Why Everyone Hates Technology Now
December 17, 2019
“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. [Steve] Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” – Nick Bilton
“The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.” -Sydney J. Harris
India’s Religious Partisanship Becomes Dangerous
A wave of unrest has gripped India since the December 11 passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, a priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Hindu primacy is a bedrock of Modi’s party, and now, for the first time, religion is a criterion for nationality.
The new law creates an expedited path toward citizenship for migrants belonging to six religions. Specifically excluded, however, is Islam, the faith practiced by 200 million Indians. Opponents are on both ends of the political spectrum.
Critics in the nation’s capital of New Delhi contend the measure is unconstitutional, anti-Muslim, and contra to India’s founding ethos of secularism; those in the northeastern state of Assam argue the law should be more restrictive, expelling all illegal immigrants regardless of religion or ethnicity.
On Sunday students at New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University were protesting outside the gates when the march turned violent and a bus was set on fire. Responding police officers entered the campus and began beating protesters with batons, hurling insults and lobbing canisters of teargas; no one was killed, but hundreds of students were injured. In Assam, near the border with Bangladesh, five people were killed.
Speaking at a rally on Sunday Modi said opposition parties were responsible for the clashes. He also said protesters setting the fires “can be identified by their clothes,” a statement critics said was a political dog whistle to refer to Muslims, who often wear distinctive garb. On Monday the prime minister appealed for calm, and again appeared to blame the demonstrations on his political opponents, tweeting: “We cannot allow vested interest groups to divide us and create disturbance.”
- India’s students are in full revolt against a new citizenship law that excludes Muslims (Vox)
- Delhi air pollution: The law that’s helping fuel the city’s poor air quality (Vox)
- India’s Internet shutdown in Kashmir is the longest ever in a democracy (WaPo, $)
Unluck Of The Irish
- Ireland’s history is complicated. Beginning in 1920 the Government of Ireland Act partitioned the island into two parts: the Republic of Ireland (its capital Dublin), an independent nation, and Northern Ireland (its capital Belfast), not an independent nation but part of the United Kingdom.
- In simplest terms, the population of Northern Ireland consists of unionist Protestants, more British with allegiance to the UK, and a smaller minority of nationalist Catholics who consider themselves Irish. For most of the 20th century, since coming into existence, Northern Ireland has been embroiled in discrimination and hostility waged between these two sides.
- At the beginning of the 21st century the violence abated. But the Brexit vote has re-ignited hostilities. Former prime minister Theresa May tried to avoid signing off on a plan that would divide Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK when it left the EU. Current PM Boris Johnson said he would do the same thing, but his new plan does just the opposite. It would keep Northern Ireland in a customs union with the Republic of Ireland to the south — a mortal threat to unionists dedicated to preventing the island’s reunification.
- For Northern Ireland, violence is once again rising, amid a stagnant economy and a leadership vacuum, and republican paramilitaries are attacking disadvantaged working-class Catholic communities who are deeply distrustful of the Protestant Police Services. (Guardian, NYT)
- The UK Election Explained, in One Number (NYT, $)
- Labour won’t win again until it works out why it lost (Guardian)
- This Labour meltdown has been building for decades (Guardian)
Good Job Containing The Bull In The China Shop
- China’s president Xi Jinping showed his support for Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam at a meeting in Beijing Monday. Xi told Lam that he “fully affirms” the work she and her government have put in to calm social tensions in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
- Hong Kong has been embroiled in months-long protests by pro-democracy activists challenging Beijing’s authority. Local elections last month were a resounding public rebuke of the establishment. (WSJ)
- China’s military: How soldiers who want out are punished (CNN)
Please Worry And Please Don’t Love The Bomb
- Washington’s top representative on North Korea, Stephen Biegun, was in South Korea on Monday. During a news conference in Seoul, Biegun warned that if Pyongyang conducted a major weapons test in the coming days, as Washington fears it might: “Such an action will be most unhelpful in achieving a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
- He appealed to the North to return to dialogue on denuclearization, saying: “Let’s get this done.” Biegun, who is also the State Department’s No. 2 official, was meeting with senior South Korean officials amid signs that the North was preparing to launch a satellite or flight-test an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea has conducted two tests in the last 10 days that it called “very important” or “crucial” to improve what it called its “strategic nuclear deterrent.” (NYT)
From Co-Ed To No-Ed
- New numbers out Monday from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks college enrollment, show that this fall there were nearly 250,000 fewer students enrolled in college than a year ago. Since 2011 college enrollment has declined by 11 percent, a reduction of some 2.3 million students.
