questionable topic – uneasy matters since 2008

My land

Posted in Uncategorized by questionabletopic on Saturday, January 5, 2013

Social needs graph

Posted in culture, internet by questionabletopic on Thursday, May 17, 2012

Social needs graph

John Cleese on the Origin of Creativity

Posted in anthropology, lifehack, self improvement by questionabletopic on Monday, April 16, 2012

by Maria Popova

http://www.openculture.com/2010/09/john_cleese_on_the_origin_of_creativity.html

British actor John Cleese is best known for his comedic talent as one of the founding members of Monty Python, which makes his intellectual insights on the origin of creativity particularly fascinating. This talk from the 2009 Creativity World Forum in Germany is part critique of modernity’s hustle-and-bustle, part handbook for creating the right conditions for creativity.

“We get our ideas from what I’m going to call for a moment our unconscious — the part of our mind that goes on working, for example, when we’re asleep. So what I’m saying is that if you get into the right mood, then your mode of thinking will become much more creative. But if you’re racing around all day, ticking things off a list, looking at your watch, making phone calls and generally just keeping all the balls in the air, you are not going to have any creative ideas.” ~ John Cleese

Cleese advocates creating an “oasis” amidst the daily stress where the nervous creature that is your creative mind can safely come out and play, with the oasis being guarded by boundaries of space and boundaries of time.

American Mozart

Posted in amazing, anthropology, culture, entertainment, music, opinion, PR by questionabletopic on Monday, April 16, 2012

By David Samuels

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/american-mozart/8931/?single_page=true

Intense, emotional, and frequently out of control, the hip-hop superstar Kanye West allowed his antics to turn him into a national joke and to earn him the criticism of two American presidents. Would a massive concert tour with his friend and rival Jay-Z offer the troubled rapper a taste of redemption—or disaster?

Whatever you think of the many controversies he has ignited, you must admit that Kanye West is at least some kind of musical genius, ranking among the top five producers and the top five rappers of the past decade. (His singing, by contrast, is kind of a joke.) Every one of his five solo albums has gone platinum, and he has sold 30 million digital downloads of his songs, to become one of the most downloaded musical artists of all time. He has won 18 Grammys—the most of any artist in the past 10 years—while serving as a backpack-wearing icon of black nerd chic. Kanye’s power resides in his wild creativity and expressiveness, his mastery of form, and his deep and uncompromising attachment to a self-made aesthetic that he expresses through means that are entirely of the moment: rap music, digital downloads, fashion, Twitter, blogs, live streaming video. He is the first true genius of the iPhone era, the Mozart of contemporary American music, intent on using his creative and emotional gifts to express the heartbreaks and fantasies of his audience.

In addition, though, Kanye West is, according to the president of the United States—the first black president of the United States—a “jackass,” a narcissistic monster who tore a massive hole of self-regard in the American cultural quilt.

Worse even than the president’s epithet, which he first offered on September 14, 2009, is the near-universality of his verdict, which has been echoed for years on talk shows and gossip sites across America. Most painful of all, perhaps, was the classic “Fish Sticks” episode of South Park, which portrayed Kanye as a designer shades–wearing egomaniac who is so humorless and devoid of self-awareness that he can’t comprehend a simple joke about fish sticks. Being represented as the most humor-impaired man in America by the South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker may have actually hurt more than what the president said.

Бытует мнение, что плохо только “тут”,

Posted in anthropology, culture, facts, government, politics by questionabletopic on Sunday, March 18, 2012

 

а “там”, левее по карте и западнее по курсу — все сплошь жизненный елей, торжество гражданских свобод да экономическая вольница.

Певец Plan B, известный как исполнитель песни “She Said” и актер в фильме “Harry Brown” с Майклом Кэйном, выпустил клип на песню “ill Manors”, которую авторитетные издания нарекли “песней протеста нового поколения”.

Эта песня может служить очень отрезвляющим взглядом на то, как дела идут в тех местах, о которых говорят как о “колыбели свобод”.

Лирическое отступление “ill manors” — это игра слов, при прямом прочтении “плохие районы”, при переносном “плохие манеры”. “Район с плохим воспитанием” — необходимое зло перевода, вроде украинской ГТС. Вот оригинал слов песни, а я вам покажу свой очень беглый перевод:

Давайте выйдем на городское сафари,
Там полно нелегальных иммигрантов.
Слышь, смотри – а там типочек.
Значит: с судебным приводом и опасен.
Он в капюшоне – обними его скорее,
Хотя нет – может мобилу отжать.
Ну все, поздняк, идея была тупой,
и кто б ее не придумал – дурак.
Он ведь дерзок, как мы все –
Будь шутом, играй паяца,
А политика – не более чем
ложь и пропаганда, 1ое Апреля
круглый год подряд, в целом –
еще один кирпич в стене.
Нам простят убийства в школе,
маты все теперь в почете.
«Все мы пьянь и утырки
Каждый там – с пакетом дури» —
продолжайте верить прессе.
«Дети спальных городских районов», твари,
думаете, вам известна наша жизнь
из тысяч статей или всех слухов?!
Да все правда, оставайтесь, где комфортно,
нет нужды бросать пригород.
Правда в том, что мы – проблема:
лжем, разводим. Это все бессмыслица.
Поддерживай боязнь нас, вот что мы поняли.
Разжигай и пусть горит!

Припев
Слышь, я сказал слышь!
Че уставился, мажор?
Бедность тут, запри дверь своего дома
Сваливай, пока все не отобрали —
Я с района с плохим воспитанием.
Район с плохим воспитанием,
Знаете, плохо с районом и воспитанием.

В асфальтных джунглях можно потеряться,
новостройки тут и там.
Не тот поворот на перекрестке —
вы в районе куда нет пути чужим.
Власть печется экологией,
сохранив нашу естественную среду –
построив олимпийскую деревню
вокруг кварталов без выселений,
дали нам откупные и налоговые льготы,
социальную медицину. Ой, спасибо вам, родные!
Ножевых ранений и ножей здесь поровну,
«Хорошо знать, что нас поддержат в случае нападения» —
вот не надо парить мне, это выводит всех.
А кто же закрыл наш центр молодежи?
Там я проводил все время,
где же мне тусовать до сентября?

Школы нет и правил тоже, доставай что тяжелее.
Лондон в огне, я предрекаю бунт.
Конфликт и противостояние,
Кто бы знал, о чем тот глава вещал?
Что–то о Кайзерах.
Дети улиц своего не упустят
И урвут свое когда есть шанс
Пойдем воровать? Нет,не в кровать.
Скоро центр, скрой свое лицо.
Увидим мажоров на нашем пути —
Будут сожалеть, что вышли из дома.
Вот вам штраф за проезд, всем платить!
Делайте как Борисграбьте вчистую!

Те стоики, которые дочитали до этого места, заслуживают на дополнительный фактоид: песня содержит сэмпл песни “Alles Neu” от Peter Fox, которая говорит о кардинальном обновлении своей жизни и ценностей. Мажоры и прочие люди с музобразованием заметят там части Симфонии №7 Шостаковича. У каждого свои культурные ориентиры.

Republicans Against Science – NYTimes.com

Posted in Uncategorized by questionabletopic on Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Jon Huntsman Jr., a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, isn’t a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination. And that’s too bad, because Mr. Hunstman has been willing to say the unsayable about the G.O.P. — namely, that it is becoming the “anti-science party.” This is an enormously important development. And it should terrify us.

To see what Mr. Huntsman means, consider recent statements by the two men who actually are serious contenders for the G.O.P. nomination: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.

Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, recently made headlines by dismissing evolution as “just a theory,” one that has “got some gaps in it” — an observation that will come as news to the vast majority of biologists. But what really got peoples’ attention was what he said about climate change: “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

That’s a remarkable statement — or maybe the right adjective is “vile.”

