“Calling the border crossers, footsteps mourning lost homelands. Calling beautiful black men, beating hearts stilled by police bullets. Calling incarcerated mothers, milk souring behind bars. Calling the forgotten bodies, seeping sorrow into the Mediterranean. Calling indigenous peoples, displaced in their own lands . . .”
Released last week, the Declaration of Unity is an urgent call for solidarity between movements for racial justice and migrant rights. Written by NoViolet Bulawayo and commissioned as part of Until We Are All Free, an arts and culture-based racial justice initiative launched last year, the Declaration is available in multiple languages and has been signed by artists and activists such as Teju Cole, Junot Díaz, Roxane Gay, Janet Mock, Angelica Salas, and Jose Antonio Vargas.
There is overwhelming context underscoring the need for this call to action: just recently, police brutality took the life of Keith Lamont Scott while he was reading a book and waiting for his son after school, the Obama Administration announced it will expedite the deportation of thousands of Haitian asylum seekers, and a federal appeals court ruled that Central American refugee children do not have a right to a court-appointed lawyer. As hate crimes against American Muslims continue to rise at alarming rates, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments are fueled by the Trump campaign, and the criminalization and dehumanization of communities of color continues through violence against black women and girls, raids and deportations, and police brutality, the Declaration of Unity reminds us how to envision a world where we are all free.
The Declaration’s author, a Zimbabwean writer and Fellow at Stanford University, asks: what would it mean “to see and acknowledge and invest in the other(s)?” Drawing from experiences in her homeland, Bulawayo writes:
I am reminded that the Shona people of my beautiful Zimbabwean homeland answer to the greeting, ‘How are you?’ With ‘Tiripo kana muripo-o’ which literally translates to, ‘I am well, if you are well.’ It means, I see you; you are not invisible to me. It means, I am interested and invested in your well being, it means I recognize your humanity, and it is connected to mine.
In their book, Dispossession: The Performative in the Political, gender scholar Judith Butler and social anthropologist Athena Athanasiou argue that this recognizing and investing in the other(s) is an ethical and political responsibility. “I am not the only one who suffers and resists,” Butler argues, “and without you, I cannot conceive of my own struggle as a social and political struggle; without him or her, or even ‘we,’ I risk becoming restrictively communitarian, including only those whom I already belong as worthy of consideration.” The liberation of the “I” then is inevitably bound up in the “we.”
The Declaration echoes this sentiment. It reminds us that when we are radically vulnerable and open to/with one another, we reject the neoliberal impulse of individualism. When we see the other as worthy and valuable, we reject the idea that some of us are expendable, that some of us do not deserve to enter into or exist in this country. It encourages us to follow in the footsteps of groups such as #ArabsforBlackPower—who recently released a Movement for Black Lives Solidarity Statement—and Black Lives Matter, who included a call to end all deportations in their 10-point platform. The Declaration not only reminds us that we can make another world possible, it teaches us how. It’s website features artwork and the Racial Justice Art & Story Sessions curriculum for sharing with community groups, classrooms, organizations, and on social media.
I know that the world the Declaration for Unity calls on us to envision does not yet exist but in times like this, it is helpful to be reminded that we can create it—a world where as Bulawayo writes: “all chains are broken. And they take down the fence and dismantle the bars. And erase the lines and open the borders. And shatter the ceiling. And justice comes to our neighborhoods.”
I signed the Declaration. Join me and consider reading through the curriculum this week.
Header image by Mar Pascual.
Marcell Shehwaro's magnificent, sarcastic, angry essay in Global Voices expresses her gratitude for her Syrian passport, because it has allowed her to see how states are willing to punish the already brutalized out of rage and fear. (more…)
Erich Ashbargar's weird, laser-engraved dice are a tour-de-force: a pair of D6s for figuring out where to go for dinner in NYC; another D6 to figure out which die you should roll; an all-20s critical hit D20; Sicherman D6s that have different faces to a normal D6 pair, but the same probability distribution; punctuation mark dice (I've had students who were definitely using these); dice for indecisive people, and so on. (more…)
Tech anthropologist Genevieve Bell (previously) delivered one of the keynotes at last week's O'Reilly AI conference in New York City, describing how you could do anthropology fieldwork on an AI -- specifically, how you could do an ethnographic interview with one. (more…)
Correlation is not causation, and the data-set is awfully small (39 incidents), but computational epidemiologist Maimuna Majumder is working with what's available, because the federal government won't fund research into gun fatalities, and does not require states to gather data on police use of force. (more…)
My favorite Francis Bacon painting, Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pepe The Frog, has taken on new meaning what with all the memes lately.
