All I have to say to Trump supporting Republican special petal flower snowflakes is: “Suck it up Buttercups, fuck your feelings.”
Thu 22 Mar 2018
A shattering collapse of civilisation is a “near certainty” in the next few decades due to humanity’s continuing destruction of the natural world that sustains all life on Earth, according to biologist Prof Paul Ehrlich.
In May, it will be 50 years since the eminent biologist published his most famous and controversial book, The Population Bomb. But Ehrlich remains as outspoken as ever.
The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.
Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.
The Population Bomb, written with his wife Anne Ehrlich in 1968, predicted “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death” in the 1970s – a fate that was avoided by the green revolution in intensive agriculture.
Many details and timings of events were wrong, Paul Ehrlich acknowledges today, but he says the book was correct overall.
“Population growth, along with over-consumption per capita, is driving civilisation over the edge: billions of people are now hungry or micronutrient malnourished, and climate disruption is killing people.”
Ehrlich has been at Stanford University since 1959 and is also president of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere, which works “to reduce the threat of a shattering collapse of civilisation”.
“It is a near certainty in the next few decades, and the risk is increasing continually as long as perpetual growth of the human enterprise remains the goal of economic and political systems,” he says. “As I’ve said many times, ‘perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell’.”
It is the combination of high population and high consumption by the rich that is destroying the natural world, he says. Research published by Ehrlich and colleagues in 2017 concluded that this is driving a sixth mass extinction of biodiversity, upon which civilisation depends for clean air, water and food.
The solutions are tough, he says. “To start, make modern contraception and back-up abortion available to all and give women full equal rights, pay and opportunities with men.
“I hope that would lead to a low enough total fertility rate that the needed shrinkage of population would follow. [But] it will take a very long time to humanely reduce total population to a size that is sustainable.”
From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/technology/facebook-cambridge-behavior-model.html
By and hGabriel J.X. Dance
March 20, 2018
Perhaps at some point in the past few years you’ve told Facebook that you like, say, Kim Kardashian West. When you hit the thumbs-up button on her page, you probably did it because you wanted to see the reality TV star’s posts in your news feed. Maybe you realized that marketers could target advertisements to you based on your interest in her.
What you probably missed is that researchers had figured out how to tie your interest in Ms. Kardashian West to certain personality traits, such as how extroverted you are (very), how conscientious (more than most) and how open-minded (only somewhat). And when your fondness for Ms. Kardashian West is combined with other interests you’ve indicated on Facebook, researchers believe their algorithms can predict the nuances of your political views with better accuracy than your loved ones.
As The New York Times reported on Saturday, that is what motivated the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to collect data from more than 50 million Facebook users, without their consent, to build its own behavioral models to target potential voters in various political campaigns. The company has worked for a political action committee started by John R. Bolton, who served in the George W. Bush administration, as well as for President Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. “We find your voters and move them to action,” the firm boasts on its website.
Cambridge Analytica now says it has destroyed the user data it collected on Facebook. Raw data reviewed by The Times suggests the information, or copies of it, may still exist. In either case, specific user information was merely a means to an end, a building block in a far more ambitious construction: a behavioral model powerful enough to manipulate people’s activity and, potentially, sway elections.
The firm adapted its approach to personality modeling from studies conducted by researchers at Stanford University and the Psychometrics Center at the University of Cambridge. The studies relied on data collected by a Facebook app called myPersonality, a 100-question quiz developed by the Psychometrics Center that assessed a person’s openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism, traits commonly referred to in the academic community by the acronym Ocean.
Many respondents who took the quiz through the myPersonality app authorized it to gain access to their Facebook profile data, and information about their friend network — access that was allowed by the social network at the time. That allowed researchers to cross-reference the results of the quiz — numeric Ocean scores — with the users’ Facebook “likes,” and build a model from the correlations they found between the two. With that model, the researchers could often make precise guesses about subsequent users’ personalities using only a list of their likes, no 100-question quiz necessary.
One of the studies the Psychometrics Center produced, published in 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was built on the “likes” and Ocean scores of more than 70,000 respondents who took the myPersonality quiz on Facebook. It found that a person who liked the movie “Fight Club,” for example, was far more likely to be open to new experiences than a person who liked “American Idol,” according to a review of data provided to The Times by Michal Kosinski, an author of the 2015 study and a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford.
Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/technology/facebook-cambridge-behavior-model.html
When we first started the idea of WBT (Women Born Transsexual) back at the end of 2000 we were denounced as traitors to “The Community” for daring to propose a few simple ideas: 1. Transsexual was something you were born with, a medical condition amenable to medical treatment. 2. That after transition we were women, not trans-women. 3. That there was never A Trans-community but rather many different trans-communities. 4. We did not accept the “Transgender Identity” and saw it as a trap that kept us from assimilating into post-op lives as ordinary women or men in the case of F to M people.
