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Observations of Social Inclusion, Exclusion and Care

Observations of Social Inclusion, Exclusion and Care | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
When there is a lack of inclusion within a given society or care for all members of the larger human society, either in the realm of politics or economy or society, things tend to get out of hand a...
Eli Levine's insight:

Sad that the people who run societies have never taken these empirically grounded facts to heart.  What is history but the data set from which our lives spring from?

 

Think about it.

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MPs' Champagne Bill Soars Under The Coalition

MPs' Champagne Bill Soars Under The Coalition | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
MPs' appetite for champagne has not been affected by the coalition's austerity programme, as parliamentary officials bought in increasingly larger numbers of bottles each year to replenish the House of Commons' stock. House of Commons officials revealed that they have spent £275,221 buying in more than 25,000 bottles of champagne since the coalition took over in May 2010, which MPs and their staff can enjoy in Parliament's bars and restaurants.

Via Darcy Delaproser, Jocelyn Stoller
Eli Levine's insight:

Gee.

 

You'd think the Conservatives would be more principled than that.

 

Now they're sauced and stupid.

 

Think about it.

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Surviving the post-employment economy

Surviving the post-employment economy | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Eli Levine's insight:

According to other articles I've seen, it seems that the unemployment problem isn't going away anytime soon.  It's remaining in Portugal, Spain and Greece as well as in economies like the UK or the US.  Emigration is the new recommendation as Europe's rich clamp down with austerity measures to protect their own wealth, even though the financial, material and social costs of emigration are not taken into account by those policy makers who think they're secure in their jobs through simple privilege and present position.  No thought seems to be given for tomorrow, even as all the signs of today indicate that they're going to awaken to some nasty surprises from the society and the environment as a result of their actions today.

 

Europe's job market is stagnant and the US's job recovery is but a trickle of low paying service jobs.  Without minimum wage reform in the US and proactive negotiation between workers and management from both sides, growth is going to be anemic and weak, even though there are jobs from which things can grow again.

 

Unfortunately, this article does not concern itself with the blue collar labor that fuels the actual production of the economy.  That too is undervalued and underpaid, as profits are maximized without dividends even being returned to shareholders (except if they sell their stocks).  A society cannot just be a group of academically trained professionals, nor will it likely ever be as a result of mere statistical chance.

 

Therefore, it's apparent that we have a deficit of demand for higher level work with an oversupply of trained individuals while demand for manuel labor shrinks both in this country as jobs go overseas and in the global economy as automation replaces workers with machines.  We either need a rethink of how our economy and society works, such that either people are able to care for themselves without a job (not likely to happen for individual psychological and social reasons), people are enabled to work in spite of potential automation opportunities or that we have a significant reduction of people due to mass death.  The most appealing option, in my view, is the second one.  However, that would require abandoning the mantra of profit-maximization as well as the social and cultural establishment of a less-profit driven logic in the economy, such that people are paid according to what they're worth (the value of what they produce) and that there are jobs available for people to have, even if it comes at a reduction of profit for the companies in question.  This is not likely to happen at all, really, for any sustainable period of time, nor is it necessarily desirable as we lose out on economic and scientific opportunities to improve our lot on this planet and in the universe. 

 

We could work on extra-planetary colonization.  That would use time, energy, effort, resources and labor that would otherwise be spare.  Or, we could undertake massive public works campaigns that can be repeated and undone in order to provide constant work (inefficient, but it would deal with the excess labor problem).  But that would take time and resources that would have to be pryed from the hands of the private elites who have benefitted so illegitimately and handsomely from the current policy set.  I see neither one of those things happening.

 

Therefore, death is all that's left on the table, thanks to the wishes, desires, beliefs and actions of the rich.

 

They're truly terrible people.

 

And I wish we'd just get them into mental health hospitals as soon as possible, in order to get them away from these positions in society which they are so unqualified for.

 

Think about it.

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From Occupy Frankfurt. The German police took off their helmets and marched with the protest clearing the way for them. : pics

From Occupy Frankfurt. The German police took off their helmets and marched with the protest clearing the way for them. : pics | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
reddit: the front page of the internet
Eli Levine's insight:

Who knows if this is accurate or not. Judging from the Reddit comments, they could be misinterpreting the picture for one side or the other. Lots of people and money interested in spinning this so that protestors and police stay enemies. Gotta be skeptical, even of people who are "on" side of the public officially.

 

Something big this way comes.

 

And I'm shocked the bankers haven't figured out that now is the time to back peddle significantly, genuinely and sincerely.

 

Before things get hairier for them.

 

Silly people who never learned anything from history: the raw data of us.

 

Or psychology.

 

Or sociology.

 

Or economics.

 

Or politics.

 

Or environmental sciences.

 

Think about it.

