• Investigating the EU's anti-migration programs in Nigeria

    A Dutch journalist has partnered with a Nigerian investigative journalist & an Italian reporter to examine the local effects in Nigeria of the European Union’s anti-migration aid projects:

    In western media, the overwhelming majority of migration reporting is from the perspective of arrival – not departure. A year and a half ago, I decided to flip the script and see how assumptions about migration hold up when you look at them from the places people leave.

    I want to follow the money trails that are flowing into Nigeria from European development and security budgets with the aim of cutting migration. I want to know where the money is coming from, where it’s going, what Europe is trying to achieve, and what the results are in practice.

    The article contains an appeal — for on- or off-record conversations — with those involved in the development, implementation, & assessment of these projects.

    Tracking the European Union’s migration millions | The Correspondent

  • [Dr. James DeLine’s] clinic has become a magnet for Plain People. Some travel eight hours from Missouri or Iowa just to see him.

    In a rural Wisconsin village, the doctor makes house calls — and sees some of the rarest diseases on Earth | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


  • The rural Wisconsin doctor treating his traditionalist patients at the leading edge of genetics research

    The doctor who makes house calls also collaborates with English and American geneticists studying some of the rarest diseases on Earth. Some occur at much higher levels among the Amish, Mennonites and other closed communities that don’t allow marriage to outsiders. This prohibition increases the likelihood that when a rare, disease-causing mutation appears in the community, it will take root and pass from generation to generation.

    Scientists use a special term, “the founder effect,” to explain how some variations in the human genetic sequence appear more often in groups that are geographically or culturally isolated.

    It has taken DeLine and his staff years to gain the trust of Plain People, some of whom are wary of medicine and technology. Often, they fear that going to a hospital or clinic will mean surrendering the decision-making to doctors who neither respect their beliefs nor understand their financial limitations.

    DeLine, not a religious man himself, accommodates the beliefs of patients and parents; he has always viewed them as the ultimate decision-makers. As a result, the clinic has become a magnet for Plain People. Some travel eight hours from Missouri or Iowa just to see him.

    In a rural Wisconsin village, the doctor makes house calls — and sees some of the rarest diseases on Earth | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Sophia Moen, 1796–1889.

  • Lingering over a second helping of rømmegrøt, coffee, and a couple of cookies. The lutefisk and lefse were excellent this year.

  • Assurance, Not Insurance

    “No person should ever see a hospital bill that exceeds the assessed value of their house.” should be an uncontroversial statement. Yet Americans choose to selectively shield patients from financial devastation based on their ability to pay into a system that combines a Ponzi scheme with an extortion racket.

    ☞ Our bill did not include the surgeon who performed life-saving emergency surgery, follow-up procedures, additional doctors, home health nurses, or medication.

  • Anthropologists embarked on

    …a quest to answer one of the most basic—and most profound—questions about human consciousness: Did color spring from our heads or our tongues? Or from somewhere in between?

    Why Red Means Red in Almost Every Language | Nautilus

  • Democracies, Oligarchies, & Citizens’ Assemblies

    Are our political systems true democracies, or oligarchies in populist clothing?

    For Aristotle, whether states were oligarchic or democratic was deeply ingrained in their ways of working – the politics of structure itself. He believed that cities that chose their office holders, jurors and judges by lottery were democratic and that those using elections were oligarchic – that’s Greek for government of, by, and for the few.

    He argued that lotteries extinguish the electoral campaigning advantages of wealthier, more expensively educated candidates over poorer adversaries. He reasoned that a handful of people, grown used to generations in office, are easier to corrupt than the many.

    On citizens’ assemblies, a contemporary pro-democratic initiative with corrective potential:

    The assemblies’ combination of “​demos”​ (people) exercising “​kratos​” (power, or government) was not exactly how ancient Athenians practised “democracy”. Aristotle could certainly have found fault with the formula. Yet he’d also have recognised assemblies’ democratic core: the absence of elected representatives taking the place of citizens.

    An Athenian remedy: the rise, fall and possible rebirth of democracy |\ The Correspondent

  • This album’s release is the best news I’ve heard all day.

  • This morning’s moonset.

  • Greetings from breakfast and my 28.8k modem.

  • Waiting for small plates, drinking a mezcal cocktail.

  • The removal of HKMap.live from iOS’ App Store isn’t the first time Apple has purged an app that is a political liability for the company. Journalist Josh Begley’s iOS app, Drones+/Metadata+, tracked US military drone strikes; Apple repeatedly rejected & ultimately removed it.

  • It occasionally amazes me that it took twenty years to replace USB-A with an bidirectional USB connector. And by “occasionally,” I mean “every time I have to plug a USB-A connector into the back of my iMac.”

  • Missed Opportunity

  • Emoji & Censorship of Dissidents

    Last January I wrote of my personal (and, in an update, ongoing) resistance to emoji:

    Emoji is a language of borrowed “words” “curated” by technocrats (experts, presumably of technology, at the Unicode Consortium), who release those new “words” to platform vendors like Apple, Google, Facebook, & Twitter, who then decide how their users can express these “words” by altering their visual representation. (See Emojipedia for myriad examples ranging from humorous differences in artistic taste to clear differences in meaning.) The only control in this arrangement that remains for the actual users of emoji are which symbols are used, and whether additional meanings are assigned to them within a specific sub-set of the wider emoji-using culture. (All languages likely are capable of this aspect of use; it’s just that this appears to me to be the full extent of agency for “speakers” of emoji.) In a sense, emoji are to language what Twitter & Facebook are to the web  —  a proprietary platform created & controlled by technocrats that limits the agency of its users — who once exclusively expressed themselves through a messy, but wide-open & democratic platform instead.

    The Hong Kong Free Press, reporting this past Saturday (via Daring Fireball):

    The Republic of China flag emoji has disappeared from Apple iPhone’s keyboard for Hong Kong and Macau users. The change happened for users who updated their phones to the latest operating system.

    Updating iPhones to iOS 13.1.1 or above caused the flag emoji to disappear from the emoji keyboard.

  • Today’s weather features one of those great 30-degree temperature swings — from 39–69°F — that are common to the Upper Midwest in fall & spring.

  • The iPhone’s new ultra-wide camera is pretty okay!

  • County-wide fire truck parade, followed by an apparatus demonstration up at Capitol Square.

  • Climate change is not a war, it is genocide.

    Eric Holthaus:

    Climate writers often slip into a war metaphor. But climate change is not a war, it is genocide. It is domination. It is extinction. It is the most recent manifestation of how powerful men throughout history have sought to steal from the less powerful, and dismiss them as merely inconvenient. Understanding climate change in this way transforms everything.

    Climate change is about how we treat each other | The Correspondent

  • Time to exorcise some demons.

  • Drinking kvass, listening to Cal Tjader’s Too Late Now, & sweating the small stuff the night before a policy publication’s RFC release deadline.

  • Setting an eyeball-friendly Editor Theme in RStudio might not be the most important task for an R beginner, but turning down the blazing bleak UI was satisfying nonetheless. (I went with “Idle Fingers.”)

  • Marcin Wasilewski Trio’s “An den kleinen Radioapparat” is perfect for tonight’s rheumy, post-downpour darkness. It’s a shimmering rendition of a gem composed by the incredibly complicated Hanns Eisler & set to anti-fascist lyrics by his dear friend Bertolt Brecht.

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