In short nearly 20 years ago we divorced ourselves from the “Transgender Community”. Not from from caring about friends and or strangers who see the “Transgender Community” as a path to liberation but rather from the on-line political games of purity and proper thinking.
It has been one year shy of 50 years since I first started hormones and began transition. It took only a couple of years after SRS to start leaving the community and moving to the lesbian feminist community.
People are surprised when they discover the same thing happening in their own lives, many of the most vocal activists of even ten years ago have found that life has given them new priorities.
The following article is by yet another woman who has discovered a life post-trans.
From Tablet Magazine: http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/257446/divorcing-the-transgender-community
By Gretchen Rachel Hammond
March 13, 2018
“You’re a fucking kike!”
It was not a single thought expelled in one, rapid sentence, and the tone was so much more than mere hatred. It was maniacal rage that curled around each word and threw it down the speaker of my phone before pausing to pick up another. The last sharpened piece of flint was aimed directly at my head with relish.
I’m usually very good at come-backs. I am a movie fanatic. Rather than the occasional piece of annoyingly catchy music which shows up like a mosquito on a summer evening to persistently circle around one’s ear, my days tend to recall random pieces of screenplay that match how I’m feeling. Thus, I have a library of borrowed quotes for every occasion.
The caller did not immediately hang up. They were waiting for a response. Maybe something from Eric Bogosian?
“Tell me something. I’m curious. How do you dial a phone with a straitjacket on?”
Or Bob Clark?
“You aren’t even smart enough to be a good bigot!”
Either would have done. Anything would have done. Instead of just sitting there in thunder-stuck, ineffectual silence.
It was June 28, 2017, and I was an adult, but I might as well have been my 11-year-old, effeminate, half-Indian school-kid self again, reliving the day in 1981 when at least a half-dozen of my classmates at North Cestrian Grammar School in Manchester, England telegraphed their latest attack with “Paki Puff!”
It was their invitation for me to run. They liked it when I ran because it marked the beginning of the hunt and I was always the easiest prey to catch.
That morning, I didn’t manage to get out of my chair fast enough. So, they picked me up and sandwiched me between the wall and the heavy wooden classroom door. With their collective weight, they pressed against it until I could not move and then could not breath. I grew increasingly more faint; unaware of the blood streaming from my nose which bore the brunt of the first assault. If their look-out hadn’t suddenly yelled the name of an oncoming teacher, they would have killed me.
You would think, in 36 years, I might have learned something about fighting back.
But as I gripped the phone, my breath stopped in my throat. Any physical or mental defenses were useless.
I recognized the voice of my attacker—a transgender person who participated in a transgender liberation rally in Chicago that I had covered earlier in the year in my capacity as a reporter for the city’s LGBTQ newspaper.
Members of the transgender community filled the frozen streets of the Chicago loop that night to demand their civil rights and fight back against society’s bullies; something that had become a life goal since my school-days.
Now that I was the focus of their rancor, ‘paki’ had become ‘kike.’ The boys behind the door were members of my own community, and I didn’t know what the hell to do or feel about it.
For four years, I had watched the transgender community eat its own to the point where becoming dinner was accepted as an inherent risk of belonging to it. As the call continued, I didn’t feel like dinner so much as the scraps thrown down the garbage disposal.
“What did you say?” I finally whispered.
The invitation was accepted for the door to be pressed harder.
“Oh, you fuckin’ heard me. Your story was a lie and your bitch ass is finished as a reporter.”
“Why are you doing this?” I was beginning to shake. “It wasn’t a lie….and I know you…I….”
The voice was gone.
Continue reading at: http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/257446/divorcing-the-transgender-community
From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/10/technology/his-2020-campaign-message-the-robots-are-coming.html
Sun 11 Mar 2018
“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”
The mournful remark supposedly made by foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey at dusk on 3 August 1914 referred to Britain’s imminent entry into the first world war. But the sentiment captures something of our own moment, in the midst of an intensifying campaign against nature.
According to the World Wildlife Fund’s 2016 Living Planet Report, over the last four decades the international animal population was reduced by nearly 60%. More than a billion fewer birds inhabit North America today compared to 40 years ago. In Britain, certain iconic species (grey partridges, tree sparrows, etc) have fallen by 90%. In Germany, flying insects have declined by 76% over the past 27 years. Almost half of Borneo’s orangutans died or were removed between 1999 and 2015. Elephant numbers have dropped by 62% in a decade, with on average one adult killed by poachers every 15 minutes.
We inherited a planet of beauty and wonders – and we’re saying goodbye to all that.
The cultural historian Paul Fussell once identified the catastrophe of the first world war with the distinctive sensibility of modernity, noting how 20th century history had “domesticate[d] the fantastic and normalize[d] the unspeakable.”
Consider, then, the work of climate change.
