2019/09/16

Arendt's The Human Condition

The Human Condition is fundamentally concerned with the problem of reasserting the politics as a valuable ream of human action, praxis, and the world of appearances. Arendt argues that the Western philosophical tradition has devalued the world of human action which attends to appearances (the vita activa), subordinating it to the life of contemplation which concerns itself with essences and the eternal (the vita contemplativa). The prime culprit is Plato, whose metaphysics subordinates action and appearances to the eternal realm of the Ideas. The allegory of The Cave in The Republic begins the tradition of political philosophy

2019/09/11

The “extremity of choice”

making a monument to what he calls the “extremity of choice” faced by the people who jumped. He worked nine months on the larger-than-life bronze he called Tumbling Woman, and as he transformed a woman tumbling on the floor into a woman tumbling through eternity, he succeeded in transfiguring the very local horror of the jumpers into something universal

Nine-hour X-ray quasi-periodic eruptions from a low-mass black hole galactic nucleus

Here we report observations of X-ray quasi-periodic eruptions from the nucleus of GSN 069 over the course of 54 days, 2018 December onwards. During these eruptions, the X-ray count rate increases by up to two orders of magnitude with event duration of just over 1 hour and recurrence time of about 9 hours. These eruptions are associated with fast spectral transitions between a cold and a warm phase in the accretion flow around a low-mass black hole (of approximately 4x10 solar masses) with peak X-ray luminosity of ~ 5x10
42
 ergs per second

2019/09/06

Miroslava: The Journalist Who Refused to be Complicit

On March 4, 2016, Miroslava Breach and her colleague Patricia Mayorga from Proceso magazine simultaneously published an article claiming that mayoral candidates in eight municipalities (seven from the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI and one more from the National Action Party or PAN) had connections to drug traffickers

2019/09/05

Warmer oceans fuel more extreme storms; rising sea levels bolster storm surges and lead to worse floods

Because warm air can hold more moisture, climate change has increased the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, leading to wetter hurricanes that unleash more extreme rainfall.

2019/09/02

11 of today’s best women conductors

Some of today’s greatest orchestral leaders are dynamic, inspiring and innovative women

Economic and migration policies favoring Han "have deprived Tibetans of control over their own future

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an NGO with links to the Tibetan government in exile, has argued that economic and migration policies favoring Han "have deprived Tibetans of control over their own future and threaten to make them a cultural, if not demographic, minority in their own land."

Free Tibet has learned that local Chinese Communist Party authorities have offered rewards of up to 42,750 US dollars to citizen informers who report online or digital based activities that are considered to be illegal by the state.

Activities deemed illegal also include sharing sensitive political  information, believing and sharing rumours, sharing news about Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong before officially reported by state media, and participating in democratic activity like canvassing.

2019/08/30

Decade After His Death, Magnitsky Beats Russia in European Court

The European Court ruled on Tuesday that the Russian government violated several articles in the European Convention on Human Rights over the course of its 11-month pre-trial detention and posthumous criminal conviction of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax auditor and government corruption whistleblower, who was found dead on the floor of his small jail cell in northeastern Moscow ten years ago


Russia decriminalized certain forms of domestic violence in 2017, a decision that top lawmakers have said was a mistake two years later. Activists say the absence of a domestic violence law leaves women vulnerable to abuse at the hands of their partners, which official estimates say happens to one in five women.


Authorities in the coal-mining Siberian region of Kemerovo have reportedly covered up snow with white paint to hide evidence of soot and ash pollution.

2019/08/26

The case for territorial incursion in the Amazon is far stronger than the justifications for most war

To lose a fifth of the Amazon to deforestation would trigger a process known as “dieback,” releasing what The Intercept calls a “doomsday bomb of stored carbon.”

2019/08/24

Scientists Find Evidence The Human Brain Can Create Structures in Up to 11 Dimensions

groups of neurons connect into 'cliques', and that the number of neurons in a clique would lead to its size as a high-dimensional geometric object (a mathematical dimensional concept, not a space-time one).

