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"A Brilliant Primer" MEDEA BENJAMIN reviewed in Red Pepper

August 23, 2016

"Set out in an accessible self-answered Q&A-style format, the book’s first half summarizes the political, economic and social conditions in the theocratic Gulf monarchy. All public gatherings are prohibited, with no freedom of worship and a near total intolerance of dissent. Trade unions are banned, the death penalty implemented for non-violent crimes and women continue to be treated as minors who must be supervised by a male relative. Reform is painfully slow."

To read more, visit Red Pepper.

"Life Itself Is Being Patented, Privatized and Re-engineered" ASHLEY DAWSON interviewed in Truthout

August 23, 2016

"I argue in my book that it is perhaps easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to articulate any other genuine solution to the extinction crisis. While we need all sorts of creative concrete proposals for how to cope with the extinction crisis and the broader capitalist ecological Armageddon, of which it is a part, it is the poverty of the imagination to which Jameson alluded that is at the root of our inability to transform our current alarming condition."

To read more, visit Truthout.

"The Climate Catastrophe Cannot Be Reversed Within the Capitalist Culture" ASHLEY DAWSON excerpted in Truthout

August 23, 2016

"Extinction: A Radical History is intended as a primer on extinction for activists, scientists, and cultural studies scholars alike, as well as for members of the general public looking to understand one of the great but all too often overlooked events of our time. Extinction is both a material reality and a cultural discourse that shapes popular perceptions of the world, one that often legitimates an inegalitarian social order."

To read more, visit Truthout.

"There will be a hawk in the White House" MEDEA BENJAMIN interviewed in Frontline

August 23, 2016

"In 2013, United States President Barack Obama spoke in Washington, D.C., on the issue of national security and drone policy. Not long into his speech, a woman got up and asked him to close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She was Medea Benjamin, one of the founders of the activist group CODEPINK. She was relentless. She interrupted Obama thrice. Medea Benjamin, who is 10 years older than Obama, was nonplussed when he called her a “young lady”. Fear does not seem to be part of her lexicon. With Medea Benjamin undaunted, Obama said: “The voice of that woman is worth paying attention to."

To read more, visit Frontline.

"It's Time to End the U.S.-Saudi Arabia Special Relationship" MEDEA BENJAMIN in Alternet

August 23, 2016

"Medea Benjamin’s new book – Kingdom of the Unjust – is an activist’s dossier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and American complicity. She is like an accountant of suffering – lining up columns and columns of information about human rights abuses, denial of basic democratic freedoms and export of nastiness that borders on terrorism. The United States government is aware of everything in Medea Benjamin’s book – for, after all, she makes good use of US reports on these violations of basic questions of human dignity."

To read more, visit Alternet.

"Why the Olympics aren't good for us" MARK PERRYMAN in Morning Star Online

August 22, 2016

"Costly prestige venues are built with the attendant transport and hotel infrastructure often facing decades of under-use at best or demolition at worst. Quite possibly the most extreme example of this is what has already happened to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. Built at vast public expense, it was given away by the then London Tory mayor for next to nothing to a rich football club in the richest football league in the world to make money for their Tory-supporting owners and next to nobody else"

To read more, visit Morning Star Online.

"A Narco History on CNN Mexico" CARMEN BOULLOSA and MIKE WALLACE on CNN

August 16, 2016

"Carmen Boullosa and Mike Wallace, authors of the book 'A Narco History', recount the prohibition of drugs in the United States and Mexico as well as changes in these policies according to different historical moments along."

To watch, visit CNN.

"Will the Public Internet Survive?" SCOTT MALCOMSON in The Nation

August 16, 2016

"Malcomson's "Splinternet," a cyber-realm disintegrating along geopolitical fault lines, isn't a rupture of the World Wide Web, but rather a pointed reminder of the inescapability of this global condition."

To read more, visit The Nation.

"The Top 10 Latin American Feminist Writers" CARMEN BOULLOSA in The Culture Trip

August 16, 2016

"Broadly dealing with feminist issues in Latin America in her repertoire of eclectic and genre-spanning writings, Carmen Boullosa is an exceptional novelist, poet, and playwright. Generally speaking, her works deal with gender roles in Latin American society and other feminist issues."

To read more, visit The Culture Trip.

"A Better Olympics Is Possible" MARK PERRYMAN in Jacobin

August 16, 2016

"But the disparity between Olympic ideology and reality has only deepened since commercial imperatives took over the competition. The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics established a new tradition: the enormous public subsidy of private goods in the name of sports. Since then, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has sought some kind of moral justification for its capitalist excess."

To read more, visit Jacobin.

