Adam Curtis presents his theory of how political and economic elites have gone beyond propaganda into deliberately crafting confusion and informational overload in order to neutralise public understanding and opposition. This summary traces the methods back to a long-time advisor to Russian President Putin, who emerged from avant-garde art to develop informational ‘non-linear warfare’.
Today the Greek Parliament will attempt to elect a new president. Bruno de Landevoisin’s analysis goes back some fundamentals of “Democracy” and reviews the main forces at stake in this socio-politico-financial tragedy. An interesting perspective from America on a highly sensitive issue for the Old Continent to resolve…
It’s a sign that the sands are shifting when the Daily Mail picks up a cause, as it recently did in joining the sudden media chorus on the long-standing story of Shaker Aamer. A British citizen, Shakur has been in Guantánamo Bay for 12 years after being arrested in Afghanistan. He has never been charged by the US with any crime, and has never been brought to trial. He was cleared to leave Guantánamo in 2007 by the Bush administration and again in 2009 by the Obama administration, yet still he remains detained in the prison.
Despite minimal infrastructure, a lack of stable employment and a chaotic economy built on international aid and corruption, Kabul is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. With a massive conflict-fueled influx of new inhabitants from Afghanistan and beyond, the city’s population of 1.5million inhabitants in 2001 has exploded to 6million now. How can the Afghan capital integrate and hold itself together?
Two artistic voices from two major cities make the same call: to keep their creative soul alive, cities need affordable housing and diversity – or else they become evermore just “pleasuredomes for the rich”. Read more:
It took months for a group of journalists and experts to go through nearly 28,000 pages of secret Luxembourg tax deals that were revealed in early 2014. The head-crackingly complicated documents revealed crucial information about how accounting firms like PriceWaterhouseCoopers had helped hundreds of multinational corporations obtain secret deals from Luxembourg that allowed many of them to drastically cut their tax bills. The investigation involved up to 80 journalists from different countries and organisations, all working together by using an ICIJ secure online networking platform where reporters could search, download files and share information. Inspiring and courageous example of collaboration in service of truth and integrity… Read the full story here >>
Image via The Guardian : see here for more of these “rough guides to Babylon”…
Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations have made it clear that American citizens, not to mention those of all Western democracies, are under blanket surveillance. This report by Thomas Gorton outlines one rather surreal mechanism of this 21st-century Orwellianism: Cessna light planes imitating mobile phone towers in order to intercept conversations and data. Read more >>
A company which started as a bookseller now runs a cloud system running over 2 million servers; essentially amounting to the biggest computer in the world.
A man called Jack Clark gives us the mind-bending numbers >>
Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world and is regularly plagued by heavy smog. However… “During the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here, something remarkable happened, as it does every time the world’s news cameras train their sites on the Chinese capital: The toxic gray air turned blue. The state-run press even gave it a name: ‘APEC blue’. Magic ? Not exactly…” reports @jameswest2010 in this article. Read the full story >>>
Images by Zou Li, who lives opposite the Beijing Television Station. He photographs the view from his apartment every day, adding the air quality index readings to the image and posting it to his Weibo social media page in his digital-postcard campaign for clean air.
Perhaps one of the reasons humanity is struggling to take action over climate change is that the scale of the problem is so vast, we are still dealing with the emotional shock of hearing the news. Madeleine Thomas writes about the psychological challenges faced by climate scientists on the frontline of documenting the destructive ecological impact of climate change. Read the article here >>
It is estimated that in 2008, for the first time more people globally lived in cities than in the countryside. That increase in urban population is predicted to double in the next forty years, with most of the growth being in the relatively recently industrialised developing world.
Marcus Lyon’s BRICS photographs explore these shifts by portraying the rapidly-growing mega-cities of the BRICs nations. (Brazil, Russia, India, China)
Iraq was the cradle of civilisation, its deserts the location of the first documented cities. Now, after decades of dictatorship, war and ongoing conflict, the reconstruction of Iraq’s crumbling cities is being masterminded by… a family business in Yorkshire using computer modelling software. Stuart Jeffries goes to meet them… Read the article >>
“If you want to understand the future of humanity – where we’re headed, who’ll be in charge, and exactly how worried you should be about that – you could do worse than begin with two unremarkable buildings, on opposite coasts of the U.S.” Oliver Burkeman probes the Google project… Read on >>
Twenty-first century capitalism excels in creating commercial opportunities from seemingly fruitless situations. The phenomenon of dark tourism seems to fuse the appeal of VR wargames, extreme sports & package holidays into a killer formula. Article by Debra Kamin.
The threat of extinction is not new to humanity. But our era is the first time in which those threats are anthropogenic – they are dangers we have created. Anders Sandberg from the Future of Humanity Institute considers five potential doom scenarios that can enhance appreciation of the present moment… Read the article >>
Postcard: image & text based missive sent to friends by travelers. Babylon: (1) capital of Babylonia in 2nd century B.C, often considered the first city. (2) Rastafarian term for capitalist civilisation. Liberation:the process of seeking and embodying freedom for, and by, all peoples