I first came across the concept of Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) about 15 years ago. It takes a block of text and presents it one word at a time in a rapid sequence in a fixed location on the screen. Since I don’t have to scan the text back and forth across the screen, I can read faster without sacrificing comprehension. Spreed is my RSVP Chrome Extension of choice. I’ve been using for the past 6+ years. I normally have my rate set to 550 WPM, but it’s easy (and sometimes necessary) to change depending on the complexity of the text. I also use the Paste Text into Spreed function to read content from PDFs and other documents on my computer. You can, of course, customize the font, color, speed… to suit your own taste.
-- Dave Cortright
An exploration in citizen continuing education.
11 Threats, 12 Policies, 12 Players in One Place
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Global Week in Review
An exploration in citizen continuing education.
Week Ending Saturday, 9 March 2019
- Moral & Spiritual Decline. To be added beginning next week.
- Poverty. China and India taking lead with national-scale poverty eradication. Should we pay attention?
- Infectious Disease. Distrust in vaccine integrity, are infectious diseases making a comeback?
- Environmental Degradation. Still no clue. “Big data” is fragmented, no one really cares.
- Inter-State Conflict. Kashmir will not go nuclear. Syria won. Palestine still an occupied apartheid country.
- Civil War. While Iraq stabilizes, America is moving toward culturally-insane civil war out of touch with reality.
- Genocide. Force sterilization is a form of genocide. Accountability for colonial genocide emergent.
- Other Atrocities. Pedophilia is slowly emerging as a deep national security threat. Not there yet.
- Proliferation. US/UK continue to lie about Syria using chemical weapons and who funded ISIS.
- Terrorism. White people are more likely to be terrorists in US/UK; Russia has stomped its terrorists out.
- Transnational Crime. Germany covers up illegal immigrant crime. Hats off to US DOJ on elder fraud sweep.
- Agriculture. Biofuels needs to go away; clean agriculture a distant vision; holistic policy does not exist.
- Diplomacy. US picking fights with India, Turkey, Venezuela, arming Saudi Arabia, perhaps doing well in Korea.
- Economy. Weak signals of global economic crash. President’s tariff strategy is working.
- Education. The unstated message: schools suck, not creating critical thinkers who can innovate and adapt.
- Energy. No one, anywhere, is serious about holistic energy solutions that leverages renewables at low cost.
- Family. China, Hungary, and India are dong family policy planning supportive of national integrity. We are not.
- Health. Health care in the USA is too expensive and has too many lies built in. Time to make it a public service.
- Immigration. Trump is right, Congress is wrong, Supreme Court will have a say, this will be an election issue.
- Justice. The US justice system is broken – foreign influence, legalized lies, state murder with impunity.
- Security. US does not have a holistic national security strategy – demography & technology are out of control.
- Society. Artists merit more respect; aging population cannot be supported as things now stand.
- Water. Desalination solutions are here, governments are simply not serious about solving the water crisis.
- Brazil. Brazil merits more respect from the USA – Trump has a chance to craft a new Southern front strategy.
- China. Xi has bigger problems than Trump does – seems to be more innovative – and is winning the South.
- India. Most complicated country on the planet, 22 languages, more Muslims than anyone. Next big power.
- Indonesia. Largest Muslim population in the world, massive natural resources including gold, pay attention.
- Iran. Our President needs to stomp down hard on the Deep State forces seeking to wage war on Iran.
- Israel. Jews and Palestinians, not Zionists, should be working together in peace. Genocide is not working.
- Korea. Not in the news: this is a done deal guaranteed by China. Trump is the cosmetic closer. Get over it.
- Palestine. Gandhi had it right: “Palestine is to the Palestinians as France is to the French.”
- Russia. US is losing arms sales to Russia; Russia is creating the next Internet and US will loser there as well.
- Syria. Assad won. US should be in international criminal court along with Israel and Saudi Arabia.
- Turkey. Not in the news: major regional power with Iran, One Belt One Road changes everything.
- Venezuela. This is very hard to understand. Local corruption plus US arrogance destroying a country.
2019-03-09 Iranian Daily Asia Experts say China’s anti-poverty drive helpful for other countries
2019-03-07 China Military Xi stresses perseverance in fight against poverty
2019-03-06 The Hindu Opposition trying to remove me, while I am trying to remove terrorism, poverty: Modi
2019-03-05 ECNS Li Keqiang: China to forge ahead with fight against poverty
2019-03-03 Indian Express Poverty to vulnerability: Rethinking social protection
2019-03-02 Haaretz Opioid crisis engulfs Gaza as poverty soars
2019-03-08 ContagionLive Top Infectious Disease News of the Week—March 3,2019
2019-03-08 The Atlantic Medieval Diseases Are Infecting California’s Homeless
2019-03-03 WCAI The Paradox of Declining Infectious Diseases
2019-03-09 XinhuaNet UNEP plans to create big data platform on environment
2019-03-09 The Hindu BJP turning Kashmir into a theatre of war: Mehbooba Mufti
2019-03-09 Jerusalem Post Liberman: In two years the situation will be worse than the Yom Kippur war
2019-03-08, Haaretz The Assad regime won Syria’s civil war. Can it survive an Israeli attack?
2019-03-07 National Interest Is Trump Heading Toward War with Iran?
2019-03-07 The Economist India’s government is intensifying a failed strategy in Kashmir
2019-03-07 Pravda The Recolonization of Latin America and the War on Venezuela
2019-03-06, Rising Kashmir Talks with Taliban focus on four key issues to end the Afghan war: US
2019-03-05 Rising Kashmir Northern army commander reviews Kashmir’s security scenario
2019-03-04 Outlook India Neither India Nor Pakistan Is Really Prepared To Fight A Conventional War
2019-03-04, Freepress Journal Pakistan will not hesitate to go nuclear in war with India: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh
2019-03-04, Al Jazeera India-Pakistan tensions: Who won the war of perceptions?
