The Overview - April 26, 2021
The Overview is a weekly roundup of eclectic content in-between essay newsletters & "Conversations" podcast episodes to scratch your brain's curiosity itch.
|Nicholas McCay||Apr 26|
Hello Eclectic Spacewalkers,
I wish that you and your family are safe and healthy wherever you are in the world. :)
Check out the last The Overview - April 19, 2021: HERE
Get our E-Book for free by using ‘substack’: HERE
Below are some eclectic links for the week of April 26th, 2021.
Enjoy, share, and subscribe!
Table of Contents:
Articles/Essays - Dr. Daniel Christian Wahl; Grist; Drift Mag; MS Magazine; The Point Mag; Current Affairs; NY Mag, NOEMA Mag, Center for International Governance Innnovation, and The MarkUp
Book - Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Documentary - American Insurrection (full documentary) | @frontlinepbs
Lecture -There is no Alternative Beyond Cooperation or Extinction via @INETeconomics; You Are Not a Robot [Andrew Sheng]
Paper - Psychotherapy Program on Psychological and Economic Well-being via @jhaushoferr
Podcast - #DamnTheAbsolute Ep. 14 A Tool for a Pluralistic World w/ @jbenmarshall with @Jeffrey_Howard_ in @Erraticusmag
TED Talk - Gardening is our past and must be our future | Ellie Salazar | TEDxEustis
Twittersphere - To this day, my favorite science story ever is How We Learned that Bees can Perceive Time via @TomLumPerson; "Panem et Circenses" - Bread & Circuses/Games via @Espacewalk
Video - How Smoked Salmon Is Destroying Our minds | @GeorgeMonbiot with animation from @Steve_Cutts
Website - Learn Skills. Earn Crypto. 1729 Website via @balajis (Referenced in @tferriss podcast)
“Bioregionalism is a comprehensive “new” way of defining and understanding the place where we live, and of living there sustainably and respectfully. In truth, what Bioregionalism represents is only new for people who come out of the Western industrial-technological heritage. Its essence has been reality and common sense for native people living close to the land for thousands of years, and remains so. At the same time, bioregional concepts are rigorously defensible in terms of science, technology, economics, politics, and other fields of “civilized” human endeavor...
Eco-economics” means bioregionally-scaled economies designed on the basis of ecological principles. It means running an economy the way nature runs a forest. Ecological principles mandate decentralization, deconcentration, and regionalization of our economic systems. As much as possible, there must be local production, consumption, and full-scale recycling, drawing from local resources. It further mandates that no economic activity be allowed that is destructive or compromising to the ecological integrity of the region within which it takes place.”
“A new book pushes back against the narrative that individual actions make little difference to the climate.
The wealthier you are, the higher your individual share of the carbon pie tends to be due to “luxury emissions” associated with extra steak dinners, owning and driving more cars, and the carbon footprint elephant in the room, flying. Nicholas notes that the 1 percent of the world population who fly most often are responsible for half of all air travel emissions. (Flights are responsible for 2.4 percent of emissions globally, but they drive an estimated 7.2 percent of warming due to high-altitude atmospheric effects.) Wealthy high emitters, Nicholas argues, must support policies that get the world to net-zero emissions quickly, but they must also take steps to reduce their luxury emissions in order to make the energy transition easier for everyone.”
“The distribution of this inheritance will fall along the lines of existing inequalities, deepening the fractures in any millennial program of economic solidarity. Homeownership rates are a useful measure of these faultlines. A staggering 92 percent of millennial millionaires already own property. For the average non-millionaire millennial, the number is 39 percent; for Black millennials, it’s only 14.5 percent. An Urban Institute study found that the Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968, has had no effect in narrowing the gap between Black and white homeownership, and that Black communities have been much slower to assimilate the effects of the post-2008 recovery. With Black households averaging one-tenth the wealth of white families, this resource gap will not only persist but widen within our generation as money is passed among white families who have had the opportunity to accrue it over the course of decades, if not centuries.”
“People aren’t struggling with economic insecurity because they know less; they’re struggling because of the systemic barriers that exclude them from more income and wealth.”
“Financial education assumes that individuals bear the risk of navigating their own financial lives, despite increasingly perilous terrain. In the past, when we’ve focused on vulnerable borrowers and debtors in distress, we’ve prioritized strict reverse mortgage policies and predatory lending laws. Public policy has a critical role to play in ensuring that consumers and the marketplace are aligned.
Fintech or not, our economy should be built in a way that requires providers of goods and services—at a minimum—to furnish the information and tools that people need to successfully navigate our financial systems. For example, just as the Food and Drug Administration regulates and promotes transparency through nutritional labels, all financial products should be required to plainly feature terms and costs (like a universal Schumer box).”
“This theory is expressed in the principle of the like button: you like this, I like this, we like each other; we are friends. You don’t like this, I do like this, we don’t like each other; we are not friends. You liked her, but she liked what he said; I don’t like him; I don’t like you. I need to get away from you, you need to get away from me. Call it the “Logic of the Like.”