When asked why he was compelled to revisit the subject so often, Bacon replied that he had nothing against Pepe, that he merely sought "an excuse to use these colours, and you can't give ordinary skin that green colour without getting into a sort of false fauve manner".
Wang Jianlin made billions speculating on Chinese real-estate; now that he's diversified into buying Hollywood movie studios and chains of movie theaters, the richest man in China is prepared to say what many have known: the Chinese property market is a huge, deadly bubble that's ripe to burst. (more…)
Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.
I ended up seeing Sarah’s doctor, because that was faster and a better idea than sitting around in some New York City emergency room waiting to be seen for a non-emergency. He confirmed I probably had a concussion and said the main thing to do was to avoid things that might aggravate it, including hitting my head on anything else, vigorous physical activity, brights lights, and loud noise.
Ha.( Read the rest of this entry » )
The always-engaging George Pendle (Strange Angel, The Remarkable Millard Fillmore) has a fascinating piece on Atlas Obscura on the history of space art and NASA's (and the government's at large) current awkward relationship with the art world.
Yet when the NASA scientists asked the attendant artists to refrain from posting pictures of the meeting on social media, it seemed to sum up both a generational and a temperamental mismatch. (In an email, a NASA spokesperson said that "participating artists are free to discuss their attendance.")
From a NASA perspective, the secrecy was a budgetary imperative. In 2003, the renowned performance artist Laurie Anderson was appointed NASA’s first “artist-in-residence” with the remit of creating art about the agency’s exploration of space. Republican congressmen quickly seized on the move as a sign of wanton profligacy. “Mr. Chairman,” sputtered Representative Chris Chocola of Indiana on the floor of Congress, “nowhere in NASA's mission does it say anything about advancing fine arts or hiring a performance artist.” There has been no artist-in-residence since and the reverberations were no doubt part of the reason why NASA’s workshop at Grace Farms seemed tentative and vague.
In the not-so-distant past, though, space and art intermingled happily. Artists were crucial to NASA’s development, at times outpacing the science of space travel itself. What happened?
The above illustration is NASA concept art of a moon landing, from 1959.
A paper published this summer looked into over 100 times humpbacks were observed disrupting orcas who are hunting, like these humpbacks trying to save a gray whale and calf. But why do they do it? (more…)
Amos Yee, a 17-year-old blogger in Singapore, is to spend six weeks in jail for "wounding religious feelings." It is his second such jail term: he spent a month in jail last year for criticizing Christianity.
The teenager's latest trial was closely watched by rights groups, who argue that the case threatens freedom of expression.
Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch said Singapore now needs to review its approach in dealing with cases like Yee's, who is likely to benefit from the publicity.
"Every time the authorities go after him, it just adds to his online audience," said Mr Robertson in an email.
Here's his blog, written in English. It's mostly teenage edgelording about religion and politics, but the boy's evidently got prospects—and adapting to the international audience his government has given him!
Prompted by allegations made against celebrity Bill Cosby, California is ending its 10-year statute of limitations on rape.
Current California law requires prosecution for rape to begin within 10 years of the alleged offence, with some exceptions. Under the new legislation, SB813, there will be no time limit. The change will also apply to crimes for which the statute of limitations has not expired as of 1 January 2017.
Senator Connie Leyva, who introduced the bill, said it told victims of sexual assault that they could seek justice "regardless of when they are ready to come forward".
"Rapists should never be able to evade legal consequences simply because an arbitrary time limit has expired."
Historical cases (such as many of Cosby's victims) are not addressed in the bill, as it will not apply retroactively to crimes that reach the 10-year-limit before Jan 1, 2017. Which is to say, Dec 31, 2006 is the last date for crimes to escape the new legislation.