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Natural Law, Society and Government

Natural Law, Society and Government | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
All things bend to nature and to nature's laws.  We don't know or understand all of nature's laws, such that we are likely to continuously be baffled, surprised and prone to suffering in one way or...
Eli Levine's insight:

We will either learn to live with nature, or nature will kill us off.

 

Period.

 

Think about it.

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The GovLab Index: Measuring Impact with Evidence - The Governance Lab @ NYU

The GovLab Index: Measuring Impact with Evidence - The Governance Lab @ NYU | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
The GovLab Index: Measuring Impact with Evidence Please find below the latest installment in The GovLab Index series, inspired by the Harper’s Index. The GovLab Index: Measuring Impact with Evidence highlights the need for and current scarcity of evidence in decision-making practices. Previous installments include Open Data, The Data Universe, The Networked Public, Participation and […]
Eli Levine's insight:

It should be standard to evaluate, examine and potentially (if the program itself is useful) titrate policies and programs according to the needs within the given society, rather than the desires of the politicians.  Governing is not about the opinions of the politicians, but of the conditions within the society in which the government has legal, legitimate authority.

 

It is through tending to the actual needs of a given society effectively, sincerely and genuinely that a government is able to maintain its legitimacy and longevity.  Otherwise, the society languishes, and the government and its members become suspect, leading to their eventual removal from office through peaceful elections or violent force.

 

This isn't so much a call for no government, nor is it a simplisitic reading that government is a useless institution.  It is, if anything, a call for us to actually make government a more effective, more efficient and better functioning institution for the sake of people, rather than for private interests and people who seem to benefit the most from this confusion and misallocation of funds and priorities.  The top level program influences what is produced in the bottom, while the natural laws of the bottom influences what can be done by the top level programs.  The software of a computer will effect how the computer runs and operates as well as what operates and what happens.  However, the programs have to be written for and according to the natural circuitry that exists within the machine, such that it is compatible and effective in the hardware in which it needs to operate. 

 

As it is with computers, so to is it with societies.  Governments influence and effect what gets done and how things are done within a given society.  However, what the government can do, how it does it and what results can be realized are determined by the social, economic and environmental hardware that is present.

 

It's a shame that we're probably not going to reform in time to save ourselves the worst of the hazards that are going to be caused by our current "leaders'" actions, especially since the lessons can be learned without pain and suffering for everyone.  But what else is new in this world?

 

Silly place.

 

Think about it.

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Architectural design influences which microbes surround us

Architectural design influences which microbes surround us | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

They have us surrounded. Even inside the spaces we build for ourselves — like homes and offices — we are a tiny minority. Invisible bacteria, fungi, and viruses outnumber us by orders of magnitude.

We will always be outnumbered, but we may have a say in which microbes we’re surrounded by, according to a new study that’s one of the first to investigate how building design influences the microbial diversity of indoor spaces. “Design choices at the level of a whole building make a really big impact on the types of invisible organisms that you see in a room,” said microbial ecologist Jessica Green, an author of the new study. The work is part of an emerging body research suggesting that design decisions — from the architect’s blueprint to the choice of ventilation system to the materials picked by the interior designer — help shape the microbes in our midst.

 

In three recent studies, her team at the University of Oregon dissected the microbial diversity of a single building on campus called Lillis Hall, which houses professor’s offices and classrooms. In one study, they used a modified Shop-Vac to collect 155 dust samples throughout the building. Back in the lab, they extracted bacterial DNA and sequenced a gene called 16S. All bacteria have a copy of this gene, but its sequence differs from one type of bacteria to another, making it a useful ID marker. Classifying fungi and viruses is trickier, but Green hopes to tackle them in future studies.


Restrooms and classrooms, which are visited by many people throughout the day, tended to be dominated by bacteria commonly found on human skin, including Lactobacillus and Staphylococcus. Offices, especially those with windows, tended to have higher levels of soil-dwelling Methylobacterium. Mechanically ventilated offices, on the other hand, had more Deinococcus, which may be better suited to the hot dry air pumped out by the heating system in these rooms, Green says.


In addition to dust, Green and her team have also examined air samples and surfaces in Lillis Hall. In another recent study they found that rooms with a natural ventilation system that brings in outside air at night have microbial profiles more similar to outside air, compared to rooms with mechanical ventilation system that was turned off at night to save money. “What we found is if you have this really expensive mechanical ventilation system and you turn it off at night, you’re leaving this bag of microbes that people are immersed in when they come back in the morning,” Green said.


The interactions between building design, microbial diversity, and health might be stronger in other types of buildings — such as hospitals. Green is part of a consortium studying how microbial communities develop in two newly constructed hospitals, one in Chicago and one in Germany.

