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Tag Archives: the-arts
Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:08 am
The world is going through what some people term the fourth industrial revolution, according to Data61 CEO Adrian Turner, led by the rise of automation and an increasingly connected world that relies on devices.
But rather than fearing the change brought about by automation in the workplace, Turner said Australian businesses and governments should focus on creating new jobs that embrace and adapt to these changes.
Speaking at the first day of the Garner 2017 APAC Data & Analytics Summit in Sydney on Monday, Turner said that although 40 percent of jobs won’t exist in 15 years because of automation, this 40 percent will roll into new industries. As such, Australian businesses and the federal government should work together to make sure the nation is well prepared.
“The future is not certain and not known, and we have an opportunity to create it en lieu,” Turner said. “We’ve got all the smarts, we got a sense of where it’s all going, we have a tremendous opportunity to step up and create new industries that will create new jobs; there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do it.”
Australia actually has a massive advantage over other western economies in implementing these changes through government, according to Turner, because of the nation’s relatively small government, the size of its economy, and the quality of the universities.
“We think that Australia is in prime position to lead a whole bunch of new industries. If you think about trying to do some of these things in a market like the US or the EU, it’s much more fragmented, it’s harder to get everything lined up, whereas in Australia we can.”
Turner particularly stressed “underemployment and not unemployment”, and said that Australia should look to adapt to changes straight away in areas such as education.
“The reality is the education sector is changing. The challenge is that the market context is changing so quickly that in a four-year degree cycle, you have to think differently about how you teach. We need to do a better job of contextualising why technology matters for graduates and for kids,” he said.
“In Israel, they teach kids from 14 years old cybersecurity and the fundamentals of cybersecurity; we don’t right now. The government has a role to make sure there’s a safety net for us as an economy to help transition.”
Companies are adopting new technologies, automation, and data collection methods at an impressive rate, according to Turner, and not only because of operational efficiencies, but also because of the multiple types of natural bias that humans have that can affect the interpretation of data.
As a result, the increasing move towards automation is affecting industries that had previously never been thought of as being susceptible. For example, he said in law, through the application of machine learning and analytics, computers can understand any piece of regulation and break it down into machine-readable objects.
There will, however, be a counterbalance, Turner said, where more opportunities are created because of automation in areas such as in and around the arts, cultural activities, content production, precision medicine, and trading, as well as entertainment. Turner pointed to the US, where in the national security industry, data analysts are looking for a wide range of professionals to derive insight from data — even artists and philosophers.
He pointed to the belief of Toby Walsh, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of New South Wales and Data61, who said that as well as being technically literate, creative thinkers will be fundamental for a systems-thinking point of view and knowing what questions to ask computer systems.
“It’s not about this technology replacing jobs, but shifting the nature of jobs. New jobs will be created, make no mistake. It’ll be jobs that require a lot of dexterity.”
Turner also stressed that some industries will be less affected because there are certain types of jobs that systems and machines will have a hard time replicating. Even a simple manual job such as folding a towel, for example, will always take longer for a robot than for a human.
Australia now needs to recognise those areas where the technology can really make a difference, according to Turner, and past the obvious structural changes that are now necessary because of technology.
“If we take a step back and break it all down, there’s actually enormous opportunities for new industries. The world’s moving, the models are shifting, we’re moving to more rapidly iterate more careers within our career. We shouldn’t fear this change, we should embrace it. We should work with the technology.
“What we’re moving to — at a country level, a corporate level, an individual level — it’s really the survival of the digital fittest.”
Last year, Gartner predicted virtual personal assistants to become the front-line interface between government and citizens, while government agencies will shift to autonomous business processes and business intelligence capabilities to help humans make better decisions based on context in real time.
“What you’ll see as these machines become smarter, more data is fed into them, more real-world experience is extrapolated from them, what you’ll see is fewer humans interacting with transactions,” said Rick Howard, research vice president at Gartner.
Government CIOs must also adopt threat-aware, risk-based approaches that allow governments to make informed decisions about risks, according to the company, and those that are too slow to adopt technology innovations will increase business risk and cost, while compromising the mission of their organisations.
Gartner predicted worldwide government spending on technology products and services to reach $476.1 billion by 2020.
“By 2020, 30 percent of the transactions we engage in today will no longer exist,” Howard said. “The focus is now on effectiveness and outcomes, and the contribution that technology makes to the operations of government.”
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Posted: February 12, 2017 at 7:09 am
Actress Meryl Streep tore into President Trump during a speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s gala in New York on Saturday, calling the commander in chief a bully and condemning his use of Twitter.
