Flat Earth

About the Flat-Earth Movement

Yes, there are people out there who think the Earth is flat. And they’re having conventions:

Besides the absolutely dumb idea of a flat Earth and the dismissal of pretty much everything produced by the space program of a dozen countries, there’s something really interesting going on here. The flat Earther community is a really interesting case study when it comes to challenging the idea that “the Internet will make us smarter”.

It also shows a worrying connection between populism and disbelief in science. I’m all for emotions, but to demolish science in such a way brings thoughts of dystopia to my mind.

David Goodall

On Assisted Dying

You’re 102 years old. You still want and can work. You have no disease, your mind is sharp and brings joy to those around. However, the industrialized healthcare system and society has other plans. You’re costly to keep under permanent supervision, as if you even want to be constantly watched. So, whether you like it or not, you must accept round-the-clock care or move to a nursing home. This happened to David Goodall. Thanks to Swiss laws, however, he could die on his own accord.

Euthanasia is a heavily debated topic. Many people have sought the right to end their life. Check what Terry Pratchett (suffering from Alzheimer’s) had to say about it. Pro-life associations rushed to condemn BBC for broadcasting Pratchett’s statement, accusing BBC of imbalanced reporting.

How Tech Companies Ruin Urban Societies

How Tech Companies Ruin (Urban) Societies

In general, it’s good for a country to have large, powerful companies that employ a lot of people and pay them very well (more taxes). However, the resulting income inequality causes some serious trouble in communities hosting or close to high-pay hotspots.

One of the saddest examples is San Francisco, where property prices have skyrocketed during the past decade, mostly due to an influx of well-payed employees from corporations such as Google, Apple and Facebook as well as a host of tech startups and highly profitable medium-sized companies.

Salma Hayek Frida

Salma Hayek and Harvey Weinstein

Weinstein’s disgusting behavior towards women triggered the famous #MeToo social media campaign. It’s all history now. There are some very good articles out there about Weinstein and other libidinous rich men. There’s also the shocking leaked audio of the predator in action.

In this eye-opening timeline, we are shown how much things have changed because of the scandal that has rocked Hollywood, the world’s #1 exporter of corrupt cultural values. Thanks to #MeToo, the protest went global. I feel like women’s rights have made an important step forward since then.

But from all the articles I read, I took a particular liking to Salma Hayek’s story about the movie “Frida”, produced by Weinstein. This vulnerable, heart-felt story made me empathize with the victims more than anything else I read or heard on the topic.

Free Bleeding

Free Bleeding (Menstruation)

Even though it’s obvious that such a practice exists, living with free bleeding in the “civilized” world (read: “taboo world” or “rigid culture world”) can be tricky. What is free menstruation you ask? Well, here’s an interesting read.

Do I have an opinion about the practice? No! But I do have an opinion about people who make a fuss out of this: oh yes!

China Social Credit

China’s Social Credit System

Something big was set in motion in China. It’s called the Social Credit System. It leverages the latest in technology in order to build something akin to a criminal record, except that it’s updated much more frequently (possibly even real-time in certain cases). It doesn’t only cover crime, but pretty much any action that the government can track, online and offline.

As we know, China has an extremely well-developed tracking & censorship apparatus. Through the Social Credit System, even minor social offenses such as jaywalking or smoking outside designated areas can be turned into punishments that can seriously affect one’s life. In the article below you can find a rather shocking video (well, not entirely shocking to me since I suspected this was coming) about the country’s highly developed video surveillance system.

Breastfeeding

Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence

Every year or so, there’s one article/essay that stands out from everything I come across. This is one such work. It shows the correlation between violence and repressed sexuality, lack of affection towards children, sensory deprivation and various forms of social damage. It’s a long read, but you can also read just parts of it and I’d wager you’ll still be enriched by this amazing work.

The CLOUD Act

The CLOUD Act – or Another Nail in the Coffin of Privacy

Finally, thanks to the CLOUD act passed earlier this year, American companies have the right to spy for the government of the USA on pretty much anybody that uses American products. The act also indirectly opens the door for other governments that enjoy snooping in their citizens’ private lives. And guess what, major tech companies had no problem turning their back on their customers because (surprise!) the act will save them loads of cash:

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Of course, this is all done with ethics and responsibility at the forefront, in the glorious battle against organized crime. Even if I wasn’t sarcastic, this is, after all, yet another weapon in the USA’s cyberwarfare arsenal. And the walls protecting our private lives have already started to fall.

In the USA, Murdering Journalists is now considered a funny topic.

Walmart Pulls T-Shirts Advocating Murder of Journalists

In a surprising move, major American retailer Walmart actually decided to remove from its inventory t-shirts that advocated killing journalists. /sarcasm

The USA has gone completely astray.

By “completely”, I mean the outcome of an election. When a democratic country elects to pursue a certain course, then it is a complete commitment. Yes, there may be opposition, but the overall direction has been set – and in the case of the US of A, I believe that the direction is astray.

By “astray”, I mean that while most of society (world-wide) considers murder to be wrong, the USA has managed to devalue life in such a way that murder can be commercialized with incredibly little public backlash. I believe that the lack of a major social response against the retailers, users and companies that produce such merchandise is due to Americans having been desensitized to violence.

Inside the Romanian Sex-Cam Industry

Inside the Romanian Sex-Cam Industry

After the recent revelations about the way pornography influences our society, here’s another sobering piece, this time about the sex-cam industry, the fastest-growing sector of the global pornography business. In Romania, thousands of women work as “cam-girls” from studios and from home.

Let me be clear: it’s not shameful to have a job, and this job is less demeaning to women compared to other jobs in the pornographic industry. But from an ethical perspective, it’s a highly debatable topic. Often, it’s one step away from abuse and in general it tip-toes on the edge of the knife between legal and social inequality.