Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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May 2019

Greta Thunberg slams presidents, celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and journalists for ignoring climate crisis

'We will not let you get away with it', Greta Thunberg slams politicians for ignoring climate crisis pic.twitter.com/CdqwTVvjYJ — The Independent (@Independent) May 30, 2019

No president is above the law

Elizabeth Warren writes: When Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released on April 18, I sat down and read it. All 448 pages of it. I started reading it that afternoon, and I read all through the night and into the next morning. And when I got to page 448, three things were clear to me. First, a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help candidate Donald Trump

The case for impeachment

 

Mueller’s punt keeps looking worse

Andrew Prokop writes: Robert Mueller’s report makes the stirring claim that “a fundamental principle of our government” is that no person, not even the president, “is above the law.” But the special counsel’s ultimate legacy may well be the exact opposite — because of his controversial decision not to say whether Trump committed criminal obstruction of justice. “We concluded that we would not reach a determination, one way or the

Trump’s tariff threat to Mexico may upend trade deal, undermine the economy

The Washington Post reports: President Trump’s surprise announcement of an escalating series of new tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico is likely to upend hopes for early congressional action on his proposed North American trade deal and trigger economic upheaval on both sides of the border, according to trade analysts and business executives. Business leaders reacted with dismay to Trump’s statement Thursday that he would impose a new 5

Merkel takes aim at Trump in ‘tear down walls’ speech at Harvard

“I want to leave this wish with you: Tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness, for nothing has to stay as it is”. – Angela Merkel’s speech to students after receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from Harvard University. pic.twitter.com/r144M2Qb6K — James Melville (@JamesMelville) May 31, 2019 Politico reports: Angela Merkel urged Harvard graduates Thursday to “tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness” in a speech laced with apparent

For Brexit leaders ‘the empire was celebrated as a great thing’

Der Spiegel reports: DER SPIEGEL: In your book “Rule Britannia,” you argue that the main reason for Brexit was that “a small number of people had a dangerous and imperialist misconception of Britain’s standing in the world.” Is Boris one of them? Danny Dorling: Yes, Boris and (member of parliament) Jacob Rees-Mogg are the more obvious ones. But there are many others. They’re almost all white men with similar backgrounds.

Italy is evicting Steve Bannon from the training camp for far-right ‘gladiators’ he’s trying to establish

Quartz reports: The Italian government has delivered a potentially fatal blow to Steve Bannon’s plans to transform a medieval monastery near Rome into a training academy for the far-right. Italy’s cultural heritage ministry announced on Friday (May 31) that it would revoke a lease granted to Bannon after reports of fraud in the competitive tender process. The former Breitbart chief and aide to US president Donald Trump was reportedly paying

Music: Wayne Shorter & Milton Nascimento — ‘Tarde’

 

New evidence of the Trump administration’s efforts to maintain GOP white supremacy

The Washington Post reports: Just weeks before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, new evidence emerged Thursday suggesting the question was crafted specifically to give an electoral advantage to white Republicans. The evidence was found in the files of the prominent Republican redistricting strategist Thomas Hofeller after his death in August. It reveals that Hofeller

Neither Congress nor the press did enough to tell the American people what they needed to know about the Mueller report

Quinta Jurecic writes: Mueller has remained silent for two years, and his first public statement was always going to be a significant event. Likewise, the underlying information communicated in both Mueller’s remarks and the report itself is appalling—and further discussion of its meaning can only be good. The question is why it took so long to happen. The difficulty in communicating the substance of the Mueller report began even before

Twitter is eroding your intelligence. Now there’s data to prove it

The Washington Post reports: Twitter, used by 126 million people daily and now ubiquitous in some industries, has vowed to reform itself after being enlisted as a tool of misinformation and hate. But new evidence shows that the platform may be inflicting harm at an even more basic level. It could be making its users, well, a bit witless. The finding by a team of Italian researchers is not necessarily

Feminists never bought the idea of the computational mind set free from its body. Cognitive science is finally catching up

Sally Davies writes: We are shackled to the pangs and shocks of life, wrote Virginia Woolf in The Waves (1931), ‘as bodies to wild horses’. Or are we? Serge Faguet, a Russian-born tech entrepreneur and self-declared ‘extreme biohacker’, believes otherwise. He wants to tame the bucking steed of his own biochemistry via an elixir of drugs, implants, medical monitoring and behavioural ‘hacks’ that optimise his own biochemistry. In his personal

Why are Israeli liberals suddenly courting a far-right nationalist?

Edo Konrad writes: Avigdor Liberman has, over the past decade, exerted a greater impact on Israel’s political discourse than any other lawmaker. In just a few years, he made once unthinkable ideas — such as stripping Palestinian citizens of their citizenship and forcing them to swear oaths of loyalty to the Jewish state — part of the mainstream discourse. Today, Israeli liberals and their intelligentsia are ready to ignore or

Green monkeys borrow vervet monkeys’ eagle warning call when threatened by drones

Smithsonian.com reports: Some 40 years ago, scientists discovered that East African vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) produce distinct alarm calls when they encounter their three main predators: leopards, snakes and eagles. Their cousins in West Africa, green monkeys (Chlorocebus sabaeus), are also known to cry out at the sight of leopard and snakes, but for some unknown reason, they don’t seem to emit a unique call for birds of prey. A

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

Stephanie Hegarty writes: We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night – but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month. It