“If we live through this precarious moment – if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesnt lead us to nuclear winter – we will have much to thank our current leader for,” Streep said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“He will have woken us up to how fragile freedom is. His whisperers will have alerted us to potential flaws in the balance of power in government. To how we have relied on the good will and selflessness of most previous occupants of the Oval Office,” she added.
The “Iron Lady” star remarked on “how the authority of the Executive, in the hands of a self-dealer, can be wielded against the people, their Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
“The whip of the Executive, through a Twitter feed, can lash and intimidate, punish and humiliate, delegitimize the press and imagined enemies with spasmodic regularity and easily provoked predictability,” she said.
Streep’s speech wasn’t focused solely on Trump. She also discussed the arts, humanities and a transgender teacher she had in middle school.
Some social media users shared bits of the speech online.
Sing for us all, Meryl Streep. @HRC pic.twitter.com/yNqrZpOUI6
Meryl Streep pays tribute to LGBTQ pioneers and those on the front lines of fighting for civil rights. pic.twitter.com/J6PdfbVTDm
This isn’t the first time the actress has been critical of Trump. During a Golden Globes speech earlier this year, she got emotional in a speech hitting Trump for being a bully.
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Posted: February 11, 2017 at 8:06 am
By Stepan Soroka
VANCOUVER February is not the ideal time to tour Western Canada. Freezing temperatures, excessive snowfall and remote mountain passes are enough to deter most musicians from travelling through our part of the world. But Brendan Kelly, frontman of the seminal midwestern punk band The Lawrence Arms, sees this as an advantage, counterintuitive as it may seem. When I go up there people havent had any shows for a while. He says over the pone from his Chicago home. Im not Chuck Ragan or Dallas Green. Im a fairly obscure musician and it allows me to have a crowd of people that are excited and enthusiastic. Im very grateful for that.
Whether you agree or not with Kellys claims of obscurity, his body of work is certainly voluminous and includes six full-lengths with The Lawrence Arms, two albums and an EP with supergroup The Falcon (which features Alkaline Trios Dan Adriano on bass), a full-length with The Wandering Birds, and more. When asked what he enjoys about performing acoustically, as opposed to the above mentioned projects, Kelly replies that an acoustic performance allows him to have a deeper personal connection with the audience. I can reengineer and reimagine the songs in a way that is more emotionally resonant, the singer-songwriter says. He also laments that there is no one else to blame when mistakes are made.
When you succeed it is unbelievably rewarding. But when you fail, there is nowhere to look but in the mirror, Kelly says about solo performances. With a band, you can let the mistakes roll off your back. Mistakes do happen, and sometimes they are beyond the performers control. When asked about his worst performance, Kelly tells me about a Lawrence Arms show where someone dosed his drink and he spent the entire show face-down on the stage while my bandmates tried to work through the set. At a solo show, there would not be much to work through.
While we chat, the conversation invariably turns to the subject of US politics. The debacle occurring in Kellys home country is simply too loud to ignore. Let me put it this way. Kelly begins, when asked if it is possible to have a worse president than the one currently in office. You know how everyone talks about going back in time to kill Hitler as a baby? Nobody went back in time and killed Hitler. Nobody went back in time and killed Donald Trump. So you gotta figure that the babies these time travellers did kill were much worse.
Its this kind of grim but undeniably amusing humour that has given Kelly a voice outside of punk rock, even if the people hearing it have no idea about where it is coming from. Kelly curates a Twitter account called Nihilist Arbys, which he calls a parody of corporate cluelessness. With over 260,000 followers, Kellys fake Arbys account far surpasses the fast food chains actual online following. Started as a dumb joke that he did not expect anyone to pay attention to, Nihilist Arbys recurring themes include drugs (and running out of them), loneliness, and the general futility of everything. I may be more like the fictional narrator than I would like to admit. Kelly adds.
People in music, journalism, the arts we take this dumb shit that we do way more seriously than it is, Kelly says. It is not important at all. What is important is running water. People not being blown up. The soundtrack to all of that is secondary. While it is hard to argue with that, it is safe to say that anyone reading this far values the art that Kelly and musicians in general gift to the rest of the world. Its been eight or nine years since Ive played in Vancouver and Im really looking forward to going back, says Kelly. Anyone who has even the most remote interest in what Ive been up to, please come, because it could be another nine years.
Brendan Kelly plays The Cobalt on Saturday, February 11th with Ben Sir and Chase Brenneman.
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Posted: February 10, 2017 at 3:04 am
Tribune, Art Gallery also receive awards
Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center CEO Dennis Franks received the Chanute Chamber of Commerces 2016 Partner in Progress award at the annual meeting Wednesday.
Speaking on the award announcement, Chamber of Commerce Board Member Ross Hendrickson, filling in for outgoing president Mark Miller, noted that Franks has only been in Chanute for 10 years.
Hendrickson said that in that time, Franks has made a significant impact in volunteerism, leadership, civic involvement and education, economic and cultural contributions.
His understanding of the needs of Chanute has been an asset as our community has grown and prospered over the past several years, Hendrickson said.
Franks has been involved with Court Appointed Special Advocates, the NCCC Foundation Board and the discussions that led to the creation of the CRDA.
Hendrickson also noted that the hospital has won numerous awards, including a spot in Modern Healthcares Top 100 Places to Work in Healthcare list for eight consecutive years.
In accepting the Partner in Progress honor, Franks said it was the best award he has ever received.
I cant tell you how much Ive enjoyed the time here in Chanute, he said. Theres a lot of stuff were going to do thats going to make you very proud of this community.
He said he has been through tough times, but his family has been very supportive.
Franks said the hospital cant provide everything yet, but were moving in that direction, he said. Look at what weve done, its amazing.
Franks said he has been working in Topeka to help get Kansas to expand Medicaid.
Our money is going to Oklahoma, he said, explaining that states that have expanded Medicaid are getting more federal dollars. Id rather have it right here in Chanute, Kansas.
Franks said the hospital spends $6 million every year treating people who cant afford medical care and Medicaid expansion is needed even if Obamacare is eventually repealed.
Franks ended his acceptance speech by saying how thankful he is to be in Chanute. He brought up his family and the hospital staff present at the meeting to accept the award with him.
Business of the Year
The Chanute Tribune was named the 2016 Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year at the annual meeting Wednesday night.
Longevity is on the list of criteria for Business of the Year nominations, Hendrickson said.
With all of the changes in Chanute in the last 125 years, Hendrickson said one of the things that hasnt changed is the commitment of the Chanute Tribune to provide local news on government, community and events.
The Tribune team brings neighbors together, he said. Whether it is good news or bad, they endeavor to bring the facts to their readers. In this age of instant information, the Tribune staff works as one to put out a newspaper that serves its hometown.
Publisher Shanna Guiot accepted the award for the Tribune. In her acceptance speech, she pointed out a recent Placemakers Survey whose directors were surprised to find that people in Chanute still go to the Tribune as their number one source for news.
Theres a lot of bizarre stuff going on in the world right now, with fake news and alternative facts, she said. We are more committed than ever to bringing you real news.
Community Investment Award
The Chanute Art Gallery received the 2016 Community Investment Award. Hendrickson said the gallery took the vision of founder Elly McCoy and increased community involvement and broadened the gallerys scope with a vision for the future of the arts in Chanute.
The Chanute Art Gallery is the largest art gallery in southeast Kansas. It has an extensive core collection of art in many different mediums.
Additionally, it has brought in shows that change monthly to showcase the work of area artists, Hendrickson said.
The gallery is entirely volunteer-operated and no fees are charged. It is supported by donations from businesses and individuals.
Art Gallery Board President Bob Cross accepted the award for the Chanute Art Gallery.
He noted that every board member save one was present at the meeting, as the board is a very involved group.
A special thanks goes out to these people, he said.
As far as changes to the gallery in the last year, Cross mentioned the remodeling in the kitchen and work in the bathrooms to remind people of an old-fashioned outhouse.
Cross invited everyone to become a member and support the Art Gallery.
Without you people, we dont exist, he said.
Cross also said that the award is not a finished product.
Its just a start for us, he said. I think youll see a lot more things in Chanute in the next year.
Posted: February 9, 2017 at 6:10 am
John Steinbeck wrote in Once There Was a War: The theatre is the only institution in the world which has been dying for four thousand years and has never succumbed. It requires tough and devoted people to keep it alive.
The UK has long been celebrated for its rich heritage of creative talent and a vibrant, enduring theatre scene. But where budget cuts are running deep across government spending, the arts are proving an easy target. The cost of living crisis touching many people, not just creatives, is a huge challenge for playwriting, often a lengthy and time-consuming process. And whether or not we consider the theatre a dying artform, at the very least, competition for audiences leisure time, hard-earned cash and imaginations is as intense as ever. As new playwright Liam Borrett, 25, who saw successwith’This Is Living’ last year, puts it: People can watch The Crown on Netflix from bed for 8.99 a month – you have to create something interesting enough to drag them out mid-winter for three hours at a cost of 30 or 40.