"Scorching Summer Read" MARA EINSTEIN in Morning Star

August 16, 2016
"Mara Einstein’s Black Ops Advertising details the many ways in which corporate PR operations have sought to colonise social media."
To hear more, visit Morning Star Online.

"Bookworm: Drinking Mare's Milk on the Roof of the World" TOM LUTZ on KCRW

August 16, 2016

"You're not a tourist. Although you're traveling very quickly, your primary instrument of exploration is not the guide book. You take risks. You get lost. You like getting lost, and you like hitting the end of the road."

To hear more, visit KCRW.

"They tried to hide this as much as they could." MEDEA BENJAMIN on Democracy Now

August 15, 2016

"They tried to hide this as much as they could. I mean, a Friday afternoon, when Congress is going on its summer vacation, when the conventions are starting. They really wanted to bury this. What is in the 28 pages? Well, I think the way the administration and the Saudi officials tried to downplay it, you have to question: Well, then why they were hiding it for 14 years? What we see in the 28 pages is 10 different Saudi individuals who were named and details about their connections to the Saudi government and their connections to helping the hijackers. This is mostly, Amy, the ones that were living in San Diego. Two-thirds of the hijackers, though, were living in Florida. We don’t have any information that’s released about them. And there’s, according to Bob Graham, 8,000 pages of documents that he and others are still trying to get released."

To read more, visit Democracy Now.

On the 25th anniversary of the launch of the first website, a look back at notable INTERNET HISTORY

August 9, 2016

The Internet, twenty-five years later


On August 6, 1991 Tim Berners-Lee launched the world’s first website for CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research. Today, there exist more than one billion sites on the World Wide Web and more than three billion Internet users. In those twenty-five years, the Internet has grown in ways that could not have been foreseen two and a half decades ago. OR Books has documented the history of the Internet, from its breakthroughs to its failures, its expectations to its realities, its triumphs to its present dangers.

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@heaven: THE ONLINE DEATH OF A CYBERNETIC FUTURIST

1994, northern California. The Internet is just emerging from military and university research labs. Groups of idealistic technologists, recognizing its potential as a tool for liberation and solidarity, are working feverishly to build the network.

In an early chat room, The WELL, a Stanford futurist named Tom Mandel creates a new conference asking for advice shaking off a persistent hacking cough. Within six months he is dead.

@heaven opens a window onto the way the Internet functioned in its earliest days. This electronic chronicle of a death foretold reminds us of the values of kinship and community that the Internet’s early pioneers tried to instill in a system that went on to take over the world.

 

SPLINTERNET by Scott Malcomson

There’s always been something universalizing about the Internet. The World Wide Web has seemed both inherently singular and global, a sort of ethereal United Nations. But today, as Scott Malcomson contends in this concise, brilliant investigation, the Internet is cracking apart into discrete groups no longer willing, or able, to connect. The implications of this shift are momentous.

“This is not your ordinary history of the Internet. Scott Malcomson has brilliantly extended the connections between Silicon Valley and the military back far beyond DARPA—back, in fact, to World War I. If you want to understand the conflict between cyberspace utopians and the states and corporations who seek to dominate our virtual lives, you’ve got to read this book.” —James Ledbetter, editor, Inc. Magazine

 

LEAN OUT edited by Elissa Shevinsky

Lean Out collects 25 stories from the modern tech industry, from people who fought GamerGate and from women and transgender artists who have made their own games, from women who have started their own companies and who have worked for some of the most successful corporations in America, from LGBTQ women, from women of color, from transgender people and people who do not ascribe to a gender. All are fed up with the glacial pace of cultural change in America’s tech industry.

“Disconcertingly thought-provoking.” —TechCrunch

 

TWEETS FROM TAHRIR edited by Nadia Idle and Alex Nunns

The Twitter accounts of the activists who brought heady days of revolution to Egypt in January and February this year paint an exhilarating picture of an uprising in real-time. Thousands of young people documented on cell phones every stage of their revolution, as it happened. This book brings together a selection of key tweets in a compelling, fast-paced narrative, allowing the story of the uprising to be told directly by the people in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

“Deeply moving, a record of great courage, mostly by young people, facing Mubarak’s legion of goons and regime thugs.” —Robert Fisk, The Independent

 

HACKING POLITICS edited by David Moon, Patrick Ruffini and David Segal

Hacking Politics is a firsthand account of how a ragtag band of activists and technologists overcame a $90 million lobbying machine to defeat the most serious threat to Internet freedom in memory. The book is a revealing look at how Washington works today – and how citizens successfully fought back.

Written by the core Internet figures—video gamers, Tea Partiers, tech titans, lefty activists and ordinary Americans among them—who defeated a pair of special interest bills called SOPA (“Stop Online Piracy Act”) and PIPA (“Protect IP Act”), Hacking Politics provides the first detailed account of the glorious, grand chaos that led to the demise of that legislation and helped foster an Internet-based network of amateur activists.

