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Arthur Gillard
"More like a cat than a washing machine."
"More like a cat than a washing machine."

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Gallery of urban foxes in London!

Attn: +Laura Gibbs

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"Never say anything in an electronic message that you wouldn’t want appearing, and attributed to you, in tomorrow morning’s front-page headline in the New York Times.” — Colonel David Russell, former head of DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office

<quote> What’s the worst thing that could happen if the Customs and Border Patrol succeed in getting ahold of your unlocked phone? Well…

*Think of all of the people you’ve ever called or emailed, and all the people you’re connected with on Facebook and LinkedIn. What are the chances that one of them has committed a serious crime, or will do so in the future?

*Have you ever taken a photo at a protest, bought a controversial book on Amazon, or vented about an encounter with a police officer to a loved one? That information is now part of your permanent record, and could be dragged out as evidence against you if you ever end up in court.

*There’s a movement within government to make all data from all departments available to all staff at a local, state, and federal level. The more places your data ends up, the larger a hacker’s “attack surface” is — that is, the more vulnerable your data is. A security breach in a single police station in the middle of nowhere could result in your data ending up in the hands of hackers — and potentially used against you from the shadows — for the rest of your life. </quote>

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Interesting anecdotal account of successfully treating depression with LSD microdosing.

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Another important article from +Yonatan Zunger on how to live in these times. Highly recommended.

<quote> I could quote Martin Niemöller (“First they came for the Socialists…”) or Patrick Henry (“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?”), but instead I want to draw your attention to a pattern I’ve seen in many areas: the 10–80–10 rule.

This rule seems to show up in many areas of study; from discussions of popular support of the Nazis in 1930’s Germany, to studies of how police corruption does or doesn’t spread, to psychology experiments. It boils down to this:

Roughly 10% of the population will, in almost any circumstance, be heroes. Their moral compass will not waver, no matter what happens.

Roughly 10% of the population will, in almost any circumstance, be villains. They will inflict harm on others for their own benefit whenever they can get away with it.

The remaining 80% of the population sits on a spectrum between these two, but ultimately will wait to see what people around them are doing, and what’s considered socially acceptable. If they find themselves in a place where the social norms encourage honesty and morality, they will follow suit; if they find themselves in a place where certain kinds of violence and thievery are normalized, they will engage in them as well.

10% of people will always be heroes; 10% will be villains. The other 80% will wait to see what people around them are doing, and take their cues about what’s right and wrong from social norms.
This was the secret of the Nazi rise to power; it’s the secret of structural racism; it’s the secret of how every vile movement either does or doesn’t succeed. These issues are never decided by converting one 10% or the other; they’re decided by the social norms which the 80% see around them, which determine for them what is and isn’t allowable.

(The exact numbers vary from circumstance to circumstance; “10” can really be anything from five to twenty-five, depending on what we’re discussing.)

And these norms can be decided quite suddenly. Even though the 80% are not going to fight for morality under absolutely all circumstances, that doesn’t mean they have no moral compass of their own; most people are uncomfortable with evil, and will only participate in it if there’s no consistent voice against it. In Asch’s experiment, or Milgram’s, only a few people had to refuse to participate (in lying and shocking people, respectively) before everyone else refused, as well.

The effect of protest and dissent is to show that dissent is a legitimate option: that a blind acceptance of the ideas of Trumpism is not the norm, either in America or elsewhere. The first objective of the regime is quite simply to quiet dissent: to make objections quiet down enough that they can go to their main objectives (money and/or national purification) with not only the compliance, but even the assistance, of the public. </quote> 
The political analysis continues: What might the next six months of the Trump administration bring?

This is both a dig into some recent items in the news, and a discussion of how it relates to our recent history, our not-so-recent history, and what it could mean for each of us individually.

Also, I have included plenty of pictures of cute animals.

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Two of my favorite novels by Octavia Butler are on sale (Kindle editions) for $0.50! The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents could not be more relevant for these dark times. (They are ultimately very optimistic...but she goes through hell to get there.)

"Multiple Nebula and Hugo Award–winning author Octavia Butler’s iconic novel is 'a gripping tale of survival and a poignant account of growing up sane in a disintegrating world' (The New York Times Book Review)."

Very highly recommended. Also, "This ebook features an illustrated biography of Octavia E. Butler including rare images from the author’s estate." Yay!


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Fascinating and useful perspective on using Trump's own rhetorical devices against him. I think the author is on to something here.

<quote> this is how the resistance (and the Democrats in office and those running for office) must communicate now. With simple, repetitive talking points. Forget clever. Use Trump’s rhetoric. Reckless, scary words are the most useful words to describe him, because almost everything he does is reckless and scary. For example:

"And the phone calls, to Mexico, Australia? Unbelievable. He wants to start wars. Impeach the guy. Totally unstable. Everyone agrees."

Another important rule of Trumpspeak? Don’t let anything go. During the election, we kept hearing “crooked” and “emails” and “Benghazi” about Hillary. So keep every single travesty on the tip of your tongue. Repeat, repeat, repeat to the point where you’re boring yourself. When some new horror comes along, add it to the mix, very few words, oversimplified:

"Bowling Green Massacre? Total lie. An embarrassment. Kellyanne Conway is an unstable person. Let the mentally ill buy guns? Are you crazy? Terrible! Let Putin bomb Ukraine? Bad idea, very bad. Incredibly dangerous."

Then return to the big ones:

"Look at Yemen. Disaster. Totally preventable. More nuclear arms? Is he joking? He’s dangerous. Unsafe. Has to go. It’s horrifying, an embarrassment. Everyone knows it." </quote>

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Tor is giving away a free ebook of one of my favorite books, by one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend taking advantage of this offer. :)
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