There is an immense power to this way of thinking. For social media companies, the Logic of the Like distills the seemingly ungraspable complexity of social life into a few simple processes, and allows an entire social edifice to be built up by iterating them. As we rate and approve, upvote and downvote, we sort ourselves into clusters. Recommendation systems in turn feed us content similar to what is popular with “people like me,” creating incentives for new products to approximate, with slight variations, what is already popular.”
“Getting past the cult of Genius and the bleakness of capitalist futurism.”
“It makes me deeply sad that Elon Musk is seen by many as our biggest Dreamer, because his dreams are so pitiful. Because he is a 12-year-old, they often just involve having the same shit, but bigger and faster, rather than actually doing the hard imaginative work of figuring out how to solve our hardest social problems. Take Musk’s approach to transit. His company has improved electric cars, but he doesn’t have any idea how to address the problems flowing from car culture. Musk has insisted repeatedly that the solution to traffic problems, from California to Miami, is to simply dig tunnel after tunnel after tunnel. He has even started a tunneling company that proposes to solve urban transit problems, which has been given a nearly $50 million contract by the city of Las Vegas to construct a short (less than one mile) tunnel around the city’s convention center. It’s being billed as an “underground people mover,” but Curbed notes that “what’s being built appears to be more of a mechanism for giving one-minute test rides in Teslas” (on the city’s dime, of course). Other tunneling plans have already been scaled back or abandoned…
It is natural to desire a “fantastic future.” Personally, I’m sad that we no longer have World’s Fairs showcasing what we think humankind might accomplish in the next decades. Musk fandom arises in part because he is offering something resembling a path to clean energy and space exploration, both of which are appealing and important. But it’s a mirage, and following it will take us further in the direction of dystopia. Instead, we need a humanistic vision of a high-tech future, one that rejects workplace tyrants, privatized spacefaring, and ever-multiplying underground freeways in favor of democratic governance, strong public institutions, and transit for the people. It can be done, even in the world of Actual Machines. And it can be more inspiring than anything Elon Musk has ever dreamed of.”
“Nobody can boycott capitalism. It’s more useful to ask a question: What do Amazon, and companies like it, ask us to accept in the name of convenience? Amazon offers cheap delivery fees in exchange for horrendous working conditions. At McDonald’s, it’s cheap fast food for low wages. Go to Kroger and the bargain is similar: cheap groceries for exploitation. The grocery chain closed Los Angeles–area stores rather than obey a local law requiring it to give hazard pay to workers. The services or goods they offer all make our days easier, maybe they even make our days possible. But we’re sacrificing something in return, namely a shared sense of responsibility to others.”
Related: See VIDEO section below
“Nurturing new ways to visualize the planetary — the embeddedness and codependency of our species with others.”
“We must therefore strive toward collective actions, something that the scholar, poet, activist and educator Alexis Pauline Gumbs powerfully communicates: “We have the opportunity now, as a species fully in touch with each other, to unlearn and relearn our own patterns of thinking and storytelling in a way that allows us to be actually in communion with our environment as opposed to a dominating, colonialist separation from the environment.”
Images are powerful. If images rule dreams, and dreams rule actions, artists have a particular responsibility at this critical juncture of human civilization. We need to use all the agency we have to nurture a new planetary visualization of the embeddedness and codependency of our species with all others — art against extinction.”
“The data always travels, creating new possibilities for judging and predicting human lives. We might call it control creep: data-driven technologies tend to be pitched for a particular context and purpose, but quickly expand into new forms of control. Although we often think about data use in terms of trade-offs or bargains, such frameworks can be deeply misleading. What does it mean to “trade” personal data for the convenience of, say, an Amazon Echo, when the other side of that trade is constantly arranging new ways to sell and use that data in ways we cannot anticipate? As technology scholars Jake Goldenfein, Ben Green and Salomé Viljoen argue, the familiar trade-off of “privacy vs. X” rarely results in full respect for both values but instead tends to normalize a further stripping of privacy…
The trouble with thinking about data as personal property, however, is that what our data means for us has little to do with what it can be made to mean for others. Being paid for our data will not empower us if that data is still being recombined into unappealable judgments by cops or bosses. The rapid growth of self-tracking into a global industry has meant an increasing emphasis on mass-produced devices. As in other areas of our digital economy, the focus was on scale and ease-of-use rather than full disclosure and customizability, and many companies tended to take privacy less than seriously. Fitbit’s pivot toward institutional clients and its subsequent buyout by Google exemplifies these incentives for leaky data. Control creep is unlikely to be deterred by any payout that effectively functions as a minor tax on the still-profitable business of data extraction — not in the absence of more fundamental change in the underlying incentives to centralize and recombine data.”
“Black power” and “Black Lives Matter” can't be used to find videos for ads, but “White power” and “White lives matter” were just fine.”
But an investigation by The Markup found that YouTube parent company Google blocks advertisers from using dozens of social and racial justice terms, including Black Lives Matter, to find YouTube videos and channels upon which to advertise.
