My semi-regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring). This week: al-Qaeda, drugs, women, the US shutdown and how Fox News ruins science. Followed by a lot of swearing.
My best link of the week was on the shutdown – Slate are starting to report on the US as if it was a foreign country, and have started with:
The typical signs of state failure aren’t evident on the streets of this sleepy capital city. Beret-wearing colonels have not yet taken to the airwaves to declare martial law. Money-changers are not yet buying stacks of useless greenbacks on the street.
But the pleasant autumn weather disguises a government teetering on the brink. Because, at midnight Monday night, the government of this intensely proud and nationalistic people will shut down, a drastic sign of political dysfunction in this moribund republic.
The capital’s rival clans find themselves at an impasse…
Also on the shutdown Mother Jones emphasises this is not normal politics, and 16 ways it will screw ordinary Americans. The BBC looks at how much the crisis has to do with John Boehner’s career ambitions (and how the Washington press think that’s reasonable..) and the New Yorker reports that the Republicans have voted to shut down the pre-frontal cortex.
The BBC also seizes on a passage in Ted Cruz’s 21 hour pointless speech, where he described Neville Chamberlain as a weak and useless leader. They examine the facts against the accepted history, finding him more a prisoner of circumstance. As Churchill is once supposed to have quipped, “Poor Neville will come badly out of history. I know, I will write that history”.
The New Yorker looks at the terrible violence and death toll of the last month’s Islamist violence. The US has swung its attitude in a bipolar habit toward the rest of the world, flipping from grandiose missionary zeal to sullen disengagement – but the New Yorker doesn’t let them off the hook. Rather a better engagement is needed, battling in the contest of ideas instead of violence. Quoting Ed Husain, author of The Islamist - “Unless such ideas are challenged and discredited, extremist groups will continue to regenerate no matter how many terrorists are killed.”
Meanwhile the BBC looks at al-Qaeda’s loosening admissions standards.
They also carry a serving UK police chief’s call to end the war on drugs.
With news that 70% of Fox News’ climate change pundits are doubters – 23 times the rate among climate scientists – they also cover how watching Fox News makes you doubt science. With constant undermining, and equivalence between uninformed bloggers and leading experts in the field.
Peter Day, a global business correspondent for decades, looks at the next revolution after mass production. We’re at the start of it, but don’t recognise mass customisation yet. Joe Kraus: “The 20th Century was about dozens of markets of millions of consumers. The 21st Century is about millions of markets of dozens of consumers.”
Western companies simply cannot compete with the developing country producers who are using the mass production model faster and cheaper. This is Capitalism competing itself to death. To paraphrase Lenin, it is Capitalists selling the rope with which to hang them.
The Atlantic looks at what the world would look like if countries were as big as their internet audiences. Aotearoa is one of the 4 countries outside Europe with >80% internet penetration – we’re fast adopters, and could reap the rewards…
Further to that, here’s a couple of maps to help you see internet usage:
and world population:
In contrast to my last bit below, here’s Parents Ruin Sports for their Kids (by obsessing about winning).
And finally, the reason you didn’t get this this morning was because I finally managed to get my hands on The Thick of It season 4 last night. Should be compulsory viewing for all political junkies. Here’s Malcolm Tucker: