It’s worth stepping back to notice how strange it is, considering the underlying purpose of news, to spend this much of our time thinking about it. If our interest in news has evolutionary origins, that’s because there are obvious survival advantages in staying aware of local and immediate threats to one’s own life and tribe. One major achievement of civilisation is that we’ve expanded our capacity for caring to include news that doesn’t affect us personally, but where we might be able to make a difference, whether by voting or volunteering or donating. But the modern attention economy exploits both these urges, not to help us stay abreast of threats, or improve the lives of others, but to generate profits for the attention merchants. So it pummels us ceaselessly with incident, regardless of whether it truly matters, and with human suffering, regardless of whether it’s in our power to relieve it. The belief that we’re morally obliged to stay … [Read more...] about How the news took over reality
Disaster natural and man made
Jeff reasoned that any child of theirs would be likely to grow up thinking that giving money away was a good and necessary thing to do. They could not assume that the child would be as extreme on this issue as they were – undoubtedly it would regress to the mean to some extent, but probably not all the way. He calculated that if the child gave away around 10% of its income, then they would likely break even – that is, the money their child would donate would be equal to the money they did not donate because they spent it instead on raising the child. Of course, this did not take into account that it was better to give money now rather than later, especially to urgent causes such as global warming and Aids, so some discounting would have to be factored into the calculation. All this made Julia feel better for a while, and even though she realised that it would be pretty weird to tell a child that they expected it to pay for its existence in the world with a certain … [Read more...] about Extreme altruism: should you care for strangers at the expense of your family?
Military officer Wade Hampton was a Confederate States of America military officer during the American Civil War and politician from South Carolina. He came from a wealthy planter family, and shortly before the war he was one of the largest slaveholders in the Southeast as well as a state legislator. During the American Civil War, he served in the Confederate cavalry, where he reached the rank of lieutenant general. At the end of Reconstruction, with the withdrawal of federal troops from the state, Hampton was leader of the Redeemers who restored white rule. His campaign for governor was marked by extensive violence by the Red Shirts, a paramilitary group that served the Democratic Party by disrupting elections and suppressing black and Republican voting in the state … [Read more...] about Donald Trump demands Republicans REJECT stripping Confederates’ names from Army bases – despite his party ALREADY voting for move pushed by Elizabeth Warren
‘Covid is just another crisis’ Because the town was already so poor, the economic impact of Covid-19 has been muted. The third of the population on benefits may even be slightly better off because the government is giving an extra £20 a week in universal credit and £15 for school meal vouchers. In a ranking of which English towns have suffered the worst financial hit from the crisis, Hartlepool came 154th out of 175. Others have suffered a sharper downturn because they have lost tourist and student income. … [Read more...] about Britain beyond lockdown: can we level up?