The Overview - May 24, 2021
The Overview is a weekly roundup of eclectic content in-between essay newsletters & "Conversations" podcast episodes to scratch your brain's curiosity itch.
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 - May 17, 2021: HERE
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Below are some eclectic links for the week of May 24th, 2021.
Enjoy, share, and subscribe!
Table of Contents:
Articles/Essays - StatNews; DW News; Study Hall XYZ; Palladium Magazine; Financial Times; Gizmodo; Futurism; Aljazeera English; Intelligencer; and @meekaale
Book - Capital by Karl Marx
Documentary - Lost World of the Maya (Full Episode) | @NatGeo
Lecture - Reading Capital With Comrades with @AbbyMartin & @MikePrysner via @LiberationEDU
Paper - Study: Violent video games have little or no impact on aggression – or on sexist attitudes, empathy, interpersonal skills, impulsivity, mental health, or executive control.
Podcasts - Technology's Non-Technological Essence with @LMSacasas in @OutsiderTheory
TED Talk - What frogs in hot water can teach us about thinking again | @AdamMGrant
Twittersphere - “So many lost nations, cultures, & civilizations died off in the Desertification of the Sahara.” via @Peter_Nimitz
Videos - IN-SHADOW - A Modern Odyssey - Animated Short Film via @lubomirarsov
Website - Earth Restored: https://www.tobyord.com/earth
New analysis finds global Covid death toll is double official estimates via @HelenBranswell in @statnews
“A new analysis of the toll of the Covid-19 pandemic suggests 6.9 million people worldwide have died from the disease, more than twice as many people as has been officially reported.
In the United States, the analysis estimates, 905,000 people have died of Covid since the start of the pandemic. That is about 61% higher than the current death estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 561,594. The new figure also surpasses the estimated number of U.S. deaths in the 1918 flu pandemic, which was estimated to have killed approximately 675,000 Americans.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has led to an erosion of basic rights around the world. The "Atlas of Civil Society" shows that many governments restricted citizens' freedoms under the guise of fighting the spread of the virus.
The "Atlas of Civil Society" report is full of examples of restricted freedoms: overcrowded prisons in the Philippines, arrested journalists in Zimbabwe, threatened human rights defenders in Mexico. For the fourth time, the organizations Bread for the World and Civicus published a comprehensive report on the situation of civil society organizations and their members in almost 200 countries.”
“An underprepared industry is losing a generation of journalists to despair, trauma, and moral injury as they cover the story of a lifetime...
COVID reporters who are covering the front lines and the big-picture numbers have spent the entire pandemic “closer both to the loss, the grief, the suffering of COVID patients” as well as to “the full reality which most of us can keep at the fringes of our consciousness.” That structure, which requires proximity both to the individual human cost and the society-wide ramifications of the pandemic, increases what Shapiro called “the psychic burden” of this kind of reporting.
It took many of us a long time to discover this was even trauma reporting. I took on the beat without knowing how bad it would be or how long it would last. But even for those reporters who covered science or healthcare before January 2020, that coverage area was not previously dominated by a large-scale disaster that killed more than 500,000 people in the US and more than 3 million worldwide. Many of us felt an imperative to do the best job we could on the most important story in the world. But suddenly, we have hundreds or even thousands of reporters who’ve never done trauma reporting, realizing that they’ve been doing it for more than a year with no training, and little to no acknowledgement from newsroom leaders of the toll it takes.”
“A reconciliation of oral myth with literate reason will be the hallmark of a new epistemic settlement. The ordered path of technological evolution toward higher states of “inclusive consciousness” and “mythic integration,” along the lines of what McLuhan had envisioned, would be open once again.
Barring that, a future historian may look upon the picture of the Q-Shaman at the Speaker’s podium and conclude: “One hundred and thirty years after the closing of the Western frontier, 2021 marked the point in history when large portions of the United States reverted back to the control of hostile tribes.”
“After 20 years in Afghanistan, the US is re-evaluating the exceptionalism that drives its foreign policy
But the US experience tells a harsher story. So far, the undertaking has cost it an estimated $2tn and 2,448 lives. More than 20,700 Americans have been wounded, with hundreds losing limbs. Research suggests that about a fifth of the 775,000 US troops who have served in Afghanistan, some on more than five tours, suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. More than 45,000 veterans or service members have died by suicide since 2013. Most US veterans now say the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting.”
