How can we break the Brexit deadlock? Ask ancient Athens | James Bridle


Citizens’ assemblies have their roots in the practice of sortition, says James Bridle, author of New Dark Age

Fascinating … 🤔

We should ban the 'best of' end of year lists – they make us feel guilty and old | Alex McClintock


[…] I will continue to take these lists as a reminder that my short time on planet Earth is relentlessly ticking away, that I’ll never have time to do all the things I want to, and that even if I were to achieve something as awe-inspiring as creating a notable work of art, it would only be one among hundreds of other notable works of art, soon to be forgotten along with the rest as everyone who has ever heard about them ages, dies and turns to dust.

Indeed. 100 is way too many. These lists need more focus and less excess.

Social media is an existential threat to our idea of democracy


Two reports for the US senate reveal how Russia’s Internet Research Agency has fomented distrust and division in the west

This article does not go very deep into the subject of propaganda dissemination and its effects, nor is it written in such a way that the people who cannot identify propaganda for what it is to understand. The problem is that, in the west, the education system has been hijacked by — forgive the term — left-wing nut jobs who think it’s more important that everyone participates rather than achieves a goal. Reading comprehension and critical thinking skills are barely taught in schools anymore, which effectively reduces a growing proportion of the population into easily coerced readers of false or misleading information.

Social media isn’t the problem. Our ever-declining academic expectations for the next generation is. Until adults can come to grips with the hard reality that some people, no matter how hard you try, are just not that bright, the better.

This is one of the many reasons I will not let my children be educated in Canada. That’s the system I went through, and I’m a fucking idiot. While there are most certainly problems with the Japanese education system as well, my kids will have a much better grasp of reading and critical thinking than almost anyone of the same age in Canada.

“We are last generation that can stop climate change” - UN summit


Big cuts in carbon emissions and a rise in protection from extreme weather urgently needed

Nope. There isn’t going to be any stopping the changing climate. The millionaires and billionaires of the world aren’t rich enough, yet. The rest of us won’t stop buying stuff, either. All we can do is adapt and prepare. My home is 136m above sea level for a reason …

Using a free VPN? Why not skip the middleman and just send your data to President Xi?


Majority of sketchy apps can be traced to China, study finds

This is not at all surprising. The majority of VPN tools that people do not self-manage are run by Facebook, Google, Russian orggzations, or Chinese organisations. None of this is new 😕

Homeless man and couple “completely made up” viral story that raised $400,000


Couple and homeless man charged with theft by deception and GoFundMe money will be refunded, prosecutor said

Well this is just another bit of disappointment. What a horrible group of people …

Why coming out as working class was harder than coming out as gay


I’ve left the closet twice - as a gay man, and as an academic from a working-class background. The second was at least as hard

This is an interesting article. I was the first person in my family to attend university, which I paid for because my parents were busy raising my four sisters and two brothers. I was the first person in my family to move more than 100km from where I was born (having first moved west 4,880km in 2002, then another 7,920km west in 2007). Oddly enough, I'm the last person in my family to have children …

In punishing tech giants, the EU has made the internet worse for everyone | James Ball


Given the situation, it may seem that two motions passed by the European parliament this week are positive ones – at the last moment, they were inserted into legislation, having previously been rebuffed. Both motions are unwelcome to the tech giants, and will serve to regulate the internet – but both are wrongheaded and counterproductive, and will make the internet worse.

Fun on a bun …

Tokyo medical school admits changing results to exclude women

University manipulated test scores for more than a decade to ensure more men became doctors

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Universities have been doing this in a number of fields because of stereotypical attitudes. I've met a lot of managers over the years who have clearly said that they rarely promote women or train them in specialized skills if they're married because the person may get pregnant and "inconvenience the company".

The country has a long way to go with regards to treating people as people regardless of gender, background, genetics, etc.

German couple who sold son to paedophiles on darknet jailed

A German woman has been sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison for selling her young son on the darknet to abusers, in a case that has horrified the country and raised questions about its child protection services.

Umm … what? 😶