Summary of “There’s a big problem with immortality: it goes on and on”

What sort of life would that be? Immortality – the film is suggesting – might be a curse, rather than a blessing.
The moral philosopher Samuel Scheffler at New York University has suggested that the real problem with a fantasy of immortality is that it doesn’t make sense as a coherent desire.
A desire for immortality is thus a paradox: it would frustrate itself were it ever to be achieved.
There is something both deeply and persistently appealing about the idea of immortality, and that cannot be dispelled by simply pointing to examples where immortality would be a curse.
On the face of it, a desire for immortality most obviously seems to be a response to the fear of death.
Immortality might itself turn out to be one of them.
The contrast with immortality as being somehow unable to die is clear.
Immortality is, obviously enough, an impossible fantasy – hence it cannot be a genuine solution to the unfortunate yet elemental facts of the human condition, nor an answer to the fraught complexities surrounding euthanasia as regards both social policy and moral judgment.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Heat: the next big inequality issue”

While the well-heeled residents of Montreal hunkered down in blissfully air conditioned offices and houses, the city’s homeless population – not usually welcome in public areas such as shopping malls and restaurants – struggled to escape the blanket of heat.
Last year, Hawaiian researchers projected that the share of the world’s population exposed to deadly heat for at least 20 days a year will increase from 30% now to 74% by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to grow.
“Urban heat islands, combined with an ageing population and increased urbanisation, are projected to increase the vulnerability of urban populations, especially the poor, to heat-related health impacts in the future,” a US government assessment warned.
Even this year, 65 people have perished from nearly 44C heat in Karachi, Pakistan – a city used to extreme heat.
In Cambodia, which has seen devastating heatwaves and drought in recent years, surviving the heat is as much a question of status for prisoners as it is for civilians.
The US researchers who in 2013 uncovered the racial divide in urban heat vulnerability discovered that the more segregated a city was, the hotter it was for everyone.
Researchers recommended planting more trees and increasing light-coloured surfaces to reduce the overall heat island effect, adding that urban planning to mitigate future extreme heat “Should proactively incorporate an environmental justice perspective and address racial/ethnic disparities”.
Montreal first implemented a similar heat action plan in 2004, reducing mortality on hot days by 2.52 deaths per day, but as the heat waves intensify, it is likely that this will need to be reassessed.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Japanese ghost stories dwell in the spirit of their times”

Their unpacified spirits might return to the world of the living in search of satisfaction.
A famous work of Japanese literature, The Tale of Genji, features another sort of ghost altogether: an ikiryō, a living or wandering spirit, propelled by anger and jealousy from the body of a living person to torment and wreak bloody vengeance on enemies.
The dead were being called upon to pacify the spirits of the living, rescuing them from life’s uncertainties.
By the time that Fukuji’s tale was re-told by Yanagita for early 20th-century urbanites, this was starting to change: Japanese ghost stories had begun to reflect the disorientation that comes with rapid change.
Japan’s sense of the supernatural seemed to be shifting: from the living working to pacify the spirits of the dead, to the dead being called upon to pacify the spirits of the living, rescuing them from the uncertainties – and misplaced certainties – of modern life, and recalling them to older, more natural and fulfilling ways of perceiving and living in the world.
Whereas the festival of Obon is a celebration of business successfully concluded – the living and the dead doing right by one another, in a reasonably settled relationship – the 2011 tsunami created sudden ruptures that were very hard to heal.
Are the ghosts of Japan now firmly embarked on a one-way journey out of the land of the living – banished not to some other world, but into an oblivion of consumption, irony and eventual indifference?
Had Fukuji really seen what he thought he had on the seashore? If so what might happen next? Herein lay some of the truth and value of Fukuji’s ghost story: an experience of life’s deep indeterminacy and lack of resolution, which we would be all the poorer for trying to live without.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Philosopher Martin Buber on Love and What It Means to Live in the Present – Brain Pickings”

“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things,” poet J.D. McClatchy wrote seven decades after the brilliant and underappreciated philosopher Simone Weil observed that “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
The type of attention that makes for generous and unselfish love is what the Austrian-born Israeli Jewish philosopher Martin Buber examined in I and Thou – the 1923 existentialist masterpiece in which Buber laid out his visionary relation modality that makes us real to one another.
Love, Buber argues, is something larger than affect – not a static feeling, but a dynamic state of being lived in the present.
Feelings accompany the metaphysical and metapsychical fact of love, but they do not constitute it Feelings are “Entertained”: love comes to pass.
Love does not cling to the I in such a way as to have the Thou only for its “Content,” its object; but love is between I and Thou.
The man who does not know this, with his very being know this, does not know love; even though he ascribes to it the feelings he lives through, experiences, enjoys, and expresses Love is responsibility of an I for a Thou.
In this lies the likeness – impossible in any feeling whatsoever – of all who love, from the smallest to the greatest and from the blessedly protected man, whose life is rounded in that of a loved being, to him who is all his life nailed to the cross of the world, and who ventures to bring himself to the dreadful point – to love all men.
Complement this particular portion with Adrienne Rich on how honorable relationships refine our truths, Erich Fromm on what is keeping us from mastering the art of loving, and a lovely illustrated meditation on the many meanings and manifestations of love.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Refinery29, Kylie Jenner, and the Denial Underlying Millennial Financial Resentment”

Tweets and articles about money-about, say, how Kylie Jenner is a self-made billionaire, or how two rich college graduates chose their expensive apartment in Kips Bay, or how one young woman lives in New York on an intern’s salary and a generous parental allowance-have extended themselves, like steel rods, into our atmosphere of extreme inequality.
Forbes had published its Kylie Jenner cover, which featured a photo of the twenty-year-old in a suit jacket next to a tagline that announced her net worth-nine hundred million dollars-and proclaimed that she was on her way to becoming the youngest-ever self-made billionaire.
The column aims, very transparently, to turn financial voyeurism into ad revenue-it’s not a column about interesting people or about how to live on a tight budget-and the work-your-way-through-school plan went extinct in the nineties.
The problem is that these financial privileges are shrouded in such heavy dissembling, in an instinctive denial of what American wealth really is and what it really means.
According to new research, summed up in a recent Atlantic piece, by Adam Harris, forty-one per cent of white, college-educated families receive a significant inheritance; in contrast, just thirteen per cent of black, college-educated families do.
White families with an inheritance receive an average of more than a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, where for black families with an inheritance the average is less than forty thousand.
Underlying these outrage-bait money articles is another dismal generational reality that fuels our culture’s delusions about work and wealth.
These are young people who have grown up under such intense capitalist acceleration, such a swift erosion of the public safety net, that even those who have inherited wealth or remain on an I.V. drip of it will be able to genuinely feel that they are “Hustling.” People my age-even if they are lucky enough to receive chunks of family money that allow them to build up investments, or to put a down payment on an apartment in a major city-are still tied to a world in which work is increasingly unstable and incredibly demanding, a world in which basic expenses like health care grow more expensive every year.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Vienna’s Affordable Housing Paradise”

With its affordable and attractive places to live, the Austrian capital is fast becoming the international gold standard when it comes to public housing, or what Europeans call “Social housing” in Vienna’s case, government-subsidized housing rented out by the municipality or nonprofit housing associations.
Social housing in Vienna has been widespread since the 1920s when the post-war municipality, led by the Social Democrats, began building high-density estates all over the city typically six- to eight-story apartment blocks with communal green spaces.
Eva Bauer, head of housing economics at the Austrian Federation of Limited-Profit Housing Associations, says keeping housing affordable is deemed to be a vital factor contributing to citizens’ well-being.
The extent of Vienna’s subsidized housing makes it one of the most affordable major cities in the world.
According to the GBV, the average monthly rent paid by those living in government-subsidized housing is $470 for city council tenants and $600 for housing association tenants, with monthly assistance payments available to those struggling to meet housing costs.
According to Councillor Gaál, Vienna’s annual housing budget which is spent refurbishing older apartments in the city as well as building new social housing projects amounts to $700 million with $530 million.
“There are a lot of young people who want to become housing association tenants, even if they have to wait on a list for a couple of years before they can get something. The city is growing, so the challenge now is building enough affordable housing and maintaining the quality that has made it so popular.”
Process introduced in the 1990s means architects, lawyers and other housing experts sit on the panels judging bids to build new social housing complexes, ensuring developers vie with each other to offer high-quality, energy-efficient homes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “We Have Always Lived in the House”

