The Summer of Digital Minimalism

My tech and I have a boundaries problemLike a lot of people, I struggle to maintain good boundaries with the personal technology in my life:I mindlessly check email at the slightest hint of boredom.I ruminate on how well a new Medium article is doing rather than being present with my daughters while we play.I sit down to write and decide to respond to just one email, only to wake up an hour later, lost down the rabbit hole of interesting newsletter links with nothing to show for it besides the mild gnaw of procrastination guilt.

The Summer of Digital Minimalism 1

I think most of us can relate to this technology creep. Powerful and ubiquitous pieces of personal technology like smartphones and social media have a way of burrowing into our lives and staking out surprisingly large claims to our time and attention.All this clever technology convinces us to open up our lives to it, and in return claims to make our lives simpler, nicer, and more productive.

But is it true? Is that really how this story plays out?Despite our best intentions to use our technology to better achieve our goals, we end up getting used by our technology to better achieve someone elses goals.

We tell ourselves that checking Instagram is harmless and helps us connect with the people we love. And yetWe find ourselves in a constant game of social comparison, feeling badly every couple hours about how lame and disappointing our lives look compared to everyone elses perpetually happy families and epic summer vacations. Meanwhile, a handful of Silicon Valley companies rack up the big bucks at the expense of our time, attention, and ultimately I think, our lives.

Tech is good but it needs boundaries. Each one of us individually needs to take up the responsibility of setting and maintaining those boundaries ourselves. We cant wait for Google and Facebook to do it for us.

I believe adopting a philosophy of Digital Minimalism is the best way to do this.We need to fight back and consciously decide how tech should (and should not) be a part of our lives.In January 2018, I participated in Cal Newports 30-Day Digital Declutter Experiment.

For 30 days I severely limited my personal technology use:I stopped reading the news, sports, blogs, and newsletters.I quit social media.I cut out all email except work emails, and then only checked it once a day.

I even stopped checking the weather online and listening to podcasts. It was transformative:My writing productivity increased dramatically, driven primarily by a much-increased capacity for focus and Deep Work and a noticeable spike in creative thinking and idea generation.My stress levels saw a noticeable decrease.

While they werent hight to begin with, I felt calmer and more in control of my own life on a day to day basis. I felt more present at home and with my family. With no email or sports scores or social media to stay up-to-date with, I was able to be more connected with my wife and daughters.

I learned how much I didnt miss most of my tech use. I didnt miss Instagram a bit, and was even a little relieved that I didnt have the duty of staying current on my feed. I missed reading some of my favorite writers and bloggers online, but not that much.

Most of that time was being converted into writing and producing, which felt much more satisfying than the endless stream of online consumption. In short, my life felt better with better boundaries on my tech.But slowly those good boundaries eroded and tech crept back in.

I started becoming more lax with my email checking and online browsing, and as a result, found it harder to just get to work when I needed to and maintain focus when I did. I started checking my phone at home, being ever so slightly less present and engaged. I noticed that all that quiet whitespace which was so conducive to creative and insightful thinking was getting back filled with digital noise.

And now, four months later, I can feel myself backsliding and want to stop it. We need to do more than declutter our digital lives. We need to re-define them.

My 30-day digital declutter was a successful experiment. It gave me some data and showed in a concrete way how much better life can be with more intentional boundaries around my tech use. But I want to take it step further now and really commit to changing my life based on the evidence I gathered.

I want to double down on a more minimalist approach to technology, one that takes seriously this question:In what ways does personal technology genuinely add value to my life?I have some good initial answers to that question, but now I want to fully make them a part of my life. Instead of a month-long experiment, I want to live an extended digitally minimal life.

If, like me, youve tried some kind of digital sabbatical or purge havent been as successful as youd like in making it stick, I invite you to participate along with me in something a little more rigorous.100 Days of Digital MinimalismFrom May 24th to August 31st, Im going all in on digital minimalism. Starting next week, I plan to spend 100 days without any optional personal technology use whatsoever.

How it worksHere are the guidelines Im setting for myself for the challenge. Theyre largely based on the recommendations from Cals original 30-Day Digital Declutter plus a few of my own modifications based on what worked well for me.Theyre based on 3 core principles:Tech use shouldnt be habitual.

