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Mark Welch
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I make things and tell stories.
I make things and tell stories.

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“Clearly you can campaign, and win, by being P.T. Barnum,” O’Brien said. “That’s because elections have become celebrity contests. But I think governing is different than campaigning.

“And I think the 100 days benchmark does matter for him,” he continued, “because he promised swift action: ‘I will come to the slow-moving, ossified bureaucracy that is Washington, D.C., and—presto—I will make it move quickly.’ Lo and behold, his 100 days have come and passed with no significant legislation. … I don’t know that he can get away with abracadabra for four years.”

“It’s true he has often been able to turn failure into success, or at least claim success,” longtime Democratic strategist Bob Shrum told me. But he stressed that the presidency is not the same: If Trump fails, Shrum said, “it will not be like the collapse of an apartment development in Puerto Vallarta. It’s not 200 people who lose their apartment deposits—it’s 24 million people who lose their health care. It’s not 500 people who lose their casino jobs—it’s millions of people who have been left behind and thought he was going to fix things for them.”

“We’re not even close to how bad it’s going to get,” said Wilson, the GOP strategist from Florida who’s been a vociferous Trump critic. “It’s going to get substantially more difficult to keep selling this crap. He’s not dealing with some random vendors in New Jersey. He’s dealing with the American people. But I will say this: His cult has shown a great willingness to be a cult.”

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Mycologist Paul Stamets is expected to give a livestreamed talk about psilocybin tomorrow (Sunday) at 3:30pm US/Pacific time (2230 GMT).


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Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics:

[It] is becoming obvious that despite continuing advances in our ability to control matter and society, the promise of utopia is receding into the future, and indeed has passed the event horizon called cynicism. No longer does anyone believe that material and social engineering is on the verge of ushering in a perfect world.

For these reasons – the failed promise and worsening crisis of technology as we know it – I would like to offer an expanded conception of technology. The kind of technology described above is but a subset of all technology, a subset I’ll call “technologies of separation.” These will always have their place, but at the present historical moment we need to shift our collective will and energy toward a different kind of technology, which I will call “technologies of reunion.”

To expand the definition of technology, we can simply return to the original Greek roots of the word, which means “a logos of crafts.” Technology is a system of techniques for applying human will to alter the physical world.

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At the terminal you were going to be able to search tens of millions of books and read every page of any book you found. You’d be able to highlight passages and make annotations and share them; for the first time, you’d be able to pinpoint an idea somewhere inside the vastness of the printed record, and send somebody straight to it with a link. Books would become as instantly available, searchable, copy-pasteable—as alive in the digital world—as web pages.

It was to be the realization of a long-held dream. “The universal library has been talked about for millennia,” Richard Ovenden, the head of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, has said. “It was possible to think in the Renaissance that you might be able to amass the whole of published knowledge in a single room or a single institution.” In the spring of 2011, it seemed we’d amassed it in a terminal small enough to fit on a desk.

“This is a watershed event and can serve as a catalyst for the reinvention of education, research, and intellectual life,” one eager observer wrote at the time.

On March 22 of that year, however, the legal agreement that would have unlocked a century’s worth of books and peppered the country with access terminals to a universal library was rejected under Rule 23(e)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

When the library at Alexandria burned it was said to be an “international catastrophe.” When the most significant humanities project of our time was dismantled in court, the scholars, archivists, and librarians who’d had a hand in its undoing breathed a sigh of relief, for they believed, at the time, that they had narrowly averted disaster.

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Even just a year ago, it was hard to say what seemed more improbable: that, in a cloud of scandal, Fox would let go of O’Reilly, its spiritual center and top moneymaker — or that O’Reilly’s successor would be Carlson, a faded star whose brand of natty conservatism was on the wane in this new era of Trumpish appeals to the working class.

But Carlson has been on a remarkable trajectory of late, nimbly refashioning himself as a populist just as populism was becoming politically potent again. If you trace his decades-long path from print journalist to mainstream pundit to born-again Fox News host, you will get a sense of his chameleonic talents.
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