 

THE BIG DISCONNECT by Micah L. Sifry

Now that communication can be as quick as thought, why hasn’t our ability to organize politically—to establish gains and beyond that, to maintain them—kept pace? The web has given us both capacity and speed: but progressive change seems to be something perpetually in the air, rarely manifesting, even more rarely staying with us.

“No one better grasps the interplay between innovative media technology and politics than Micah Sifry.” —Kevin Phillips

 

BLACK OPS ADVERTISING by Mara Einstein

From Facebook to Talking Points Memo to the New York Times, often what looks like fact-based journalism is not. It’s advertising. Not only are ads indistinguishable from reporting, the Internet we rely on for news, opinions and even impartial sales content is now the ultimate corporate tool. Reader beware: content without a corporate sponsor lurking behind it is rare indeed.

“Reading Mara Einstein is like putting on magic glasses that let you see the advertising all around you, all the time. Whether you’re looking to sell, or hoping to resist, here is the state of the art.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Present Shock

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Further Reading

what's yours is mine cover beyond zero and one cover

"Charting the rise and rise of 'sponsored content'" MARA EINSTEIN on ZDNet

August 9, 2016

"In Black Ops Advertising, Mara Einstein... suggests a future in which advertising increasingly subsumes all content. Everything will look free, but hidden agendas, data collection and fakery will be everywhere. This is the internet as con trick, where the natural human instinct to share news and gossip is co-opted as low-cost marketing for brands and others who do not fundamentally care about us except as sources of revenue."

To read more, visit ZDNet

"Talking about the occupation at a U.S. Jewish summer camp" BEHROOZ GHAMARI in Haaretz

August 9, 2016

"This is a book about values, about poetry and music; about the spirit of youth and a deep bond among those awaiting the hour of death. At times, particularly when the writer describes the visits of his mother and father to the prison, I cried – and sometimes I also laughed aloud."

To read more, visit Haaretz

Are the Olympics good for us? MARK PERRYMAN has some ideas

August 9, 2016

Why the Olympics Aren't Good for Us, and How They Can Be

Mark Perryman reminds us there's much to critique in the modern Games.  
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From Why the Olympics Aren't Good for Us, and How They Can Be:

“Each Olympic Games is indivisible from the political, economic, social and cultural forces that shape it. The Olympics change as the world changes...

“In many ways the current era in Olympic history began at the Los Angeles Games in 1984. Four years previously the USA had failed to persuade most of the world to join it in boycotting the 1980 Moscow Games... Prior to that in 1976 the Montreal Games had been a huge loss-making commercial disaster for the city, and 1972’s Munich Games had been marked by terrorism. Something had to change if the Olympics were to survive. The early 1980s was the era of Reaganomics, and California was US President Reagan’s home state. What better place than Los Angeles to put the stamp of corporate America on the Five Rings and transform a symbol that was fast becoming damaged goods?

”This was the first Games where the profit motive was paramount. Sponsorship, endorsement, and product-placement deals were all signed with the global multinationals. Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Mars Bar were the kind of brands that could provide the huge sums demanded. For such global products the Olympics provided the perfect promotional platform. This commodification of the Games inevitably had an impact on the athletes too. They demanded, with some degree of justification, that as their sporting efforts now sustained a highly profitable enterprise for a self-perpetuationg International Olympic Committee (IOC), they should have a share of the spoils. In 1986, two years after Los Angeles, the strict Olympian code of amateurism was summarily abandoned... Both processes, commericializaiton fo the Games and professionalization of the athletes, have been key to the dramatic trnasformation of the Olympics into what they are today.”

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Further Reading

what's yours is mine cover the gulf cover

"Review: Extinction: A Radical History" ASHLEY DAWSON reviewed in Earth First! Journal

August 8, 2016

"Recommended: Yes.This book outlines the history of extinction and critiques “solutions” to the problem from an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist stance, offering useful concepts for thinking about extinction in relation to environmental and social justice.”

To read more, visit Earth First!

"TOA16 interview with Andrew Smart" ANDREW SMART interviewed for Tech Open Air Festival 2016

August 5, 2016

"Andrew and Alex Görlach (The European) discuss the original dream for artificial intelligence, how it's lost sight of creating an artificial human mind, and more musings about the current state of AI, and where it's going.”

To watch, visit Tech Open

"The Energy Humanities Podcast" DALE JAMIESON on Cultures of Energy

August 5, 2016

"Dale posits love as the antithesis of narcissism and describes why contact with the real is so much more important than enveloping ourselves in fantasy. We talk hierarchy and class and why the Anthropocene will be better for some than for others.”

To hear more, visit CENHS