No. These announcements may sound great, but they look painfully naive in the face of the growing storm that is the global plastic recycling market. At the same time that the news is filled with these flashy industry recycling pledges, we are getting an increasingly frantic story from across the country and the world that our plastic simply isn’t getting recycled.
A 2017 study found that of all the plastic ever created, only a paltry 9 percent has been recycled, and the rest is clogging our streets, waterways, and has even made its way into our food systems. Beyond the fish on our plate, tiny pieces of plastic have been found in sea salt, honey, and even beer. Not to mention 94 percent of the United States’ drinking water.
Source: ‘Recyclable’ is a word, not a promise — most plastic goes to landfills – SFChronicle.com
The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children.
We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy.
Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club.
But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we’re playing, everybody loses badly in the end.
Source: The Birth of the New American Aristocracy – The Atlantic
I think the lack of a military draft since 1973 has contributed to the acceleration of class separation in American society. Remember the days when the likes of John F. Kennedy could serve alongside and develop relationships with people from various socioeconomic levels?
Americans have not had that kind of class intermingling for decades.
Source: The Atlantic September 2018 Issue: The Conversation – The Atlantic
The U.S. Defense Department released its final request for proposals on the potential $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, a massive cloud computing initiative. The department leadership has chosen to maintain its single source strategy.
Awarding the massive contract to a single contractor has stirred controversy within the cloud computing industry and on Capitol Hill. Critics contend that relying on a single company reduces opportunities for innovation and cost savings.
Source: DOD Sticks to Single Source Strategy for JEDI Contract | SIGNAL Magazine
Recently, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in response to Executive Order 13800, released recommendations to the President of the United States on the subject of cybersecurity. Included was an emphasis both on domestic policy and international cooperation to achieve several key diplomatic, military and economic goals. The specific focus on international cooperation is a big step in the right direction.
The issues of cybersecurity and cyberwarfare are further complicated by the sheer number and variety of threat actors in the space. One of Secretary Pompeo’s stated goals is to “improve the ability of the United States to deter malicious cyber actors.” The specifics are less clear, even in the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues’ more detailed memo.
What makes one a cyber terrorist?
How should the U.S. and broader international community define a state actor?
Given the similarity in available tools, how should countries mete out justice for a nation state versus a curious young hacker?
These definitions are still lacking.
Source: Implementing an Effective Cybersecurity Strategy | SIGNAL Magazine
How America learned to stop worrying and put Mark Zuckerberg in charge of everything.
Last week, we saw another flurry of censorship news. Facebook apparently suspended VenezuelaAnalysis.com, a site critical of U.S. policy toward Venezuela. (It was reinstated Thursday.) Twitter suspended a pair of libertarians, including @DanielLMcAdams of the Ron Paul Institute and @ScottHortonShow of Antiwar.com, for using the word “bitch” (directed toward a man) in a silly political argument. They, too, were later re-instated.
More significantly: Google’s former head of free expression issues in Asia, Lokman Tsui, blasted the tech giant’s plan to develop a search engine that would help the Chinese government censor content.
Source: Taibbi: Censorship Does Not End Well – Rolling Stone
The First Amendment protects us against governmental intrusions; it does not (yet) protect speech on privately owned platforms. Still, the Internet and social media increasingly function as a “modern public square,” as Justice Anthony Kennedy put it in a 2017 Supreme Court opinion. This has created new dilemmas concerning free expression.
The forums of Google and Facebook seem quasi-public in part because of their extraordinary reach.
Facebook’s two hundred million monthly users in the U.S. constitute about three-fifths of the American population. Its algorithms and its censors’ judgments, though they inevitably affect commerce and political competition, are based upon rules that aren’t all published. When moderators at Facebook, Google, and Twitter review the appropriateness of posted content, they generally follow First Amendment-inspired principles, according to Kate Klonick, a legal scholar who analyzed the practices of the three companies in the Harvard Law Review last year.
Some of the platforms’ standards are unsurprising, such as their bans on pornography and terrorist incitement. Other rules require moderators to block “hate speech,” an ambiguous term that, despite Facebook’s efforts at delineation, can be politicized.
Still other censorship reflects sensitivities that arise from operating in dozens of countries, including some run by dictators.
Source: Alex Jones, the First Amendment, and the Digital Public Square | The New Yorker
Democrats are partying like it’s 2006, which was the last time they snatched the majority from House Republicans. But August doesn’t tell you much about upcoming elections. Actually, September is when the cruel electoral winds shake loose some House seats.
Source: Democrats partying like 2006 as Republicans deal with scandals | TheHill
The Boston Globe and the New York Times took part along with more than 350 other newspapers of all sizes, including some in states that Trump won during the 2016 presidential election.
The Globe’s editorial accused Trump of carrying out a “sustained assault on the free press.”
“The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful,” it said. “To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous to the civic compact we have shared for more than two centuries.”
Source: Newspaper editorials across U.S. rebuke Trump for attacks on press | Reuters
Apple argued that buildings it owned around Cupertino, Calif., where it is headquartered, were only worth $200 instead of the $1 billion tax assessors deemed in 2015, according to appeals reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The report characterized the dispute as part of an aggressive strategy by Apple to lower its tax bills. According to the Chronicle, Apple has 489 open appeals in tax disputes over property assessed at $8.5 billion in Santa Clara County, Calif., dating back to 2004.
Source: Apple argued building was worth $200 not $1B to lower tax bill | TheHill