 

But she thinks those interactions will turn out to exist in other types of buildings too. She notes that scientists are only just beginning to discover how the microbiome, the collection of microbes that live inside our guts, can impact our health by interacting with everything from the immune system to the brain. And where do those microbes come from? ”We pick them up from the built environment,” Green said. For a species that spends nearly 90% of its time indoors, that’s something to think about.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eli Levine's insight:

Makes a lot of sense.

 

Imagine if we factored this into our architectural designs, as well as a host of other factors which influence our well being, health and survival.

 

Think about it.

 

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Pro-Russians storm Ukraine buildings

Pro-Russians storm Ukraine buildings | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Pro-Russian protesters storm government buildings in three eastern Ukrainian cities, calling for a referendum on independence.
Eli Levine's insight:

This was bound to happen.

 

And yet no one is reporting on what the Ukrainian government in Kiev is doing in light of these protests and concerns.

 

At least, no one in the West.

 

And it's so very hard to trust the media from Russia as well, due to the fact that people are talking over people, rather than listening for what needs to be done.

 

There are legitimate economic, social and strategic concerns with regards to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea that I haven't heard the Ukrainian government address adequately or effectively.  There is also the question as to why the West was so eager for Yanukovych to fall, when this conflict could easily have been predicted between the Russian and the Ukrainian speaking people.  If they had been paying attention to the people, rather than to elite governmental, academic and traditional intelligence sources, perhaps we could have worked more effectively in this conflict, rather than just becoming an antagonistic advocate for a side that isn't really 100% in the right?

 

Has that occurred to anyone in our policy making fields who actually have favor and the attention of our government?

Doubtful.

 

Think about it.

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We are close to eating bait fish and jelly fish as big fish numbers in oceans plummet

We are close to eating bait fish and jelly fish as big fish numbers in oceans plummet | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

"When you're young, you look at the world and think what you see has been that way for a long time. When you're 5, everything feels "normal." When things change in your lifetime, you may regret what has changed, but for your children, born 30 years later into a more diminished world, what they see at 5 becomes their new "normal," and so, over time, "normal" is constantly being redefined to mean "less." And people who don't believe that the past was so different from the present might have what could be called "change blindness blindness." Because these changes happen slowly, over a human lifetime, they never startle. They just tiptoe silently along, helping us all adjust to a smaller, shrunken world."


Since 1950, one in four of the world’s fisheries has collapsed due to overfishing. 77 percent of the world's marine fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted or slowly recovering. The cod fishery off Newfoundland, Canada collapsed in 1992, leading to the loss of some 40,000 jobs in the industry. Twenty years later, the fishery has yet to recover.


Scientists estimate that 90% of the world’s large fish have been removed from our oceans, including many tuna, sharks, halibut, grouper, and other top level predators which help maintain an ecological balance. Of the 3.5 million fishing vessels worldwide, only 1.7 percent are classified as large-scale, industrial vessels, yet these vessels take almost 60 percent of the global fish catch.


Tuna purse seine vessels using Fish Aggregating Devices entangle and kill a million sharks a year in the Indian Ocean alone. Every year, the world's fishing fleet receives roughly $30 billion in government subsidies. Most of the subsidies are given to the large-scale, industrial sector of the fishing industry.


Industrial fishing fleets kill and discard about 27 million tons of fish on average each year. That means that one-quarter of the annual marine fish catch is thrown overboard dead. For every kilo of shrimp landed, over 10 kilos of tropical marine life is caught and dies.

 

Bottom trawling, a fishing method which involves dragging giant nets and chains across the seafloor, damages fragile corals and sponges which provide habitat for fish and creates scars on the ocean bottom which can even be visible from space.

 

Globally more than US$20 billion is lost to pirate fishing each year, much of which involves European or Asian vessels. The United Nations estimates that Somalia loses US $300 million a year to the pirates; Guinea loses US $100 million.

 

The Patagonian toothfish (often sold as Chilean sea bass) fisheries around Crozet, Prince Edward and Marion Islands were fished to commercial extinction in just two years.

 

Commercial fishing boats also kill tens of thousands of albatrosses and hundreds of thousands of other seabirds, mostly by longline fishing.  Considering that albatrosses can live 50+ years, and take over 5 years to reach breeding age, this is an unsustainable loss of a truly impressive species.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eli Levine's insight:

Indeed, there are likely to be big consequences for this mass die off that we haven't even begun to realize.

 

Animals have an effect on the environment, very much like us.  They play a role in sustaining and shaping the environment.  When we kill off a species, we break a piece of the delicate web of the environment in which we evolved and adapted to, such that our lives could be put at risk as a result of the extinction or die off of a species.  It's the tiny changes which have the largest impact on our world, yet we are having a tremendously large impact on the world for the sake of economic activity and money that, ideally, should come second or third to our collective health.  Goodness knows what this is going to yield for us as we wipe out top predators and prey alike, whose natural cycles of birth and death lead to the sustenance of .the environment in which we evolved and adapted into.