2019-03-07 American Greatness The Democrats Civil War Begins
2019-03-06 Iran Daily Iran hails Iraq’s security situation after Daesh defeat
2019-03-05 Russia Insider American Civil War 2: US Media Will Have Only Itself to Blame if All Hell Breaks Loose
2019-03-02 Washington Post In America, talk turns to something not spoken of for 150 years: Civil war
2019-03-08 New York Post Amazon tribe accuses Brazilian military of genocide
2019-03-08 Al Jazeera Amazon ‘genocide’: Brazil tribe waits for compensation
2019-03-08 Breaking Defense Genocide Swarms & Assassin Drones: The Case For Banning Lethal AI
2019-03-06 US News & World Report Lawsuit Against Germany Over Namibian Genocide Is Dismissed in New York
2019-03-05 Phys.Org Forced sterilizations of Indigenous women: One more act of genocide (Canada)
Other Atrocities (e.g. Human Trafficking, Pedophilia)
2019-03-09 News-Herald (Kentucky) Forum speakers: Human trafficking no longer far away issue
2019-03-07 Miami Herald Shedding light on human trafficking in massage parlors
2019-03-06 Agence France-Presse ICC team probes Rohingya atrocities in Bangladesh
2019-03-06 Vanity Fair Michael Jackson Is Slowly Being Removed from Radio
2019-03-06 Men’s Journal How Photojournalist Essa al-Ragehi Exposed the Atrocities in Yemen
2019-03-07 Voice of America Syria Rejects Watchdog Report on Chemical Weapons Use
2019-03-07 Radio New Zealand UK petition calls for West Papua chemical weapons investigation
2019-03-06 DBKNews Nuclear weapons are an inevitable part of our future
2019-03-06 The Nation A case for nuclear proliferation
2019-03-06 Defence Connect Flinders Uni, Canadian partnership to combat biological weapons
2019-03-07 Independent UK More white people arrested on suspicion of terrorism than Asian people last year, figures show
2019-03-07 New York Times U.S. Peace Talks With Taliban Trip Over a Big Question: What Is Terrorism?
2019-03-07 Bejing Philippines, Malaysia Pledge Cooperation against Terrorism
2019-03-06 Press TV Iran US using terrorism as tool to achieve goals: SNSC
2019-03-08 The Diplomat Examining Crime and Terrorism Along China’s Belt and Road
2019-03-08 7th Space USA: Justice Department Coordinates Largest-Ever Nationwide Elder Fraud Sweep
2019-03-07 Associated Press The Latest: War crime reports (by migrants) not investigated in Germany
2019-03-09 Consortium News Africa’s Sovereignty Over Food
2019-03-09 Newton County Times United States wins WTO dispute finding China provides excessive government support to its grain producers
2019-03-08 Public News Service Report Calls Biofuels Standard an Environmental Disaster
2019-03-08 IEG Policy EU agriculture policy diary (March 11-15): CAP reform, spirit drinks, UTPs
2019-03-05 Bejing Laos, Chinese firm cooperating in clean agriculture
2019-03-05 Indian Financial Farmers wait for ‘acche din’ as agriculture growth slows down to 2.7% 2019-03-02 Washington Times US ambassador to UK slams critics of American agriculture
2019-03-09 The Guardian UK Trump’s private talks with Putin may contain clues to his Russia romance
2019-03-09, Outlook India India Pursues Vigorous Diplomacy To Make Pakistan Act On Terror
2019-03-08 Iran Daily How Trump can forge a new path towards diplomacy with Iran
2019-03-08 Moscow Times U.S. Says It’s Working With EU to Thwart Russia on Balkans
2019-03-07 NPR A Dark View Of Russia From U.S. NATO Commander
2019-03-07 Iranian Daily Iran, Russia examine legal mechanisms to confront sanction
2019-03-05 Moscow Times Trump Extends U.S. Sanctions Against Russia Over Crimea
2019-03-05 Indian Express Kim Jong Un returns home after failed nuclear diplomacy with Trump
2019-03-04 ECNS Russia says ready to talk with U.S. on Venezuela stalemate
2019-03-03 Washington Times US, South Korea end spring military drills to back diplomacy
2019-03-06 ECNS Banks should focus on real investment to support the economy
2019-03-06 Press TV Iran Economy ministers of Iran, Azerbaijan meet in Tehran
2019-03-06 ECNS Time to discard growth rate fetish for China’s economy
2019-03-06 Singapore News What a Singapore Strait traffic jam says about the world economy
2019-03-06 Times of China US car tariffs would have ‘bigger effect’ on global economy than US-China trade war, says WTO economist
2019-03-05 Indian Financial China’s economy slows down: Here’s how it is affecting the world
2019-03-05 ECNS Premier admits severe challenges in China’s economy
2019-03-04 War News Canada’s Economy Has Stopped Growing, But No One Is Talking About It
2019-03-04, Google News Erdogan Tries to Ease the Pain of Turkey’s Bad Economy. It’s Still Hurting. – The New York Times
2019-03-08 The Atlantic Congress Might Finally Overhaul Higher Education
2019-03-08 Breitbart Parker: AOC’s Policies Are an Indictment of American Economic Education
2019-03-06, Singapore News How secondary education will work in Singapore once current streaming system is phased out
2019-03-04 Education Next What Do Racial and Ethnic Wealth Gaps Mean for Student Loan Policy?
2019-03-03 Indian Express Kashmir needs a robust education system, an honest conversation
2019-03-03, Miami Herald Ron DeSantis may finish the K-12 education transformation that Jeb Bush started
2019-03-09 The New Federalist EU Innovation and energy transition, a winning combination for European industry
2019-03-07 Bejing Bosnia Gives Green Light To Controversial Chinese Energy Loan
2019-03-06 The Guardian UK Australia’s energy policy is a tangled mess built on a foundation of lies
2019-03-09 The Quint India RSS stresses importance of family system
2019-03-09 Raw Story In another blow to Trump, judge rules in favor of ACLU in family separation case
2019-03-08 Hungary Today Survey: Vast Majority Supports Government’s Family Policy
2019-03-04 Brookings Where’s the glue? Policies to close the family gap
2019-03-09 The Hindu Health dept. issues chickenpox alert
2019-03-08 New York Times Trump Administration Targets ‘Secretive Nature’ of Health Care Pricing
2019-03-08 WNPR Connecticut Lawmakers Unveil A Public Option Health Plan
2019-03-07 Miami Herald Is a national health plan a by-product of the Green New Deal?
2019-03-07 Miami Herald Former CPA and chairman of Public Health Trust sent to prison for three-plus years
2019-03-06 Washington Times Let states experiment on health care
2019-03-07 The Texas Tribune How one migrant family got caught between smugglers, the cartel and Trump’s zero-tolerance policy
2019-03-07 WBUR Kirstjen Nielsen And The Dehumanization Of Immigrant Children
2019-03-06 Miami Times House Democrats tie DACA and TPS together in latest immigration push
2019-03-05 USA Today Trump immigration policy under scrutiny at four simultaneous congressional hearings
2019-03-04 Associated Press Federal Law Enforcement Grants Flow Despite Trump Threats To ‘Sanctuary’ Cities
2019-03-09 NBC News Pete Buttigieg wants ‘intergenerational justice.’ What’s that?