In order to be intentional about our use of technology and have it serve our values, we must be free from the compulsive and addictive tendency to check our tech.Tech is for making stuff, not feeling better. I want to use technology as a tool to accomplish my goals and aspirations.

I dont want to lean on it as a crutch for cheap emotional satisfaction or distraction.People matter most. Despite the perpetual promise of the internet and social media to make us more connected, technology is too often a source of subtle isolation and disconnect from other people in our lives.

Please Note: All of the guidelines that follow are based on one or more of these principles. Of course everyones situation and values differ, so feel free to modify as fits your needs. Also, this challenge is about optional personal tech use; it doesnt apply to necessary personal or work-related tech use.

PART 1: Eliminate all optional personal technology use. All of the areas of personal tech use broken down by category with suggestions for eliminating or severely limiting them.Email: Only check email twice per day, once in the mornings and once before leaving work/in the latter part of the day.

Ignore anything that is optional. Take action immediately on necessary items or schedule a time to do sop in the future. Turn notifications off.

Social Media: Sign out of all social media accounts and remove the apps from your phone/tablet/computer. Let people know your plans for the summer and tell them youll be back in September (maybe). If you must get back into your accounts, you can always do so via the browser on your computer.

News: Stop reading the news online. I plan to buy a Sunday paper once a week and skim it that morning in order to stay up to date.Entertainment: In general, abstain from using tech for entertainment.

Im not going to read any of my usual blogs and am logging out of my RSS reader. Im going to ignore 95% of the newsletters Im subscribed to except for 5 of the most valuable. Ill read these, along with my paper, on Sunday mornings only.

No podcasts, online videos, or any other form of online entertainment. Optional Apps: Eliminate unnecessary apps from phone. There are lots of little apps on my phone that I dont really need and are often subtle sources of distraction.

For example, I dont really need a whether app or run-tracking app on my phone. If I really need to know about the weather, I can look it up in the browser. If I really want to track my runs, I can write them down.

TV/Movies: Be intentional about evening video consumption. For the last couple months, my wife and I havent been watching anything in the evenings, instead just chatting, playing board games (okay, Ill be honestall weve been playing is Catan :) or reading. That may very well continue all summer, but if we do decide to start watching again, were going to limit it to one night per week.

PART 2: Rediscover the joys of analogMinimalism, including digital minimalism, isnt just about getting rid of things from our lives. In fact, minimalism is much more about adding things to our lives. Specifically, things that align with instead of detracting from our values.

If were not careful, personal technology can start to get in the way of what we value most. Consequently, it needs to be tended to much more carefully.Digital Minimalism is about making space for what we value most.

Here are a few of the things I hope to add to my life as a result of subtracting much of my personal technology use:More whitespace. While easy to discount because it looks like nothing, having adequate whitespace in our life has numerous benefits, including everything from increased creativity to stress reduction. By whitespace I mean time with nothing much going on.

Driving to work without listening to anything; standing in line without checking anything; siping a cup of coffee without doing anything else. Whitespace. More human connection, big and small.

While I used to love listening to podcasts on my commute, Ive realized that it takes up valuable time when I could be doing other things (or nothing!), like calling and catching up with friends and family members. A major goal of this challenge is to use the time that is so easily consumed by technology to connect with the people in my life who are important but dont live near me.

I also plan to do smaller things like leave my phone in my car when I go into the coffee shop. Its amazing how many little micro-interactions we miss because were reading a blog post on our phone while waiting in line.More substantial reading.

Im looking forward to reading more books. I used to read a ton of books. But Ive increasingly found that good books are getting replaced by wave after wave of articles and posts online.

Running without noise. When I first started long-distance running, I didnt listen to music or podcastsI just ran. Im excited to get back to this.

When I work out, I wont be listening to music or podcasts, or watching video. Just running.Being truly unplugged.

I plan to confine my personal tech use to weekdays between 6:00am and 5:00pm. Once I leave from work at 5:00pm, Im completely done for the evening. And outside of an early morning hour on Saturday and Sunday, no tech use at all.

Im really looking forward to the deep relaxation that comes from taking genuine breaks from technology and the incessant flow of information were constantly plugged into via our devices. More brainstorming, journaling, and sketching. Instead of doing more writing in the evenings or weekends, if I feel like I want to work a bit, Im going to do it in the form of paper and pen.