 

Why do we care about money, if we're not able  to spend it in our lifetime?  Why do we care about it if its accumulation leads to our death on the individual and collective levels?

 

Think about it.

 

Because this could very well be the final curtain for humanity, because of humanity.  And yet, will anyone listen or care to listen about these things?

Silly maladjusted and dysfunctional brains.

 

Think about it.

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Low wage jobs are dominating the U.S. recovery

Low wage jobs are dominating the U.S. recovery | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
A new report finds that the U.S. job market might be in even worse shape than we thought. Nearly 58 percent of the jobs that have come back since the recession ended are in low-wage industries. In many cases, they're replacing higher-wage jobs that were lost in the first place.
Eli Levine's insight:
Well, this is going to make the overall recovery a trickle, rather than a torrent. Honestly, profits may be high, but what good do profits do if they're just going to be sitting idly in the coffers of the businesses? It's not like they share the wealth out to their shareholders with regular dividends. After all, the usual practice is that you only get your dividends when you sell your stock. Therefore, where's even the shareholders' cut of the profit, let alone the workers' cut for doing the actual money making? What good do those profits do for anyone other than the top executives of the companies? And, why is it that we're accepting these conditions from them? For what purpose? For what reason? Think about it.
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The Democratization of Violence

The Democratization of Violence | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
One of the hallmarks of a fully fledged and functional civilization, is that the legitimate use of violence is limited to one institution, one group of people, rather than being dispersed throughou...
Eli Levine's insight:

Thus, the natural cycle comes into full force.  The abusers eventually get the boot, while society is left to pick up the pieces afterward.

 

A shame, really.

 

And, society will be all the less inclined to submit now, even for its own sake and benefit, due to the abuses of people in power over the rest of the population.

 

Silly cycle.

 

Silly humanity.

 

Think about it.

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NIH VideoCast - His Holiness the Dalai Lama - The Role of Science in Human Flourishing

NIH VideoCast - His Holiness the Dalai Lama - The Role of Science in Human Flourishing | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

Wednesday Afternoon Lectures 

Friday, March 07, 2014

We are delighted to have His Holiness the Dalai Lama present the annual NIH J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture in the Ruth L. Kirschstein Auditorium, Natcher Conference Center. The title of his talk will be “The Role of Science in Human Flourishing.”


Via Edwin Rutsch
Eli Levine's insight:

Science: it's just the method we use to test to see whether things are, aren't or are something other than what we had thought of before.

 

I don't get for what reason it becomes so political or regarded with so much hostility by some whose  beliefs are out of line with the common reality in which we are living.

 

Silly brains.

 

Think about it.

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Erdogan criticises Twitter ruling

Erdogan criticises Twitter ruling | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticises a ruling by the constitutional court which lifted a controversial ban on Twitter.
Eli Levine's insight:

I think Mr. Erdogan is failing to accept and appreciate the fact that, while his party is able to command popular support in the local elections, he may not be so successful when it comes to his own election.  Turkey seems to be ok with these kinds of authoritarian behaviors and gestures.  However, one has to wonder how the Turkish polity and society will look upon these attempts to reign in the Internet in order to maintain "control" of the government and the country.

 

It is a sign of weakness, at least in my eyes, when a leader resorts to these kinds of tactics and maneuvers.  I have no idea how Turks in Turkey actually view this situation, unfortunately.

 

Enjoy watching the fur fly.

 

Think about it.

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Peter Turchin – The history of inequality

Peter Turchin – The history of inequality | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
From the Roman Empire to our own Gilded Age, inequality moves in cycles. Our future looks like a rough ride

Via Jocelyn Stoller
Eli Levine's insight:

Read the article.

 

The government cannot do everything.  However, it can reverse this imminent collapse by changing attitude, policy and perspective relative to the general public and the interests of the politicians relative to the general public. That could make all the difference that we need in the world, for our society's sake, our environment's sake and for our politician's sake.

 

Looks like a regimen of permanent profit sharing and birth control is in order, if we are going to live as a species at peace, and not as one with split personality disorder.  It's not like the rich are harmed by the rest of us enjoying riches as well.  Why should they get sooo much more than the rest of us when we're either producing in the economy or unable to produce in the economy?

 

Brace for impact kids!  This could be highly unpleasant.

 

Think about it.

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Nato warns Russia over Ukraine

Nato warns Russia over Ukraine | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Nato says further Russian intervention in Ukraine would be an "historic mistake" as Kiev tries to retake official buildings in the east from separatists.
Eli Levine's insight:

No unity encouraged.  No reaching out to the ethnic Russians or addressing their legitimate economic and social concerns.