Many theatres and foundations run schemes and initiatives – such as the biennial Bruntwood Prize, now open for 2017 submissions – to support as many new playwrights, in and out of London, to write and experiment as possible. Yet it remains risky for a building to put on a new play rather than a tried and tested classic, and increasingly artistic directors will shape their seasons through commissions for specific writers, rather than see what lands on their doorstep. So who are the next generation of tough and devoted, working to keep theatre alive amidst our age of austerity and ever-accessible digital entertainment? And how are they faring? I spoke to some emerging British playwrights to find out.
Katherine Soper, 25, whose play ‘Wish List’ is currently a hit at the Royal Court (Joel C Fildes)
One such playwright is Alex MacKeith, 25,whose debut School Play has just opened at Southwark Playhouse. For MacKeith, there ought to be a platform for young playwrights as a means of engagement with current issues or dramatically presenting characters who have not been represented on stage before, a deeply important exercise for citizens who operate in society: Increasingly we need to cultivate our sympathies for other people. Having been part of a dynamic theatrical scene at university, it was his idea for School Play – about the realities of the school system in the UK, borne of his own personal experience as a tutor in a primary school – that he kept coming back to. Describing the naturalistic piece as inventive reportage rather than pure invention, the shape-shifting beast needed many iterations to keep up-to-date with frequent changes in policy: Its not a polemic on the education system. Neither am I presenting an alternative – it simply asks questions. Which is what plays should do.
2015 Bruntwood Prize winner, Katherine Soper, 25, lauds such programmes for providing the feedback many aspiring writers, sending out work to theatres like unanswered messages in a bottle, crave. She feels a fetishisation of the young in theatre can be reductive and damaging at times, particularly if a writer gets fated for greatness on the basis of an early work when they might not have had a chance to hone their craft away from critical eyes. Yet in the current political climate, the voice of the upcoming generation – overwhelming for Bremain and opposed to Trump – does need to be heard. With Wish List, which is currently on at the Royal Court, she did not set out to create a politically charged play, only when she started developing her story about the moralisation of work did she realise it was something she felt strongly about. For Soper, entertainment should not be pejorative: less about trite comparisons or a blunt tool for political statement its about plugging into visceral things, the kinds of fears and emotions people are experiencing at a certain moment in time. When a new or canonical play engages with that, it will resonate.
Playwright Chloe Todd Fordham, 30, equally praises initiatives and schemes for championing her writing but also admits facing a reality check in how difficult it is to write once making it onto the Royal Courts writing programme. Through studying an MA and writing with Theatre 503, she developed Sound of Silence which received a Bruntwood Judges Award in 2015. A bold and ambitious play, she is still working to see it staged, highlighting the often unseen slow burn of taking a play from its first writing to production: Its a combination of being patient and staying confident in the value of what you have to say. Not giving up.
The playwright Ella Hickson, 31, scored at hit with ‘Oil’ which was staged at the Almeida in 2016 (Peter Hickson )
Scottish writer Stef Smith, 29, who had her London debut with Human Animals at the Royal Court last year and is developing Girl in the Machine for Scotlands new writing theatre Traverse, is loathe to use the term the regions but notes the different ecosystems surrounding making work not always visible through a pervasive London-centric lens. While the UK capital may hold more opportunities, the concentration of the theatre community in cities like Edinburgh can afford closer connections and a nurturing environment for new writers.
Liam Borrett’sThis Is Living, his drama school graduating piece about loss, appeared at Trafalgar Studios in the West End last year, after proving a hit at Edinburgh Fringe: Getting people to come and see a two hander about death at 11pm was likely not going to work. But by word of mouth, there was a buzz. Even so, he explained facing difficulties in getting it transferred, being turned down by eight theatres, often waiting a frustrating and demoralising nine to ten months for the no: You cant just programme the same stuff. You need voices that reflect and deconstruct the society were living in. For Borrett, 25,theatre should rarely be a passive experience: There are days I go and watch a cosy musical. But the majority of the time I want to feel profoundly different and changed and most of the time upset by the end of it. Thats the cathartic experience you go to the theatre for.
Ella Hickson, 31, writer of Oil, which was staged at the Almeida last year, started out self-producing but now works on commission for the likes of the RSC, the National Theatre and Almeida. She recognises both the agency and relative immediacy afforded by the former and the greater stability by the latter: The production process between having an idea and getting it staged is not insignificant. In terms of a Zeitgeist, you are looking at a reflection of a cultural moment two years previous. But Hickson, like many artists, is far more interested in ploughing energy into the ever-challenging task of writing a good play: Writing is a bit like love, when it turns up, take it, and try not to worry about it too much when it’s not there.
Scottish writer Stef Smith, 29,who had her London debut with ‘Human Animals’ at the Royal Court last year
Lucy J Skilbeck,28, emphasises the importance of finding the right place to incubate and develop your ideas, hers being through a BBC Fellowship at Derby Theatre and later setting up her own production company Milk Presents. Concerned with fracturing ideas of masculinity and femininity, she had ambitions to make a drag king play about Joan of Arc. With Joan playing in pubs, schools and in a Hull UK City of Culture 2017 shopping centre for 2.50, Skilbeck has found a really easy light touch way you can dialogue with some mega ideas. Now preparing Bullish and directing a company of gender queer artists in Chekhovs The Bear/The Proposal, for Skilbeck, theatre is the place and now is the time to be political: Theatres should be places we grapple with things we dont understand which will then leak out into the wider world.
Other playwrights such as Andrew Maddock, 30,are exploiting new routes to stage for their writing. Starting out with his own one-man show, Junkie, he self-produces his work, drumming up a following through social media, such as for He(Art): The way I like to write is quitereactive – I want to write and get it on stage. He sees this as a growing and exciting trend, comparing it to the grassroots movement of punk rock, they reacted to something and created something, and Ithink that’s what’s happening in theatre right now. People are tired of waiting. He believes the fringe can raise the bar for everyone: a potential game changer.
Erin Doherty as Tamsin Carmody and Joseph Quinn as Dean Carmody in Katherine Soper’s ‘Wish List’ at the Royal Court (Jonathan Keenan)
Alexander Zeldin, 31,who saw success with Beyond Caring last year and whose play Love is currently transferring from London to Birmingham, is pushing a new, more process-driven approach to theatre. He sees a shift toward more forms of writing and collaborative writing, involving actors heavily in developing his characters. His theatre is firmly rooted in concrete communities: Its important a play makes sense to people and is not removed in some literary bubble – that can happen in our theatre culture. He is now preparing to take Beyond Caring to Chicagos Lookingglass theatre with David Schwimmer, exploring the plays theme of zero-hour contracts with African-American and Latino workers in the US.
The threat to theatres longevity is not a new one. And perhaps the challenge is, as ever, to keep seeking new edges in old tales, bringing fresh stories to the stage and cultivating new audiences by engaging with contemporary issues and a new generation of theatre goers through schools, young people and presenting theatre as something that is not exclusive. Netflix has its attractions, as does the cinema. But there is something idiosyncratic about the collective live experience of theatre, particularly in the close quarters of fringe venues. As MacKeith says: Once made accessible and non intimidating, the form does a lot of the work in keeping people engaged as it is so unique. In fact, it’s addictive.
‘School Play’ will be showing at Southwark Playhouse from until 25 February. The Bruntwood Prize is open for submissions until 5 June 2017.
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Posted: February 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm
Americas escape into sports is increasingly an escape from political correctness. The contrast between the objectivity of the one and the subjectivity of the other could not be clearer or more welcome to ever-growing crowds. Sport has always been a retreat from lifes drudgery, and that drudgery has never been more comprised of self-conscious societal censorship than it is today.
The Super Bowl is closing its two-week reign as Americas undisputed sovereign of spectacle. Nothing comes close. Other television broadcasts cannot rival it, and have not for years. Yet in its ascendancy, it is easy to overlook that while the Super Bowl is king, there is a large aristocracy of athletics surrounding it.
Americans have a seemingly insatiable desire to watch sports. Professional or amateur, it differs only by degrees, but the trend is the same: More. It dominates television with more channels than most thumbs can endure clicking through. It is the same on radio and in print. The internet offers only more opportunities for America to partake.
So great is demand that America races to repackage it into even more exciting offerings. We slice and dice the old sports, adding fantasy leagues and Nobel-level statistical analysis, to wring more enjoyment from them. And we add new ones MMA and made-to-order individual competitions. America always wants more.
How can demand still rise? It does because the need is growing. No society is as pretzeled by political correctness as America. And no escape from political correctness is as quick or complete as sports.
Sport demands objectivity. It yields a definitive outcome, and does so in a manner all participant and spectator accept and understand. Political correctness is subjectivity itself. Having a goal of no winners or losers only victims its rules are ever-changing and written by an elite who do not play by them.
Sport is clear-cut. Its outcomes are immediately known. A stadium instantly groans over a bad play by their team even as they wish it otherwise because they know and implicitly accept the consequences. Political correctness is only relative. What is permissible in one circumstance is not in another, for one group but not another, in one moment but not the next. Tomorrow its rules will be rewritten.
Sport is ever the unknown. Sports biggest story is the upset. It proves that, however much we think we know, we dont its why they play the game and on any given Sunday. Because it aint over til its over.
