Journal 118 — the likelihood of alien life, insect farming, former CIA Director John Brennan, George Soros, and universal basic income

John Brennan, Former CIA Director, in the Oval Office

This week — new science on the likelihood of alien life, the growth in insect farming, and profiles of Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan and the billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

If you only read one thing — The New Yorker on universal basic income is worth the time.


Who Really Stands to Win from Universal Basic Income? | The New Yorker | Society

This piece kicks off with an insight — “Economics is at heart a narrative art, a frame across which data points are woven into stories about how the world should work.” It then proceeds to examine universal basic income as an economic narrative, its roots in English history, and the lessons learned from its application in countries around the world.

Why haven’t we found aliens yet? | Vox | Science

This piece unpicks a recent scientific paper that offers a new slant on the Fermi paradox. The paradox addresses the apparent inconsistency in the vast scale of the universe and the lack of signs of life outside planet Earth. The new slant is in essence that we need to significantly adjust upwards the possibility that we are in fact alone and there is no paradox at all. The author quotes Carl Sagan in considering the implications of humanity’s solitude — “In all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life..the Earth is where we make our stand.”

Bugs are coming soon to your dinner table | Bloomberg | Business

A piece examining the growing insect farming industry, with around 1,900 species worldwide already part of human diets.

A Spymaster Steps Out of the Shadows | The New York Times | Politics

John Brennan was CIA Director under President Obama, and as such privy to the highest echelons of state secrets and directly involved in the most contentious aspects of America’s war on terror. Since the beginning of the year, he has also been engaged in a public feud with Donald Trump.

The George Soros philosophy — and its fatal flaw | The Guardian | Society

This story profiles a long time bogeyman of the Trumpian right, the billionaire fund owner and philanthropist George Soros, and assesses the state of his vision for an open society.


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