That’s where we are now, or one of the places, so sayeth Matt Levine:
Basically it is easy, using blockchain technology, to create scarce claims. You could I suppose use this technology to create scarce claims to scarce resources: You could put, like, housing deeds or shares of corporate ownership or cargo-container manifests on the blockchain. This would — people have argued for years — have benefits in terms of efficiency and legibility and tradability. It would create value by improving the processes by which real-world assets are transferred and allocated. Classic financial-services stuff. Nobody talks that much about this anymore.
Instead, people like to use blockchain technology to create scarce claims to abundant, or infinite, resources. There is absolutely no shortage of JPEGs, they are infinitely reproducible more or less for free, but that means — or meant — that you couldn’t become a millionaire by having good taste in JPEGs. But now people can create a unique non-fungible token representing ownership of a JPEG and use it as a status symbol or a speculative asset. Nobody will pay you for a number in your computer’s memory, but people will pay you for a scarce number in your computer’s memory.
Stop shaking your head – it’ll hurt your neck. Or just wait.
Theoretical normal person: If you could do a thing that wasn’t just bad for but ruinous to your country’s political system – but it was very good for your profits, would you do it? Our actual media: Do what?
Such is our national media paralyzed on the question of how to cover Biden, how to normalize authoritarian white nationalism and get Trump back. Ratings are down and they’re in a bad way, which means they’ll gladly put us [all] in a worse one to keep the eyeballs rolling in and the clicks coming.
No, not the kind that continues to bottle us up in debt-ceiling kabuki. The other kind:
What was the occupiers’ one demand? They never said. And as they practiced a leaderless form of democracy, there was no one to say. The movement did have a slogan, “We Are the 99 Percent,” informed by recent economics research exposing the gap between the top 1 percent and everyone else. Yet the occupiers didn’t seem particularly inspired by the technical solutions that economists proposed. When Joseph Stiglitz, the World Bank’s former chief economist and a critic of unregulated capitalism, came to Zuccotti Park to complain about how financial markets had “misallocated capital,” he looked adorably out of place in his collared dress shirt and khakis, surrounded by activists in kaffiyehs, baseball caps, and hoodies.
Journalists trying to understand this inchoate insurgency turned for answers to Graeber, a seasoned veteran of the global justice movements of the late 1990s and early 2000s and a central figure in Zuccotti Park. It helped that he was a witty commentator with a knack for summing things up crisply. He’d been the one to suggest the language of “the 99 percent,” which he’d adapted from an article by Stiglitz. Graeber was also, as some of his fellow occupiers were surprised to learn, a major anthropological theorist. Starting as an expert on highland Madagascar, Graeber had become a free-range thinker specializing in questions of hierarchy and value but interested in virtually everything. He’d recently written a 600-page ethnography of the protests against neoliberal globalization—protests he’d joined himself.
Leaderless decision-making is the route to the real possibility, messy and littered with threat and chaos though it is. And that’s just the point – Graeber was absolutely correct about the limited political horizons [most] people come to expect. And of course we are taught this, to make nice, to play well with others, even if they actively mean us harm. And make no mistake, there are actual antagonists in our midst and we’re definitely not talking about the horn-hatted, shirtless spear holders. These are people in suits, and many of the issues that stir madness within those impatient with a complicit media or corrupt pols are seen only as rounding errors by the faceless conglomerati.
No one will be allowed – that is, given permission – to do anything about climate change, income inequality or anything else. Some call it anarchy, but being stuck with oppressive systems is a refusal to re-imagine. It’s fear – fear of messes, fear of change, fear of losing security – as if. Meanwhile, tides are lapping. Leave the grand historical narrative to Marx.
Demonstrators have been locked in a stalemate with the local government since early June amid protests initially sparked by a bill that would have enabled extradition to mainland China. On June 9, a million people marched through the financial center to demonstrate their opposition. Approximately 2 million people marched in protest a week later.
While Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has since retracted the bill, fulfilling one of the five demands, critics regarded the move as too little, too late. Social unrest in the city has since taken on broader anti-government sentiment as protesters push for greater democracy in Hong Kong.
Government opposition was fueled by anger with police conduct as well as how Lam’s administration dealt with the protests, Ma Ngok, associate professor in the department of government and public administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told CNBC.
“The government hasn’t actually responded, so a lot of people think they just cannot give up on the protest” Ma said.
Despite efforts to crush defuse the protests, they are showing no signs of abating – whether they might be abetted in another question. But the strange power of democracy carried over into the recent elections, where pro-democracy candidates won unambiguously as a almost three million voters rejected pro-establishment candidates.
No one seems to have told protestors that their tactics are not working.
A city in Texas is grappling with being a city in Texas, and the questions are coming in existential batches:
Making sure ITC isn’t spewing toxic fumes doesn’t require fining it out of existence. It requires a serious commitment to safety and transparency, which are sorely lacking in this state. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has a history of lax monitoring and enforcement. And Texas has refused to require widespread public disclosure of chemical inventories and Risk Management Plans of facilities that would improve journalists’ ability to inform the public during a crisis. A reporter who wants to see a facility’s RMP has to make an appointment with federal marshals to view it.
Patrick Jankowski, senior economist with the Greater Houston Partnership, told business reporter Jordan Blum: “We need these facilities here because it’s how we get our products to market.
Of course. But what is a booming economy without quality of life? Without peace of mind? Parents sent their children back to Deer Park and La Porte ISD schools Tuesday, but they couldn’t have felt great confidence when school officials restricted outside activities. Houston ISD took the same precaution. Good to err on the side of safety, but no parent should have to fear that just walking to school might endanger their child’s health.