Twitter thread from the author:
“The so-called “Otherwise Illegal Activity” reports, obtained first by Gizmodo, detail the number of crimes committed by what the bureau calls “confidential human sources.” The name of the report alludes to activities that would have been “illegal” had they not “otherwise” been committed with the bureau’s full knowledge and in furtherance of a federal investigation.
The most recent reports indicate that in 2017, the FBI authorized informants to commit at least 4,734 crimes, while in 2018 that number rose to 4,922. This represents a negligible decrease from recent, previous years.
It’s worth noting that any single authorized criminal activity may have otherwise resulted in multiple criminal charges, constituting multiple crimes.”
“The team, which includes researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and George Mason University, believes they have found photographic evidence of a variety of fungus-like organisms, some resembling the shape of puffballs, a round cloud-like fungus found in abundance back here on Earth, on the Red Planet.
Their evidence: images taken by NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity rovers as well as the agency’s HiRISE high-resolution camera attached to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.”
“Imperialism never ended, it just changed form.”
Highlights from paper:
We provide empirical evidence that supports the theory of ecologically unequal exchange.
High-income nations are net importers of embodied materials, energy, land, and labor.
High-income nations gain a monetary trade surplus via this resource appropriation.
Lower-income nations provide resources but experience monetary trade deficits.
The observed inequality is systemic and hampers global sustainability in multiple ways
“There are several ways to fix this problem. One would be to democratise the institutions of global economic governance, so that poor countries have a fairer say in setting the terms of trade and finance. Another step would be to ensure that poor countries have the right to use tariffs, subsidies and other industrial policies to build sovereign economic capacity. We could also take steps toward a global living wage system and an international framework for environmental regulations, which would put a floor on labour and resource prices.
All of this would enable the South to capture a fairer share of income from international trade and free its countries to mobilise their resources around ending poverty and meeting human needs. But achieving these goals will not be easy; it will require an organised front among social movements toward a fairer world, against those who profit so prodigiously from the status quo.”
“The Hawley tax credit would only reinforce that dynamic. He suggests giving an annual tax credit worth $6,000 to single parents and a tax credit worth $12,000 to married parents. This “guarantees that married parents are not penalized if one parent chooses to stay home to care for their children,” Hawley explained in a piece for Fox Business. That’s not much of a choice: $12,000 won’t fully pay child-care costs, but it does pay a parent a poverty wage to stay home. In keeping with the long history of gender, the parent making that poverty wage will almost certainly be a woman deprived both of an adequate living and of the opportunity to pursue a career.
A career isn’t everything, it’s true. Give parents the option to work part time and stay home with their children without going hungry and many will probably choose it. The reasons are no great mystery. But to truly end workism, as Vance and Erickson say they want, will take more than the Hawley tax credit. Parents need a real choice, which is what universal day care offers them. Combine that proposal with a permanent child or dependent allowance, and parents would have the flexibility that the system currently denies them. Nobody can reimagine work or her relationship to it without the universal programs that the right opposes, and that is a clarifying fact. The backlash to day care is not about workism but women.”
“What's the opposite of addiction? How do we cultivate centers of life?
A center of life, a nexus of activity, a jewel in the fabric of life, a whirlpool of beauty, an element in a whole field of connected little rituals, a particle of meaning. That kind of fabric is what I really yearn for.
Cultivating these centers also seems like a core part of Love.
In a couple, a polyamorous network, or just in everyday convivial life, these centers make life together something more than a nebulous flux of confusion and stress. Rather than a molten smooth interior as in 📝 Shelter from the Storm, relationships need pattern and liturgy, not mere structures and schedules but life-giving nexuses to orient around, cafés and campfires and birthdays.”
Capital by Karl Marx
“This is a free version of Capital by Karl Marx for download below in PDF. It is not just the book Volume I, that are found on other websites, nor an on-line version where you have to scroll through endless pages in your browser, rather this is Volume I, II and III in one book in a downloadable format. Further, the edition is free, based on public domain copyright. Therefore, please download my complete version of Capital by Karl Marx for free.”
