Summary of “”Fake News” and Unrest in Nicaragua”

The strife in Nicaragua began in April, after President Daniel Ortega announced cuts to social-security benefits, along with increases in worker contributions.
In Managua, Ortega supporters threw Molotov cocktails into the house of a family that had refused to allow police snipers onto their roof.
Ortega denied responsibility, saying that the paramilitaries were an invention of the media, or were aligned with his enemies, or were merely local people defending themselves.
Ortega’s denials were similarly impossible to believe.
Videos circulating on social media captured paramilitaries working in concert with uniformed police; one showed Ortega, in a crowd of officers in riot gear, embracing a masked man.
Ortega retains support from the police and other government employees, who depend on his good will for an income, and he is also popular among working-class people who still believe in the inclusive revolutionary message.
As Ortega and his supporters responded to criticism, they called to mind Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, who said, “The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.” On July 18th, the Organization of American States convened an emergency meeting and overwhelmingly passed a resolution denouncing the violence in Nicaragua.
Ortega’s foreign minister, Denis Moncada, rejected the measure as “Illegal.” In his telling, the unrest was caused by a global conspiracy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Twenty-Five-Year Journey of Magic: The Gathering”

“You spend a lot of time on your own.” Magic gave her nerdy friends something to talk about in the schoolyard, a “Common language.” The next year, Mirage, a set of Magic cards with African fantasy elements, came out.
For especially dedicated players, Channel Fireball, a Magic event organizer that takes its name from a devastating two-card attack, puts on some sixty “Grand Prix” tournaments every year in countries across the planet, from Japan and Poland to Australia and Brazil.
A number of Magic fans I spoke to told me that top-level players like Williams, Jon Finkel, Melissa DeTora, and Reid Duke, known as the Gentleman of Magic, brought them into the game in the way that middle schoolers join Little League to be like the Astros’ José Altuve or Mookie Betts of the Red Sox.
A couple of hours later, at the birthday dinner Magic threw for its twenty-fifth anniversary, Josh Lee Kwai, a Magic YouTube personality, introduced me to the N.F.L. defensive end Cassius Marsh, a frequent guest of Lee Kwai’s popular video series “Game Knights.” Lee Kwai wanted to show me that Magic players come in all shapes and sizes.
In a Tumblr post recently resurfaced by two Magic players, Rosewater told fans dismayed by these gender disparities that, although Wizards wanted its player base to change, Magic was male-dominated, and the art simply followed “The current natural gender skew of the game.”
Eventually, he came to realize that he wanted the Magic world to reflect not just the Magic community but the world at large, and he and his colleagues began to insure that the cards had a more equitable gender split.
Despite the existence of digital platforms like Magic Online and the soon-to-be-released Magic Arena, many of them said, it was, at heart, a game done with paper cards at a table in physical space.
In Las Vegas, on the final day of the tournament, I watched Rosewater, the new de-facto face of the game, holding a microphone and standing in shorts and a vintage Magic T-shirt beneath a statue of Serra Angel, a sword-wielding winged woman who has been illustrated and re-illustrated on different cards since the dawn of Magic.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Francis Fukuyama Postpones the End of History”

In February, 1989, Francis Fukuyama gave a talk on international relations at the University of Chicago.
The “End of history” claim was picked up in the mainstream press, Fukuyama was profiled by James Atlas in the New York Times Magazine, and his article was debated in Britain and in France and translated into many languages, from Japanese to Icelandic.
To say, as Fukuyama does, that “The desire for status-megalothymia-is rooted in human biology” is the academic equivalent of palmistry.
Fukuyama resorts to this tactic because he wants to do with the desire for recognition what he did with liberalism in “The End of History?” He wants to universalize it.
“Human psychology is much more complex than the rather simpleminded economic model suggests,” Fukuyama concludes.
“Identity” can be read as a corrective to the position that Fukuyama staked out in “The End of History?” Universal liberalism isn’t impeded by ideology, like fascism or communism, but by passion.
What is odd about Fukuyama’s dilemma is that, in the philosophical source for his original theory about the end of history, recognition was not a problem.
As Fukuyama stated explicitly in “The End of History?,” he was adopting an interpretation of Hegel made in the nineteen-thirties by a semi-obscure intellectual adventurer named Alexandre Kojève.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is a glass of wine a day really unsafe? A new alcohol study, explained.”

