Tuesday, April 30, 2019

One Too Many for the Muse

John Quincy Adams "Whoever tells the best story wins ..."

"Happy is the one who can feel their different merits" I came across several articles relating to Brexit where Voltaire and Adams were quoted (I link to one dealing with Voltaire in the context of our current dark ages)

"Though Voltaire wrote in a private letter that ‘our religion [Christianity] is without a doubt the most ridiculous and the most absurd’ he was able to publicly present convincing arguments for tolerance by carefully quoting the Gospels.

Even men in the highest positions felt free to mock the religious dogmas of the time, such as Cicero when he spoke of hell; ‘Not even an old imbecile would believe in it’.

There is an 18th-century quote, most often attributed to Voltaire, that could pass muster today were he a 21st-century philosopher seeking to warn us about a religion political correctness sensitivities disallow identifying by name: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

“Dare to Know! Have courage to use your own reason!”
Both Voltaire and Kant would be appalled that 21st century democracies have, by their own actions, slipped back into the Dark Ages, banning knowledge and free thought...

In a 1985 article in the New York Times titled “One Too Many for the Muse,” J. Anthony Lukas noted that “an exhaustive roster of literary scrooders would be too long to publish here.” He then provided a partial list of some 60 American writers whose drinking was noteworthy. Most are among the usual suspects—Poe, Faulkner, Hemingway, Kerouac, Capote. But the drinking of some—James Whitcomb Riley, Katherine Anne Porter, Wallace Stevens—is less well-known.
“The Writer and Addiction”: The relationship between literature and alcoholism

America Isn’t as Powerful as It Thinks It Is Stephen Walt, Foreign Policy (Re Silc: “It’s why guys in sandals and ak47s always beat us”).

As The Earth Warms, Long-Buried Objects Are Emerging. It’s Both Scary And Fascinating

Water levels in the River Elbe dropped so far that “hunger stones” were revealed – carved boulders used since the 1400sto commemorate droughts and warn of their consequences. One of the stones bears the inscription “Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine” (If you see me, weep).  – The Guardian

Is ‘Jeopardy!’ Winning Machine James Holzhauer Breaking The Game? If So, Does That Matter?

Emily Yahr: “After all, we’re in an era where television is more fractured than ever. Big TV events are increasingly rare, and it’s refreshing to have one topic to discuss around the virtual water cooler of the Internet — especially something that you could easily catch up on in one episode.” – The Washington Post

When What We Think Will Make Things Better Makes Them Catastrophically Worse

“Our very attempts to stave off disaster by introducing safety systems ultimately increases the overall complexity of the systems, ensuring that some unpredictable outcome will rear its ugly head no matter what. Complicated human-machine systems might surprise us with outcomes more favorable than we have any reason to expect. They also might shock us with catastrophe.” – The Atlantic

The modern call centre has been described as an “electronic panopticon” (pdf) – a place designed in a way that strips workers of their rights. Having spent six months working in one ...

 It seems that their actual state is comparable to those of galley slaves in ancient Rome and to prisons in the 19th century. Aww those sugar bunnies. The labor practices call centres follow ...