 

And everyone is wondering how it is that Ukraine is falling apart as we speak, through democratic sentiments rather than actual conquest.

 

Seriously, rather than just working against the activists and denying their concerns and interests, wouldn't it be actually better to listen to what they have to say and enter into a dialogue with them?  Whether you think they're in the legal right or not or whether you want to accept the protester's legitimacy, the fact of the matter is is that they remain as facts within the society that will not be put down or silenced by police or forceful tactics.  In fact, such procedures may make them more inclined to break away from Ukraine and Russia may be foolish enough to take them in.

 

We've got everything backwards with regards to how governments need to relate to people, if they want to maintain their legitimacy.  That is one resource that is spent cheaply and bought dearly by leaders everywhere.  They would do better to husband that kind of social capital and understand how it is earned and maintained rather than spend it so freely and without regard for how it is accumulated and maintained, let alone, how to intelligently spend and manage it, especially in these crisis situations.  This whole debacle has been strictly amateur hour, from all sides.  Very disappointing seeing grown "adults" who should know more about human social life making these kinds of mistakes.  Call me arrogant if you'd like, because I am 99.99999% sure that I'm more or less in the right when it comes to these kinds of issues.

 

Think about it.

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NASA's global warming factsheet

NASA's global warming factsheet | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Global warming is happening now, and scientists are confident that greenhouse gases are responsible. To understand what this means for humanity, it is necessary to understand what global warming is, how scientists know it's happening, and how they predict future climate.

 

Once the world’s fourth largest lake, the mighty Aral Sea is now in it’s death throws. Starved of it’s lifeblood of the waters of the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers, the sea has been shrinking for the last 40 years.

 

Are the ozone hole and global warming related?What can we do about global warming?What if global warming isn’t as severe as predicted?Why is global warming a problem?Has the Sun been more active in recent decades, and could it be responsible for some global warming?If Earth has warmed and cooled throughout history, what makes scientists think that humans are causing global warming now?How do scientists know that Mauna Loa’s volcanic emissions don’t affect the carbon dioxide data collected there?Do satellite observations of atmospheric temperatures agree with surface-based observations and model predictions?What does NASA have to do with global warming?Are there natural processes that can amplify or limit global warming?If we immediately stopped emitting greenhouses gases, would global warming stop?If we stabilized greenhouse gas emissions at today’s rates, would global warming stop?
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eli Levine's insight:

It is an idiot who believes that humanity does not impact their own home through their activity.  It is also pretty stupid to select financial, material wealth over health, well being and sustainability, from a biological and sociological point of view.

 

Yet this is precisely what humanity has chosen to do.

 

At least, the sections of humanity who make decisions as to what happens in our world.  The rest of us are merely guilty of complacency and lack of access to real power (which is proactively enforced by those who currently hold defacto power in our world; the same people who are responsible for making the policy regimen that is causing global warming and greenhouse gas emissions to increase, remain the same or insignificantly decrease).

 

There's a reason how we're all going to die.  Looks like humanity is just going to be one brief little spark in the geological and cosmological history of our planet and universe.

 

A shame, since we have so much potential, if it weren't for those diseased brains sitting in places of power, consequence and authority.

 

Think about it.

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Global dip in renewables investment

Global dip in renewables investment | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

g to be humansGlobal investment in renewables fell during 2013, but the percentage of the world’s electricity generated by renewable sources continued to increase, a report shows.

Eli Levine's insight:

What's it going to be, humans?

Health?

Or wealth?

Time is ticking.

 

And there does come a point in time where you can't have both, and you have to choose one or the other.

 

Silly species.

 

Silly Capitalism.

 

Silly investors.

 

All for money.

 

And not a thought was given for health, well being and survival.

 

Think about it.

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Donetsk 'people's republic' declared

Donetsk 'people's republic' declared | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Pro-Russian activists who seized the regional government building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk reportedly declare a "people's republic".
Eli Levine's insight:

Arguably, this all cascaded from the first moments when the Ukrainian speakers overthrew Yanukovych and put into power a new leader who did not reach out to Russian speakers or distanced himself from the ultra-nationalists.  A shame that this continued lack of inclusion didn't end when the governments changed hands.

And the West?  It has only been an advocate for its pet dog in this fight, not truly acting as a peacemaker or advocate for the full interests of the Ukrainian people.

 

A shame, really, as now the Ukrainian government in Kiev may lose more territory through the democratic process to Russia, thus rendering it land locked and stuck with mostly agriculture from which to build.

 

This all being said, I don't think it's in Vladimir Putin's full interests to take more of Ukraine or to recognize this breakaway republic as such.  If I were Vlad, I'd be working to cool the situation myself, thus preventing further degradation of Russia's social capital towards the rest of the world.  A nation, even one as powerful as Russia, cannot stand in the light of the whole of humanity forever, nor can it expect to build a soild economy in light of economic sanctions with the rest of the world.  Better for Vlad to ease Crimea back to a newly balanced and newly focused and essentially neutral Ukraine, than to take more territory in ways that even the Chinese don't view as being legitimate or desirable.