2019-03-09 OPB.org Democratic Lawmakers Speak On Restorative Justice In Cannabis Crimes
2019-03-09 The Daily Caller FITZGIBBONS: America’s Dual-Justice System Grants Immunity To Ocasio-Cortez
2019-03-09 The Atlantic 6 Reasons Paul Manafort Got Off So Lightly
2019-03-08 Reno Gazette Journal Lawmakers, lawyers clash over sprawling criminal justice reform bill
2019-03-06 New York Times Justice Dept. to Step Up Enforcement of Foreign Influence Laws
2019-03-03 Jerusalem Post House Committee investigating possible obstruction of justice by Trump
2019-03-09 Indian Express UN Security Council reform process “contentious” issue: General Assembly Prez
2019-03-08 Los Angeles Times One reason for Trump’s foreign policy fiascoes — his National Security Council is broken
2019-03-08 Just Security Homeland Security’s Intelligence Overreach: Two Cases Illustrate Risks to Civil Society
2019-03-08 Technode Briefing: Germany to tighten security on 5G equipment to avoid Huawei ban
2019—3-07 Associated Press US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifies border crisis is not manufactured
2019-03-07 Politico McSally says sexual assault in the military threatens national security
2019-03-07 Rand Strategic Rethink: America’s Security Deficit
2019-03-07 Kuala Lampur Will national security concerns end the globalisation of technology?
2019-03-05 Telangana Today Facebook’s security lapse
2019-03-04 Just Security Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Are Not the Same Thing
2019-03-08 The Telegraph UK From Facebook to Amazon, our digital habits are destroying society
2019-03-07 Daniel Mitchell Blog Individualism and Society
2019-03-06 Iranian Daily Singapore, world’s second-fastest aging society, to up retirement age
2019-03-05 History News Hour Can Artists Remake Society?
2019-03-09 PBS Water costs balloon in cities along the Great Lakes
2019-03-08 Hackaday Graphene Desalinates Sea Water
2019-03-08 American Rivers How the Clean Water Act could become a Dirty Water Rule
2019-03-08 Raw Story Eight years on, water woes threaten Fukushima cleanup
2019-03-06 ECNS New hydrological model developed for water prediction
2019-03-06 National Geographic India is in a historic water crisis. Will diverting 30 rivers solve it?
2019-03-04 South China Morning Post Gone glaciers: ‘Asia’s water tower’ is in danger
2019-03-04 ECNS Chinese scientists develop new material for water purification
2019-03-07 Mercopress Argentina and Brazil markets open Wednesday with steep losses
2019-03-06 Mercopress Brazil posts a fiscal surplus in January, but public finances remain fragile
2019-03-05 Forbes Brazil Bounces Back With A Slew Of New Billionaires
2019-03-09 Scroll.in Why ambitious China and isolated Saudi Arabia have found a common ally in Pakistan
2019-03-09 Iran Daily Solid waste imports into China continue to decline
2019-03-09 War News U.S. Keeps Losing Simulated Wars With Russia And China
2019-03-09 China Digital Times Huawei and the Law, in U.S. and China
2019-03-09 Times of China China set to vote on new law aimed at levelling playing field for foreign investors
2019-03-08 ECNS China-Africa cooperation grows into towering tree: FM
2019-03-08 Google News China Laughs as U.S. Tries to Stop Italy From Joining One Belt, One Road Plan – Newsweek
2019-03-08 BBC China exports saw biggest fall in three years in February
2019-03-08 South China Morning Post Malaysian Prime Minister says the country is now closer to China than US
2019-03-06 Russia Insider US, China Compete to Build World’s First Nationwide Cyber-Gulag
2019-03-06 Reuters Bachelet presses China for U.N. access to Xinjiang’s Uighurs
2019-03-09, Scroll.in By design and delusion, the project to radicalise Hindu India gains momentum
2019-03-08 CNBC Two factors India investors should watch out for
2019-03-08 India Today India, Russia sign USD 3 billion deal for nuclear-powered attack submarine for Indian Navy
2019-03-05 Fortune It Looks Like Trump Has New Trade War Foes: India and Turkey
2019-03-08 Bensinga Indonesia and Australia sign new free trade agreement
2019-03-06 Asian Review US move to end India trade benefit rattles Indonesia and Thailand
2019-03-09 Iran Daily US policy toward Iran isn’t working
2019-03-09 Iran Daily Iran, Syria sign academic cooperation deal
2019-03-09 Iran Daily Iran-Iraq annual trade aimed at $20b
2019-03-09 Iran Daily Iran, Turkey offer cooperation for Pakistan railway: Minister
2019-03-09 Iran Daily Official: Iran can find ways to sell oil in defiance of US sanctions
2019-03-06 Press TV Iran Iran, Russia review ways to widen economic relations
2019-03-08 Washington Times Kuwait: Many in UN oppose Israel action on Palestinian taxes
2019-03-08 Haaretz Hamas knows now is the best time to pressure Israel into concessions
2019-03-08 Haaretz A botched Gaza raid may rewrite how Israel runs its special operations
2019-03-07 Iran Daily American public support for Israel hits decade low: Gallup poll
2019-03-06 Haaretz Israel and Jordan in talks to solve Temple Mount crisis
2019-03-09 Washington Post Satellite images suggest North Korea planned space launch even before Hanoi
2019-03-09 Voice of America South Korea Proposes Rain Project with China to Cut Pollution
2019-03-08 USA Today South Korea, US sign deal on Seoul paying more for US military
2019-03-08 The Diplomat South Korea’s New Internet Controls Spark Controversy
2019-03-07 Coin Telegraph South Korea Establishes Special Task Force to Prevent Cryptocurrency-Related Crimes
2019-03-09 Malay Mail Create Palestine caucus in parliament, says Zuraida
2019-03-08 AA Turkey US plan to give some of East J’lem to Palestine: Report
2019-03-03 Haaretz For Arab regimes, Palestine is old news. Now, it’s all about Iran
2019-03-07 Bejing Six Steps Russia Is Taking Toward Restricting Its Internet
2019-03-07 Moscow Times Russia Compromised 600 Foreign Spies in 2018, Putin Says
2019-03-07 Moscow Times Russia Passes Legislation Banning ‘Disrespect’ of Authorities and ‘Fake News’
2019-03-07 Moscow Times Female Naval Cadets Say Russia Not Ready for Women in Combat Roles
2019-03-06 Russia-Insider Russia Has The Fastest Hackers
2019-03-06 Russia-Insider Russia Sells Top-Notch S-400 Missiles to Qatar; Saudis Enraged
2019-03-06 Moscow Times Sea Ice Between Alaska And Russia Shrinks at Record Rate in Middle of Winter
2019-03-09 The Guardian UK Those responsible for Syria’s agony must be brought to book, starting at the top
2019-03-09 First Post India More civilians leave Islamic State’s Syria enclave, delaying final assault
2019-03-09 Iran Daily Iran, Syria sign academic cooperation deal
2019-03-09 Haaretz How Assad defied the odds, won in Syria and pushed the U.S. out
2019-03-07 Bejing Multilateral talks on crisis in Syria held in Tehran
2019-03-07 Bejing Syria Focus of Iran’s Talks with China, Russia, Germany in Tehran
2019-03-07 Haaretz Syria slams watchdog report saying it used chemical weapon in Douma attack
2019-03-09 Defense Blog Russia claims process of S-400 delivery to Turkey goes very smoothly
2019-03-09 Today Online Germany tightens travel advice on Turkey
