Law, History, Garbage, Power, Data Privacy


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Land Of The Lawless

Ralph Nader | Lapham's Quarterly | 19th March 2018

Critique of the American legal system: It is too complicated for anybody to understand, which means that it can easily be exploited selectively in the service of power and money. “How many times have we been told that our country is under the rule of law and that nobody is above it? Yet the country’s legal life is defined instead by major zones of lawlessness created, in one aspect, by noncompliance and lack of enforcement and, in another, by raw power, which can be political, economic, or armed” (2,700 words)

Age Of Emancipation

Michael Behrent | Dissent | 21st March 2018

Introduction to the work of Marcel Gauchet, French historian of civilisation. “The story of history, for Gauchet, is that of humanity’s long and gradual emergence from a state of heteronomy — in which we believe ourselves to be governed by some transcendent, non-human other — to a condition of autonomy”. Europe achieved autonomony by means of democracy. But once democracy triumphed over religion, it lost its moral seriousness, leaving society at the mercy of economic forces (3,750 words)

India’s Waste Mountain

Subhra Priyadarshini | Nature | 14th March 2018

India produces 100,000 tonnes of waste each day, including human waste. More than 560 million people defecate in the open. Economic liberalization has meant a rising tide of toxic waste from mines, factories and industrial agriculture. Even for hazardous waste there is very little infrastructure: By 2016, India had just 198 approved disposal centres for more than 169,000 hospitals and clinics. “Ultimately, around 90% of unsorted waste is thrown into dumps” (914 words)

Twelve Qualities Of Successful Prime Ministers

Andrew Gimson | Conservative Home | 21st March 2018

Biographer’s overview of British prime ministers, identifying the qualities needed to gain high office and to succeed in it. The basics are courage, luck, ambition and eloquence. It helps to have a “different style to your predecessor, of whom people have grown sick. Very soon they will be sick of you”. Prime ministers who seem to enjoy the job are more likely to be seen as successful; though it is hard to say whether the good humour is the cause or effect of the perceived success (1,500 words)

Compliance Under The GDPR

Adrian Colyer | The Morning Paper | 21st March 2018

It will be an enormous task for large online companies to conform with the EU’s new privacy laws, which allow data to be collected only for a specific purpose and with the user’s specific consent. And yet, in the wake of the Facebook fiasco, the political pressure for more regulation will increase. A new model is needed. “My personal sense is that we need to track the provenance of data as it flows through an organisation, including proof of consent and the purposes for which consent was given” (1,340 words)

Video of the day The Making Of Isle Of Dogs

What to expect:

Animators show and tell how they created the characters for Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs (3’38”)

Thought for the day

When you are famous it is hard to work on small problems
Richard Hamming

Podcast of the day A Brief History Of Tariffs | Planet Money

The first act of the US Congress in 1789 fixed the oath of office. The second provided for the taxing of imports
(8m 32s)

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