“The safest level of drinking is none.” This was the stunning conclusion of a big paper appearing last week in the Lancet – one that prompted dozens of news stories warning of the dangers of even the lowest levels of alcohol consumption.
Do people who drink more red wine have lower rates of heart disease? Is eating yogurt and nuts linked with a longer lifespan?
For example: Say you want to compare people who drink spirits and beer to wine drinkers.
As we saw with another recent alcohol study, beer and spirit drinkers were more likely to be lower income, male, and smokers and to have jobs that involved manual labor, compared with the wine drinkers.
“If eggs are bad, even if you eat eight eggs a day, this is no big deal, while with eight drinks of alcohol a day, the risk of disease and death is tremendous,” Ioannidis summed up.
The new Lancet paper went much further and made the bold claim that people should drink nothing because even a single drink per day is problematic.
For each set of 100,000 people who have one drink a day per year, 918 can expect to experience one of the 23 alcohol-related problems in any year.
We don’t know the precise threshold over which alcohol consumption gets risky, but based on this study, it certainly looks like more than zero drinks.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media”

Another survey of 9,000 internet users from the research firm Ampere Analysis found that people aged 18-24 had significantly changed their attitudes towards social media in the past two years.
As young people increasingly reject social media, older generations increasingly embrace it: among the 45-plus age bracket, the proportion who value social media has increased from 23% to 28% in the past year, according to Ampere’s data.
According to a study by US marketing firm Hill Holliday of Generation Z – people born after 1995 – half of those surveyed stated they had quit or were considering quitting at least one social media platform.
“You start doing things that are dishonest,” says Amanuel, who quit social media aged 16.
“If you meet someone new and they ask for your Instagram and you only have 80 followers,” says Sharp, “They’re going to think: ‘You’re not that popular’, but if you have 2,000 followers they’re going to be like: ‘You’re the most popular person in school.'” Sharp quit social media at 13.
Dr Amanda Lenhart, who researches young people’s online lives, conducted a survey of US teenagers, asking them about taking time off social media.
“Constant screen time damages your ability to see, and it also causes internal damage, such as anxiety.” Studies have shown that social media use can negatively affect mental wellbeing, and adolescents are particularly susceptible: one nationally representative survey of US 13- to 18-year-olds linked heavier social media use to depression and suicide, particularly in girls.
41% of the Gen Z teens surveyed by Hill Holliday reported that social media made them feel anxious, sad or depressed.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Google Earth led a team of scientists to discover a rainforest on Mount Lico”

Jeff Barbee: Very rarely do you get a chance to go on an expedition that’s been individually curated to get the best people.
Not just the people who are the best in their fields, but people who are collaborative and kind to one another, [who] help drive that sort of communal discovery excitement forward.
Barbee: The local people are the stewards of these environments, and so often we find in these places that the local people have been subsisting around these forests for a really long time.
He took us around into this woodland, and we were asking about how much people used some of the species.
People started coming in with stones and stuff, saying, “Look at this.” We would say, “No, no. We’re not interested in that.” Then, eventually, they twigged that we were interested in biodiversity, flora, and fauna, and people started coming in with chameleons.
Brewin: The story goes that [local] people died up there because the Germans cut the rope or pulled down the rope that they were using for getting up and down, so these guys couldn’t get down again.
They talked about some personnel from the Portuguese Army, back in the colonial days, trying to climb Lico but they got halfway up, and then the tribe of little people cut the ropes, and they all fell down and died.
Even on Mount Mulanje in Southern Malawi, the people who live around the base of the mountain will talk about the Abatwa, the mythical little people who live on the top of the mountain.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Universal Basic Income and the Future of Pointless Work”