Nothing that calls for fatuous comment or commentary. It’s just a situation reduced to its plainly naked reality. Companies do what they want, the public has no say. Regulations are too onerous. We need these companies here for our products. And what’s up with the air?
Apologies to Mr. Jackson, but let’s introduce Mr. Mencken of 1920:
As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
He has become the world’s most powerful man in the world’s most powerful country through a system that rewards white men for being white men. He has no particular intelligence or expertise, yet he has convinced his poor Caucasian co-conspirators that the only way they can succeed is by placing their foot on the neck of the people who don’t look like them. The brown people. The black people. The non-Christians.
Isn’t that the most American idea of them all?
Good grief. Okay, I get it. Green – young, inexperienced. Naive. Wet behind the ears. Easily fooled.
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”
“You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”
“No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
“I said,” said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, “have you got any gin?”
“I’ll look. Tell me about the lizards.”
Ford shrugged again.
“Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them,” he said. “They’re completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone’s got to say it.”
“But that’s terrible,” said Arthur.
“Listen, bud,” said Ford, “if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say ‘That’s terrible’ I wouldn’t be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”
Any thinking person’s loathing of advertising must, by definition, equal respect for the perfect ending of Madmen.
No exegesis here (see Edroso for that) but from a writer’s standpoint, choosing his conception of the most famous and well-known of products and advertising campaigns as the Don’s portal back to his life and career was as inspired as it is confirmation of the campaign’s emptiness. As a stand-in for all advertising, it’s a savage send-up. Nicely done, Mr. Weiner.
So… innocently checking the NYT media decoder blog and the top two three of the top four stories are about the advertaiment process unfolding before our eyes. They’re not about this per se, because that would maybe be like a story on the circumscribed movements of the second hand, but
Such sponsorship agreements — known as branded entertainment, content marketing and native advertising — are becoming common on Bravo, part of the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment division of NBCUniversal. And as the channel plans its programming lineup for 2013-14 during what is called the upfront season, more sponsorships that integrate advertising into shows are planned.
“I am not against ads in general,” said Till Faida, a managing director of the project, “but I am just annoyed by the current state of ads. I have worked in online marketing — I just thought ads could be so much better.”
While still receiving donations from users, the project now also negotiates deals with large Web sites that run unobtrusive ads to be “white-listed” and thus not automatically blocked by the program. (A recent deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, granted such status to the social news site Reddit.)
add to that the recent stories about buzzfeed and heed: much like people making money simply off of money, the mining of what ‘content providers’ think you want to read or will click on and the re-packaging of that as ‘news’ or ‘headlines’ or ‘things you should know’ or whatever is vastly afoot. Think of this as a PSA and not at all news, but this phenomenon has a slow creep, just like the touting of innovation and such in high production-value TV advertising that we get accustomed to over time but is increasing really about nothing at all.
Just remember, people write books. Be firm about what enters your noggin.
Surely you’ve noticed these Exxonmobile commercials (no link, sorry. Google it) focussing on the state of education in America today, how we’ve fallen behind relative to so many other countries and how we need to support teachers and students to re-establish our dominance. Exxonmobile is concerned. About education.
The cartoon narratives are fancy and well done, but back up a minute. The tag line, ‘Let’s solve this.’ Really? Confident. Serious. First-person plural. Everything else they are involved in is kosher and so now they’re turning their attention to our education problems. Exxonmobile. That is sporting of them. This is has got to be one of the most classic, think-up-something-else-so-we-don’t-talk-about-energy-policy, concerning trolling PR strategies they have dreamed up at least since they embraced, and likely already solved, the ‘go green’ issue – by making it go away. Let’s solve this?
Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.
The following year, students of any income will be eligible for mini-vouchers that they can use to pay a range of private-sector vendors for classes and apprenticeships not offered in traditional public schools. The money can go to industry trade groups, businesses, online schools and tutors, among others.
Every time a student receives a voucher of either type, his local public school will lose a chunk of state funding.
“We are changing the way we deliver education,” said Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican who muscled the plan through the legislature this spring over fierce objections from Democrats and teachers unions. “We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.”
BIBLE-BASED MATH BOOKS
I’ll stop with that sub-head, just to let it sink in. Let’s solve this. Oy.
I was talking with a friend about some of the possible consequences of the popular appeal of Mad Men, that maybe it could subjectively get us to actually hate and therefore begin to try to resist the power of advertising. But, even as the words passed my lips I knew this was a vain hope. It’s terrific art but the network executives behind it are just as clueless about why people like it – and clued in about what people will watch – as the most cynical characters on the show are. Evidence the appalling reality show that mimics it, follows it, appears to be unwatchable and will probably be some kind of quantifiable cultural phenomenon on its own.
Selling back to us things we should already be doing, making the zeitgeist attractive and appealing, is tricky. Because there are a lot of things people already do that many others should embrace for their own and our collective good, but for the streak anti-authoritarianism that runs deeper than the Mississippi – and which is completely at odds with our vulnerability to corporate thinking. We (remember, there actually is no they) can even get people be against clean air and water. We’re helpless before the slick-o ads that pervade. Even the coming presidential campaign is actually a high-concept design contest, starring people in ads who will say they just want honest conversation about our problems. “Were X’s ads effective?” the headlines will read. Such will be the nature of the political analysis. “Wheels with wheels, man!”
So, yes: eat real. Hey better yet, get real. What does that mean? Hey, now we’re back on track! Not sure we need to put such admonitions on t-shirts – though it does bring to mind Marquez’ One Hundred Years, when everyone in the village forgets the names of everything and they have to go around labeling things like ‘chair’ and ‘table.’ Yes, maybe it’s that. Or this: