From an idea for an atmospheric overhaul for Mars to more on basic universal income to advice on internet trolls there's an article here for you to read this weekend. So when it's time to relax this weekend, grab your favourite beverage and have read more and think more...
Huxley believed that his version of dystopia was the more plausible one. In a 1949 letter, thanking Orwell for sending him a copy of “1984,” he wrote that he really didn’t think all that torture and jackbooting was necessary to subdue a population, and that he believed his own book offered a better solution. All you need to do, he said, is teach people to love their servitude. The totalitarian rulers in Huxley’s book do this not by oppressing their citizens but by giving them exactly what they want, or what they think they want — which is basically sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll — and lulling them into complacency. The system entails a certain Trump-like suspicion of science and dismissal of history, but that’s a price the inhabitants of Huxley’s world happily pay. They don’t mourn their lost liberty, the way Orwell’s Winston Smith does; they don’t even know it’s gone.
The idea of a book being good or bad is enough to send many book lovers into a flurry of indignation. There is no such thing, they might say with fierceness and finality, as a bad book. No lesser authority than writer Günter Grass left no room for debate when he said: Even bad books are books and therefore sacred.
The big five publishers in the last calendar year have managed to hang on to more than half of all ebook sales at Apple and Barnes & Noble Nook. At B&N, in particular, their share tops 61%, but that merely makes them the largest fish in a rapidly-shrinking pond. Amazon garners significant ebook sales, but major publishers only account for 23% of total Kindle sales.
Both left and right are promoting the idea of a basic wage for everyone, currently on trial, as a solution to the new world of work. When he got the letter after Christmas saying he was entitled to an unconditional income of €560 (£478) a month, Mika Ruusunen couldn’t believe his luck. “At first I thought it was a joke. I had to read it many times. I looked for any evidence it might be false.”
Look at them: smart, engaged, thoughtful. Loads of life experience. A room full of students, motivated and ready to write. I love this class. But then I say we're going to work on writing compelling opinion pieces for publication and a sudden chill descends. A dozen sets of toes curl in discomfort.
What might be some indicators to consider before you publish a blog, Facebook status, or tweet?
I want to offer 12 brief questions to ask. Think of them as indicator lights, the kind a pilot checks before take off.
Transforming Mars to make it more livable for humankind could involve creating an artificial magnetosphere for the Red Planet. This idea has been suggested by a team of researchers, presenting the concept at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop 2017 being held this week in Washington, D.C.
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