Graeber attempts to quantify just how much-and after some back-of-the envelope calculations, he wagers that 37 to 40 percent of all office jobs are “Bullshit.” He further contends that about 50 percent of the work done in a nonpointless workplace is also bullshit, since even useful jobs contain elements of nonsense: the pretending to be busy, the arbitrary hours, the not being able to leave before five.
Work backward: How much activity on social media takes place during work hours? How many doctor’s appointments, errands, and online purchases occur between nine and five? In other words, how many of us could stand to work half as much as we currently do without any significant consequences? And yet we insist over and over that we are terribly, endlessly busy.
Workers in essential, nonbullshit jobs are constantly told by moralizing politicians that their work is noble and that they ought to be grateful for the often low pay they receive.
A UBI would “Unlatch work from livelihood entirely”: If, guaranteed enough money to live on, people could choose between bullshit or nothing, he wagers that they’d choose nothing and do something more useful and interesting with their time instead. In Give People Money, Annie Lowrey is less concerned with dissatisfied professionals than with some of the world’s poorest, who in addition to already being overworked and underpaid-if they are employed at all-will likely face the harshest economic consequences if or when menial tasks are automated.
Lowrey appreciates the extent to which people identify with their work-even if it’s bullshit or shit work.
It might not be the healthiest approach-she dislikes moralizing around the virtue of work almost as much as Graeber does-but she realizes it’s something we have to build in to our short- and medium-term expectations because “The American faith in hard work and the American cult of self-reliance exist and persist, seen in our veneration of everyone from Franklin to Frederick Douglass to Oprah Winfrey.”
That often gives the impression that anyone who does want to work for work’s sake must be a bit of a sucker and that the compulsion to work is a manifestation of false consciousness or, worse, stupidity.
Such measures represent only a fraction of the socioeconomic overhaul that will be needed to deal-if not now, then for future generations-with this twin utopia-dystopia: a world with less work and less money.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings”

There’s plenty of advice out there on how to stop spending so much time in meetings or make better use of the time, but does it hold up in reality? Can you really make meetings more effective and regain control of your calendar?
The challenge with large meetings isn’t just that everyone won’t have a chance to talk, but many of them won’t feel the need to.
To make matters worse, those who pick up their devices during meetings may well be the worst multitaskers.
“Stand-up meetings are more productive.”
While some might feel this is a gimmick, Gino points out that there is empirical data that proves stand-up meetings work.
“Business meetings require people to commit, focus, and make decisions, with little or no attention paid to the depletion of the finite cognitive resources of the participants – particularly if the meetings are long or too frequent,” says Gino.
It’s hard to imagine more sound advice about meetings.
There is a lot of data out there that shows how much time we’re all wasting in meetings.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Francis Fukuyama Postpones the End of History”

In February, 1989, Francis Fukuyama gave a talk on international relations at the University of Chicago.
The “End of history” claim was picked up in the mainstream press, Fukuyama was profiled by James Atlas in the New York Times Magazine, and his article was debated in Britain and in France and translated into many languages, from Japanese to Icelandic.
To say, as Fukuyama does, that “The desire for status-megalothymia-is rooted in human biology” is the academic equivalent of palmistry.
Fukuyama resorts to this tactic because he wants to do with the desire for recognition what he did with liberalism in “The End of History?” He wants to universalize it.
“Human psychology is much more complex than the rather simpleminded economic model suggests,” Fukuyama concludes.
“Identity” can be read as a corrective to the position that Fukuyama staked out in “The End of History?” Universal liberalism isn’t impeded by ideology, like fascism or communism, but by passion.
What is odd about Fukuyama’s dilemma is that, in the philosophical source for his original theory about the end of history, recognition was not a problem.
As Fukuyama stated explicitly in “The End of History?,” he was adopting an interpretation of Hegel made in the nineteen-thirties by a semi-obscure intellectual adventurer named Alexandre Kojève.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ Singapore, and Ethnic Identity”

Singapore itself may be crazy rich in that it has the highest concentration of millionaires in the world, and a strikingly high per-capita GDP, but it’s not like Liechtenstein or Qatar; it’s no theme park of bling.
As in so many aspects of Singapore, you can see the vigorous engineering of what its officials like to call “Racial harmony.”
So you might think that the Singapore state’s commitment to integration involves a commitment to assimilation-and you’d be deeply mistaken.
Its citizenry is about 76 percent Chinese, 15 percent Malay, and 7.5 percent Indian.
So when Singapore’s national independence was certified in 1965, its leaders saw the place as supremely susceptible to violence among groups of varied descent.
Its National Pledge, formulated that year, begins, “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion.” Race, language, and religion were considered the three lethal fault lines.
An earlier version of the pledge began, “We, as citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves to forget differences of race, language, and religion and become one united people.” The shift in language was significant.
If Malay families or Indian families thought the state was hostile to their heritages, they would be hostile to the state, in turn.

The orginal article.