugnant cultural other” (p. 27). Part of us doesn’t really want to understand the opinions and thoughts of others. Even as communities are prone to misunderstand and caricature each other, Jacobs is aware as both an evangelical Christian and an academic of the value of stating the position of the other, revealing the logic that underlies it, and even improving upon the arguments of the other. This is basic to his method as a teacher, and a basic tool to thinking clearly.
AlanJacobs  thinking 
february 2019
all the productivity guidance I got – Snakes and Ladders
I have two principles, and two only, that I follow. 

I pay myself first. That is, if I need to get writing done then writing will be my first task of the day. If I try to get all the other stuff done before turning to writing, I’m usually too tired to write much or well. 

When I work I work and when I play I play. When I’m writing I deny myself access to email, to social media, to fun internet sites. I don’t write a hundred words and then reward myself by watching a YouTube clip or arguing with strangers on Twitter. I just write until I have to do something else or am too worn out to write any more. 

That’s it. That’s all the productivity advice I got. 
writing 
january 2019
and now to sum up – Snakes and Ladders
it occurred to me this morning that almost all of the books and essays I have written for the last dozen years or so have arisen from the implications of three interlocking propositions:

Humans worship idols.
Idols kill their worshippers.
We’re all humans.
AlanJacobs 
january 2019
on conversation – Snakes and Ladders
Genuine conversation, it seems to me, is not something that one can aim directly at. (In this sense it’s like happiness.) Genuine conversation happens not when you’ve decided you want to have some conversation but when you’re actually engaged with another person. Conversation emerges from a degree of leisure, from patience, and from the trust that enables people to be truly present with each other and to be well-disposed to each other. Rather than asking “how can I have good conversations” or (worse) “how can I be a good conversationalist,” I think we’d all do better to ask this: How can I live in such a way that conversations naturally emerge from my form of life?
AlanJacobs 
september 2018
Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong - The Huffington Post
This kind of myopia repeats throughout history. Seat belts were invented long before the automobile but weren’t mandatory in cars until the 1960s. The first confirmed death from asbestos exposure was recorded in 1906, but the U.S. didn’t start banning the chemical until 1973. Every discovery in public health, no matter how significant, must compete with the traditions, assumptions and financial incentives of the society implementing it.
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And the medical community’s primary response to this shift has been to blame fat people for being fat. Obesity, we are told, is a personal failing that strains our health care system, shrinks our GDP and saps our military strength.
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For 60 years, doctors and researchers have known two things that could have improved, or even saved, millions of lives. The first is that diets do not work. Not just paleo or Atkins or Weight Watchers or Goop, but all diets. Since 1959, research has shown that 95 to 98 percent of attempts to lose weight fail and that two-thirds of dieters gain back more than they lost. The reasons are biological and irreversible...The second big lesson the medical establishment has learned and rejected over and over again is that weight and health are not perfect synonyms. Yes, nearly every population-level study finds that fat people have worse cardiovascular health than thin people. But individuals are not averages: Studies have found that anywhere from one-third to three-quarters of people classified as obese are metabolically healthy.
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This phenomenon is not merely anecdotal. Doctors have shorter appointments with fat patients and show less emotional rapport in the minutes they do have. Negative words—“noncompliant,” “overindulgent,” “weak willed”—pop up in their medical histories with higher frequency.
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Other physicians sincerely believe that shaming fat people is the best way to motivate them to lose weight. “It’s the last area of medicine where we prescribe tough love,” says Mayo Clinic researcher Sean Phelan.
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“She didn't even ask me what I was already doing for exercise,” he says. “At the time, I was training for serious winter mountaineering trips, hiking every weekend and going to the gym four times a week. Instead of a conversation, I got a sound bite. It felt like shaming me was the entire purpose.”