Political correctness is predetermined. We know the accepted answer even as we know its wrong before the question is asked. And that answer will eventually be extracted by hook or crook. It is not about discovering how events will turn out, but about arranging them as to how they should turn out.
Sport is about proper process. As much as it may be hated, a loss is accepted so long as the game was fair. And in their depths, no one wants to win by a bad call and even less by cheating. Political correctness is about proper outcomes. Only the accepted outcome will be allowed. However much the process must be manipulated to attain it is acceptable. Its only rules are the moments means that ensure it happens.
Little wonder Americans love sports they are called fans, short for fanatics, for a reason. They increasingly yearn for a clear-cut outcome with which they agree. There is a winner and a loser they can tell which is which, and celebrate a contest by which it is fairly, quickly, and clearly determined. And no, they do not abandon the losers at least half of every sporting event is comprised of them but continue cheering for them and eagerly await the next event.
Of course some will argue that there is political correctness in sports. Yes, it intrudes, but it remains the exception. It is the awkward interruption of the reason Americans flock to sports. There is a get it over with quality when it interlopes.
To appreciate sports attitude toward political correctness, compare it to the arts. There social commentarys absence is the exception. Almost every performance is a Wheres Waldo exercise to find it and you do not have to look hard, because it amounts to one of Waldos weakest efforts. No, avoiding it is the difficult part. Little wonder so many Americans do.
The comparison between sports and the arts could not be starker. While the arts go hat-in-hand in search of public support to fund themselves, sports are actually supported by the public. American sports do not need its performances subsidized by patrons or have government dollars channeled to the media to get themselves broadcast.
Nor do sports then turn back on those who foot its bills and insult them and their preferences. When Meryl Streep recently turned her broadside on Trump and threw down the threat So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick em all out, youll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts it was an empty one to most. Not watching the arts is the choice Americans overwhelmingly make and in large part because of such performances as Streeps emoting.
Americans instead hunger for objective excellence, not political correctness subjective substitute. Innately, Americans do not care who produces excellence. They simply love it being clearly determined, and they find those qualities less and less reflected in a society ruled by remote elites.
In a society increasingly being pushed toward becoming one without winners and losers, Americans are desperate to seek asylum in a sanctuary where there is nothing else.
Posted: August 10, 2016 at 9:22 pm
The adjective is from Old French liberal, from Latin liberalis (befitting a freeman), from liber (free); it is attested since the 14th century. The noun is first attested in the 1800s.
liberal (comparative more liberal, superlative most liberal)
pertaining to the arts the study of which is considered worthy of a free man
generous, willing to give unsparingly
ample, abundant, generous in quantity
obsolete: unrestrained, licentious
widely open to new ideas, willing to depart from established opinions, conventions etc.
open to political or social reforms
Translations to be checked
liberal (plural liberals)
one with liberal views, supporting individual liberty
one who favors individual voting rights, human and civil rights, individual gun rights and laissez-faire markets
liberalm, f (masculine and feminine plural liberals)
liberal (comparative liberaler, superlative am liberalsten)
Positive forms of liberal
Comparative forms of liberal
Superlative forms of liberal
From Latin liberalis (befitting a freeman), from liber (free).
liberalm, f (plural liberais, comparable)
librlm (Cyrillic spelling )
liberalm, f (plural liberales)
liberalm, f (plural liberales)
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Posted: July 29, 2016 at 3:09 am
A NATION’S GREATNESS DEPENDS ON ITS LEADER
To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level.
Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes — or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist — not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.
Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.
Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.
And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader’s greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe. Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
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Quotes About Freedom Of Speech (231 quotes) – Goodreads
Posted: June 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm
Perhaps you have had a nightmare in which you fell through the bottom of your known universe into a vortex of mutated children, talking animals, mental illness, freakish art, and clamoring gibberish. There, you were subjected to the gaze of creatures of indeterminate nature and questionable intelligence. Your position as the subject of your own dream was called into question while voices outside your sight commented upon your tenuous identity. When you woke, you were relieved to find that it was only a dream-version of the book you were reading when you fell asleep. Maybe that book was Alice in Wonderland; maybe it was What is Posthumanism?