2019/08/23

Some exoplanets may have greater variety of life than exists on Earth

The first exoplanet was discovered in 1992, and currently more than 4000 exoplanets have been confirmed so far. The nearest know exoplanet is Proxima Centauri b, which is 4.25 light years away. Currently much of the search for life on exoplanets focuses on those in the habitable zone, which is the range of distances from a star where a planet's temperature allows liquid water oceans, critical for life on Earth.

The climate is warming faster than it has in the last 2,000 years

in a supplementary publication in Nature Geoscience, the team shows that there is no evidence that there were uniform warm and cold periods across the globe over the last 2,000 years.

Ireland, France set to block EU-Mercosur trade deal over Amazonia

"There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments," 

Data from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday. More than 1,200 of those fires were in the Amazon region

Paavo Berglund, the Finnish conductor who enhanced the structure and spiritual strength of Sibelius's music

Berglund corrected the scores and, where he considered it necessary, was not averse to retouching the orchestration to ensure better balance.

How Assad Played the U.S., Committed Brutal War Crimes, and Won the Syrian Civil War

when Assad dropped sarin gas on a suburb of Damascus the following year, Obama did not send war planes or troops. To this day, U.S. officials who were in charge of formulating the United States’ response to those atrocities are divided over what the course of action should have been.

2019/08/22

The Amazon Is Burning at a Record Rate, And The Devastation Can Be Seen From Space

The deforestation is directly linked to fires in the Amazon, since farmers sometimes set the forest ablaze to make room for livestock pastures and crop fields. These purposeful burns can then get out of control.

2019/08/17

Eve Remembering (Toni Morrison)

I tore from a limb fruit that had lost its green.

My hands were warmed by the heat of an apple


Fire red and humming.

2019/08/15

Hypatia

She was, in her time, the world’s leading mathematician and astronomer, the only woman for whom such claim can be made. She was also a popular teacher and lecturer on philosophical topics of a less-specialist nature, attracting many loyal students and large audiences. Her philosophy was Neoplatonist and was thus seen as “pagan” at a time of bitter religious conflict between Christians (both orthodox and “heretical”), Jews, and pagans.

2019/08/14

Hawaii's Space Telescope Controversy Is Reopening Old Wounds

the TMT group appears committed to making the TMT happen at the Mauna Kea site, despite the unwavering opposition from native Hawaiian activists — and despite the existence of a workable alternative.

The ALMA data show that the disk’s rotation speed rises from 1 million kilometers per hour at its outer edge, about 500 light-years from the black hole, to well over 3 million kilometers per hour near the disk’s center at a distance of just 65 light-years from the black hole.

2019/08/11

Lee Krasner: “Desert Moon”

Hanne Darboven: destruction becomes construction

I built up something by having disturbed something: destruction becomes construction. Action interrupts contemplation, as the means of accepting something among many given alternatives, for accepting nothing becomes chaos. A system became necessary: how else could I in a concentrated way find something of interest which lends itself to continuation? My systems are numerical concepts, which work in terms of progressions and/or reductions akin to musical themes with variations. In my work I try to expand and contract as far as possible between limits known and unknown. Generally, I couldn’t talk about limits I know. I only can say at times I feel closer to them, particularly while doing or after having done some conceptual series…. The most simple means for setting down my ideas and conceptions, numbers and words, are paper and pencil. I like the least pretentious and most humble means, for my ideas depend on themselves and not upon material; it is the very nature of ideas to be non-materialistic. Many variations exist in my work. There is consistent flexibility and changeability, evidencing the relentless flux of events.
Hamburg, 1968, as quoted in “Artists on Their Art,” Art International 12, no.4 (20 April 1968): 55

Masked Police Detain Russian Opposition Leader Sobol

Russia’s environmental monitoring agency released data showing that gamma radiation in Severodvinsk had risen up to 16 times the expected levels for a period of two hours following the explosion.


A short-term spike in radiation levels has been recorded after a rocket engine exploded during a test in Russia, regional authorities said.

The botched production of a powerful neutrino source is the most likely cause of a radioactive cloud that enveloped much of Europe in the autumn of 2017.

Police in Moscow detained prominent opposition leader Lyubov Sobol on August 10 following a raid as she prepared to attend a sanctioned opposition rally

Who are the 12 Catalan leaders facing years in prison?

Most of the politicians to stand trial come from two political parties: the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the centrist Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT).

