bad news, Facebook, Google, government, internet

Censorship by flood of misinformation

Back in the 1990s I was completely convinced that Google and the internet would make the world a much better place.

If people had more information, they’d be able to make better decisions.

It turned out to be mixed. Smart people make better decisions.

But many are overwhelmed, disinterested and easily confused.

bad news, economics, education, ethics, GOP USA, government, human rights, things getting worse

Rise and Fall of the American Empire – Wade Davis

UPDATE – Deanna Kreisel posted a rebuttal to the Wade Davis article:

The Unraveling of “The Unraveling of America”

Wade Davis is a Colombian / Canadian professor of anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia.

One brilliant man.

A recent article of his in Rolling Stone sums up how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era.

In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. …

No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise …

In 1940, with Europe already ablaze, the United States had a smaller army than either Portugal or Bulgaria. Within four years, 18 million men and women would serve in uniform, with millions more working double shifts in mines and factories that made America, as President Roosevelt promised, the arsenal of democracy.

When the Japanese within six weeks of Pearl Harbor took control of 90 percent of the world’s rubber supply, the U.S. dropped the speed limit to 35 mph to protect tires, and then, in three years, invented from scratch a synthetic-rubber industry that allowed Allied armies to roll over the Nazis. At its peak, Henry Ford’s Willow Run Plant produced a B-24 Liberator every two hours, around the clock. Shipyards in Long Beach and Sausalito spat out Liberty ships at a rate of two a day for four years; the record was a ship built in four days, 15 hours and 29 minutes. A single American factory, Chrysler’s Detroit Arsenal, built more tanks than the whole of the Third Reich. 

In the wake of the war, with Europe and Japan in ashes, the United States with but 6 percent of the world’s population accounted for half of the global economy, including the production of 93 percent of all automobiles. … 

COVID-19 didn’t lay America low; it simply revealed what had long been forsaken.

As the crisis unfolded, with another American dying every minute of every day, a country that once turned out fighter planes by the hour could not manage to produce the paper masks or cotton swabs essential for tracking the disease. The nation that defeated smallpox and polio, and led the world for generations in medical innovation and discovery, was reduced to a laughing stock as a buffoon of a president advocated the use of household disinfectants as a treatment for a disease that intellectually he could not begin to understand.

… With less than four percent of the global population, the U.S. soon accounted for more than a fifth of COVID deaths. … 

Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America’s decline than a product of its descent. As they stare into the mirror and perceive only the myth of their exceptionalism, Americans remain almost bizarrely incapable of seeing what has actually become of their country.  …

The Unraveling of America

 

If Trump were gone tomorrow, the USA is still screwed because of FOX News and right wing media. And the GOP.

If a vaccine were available tomorrow, half of Americans would refuse to take it.

Wade Davis:

… even should Trump be resoundingly defeated, it’s not at all clear that such a profoundly polarized nation will be able to find a way forward. For better or for worse, America has had its time. …

BAYONNE, NJ – MAY 3: A wind blown American flag at the Tear Drop 9/11 Memorial flies over the skyline of New York City as the sun sets on May 3, 2020 in Bayonne, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
bad news, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, TV

Handmaid’s Tale – season 2

What can be said that hasn’t already been said?

It’s fantastically well done.

Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne must win every acting award.

Madeline Brewer as Janine should win the rest. And Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia, of course.

In season 2 I could finally relate to Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford. Her backstory is fascinating.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

… That all said, I’m not sure I can continue with season 3. It’s too violent. Too sad. Too believable in an age where a potential leader of the Gilead theocracy is VP. ☹️

bad news, government, things getting worse

7 days of Heroin

Cincinnati, Ohio.

July 10-16, 2017

18 deaths. At least 180 overdoses. A typical week. ☹️

We have to do everything we can to reduce the number of people addicted to hard drugs. Prescription painkillers should be limited.

Read the story. Watch the video on USA Today. It’s shocking.

Trump’s bungled the Drug Czar portfolio as he’s bungled so many things. I think it’s Jim Carroll in charge, right now.

bad news, education, ethics, government

REDress Project – missing and murdered Indigenous women

Half of the women murdered in Canada are aboriginal.

The REDress Project began in 2010 as a way to remember the more than 1,000 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. And to prevent tragedies like those in future.

The educational program has reached Parksville and Qualicum Beach, B.C.

I saw them at Parksville City Hall.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The REDress Project is running in conjunction with the United Nation’s 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

related – Trudeau apologises for ‘deep harm’ of residential schools

bad news, ethics, firearms, government, robots, things getting worse

you might be killed by a drone

Greg linked to this video. I thought it was real … for the first few minutes.

It’s fiction. Black Mirror scary.

Click PLAY or watch Slaughterbots on YouTube.

The video was created by Autonomousweapons.org and Stuart Russell, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. …

Next Web

anti-smoking, bad news, economics, ethics, government, travel

homeless downtown Montreal

I spent a few weeks this year near the Berri-UQAM Metro station on Rue Sainte-Catherine, heart of downtown Montreal. There are a LOT of homeless people. It reminds me of a major American city in that way.

One survey (Douglas Mental Health University / 800+ volunteers) counted 3,016 homeless in the city. 10% aboriginal. 10% immigrants. Veterans 6%.

Other guesstimates have been 10 times as high.

I was there during warmer months. During winter these folks need to find someplace heated.

A harsh and boring life, seems to me. They all seem to have cigarettes. Somehow.

IMG_0114

Not sure what can be done to reduce the numbers. A guaranteed minimum income experiment — or new kinds of free housing — could be tried.