Ben Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Isaacson is a bit of a genius himself.

Recently he’s written biographies. I enjoyed his biography of Leonardo da Vinci (2017). And loved his biography of Steve Jobs (2011).

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life is good too. But not as good.

Ben’s life story was simply not as controversial as either Jobs or Leonardo da Vinci. As a result I found Isaacson repetitive regarding his few faults.

Ben Franklin regarded himself as a working class man. A printer. Yet became one of the most glamorous and famous people of his time. (1706-1790)

I admire him as an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. 

He founded many civic organizations, including the Library CompanyPhiladelphia‘s first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.

Like Gandhi, his real goal was to make life better for as many as possible.

Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism  …

He’d be horrified by the GOP and their toddler President in 2018.

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Re-emergence of American Anti-Semitism

One of my favourite podcasts is The Daily.

This is one of their best. Listen here:

Re-emergence of American Anti-Semitism

American Anti-Semitism is a much more complicated issue than I thought.

The racist President clearly encourages anti-Semites. Recall how Trump defended these A-holes.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Yet he consistently defends Israel. Why is that?

I finally learned that white extremists want Israel to survive so American Jews will flee there.

BEST ways to reduce misinformation online

There has always been misinformation. Older, less-educated men have always been grumpy as their privileged lives eroded. #curmudgeons

The internet gives voice to their wrongheadedness. Businesses like FOX News found a way to make money off them. The Republican Party and others around the world found ways to motivate them to vote.

Axios CEO Jim VandeHei offers 4 ways to reduce #FakeNews:

  1. Politicians … Stop using the term “fake news.”
  2. Media … Ban your reporters from doing anything on social media — especially Twitter — beyond sharing stories. Snark, jokes and blatant opinion makes people skeptical of your factual stories.
  3. Social Media companies … Radically self-regulate, or allow government regulation to stanch, the flow of disinformation …
  4. One thing is for sure: The current self-policing isn’t cutting it.
  5. YOU … Quit sharing stories without even reading them. Quit tweeting your every outrage. Quit clicking on garbage. Spend a few minutes to verify the trustworthiness of what you read.

World Sustainable Development Goals

Thinking BIG PICTURE.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were the eight international development goals for the year 2015 that had been established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

All 191 United Nations member states at that time, and at least 22 international organizations, committed …

As of 2013, progress towards the goals was uneven. …

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) replaced the MDGs in 2016.

related – Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general, dies

2.7 million Americans have served in Iraq, Afghanistan

Have American tax payers got their money’s worth?

In early October the Afghan war will be 17 years old. What’s been gained by the West intervening?

Would Afghanistan be better off now if they’d been left alone to solve their own problems?

The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.

War Without End

Pfc. Richard Dewater was killed in an ambush.

LeBron’s new school in Ohio

… “It’s not a charter school, it’s not a private school, it’s a real-life school in my hometown.” …

Its lengthy school day runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., along with an extended school year that runs from July through May. During a seven-week summer session, the school will provide STEM-based camps. …

… free breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks. They will have access to a fitness trainer. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The school is launching with third- and fourth-graders, but plans to add grades each year until it houses first through eighth grade in 2022.

Students get one other notable benefit: If they successfully complete the school program and graduate from high school, James will cover their full tuition at the local public college, University of Akron.

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our earliest ancestors – San people

I was reading The Wayfinders (2009) by Wade Davis … and was captivated by his story of an African DNA study which concluded the San are likely to be the oldest population of humans on Earth.

The San, also known as bushmen, are directly descended from the original population of early human ancestors who gave rise to all other groups of Africans and, eventually, to the people who left the continent to populate other parts of the world.

Independent

The Gods Must Be Crazy films are based on one branch of the San people.

This Wade Davis book argues that ancient wisdom still matters in the modern world. And that humanity will be lesser if we lose cultures like the San.

For some reason(s) a small group of San migrated north about 350 generations ago. Most people in the world are likely descended from that intrepid group. Some of the San still live much like they did 350 generations ago.

Racists won’t like this, of course.

Fact is, humans are 99.99% the same.

more San photos