Uber cannot be regarded as a mere intermediary between drivers and passengers ~Maciej Szpunar https://t.co/Zo9Bsklmid Uber’s undoing in EU— Stowe Boyd (@stoweboyd) May 11, 2017
Typical GOP doubletalk: Working Families Flexibility Act is designed only to benefit employers, who can ‘request’ that workers accept distant time off in the future instead of time-and-a-half for overtime. An invitation for employers to steal wages.
David Rochelet, who spent some time at the Electrolab in Nanterre, founded the Doualab in Cameroon. He is also part of the adventure of the Ongola Fablab, the first in the capital Yaoundé. He tells us about its opening on April 6.
How does one bring to Africa, its vast spaces and its dawning entrepreneurial system the whole dynamism created by its common workspaces and the sharing of knowledge? The Ongola Fablab, the first in Yaoundé, capital of Cameroon, was inaugurated on April 6, fruit of a partnership between the University agency for Francophone countries (AUF) and the Orange foundation. A hundred or so people rushed there, including members of the Cameroonian government, superintendents and other representatives of state and private universities, members of the Orange foundation and of Orange Cameroon, media, and of course the young at the heart of the project...[more]
This is not the same as reality. But without belief in the possibility, your reality is going to be severely curtailed.
We must avoid the temptation to begin with an analysis of what's easy, or what's probable, or even likely.
We can only do our work justice by examining what's possible, and then deciding if we care enough to pursue it.
For a post on the Shopify blog, Tom May asked me and some others a few questions about Amazon Associates and passive income. Here are my answers.
Pilea peperomioides, aka Chinese money plant, via.
When did you get involved with Amazon Associates and what first prompted you to do so?
It was 2008, most likely because of ProBlogger (I was one of Darren’s subscribers at the time), or just because it seemed like a decent way to earn enough for web hosting and domains — I didn’t expect much.
Is there anything you wish you’d realised at the start, that you now do differently?
It took me a couple of years before I began using referral codes for both the UK and US Amazon sites. At first I’d only link to products on the US site because that’s where most of my site visitors are from, but the UK is the second highest location, so it makes sense to give that option.
Roughly what sort of percentage of your income currently comes through this source? And how much of your time does it take up?
It’s a fraction — only about £100 or £200 a month, mailed as a US dollar cheque. It used to be double, but Associate links aren’t much of a focus. I’ll use them if I pick up a good book and want to share it in a blog post. Adding the links takes seconds because I’d be featuring the book anyway.
Do you have any tips for encouraging visitors to click/buy?
Write about things you recommend. You can’t expect people to buy something you wouldn’t.
Do you have any other sources of passive income?
Not truly passive, because there’s a bit of online promotion, but I’ve sold around 50,000 books. English copies, anyway. I don’t have figures for sales in other languages.
Then there’s the Carbon Ads banner you can see on each of my blogs. Lately I’ve been getting around $300 each month via PayPal — much appreciated, but a fair bit less than what it used to be, and also not strictly passive because that amount would likely tail off if I didn’t publish new posts.
Catch Tom’s full Shopify piece here: How to earn passive income.
Bernie laughs so hard other people can’t stop themselves. Okay. That’s good shit.
- William James
Amazon is the new Apple, and Echo is its iPhone. Amazon has created an industry-defining product that will create a huge challenge for established competitors, like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, who will struggle to catch up for years (decades?), and may never catch up.
On Tuesday, Amazon introduced the latest model in its expanding family of Echo products, the Echo Show, which has a seven-inch touch screen and a video camera that let people place video or voice calls to each other over a Wi-Fi connection. In a move that could have broader impact, Amazon also said it would release a free software update this week that brings voice-calling features to existing Echo devices.
The changes, which thrust Amazon into the crowded landscape of internet communications tools like Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s Hangouts, underline the company’s ambitions for the Echo. In a way, the new communications functions turn the speaker into something like a traditional landline telephone, which many people have given up in favor of smartphones. Rather than pulling a phone out of their pockets, people will be able to simply command their Echoes to call someone.
The goal is to make the Echo, and Alexa, even more of a fixture inside people’s homes — a system that can help you shop online, control your home’s temperature and, now, converse. And it allows Amazon to once again chart a path ahead of others with how it is using the speaker.
“Amazon now has a huge first-mover advantage,” said Werner Goertz, an analyst at Gartner, the technology research firm.
Amazon said it planned to release the Echo Show in late June, with a starting price of about $230 for a single device, or two for $360.