2019-03-09 Hurriyet Daily News Turkey eyes increasing health tourism revenues fivefold by 2030: Minister
2019-03-08 Moscow Times Turkey and U.S. Head for Showdown Over Russian Missile Contracts
2019-03-06 Sputnik European Commission Candidate Insists ‘Turkey Cannot Be EU Member’
2019-03-09 Indian Express As blackout eases, Venezuela braces for rival rallies
2019-03-09 Al Jazeera Venezuela in crisis: All the latest updates
2019-03-08 New York Times Russia Stands With Maduro (While Hedging Its Bets)
2019-03-08 Iran Daily Venezuela plunges into darkness after major dam ‘sabotage’
2019-03-08 Google News Venezuela must pay Conoco over $8 billion: World Bank – Reuters
2019-03-07 Washington Times White House steps up pressure on Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela by revoking visas
2019-03-07 Pravda The Recolonization of Latin America and the War on Venezuela
DOC (9 Pages): 20190309 Week in Review
If you sign all or most of your emails the same way, you can create an email signature. It shows professionalism in business communications and acts as a digital business card. A well-designed email signature can also serve as a promotional tool for just about anything, like a business, website, blog, or a book.
We’ve discussed how to add an email signature in Outlook for the desktop. But what if you use the Microsoft Outlook Web App in Office 365? In this article, we’ll show you how to add, insert, and change your signature in the Outlook Web App in Office 365.
Step 1: Log Into Microsoft Office 365
Then, click Outlook under Apps.
Step 2: Open Microsoft Outlook Settings
Click the Settings gear icon in the upper-right corner of the window.
Then, click View all Outlook settings at the bottom of the Settings pane.
Step 3: Access the Email Signature in Settings
On the Settings screen, click Mail in the left pane. Then, click Compose and reply in the middle pane.
Step 4: Format Your Email Signature
The Email signature box has a toolbar at the top that allows you to format your signature. You can make the text bold, italic, or underlined, and also change the size and alignment of the text.
When we tested the formatting toolbar, it applied the formatting we selected at the beginning of the signature, no matter where the cursor was. So you may have to put your formatted text at the beginning of your signature and then copy and paste it to where you want it.
Step 5: Add an Office 365 Email Signature
Enter the text you want in your signature in the Email signature box.
The Outlook Web App does not allow you to insert an image file in your signature. But you can copy an image from another program and paste it into your signature. Any text or images you paste are inserted at the cursor, not at the beginning of the signature, like with the formatting we discussed in the previous step.
Alternatively, you can use a free email generator app to design one and paste it here.
There are two options for automatically including your signature in emails:
- To include your signature automatically on all new messages, check the Automatically include my signature on new messages that I compose box.
- To automatically include your signature when you reply to messages or forward messages, check the Automatically include my signature on messages I forward or reply to box.
Because there’s only one signature allowed in the Outlook Web App, the signature is the same for new emails and for replies and forwarded messages. The Outlook desktop app allows you to have different signatures for replies and new emails.
Click Save and click the X in the upper-right corner to close the Compose and reply dialog box.
If you use both the Outlook Web App and the Outlook desktop app, a signature created in one will not be available in the other. You must create a signature separately in each app. The web app only allows you to create one signature. But you can create one default signature and multiple alternative signatures in the Outlook desktop app.
Step 6: Automatically Insert Your Email Signature
If you selected to automatically insert your signature into all new emails, you’ll see your signature in the message body when you click New message.
Step 7: Manually Insert Your Email Signature
If you chose not to automatically add your signature to all your email messages in the Outlook Web App, you can manually add it by clicking the menu button at the top of an email and selecting Insert Signature.
The signature is inserted into the email message and the cursor is placed at the beginning of the message body. Just don’t forget to add the recipient(s) and a subject line.
Step 8: Change Outlook Email Signature in Office 365
To change your signature in the Outlook Web App in Office 365, simply go back to the Compose and reply screen in the Settings and change the content in the Email signature box.
Your revised signature will be inserted in all new emails, replies, and forwards from this point on.
Communicate Professionally With an Email Signature
Email signatures allow you to easily and quickly make a good personal or professional impression, personally. Just make sure you don’t make the wrong impression with your email signature.
Read the full article: How to Add an Email Signature in Microsoft Office 365
EXCLUSIVE: Video 3:43 Extract of Senator Lindsey Graham and Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Discussing Military Tribunals BONUS: 00:11 John Kasich on CNN “John McCain Was Put to Death”
Below the fold: John Kasich on CNN “John McCain was executed.”
Los Angeles Unified School District has lost 245,000 students over the last 15 years. Officials frequently claim charter schools are taking students and causing LAUSD's budget crisis in the process. But a new report shows the district's spending, including its hiring of more administrators as enrollment drops, is to blame.
A new Reason Foundation study finds only 35 percent of LAUSD's enrollment decline over the past 15 years is due to students going to charter schools. In fact, as the district continues to lose students—losing 55,000 since 2013—a smaller percentage of the loss can be attributed to charter school students. Only 13 percent of the district's enrollment loss for 2017-18 stemmed from students choosing charters.
In the last five years, LAUSD's K-12 student enrollment dropped by nearly 10 percent and the number of teachers decreased by more than 5 percent. According to the California Department of Education, LAUSD's per-student revenue went up 33 percent between FY 2012 and FY 2016 so LAUSD should have had more revenue to spend on fewer students.
But, even as it was losing students, the number of total LAUSD employees grew by 5 percent over the last five years, primarily thanks to a nearly 16 percent increase in administrators.
Additionally, the costs of the district's employee benefits have increased 44 percent since 2014. And its spending on outside consulting services rose by 110 percent since 2014. As a result of these decisions, LAUSD's long-term debt liability, which was $8 billion in 2007, tripled to $25 billion by 2017.
Just as troubling, the new Reason study finds that just four years from now, in 2022, the district's spending on pensions, health care, and special education programs will be eating up over 57 percent LAUSD's main operational funding before a single dollar is spent on a regular school program.
A growing number of families across Southern California rightly view charter schools as a high-quality option. They should not be scapegoated for LAUSD's financial troubles because they sought-out high-performing schools for their children. Los Angeles' public charter school students are outperforming students in LAUSD's traditional schools. For example, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card, 8th-grade students in public charter schools outscored LAUSD students in traditional public schools by 26 points in reading and 28 points in math.
Southern California charter schools are also putting their students on a significantly better path to pursue college. Whereas less than half of LAUSD's traditional public-school students in the class of 2015 had passed their A–G requirements—the courses needed to enroll in University of California and California State University system schools—85 percent of Los Angeles charter students completed these courses. Just 13 percent of LAUSD students were accepted to the UC system in 2013 compared to the 20 percent of Los Angeles charter students who earned admission to UC schools.
It makes sense for parents and students to choose charter schools that are outperforming LAUSD in almost every measure, and it won't be surprising if more and more parents select charter schools in years to come. Additionally, the state's Department of Finance projects that over the next decade Los Angeles County will lose another 119,000 K-12 students, more than any other county in California.
LAUSD is going to have to stop blaming its fiscal situation on charter schools and start addressing the root causes of its own financial woes: spending more than it takes in, in large part due to long-term pension and health care costs, and its insistence on increasing staffing levels even though there are fewer students to serve.
LAUSD is going to have to right-size itself—closing some schools and reducing administrative positions to align with falling enrollment. The fiscal crisis will also force it to implement reforms that reduce long-term pension and health care costs Ultimately, the district will have to prioritize and focus on its core mission: educating kids, not providing jobs and retirement income to administrators.
Lisa Snell is director of education policy at Reason Foundation and co-author of the new study "A 2018 Evaluation of LAUSD's Fiscal Outlook."
The federal government's latest financial statements came out last week and they paint a dire picture of our nation's fiscal health. It's not just the annual deficit, which is too large and growing. The new report shows trillions in long-term liabilities that could burden the country for years to come. And it suggests that financial management in large government agencies, like the Department of Defense, is appallingly poor.
The federal government reports assets of $3.5 trillion and liabilities of $23.9 trillion yielding a negative net position of $20.4 trillion. Although this last amount is similar in size to the national debt, net worth is conceptually different.
Federal audited financial statements use accrual accounting, which means that obligations are recognized as they are incurred. For example, the $23.9 trillion in liabilities includes $7.7 trillion in veterans benefits and retirement benefits earned by federal civilian employees. Another $200 trillion in liabilities arise from various guarantees the government has made, including its commitment to backstop private pension plans—many of which are becoming insolvent.
But the biggest federal liabilities of all do not appear on the government's balance sheet. According to a supplemental schedule, the federal government has $49 trillion in Social Security and Medicare liabilities. Although these retirement obligations are just as politically sacrosanct as federal employee pensions and federal guarantees for private pension systems, they receive very different accounting treatment. If these obligations were placed on balance sheet where they belong, the government's negative net position (i.e., its unfunded debt) would balloon to $69 trillion—well over triple the nation's $19 trillion gross domestic product.
As the accompanying chart shows, the federal government's net position has been deteriorating throughout the 21st century. The only apparent bright spot occurred in 2010 when actuaries bumped down Medicare liabilities amidst optimism about Obamacare's prospects for reining in medical costs—a hope that has not fully panned out. The big spike between 2003 and 2004 was largely the result of George W. Bush's unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Although the government's fiscal year 2017 deficit was an already alarming $666 billion, its balance sheet net position worsened by over $1.1 trillion. Social insurance obligations increased a further $2.3 trillion. So, while the government added less than $700 billion in red ink during fiscal year 2017 on a cash basis, the total bleeding in accrual terms was closer to $3.4 trillion. Just as accountants and regulators insist that corporations use accrual accounting to properly inform investors about their financial condition, we should have similar expectations for sovereigns such as the federal government.
Even worse, the chart doesn't include all federal liabilities. Government financial statements exclude $5 trillion in outstanding mortgage backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) were placed under federal conservatorship during the financial crisis. Although the federal government owns 79.9% of each of these entities and would undoubtedly cover any shortfalls they experience with taxpayer money (as they did in 2008), their liabilities are not consolidated onto the federal government's balance sheet.
Finally, it is worth noting that the 2017 federal financial statements—incomplete as they are—received a negative audit opinion, as they do every year. Specifically, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) acting in its role as the federal government's CPA concluded:
The federal government is not able to demonstrate the reliability of significant portions of the accompanying accrual-based consolidated financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2017, and 2016, principally resulting from limitations related to certain material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations affecting the reliability of these financial statements.
The GAO reported favorable opinions for most of the federal departments it reviewed, but the Department of Defense (DOD) remains problematic. The GAO found weaknesses in the DOD's cost reporting and its accounting for plant, property and equipment.
These findings invite the question of whether the DOD can effectively manage all the new money Congress and the Administration are giving it. If Pentagon accountants don't really know what the department owns and can't document what the military establishment is spending, what assurance do we have that all the extra tax money it is about to receive won't be wasted?
It is unfortunate that each year's federal financial statements do not receive more attention. Any company reporting results like those the government reported last week would face liquidation. Any state or local government reporting such a lopsided balance sheet would lose access to the municipal bond market. While the federal government enjoys a special status because it can lean on the Federal Reserve to buy its bonds with newly created money, that money printing capability can only go so far.
If the bleeding doesn't stop, we should expect investors in Tresasury securities to demand higher rates as the perceived risk of not being paid on time, in full and with uninflated dollars increases. With over $14 trillion in publicly held debt already on the books and trillions more being added in the coming years, federal interest costs will mount placing added pressure on the budget. At some point, the nation could face a sovereign debt crisis with serious global consequences.
Retired CIA Agent Working With Blackwater Founder Claims H.R. McMaster Approved NSA Spy Job On Trump Family
“Education is supposed to juice your curiosity, not diminish or sate it.”
– Walter Isaacson
Walter Isaacson (@WalterIsaacson) is a professor at Tulane University, and the president and CEO of The Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine. He is the author of many biographies I have recommended, including The Innovators, Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Kissinger: A Biography, and his most recent, Leonardo da Vinci.
In this episode, you learn life lessons and tactics from Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, and more. Walter ties it all together beautifully.