I bought a nice journal to keep track of my experiences this summer and take notes that otherwise would have gone into my phone. PART 3: RelaxThere are a couple areas where I plan to bend the rules ever so slightly.Medium.

While Im getting rid of most social media, I will continue to write on Medium and read articles there (for whatever reasons, Medium doesnt feel like social media). However, it will be confined to half an hour per day (of reading) at a specified time on weekday mornings. Also, I will only check my Medium stats once per week on Monday mornings.

Twitter. Over the summer I wont be checking Twitter at all and wont have the app installed anywhere. However, once a week I will add articles to my Buffer cue to be automatically posted to Twitter on an ongoing basis.

This is a part of my writing work. Photography. I love photography and have two adorable little girls so I will continue to use my big DSLR and iPhone to snap photos at will.

Of course, there will probably be other areas where there are bits of rule-breaking here and there. If were at friends place and they suggest watching a movie, Im not going to recuse myself on the grounds of my very important Summer of Digital Minimalism Challenge . At the end of the day, this whole project is about committing to being more intentional with my personal technology use.

If I do bend the rules, it will be because Ive thought about it carefully and decided it lines up with what I really want.Are you ready?If youve been seriously thinking about making a change in the way you use personal technology, this challenge is for you.

Going 100 days with minimal technology use is no joke. Its going to be intense. But I think the benefits will be remarkable.

If you think youd like to participate in The Summer of Digital Minimalism Challenge, shoot me an email with the term Digital Minimalism in the subject and Ill be in touch shortly with more information and details:hello@nickwignall. comThanks for reading! My names Nick Wignall.

Im a clinical psychologist and author who writes about practical psychology for rigorous self-improvement. You can read more about Digital Minimalism and many other topics on my website NickWignall. comThis story is published in The Startup, Mediums largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 324,834 people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here RELATED QUESTION I didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort? No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware.

There are three main approaches for accomplishing this: 1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc).

Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t



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In a BBC report on the riots that erupted in the suburbs of Paris and other French cities in 2005, suburbs populated by the countrys large Muslim community, Henri Astler describes how radicals are able to tap into the alienation felt by many ghetto youths, before going on to quote a youth worker by the name of Farid Khelifi, who tells him, They [Muslim youth] have no jobs, no future. They do not know who they are. They are told they are French but they are not given the same rights as the French. Necessarily some become radicals.A rejection of the West and its values under such conditions is inevitable, with the attenuation of the left as a counter-hegemonic alternative to the status quo on the basis of class also playing a role in allowing the politics of identity race, religion, etc. to fill the space left behind when it comes to channeling the anger and, with it, militancy of young men who find within radical Islam the camaraderie, purpose, and self esteem denied them as outsiders at the banquet of Western democracy.This battle of ideas can only be won in the context of a struggle against neoliberalism and its replacement by something approximating to capitalism with a human face, which some might be bold enough to describe as socialism. It can also only be won when the West finally accepts that the Middle East and North Africa do not constitute one giant chessboard upon which its governments, peoples, and societies can be moved around like its pieces in service to their own economic and strategic objectives. For it is imperialism not terrorism that poses the real threat to humanity, with terrorism its inevitable symptom. The chaos and carnage that has engulfed the Middle East and North Africa in recent years is a monster of the Wests creation, one with historical precedent in rise of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 1970s on the back of the mass bombing of the country by the United States. It is an historical precedent that disproves the causal link applied by apologists for Western intervention between Islam and terrorism. In 2016 what we discern is a circular relationship between the industrial violence unleashed in the name of democracy across MENA and its bastard child otherwise known as Salafist-jihadism.It is why we can say without fear of contradiction that we have met the enemy and he is us. And it is why we can also say that winning the battle of ideas between the idea of radical Islam and the idea of a modernity which rests upon an economic system that serves humanity rather than is served by humanity, winning this battle is crucial in the interests not only of this generation but in the interests of generations to come Muslim and non-Muslim alike. End. RELATED QUESTION I didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort? No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware. There are three main approaches for accomplishing this: 1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc). Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t
2020 12 16
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John Wights Coronavirus Digest #2
John Wights Coronavirus Digest #2
In this edition:Donald Trumps Caligula moment, the mad scientist , and Keir Starmers tieFor four years between 37 and 41 CE the Roman Empire was ruled by one Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. He is known both to history and infamy as Caligula, an emperor whose wanton cruelty, barbarity, caprice, sadism and perversity is immediately suggestive of a grotesquely disordered mind. Among his more outlandish ideas was his plan to make his horse a consul in other words a high official within his retinue of officials and advisers. Caligula, somewhat inevitably, was assassinated, hacked to pieces by his own Praetorian Guard in his own palace.History repeats itself, Marx famously opined, the first as tragedy, then as farce. In the personage of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, tragedy and farce are both present. The tragedy was his election in 2016, which marked the nadir of this grand experiment in placing democratic lipstick on the pig of a state then empire forged in genocide, ethnic cleansing and human slavery. It was a victory for anti-intellectualism and mass ignorance, of which both prevail in large parts of this ill-starred land. They say that you cant blame a mushroom for growing the dark, which is true, and the intellectual and cultural darkness in which millions of Americans exist is evidenced in a gun culture that connotes societal madness, along with a hatred and fear of the other that blows out of the water any vestige of social cohesion. Within Trump we have embodied the Trail of Tears, the overseers whip, the Klu Klux Klan, the Pinkerton detectives sent to crush the Homestead strike, along with too many others to mention during the US Labor Wars of the late 19th and early 20th century. Within him, too, is embodied the police batons of Jim Crow, the slum landlordism of urban America, the electric chair and the gas chamber.In other words, Donald Trump is the land of the free with its mask removed. His daily press briefings have also left no doubt that he, like Caligula, carries all of the symptoms of a disordered mind. His assertion that disinfectant could be injected or ingested as a potential cure for Covid-19, as his advisers looked on with the po-faces of shuffling courtiers, was a moment of peak insanity and crack-pottery, even for him. We can only hope, metaphorically speaking, that the Praetorian Guards in Washington are now astir. This having been said, we in Britain, we are obliged not to forget, have our own problems with disordered minds in our midst. With a clutch of fanatical ideologues at the helm, led by a prime minister whose practiced buffoonery and nuttiness has quite literally got more people killed in this past month than can be put down to events, we find ourselves cursed with the worst possible government upon whose lap has landed the worst possible crisis.Learning as we just have that Boris Johnsons brain the other-wordly and decidedly dangerous has been sitting in on meetings of the governments top scientific advisory panel should be grounds for public alarm. Firstly, it confirms that the medical and scientific advice