During the latter part of the much hyped but excruciating-to-watch first presidential debate, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt posed a seemingly straightforward but cunningly devised question.
“On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy?”
it assumed that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each possess some familiarity with the longstanding policy to which Holt referred and with the modifications that Obama had contemplated making to it.
The absence of relevant information elicited by Lester Holt’s excellent question speaks directly to what has become a central flaw in this entire presidential campaign: the dearth of attention given to matters basic to U.S. national security policy.
a system that makes someone like Trump a finalist for the presidency isn’t rigged. It is manifestly absurd, a fact that has left most of the national media grasping wildly for explanations (albeit none that tag them with having facilitated the transformation of politics into theater).
Yet beyond the outsized presence of one particular personality, the real travesty of our predicament lies elsewhere—in the utter shallowness of our political discourse, no more vividly on display than in the realm of national security.
Source: Time for Real Answers on War | The American Conservative
Looking at the Anthropocene through the lens of astrobiology could help us move on with the planet — so it doesn’t move on without us, says physicist Adam Frank.
These studies show us that Earth has been many planets in its past: a potential water world before major continents grew; a totally glaciated snowball world; a hothouse jungle planet. In understanding these transformations, we’ve gotten to see one example of life and a planet co-evolving over billions of years.
Astrobiology is fundamentally a study of planets and their “habitability” for life. But sustainability is really just a concern over the habitability of one planet (Earth) for a certain kind of species (homo sapiens) with a certain kind of organization (modern civilization). That means our urgent questions about sustainability are a subset of questions about habitability. The key point, here, is the planets in our own solar system, like Mars, show us that habitability is not forever. It will likely be a moving target over time. The same idea is likely true for sustainability — and we are going to need a plan for that.
We’re not a plague on the planet. Instead, we are simply another thing the Earth has done in its long history. We’re an “expression of the planet,” as Kim Stanley Robinson puts it. It’s also quite possible that we are not the first civilization is cosmic history to go through something like this. From that perspective, climate change and the sustainability crises may best be seen as our “final exam” (as Raymond PierreHumbert calls it). Better yet, it’s our coming of age as a true planetary species.
We will either make it across to the other side with the maturity to “think like a planet” or the planet will just move on without us.
Source: Climate Change And The Astrobiology Of The Anthropocene : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR
They’re not transparent. They’re not independent. They’re not even turned on when they should be.
In case after case, police departments say officers did not have their body cameras activated when it counted.
If there’s not significant discipline for officers who fail to follow local policies—as the officers failed in D.C., Chicago, and Charlotte—then it doesn’t matter what’s in the policy.
many states have introduced or passed new laws that restrict public access to footage while preserving police access.
Source: Police Body-Worn Cameras Are Making Departments More Powerful – The Atlantic
Admitting to his own previous naiveté and confusion about race, Stephenson paraphrased some wisdom imparted by a close black friend:
When a parent says, “I love my son,” you don’t say, “What about your daughter?” When we walk or run for breast cancer funding and research, we don’t say, “What about prostate cancer?” When the president says, “God bless America,” we don’t say, “Shouldn’t God bless all countries?” And when a person struggling with what’s been broadcast on our airwaves says, “black lives matter,” we should not say “all lives matter” to justify ignoring the real need for change.
“Tolerance is for cowards,” Stephenson concludes in his speech. “Being tolerant requires nothing from you but to be quiet and not make waves.”
Source: Black Lives Matter: AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson explains the problem with “all lives matter” — Quartz
What does being a “citizen of Europe” mean? Not as much as people might think.
The EU has conferred on Europeans the rights of citizenship without any of the obligations.
Even what it means to be “British,” despite all the steps taken since 1708, is still a work in progress. How then could we expect to all become “European” so quickly? This is Europe’s citizenship problem: There is European citizenship, but not European identity. The EU has spent all its energy focusing on the economic benefits of internal migration without trying to cultivate a feeling of belonging. And so, you get things like Brexit.
Source: Brexit: When it comes to immigration, what “citizens of Europe” really have is a second-class status dating back to Ancient Rome — Quartz