We had a lot of fun in this conversation, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Want to hear another podcast with incredible life advice? — In this episode, I talk with Adam Robinson, Ramit Sethi, and Josh Waitzkin and discuss a variety of topics on business, wealth, and happiness (stream below or right-click here to download):
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The goal of this competition is to entice would-be entrepreneurs to get off the couch and make things happen, and all you have to do to qualify is open a store on Shopify and start selling. Top sellers in each category then have the exclusive opportunity to learn from mentors and experts like Tony Robbins, Daymond John, Seth Godin, Sir Richard Branson, and me a location like Oheka (aka Gatsby’s) Castle or Necker Island.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Walter Isaacson:
- Colossus: World-Famous Rebuild of the First Modern Computer at The National Museum of Computing, UK
- Difference Engine #2: Babbage’s Proto-Computer, Painstakingly Brought to Life, Atlas Obscura
- The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas
- Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin
- The Odyssey by Homer
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Becoming Michael Lewis by Walter Isaacson, The Washington Post
- Aerial Screw model, Leonardo3
- Why Don’t Perpetual Motion Machines Ever Work? by Netta Schramm, TED-Ed
- Squaring the Circle
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare
- She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron
- Ten Years Later: Public Health and Hurricane Katrina — A Conversation Between Walter Isaacson and Karen DeSalvo by Walter Isaacson, Medium
- The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
- Teach for America
- On the Bus: The Complete Guide to the Legendary Trip of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and the Birth of the Counterculture by Paul Perry
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
- Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen
- Whole Earth Field Guide by Caroline Maniaque-Benton with Meredith Gaglio
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
- Is it possible to be a Renaissance man (or woman) like Ben Franklin or Leonardo da Vinci in today’s world? [05:43]
- On noticing and marveling at life’s “ordinary” things. [08:58]
- What is Walter most curious about now? [11:06]
- What benefit does Walter see in experiencing historical places and artifacts up close rather than just viewing them virtually? [12:50]
- With so much already on his plate, why does Walter write biographies? [15:54]
- Walter’s one rule about writing. [19:35]
- What Walter does between his first draft and first edit. [21:56]
- Walter talks about going to school in New Orleans with fellow author Michael Lewis. [23:11]
- Mentors and inspirations. [25:41]
- On what we can learn from da Vinci and Steve Jobs about blurring the line between the possible and the impossible. [29:28]
- Was there anything that stood out to Walter when he was going through da Vinci’s thousands of pages of notes? [32:35]
- What was da Vinci’s workout routine? [35:03]
- Was da Vinci’s drive to experiment innate or developed? [38:50]
- On the uses and misuses of education. [40:41]
- What Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin, and da Vinci understood about the importance of building a good team for collaboration. [48:58]
- Does Walter think da Vinci was fulfilled? [55:30]
- Ben Franklin’s life hack for gratitude. [57:09]
- How does someone move from success to significance? [59:58]
- What writing biographies of others has taught Walter about his own place in the universe. [1:02:57]
- What has helped Walter get through dark times? [1:05:32]
- The benefits of having something on paper versus a computer screen. [1:10:16]
- As an educator, what three books would Walter give to every graduate? [1:12:13]
- The books Walter gifted the most. [1:16:07]
- What would Walter’s billboard say? [1:18:30]
- Parting thoughts. [1:24:07]
- Steve Jobs
- Albert Einstein
- Benjamin Franklin
- Henry Kissinger
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Charles Babbage
- Alan Turing
- Evan Thomas
- Walker Percy
- Michael Lewis
- H. Davis Prescott
- Johannes Gutenberg
- Irwin Isaacson, Jr.
- Pablo Picasso
- Ada Lovelace
- Lord Byron
- Elon Musk
- Neale Donald Walsch
- Ken Kesey
- Jack Kerouac
- Neil Strauss
- Robert Fagles
We have hired an editor to edit the Cool Tools podcast. It costs us $300 a month. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $288 a month to the podcast. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have nice rewards for people who contribute! – MF
Our guest this week is Rebecca Romney. Rebecca is a rare book dealer at Honey & Wax Booksellers in Brooklyn. She got her start with Bauman Rare Books, managing their Las Vegas gallery. She is known for her appearances on the HISTORY Channel’s show Pawn Stars, where she evaluates books as the show’s only female expert. She recently published a book on books called Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History with HarperCollins.
Mylar Film Rolls
“This is an archival uncoated polyester film used by antiquarian book dealers, librarians, and archivists to add a layer of protection to an object for storage or handling. It’s added to dust jackets, cut into sleeves to tuck in individual sheets of paper, etc. “Archival” is a key word here — you have to watch where you’re storing items long term, as high acid content will deteriorate the item over time. This is why taping your books with standard Scotch tape or whatever is so bad — the acid content will eat away at the paper!”
Cliplight (both LED and UV)
“In order to see clearly the watermarks and chain lines of a book printed on handmade paper (generally before 1800CE), you need to backlight the paper. Watermarks and chain lines are important evidence of how to identify a book — its format, any repairs, when it was printed, whether it has been messed with by an unscrupulous seller, etc. I use the UV light for things like offsetting of ink that’s normally invisible to our eyes.”
“A good old jeweler’s loupe is great, and I will occasionally use a microscope. But I also use a tool called the Optic given to me by a friend whose business solely relates to autograph authentication. According to him (frankly, I have no idea if this is true), it was developed by the military and used in tanks in Desert Storm, meant to enhance their infrared. What’s cool about the Optic is that it brightens the picture, which offers added clarity.”
White Gloves — The “Anti” Cool Tool
“I would love to take a moment to debunk the myth that I should be wearing white gloves when I handle printed books. From the British Library to the Houghton, none of the major conservators and rare book curators recommend these. And for good reason: with gloves, you lose your tactile sensitivity and are much more likely to damage the book while handling it. Just wash your hands first and you’re fine.”
Shawn Stevenson, host of The Model Health podcast said, “In the lab, they found anti-depressants in the New York City water system.”
Ok, no problem. I’ll drink tap water. Save on therapy costs. In NYC everyone has to go to therapy. It’s a requirement. “This week my therapist said…”
“There’s also these other chemicals in water..” and he was about to list them for me.
“No no no,” I said. “Shhhh!” I put my hands on my ears. “I’m good. Don’t need to know more.”
Shawn is obsessed with health. Every week he interviews the best people in the world on health. He’s interviewed hundreds.
And now I get to ask him for this BEST advice. Don’t abuse what he tells you, James!
Shawn was 200lbs overweight. He could barely get from room to room before collapsing with exhaustion and pain.