that the country has been receiving has been politicised, and thereby compromised, throughout. Secondly, Cummings is a man who eclipses every Bond villain ever created in the sinister stakes, a malign character whose approach to politics is that of a mad scientist conducting mad experiments in a laboratory of the damned.But have no fear, because Keir is here, what with his constructive opposition, forensic questions, and the functioning opposition to the government hes leading. Indeed our centrist/Blairite chorus was in full orgasmic voice in response to this trusty knight of the realms debut at Prime Ministers Questions.It didnt exactly hurt that facing him at the despatch box was a political pygmy in the shape of Dominic Raab. It likewise didnt hurt that the newly elected leader of the opposition enjoys the full-throated support of the entire media class all the way from Guardianista liberal to Thatcher-loving right. Call me old fashioned, but when a former Tory chancellor such as Gideon Osborne the man who injected the country with the anti-people poison of austerity endorses the leader of the Labour Party, its a party headed at warp speed for perdition.When it comes to the comparing of Keir Starmer and Dominic Raab at what was the first PMQs both men conducted, one is reminded of the sage words of Gore Vidal:One does not bring a measuring rod to Lilliput.End.Thanks for taking the time to read my work. If you enjoy my writing and would like to read more, please consider making a donation in order to help fund my efforts. You can do so here. You can also grab a copy of my book This Boxing Game: A Journey in Beautiful Brutality from all major booksellers RELATED QUESTION I didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort? No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware. There are three main approaches for accomplishing this: 1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc). Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t
2020 12 16
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Thrift Store Wigs, Absolutely No Heart: the Brittany Murphy Story
Thrift Store Wigs, Absolutely No Heart: the Brittany Murphy Story
by Marie LodiLifetime has recently been focusing on biopics instead of their usual awesomely bad cyberseduction-forbidden-priest-romance fare. Last year, they released The Anna Nicole Story; despite a decent cast (Adam Goldberg, Cary Elwes) and this shot of Martin Landau as J. Howard Marshall, the film fell flat. So far, this year well see The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Movie, an unauthorized Aaliyah flick to look forward to (or fear), and a Whitney Houston movie directed by none other than Angela Bassett. Lifetimes latest release, The Brittany Murphy Story, seemed like it came out of nowhere. And it did; The Brittany Murphy Story was shot in just two weeks, with the lead actress having only two days to prepare for the role. If I was going to sum up my review in one sentence, that sentence would be: this movie was a depressing three-ring circus with lots of thrift store wigs and not much heart. It begins with Brittany (Amanda Fuller), wearing bad wig #1, as a teenager living in New Jersey. She convinces her mother Sharon (Sherilyn Fenn, in bad wig #2 ) to move to Los Angeles with the hopes of starting her acting career. Soon Brittany is booking commercials and appearing on the show Drexells Class. She wins the pivotal role of new girl Tai in Clueless, the role that introduced most of us to Brittany.On set, Brittany overhears a crew member saying cruel things about her weight and laments that she is not a pretty tall blonde, like her co-star Alicia Silverstone, played by Karynn Moore (whose wig might actually be the most frightening of all). Later, Brittany starts wearing her hair straight and dyes it blonde, transforming herself into the Hollywood starlet she always wanted to be. Thats when her trouble begins. Brittany becomes a darling of the paparazzi and eventually Simon Monjack, a paparazzi who nonetheless, warns Brittany that the paparazzi are not your friends! After a failed, but lovingly goofy, relationship with Ashton Kutcher, Simon eventually becomes Brittanys husband.After their wedding, Brittanys career goes into a downward spiral. She is fired from two movies, battles drug addiction rumors, and becomes paranoid that people are after her, when she hears what she thinks are gunshots in her neighborhood. She becomes severely ill but refuses to see a doctor. On December 20, 2009, Brittany dies in her home. Her death is explained in the credits to be caused by pneumonia and anemia. Six months later, Simon died from the same causes.Brittany and her mother were quite close, and the movie portrays them as having a dynamic more codependent than a normal mother-daughter relationship. At the time of her death, Brittany, Sharon, and Simon were all living together in that same house. Lets not forget the weird photo that Sharon and Simon took after Brittanys death. Sharon reportedly sold many of Brittanys personal belongings including her passport. Lifetime has not revealed who their sources were for the film, so its curious where they received the info for Brittanys private life. Amanda Fuller, best known for Last Man Standing, was cast as Brittany, despite bearing no resemblance whatsoever to the late actress. She may have had Brittanys trademark giggle down, but much of her vocal performance remained in the thick New Jersey accent Brittany used during her performance as Tai, which was odd since Brittany didnt use that accent in real life. The best performance might actually go to Ashton Kutchers (Adam Hagenbuch) trucker hat, which had the words This Is My Trucker Hat emblazoned on it (to prevent theft, Im sure. ) It had its big closeup during a scene where Ashton placed it on top of a lampshade after a wild night of partying symbolizing their impending breakup due to lifestyle differences: Ashton liked to party; Brittany liked to stay at home and hang out with mom.Brittanys father, Angelo Bertolotti, is setting Twitter ablaze with his anger. Hes pissed that Lifetime chose to make this cacadooky movie about his daughter and wants justice for her mysterious death. Last year, Bertolotti sent Britneys hair and tissues to a company for testing, and a report showed that there were ten different metals present in Brittanys system at the time