I’ve predicted Alexa-enabled augmented reality smart glasses by Christmas. Still possible.
Jan-Werner Müller of Princeton University describes populism as a kind of identity politics that champions the people as morally superior and opposes pluralism as a tool of elites.
Cas Mudde, a Dutch political scientist, has written that populism divides the world “into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, ‘the pure people’ versus ‘the corrupt elite.’” The people are unified, in this view, by common values and traits, sometimes including race.
The political scientists Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart defined populism as distrustful of all elites and institutions, from scientists to the news media. It views “ordinary people,” they wrote, as “homogeneous and inherently ‘good’ or ‘decent.’” Diversity, in this view, compromises that purity.
While these tenets feel democratic to proponents, they form a vision of democracy that is majoritarian rather than pluralistic. That majority — “the people” — can be defined by race or religion or class, but there is always someone left out.
The African startup ecosytem presents a very interesting scene in the form of very fantastic and promising companies, like Jumia, Jobberman, Andela, Cobi Interactive, Bandekai, Pesapal, Bongo Live, Ushahidi, Sembuse, Dropifi, MXit and many others. These are trend-setting enterprises well-known across the continent, and may of these new businesses represent the future of enterprise development on the African continent...[more]
Fear's a dream killer. It puts people into suspended animation, holding their breath, paralyzed and unable to move forward.
Fear is present in many education settings, because fear's a cheap way to ensure compliance. "Do this," the teacher threatens, "or something bad is going to happen to you."
The thing is, learning is difficult. If it was easy, you'd already know everything you need to know. And if you could do it on your own, you wouldn't need the time or expense to do it with others.
But when we try to learn something on our own, we often get stuck.
It's not because of fear, it's because of tension.
The tension we face any time we're about to cross a threshold. The tension of this might work vs. this might not work. The tension of if I learn this, will I like who I become?
Tension is the hallmark of a great educational experience. The tension of not quite knowing where we are in the process, not being sure of the curriculum, not having a guarantee that it's about to happen.
As adults, we willingly expose ourselves to the tension of a great jazz concert, or a baseball game or a thrilling movie. But, mostly because we've been indoctrinated by fear, we hesitate when we have the opportunity to learn something new on our way to becoming the person we seek to be.
Effective teachers have the courage to create tension. And adult learners on their way to levelling up actively seek out this tension, because it works. It pushes us over the chasm to the other side.
I've been running the altMBA for nearly two years, and in that time we've seen tens of thousands of people consider the workshop. Some of them see the tension coming and eagerly dive in. Others mistake that tension for fear and back away, promising themselves that they'll sign up later.
The ones who leapt are transformed. The tension pays off.
We're proud of the tension. We built it into the workshop from the start, because education is never about access to information, it's about the forward motion of learning.
You already know this workshop works. That's easy to check out. The hesitation comes from this very fact... that it works. That a change occurs. That the unknown is right over there, and to get yourself there, you have to walk through a month's worth of tension.
That's the best way I know to learn. And so that's the way we teach.
PS there are only two more sessions of the altMBA this year. Embrace the tension and apply in time for tomorrow's early priority deadline.
This is one of the most useful 3D printed objects I have seen . It's not open source - so there's the next challenge: an open source variant. This indicates that a cordless drill could be 3D printed - including the motor. We are planning an crowd-funded incentive prize on the 3D printed cordless drill - as cordless drills are a billion dollar market in the USA alone. The interesting part from the open source ecology standpoint is converting cordless drills from throwaway design to lifetime design. The ability to print your own parts means you can fix the drill for a lifetime or for as long as you like, resulting in drastically improved resource efficiency.- Open Source Technology
This is terrifying.
A few years ago, James Hansen, the godfather of global-warming science, told me that he believed the IPCC estimates were far too conservative and that the waters could rise as much as 10 feet by 2100. For Hansen, the past is prologue. Three million years ago, during the Pliocene Epoch, when the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was about the same as it is today, and temperatures were only slightly warmer, the seas were at least 20 feet higher. That suggests there is a lot of melting to come before the ice sheets reach a happy equilibrium. Mountain glaciers could contribute a little bit, as would the thermal expansion of the oceans as they warmed, but to get to more than 20 feet of sea-level rise, Greenland and Antarctica would both have to contribute in a big way.