At the same time, Google offered advertisers hundreds of millions of choices for YouTube videos and channels related to White supremacist and other hate terms when we began our investigation, including “all lives matter”—a phrase frequently used as a dismissive rejoinder to Black Lives Matter—and “White lives matter”—which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as both a neo-Nazi group and “a racist response to the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter.”
Are you a fan of dystopic #scifi? Do you believe our current reality is a mix of 1984 and/or Brave New World?
Parable of the Sower is an even better encapsulation of our world, and possibly, things to come. An easy to begin read that will keep you capitavated through relatable characters, a narrative through an “an at the end of the world” journal, and a general desire to see how this story unfolds. Already ordered the sequel, Parable of the Talents.
"All that you touch You Change.
All that you Change Changes you.
The only lasting truth Is Change.
God Is Change."
—Related tweet about beginning to read the book below:
FRONTLINE, ProPublica and UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program present “American Insurrection”: a timely, 90-minute documentary that probes the far-right groups and leaders responsible for the recent threats and violence.
Related AP Article:
“Andrew Sheng, Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong, talks about the love-hate relationship between the US and China and how both sides must learn to cooperate to address the world's most pressing problems.”
“The world has changed, and we need to adapt. Andrew Sheng calls for a more human economics to drive us toward a sustainable future. This Is Your Wake-Up Call.”
The Comparative Impact of Cash Transfers and a Psychotherapy Program on Psychological and Economic Well-being via @jhaushoferr
“We study the economic and psychological effects of a USD 1076 PPP unconditional cash transfer, a five-week psychotherapy program, and the combination of both interventions among 5,756 individuals in rural Kenya.
One year after the interventions, cash transfer recipients had higher consumption, asset holdings, and revenue, as well as higher levels of psychological well-being than control households.
In contrast, the psychotherapy program had no measurable effects on either psychological or economic outcomes, both for individuals with poor mental health at baseline and others.
The effects of the combined treatment are similar to those of the cash transfer alone.”
#DamnTheAbsolute Ep. 14 A Tool for a Pluralistic World w/ @jbenmarshall with @Jeffrey_Howard_ in @Erraticusmag
“Jeffrey Howard speaks with Justin Marshall, a pragmatist philosopher with a graduate degree from George Mason University. He argues that better understanding how our beliefs are formed can help us to navigate the ways in which truth and divergent viewpoints continually perplex liberal democracies and pluralistic societies. Drawing inspiration from thinkers like William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Richard Rorty, he explains the roles personal temperament, experiences, language, and culture play in shaping truth. He challenges us to practice more intellectual humility and to reconsider the idea that we can know whether our ideas actually hook up to reality in any meaningful or certain way.
To what degree are our beliefs reflections of our temperaments rather than reflections of objective reality? How might it benefit us to view language as a tool for helping us to better cope with reality rather than as a one-to-one representation of the world? If our notions of truth are contingent upon our particular cultures, personal histories, or demographic backgrounds, how do we avoid the trap of philosophical relativism? And, what social and political solutions can philosophical pragmatism offer us in a pluralistic world?”
“Backyard food forests have sustained humans in all kinds of difficult times, including both world wars and in the recent pandemic. Food forester Ellie Salazar is on a mission to convince her fellow citizens that no one has a brown thumb! Originally a hairdresser with zero knowledge of gardening techniques, Salazar and her partner began planting crops in her yard out of necessity for fresh food. From that first bed and through lots of mistakes, she evolved a full yard of raised beds and a business teaching others to rekindle the craft of raising fresh food at home. In her house, an empty refrigerator simply means that all the food is growing outside. A professional gardener, business woman and artist, Ellie was born and raised in Central Florida for the past 27 years. She left college to become a hairstylist, then quit hairstyling to become a young mom. After finding herself in turbulent times, her hobby of gardening became a full-fledged micro garden operation that ended up feeding not only her family, but also friends and neighbors too. After meeting her partner Michael in 2018, they decided to turn their love for gardening into a business called Home Gardeneers and now to date have built dozens of edible gardens for residents here in the Orange and Lake county area. Edible gardening is their passion and spreading the culture of it is their mission.”
To this day, my favorite science story ever is How We Learned that Bees can Perceive Time via @TomLumPerson
"Panem et Circenses" - Bread & Circuses/Games
How do we bridge the gap between the below meme and actually making a significant reduction in carbon emissions from the world's wealthiest?
Jeff Berardelli @WeatherProfReport says world's wealthiest 1% produce double the combined carbon emissions of the poorest 50%, according to the UN. The wealthiest 5% alone – the so-called “polluter elite” - contributed 37% of emissions growth between 1990 and 2015. https://t.co/dBsAAp8CGa
Learn Skills. Earn Crypto. 1729 Website via @balajis (Referenced in @tferriss podcast)
How to Start a New Country
The network state is built cloud first, land last. Rather than starting with the physical territory, we begin with a digital community.
Why Start a New Country?
How to Start a New Country?
7. Cloud Countries
Minimum Necessary Innovation
What Counts as a New Country?
That’s it for this week. Until next time - Ad Astra!