In February, for instance, scientists recorded temperatures 35 degrees above the historical average in Siberia, a phenomenon that apparently corresponded with the unprecedented cold snap across Europe.
As concentrated CO2 intensifies extreme events, a new and diabolical weather will, we’re told, become the norm for a generation already accustomising itself to such everyday atrocities as about eight million tons of plastics are washed into the ocean each year.
It may seem impossible to imagine, that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we’re now in the process of doing.”
This passage from the New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert concluded a piece on global warming, which was published way back in 2005. Over the 13 years since, the warnings from scientists have grown both more specific and desperate – and yet the march to destruction has only redoubled its pace.
The extraordinary – almost absurd – contrast between what we should be doing and what’s actually taking place fosters low-level climate denialism. Coral experts might publicise, again and again and again, the dire state of the Great Barrier Reef but the ongoing political inaction inevitably blunts their message.
It can’t be so bad, we think: if a natural wonder were truly under threat, our politicians wouldn’t simply stand aside and watch.
The first world war killed 20 million people and maimed 21 million others. It shattered the economy of Europe, displaced entire populations, and set in train events that culminated, scarcely two decades later, with another, even more apocalyptic slaughter
And it, too, was a disaster foretold, a widely-anticipated cataclysm that proceeded more-on-less schedule despite regular warnings about what was to come.
By Regan Penaluna
February 7, 2018
What Elliot Rodger did on the evening of Friday, May 23, 2014, isn’t contested, but the reason he did it is. That night Rodger knocked on the door of a sorority house near the University of California, Santa Barbara, and when the women inside didn’t let him in, he left and shot three women who were on the sidewalk, and then continued the rampage, ultimately killing six people and injuring fourteen. He then shot and killed himself.
Before the attacks, Rodger posted a video of himself online, declaring that he intended to punish women for not giving him the attention he felt he deserved—and the men whom he perceived as receiving that attention and therefore envied. In light of the evidence, a number of feminist commentators called the killing spree an act of misogyny, part of a pattern of gender-based rampages. But others in the media and the academy argued differently. They claimed the cause was mental illness.
It was then that Kate Manne, an assistant professor of philosophy at Cornell University, started to write. What was missing from the debate, Manne thought, was a clear account of the nature of misogyny, and so she set out to develop one. The result is her new book, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, a carefully argued work aimed at a broad audience, which proposes that misogyny is the act of correcting women who fail to give men what men believe they’re due.
Manne tosses out the common thinking that misogyny is equivalent to despising all women, and instead offers that it’s a way to keep women in their place. Misogyny, she writes, is “the system that operates within a patriarchal social order to police and enforce women’s subordination and to uphold male dominance.” Like a shock collar used to keep dogs behind an invisible fence, misogyny, she argues, aims to keep women—those who are well trained as well as those who are unruly—in line. The power of Manne’s definition comes from its ability to bring together various behaviors and events under one umbrella. If misogyny is anything that enforces women’s subordination, then it turns out that lots of phenomena fit the profile.
I spoke with Manne over the phone in an attempt to shed some light on this past year, during which so many brave women have come forward to share their experiences of sexual trauma and have actually been taken seriously. The moment is ripe for a reckoning, and Manne offers the language and theory I’ve found myself grasping for. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she combines the hyper-articulateness of a philosopher and the energy and humor of a down-to-earth millennial, which is electrifying; I imagine she’s a popular professor. At one point during our call, her corgi happily barked in the background, and she pointed out that her dog “couldn’t be silenced” by the patriarchy.
More than anything, I could feel an urgency on the line. Manne is restlessly driven by a sense that things are not right, a sense that this world is a very unjust place for women. She doesn’t think she can fix it. “I’m much more a clarity person than a solutions person,” she says. But she does believe that philosophy can help us understand what’s at stake in the broader fight to overcome patriarchy. “It’s so far from cessation,” she says, “but I’m not despairing.”
—Regan Penaluna for Guernica
Guernica: Why did you write a book about misogyny?
Kate Manne: “Misogyny” wasn’t on my radar until October 2012, when the prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, used it in a speech before parliament to call out Tony Abbott, the then opposition party leader, for his sexist and misogynist behavior. Although Gillard’s speech went viral, the occasion for her anger was lost on many people. Abbott had originally demanded Gillard call for the resignation of one of her ministers, who had sent text messages leaked to the media likening women’s genitals to mussels—shucked, he specified—and calling a female colleague an “ignorant botch,” thanks to the Freudian intervention of auto-correct. But Gillard did not want to have to call on Slipper [the minister] to resign; to her mind, he was still a serviceable minister. And she was not sanguine about being “lectured,” as she put it, by Abbott on fitting conduct with regards to gender.
Continue reading at: https://www.guernicamag.com/kate-manne-why-misogyny-isnt-really-about-hating-women/