The second part of Mr. Perry’s statement is, as it happens, just false: the scientific consensus about man-made global warming — which includes 97 percent to 98 percent of researchers in the field, according to the National Academy of Sciences — is getting stronger, not weaker, as the evidence for climate change just keeps mounting.

In fact, if you follow climate science at all you know that the main development over the past few years has been growing concern that projections of future climate are underestimating the likely amount of warming. Warnings that we may face civilization-threatening temperature change by the end of the century, once considered outlandish, are now coming out of mainstream research groups.

But never mind that, Mr. Perry suggests; those scientists are just in it for the money, “manipulating data” to create a fake threat. In his book “Fed Up,” he dismissed climate science as a “contrived phony mess that is falling apart.”

I could point out that Mr. Perry is buying into a truly crazy conspiracy theory, which asserts that thousands of scientists all around the world are on the take, with not one willing to break the code of silence. I could also point out that multiple investigations into charges of intellectual malpractice on the part of climate scientists have ended up exonerating the accused researchers of all accusations. But never mind: Mr. Perry and those who think like him know what they want to believe, and their response to anyone who contradicts them is to start a witch hunt.

So how has Mr. Romney, the other leading contender for the G.O.P. nomination, responded to Mr. Perry’s challenge? In trademark fashion: By running away. In the past, Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, has strongly endorsed the notion that man-made climate change is a real concern. But, last week, he softened that to a statement that he thinks the world is getting hotter, but “I don’t know that” and “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.” Moral courage!

Of course, we know what’s motivating Mr. Romney’s sudden lack of conviction. According to Public Policy Polling, only 21 percent of Republican voters in Iowa believe in global warming (and only 35 percent believe in evolution). Within the G.O.P., willful ignorance has become a litmus test for candidates, one that Mr. Romney is determined to pass at all costs.

So it’s now highly likely that the presidential candidate of one of our two major political parties will either be a man who believes what he wants to believe, even in the teeth of scientific evidence, or a man who pretends to believe whatever he thinks the party’s base wants him to believe.

And the deepening anti-intellectualism of the political right, both within and beyond the G.O.P., extends far beyond the issue of climate change.

Lately, for example, The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page has gone beyond its long-term preference for the economic ideas of “charlatans and cranks” — as one of former President George W. Bush’s chief economic advisers famously put it — to a general denigration of hard thinking about matters economic. Pay no attention to “fancy theories” that conflict with “common sense,” the Journal tells us. Because why should anyone imagine that you need more than gut feelings to analyze things like financial crises and recessions?

Now, we don’t know who will win next year’s presidential election. But the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect.

 

звідси: Republicans Against Science – NYTimes.com.

How To

Posted in Uncategorized by questionabletopic on Monday, July 11, 2011

В этом видео есть все: мудрость Уоррена Баффета, позитивное административное вмешательство, реформа избирательной системы.
Трюк в простом: You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.
Перевод: Надо принять закон, согласно которого при возникновении дефицита большего чем 3% ВВП, всем действующим членам конгресса запрещено избрание на новый срок.

Guess what..

Posted in Uncategorized by questionabletopic on Monday, June 27, 2011

В связи с тем, что мне пришло уведомление о неуплате штрафа, мой сегодняшний день был отведен изучению юридических последствий отказа от этого. Меня не на шутку увлекли несколько статей; считаю, их стоит показать вам:

1. Общая стоимость применения смертной казни в штате Калифорния за 30 лет – чуть более $300 млн.
2. Исследование, проведенное в штате Миссури, показало, что осужденные афро-американки с более темной кожей получали более строгие приговоры (этот аспект также влияет на возможность получения высоких постов на работе).
3. Исследование, проведенное в штате Миссури, показало, что в штатах, где применяют смертную казнь, насильственная преступность выше на 48%~100% чем в штатах, где ее не применяют.
4. А для того, чтобы показать что правосудие – это химера, я покажу вам картинку и дам вам две статьи: о воровстве $100 и хищении $3 млрд.