 

If only I could talk with these people.

 

Think about it.

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How politics makes us stupid

How politics makes us stupid | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
There’s a simple theory underlying much of American politics. It sits hopefully at the base of almost every speech, every op-ed, every article, and every panel discussion. It courses through the...
Eli Levine's insight:

Again, as much as I don't agree entirely with Jonathon Haidt about conservatives having more "dimensions" of morality over liberals, I will agree with him that we act as lawyers or our own side, rather than as scientists for the sake of truth.

 

This incarnation of humanity is stupid, because it doesn't embrace the (actual) truth as true.  It doesn't seek out what is real, only what it identifies with on some primitive tribal level of consciousness that blinds them to the actual facts of a given situation and hinders their abilities to act accordingly.  We are going to die because most people aren't going to accept the truth as to what is, what works and what doesn't work.  They just pick a partisan-side, without realizing the actual partisan side that's needed is truth.  Anyone who doesn't accept or get this concept is about as well sensed as a schizophrenic, as far as I'm concerned (although schizophrenics may sometimes, arrive at the truths through different channels than other people may follow, therefore making their claims more valid than ideologues from any side).

 

It's a stupid system; a stupid species.

 

And there's nothing that I or anyone else is going to be able to do about it, short of a real miracle.

 

But, guess what humanity, there are no such things as actual miracles.  Sometimes the whole thing does collapse with no one being able to save it, thanks to the unwillingness of one group or set of groups to step back and acknowledge that they may be wrong about something.  It takes two sides to make a miracle: one to bring the actual miracle, and the other to accept the miracle when and if it appears.  I highly doubt that this incarnation of humanity will accept a miracle, even if the universe offers one.

 

That is why it's going to die.  You're going to die as a result of this; no faith or acceptance of facts needed.

 

And there's nothing that I can do about it, except write and connect.

 

Think about it.

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The sadness of the mango trees

The sadness of the mango trees | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

ETim Whewell goes to the Central African Republic to find out what is behind the inter-ethnic violence.

Eli Levine's insight:

Economy mixes with society, society mixes with economy.  All fall under the auspices of politics, at the very least, government and the very most.

 

Hopefully the "Christians" will realize their mistake and put down those violent mobs that drove out a mainstay of their local economy.  Hopefully the "Christians" will allow for a more inclusive system of government so that the Muslims do not feel like they're being excluded or trampled upon by the "Christian" majority to the point where they feel a coup is needed to get what they'd like.  Conversely, hopefully the Muslims will also respect the needs of the Christians, and the other ethnicities, such that the they're no longer interested in taking extra than what they can legitimately receive from the given society.

 

It's amazing to me how humans from all over the world fail so miserably at these basic social concepts of living with people who are somehow "different" than they are.  It's just primitive tribalism, borrowed from our chimp ancestors; just a condition in the brain that's theoretically correctable with practice, mindfulness and time.  Imagine if we actually were able to get along, let the past mistakes be in the past, and simply carry on together as one species?

It would all fall apart by lunchtime on the very day that it would be declared.

 

Silly species....

 

Think about it.

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Kapital for the Twenty-First Century? | Dissent Magazine

Kapital for the Twenty-First Century? | Dissent Magazine | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

"Despite having made some disparaging remarks early on about the savagery of the United States, it turns out that Thomas Piketty is a garden-variety social welfare democrat in the mold, largely, of the American New Deal."


Via Willy De Backer
Eli Levine's insight:

All economics is political, because all wealth is political.  Be it a controlling influence in our media, energy sources, food resources or home goods, etc, all ownership entails a certain amount of responsibility on the part of the owners and yields considerable effects upon our world through their influence in the political/gubernatorial levels of our world.  To that end, concentration of wealth and true economic capital (the actual stuff that produces and is produced) leads to a form of dictatorship that is as fragile and corruptible as any dictatorship.  It's not good for the polity to leave economic wealth so concentrated at the "top" levels of our society, because it leaves the system prone to collapses, revolutions and uprisings that cannot reliably be put down through military force of arms or deceitful tactics.  The rebels will just keep coming, until the perceived injustice is perceived to be over.

 

What this means, is that in order to realize a less centralized, more organic and more stable polity, the members of our government must throw themselves on the mercy of the general public and reverse the policies which have encouraged the economic system to act as a cancerous parasite on the rest of society, rather than as a benevolent and necessary tool to satisfying human needs first, and human wants second.  The centralized polity under the centralized economic system is already eroding in the streets.  If the government's members are going to save their own hides, at the very least, they might as well reverse the changes of principle and goal that was enacted in the 1980's under the Reagan administration and return government's function and role to those principles and goals that was under the Roosevelt administration (even if we don't do everything the same way that they do).