But in recent years, things have gotten weird in Antarctica. The first alarming event was the sudden collapse, in 2002, of the Larsen B ice shelf, a vast chunk of ice on the Antarctic Peninsula. An ice shelf is like an enormous fingernail that grows off the end of a glacier where it meets the water. The glaciers behind the Larsen B, like many glaciers in both Antarctica and Greenland, are known as “marine-terminating glaciers,” because large portions of them lie below sea level. The collapse of ice shelves does not in itself contribute to sea-level rise, since they are already floating (just like ice melting in a glass doesn’t raise the level of liquid). But they perform an important role in buttressing, or restraining, the glaciers. After the Larsen B ice shelf vanished, the glaciers that had been behind it started flowing into the sea up to eight times faster than they had before. “It was like, ‘Oh, what is going on here?' ” says Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. “It turns out glaciers are much more responsive than anyone thought.”
One day, Alley was thinking about a problem that Dave Pollard, a colleague at Penn State, and Rob DeConto, a climate scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, had been having with their climate model. DeConto and Pollard had been collaborating for years to develop a sophisticated model to help them understand the impact of warming from fossil-fuel pollution on Greenland and Antarctica. Climate models are computer programs that try to capture fundamental physics of the natural world, such as, if the temperature warms one degree, how much will the seas around the world rise? It is not a simple question, and requires calculating everything from changes in how much sunlight the ice reflects to how much one degree of heat causes the Atlantic Ocean to expand. Models have gotten a lot better in the past few decades, but they still can’t simulate all the processes in the real world.
One way that scientists test how well a model might predict the future is by seeing how well it recreates the past. If you can run a model backward and it gets things right, then you can run it forward and trust that the results might be accurate. For years, DeConto and Pollard have been trying to get their model to re-create the Pliocene, the era 3 million years ago when the CO2 levels in the atmosphere were very close to what they are today, except the seas were 20 feet higher. But no matter what knobs they turned, they couldn’t get their model to melt the ice sheets fast enough to replicate what the geological record told them had happened. “We knew something was missing from the dynamics of our model,” DeConto tells me.
Alley suggested they plug in his new understanding of ice physics, including the structural integrity of the ice itself (or lack thereof), and “see what happens.” They did, and lo, their model worked. They were able to get the Pliocene melt just about right. In effect, they found the missing mechanism. Their model was now road-tested for accuracy.
The next thing that DeConto and Pollard did, of course, was run the model forward. What they found was that, in high-emissions scenarios – that is, the track we are on today – instead of virtually zero contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctica by 2100, they got more than three feet, most of it from West Antarctica. If you add in a fairly conservative estimate of the contribution to sea-level rise from Greenland in the same time frame, as well as expansion of the oceans, you get more than six feet – that’s double the high-end IPCC scenario.
For anyone living in Miami Beach or Brooklyn or Boston’s Back Bay or any other low-lying coastal neighborhood, the difference between three feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and six feet is the difference between a wet but livable city and a submerged city – billions of dollars worth of coastal real estate, not to mention the lives of the 145 million people who live less than three feet above sea level, many of them in poor nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia. The difference between three feet and six feet is the difference between a manageable coastal evacuation and a decades-long refugee disaster. For many Pacific island nations, it is the difference between survival and extinction.
In any case, the threat is clear. In a rational world, awareness of these risks would lead to deep and rapid cuts in carbon pollution to slow the warming, as well as investment in more research in West Antarctica to get a clearer understanding of what is going on. Instead, Americans elected a president who thinks climate change is a hoax, who is hellbent on burning more fossil fuels, who installs the CEO of the world’s largest oil company as secretary of state, who wants to slash climate-science funding and instead spend nearly $70 billion to build a wall at the Mexican border and another $54 billion to beef up the military.
In the end, no one can say exactly how much longer the West Antarctica glaciers will remain stable. “We just don’t know what the upper boundary is for how fast this can happen,” Alley says, sounding a bit spooked. “We are dealing with an event that no human has ever witnessed before. We have no analogue for this.” But it is clear that thanks to our 200-year-long fossil-fuel binge, the collapse of West Antarctica is already underway, and every Miami Beach condo owner and Bangladeshi farmer is living at the mercy of ice physics right now. Alley himself would never put it this way, but in West Antarctica, scientists have discovered the engine of catastrophe.
What happens when you have Deep Learning begin to generate your designs? The commons misconception would be that a machine’s design would look ‘mechanical’ or ‘logical’. However, what we seem to be finding is that they look very organic, in fact they look organic or like an alien biology. Take a look at some of these fascinating designs.