The U.S. has a patchwork of state-level sexual assault laws, with 43 applying a statute of limitations to rape. The lengths differ widely: Minnesota has the shortest, at 3 years, whereas Ohio's is 20 years.
It's challenge time!
Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.
Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!
Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!
Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.
Interesting research from Sasha Romanosky at RAND:
Abstract: In 2013, the US President signed an executive order designed to help secure the nation's critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. As part of that order, he directed the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a framework that would become an authoritative source for information security best practices. Because adoption of the framework is voluntary, it faces the challenge of incentivizing firms to follow along. Will frameworks such as that proposed by NIST really induce firms to adopt better security controls? And if not, why? This research seeks to examine the composition and costs of cyber events, and attempts to address whether or not there exist incentives for firms to improve their security practices and reduce the risk of attack. Specifically, we examine a sample of over 12 000 cyber events that include data breaches, security incidents, privacy violations, and phishing crimes. First, we analyze the characteristics of these breaches (such as causes and types of information compromised). We then examine the breach and litigation rate, by industry, and identify the industries that incur the greatest costs from cyber events. We then compare these costs to bad debts and fraud within other industries. The findings suggest that public concerns regarding the increasing rates of breaches and legal actions may be excessive compared to the relatively modest financial impact to firms that suffer these events. Public concerns regarding the increasing rates of breaches and legal actions, conflict, however, with our findings that show a much smaller financial impact to firms that suffer these events. Specifically, we find that the cost of a typical cyber incident in our sample is less than $200 000 (about the same as the firm's annual IT security budget), and that this represents only 0.4% of their estimated annual revenues.
The result is that it often makes business sense to underspend on cybersecurity and just pay the costs of breaches:
Romanosky analyzed 12,000 incident reports and found that typically they only account for 0.4 per cent of a company's annual revenues. That compares to billing fraud, which averages at 5 per cent, or retail shrinkage (ie, shoplifting and insider theft), which accounts for 1.3 per cent of revenues.
As for reputational damage, Romanosky found that it was almost impossible to quantify. He spoke to many executives and none of them could give a reliable metric for how to measure the PR cost of a public failure of IT security systems.
He also noted that the effects of a data incident typically don't have many ramifications on the stock price of a company in the long term. Under the circumstances, it doesn't make a lot of sense to invest too much in cyber security.
What's being left out of these costs are the externalities. Yes, the costs to a company of a cyberattack are low to them, but there are often substantial additional costs borne by other people. The way to look at this is not to conclude that cybersecurity isn't really a problem, but instead that there is a significant market failure that governments need to address.
People close to Trump are admitting he got thrashed by Hillary Clinton on Monday. But they're doing so on condition of anonymity and pharaoh is displeased.
In a conference call with surrogates Wednesday afternoon, Trump aides made clear the Republican nominee is upset that his allies publicly acknowledged they pushed him to change his preparation and tactics before his next bout with Hillary Clinton.
And he wants them to stop it immediately.
The message was "not subtle," a source familiar with the call said.
Trump wants his supporters to make an energetic defense of his performance and refuse to concede that he didn't nail it.
Accompanying this lurid shitshow is a) the suspicion it's all a ruse and that Trump really is going to prepare for the next one, and b) the knowledge that none of it matters anyway.
The first thing to know about Trudeau's Trump strips is that they're funny as hell. As Trudeau writes in his introduction, Trump is a "gift beyond imagining" to comedians (everyone knows this now, but Trudeau recognized this fact when Trump was still in larval form, still developing his ovipositors and tentacles), and Trudeau does not waste one dram of the comedic potential of the thin-skinned, self-regarding, self-unaware blowhard alleged billionaire who is now in the running to gain control of the world's largest nuclear arsenal.
That's the second thing you need to know about these strips: they're definitely in the ha-ha-only-serious realm. Trudeau has an unerring nose for Trumpian bullshit (years before the tax-return business, his characters were wryly noting that the billions Trump claimed in his net worth surely included billions for his "brand"). He spotted the Trump University scam from day one -- and mercilessly slammed it with the comic-strip equivalent of John Oliver's best Trump material -- and years before that, he was making great hay out of Trump Airlines. (more…)
A group of some of the most powerful technology companies on the planet have formed a partnership on artificial intelligence.