• monitor Commercialism in Music: Lucian James’ American Brandstand (via the New Forum ) lists the 47 mentions of brand name consumer products in this week’s Billboard 100 song lyrics.
  • Computer Screens: Ninety Degrees Off: Bob Frankston at SATN struggles to achieve the obvious improvement to the computer monitor that has been denied us since its inception: turning it sideways so we can read it the way we read anything else. 
  • Metaphor: Conservatives & Liberals: Wood’s Lot recaps and links to a series of articles by George Lakoff, that describe the two polar worldviews as metaphors of our family models: Conservative as strict-parent (pessimistic view of human nature) vs. liberal as nurturing-parent (optimistic view of human nature). Metaphors are always dangerous, and these need to be taken with a bushel of salt, but they’re interesting. A teaser:

I’ve found some people are conservative in parts of their lives and liberal in others, but there isn’t a middle-ground world view. But if you understand what the world views are, you can at least respect each other and understand where you’re coming from and not attribute beliefs to irrationality, venality, simple-mindedness. You attribute them to idealism. And that gives you a new respect for other people. You can’t have discourse without that.  

  • Metaphor: Falling Through the Ice: And speaking of metaphors, here’s a clever one called Thin Ice from e-sheep (via Lisa Rein’s Radar ) that, although a bit over the top, ridicules Perle and Rumsfeld, and hence is worth a read for that reason alone.
  • And Now, the Future: Rebecca’s Pocket discusses the CIA’s new Global Trends 2015 report. Although it doesn’t contain any great new insights (and contains surprisingly little obvious propaganda), it lays out a great framework for personal thinking about the future. Some predictions that stuck out for me:
    • Action on the environment and overpopulation will be spotty and inadequate
    • The influence of ‘non-state actors’ (read: international corporations, organized crime and extranational terrorists)  on our political future will continue to grow
    • US hegemony will wane 
    • Water scarcities will become commonplace
    • Economic and political turbulence, and state repression, will increase
    • The benefits of globalization and ‘free’ trade will be ‘far from global’, and disparities will rise
    • Urbanization will continue to increase
    • Education will play a vital role in economic and social stability and ‘progress’
    • China will become the main buyer of Mideast oil

Two things that surprised me in the report: No mention of the catastrophic impact in Mexico of the end of the subsidy there on corn in 2007 (under NAFTA), and the misplaced confidence that genetic modification and other technologies will offset many of the economic and social problems we will face in the next dozen years.

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