of her death. Even with this new information, the Los Angeles Coroner has no plans to exhume Brittanys body for further investigation. Theres even a petition to open the case. Brittanys story is tragically filled with so many question marks. Perhaps thats one reason why this biopic leaves a bitter taste and a sad feeling, far from the guilty pleasure giddiness a Lifetime Original Movie usually provides.I fondly remember watching an episode of MTVs Diary years ago that showed Brittany as a ball of positive energy. She drank a shit-ton of Mountain Dew and was stoked on her new house (she had bought it from Britney Spears) and the fancy hotel rooms she was staying in. Brittany seemed like a down-to-earth person who counted Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers as one of her favorite beauty products. After she died, I went straight to the drugstore and bought a Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker in a tribute.Maybe instead of watching The Brittany Murphy Story, honor her by streaming Clueless, Uptown Girls, and Little Black Book, and these videos that show Brittany as she should be remembered: a bubbly woman with an infectious laugh, boundless talent, and who could really belt out a tune.Marie Lodi is the president of a pizza club in LA. She is also a staff writer and the resident style advice columnist at Rookie. Richard Simmons once said she moved like a stripper. Read more of her stuff at and follow her everywhere @agentlover. RELATED QUESTION I didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort? No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware. There are three main approaches for accomplishing this: 1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc). Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t
2020 12 16
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Colin Kaepernicks Stand Against Racial Injustice in the Land of the Free
Colin Kaepernicks Stand Against Racial Injustice in the Land of the Free
Founding Father and slave owner Thomas Jeffersons mantra that, When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty, is today exemplified in the stance taken by NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, with his refusal to stand for the US national anthem prior to the San Francisco 49ers recent preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. As Kaepernick told the press afterwards, I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."Kaepernicks stand is with the growing number of victims of police brutality in America, specifically blacks whove been gunned down by law enforcement officers in controversial circumstances, and over the lack of prosecutions when it comes to the officers involved. It is a controversy and national scandal which confirms that when it comes to law enforcement and justice, there are two Americas. There is the land of opportunity that is the domain of most white people, otherwise known as the American Dream, and there is the American Nightmare which is the lived experience of black and brown people, predominately located in the countrys sprawling inner cities.Malcolm X put it thus: No, Im not an American. Im one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy. So, Im not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a flag-saluter, or a flag-waver no, not I. Im speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I dont see any American dream; I see an American nightmare.Predictably, the 28-year old quarterback has been hit with a tsunami of criticism over his stance, demonised as unpatriotic and a disgrace to the NFL. His critics have taken particular umbridge over the fact Kaepernick recently signed a six-year $114 million contract with the 49ers, thereby inferring that being rich and not having a social conscience are two sides of the same coin. Indeed Kaepernick, who is of mixed race parentage, is deserving of even more respect given his wealth, as the people hes taking a stand with victims of police brutality are overwhelmingly poor or from low income communities.If there is one thing white America hates it is having its mask of democracy and liberty removed to reveal the true face of a nation that was established upon the genocide of the indigenous population, prior to being built on the whipped and gnarled backs of millions of slaves. It is a country that still today exists at the negation of people of colour, disproportionately making up the ranks of the astounding 47 million of US citizens living in poverty in the second decade of the 21st century. Regardless of the long and courageous struggle of the Civil Rights Movement, regardless of the raft of laws passed against racial discrimination, and regardless of a constitution that enshrines the principle that, all men are created equal, in 2018 America has yet to come to terms with the racism and inequality that lie at the heart of its culture and cultural values.You only have to consider the rise and popularity of Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, to understand the extent of the recrudescence of bigotry and prejudice in the land of the free almost to the point where you could be forgiven for thinking the pro-slavery Confederacy that won the countrys 186165 civil war. Colin Kaepernick is not the only high profile voice thats been raised against the ongoing injustice being suffered by black people and people of colour in America recently. Beyonce has also attracted criticism for taking the same stand during her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York with her depiction of a police shooting. In taking the public position they have, Kaepernick and Beyonce are standing on the shoulders of other black American athletes and performers whove refused to look the other way in a society in which they have succeeded in achieving financial and professional success. In so doing they have earned something far more valuable than any contract, endorsement, or paycheque; they have earned a place in history.Paul Robeson, Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, John Carlos their names live on as a reminder that only live fish can swim against the tide, and that it is upon those with the courage to say no to injustice, to refuse to go along to get along, that justice and freedom depends.To those who insist that every Americas should respect the national anthem and the flag it