locus communis


“I think that the type of oppression which threatens democracies is different from anything there has ever been in the world before. Our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I have myself vainly searched for a word which will exactly express the whole of the conception I have formed. Such old words as ‘despotism’ and ‘tyranny’ do not fit. The thing is new, and as I cannot find a word for it, I must try to define it.

I am trying to imagine under what novel features despotism may appear in the world. In the first place, I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each one of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest. Mankind, for him, consists in his children and his personal friends. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, they are near enough, but he does not notice them. He touches them but feels nothing. He exists in and for himself, and though he may still have a family, one can at least say that he has not got a fatherland.

Over this kind of men stands an immense, protective power which is alone responsible for securing their enjoyment and watching over their fate. That power is absolute, thoughtful of detail, orderly, provident, and gentle. It would resemble parental authority if, father-like, it tried to prepare its charges for a man’s life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood. It likes to see its citizens enjoy themselves, provided they think of nothing but enjoyment. It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be the sole agent and judge of it. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, makes rules for their testaments, and divides their inheritances. Why should it not entirely relieve them from the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living?” – Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.

Via the daily dish

3 weeks ago

July 6, 2014

1 month ago

June 24, 2014
reblogged via affaldscontainer
photo laaaaaaandsat:

Path 42, Row 11 2014-06-24 at 2014-06-24 18:24:00.541274 GMT

1 month ago

June 24, 2014
reblogged via laaaaaaandsat

2 months ago

May 27, 2014
reblogged via proof
photo Look at this freaking kid.

Look at this freaking kid.

2 months ago

May 21, 2014

But the broadband providers are now like the airlines. They could very easily offer a better overall service, but they’re quickly recognizing that by offering a crappy service, they can charge more to get a select few to pay up for a “fast lane” approach. So the incentives are totally screwed up. There’s little incentive for airlines to improve the boarding process, so long as having such a crappy process leads people to pay extra fees to avoid the crappy process.

In the broadband space, it’s even worse, because there’s even less competition, so there are even fewer incentives for the broadband providers to actually do the necessary upgrades.

Mike Masnick at Tech Dirt. What Inefficient Airline Boarding Procedures Have To Do With Net Neutrality (via protoslacker)

2 months ago

May 8, 2014
reblogged via david-noel
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Heinlein.  (via chrislindsay)

3 months ago

April 28, 2014
reblogged via chrislindsay

Paid Maternity Leave

I am a new dad and my wife is going back to work 8 weeks after the birth of our son because she gets zero paid maternity leave. She saved up a month of PTO and sick time; then gets only 2 weeks (!) of short term disability at 60% pay.

I’ve been driving for UberX to make up some of her salary. Last week I drove a very nice gentleman from Switzerland to the airport - his wife was in the middle of 8 months of paid maternity leave. 

"Studies show that roughly half of our health as adults has been programmed in the first thousand days after conception. In other words, it’s the nine months in the womb, and the next two years after that which are critical for writing the software in our biology that will determine how healthy we’re going to be. So societies that privilege those first thousand days are healthier than societies that neglect them.

What do I mean by privilege or neglect? There are only three countries in the world that don’t have a paid maternity leave policy. One of those countries is Papua New Guinea, half of a big island north of Australia. The second country is Liberia, in West Africa. And you can guess the third. We do not have a federal paid maternity leave policy. All the other countries do, except for those other two. We’re in a league with two countries that aren’t very healthy, and our medical care system isn’t going to bail us out.

All the other rich countries have paid perinatal leave policies, meaning if you’re a working woman and pregnant, you get to take as many as 18 weeks off work with pay.”

High Inequality Results in More US Deaths than Tobacco, Car Crashes and Guns Combined

(Source: juancole.com)

3 months ago

April 23, 2014
photo Origami House - TSC Architects

Origami House - TSC Architects

(Source: inhabitat.com)

3 months ago

April 23, 2014
photo got this awesome bill as a tip yesterday. 10 Swiss Francs. Now off to Switzerland!

got this awesome bill as a tip yesterday. 10 Swiss Francs. Now off to Switzerland!

3 months ago

April 16, 2014
My Amazon.com Wish List