Showing posts from July 3, 2017

Today's Trumpery


The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear

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[See also: Google’s secret NSA alliance: The terrifying deals between Silicon Valley and the security state; and ATT, Verizon, Sprint Are Paid Cash By NSA For Your Private Communications. *RON*]

John W. Whitehead, Counterpunch, 28 June 2017
“We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government.” ― William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice, dissenting in Osborn v. United States, 385 U.S. 341 (1966) The government has become an expert in finding ways to sidestep what it considers “inconvenient laws” aimed at ensuring accountability and thereby bringing about government transparency and protecting citizen privacy.

Indeed, it has mastered the art of stealth maneuvers and end-runs around the Constitution.

It knows all too well how to hide its nefarious, covert, clandestine activities behind the classified language of national security and terrorism. And when tha…

Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution, official says

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[Board of education chairman says subject is debatable, controversial and too complicated for students. At least Donald Trump will have his pick of stupid nations to retire to. *RON*]

Kareem Shaheen & Gözde Hatunoğlu, The Guardian, 23 June 2017
Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.

Alpaslan Durmuş, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

“We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension,” said Durmuş in a video published on the education ministry’s website.

Durmuş said a chapter on evolution was being removed from ninth grade biology course books, and the subject postponed to the undergraduate period. Another change to the curriculum may reduce the amount of time that students spend studying the legacy of secularism.

Critics of…

The hunt for offshore oil is killing tiny sea creatures that are key for healthy oceans

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['Plankton underpin whole ocean productivity.' After all, it's just the planet. It only keeps us alive, is all. I think oil matters more, don't you? *RON*]
Alessandra Potenza, The Verge, 23 June 2017

A widely used method to find oil and gas for offshore drilling can kill tiny sea creatures that are key for feeding many marine animals like shellfish, fish, and even whales. And the impacts on these tiny, drifting creatures — called zooplankton — are seen in an area much larger than previously thought.

The study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, adds to the body of evidence that the loud noises produced during oil and gas exploration can disrupt marine life— including whales that use sound to communicate and look for food. It also comes just a few months after President Donald Trump has signed an executive order looking to expand offshore gas and oil drilling in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. LOUDER THAN A SA…

Will Robots Rule Finance?

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[The ongoing crapification of labour. One senses that, in part, such articles are written to make what they say come true. *RON*]
By Nafis Alam and Graham Kendall, Discover Magazine, 29 June 2017

The year is 2030. You’re in a business school lecture hall, where just a handful of students are attending a finance class.
The dismal turnout has nothing to with professorial style, school ranking or subject matter. Students simply aren’t enrolled, because there are no jobs out there for finance majors.

Today, finance, accounting, management and economics are among universities’ most popular subjects worldwide, particularly at graduate level, due to high employability. But that’s changing.

According to consulting firm Opimas, in years to come it will become harder and harder for universities to sell their business-related degrees. Research shows that 230,000 jobs in the sector could disappear by 2025, filled by “artificial intelligence agents”.

Are robo-ad…

Inequality: How We Got Here, and What Should Be Done

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[Interesting piece. No one even talks about Quantitative Easing any more - it's as though it has simply become part of the natural order of things. *RON*]
Desmond Cohen, Open Democracy, posted by Yves Smith on Naked Capitalism, 29 June 2017

Our mini-fundraiser for Water Cooler is on! As of this writing, 208 donors – our goal is 250 – have already invested to support Water Cooler, which provides both economic and political coverage, to help us all keep our footing in today’s torrent of propaganda and sheer bullsh*t. Independent funding is key to having an independent editorial point of view. Please join us and participate via Lambert’s Water Cooler Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, PayPal, or even the US mail. Thanks to all!

Yves here. Even though this post takes a UK perspective, the UK is a neoliberal fellow traveler, as well as a fast adopter of America’s dubious executive pay practices, so much of the ove…