reveres, here again we see the disjunction between the myth of America and its ugly truth. The Star Spangled Banner was written by a man, Francis Scott Key, whod tasted defeat in the US War of Independence at the hands of former slaves fighting on the side of the British against the future of slavery and oppression that awaited them and their families in the event that the men such as he prevailed.Keys disdain for black soldiers, Colonial Marines, who dared take up arms to fight for their freedom from slavery and racial oppression, is laid out in a verse of the Star Spangled Banner that nowadays is never sung or at least certainly not in public.No refuge could save the hireling and slaveFrom the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth waveOer the land of the free and the home of the brave. Colin Kaepernick courage reminds us of the timeless wisdom embodied in the words of South Africas Archbishop Desmond Tutu, If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.More than neutral, the quarterbacks critics are the kind of people Oscar Wilde had in mind when he described patriotism as the virtue of the vicious.End RELATED QUESTION I didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort? No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware. There are three main approaches for accomplishing this: 1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc). Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t
2020 12 16
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The Myth That Labours 1983 Manifesto Was too Left Wing
The Myth That Labours 1983 Manifesto Was too Left Wing
One of the most enduring and longstanding myths of British politics is that Labour lost the 1983 general election because it was too left wing, fighting the election on a manifesto that ensured it was unelectable. In words that have become engraved in the nations history, Labours Gerald Kaufman described the 83 Labour manifesto as the longest suicide note in history, which is how it is still regarded over three decades on.It is a myth that has been doing the rounds in the context of Labour Shadow Chancellors John McDonnell pledge not only to renationalise the railways, Royal Mail, and energy and water companies as part of an electoral platform of anti austerity, wealth redistribution, and a state role in the countrys economic life. Taken together, it is a platform that has succeeded in exciting and energising millions up and down the country who had become accustomed to a Labour Party that had surrendered to right wing nostrums on the economy, welfare, and foreign policy.In 1983 Labour put forward a manifesto that drew inspiration and direct lineage from the transformational programme of the 1945 Labour government, the most ambitious of any Labour government ever. Back then, despite the parlous state of an economy exhausted after the Second World War, Labour came to power committed to governing in the interests of a working class that had been accustomed to unemployment and poverty with little if any succour from the state prior to the war. The subsequent rolling out of the welfare state, NHS, and a commitment to full employment laid the foundations of the most sustained period of economic stability and prosperity in the nations history. With the harnessing of state investment, planning, and intervention in the economy, it was a radical departure from the laissez faire policies that had led to the Depression of the 1930s, condemning millions of working families to penury and destitution.By the time of the 1983 general election working class families and communities had suffered the consequences of four years of Thatcherism. The country was mired in recession with unemployment at a record 3.2 million, as Thatcher set about decimating the nations industrial base in favour of turning a deregulated banking and financial sector into the motor of the economy, in the process ensuring the transferance of wealth from the poor to the rich on a grand scale.The result was a spike in inequality, crime, and public spending on welfare as tax cuts added further downward pressure on public funds. In this context, Labour pledged to embark on a programme of investment in industry, eduation, council housing, jobs, and the NHS. Along with an increase in child benefit and pensions and the renationalisation of those state assets that had already been sold off and privatised under the Tories, it offered a progressive alternative.It would be mostly funded by an increase in government borrowing rather than tax increases, on the argument that borrowing to invest in the economy is more productive than borrowing to pay for an over-inflated welfare budget, given the record rate of unemployment that obtained under Thatchers government. The scourge of poverty wages would also be tackled through the strengthening of the Equal Pay Act in consultation and cooperation with the unions. Currency controls would be re-introduced in order to counter currency speculation, thereby guaranteeing the stability of sterling and interest rates.Rather than focus on reducing the budget deficit, a priority would be placed on tackling the nations trade deficit, which under Thatcher had regressed to the point where Britain, once the workshop of the world, had become a net importer for the first time in its history, a direct result of the destruction of the countrys industrial base. Labours plan of placing controls on imports and bolstering exports via investment in industry and manufacturing was designed to reverse this trend, creating jobs in the process. The expansion of democracy was also planned, especially at the local level, which had suffered under the governments policy of reducing the role and power of local government in its determination to railroad through its structural adjustment of the economy with minimal opposition.On defence unilateral nuclear disarmament was a bold initiative designed to tackle the scourge of weapons of mass destruction on the understanding their use could never be countenanced and were a crushing waste of public funds that could be better spent and invested. The objective of the governments foreign policy would be based onthe urgent need to restore dtente and dialogue between the states and the peoples of the world. We will actively pursue dialogue with the Soviet Union and China, and will urge the American government to do