- Every sector — public state schools, community colleges, for-profits and private liberal arts schools — has felt the decline. Small private colleges have been especially hurt, with some institutions being forced to close. A strong economy is the biggest reason for the decline. 2011 was the tail end of the last recession; as the economy improved, the unemployment rate went down. More people were leaving or postponing college, and heading to work.
- Besides, college costs keep soaring, making it even more difficult to persuade students to enroll. Today’s recruiters are having to be much more creative in locating bodies to fill their emptying classrooms. (NPR)
- New Kind of Student Loan Gains Major Support. Is There a Downside? Income-share agreements, promoted by Betsy DeVos and Silicon Valley, may wind up merely shifting the payment burden from some students to others. (NYT, $)
Mr. Crow Teaches US History
- For decades the debate over school segregation in the US has focused on how school districts assign their students to individual schools. But it’s the lines that divide school districts from each other that have a much more profound effect in separating students by race, ethnicity and class. Memphis, Tennessee is a prime example of how school district boundaries have worked to enable segregation.
- In Shelby County, the boundary lines changed not once but twice in two years, as Memphis and its suburbs battled over controlling the schools. For many years, there were two districts — one for the city, one for the rest of the county. Then, a few years ago, there was one large merged district. But a year later the suburbs rebelled and six broke away, each forming its own system.
- Today there are seven school districts in Memphis, each serving the children inside their own lines. One result: considerable segregation on the metro level, with the black children of Memphis separated by district lines from the adjacent, mostly white suburbs. (WaPo)
Additional World News
- Trump impeachment: Democrats push for Bolton to testify in Senate trial (Guardian) & House Slated To Impeach Trump This Week — How It Will Work And What Comes Next (NPR)
- Man with the money: Democrats cry foul as Bloomberg splashes the cash (Guardian) & ‘Mayors for Mike’: How Bloomberg’s Money Built a 2020 Political Network (NYT, $)
- Trump threatens Comey with ‘years in jail’ over FBI Russia report (Guardian)
- #NeverPete: How Buttigieg has drawn the fury of the online left (CNN) & Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders Have a Problem: Each Other – They’ve abided by a de facto nonaggression pact. But to win the Democratic nomination, one must prevail over the other by consolidating the left. (NYT, $)
- A ‘forever chemical’ contaminates drinking water near military bases: Communities nationwide have found levels of PFAS in their water hundreds, sometimes thousands, of times higher than the level recommended by the EPA. (NBC)
- The fight for the future of female
- The gender gap is on course to close…. in 99 years (BBC)
- Twenty-three women accuse Harvey Weinstein of ‘trying to gaslight society’ (Guardian)
- Barack Obama: Women are better leaders than men (BBC)
- Toxic Masculinity and the Brokenness of Boyhood (Atlantic, $)
- The overlooked condition that can trigger extreme behaviour (BBC)
- Why Everyone Hates Technology Now
- The Decade Tech Lost Its Way (NYT, $)
- The Terror Queue: These moderators help keep Google and YouTube free of violent extremism — and now some of them have PTSD (Verge)
- Best movies of the 2010s: The Social Network knew our extremely online future (Vox)
- The Latest Case of Cybercrime: A Strobe That Induces Seizures – A man is expected to plead guilty to sending a strobe GIF on Twitter to a reporter who has epilepsy. (NYT, $)
- New Orleans City Hall hit by ransomware in cyber attack: what we know, don’t know (Nola)
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