“I rest my case.”, – как скажет мой адвокат во время спича à la “защита Чубакки“.

Live Free And Die – NYTimes.com

Posted in anthropology, health by questionabletopic on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Live Free And Die

During the Bush years, every time a new estimate of life expectancy came out I would get letters saying “Hah! You say things are terrible, so how come life expectancy is rising, huh?” This was, of course, stupid: medicine continues to progress, the long-term decline in smoking has reduced lung cancer, etc.. Life expectancy is rising just about everywhere in the world; sharing in that trend is no big achievement.

On the other hand, failing to share in that trend IS a big achievement, in a bad way. And via Kevin Drum, we have this:

 

 

I guess the geography of the decline speaks for itself.

via Live Free And Die – NYTimes.com.

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The Price of Prohibition

Posted in debate, government, health, politics by questionabletopic on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Forty years after Nixon declared war on drugs, it’s time to give peace a chance.

Forty years ago this Friday, President Richard Nixon announced that “public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse.” Declaring that “the problem has assumed the dimensions of a national emergency,” he asked Congress for money to “wage a new, all-out offensive,” a crusade he would later call a “global war on the drug menace.”

The war on drugs ended in May 2009, when President Obama’s newly appointed drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, said he planned to stop calling it that. Or so Kerlikowske claims. “We certainly ended the drug war now almost two years ago,” he told Seattle’s PBS station last March, “in the first interview that I did.” If you watch the exchange on YouTube, you can see he said this with a straight face.

In reality, of course, Richard Nixon did not start the war on drugs, and Barack Obama, who in 2004 called it “an utter failure,” did not end it. The war on drugs will continue as long as the government insists on getting between people and the intoxicants they want. And while it is heartening to hear a growing chorus of prominent critics decry the enormous collateral damage caused by this policy, few seem prepared to give peace a chance by renouncing the use of force to impose arbitrary pharmacological preferences.

“The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world,” a recent report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy concludes. “Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won.” Each year that we fail to face this reality, the report says, “billions of dollars are wasted on ineffective programs,” “millions of citizens are sent to prison unnecessarily,” and “hundreds of thousands of people die from preventable overdoses and diseases.”

Neither Order Nor Liberty

Not only does the “war on drugs” war on peaceful people (only some of whom use intoxicants that the government disapproves of) create its own unattractive and dangerous artifacts, it also encourages people to rat on their neighbors.  (HT Mary O’Grady)

Some people call this war on peaceful people (only some of whom use intoxicants that the government disapproves of) a source of ordered liberty.  I call it tyranny – and it’s tyranny that doesn’t even deliver on its marquis promise: it creates disorder as it batters liberty.

See, by the way, Mark Perry’s stats on U.S. incarceration rates.  “Ordered liberty” my arse.

 
Call Off the Global Drug War

By JIMMY CARTER

IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders. IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

Not only has this excessive punishment destroyed the lives of millions of young people and their families (disproportionately minorities), but it is wreaking havoc on state and local budgets. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state’s budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education.

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A history lesson for Alan Meltzer

Posted in Uncategorized by questionabletopic on Monday, June 13, 2011

Paul Krugman - New York Times Blog

From today’s Times:

Besides, no country facing enormous budget deficits, rapid growth in the money supply and the prospect of a sustained currency devaluation as we are has ever experienced deflation. These factors are harbingers of inflation.

Japan’s lost decade:

INSERT DESCRIPTION
Source: IMF, OECD

Freakonomics Quorum: Why, During a Bad Economy, Does Crime Continue to Fall?

