An almost Shakespearean situation

I just serve to repost Economist articles perhaps. Here’s one about the recent amazing cabinet meeting, comparisons to King Leer, and how this really is so pathetic compared to Shakespearean tragedy. Nice quote at the end:

The fact that Mr Trump is a smaller, shallower figure than most Shakespearean heroes (or villains, come to that) makes the craven behaviour of his cabinet secretaries and other Republican enablers even harder to explain. Unlike courtiers in a Jacobean tragedy, they risk neither execution nor banishment. No invading army or witches’ curse impels so many members of Team Trump to sell their reputations and dignity cheap: merely ambition, and the comforting fiction that they are indispensable. Serving Mr Trump is a modest test of character, by Shakespearean standards. It is one which too many underlings are failing.

Horses

I just find this quote interesting – horses used to be much more respected and appreciated. After the Battle of Waterloo some survivor horses were brought to retirement and the king’s surgeon saw this:

“One morning…the surgeon saw the 12 horses form a line, shoulder to shoulder, then, without a cue, charge forward at a gallop. After a few strides they spun and retreated as formally as in a drill.” Each day, he watched as “his old cavalry horses, flecked white where their coats had grown back over their scars, enacted this enigmatic ritual and went to war together once more in the cool green parkland of the Home Counties.”

From the Economist article about 2 horse books which is an interesting read as well. We toss many a thing off. The article even gets a quick in if, with AI/robots, we’re now making ourselves as obsolete as we made horses.

 

A message to my doomed colleagues in the American media

This is a very interesting piece from a Russian journalist to his US counterparts.

https://medium.com/@alexey__kovalev/message-to-american-media-from-russia-6e2e76eeae77#.2o2wa34xe

The end of it but the rest is worth a read as well:

You’re always losing
This man owns you. He understands perfectly well that he is the news. You can’t ignore him. You’re always playing by his rules — which he can change at any time without any notice. You can’t — in Putin’s case — campaign to vote him out of office. Your readership is dwindling because ad budgets are shrinking — while his ratings are soaring, and if you want to keep your publication afloat, you’ll have to report on everything that man says as soon as he says it, without any analysis or fact-checking, because 1) his fans will not care if he lies to their faces; 2) while you’re busy picking his lies apart, he’ll spit out another mountain of bullshit and you’ll be buried under it.
I could go on and on, but I think at this point you see where this is heading. See if any of this rings any bells if you covered Trump’s presser or watched it online.

Black Mirror in real life – Chinese public credit scores

China, and specifically Shanghai for now, is instituting public credit scores to rank citizens by various factors. The end goal to improve the behavior of people by ranking them publicly. This has to have been in the works for awhile. Did Black Mirror just steal the plot for Nosedive from what China is actually doing?

Quite a few places are reporting it and here’s the NRP version. I read it first in the Economist weeks ago so they should get credit for breaking it really but NPR reminded me. A quote from NPR’s version:

“We want to make Shanghai a global city of excellence,” says Shao Zhiqing, deputy director of Shanghai’s Commission of Economy and Informatization, which oversees the Honest Shanghai app. “Through this app, we hope our residents learn they’ll be rewarded if they’re honest. That will lead to a positive energy in society.”

Shao says Honest Shanghai draws on up to 3,000 items of information collected from nearly 100 government entities to determine an individual’s public credit score.

A good score allows users to collect rewards like discounted airline tickets, and a bad score could one day lead to problems getting loans and getting seats on planes and trains.

A story about carrots

I heard a great story about carrots today; they’re being so good for the eyesight is just a red herring to distract the Germans from the British competence in radar in WWII being the reason the British were so successful at finding and shooting down Germans.

Here’s the Snope blurb on it:

While carrots are a good source of vitamin A (which is important for healthy eyesight, skin, growth, and resisting infection), eating them won’t improve vision.

The purported link between carrots and markedly acute vision is a matter of lore, not of science. And it’s lore of the deliberately manufactured type.

In World War II, Britain’s air ministry spread the word that a diet of these vegetables helped pilots see Nazi bombers attacking at night. That was a lie intended to cover the real matter of what was underpinning the Royal Air Force’s successes: Airborne Interception Radar, also known as AI. The secret new system pinpointed some enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel.

British Intelligence didn’t want the Germans to find out about the superior new technology helping protect the nation, so they created a rumor to afford a somewhat plausible-sounding explanation for the sudden increase in bombers being shot down. News stories began appearing in the British press about extraordinary personnel manning the defenses, including Flight Lieutenant John Cunningham, an RAF pilot dubbed “Cat’s Eyes” on the basis of his exceptional night vision that allowed him to spot his prey in the dark. Cunningham’s abilities were chalked up to his love of carrots. Further stories claimed RAF pilots were being fed goodly amounts of this root vegetable to foster similar abilities in them.

The disinformation was so persuasive that the English public took to eating carrots to help them find their way during the blackouts.