A Mark Zuckerberg Presidency Isn’t Ridiculous—It’s Terrifying


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Another needull on Mark Zuckerberg’s potential run for presidency. I don’t necessarily agree with the article but important issues are to be discussed.

Trump’s hate-mongering and vulgarity are likely to make whoever occupies the White House after him seem innocuous by comparison, but a Zuckerberg presidency would be dangerous in far more subtle ways. The benign public face of the Obama administration masked an unprecedented program of privacy invasion and surveillance, all carried out in the alleged interests of “national security.” Who’s to say whether “innovation” and “fresh thinking” under a Zuckerberg administration wouldn’t serve as euphemisms for an even broader campaign of observation and analysis, implemented not just to protect us from enemies abroad, but to surreptitiously shape and manage our society at home? If we do find Zuckerberg tossing his hat in the ring come 2020, we should take care to remember what he built at Facebook—and, more importantly, how—and ask ourselves whether elevating a quasi-progressive boy genius is worth the significant costs to our privacy and our freedom.

The complete article

Jake Bittle – The Nation

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Why is Stoicism Having a Cultural Moment?


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Have been reading Seneca this month. This needull takes a look at stoicism in today’s context.

The value for our globalized society of thinking and acting in a manner that emphasizes our similarities and increases our capacity for compassion and justice can hardly be overstated. Solving the problem of climate change, for example, will undoubtedly require us to draw upon and develop these qualities further than ever before. And yet, it seems to many that as a society we are only growing more fractured and detached from one another, focusing on our divergent political views, or our racial and religious differences, or our distinct lifestyle choices (all this notwithstanding our ubiquitous connectedness via the internet).The value for our globalized society of thinking and acting in a manner that emphasizes our similarities and increases our capacity for compassion and justice can hardly be overstated. Solving the problem of climate change, for example, will undoubtedly require us to draw upon and develop these qualities further than ever before. And yet, it seems to many that as a society we are only growing more fractured and detached from one another, focusing on our divergent political views, or our racial and religious differences, or our distinct lifestyle choices (all this notwithstanding our ubiquitous connectedness via the internet).

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Chiara Sulprizio — EIDOLON

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Using the Blockchain to Clean Up the Niger Delta


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I have been hearing a lot about Blockchain recently. According to Wiki – Functionally, a blockchain can serve as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.” Today’s needull is an example of Blockchain being used for social impact.

Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics who has studied the blockchain, says there’s been an “explosion of blockchain-based applications and systems. It’s still very early. It’s still not as solid and reliable as where they need to be, but it is clearly where we’re going to see more activity.” He notes that the blockchain has been used in various social impact efforts. In May, the United Nation’s World Food Programme conducted a pilot that gave cryptocurrency vouchers to 10,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan that they redeemed at certain markets.

The complete article

Knowledge@Wharton

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High-Achieving, Low-Income Students: Where Elite Colleges Are Falling Short


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The lack of support didn’t hold Neuman back — she applied early to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — where she’ll start her senior year this year. But low-income, high-achieving students like Neuman make up just 3 percent of enrollment at elite colleges, the report says. Not having anyone to guide them through the application process is just one of the many reasons there aren’t more of them.

The report looks at the barriers these students face, drawing on surveys of low-income students and interviews with admissions officers at selective schools. When I spoke with the report’s author, Jennifer Glynn, she acknowledged that high schools and counselors play a role, but said colleges can do a lot more, too.

The complete article

Elissa Nadworny — NPR

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Why foreign aid cannot be regressive?


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Now, when the European Union seems to be considering a significant increase in aid for Africa—led this time not by humanitarian concerns but by the well understood self-interest as reduction of migration is hard to imagine without a substantial convergence in incomes between Africa and Europe—it is worth pointing out that one argument against aid cannot hold. This is the argument made sometime in popular press (and at times, in academe too), that aid to the poor countries is just a transfer of resources from the poor people in rich countries to the rich people in poor countries. This is what is in economics called a “regressive transfer”. (“Progressive” transfer is what we desire to achieve: tax a richer person and transfer the money to a poorer.)

The complete article

Branko Milanovic — globalinequality

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The partition goes on: A Pakistani perspective


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A Pakistani perspective.

Twenty years on, I feel we had underplayed the whole thing. When I hear about another beef lynching in India, I am reminded of all those old men who boasted about throwing a pig’s head into a mosque or slaughtering a cow in the middle of a Hindu festival.

And I think of my own beloved country we carved out of India to protect our liberties. And where we don’t have to cower in fear of a Hindu or Sikh mob.

We can get lynched by our fellow Pakistani classmates for quoting a bit of poetry and questioning some fragment of a religious text.

The partition goes on in slow motion. I took a flight back from India after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

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Mohammed Hanif — Al Jazeera

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Good Grammar Is a Matter of Life or Death for Japanese Tits


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We are not the only ones bound by the rules of grammar. Birds are too.

These reactions and non-reactions suggest that tits need syntax to make sense of commands. Rather than telling the flock to mob right away, it’s important to educate the birds on the threat first. Similar grammatical logic has been exhibited in other species like the Carolina Chickadee, says Carrie Branch, a PhD candidate in behavioral ecology at the University of Nevada, who was not involved in the study. Though Suzuki’s work does an excellent job furthering our understanding of bird communication, Branch says, it would also be interesting to see if Willow Tits respond to the same remixes.

The complete article

Rashmi Shivni — Audubon

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