 

This cancerous tendency in American society has got to be ended.  Yet the only way that it is truly going to be ended, is if those who exhibit these kinds of self-destructive economic behaviors are removed from office, researched and then never allowed back into those places again by the rest of society.

 

Sadly, I don't see humans taking up arms to put these bankers, financiers, executives, lobbyists and politicians into the straight jackets in which they belong in time to save themselves.  A sad state of affair.

 

Think about it.

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Willy De Backer's curator insight, April 6, 2014 3:10 AM

Brilliant critical analysis by James Galbraith of the new book of Thomas Piketty. A must-read.

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Why People Secretly Fear Creative Ideas — PsyBlog

Why People Secretly Fear Creative Ideas — PsyBlog | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

Why creative ideas are often rejected in favour of conformity and uniformity.

Does society really value creativity? People say they want more creative people, more creative ideas and solutions, but do they really?

For one thing teachers don’t generally like creative students. Primary school teachers in one study liked the most creative kids the least (Westby & Dawson, 1995). This isn’t an isolated finding in education and probably a result of the fact that creative kids are generally more disruptive; naturally they don’t like to follow the rules.

For all the talk of creativity in business, industry and academia, there’s evidence that it’s implicitly discouraged in these areas as well. Although leaders of organisations say they want creative ideas, the evidence suggests creativity gets rejected in favour of conformity and uniformity (Staw, 1995 cited in Mueller et al., 2011).

Abstract

People often reject creative ideas, even when espousing creativity as a desired goal. To explain this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily overt and that is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty. In two experiments, we manipulated uncertainty using different methods, including an uncertainty-reduction prime. The results of both experiments demonstrated the existence of a negative bias against creativity (relative to practicality) when participants experienced uncertainty. Furthermore, this bias against creativity interfered with participants’ ability to recognize a creative idea. These results reveal a concealed barrier that creative actors may face as they attempt to gain acceptance for their novel ideas.
http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/1/13.full.pdf+html


Via Alessandro Cerboni
Eli Levine's insight:

I'll be one of the first people to say that creativity has its limits.  There are only so many functional designs in the design space of our universe, that you can't have all of the cool, but unworkable ideas put into place or accepted.

 

However, you need people who look at things in a variety of different ways, in order to land at something which we can approximately call objective truth.

 

Take the definition of "wealth" for example.  There are several academic definitions of what constitutes wealth, each one sort of adding a new layer of complexity and richness to the others.  You cannot just have a nebulous and ethereal definition, but at the same time, you can't have one definitive definition that truly will be above falsification, editing and revision (especially if you attempt to get at the real nitty gritty definitions of what constitutes wealth).

 

This anti-creative thinking is something that I've faced since I was a small child.  Humans are basically a conservative species.  We like rules, order, certainty and consistency from our environment.  The ability to change on the individual level is severely limited by our biology, and the social pressure to conform and maintain a definition of normalcy simply adds to the conservatism of the species.  We don't seek innovation, unless we want something out of it, and we don't change anything unless or until it causes catastrophic failure for the individual or the collective society and even that change is debatable after looking at the fall out from the French, Russian, Chinese and Iranian revolutions.  The only change that is possible are those changes we have the capacity within ourselves to make.  That is limited, again, by individual biology and environmental factors.

 

I do not doubt that humanity will find clever ways that work to solve its problems.  What is in doubt, as far as I'm concerned, is our willingness to entertain and experiment with those ideas in time for us to make any use of them.  Change and uncertainty are the only constants that are going to be with us.  Might as well learn to live with them.

 

Silly conservative humans.

 

Think about it.

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Behavioral and Network Origins of Wealth Inequality: Insights from a Virtual World

Almost universally, wealth is not distributed uniformly within societies or economies. Even though wealth data have been collected in various forms for centuries, the origins for the observed wealth-disparity and social inequality are not yet fully understood. Especially the impact and connections of human behavior on wealth could so far not be inferred from data. Here we study wealth data from the virtual economy of the massive multiplayer online game (MMOG) Pardus. This data not only contains every player's wealth at every point in time, but also all actions of every player over a timespan of almost a decade. We find that wealth distributions in the virtual world are very similar to those in western countries. In particular we find an approximate exponential for low wealth and a power-law tail. The Gini index is found to be 0.65, which is close to the indices of many Western countries. We find that wealth-increase rates depend on the time when players entered the game. Players that entered the game early on tend to have remarkably higher wealth-increase rates than those who joined later. Studying the players' positions within their social networks, we find that the local position in the trade network is most relevant for wealth. Wealthy people have high in- and out-degree in the trade network, relatively low nearest-neighbor degree and a low clustering coefficient. Wealthy players have many mutual friendships and are socially well respected by others, but spend more time on business than on socializing. We find that players that are not organized within social groups with at least three members are significantly poorer on average. We observe that high `political' status and high wealth go hand in hand. Wealthy players have few personal enemies, but show animosity towards players that behave as public enemies.