2019/08/10

‘One country, two systems’

Raab spoke to Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and stressed the need for “meaningful political dialogue and a fully independent investigation into recent events as a way to build trust” in the territory


Clashes with police were particularly intense on Sunday night compared with previous days, as riot police fired teargas into a railway station to disperse crowds and were captured on film beating protesters with batons as they fled down an escalator in another station.

Satellite photos show what appear to be armoured personnel carriers and other vehicles belonging to the China’s paramilitary People’s Armed police parked in a sports stadium in the city of Shenzhen

Quantum teleportation moves into the third dimension


Saudi Arabia's "justice"

SCC judges are pressured by the government to hand down the strongest sentence possible. In Saudi Arabia this means beheading or even crucifixion. Last year six judges from the SCC were arrested and interrogated when the outcome of cases they presided over did not meet the attorney general’s expectations. In one case, a judge who exonerated the accused was subsequently held under arrest for many months.

Sunni Muslim militants, including the Taliban and the Islamic State group, have repeatedly targeted Shia Hazara minorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

How China is set to dominate the next Industrial Revolution

Operating in niche markets with limited transparency and often in politically unstable countries, Chinese firms have locked up supplies of these minerals and metals with a combination of state-directed investment and state-backed capital, making long-term strategic plays, sometimes at a loss

2019/08/09

“Humans kill about 100 million sharks per year and in contrast about five humans are killed by sharks per year”

Healthy oceans need sharks. Their presence maintains the balance of ocean ecosystems because as top predators, they dictate the population numbers of other sea creatures in reef food chains. Without them there’s a fundamental change in the balance.

2019/08/04

Microplastics ‘significantly contaminating the air’

Snow captures particles from the air as it falls and samples from ice floes on the ocean between Greenland and Svalbard contained an average of 1,760 microplastic particles per litre, the research found. Even more – 24,600 per litre on average – were found at European locations

Chávez Bodyguard Moves out of the Shadows and into the Good Life

even as the Chavista government made a noisy show of condemning capitalism, Aguilera spent his post-government life quietly amassing a fortune. He participated in businesses in Venezuela and abroad that tapped into lucrative government contracts, registered companies in tax havens, opened an account in a Swiss bank, and took frequent trips via chartered jet.

2019/08/01

Brazil destroying Amazonia

Energy or no energy, Vale would still need environmental approval to prospect for minerals in the region, whether the electricity costs $0 per megawatt or $150. Electric power doesn't override a mining companies need to get environmental permits to operate.  Nevertheless, an abundance of minerals coupled with government interest in expanding their power supply in those areas is ample enough reason to believe that industrial concerns are more important than environmental ones. To groups like Xingu River Vivo, or Amazon Watch, it is clear which way this debate over Amazon protection is tipping.

Nowhere are the stakes higher than in the Amazon basin—and not just because it contains 40% of Earth’s rainforests and harbours 10-15% of the world’s terrestrial species. South America’s natural wonder may be perilously close to the tipping-point beyond which its gradual transformation into something closer to steppe cannot be stopped or reversed, even if people lay down their axes. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is hastening the process—in the name, he claims, of development.

Leak Reveals How Mauritius Siphons Tax From Poor Nations To Benefit Elites

Geldof’s investment firm won Mauritius government approval to take advantage of obscure international agreements that allow companies to pay rock-bottom tax rates on the island tax haven and less to the desperately poor African nations where the companies do business.

Powering the 21st century by wind energy

The rotor diameter of offshore turbines in 2030 will reach an average of approximately 240 m and 160 m onshore. For adapting a turbine to the general wind conditions at the site, manufacturers equipped machines of one rotor size with electrical generators of different capacities

The notion of using wind power dates back centuries — Jay Lehr and Jack Keeley note in the Alternative Energy and Shale Gas Encyclopedia that the Egyptians were using wind to transport goods 5,000 years ago. Windmills used by the Babylonians in 700 BCE helped with irrigation, one of the first times they were used to replace human and animal labor. At the turn of the 20th century, windmills were being used to generate electricity locally. The first megawatt-class electrical wind turbine was added to a Vermont utility grid in 1941.

Milky Way’s twisted spiral revealed in 3D