Posted in amazing, anthropology, facts by questionabletopic on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The FBI recently announced that the number of violent crimes fell 5.5 percent in 2010, with property crimes falling 2.8 percent. This extends the dramatic reduction in crime that began in the 1990s. The Times declared that criminologists were baffled by the news, and Levitt was baffled by their bafflement:

Apparently, everyone expected crime to rise because of the weak economy, which I find strange, because there is zero evidence of any relationship between violent crime and the economy, and a relatively weak one between property crime and the economy. Plus, relative to 2009, the economy in 2010 was substantially improved.

We spent an entire chapter in Freakonomics exploring the factors that do and do not seem to have brought down the rate of violent crime in the U.S. In short, factors that matter include: number of police; number of prisoners; changes in drug markets; and the availability of abortion. And those that don’t seem to much matter: the economy; innovative policing strategies; most gun laws; capital punishment; and demographics.There is of course no reason for anyone to have complete confidence in the arguments we presented, even if they were more empirical than most arguments about crime. Still, as Levitt said in the excerpt above, it is surprising that so many people seem wedded to the view that the economy drives violent crime even when the evidence supports the contrary.

via Freakonomics » Freakonomics Quorum: Why, During a Bad Economy, Does Crime Continue to Fall?.

Капитал-тоталитаризм. Цель власти — власть.

Posted in Uncategorized by questionabletopic on Monday, June 6, 2011

Тавистокская психологическая война против человечества, как основа антиутопии Оруэлла.

«Им можно предоставить интеллектуальную свободу,
потому что интеллекта у них нет» 
Там же

 Еще в 1922 г. В.Липпман (советник президента Вудро Вильсона) в  культовой книге «Общественное мнение» определил его следующим образом: картинки внутри голов человеческих существ, картинки самих себя и других, потребностей и целей, отношений и есть Общественное Мнение с заглавных букв. Липпман, как представитель этноса исторически не обладающего государственным мышлением, считал что национальное планирование является крайне вредным, а потому интересовался манипулятивными практиками, при помощи которых можно изменять природу человека. Он первым перевел Фрейда на английский язык, служа в Первую Мировую в Британском штабе Психологической Войны и Пропаганды в Веллингтон Хаус вместе с Э. Бернесом, племянником Фрейда, создателем компании «Мэдисон авеню», специализирующиеся на рекламе манипулирующей личностью.

Книга Липпмана была опубликована почти синхронно с работой Фрейда «Психология масс». Тавистокский центр уже тогда сделал фундаментальный вывод: использование террора делает человека подобным ребенку, отключая рационально-критическую функцию мышления, при этом эмоциональный отклик становится предсказуемым и выгодным для манипулятора. Поэтому, контроль за уровнями тревожности личности позволяет контролировать большие социальные группы. При этом манипуляторы исходят из фрейдовского представления о человеке как чувствующем звере, креативность которого можно свести к невротическим и эротическим импульсам, наполняющим ум каждый раз заново рисуемыми картинками. Липпман предположил, что люди просто мечтают свести сложные проблемы к простейшим решениям  с тем, чтобы верить в то, во что как им кажется, верят окружающие. Такой упрощенный образ тотемного человека экстраполируется на человека современного»[1]. 

звідси: martinis09.livejournal.com

4 More Brutal Prison Stories To Keep You Scared Straight Out Of Jail

Posted in anthropology, opinion, opinions, story by questionabletopic on Wednesday, June 1, 2011

4 More Brutal Prison Stories To Keep You Scared Straight Out Of Jail | Caveman Circus.

Here are 4 more brutal stories that will help you understand the vicious and predatory environment of prison. All these stories aren’t isolated events, in all honesty they are commonplace in an environment where murderers, robbers, gangsters and the like congregate. For all those likely headed in the direction of prison, if you don’t have a clear understanding of what really goes on in there; the politics, the power struggles, the power moves, the chess game, the weapons, the drugs, the racial barrier, respect, people with life sentences with nothing to lose, the people that really run the prison….you’ll be fucked, figuratively and literally. Watch carefully.

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Mike Monteiro | F*ck You. Pay Me.

Posted in industry, internet, work by questionabletopic on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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