All of this makes higher-weight patients more likely to avoid doctors. Three separate studies have found that fat women are more likely to die from breast and cervical cancers than non-fat women, a result partially attributed to their reluctance to see doctors and get screenings.
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This is how fat-shaming works: It is visible and invisible, public and private, hidden and everywhere at the same time. Research consistently finds that larger Americans (especially larger women) earn lower salaries and are less likely to be hired and promoted.
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But perhaps the most unique aspect of weight stigma is how it isolates its victims from one another. For most minority groups, discrimination contributes to a sense of belongingness, a community in opposition to a majority. Gay people like other gay people; Mormons root for other Mormons. Surveys of higher-weight people, however, reveal that they hold many of the same biases as the people discriminating against them. In a 2005 study, the words obese participants used to classify other obese people included gluttonous, unclean and sluggish.
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Fat people, though, never get a moment of declaring their identity, of marking themselves as part of a distinct group. They still live in a society that believes weight is temporary, that losing it is urgent and achievable, that being comfortable in their bodies is merely “glorifying obesity.” This limbo, this lie, is why it’s so hard for fat people to discover one another or even themselves.
health 
september 2018
The Republicans are facing a bleak electoral landscape – and Trump is to blame | The Spectator
For many in the GOP and the conservative movement, a core appeal of Donald Trump was that he was transgressive. They wanted a candidate well outside the normal political boundaries and borders, and they got one. Their deal with the Devil was simple: they knew Trump was an aggressively terrible leader, but he was their aggressively terrible leader. He would be the cruel, divisive, hideous avatar for their most deeply held resentments and hatreds. He would be an impervious weapon in the culture war, clad in celebrity and armed with a corrosive talent for personal destruction honed on a hundred reality television show episodes. He was their all-or-nothing bet to win the cultural and political war in America. He would, in the juvenile parlance of the Trumpright, ‘own the libs’.
DonaldTrump  GOP 
september 2018
'People will die': Obama official's stark warning as Trump slashes refugee numbers | US news | The Guardian
Bob Carey, the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) under the Obama administration from 2015 to 2017, told the Guardian the new limit of 30,000 refugees per year and the Trump administration’s justification for the cap was “a new low in our history”.

“People will be harmed,” Carey said. “People will die.”

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, announced on Monday that in the fiscal year that begins 1 October, the US will only allow up to 30,000 refugees – a sliver of 1% of the more than 68 million people forcibly displaced across the globe.
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Mixon said: “It looks like they are trying to remove certain types of people from the country, which is what most of our refugees are trying to flee from – a government that would remove you based on who you are, what you look like, where you are from.”
refugees  DonaldTrump 
september 2018
Leave no dark corner - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The Communist Party calls it “social credit” and says it will be fully operational by 2020.

Within years, an official Party outline claims, it will “allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step”.
China  technology  privacy 
september 2018
Opinion | Conservatism After Christianity - The New York Times
his seems to support the argument, advanced by Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner among others, that support for populism correlates with a kind of communal breakdown, in which secularization is one variable among many leaving people feeling isolated and angry, and drawing them to the ersatz solidarity of white identity politics.
...
This suggests a possibility that should worry both Trump’s religious supporters and anyone who finds his style of conservatism racially toxic. Despite their resistance to that toxicity, the churchgoers in this survey did vote for him, making a pragmatic bet that his policies on abortion and religious liberty were worth living with his Caligulan personal life and racial demagoguery.
DonaldTrump  Christianity 
september 2018
Rebecca West's Brilliant Mosaic of Yugoslavian Travel
The gray falcon is an enigmatic figure in a Slav folksong about a military defeat in the year 1389; and it offered the Serbian king a choice which expresses the sad dilemma of modern pacifism and points to its tragic results. The black lamb is the symbol, seen in a gypsy rite in Macedonia, of false -- and thus of impious -- sacrifice; and the terrible complexity of the choice between good and evil becomes not less but more tragic when man identifies himself with the false altar's hapless victim rather than with its cruel priest. For the king chose piety and immolation instead of the effective defense of Christian civilization against its oncoming enemy; "all was holy and honorable" within him, but like the celebrants of false sacrifice, he had set death before life. He and his soldiers died vainly on that consecrated but disastrous battlefield. And slavery closed down upon the Balkan peoples -- no legend here, but history -- for 500 years.
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But Constantine, who was to accompany his friends to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro, was to show himself stricken by a division worse than the problem of Croatia: his blood was Jewish, his allegiance was Yugoslav, his culture was international; and he had a German wife.
BlackLambandGreyFalcon  travel  BookReview 
september 2018
Rashomon effect - Wikipedia
The Rashomon effect occurs when the same event is given contradictory interpretations by different individuals involved. The effect is named after Akira Kurosawa's 1950 film Rashomon, in which a murder is described in four mutually contradictory ways by its four witnesses
september 2018
How Useful is the Apple Watch's Heart-Monitoring Feature? - The Atlantic
It seems like the most obvious thing in the world: Generating more data about how your heart is working must be good, right? But in many cases—prostate cancer being the most famous example—checking (and monitoring and treating) people for a disease does not make their health outcomes better. Screening can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment, and all medical interventions comes with their own set of risks, especially in a healthcare system as expensive and inefficient as ours. At the very least, it can provoke unneeded panic. Counterintuitively (at least to those in Silicon Valley), sometimes it is better not to know.

MORE STORIES

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DEREK THOMPSON

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ROBINSON MEYER

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ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL

Fitness Trackers Only Help Rich People Get Thinner
technology  health 
september 2018
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