When I visit the Popular Page of 500px, I’m overwhelmed. At least every other photo is stunning. And at least on every tenth photo, I think, “If I had taken THAT photo, it would have been one of best photos I had ever taken in my life. Really worth a visit.
I enjoyed this primer on super-stimuli by Gregory Ciotti, titled “Is Your Brain Truly Ready for Junk Food, Porn, or the Internet?” Super stimuli, featuring the work of Niko Tinbergen. He discovered that we can hijack animal’s instincts beyond their evolutionary purpose.
I was an early kickstart investor in a most unusual wristwatch, meaning that I bought one of these watches at a discount. This device was recently featured in The Atlantic:
A new watch called Tikker claims to have created a way to calculate approximately when, according to its creators, a person is likely to die, and then to input that date into a wristwatch. The idea is that being constantly reminded of his or her own mortality will nudge the wearer to live life to the fullest.
Here’s Tikker’s own website featuring its watch.
I’ve thought that it would be a good idea to have one these devices ever since a friend of mine (Tom Ball) told me 30 years ago that it would be cool to have a watch that ran backwards, estimating the amount of time you had to live. He said that when you found yourself at a boring party, you would glance at your backwards-running watch and say, “Sorry, I’ve got to go. I’ve only got X years to live.”
This device will soon be mine, and I’ll see whether I cherish it or whether it annoys me.
To this point, Karl Marx offered a system of government that has not worked well anywhere that it has been tried, at least so far. I took a college course on Marx many years ago, and I was impressed with many of his criticisms of capitalism. Some of those criticisms of capitalism are becoming apparent to most of us, as set forth in this article by Sean McElwee of Rolling Stone. Here are the headings:
1. The Great Recession (Capitalism’s Chaotic Nature)
2. The iPhone 5S (Imaginary Appetites)
3. The IMF (The Globalization of Capitalism)
4. Walmart (Monopoly)
5. Low Wages, Big Profits (The Reserve Army of Industrial Labor)
Marx was wrong about many things. Most of his writing focuses on a critique of capitalism rather than a proposal of what to replace it with – which left it open to misinterpretation by madmen like Stalin in the 20th century. But his work still shapes our world in a positive way as well. When he argued for a progressive income tax in the Communist Manifesto, no country had one. Now, there is scarcely a country without a progressive income tax, and it’s one small way that the U.S. tries to fight income inequality.
Here’s a related article by Jesse Myerson of Salon: “Why you’re wrong about communism: 7 huge misconceptions about it (and capitalism).” Here are the misconceptions:
1. Only communist economies rely on state violence.
2. Capitalist economies are based on free exchange.
3. Communism killed 110 million* people for resisting dispossession.
4. Capitalist governments don’t commit human rights atrocities.
5. 21st Century American communism would resemble 20th century Soviet and Chinese horrors.
6. Communism fosters uniformity.
7. Capitalism fosters individuality.
Myerson’s conclusion regarding misconception 7:
As a matter of fact, most of the greatest art under capitalism has always come from people who are oppressed and alienated (see: the blues, jazz, rock & roll, and hip-hop). Then, thanks to capitalism, it is homogenized, marketed, and milked for all its value by the “entrepreneurs” sitting at the top of the heap, stroking their satiated flanks in admiration of themselves for getting everyone beneath them to believe that we are free.