The photo above design is described as follows:
“This is not only an exciting development for the construction sector, but many other industries as well. In the case of this particular piece, the height is approximately half that of one designed for traditional production methods, while the direct weight reduction per node is 75%. On a construction project that means we could be looking at an overall weight reduction of the total structure of more than 40%. But the really exciting part is that this technique can potentially be applied to any industry that uses complex, high quality, metal products.”
— Salomé Galjaard, Team Leader at Arup
Macron has won in France: now for the hard part, once all the tricolor confetti is swept up. As Steven Erlanger reports, Macron will be attempting to integrate France even more deeply into the dream of a stronger European Union in a France where 40% of the population are euroskeptics, and in an European Union that may not be ready for many of his policies to be rolled out:
The populist threat to the European Union “remains alive and has to be taken seriously,” said Stefan Lehne, a former Austrian diplomat and a visiting scholar with Carnegie Europe. In France, “more than 40 percent of French voters opted for anti-European populist parties in the first round,” he said, and in Italy, “the Five Star Movement and Northern League could easily win the general election expected to be held in February 2018.”
Beyond that, he added, the existing populist governments in Hungary and Poland “constantly put the values on which the E.U. is based into question.”
If he is a political novice, Mr. Macron is also suddenly a power broker in a European bloc dominated by a Germany that is largely ecstatic about his victory and eager for him to succeed, but that is also in conflict with some of his priorities. Mr. Macron has called for a stronger European core built around the euro, for a common eurozone budget and for a new “finance minister” for the eurozone — ideas currently anathema to Germany, let alone other French and southern European demands, like eurozone bonds.
“If Macron manages to stop the populist tsunami, he’ll be rewarded by his European counterparts,” said Florence Gaub, a senior analyst at the European Union Institute for Security Studies in Paris. “He’ll be able to make some demands that other French presidents could not. Because everyone needs him to be a success, and if it stops with France, maybe it stops forever.”
Having a strong French partner is essential to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who overshadowed her current French counterpart, François Hollande. The European Union does not function without a committed French-German partnership providing leadership and money, and it will function even worse when its second-largest economy, that of Britain, leaves the bloc.
If Mr. Macron can forge a strong working relationship with Ms. Merkel, they may be able to push through mutually amenable changes to a European Union that has grown too large and diverse for its current structure and that is facing crises of migration, low growth, joblessness, terrorism, debt and a resurgent Russia.
But to be credible to Berlin, Mr. Macron needs to deliver on his promises to shake up France’s economy — to produce growth, create jobs, reduce fiscal deficits and cut the size of the state, which currently eats up 57 percent of France’s gross domestic product, compared with 44 percent in Germany.
“To be competitive again, France has to reform and kick-start its economy, and the big question is whether Germany and Merkel can help,” said Stefan Kornelius, of the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, who is a biographer of Ms. Merkel. “Germany has profited from the weakness of France, but France has to do this itself.”
Can Macron and Merkel make sense of a European Union riven by populism, an immigration crisis, and problematic and partial economic integration? Or will Macron turn out to be a French Obama, much of whose Hope and Change turned out to be just ink on posters, and which led to Trump in 2016.
New studies of Russian cosmonauts, held in isolation to simulate space travel, show that eating more salt made them less thirsty but somehow hungrier. Subsequent experiments found that mice burned more calories when they got more salt, eating 25 percent more just to maintain their weight.
The research, published recently in two dense papers in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, contradicts much of the conventional wisdom about how the body handles salt and suggests that high levels may play a role in weight loss.
The new studies are the culmination of a decades-long quest by a determined scientist, Dr. Jens Titze, now a kidney specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research in Erlangen, Germany.
In 1991, as a medical student in Berlin, he took a class on human physiology in extreme environments. The professor who taught the course worked with the European space program and presented data from a simulated 28-day mission in which a crew lived in a small capsule.
The main goal was to learn how the crew members would get along. But the scientists also had collected the astronauts’ urine and other physiological markers.
Dr. Titze noticed something puzzling in the crew members’ data: Their urine volumes went up and down in a seven-day cycle. That contradicted all he’d been taught in medical school: There should be no such temporal cycle.
For years the commons has been gaining momentum as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. Its rise can be seen in countless milieus around the world: among indigenous peoples in Latin America determined to protect their ecosystems and cultures; among farmers in India defending the right to share seeds; among Croatians seeking to prevent the privatization of cherished public spaces; among communities trying to preventing multinational bottling companies from appropriating local groundwater; and among diverse digital commoners who are creating “shareable” resources such as free software, Wikipedia, open educational resources and open access journals.
