Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Lingering Trauma of the East German Police State - The Atlantic.

 Though liberty is established by law, we must be vigilant, for liberty to enslave us is always present under that very liberty. Our Constitution speaks of the "general welfare of the people." Under that phrase all sorts of excesses can be employed by lusting tyrants to make us bondsmen.

— Marcus Tullius Cicero, born n 106 BC.

Labor has preselected a human rights lawyer with deep roots in the party to run against Liberal moderate Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney, in what promises to become a fascinating three corner race for the federal seat.

On Tuesday, Labor will announce that Catherine Renshaw, a professor of law at the University of Western Sydney specialising in human rights, will run for the lower north shore seat.

All over the world, authoritarian regimes still use some of the tactics favored by the East German dictatorship—informers are still widely used, for instance. But states are now using modern technology to oppress their citizens in ways simply unavailable to the Stasi—by monitoring movements, spying on communications, and tracking financial transactions, to name just a few. The tools, in fact, are available to (and used by) companies and the governments of liberal democracies, too. “States now have far more power than the Stasi,” David Murakami Wood, a surveillance sociologist and an associate professor at Queen’s University in Canada, says. “And it’s not just states we have to worry about now.”

Only now, a lot of people don’t seem to care. I am amazed at the trust so many people put in what the government tells them.

Bodviken is “more than an IKEA countertop sink”; it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Voxnan is “more than an IKEA shower shelf”; it’s home to a marvelous river for fishing, paddling, and hiking. Björksta is “more than an IKEA picture with frame”; it’s an historic Viking site. You can check out more of the originals here.

“They Really Are Trying to Kill Us”

A tale of elite negligence

COVID-19 isn’t “just a cold,” isn’t “a respiratory virus,” and “mild” doesn’t mean what you think it does. Ian Ricksecker. Useful aggregation.

WOMEN NOW COMPLETELY LOCKED OUT OF THE SPORT:  Penn’s Transgender Swimmer Loses to Yale’s Transgender Swimmer in Women’s 100 Meter Race.

1,000 archived images reveal how root systems of plants fuel soil health

Washington Post – “What’s in a plant? Humans admire them, eat them and rely on them for oxygen release, carbon sequestration, animal habitat and more. But a plant is more than meets the eye. Beneath the soil, its root system can extend inches or even feet, spidering into the earth and fueling soil health. An archival collection of over 1,000 images of root systems reveals the hidden world of plants. It’s the work of Austrian botanist Lore Kutschera and other researchers at the Plant Sociological Institute in Austria. Over the course of 40 years, they collaborated on an enormous “root atlas” that maps the underground trajectories of common European plants, from Acanthosicyos horridus, a melon, to zygophyllum, flowering plants.

 The images are online thanks to Wageningen University & Research, a Dutch university known for its agricultural programs. They show the surprising extent of the roots of plants such as Carlina acaulis, also known as the dwarf carline thistle. The seemingly small plant nestles close to the ground. But underneath, its roots can go as deep as four feet…” [Respect Nature]