He was diagnosed with an incurable spinal condition called degenerative disc disease.
His spine was deteriorating to nothing. The way an old person leans over and over until they collapse dead.
“You have the spine of an 80 year old,” the doctor told him.
“The doctors told me to wear a back brace. I kept getting worse. The doctors kept telling me nothing could be done. I was losing hope. Losing the will to live.”
So he chose himself. He CHOSE his health.
He studied every aspect of health. He created the #1 podcast on health, The Model Health Show.
He read everything he could. He changed his diet. His doctors told him don’t bother. He exercised. His doctors said it won’t help.
“You’re going to die of this.”
When he came on my podcast, he looked like a man in perfect health. He was muscular, glowed with health, had energy. He was something maybe I will never say.
“I’m feeling great every day,” he told me.
And then he started dropping the most amazing health tips on me. I felt overwhelmed. Do I have the discipline to do all of this?
I’ve had many health experts on my podcast. If you don’t have physical health, it’s 1000 times harder to be a success.
The body feeds the mind and the heart. The body reduces stress. The body contains the basics for everything you want to do in life.
You are alive in your whole body. Not just your brain. Not just in your bank account. The entire body has to be nourished and loved.
For some strange reason he asked me to be on his show as well. I was really grateful he wanted to talk to me about how my own lifestyle improved my health.
But more importantly, he came on my show and I was able to drill HIM with questions.
Not that all doctors are bad. But I couldn’t believe some of the things Shawn had to tell me.
I list some of them on this infographic. I already thought I knew things about sleep, water, movement, exercise.
I thought I already knew things about how health worked. About how health led to success.
But he broke it down one step further.
I needed that. I now live by it (we actually recorded this podcast about two months ago) and the results have given me enough energy to create new opportunities in my life that I would not have been able to do before.
I have a formula now: 1% more health equals 100 more possible opportunities.
Shawn! I’m grateful you broke your stupid hip when you were 20 and got Spinal Degenerative Whatever and gained 5000 pounds.
I’m grateful the doctors told you you were going to rot and die. I’m so happy you collapsed, half dead, under the weight of your own bloated body.
I’m really happy you almost died.
Just don’t do it again.
Links and Resources:
- Listen to his podcast the Model Health Show
- The Model Health Show Podcast Facebook
- Read his book Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success
- We talked about drinking water and how to find the freshest, uncontaminated water and Shawn said you can find a natural spring near you at findaspring.com
- BPA Free Mountain Spring water (that’s what Shawn was drinking while we did the podcast). He says the minimum requirement is to drink half of your bodyweight in water
- Sleep is more important than food and movement combined. Shawn has the research to back it up. He told me about a study done at the University of Chicago. They took people and put them on a calorie restricted diet. They monitored their fat loss. The first phase of the study they allow them all to get 8 hours of sleep. The next phase is when they start sleep depriving them. At the end of the study they lost 55% more body fat when they were well rested.
- Shawn told me about his insomnia. It turned out it was caused by the medication he was prescribed for his back pain (celebrex). It was causing him restless leg syndrome
- Shawn recommends using a shower filter to remove toxins and heavy metals. “Your skin consumes more than your drinking,” he said.
- Shawn mentions Tabata, which is a Japanese high-interval workwork. Shawn writes about it here.
- One of Shawn’s top recommendations for using your phone at night (although he recommends you stop using technology at least 30 minutes before bed) is the “night shift” tool. He showed me his iPhone (I have an android). He said if you just swipe up, it’s there. “It pulls out the most troublesome streams of light from your screen. Harvard researchers have confirmed that bluelight from our devices suppresses melatonin and elevates cortisol. Those two things screw up our sleep,” he said. You can also use sunglasses that block blue light.
The post Ep 243: Shawn Stevenson – The 9 Rules of Health to Make it to 99 appeared first on Altucher Confidential.
A fantastic Cello cover of Chariots of Fire, originally by Vangelis, by the duo from 2CELLOS. Enjoy!
The post A Gorgeous CELLO cover of Chariots of Fire by 2CELLOS [Video] appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.
Face masks can be expensive, but the experience of putting something on your face that will (hopefully) change the texture of your skin—and make you feel like a fancy spa patron—is incredibly satisfying. Luckily, there are DIY versions of most masks that can be made with household items, for a whole lot less cash.…
The XXL Shower Speaker sticks to your bathroom wall with a sturdy suction cup, and it promises to be the best accompanist you've ever had in the shower.
Aside from hearing your own singing voice, how often do you really get to enjoy the excellent acoustics of the bathtub? This Bluetooth speaker is totally waterproof, so you can bring your music, podcasts, and audiobooks with you into the shower. It puts playback controls front and center, with raised rubber texture so you can always find the play button when your eyes are full of soap. And you can easily answer or decline calls, depending on how hectic your morning is.
The XXL Shower Speaker comes in several bright colors, or flat black if that fits better with your bath decor. You can get it here for $19.99.
Managing your money can be easy to put off.
Tomorrow turns into next week. Next week turns into next month. Then next month turns into a New Year’s resolution, and we all know those never get accomplished…
But we have four tips that’ll help you quickly get a handle on your finances.
By quickly, we mean pour yourself a glass of wine and dedicate one evening to your money. Or brew a pot of coffee on a Saturday morning.
Whichever you prefer, managing your money doesn’t have to be a drawn-out chore.
Here’s how to manage your money in a single sitting.
1. Get a Big Picture View of Your Financial Situation
For this, we recommend you pull your credit report.
It’ll be OK. We promise. And it’s free.
Use a service like FreeCreditReport.com. Here, you can check out your account history, hard inquiries and any negative information.
Not to be negative… but that last part is key. If you have any loan defaults, late payments, delinquencies — you name it — set up a plan of action to tackle those and sort those out.
Every 30 days, the report will update, so if you’re taking steps in the right direction, it should show.
Gain access to your free report here.
2. Clean Up Any Unnecessary Expenses
Colorful charts and graphs are excellent visual aids in understanding where your money is coming from — and going.
Clarity Money offers just that. But it also goes beyond those charts; it informs you how to make better financial choices.
For example, Clarity will show you a rundown of your monthly recurring charges. Think: Netflix, gym memberships, rent and that magazine you subscribed to years ago. Rather than just saying, “Oh, I’ll cancel that… soon,” Clarity lets you cancel it right then and there with one tap.
The app will also help you negotiate your existing bills, too — so you don’t have to deal with any annoying hold music on customer service lines.
3. Set Up an Automated Savings Plan
Establishing a savings plan might seem difficult.
