Has America become a Rogue State?
Welcome to Medium version of The Pourquoi Pas, the newsletter for the inherently curious.
As usual, you can comment to let me know your thoughts on the issues discussed (I may include them to next week’s newsletter) and sign up by following this link.
What to read this week
Last week, the news was flooded with various analysis of the Charlottesville drama, leading many to ask: how did America lose its mind?
The Atlantic has a VERY lengthy explanation, going as far back as the US’ collective mental breakdown that was the 1960s. Additionally, New Republic intelligently explores The Left’s Supporting Role in American Hate Theater(rule #14 of the internet applies IRL: don’t feed the trolls).
One advice to policy-makers? Learn from Germany.
It’s never too early to over-analyse the fallout from such events, so be on the look-out for next week’s in-depth analysis of the reactions from the tech world.
Speaking of the differences between a failing democracy and a successful one… Politico discusses witnessing the destruction of democratic ideals in Venezuela, and reaches the conclusion that there’s no rule that says that a miserable situation has to end, just because it’s too miserable. Additionally, here is a guide labeled by yours truly as “How to Elect a Highly Experienced, Pragmatic, Over-qualified Physicist as Opposed to a Microwaved Cheeto” : Everything You Need to Know About Germany’s Complex Election Process.
Oh, and France is cool again. Yay.
Many Americans will be lucky enough to see a full eclipse today whilst the Old Continent will have to settle for scraps. Apparently, “seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him”, so bummer for Europeans. This however should not stop you from reading the lonesome, melancholic prose from which this quote was extracted.
However alone we might be both on Terra and in the Milky Way, we ought not to despair : billionaires are racing to slip the surly bonds of earth, whilst less-funded, more reasonable scientists settle for seeding life throughout the galaxy using a biological teleporter.
Literary, Business and Scientific minds REALLY do look at the world in different ways.
Bonus : What do flat Earthers think about the solar eclipse?
Social media :
A few weeks ago, I spoke highly of an article claiming smartphones are destroying a generation. Yet, as with any such claims, there are two sides to the story : JSTOR published an answer to The Atlantic that is as worth reading as the original article, as it offers many counterpoints worth thinking about.
Whilst one ponders, read “You are the product”, an in-depth look at the role of Facebook in the modern world. Facebook is also the topic of an experiment wherein researchers analysed 700 million words, phrases, and topic instances collected from the Facebook messages of 75,000 volunteers, and found striking variations in language with personality, gender, and age.
FB’s slower cousin, Twitter, is also in the news : University of Vermont mathematicians are reading your tweets and learning a lot about our collective well-being, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is doingexactly the same thing. Awkward. Somebody should tell them.
Do I have your attention now? Let’s talk about sex in the past, present and future.
Past : Turns out women had better sex under socialism. Here’s why.
Present : Turned on by gremlins? Excited by ketchup or rare stamps? There’s a porn film for that. Take a look inside the odd world of bespoke porn.
Future : AI technology can handle facial recognition, voice recognition, basic learning algorithms to try and pick up emotions, and can collect your physiological data. We also have a lot of silicon. You know where this is going :humans and robots are on the cusp of a sexual intimacy we may never reverse.
Hey! Psst. Wanna try some graphs? Come on, all the cool kids are doing it. First taste is free. Even wasps and baboons do it (economics isn’t just a human activity, duh).
- Banking’s lost decade in 6 charts
- 12 charts to watch to spot banking’s next crisis
- Our broken economy in one simple chart
Every week, we work hard to bring news, fun facts, cocktail recipes, music and more to your inbox. Sign up using this link to join the fun.