Taking notes 30: Privatizing the brain

by Steven Miller President Obama announced the next step in research of the human brain. This is the BRAIN Initiative – Brain Research through Advanced Neurotechnologies. The US government will finance research into the next generation of technology to map the human brain with $100 million in seed money. The next step is to develop new electrical, optical, computer-assisted technology to investigate how the brain works at the level of neurons to determine how they work and how they link up in neural networks. The current level of brain research is already pretty amazing. Without invading the skull, scientists can … Continue reading Taking notes 30: Privatizing the brain

Taking notes 26: Revolution-in-waiting

Are we destined for history, for philosophy, for the world, have we been sent, probably from further afield than from our individuality, to wage a war in their name? — Anti-Badiou, Laruelle With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. — John F. Kennedy The US of A is on the brink again. It is on the verge of running out of cash … Continue reading Taking notes 26: Revolution-in-waiting

Taking notes 23: Architecture: A social and political history since 1848

by Ross Wolfe & Sammy Medina Victor Hugo once proclaimed the death of architecture at the hands of the printing press.  “Make no mistake about it,” he wrote in his Hunchback of Notre Dame.  “Architecture is dead, dead beyond recall; killed by the printed book.”[1] In drawing this analogy, Hugo was trying to make a broader point about the transition from Catholicism to Protestantism in European history — traditions symbolized by the grandeur of the Gothic cathedral (“architecture”) and the vernacular of the delatinized Bible (“the printed book”), respectively. But Gutenberg’s invention carried a still-greater significance vis-à-vis architecture. It granted an almost … Continue reading Taking notes 23: Architecture: A social and political history since 1848

Taking notes 22: The need for a debt strike

by Richard H. Robbins The disclosure of critical flaws in a study used by economists to justify austerity budgets in Europe and the United States once again puts a focus on the role of debt in our economy. The study, Growth in the Time of Debt, by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, purported to show that when national debt approaches ninety percent of GDP, economic growth will slow. A new paper, by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin claims that the process that Reinhart and Rogoff used to select their growth data was skewed to support their conclusion and … Continue reading Taking notes 22: The need for a debt strike

Taking notes 20: The 2012 student strike: Many lessons were learned and taught

by Aziz Choudry and Eric Shragge In September 2012, the Liberal government of Jean Charest was defeated, and the pro-independence Parti-Quebecois (PQ) was elected to a minority government. The PQ government almost immediately rolled back the tuition increase and repealed Bill 78-Law 14, the repressive emergency legislation to curb and limit public protest which had been introduced in May of that year. In the short term this is a victory and was certainly brought about by the mass protests during what has been described as Le Printempserable or Maple Spring. There is the amazing experience of the “carré rouge,” the small red squares worn by students and the general public that … Continue reading Taking notes 20: The 2012 student strike: Many lessons were learned and taught

Taking notes 19: Venezuela with and beyond Chávez

by Dario Azzelinni Chávez was one of us”, say the poor from the barrios in Caracas, the people throughout Latin America, and Bronx residents together with probably two million poor people in the US, who now have free heating thanks to the Chávez government. Sean Penn said on Chávez: “Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion.” These are sad days. This article is not going to delve into the many accomplishments of the Bolivarian process with regard to healthcare, life expectancy and education … Continue reading Taking notes 19: Venezuela with and beyond Chávez