Das Kapital downloads in the following formats:
Accompanying ‘Reading Capital with Comrades’ podcast episode about our favorite chapter: Technology:
“The Maya - their soaring pyramids, monumental cities and mythical mastery of astronomy and mathematics have captured our imaginations and spurred generations of explorers into the jungles of Central America on a quest to understand them. Lost World of the Maya surveys their dramatic rise to prominence in the 'pre-classic era' of the Maya as well as new evidence of the collapse of their civilization in the 800-900's AD.”
“An interactive, chapter-by-chapter class on Karl Marx's 'Capital' Volume 1 for all skill levels, taught in 12 episodes by socialist educators.”
Study: Violent video games have little or no impact on aggression – or on sexist attitudes, empathy, interpersonal skills, impulsivity, mental health, or executive control.
Does playing violent video games cause aggression? A longitudinal intervention study
“It is a widespread concern that violent video games promote aggression, reduce pro-social behaviour, increase impulsivity and interfere with cognition as well as mood in its players. Previous experimental studies have focussed on short-term effects of violent video gameplay on aggression, yet there are reasons to believe that these effects are mostly the result of priming. In contrast, the present study is the first to investigate the effects of long-term violent video gameplay using a large battery of tests spanning questionnaires, behavioural measures of aggression, sexist attitudes, empathy and interpersonal competencies, impulsivity-related constructs (such as sensation seeking, boredom proneness, risk taking, delay discounting), mental health (depressivity, anxiety) as well as executive control functions, before and after 2 months of gameplay. Our participants played the violent video game Grand Theft Auto V, the non-violent video game The Sims 3 or no game at all for 2 months on a daily basis. No significant changes were observed, neither when comparing the group playing a violent video game to a group playing a non-violent game, nor to a passive control group. Also, no effects were observed between baseline and posttest directly after the intervention, nor between baseline and a follow-up assessment 2 months after the intervention period had ended. The present results thus provide strong evidence against the frequently debated negative effects of playing violent video games in adults and will therefore help to communicate a more realistic scientific perspective on the effects of violent video gaming.”
“The writer Michael Sacasas joins Outsider Theory to discuss what the tech critics pre-Internet generations – especially Jacques Ellul, Marshall McLuhan, Ivan Illich, and Neil Postman – have to say to us today as well as what contemporary tech criticism tends to miss, and how he understands his own critical and philosophical project. We also explore two of his essays from the past year, "Narrative Collapse" and "The Paradox of Control." Michael is one of my favorite contemporary writers on tech, and I hope you find this as rich and stimulating a conversation as I did.”
“Why are humans so slow to react to looming crises, like a forewarned pandemic or a warming planet? It's because we're reluctant to rethink, say organizational psychologist Adam Grant. From a near-disastrous hike on Panama's highest mountain to courageously joining his high school's diving team, Grant borrows examples from his own life to illustrate how tunnel vision around our goals, habits and identities can find us stuck on a narrow path. Drawing on his research, he shares counterintuitive insights on how to broaden your focus and remain open to opportunities for rethinking. (If you think you know something about frogs, watch until the end and get ready to think again.)”
“So many lost nations, cultures, & civilizations died off in the Desertification of the Sahara.” via @Peter_Nimitz
IN-SHADOW - A Modern Odyssey - Animated Short Film via @lubomirarsov
“Embark on a visionary journey through the fragmented unconscious of our modern times, and with courage face the Shadow. Through Shadow into Light.
“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.”
'IN-SHADOW' is an entirely independently funded, not-for-profit film. If you'd like to support the artist, DONATE here: (click the 'donate' tab) inshadow.net/
Gallery quality ART PRINTS available here: inprnt.com/gallery/inshadow/
Earth Restored: https://www.tobyord.com/earth
“Only 24 people have journeyed far enough to see the whole Earth against the black of space. The images they brought back changed our world. Here is a selection of the most beautiful photographs of Earth — iconic images and unknown gems — digitally restored to their full glory.”
That’s it for this week. Until next time - Ad Astra!