This week in the link roundup, more about the (still) ongoing protests in the province of Quebec (Canada), news about computer viruses or worms (both Suxnet and Flame), debt has become an important concept to understand our shared situation, some comments about the relation between philosophy and politic (or the problem of the apolitical), science fiction writer Ray Bradbury dies, the story of General Atomics manufacturer of the MQ-1 Predator drone, decoding the genome of fetuses, increase suicide rates among U.S. troops and Paolo Virno on being a virtuoso (plus an acompanying video of a man ironing a shirt).
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The Guardian: “Quebec’s student protesters give UK activists a lesson” Peter Hallward, June 1st, 2012.
The extraordinary student mobilisation in Quebec has already sustained the longest and largest student strike in the history of North America, and it has already organised the single biggest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. It is now rapidly growing into one of the most powerful and inventive anti-austerity campaigns anywhere in the world.
While we’re at it, Alan Taylor compiled a collection of 39 iconic photos for The Atlantic’s photography blog “In Focus”: see “The Montreal Protests, 4 Months In”, June 8, 2012.
It was a major week for computer virus with both Suxnet and Flame making the headlines:
Ars Technica: “Confirmed: US and Israel created Stuxnet, lost control of it” by Nate Anderson, June 1st, 2012.
The New York Times: “Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran” by David E. Sanger, June 1st, 2012.
Ars Technica: “Flame espionage malware issues self-destruct command” by Dan Goodin, June 8, 2012.
With Spain accepting a $125 billion Euro bailout from European finance ministers, the concept of debt remains a crucial topic to understand the situation we’re all in. A couple of relevant links collected this past week:
The Wall Street Journal: “Obama’s Debt Boom” June 5, 2012.
The CBO’s [Congressional Budget Office] long-term budget outlook notes that federal debt held by the public—the kind we have to pay back—will surge to 70% of the economy by the end of this year. That’s the highest share of GDP in U.S. history except World War II, as the nearby chart indicates, higher than during the Civil War or World War I. It’s also way up from 40% in 2008 and from the 40-year average of 38%. And it’s rising fast. CBO says that on present trend the national debt will hit 90% of GDP by 2022. It then balloons to 109% by 2026—that would be the all-time WWII peak—and approaches almost 200% of GDP by 2037.
Telegraph: “Debt crisis: Spain requests bailout to save banks”, by Emma Rwoley, June 9, 2012.
The New York Times: “Spain to Accept Rescue From Europe for Its Ailing Banks” by Raphael Minder, Nicholas Kulish and Paul Geitner, June 9, 2012.
From the MIT Press comes the English translation of Maurizio Lazzarato’s The Making of the Indebted Man. The book will be release in September 2012.
An und für sich: “A response to Graham Harman’s “Marginalia on Radical Thinking”” by Alexander Galloway, June 3, 2012. Galloway takes a shot at the whole “Speculative realism” emerging movement. The heart of his argument is a critique of what he understands as the fundamentally “apolitical” position of those who claims to belong this movement. He concludes by writing:
Let’s hope that OOO wakes up soon and realizes that a philosophy without a political theory is no philosophy at all.
Which really is an interesting point: what role should politic play in any kind of theoretical endeavour? The problem was discusses by Jean-Luc Nancy and Roberto Esposito. See previously here: “Dialogue on the Philosophy to come” (2010)
The New York Times: “Ray Bradbury, Science Master, Dies at 91” by Gerald Jonas, June 6, 2012. See also from Letters of Note: “All of my friends were on the shelves above”, a letter where Bradbury explains how he wrote Fahrenheit 451
Motherboard: “How the West Was Droned: The Curious Rise of General Atomics” by Michael Arria, June 6, 2012. General Atomics manufacturs the famous Predator drone.
MIT’s Technology Review: “Using Parents’ Blood to Decode the Genome of a Fetus” by Courtney Humphries, June 6, 2012. The last paragraph of this article is as important as the scientific finding that is been reported:
But an even more difficult task will be interpreting the results, since the relationship between genetics and disease is not always clear, and knowing such information will undoubtedly pose ethical challenges.
Associated Press: “Suicides are surging among US troops” by Robert Burns, June 8, 2012.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Suicides are surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day this year – the fastest pace in the nation’s decade of war. The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan – about 50 percent more – according to Pentagon statistics obtained by The Associated Press. The numbers reflect a military burdened with wartime demands from Iraq and Afghanistan that have taken a greater toll than foreseen a decade ago. The military also is struggling with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other misbehavior.
I don’t know the original author of this video simply titled “Just A Man Ironing A Shirt.”, but it reminded me of an interesting quote by Paolo Virno:
Virtuosos, as you will recall, are those who produce something which is not distinguishable, nor even separable, from the act of production itself. (Grammar of the Multitude, tr. by I. Bertoletti, J. Cascaito, A. Casson, New York: Semiotext(e), 2004, p. 90)