Via Bernard Ryefield
Eli Levine's insight:

When you let laissez-faire take its course, only a few individuals really end up on top.  That's not to say that markets shouldn't be allowed and enabled to exist, for the sake of the free exchange of goods, services, knowledge, wealth, etc.  It is saying that we need non-intrusive mechanisms to help make sure that the wealth that is produced is enjoyed by everyone who produced it.

 

Some people will always have more than others, for behavioral reasons and for circumstantial reasons.  That is not a problem, in my own view.  The problem comes, for me, when their focus on wealth becomes so great that they lose sight of their human needs on the individual as well as social and environmental levels, such that they choose wealth that they will not use over that which they need for survival and physical/psychological well being.

 

It's a form of being disconnected with the real world, kind of like schizophrenia.  The brain isn't functioning properly when  greed is and has taken over, for one reason or another.  It should be considered a mental illness that we could, potentially in time, treat, such that these individuals who are not aware and do not care to be aware of their actual place in the universe can lead normal, happy, healthy and appropriately placed lives in our societies.

 

So, we're left with the present situation in which work is undervalued, relative to what it produces, while executive management is way overvalued relative to its healthy role in the economy and society.  I'm not saying that pure equality is desirable, because sometimes people do work harder than others and deserve a greater share of wealth than someone who didn't work when they honestly could have.  What I'm saying, is that indulging the elite's fantasy of the ego is detrimental to themselves and to others, and that I don't think it should be accepted or tolerated within our social world.

 

If you want equality of opportunities, you must have more equality of outcomes.  That is yet another fact about our world that conservatives fail to accept and appreciate, if they're attempting to realize a world in which we are all together as one, rather than a world where we are heavily stratified according to an artificial hierarchy.  That is the difference between a conservative and a progressive.  One wants us all to be living together in peace, harmony, stability and, for want of a better word, love, while the other just wants everyone in a specific place according to birth.  One promotes democracy and inclusivity, the other, discourages it.  One works better for humanity on the tangible level, the other, does not.

 

And it's just a difference in brain type/values that makes them be something so antithetical to what Western civilization has stood for.

 

Think about it.

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How 3D Printing Creates On-Demand Swarms of Disposable Drones

How 3D Printing Creates On-Demand Swarms of Disposable Drones | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

New advances in 3D printing are making it not only possible but also viable to manufacture cheap, print-on-demand, disposable drones designed simply to soar off over the horizon and never come back. Some British engineers did just that, and this is only the beginning. The team hails from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield, where they're exploring innovative ways to 3D-print complex designs. They built their disposable drone, a five-foot-wide guy made of just nine parts that looks like a tiny stealth bomber, using a technique called fused deposition modeling. This additive manufacturing technique has been around since the 1980s but has recently become faster and cheaper thanks to improved design processes.


The ultimate vision, as sUAS describes it, is for "cheap and potentially disposable UAVs that could be built and deployed in remote situations potentially within as little as 24 hours." Forward-operating teams equipped with 3D printers could thus generate their own semi-autonomous micro air force squadrons or airborne surveillance swarms, a kind of first-strike desktop printing team hurling disposable drones into the sky.


For now, the AMRC team's drone works well as a glider, and they're working on a twin ducted fan propulsion system. It will eventually get an autonomous operation system powered by GPS as well as on-board data logging of flight parameters. Presumably, someone will want to stick a camera on there, too. If they're successful at building these things cheaply enough, it will be a green flag for the rest of the industry to take a hard look at their designs and see if they can make a disposable drone, too.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Eli Levine's insight:

This is going to get ugly.

 

The arms race between the people and the government is just beginning. 

 

Cause, I can think of all sorts of mayhem that can be raised with this technology, all of it spontaneously generated from the conditions in which people are living, caused primarily by our elite factions, public and private alike.

 

You SURE you want to be holding those reigns of "power" when they come for you?

 

Think about it.

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'Shocked' Senate votes on CIA report

'Shocked' Senate votes on CIA report | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
The US Senate Intelligence Committee recommends the publication of part of its report into the "brutal" CIA interrogation of terror suspects.
Eli Levine's insight:

So, it's ok to spy on your constituents and other civilians, but it is not ok to spy on the Senators and their staff....?

And Congress' members wonder how it is that they compose the most unpopular institution of our government.

 

Upper class prima donnas and morons.

 

Think about it.

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