Until recently, mainstream political culture has regarded the commons as an inevitable “tragedy” that results in the over-exploitation of scarce resources. This has helped make the commons a marginal side-story that could be safely ignored. But after the “economic crisis” of October 2008, it has been much harder to dismiss the commons as a tragedy, anachronism or novelty. It became even harder after the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Professor Elinor Ostrom, a pioneering scholar of the commons, in 2009. The growth of countless Internet commons has also been a pointed rebuttal to orthodox economists who regard the market as the only serious means for generating valuable resources.
For these and other reasons, the commons is increasingly being seen as a rich seedbed of community empowerment and a template for new types of fair and sustainable resource management. It offers a way to critique the failures of neoliberal capitalism while encouraging the development of innovative policy alternatives.
It was in this context that the Heinrich Böll Foundation – a publicly financed nonprofit organization affiliated with the German Greens that works independently with various partners through its 28 worldwide offices – decided to convene a major international conference on the commons. Working with the Commons Strategy Group, a small partnership of commons thinkers and activists, the Böll Foundation brought more than 180 international, Germany- and European-based commoners, intellectuals, activists and policymakers to Berlin, Germany, for the November 1-2, 2010, conference, preceded by project visits on October 31.
The stated goal of the event was “Constructing a Commons-Based Policy Platform.” To that end, the conference sought to assess the range of existing and potential commons-based policy approaches; develop the fundamentals of a policy framework that supports the commons; and identify and explore specific strategic opportunities to advance commons-based approaches.
The event also sought to foster new types of participation and self-organization among commoners worldwide; to promote new forms of networking that could spur new collaboration and cooperation; and to inaugurate new types of open, non-linear ways to search for solutions. The goal was to incubate new ideas and strategies and identify new communication strategies, prototype commons, funding models and research needs. Finally, the event aimed to enhance the visibility of the commons in the media, the blogosphere and other online venues.
“The simple yet powerful and complex question to be explored throughout the conference,” the Böll Foundation stated in its announcement of the conference, is: “What does a commons-based policy framework look like? What already exists and what do we still need to develop to nurture and protect diverse sorts of commons?”
This report, by David Bollier of the Commons Strategy Group,1 is an attempt to describe the highlights of the conference and the more significant themes, philosophical tensions and strategic opportunities that emerged. This document is not a comprehensive account of the conference; there were too many different perspectives presented to capture that richness. This report is, rather, a selective, interpretive synthesis.
Interface Lovers is an online magazine for creative professionals. We put the spotlight on designers that are creating the future and touching the lives of many
Jensen Huang has an overarching vision for the future of computing and the role that Nvidia, where he is CEO, will play in it.
“AI is eating software,” Huang continued. “The way to think about it is that AI is just the modern way of doing software. In the future, we’re not going to see software that is not going to continue to learn over time, and be able to perceive and reason, and plan actions and that continues to improve as we use it. These machine-learning approaches, these artificial intelligence-based approaches, will define how software is developed in the future. Just about every startup company does software these days, and even non-startup companies do their own software. Similarly, every startup in the future will have AI.”
Nor will this be limited to cloud-based intelligence, resident in powerful, gigantic data centers. Huang notes that we’re now able to apply computing to things where before it made no sense to do so, including to air conditioners and other relatively ‘dumb’ objects.
“You’ve got cars, you’ve got drones, you’ve got microphones; in the future, almost every electronic device will have some form of deep learning inferencing within it. We call that AI at the edge,” he said. “And eventually there’ll be a trillion devices out there: Vending machines; every microphone; every camera; every house will have deep learning capability. And some of it needs a lot of performance; some of it doesn’t need a lot of performance. Some of it needs a lot of flexibility because it continues to evolve and get smarter. Some of it doesn’t have to get smarter. And we’ll have custom solutions for it all.”
“Today, I think that AI is a very, very exciting and emerging computing approach, and it’s pretty clear that in a period of around 10 years, almost every form of computing will be AI-based,” he said. “So today, we are a GPU computing company that does AI. Someday, we would likely just become an AI computing company.”
- All software in the future will learn, and adapt, like people do.
- All startups will employ AI.
- IoT will be colonized by ‘AI at the edge’.
- Nvidia will become an AI computing company.
Something for Amazon, Google, Microsoft, or Apple to invest $75B in?
About 35 percent of Morocco’s land is designated as Sulaliyyate, the Interior Ministry says. In 1919, while Morocco was still a French protectorate, management of the land was transferred to the ministry from the tribal authorities, with the idea of discouraging migration from rural areas to the cities.