The house would be the last place I’d see my mother alive.
The floodgates opened then as I hovered on the brink of adulthood, and in rushed the awareness of just how rocky the terrain of life outside the house could be.
He would return to the house where he grew up, which would have been the last place he had seen his sister alive.
How can we go back into the house without her? With her still in the hospital in a coma? I remember feeling my subway pass in my coat pocket, resting against the folds.
The one I’d had when I was growing up in the house.
In the past year Brandon and I bought a house in Atlanta while my father moved back into his.
As we move into this new house, ours to build our lives in, creating memories unaware of and unsure of the future, I’ve been thinking a lot about the house where I grew up, the last place I called home, and who we were then when we lived there.
My father speaks often of the past, of when we were all together, my mother was alive and we all lived in the house.

The orginal article.

Summary of “To Raise Exceptional Children, Teach Them These 7 Values”

To parent our children to be exceptional, we must allow our children to experience “Optimal levels of frustration.” It is our job to love and support them through their struggles, but to refrain from solving their problems for them.
When we teach our children to set high standards in all areas of their lives, they will come to see that their hard work rewards their free-time and vice versa.
When solutions are the focus, we teach our children the all-important skill of pivoting in life whenever necessary.
One of the best ways to keep our children motivated is to teach them to write things down as a method of defining their goals and direction.
One of the most important values we teach our children is “The power of now.”
There is no greater a value to teach our children than the value of kindness.
We must teach our children that all people have value and that they can deliver both good and bad news to others with a sense of grace.
We must parent our children to be kind to themselves, as our children can be so hard on themselves when things are challenging them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It’s impossible to lead a totally ethical life-but it’s fun to try”

In a world where it often seems impossible to eat, shop, drive, travel, or pretty much do anything without causing some measure of harm to others and the planet, leading an ethical life seems like a very tall order indeed.
“As much as we’d love to believe bad ethics come from bad people and good ethics come from the rest of us, our everyday choices such as cutting someone off on the freeway, fudging on our taxes, taking credit for something someone else did-these are all ethical choices,” he tells Quartz.
In his research, he’s found that people are outraged by ethical abstractions and don’t think a lot about simple things they might be doing wrong.
There’s no need to feel bad about failing to live a perfectly ethical life.
It’s more self-involvement, which is pretty much the opposite of ethical living.
The ethical response to bad acts is considering how to right them, rather than thinking about your personal feelings.
A truly ethical life is joyful, lived with a clear conscience, “Knowing that we are doing the best we can, even if that means our behavior may be unsatisfactory at times,” she writes.
The moral of the story? The best way to live an ethical life isn’t to find all the answers, but to be willing to wrestle with difficult questions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Generation wealth: how the modern world fell in love with money”

Greenfield introduces us to characters all motivated by the accumulation of wealth.
“No matter how much people had, they still wanted more,” Greenfield says of her subjects.
Jordan tells Greenfield of seeking greater wealth through extreme sex, which may have made her temporarily wealthier but didn’t make her happy.
The stories Greenfield tells about rich families detached from the world around them, living in bubbles separated from reality by armies of nannies and household staff, chime with my own experiences covering the super-rich as wealth correspondent for the Observer and the Guardian.
Greenfield says the true absurdity of extreme wealth hit her when she was documenting the lives of the Siegel family, who were attempting to build the biggest private home in America, for her film The Queen of Versailles.
Greenfield says her position as an “Insider and outsider” – she went to the school herself, but her parents couldn’t afford to kit her out with the designer bling the other kids had – gave her “Exceptional access to the world of the wealthy in LA”. Greenfield never wanted to become an expert on the rich or pass judgement on their lives or spending.
At the end of the film, Greenfield says the Siegels appeared to have learnt that wealth is not as important as health and happiness.
Looking back on her work, Greenfield recalls being startled by ostentatious displays of wealth but says what might have been shocking then is day-to-day reality now.

The orginal article.