Now, it is not quite fair to compare Cary Wolfes sober, thoughtful scholarship with either a nightmare or a work of (childrens?) fantasy. It is a profound, thoroughly researched study with far-reaching consequences for public policy, bioethics, education, and the arts. However, it does present a rather odd dramatis personae, including a glow-in-the-dark rabbit, a woman who feels most at ease in a cattle chute, an artist of Jewish descent who implants an ID-chip in his own leg, researchers who count the words in a dogs vocabulary, and horses who exhibit more intelligence than the average human toddler. The settings, too, are often wildly different from those you might expect in an academic work: a manufactured cloud hovering over a lake in Switzerland, a tree park in Canada where landscape and architecture blend and redefine one another, recording studios, photographic laboratories, slaughterhouses, and (most of all) the putative minds of animals and the deconstructed minds of the very humans whose ontological existence it seeks to problematize.
But that is another exaggeration. Wolfes goal is not to undermine the existence or value of human beings. Rather, it is to call into question the universal ethics, assumed rationality, and species-specific self-determination of humanism. That is a mouthful.
Indeed, Wolfes book is a mouthful, and a headful. It is in fact a book by a specialist, for specialists. While Wolfe is an English professor (at Rice University) and identifies himself with literary and cultural studies (p. 100), this is first of all a work of philosophy. Its ideal audience is very small, consisting of English and Philosophy professors who came of age in the 70s, earned their Ph.D.s during the hey-day of Derridean Deconstruction, and have spent the intervening decades keeping up with trends in systems theory, cultural studies, science, bioethics, and information technology. It is rigorous and demanding, especially in its first five chapters, which lay the conceptual groundwork for the specific analyses of the second section.
In these first five chapters, Wolfe describes his perspective and purpose by interaction with many other great minds and influential texts, primarily those of Jacques Derrida. Here, the fundamental meaning and purpose of Posthumanism becomes clear. Wolfe wants his readers to rethink their relationship to animals (what he calls nonhuman animals). His goal is a new and more inclusive form of ethical pluralism (137). That sound innocuous enough, but he is not talking about racial, religious, or other human pluralisms. He is postulating a pluralism that transcends species. In other words, he is promoting the ethical treatment of animals based on a fundamental re-evaluation of what it means to be human, to be able to speak, and even to think. He does this by discussing studies that reveal the language capacities of animals (a dog apparently has about a 200-word vocabulary and can learn new words as quickly as a human three-year-old; pp. 32-33), by recounting the story of a woman whose Aspergers syndrome enables her to empathize with cows and sense the world the way they do (chapter five), and by pointing out the ways in which we value disabled people who do not possess the standard traits that (supposedly) make us human.
But Wolfe goes further than a simple suggestion that we should be nice to animals (and the unspoken plug for universal veganism). He is proposing a radical disruption of liberal humanism and a rigorous interrogation of what he sees as an arrogant complacency about our species. He respects any variety of philosophy that challenges anthropocentrism and speciesism (62)anthropocentrism, of course, means viewing the world as if homo sapiens is the center (or, more accurately, viewing the world from the position of occupying that center) and specisism is the term he uses to replace racism. We used to feel and enact prejudice against people of different ethnic backgrounds, he suggests, but we now know that is morally wrong. The time has come, then, to realize that we are feeling and enacting prejudice against people of different species.
Although Wolfe suggests many epistemological and empirical reasons for rethinking the personhood of animals, he comes to the conclusion that our relationship with them is based on our shared embodiment. Humans and animals have a shared finitude (139); we can both feel pain, suffer, and die. On the basis of our mutual mortality, then, we should have an emphasis on compassion (77). He is not out to denigrate his own species far from it. Indeed, he goes out of his way to spend time discussing infants (who have not yet developed rationality and language), people with disabilities (especially those that prevent them from participating in fully rational thought and/or communication), and the elderly (who may lose some of those rational capacities, especially if racked by such ailments as Alzheimers). Indeed, he claims: It is not by denying the special status of human being[s] but by intensifying it that we can come to think of nonhuman animalsasfellow creatures (77).
This joint focus on the special status of all human beings along with the other living creatures roaming (or swimming, flying, crawling, slithering) the globe has far-reaching consequences for public policy, especially bioethics. Wolfe says that, currently, bioethics is riddled with prejudices: Of these prejudices, none is more symptomatic of the current state of bioethics than prejudice based on species difference, and an incapacity to address the ethical issues raised by dramatic changes over the past thirty years in our knowledge about the lives, communication, emotions, and consciousnesses of a number of nonhuman species (56). One of the goals of his book, then, is to reiterate that knowledge and promote awareness of those issues that he sees as ethical.
If you read Wolfes book, or even parts of it, you will suddenly see posthumanism everywhere. You can trace its influence in the enormously fast-growing pet industry. From the blog Pawsible Marketing: As in recent and past years, there is no doubt that pets continue to become more and more a part of the family, even to the extent of becoming, in some cases, humanized.