Under this system, while people did not own the land, they were given the right to work designated plots and take their share of the harvest. Shares in the communal lands could be passed only from fathers to sons older than 16.
According to tribal law, single women, widows, divorcées and those without sons could not inherit the land, which meant that the state could confiscate it without compensation. Over the years, thousands of women — no one really knows how many — were forced from their homes and into slums in surrounding towns and cities.
The nationwide movement began in 2007 when a woman in the city of Kenitra, close to the capital, Rabat, demanded equality in land ownership.
Saida Idrissi, the president of the Rabat bureau of the Moroccan Association for Women’s Rights, helped the women to organize, training them in constitutional law and guiding them in negotiations with the Interior Ministry.
“Most of them are illiterate women from the rural world who were scared to talk, so we had to put in place a strategy very specific to this category of women,” she said.
Soon after, women living on these parcels began organizing, and in 2009 about 500 from all over the country protested in front of Parliament to demand equal rights to ownership, and compensation if land was expropriated. Since then, hundreds have joined the movement.
In response, the Interior Ministry has issued several circulars stating that women should benefit from selling the communal lands and should be a part of the negotiation process. But the circulars are nonbinding, and delegates designated by the tribes as the residents’ representatives can choose to ignore them.
Why we can’t look to conservative Christians to take the side of those left standing in the game of musical chairs our society calls success. The ‘prosperity gospel; is a pernicious manifestation of the Calvinist dogma, that Christ died not for all, but only for the elect. The elect are the successful:
The distinction between the deserving and undeserving “is absolutely fundamental to understanding lots of policy debates and lots of social problems in this country,” said Mark Rank, a professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis.
America’s secular and spiritual traditions both embody the notion. The American dream is based on the idea that hard work will result in success. Failure is in the hands of individuals, leaving citizens to feel less responsibility to offer help.
The notion of just deserts has deep roots in the Bible, based on the assumption that God rewards the good and punishes the wicked. Though modern medicine and the germ theory of disease have largely severed the link between goodness and health, the nexus with material wealth remains.
The “prosperity gospel,” which asserts that faithful Christians are rewarded with financial success, has been a bedrock of American evangelists from Oral Roberts to Joel Osteen. It is embraced by Paula White, a Florida televangelist known as Mr. Trump’s “spiritual adviser” and one of the clergy members invited to his inauguration.
“Winning to him also equates to good,” Ms. White said of Mr. Trump, “and good equates to God.”
But a humanistic or liberal viewpoint – with the Christian dogma removed – might ask why does our society produce so much financial breakage, where so many are without adequate resources to manage?
Evangelical adherents to the prosperity gospel turned out to be reliable Trump voters on Election Day. A close analysis of poverty statistics over the past half-century, though, shows that two-thirds of all Americans received some kind of income-based benefits over their lifetime, like food stamps, disability payments or Medicaid, Mr. Rank said.
“Are we going to make the argument that all these folks are undeserving?” he said.
Mr. Rank designed a “poverty risk calculator” to illustrate how easy it can be to fall on hard times. Of the five largest risk factors for poverty — age, race, sex, education and marital status — three are out of anyone’s control.
Mr. Rank uses the game of musical chairs to illustrate his point. Looking solely at the difference between winners and losers turns the focus to individual traits: who is faster, pushier or more strategic. Instead, he suggested looking at how the game is structured — that there are fewer chairs than players — and why it is impossible for some people to win.
“Rather than an individual problem, this is a systemic problem,” he said. In the case of the economy, that means shifting attention from who lost to why the system produces so many losers in the first place. (Perhaps because of a shortage of well-paying jobs or insufficient wage growth.)
“That shifts from this idea of the deserving and the undeserving,” he said. “It’s a different framework.”
It’s a wonderfully apt metaphor, since musical chairs is designed to produce losers, because the rules are set up to do so. An much of the focus of modern conservative Christianity is aimed at supporting a musical chairs economic system, and castigating the losers as undeserving and immoral.
The boom emoji gets a lot of play. It happened. It worked. We won.
The tree emoji, on the other hand, celebrates the patient and generous acts of planting seeds, watering them, caring for them, and then, in a generation, you have a tree.
It doesn't even have a noise.
Simple growth. With patience. (I prefer the deciduous tree instead of the evergreen, because the leaves coming in and falling off are part of the deal).
Put me down for the tree emoji.