so. We will work consistently for peace and disarmament, and devote all our efforts to pulling the world back from the nuclear abyss. Labour will dedicate some of the resources currently wasted on armaments to projects designed to promote both security and human development.An essential difference between the Labour and the Tory approach is that we have a foreign policy that will help liberate the peoples of the world from oppression, want and fear. We seek to find ways in which social and political progress can be achieved and to identify the role that Britain can play in this process. So why, given the aforementioned, did Labour lose the 1983 election?There are two key reasons: i) the bounce in personal popularity enjoyed by Margaret Thatcher in the aftermath of the Falklands War the previous year, and ii) the split in Labours vote by the breakaway SDP faction.Mention must also be made of the campaign of demonisation that was carried out in the pages of the right wing popular press against Labour leader Michael Foot, who was treated disgracefully and venomously by a tabloid press that had fallen behind Thatcher and extended itself in fanning the flames of the reaction and jingoism that had swept the land on the back of the Falklands War. Here it is worth noting that Labour intended to place controls on press ownership, understanding the danger posed to democracy by the concentration of newspaper ownership in the hands of a few rich media barons, thus inviting their enmity. In an era when social media and the Internet was a distant dream, this aspect of British society was key in shaping public attitudes and opinionTaken in the round, the 1983 Labour Party manifesto offered a truly progressive, redistributive, intelligent, and eminently realisable alternative to the cruel and desolate reality of Tory Britain. Defeat in 1983 not only meant another four years of Thatcher, it set in train the process of turning Labour into the Tory-lite party it became RELATED QUESTION I didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort? No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware. There are three main approaches for accomplishing this: 1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc). Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t
2020 12 16
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How to Make a Dent and Have a Successful Career in the New Era of Work
How to Make a Dent and Have a Successful Career in the New Era of Work
The days of cog-in-the-machine employment is coming to an end. As the information economy grows and develops, people who can do more than shift a lever or press a button on a production line are more important than ever.But, what is it exactly that we need people, in this new era of work, to do? And, how can we create a culture and environment that facilitates and supports their work and produces the results todays businesses need?I wont bore you with a long winded, wanky, geo-politico-eco-historical exploration of the needs of modern businesses. If youre reading this Im sure you already have some ideas.I will instead state, quite simply, this:We need leaders who can work collaboratively and creatively to solve complex problems.Ill say that again. Todays organisations need leaders who can work collaboratively and creatively to solve complex problems. And, herein lies our dilemma. The way we run organisations and the way we manage people does not support or create the right environment for this type of person, let alone a whole team of them, to operate with the autonomy or freedom required to be effective.So what can you do? How can you become the type of person we need to work and manage in a modern organisation?Start here:Do something you enjoyYou are likely to spend more time working throughout your lifetime than doing any other activity. You may as well spend it doing something youre good at and love doing. Universities and colleges offer more degrees than at any other time. Online courses are easily accessible and many are free or cheap. Theres no reason to settle for a career doing something boring or that you feel indifferent about. There are also more opportunities than at any time in our history to start your own business and be successful. Dont limit yourself to the rat race. A credit card with a few hundred dollors and a good idea is all you need to start an independent business with a good chance of being successful if you do it right.Work toward something you care aboutThere is plenty of evidence that shows that when we are alienated from the outcomes of our work, we become unhappy. There is also plenty of research that shows that when we work towards a high level goal in an area we care about, we become happier. Ill let you do the math.Lead from behindYou will work for morons, idiots, know-it-alls, know-nothings and lazy jerks for the majority of your career. Dont let them stop you. Dont let them kill your spirit. Your boss will micro-manage, get in the way and just generally slow progress on a regular basis. Your job is to convince them that they have more to gain by leaving you alone to do your work.Create and support the right environmentIf youre a manager: hire the right people with the right skills, set the goals and the strategy, support them, give them the time and materials they need and then, get out of the way.Todays organisations need leaders who can work collaboratively and creatively to solve complex problems. Be that person. Be that type of leader. Dont settle for a generic, uninspired career. Youll be happier and more successful for it RELATED QUESTION I didn't get Google Glass Explorer Edition. Is trying to learn Glass dev without the hardware a futile effort? No, you can still learn the fundamentals of Glass development without the hardware. There are three main approaches for accomplishing this: 1) Visit the Mirror API documentation, get into the playground, and start hashing up some code. Download the PHP, Java, and Python library, whichever you're most comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with the jargon and converntions (timeline, bundles, menus, etc). Read the support documentation (second link below) to see how the Glass hardware actually functions. Build some apps to this specification. Soon enough, you will find a friend with hardware to t
2020 12 16
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