You will see it in bring-your-pet-to-work or bring-your-pet-to-school days. You might think it is responsible for the recent introduction of a piece of legislation called H.R. 3501, The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years, know as the HAPPY Act, which proposes a tax deduction for pet owners. You will find it in childrens books about talking animals. You will see it on Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, and a PBS series entitled Inside the Animal Mind. You will find it in films, such as the brand-new documentary The Cove, which records the brutal slaughter of dolphins for food. And you will see it in works of art.
Following this reasoning, section two of Wolfes book (chapters six through eleven) veers off from the s
trictly philosophical approach into the more traditional terrain of cultural studies: he examines specific works of art in light of the philosophical basis that is now firmly in place. Interestingly, he does not choose all works of art that depict animals, nor those that displace humans. He begins with works that depict animals (Sue Coes paintings of slaughterhouses) and that use animals (Eduardo Kacs creation of genetically engineered animals that glow in the dark), but then moves on to discuss film, architecture, poetry, and music. In each of these examinations, he works to destabilize traditional binaries such as nature/culture, landscape/architecture, viewer/viewed, presence/absence, organic/inorganic, natural/artificial, and, really, human/nonhuman. This second section, then, is a subtle application of the theory of posthumanism itself to the arts, [our] environment, and [our] identity.
What is perhaps most important about What is Posthumanism remains latent in the text. This is its current and (especially) future prevalence. By tracing the history of posthumanism back through systems theory into deconstruction, Wolfe implies a future trajectory, too. I would venture to suggest that he believes posthumanism is the worldview that will soon come to dominate Western thought. And this is important for academics specifically and thinkers in general to realize.
Whether you agree with Cary Wolfe or not, it would be wise to understand posthumanism. It appears that your only choice will be either to align yourself with this perspective or to fight against it. If you agree, you should know with what. If you fight, you should know against what.
What, then, is the central thesis of posthumanism? Wolfes entire project might be summed up in his bold claim that, thanks to his own work and that of the theorists and artists he discusses, the human occupies a new place in the universe, a universe now populated by what I am prepared to call nonhuman subjects (47)such subjects as talking rabbits, six-inch people, and mythical monsters?
Well, maybe not the mythical monsters.
Posted: June 13, 2016 at 12:52 pm
The term meme (it’s pronounced like dream or cream) was coined by Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. As examples he suggested tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches.
Memes are habits, skills, songs, stories, or any other kind of information that is copied from person to person. Memes, like genes, are replicators. That is, they are information that is copied with variation and selection. Because only some of the variants survive, memes (and hence human cultures) evolve. Memes are copied by imitation, teaching and other methods, and they compete for space in our memories and for the chance to be copied again. Large groups of memes that are copied and passed on together are called co-adapted meme complexes, or memeplexes.
The word meme has recently been included in the Oxford English Dictionary where it is defined as follows meme (mi:m), n. Biol. (shortened from mimeme … that which is imitated, after GENE n.) An element of a culture that may be considered to be passed on by non-genetic means, esp. imitation.
According to memetics, our minds and cultures are designed by natural selection acting on memes, just as organisms are designed by natural selection acting on genes. A central question for memetics is therefore why has this meme survived?. Some succeed because they are genuinely useful to us, while others use a variety of tricks to get themselves copied. From the point of view of the selfish memes all that matters is replication, regardless of the effect on either us or our genes.
Some memes are almost entirely exploitative, or viral, in nature, including chain letters and e-mail viruses. These consist of a copy-me instruction backed up with threats and promises. Religions have a similar structure and this is why Dawkins refers to them as viruses of the mind. Many religions threaten hell and damnation, promise heaven or salvation, and insist that their followers pass on their beliefs to others. This ensures the survival of the memeplex. Other viral memes include alternative therapies that dont work, and new age fads and cults. Relatively harmless memes include childrens games, urban legends and popular songs, all of which can spread like infections.
At the other end of the spectrum memes survive because of their value to us. The most valuable of memeplexes include all of the arts and sports, transport and communications systems, political and monetary systems, literature and science.
Memetics has been used to provide new explanations of human evolution, including theories of altruism, the origins of language and consciousness, and the evolution of the large human brain. The Internet can be seen as a vast realm of memes, growing rapidly by the process of memetic evolution and not under human control.
The field of memetics is still a new and controversial science, with many critics, and many difficulties to be resolved.
Examples of memes
Anything that is copied from person to person, or book to person etc.
The Loo Roll meme !
Many other sites provide definitions, FAQs and other basic information on memes. See Links.
For more on definitions see Blackmore,S.J. 1998 Imitation and the definition of a meme. Journal of Memetics – Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission, 2.