Knowing how much you can spare can be a challenge to figure out, but you also need to determine where you’re going to stash it — because keeping it in your checking account is too tempting and isn’t earning you any interest or rewards.
Also, seeing a chunk of your money disappear into a far-off account isn’t fun. But Chime, an online-only, fee-free bank account has gamified the savings challenge — and rewards you for it, too.
Here’s how it works: Open a Chime account, and set up automatic savings. Each time you swipe your Chime Visa Debit Card, the transaction is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the extra cents trickle into your savings.
It’s like your own automated piggy bank (without the germy coins and annoying drugstore change machines).
Even better, each Friday, Chime grants you a 10% bonus on your round-ups — up to $500 a year.
Here’s an example of how much you could earn back in just one day:
- Grocery store: $30.08
- Gas station: $42.92
- Coffee shop: $2.38
With these three transactions, you’ll bank $1.38. Plus you’ll earn 10% back, making that $1.50 in one day. If you keep this up for a year… that adds up to over $500.
And you don’t even have to think about it — just go about your daily transactions.
Another plus: If you sign up for direct deposit, Chime gives you access to your money immediately. So you don’t have to wait an extra day, like many other traditional banks.
4. Start Investing — Even With as Little as $5
Now that you’ve got all of that taken care of, here’s a little bonus for the brave.
You can set it up with as little as $5. Then, just like your savings account, automate it. Let even just $5 go into that account each month.
You’re letting your money build and grow without even thinking about it.
Now, managing your money isn’t that miserable, is it?
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, one of the largest personal finance websites. We help millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. In 2016, Inc. 500 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the No. 1 fastest-growing private media company in the U.S.
Holocaust Survivor Primo Levi on Human Nature, Happiness and Unhappiness, and the Interconnectedness of Our Fates
“A country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful.”
“If during the next million generations there is but one human being born in every generation who will not cease to inquire into the nature of his fate, even while it strips and bludgeons him, some day we shall read the riddle of our universe,” Rebecca West wrote in her extraordinary 1941 treatise on survival and the redemption of suffering. One such unrelenting inquirer into the nature of his barely survivable fate was the great Italian Jewish chemist and writer Primo Levi (July 31, 1919–April 11, 1987), who was thrown into a Nazi death camp shortly after West set her timeless words to paper. Arrested as a member of the anti-Fascist resistance and deported to Auschwitz in 1944, Levi lived through the Holocaust and transmuted his horrifying confrontation with death into a humanistic force of justice and empathy under the lifelong conviction that “no human experience is without meaning or unworthy of analysis.”
In Survival in Auschwitz (public library), originally published as If This Is a Man, Levi wrests from what he witnessed and endured profound insight into some of the most elemental questions of human existence: what it means to be happy, why we habitually self-inflict unhappiness, how to fathom unfathomable suffering, where the seedbed of meaning resides.
Of the forty-five people crammed into the train car that took Levi to Auschwitz, which he notes was “by far the most fortunate wagon,” only four survived. Toward the end of his memoir, in diaristic form, he offers a harrowing perspective barely imaginable to any free person:
This time last year I was a free man: an outlaw but free, I had a name and a family, I had an eager and restless mind, an agile and healthy body. I used to think of many, far-away things: of my work, of the end of the war, of good and evil, of the nature of things and of the laws which govern human actions; and also of the mountains, of singing and loving, of music, of poetry. I had an enormous, deep-rooted foolish faith in the benevolence of fate; to kill and to die seemed extraneous literary things to me. My days were both cheerful and sad, but I regretted them equally, they were all full and positive; the future stood before me as a great treasure. Today the only thing left of the life of those days is what one needs to suffer hunger and cold; I am not even alive enough to know how to kill myself.
It takes an extraordinary person to not only survive such a devastating extreme of inhumanity but to emerge from it with the awareness that existence always leans toward equilibrium. Reflecting on his experience in the camp, Levi writes:
Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable. The obstacles preventing the realization of both these extreme states are of the same nature: they derive from our human condition which is opposed to everything infinite. Our ever-insufficient knowledge of the future opposes it: and this is called, in the one instance, hope, and in the other, uncertainty of the following day. The certainty of death opposes it: for it places a limit on every joy, but also on every grief. The inevitable material cares oppose it: for as they poison every lasting happiness, they equally assiduously distract us from our misfortunes and make our consciousness of them intermittent and hence supportable.
With an eye to his own experience in the camp, he adds:
It was the very discomfort, the blows, the cold, the thirst that kept us aloft in the void of bottomless despair, both during the journey and after. It was not the will to live, nor a conscious resignation; for few are the men capable of such resolution, and we were but a common sample of humanity.
Mining once again the reality of the camp for universal human truth regarding the larger reality of life, Levi considers the root of our self-generated unhappiness — a kind of habitual infinite regress of discontentment:
Human nature is such that grief and pain — even simultaneously suffered — do not add up as a whole in our consciousness, but hide, the lesser behind the greater, according to a definite law of perspective… This is the reason why … man is never content. In fact it is not a question of a human incapacity for a state of absolute happiness, but of an ever-insufficient knowledge of the complex nature of the state of unhappiness; so that the single name of the major cause is given to all its causes, which are composite and set out in an order of urgency. And if the most immediate cause of stress comes to an end, you are grievously amazed to see that another one lies behind; and in reality a whole series of others.
Levi contemplates how a particular dichotomy of human nature revealed itself in the camp:
There comes to light the existence of two particularly well differentiated categories among men — the saved and the drowned. Other pairs of opposites (the good and the bad, the wise and the foolish, the cowards and the courageous, the unlucky and the fortunate) are considerably less distinct, they seem less essential, and above all they allow for more numerous and complex intermediary gradations.
This division is much less evident in ordinary life; for there it rarely happens that a man loses himself. A man is normally not alone, and in his rise or fail is tied to the destinies of his neighbors; so that it is exceptional for anyone to acquire unlimited power, or to fall by a succession of defeats into utter ruin. Moreover, everyone is normally in possession of such spiritual, physical and even financial resources that the probabilities of a shipwreck, of total inadequacy in the face of life, are relatively small. And one must take into account a definite cushioning effect exercised both by the law, and by the moral sense which constitutes a self-imposed law; for a country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful.
Complement Survival in Auschwitz with Levi on how science brings humanity together, then revisit Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, who was trafficked through Auschwitz at the time Levi was there on the way to another camp, on the human search for meaning.
donating = loving
Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes me hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.
Our friends at Loog, makers of beautiful 3-string guitars, are Kickstarting two new models: the Loog Pro & Loog Mini. The Pro is electric and the Mini is just $79.
Neural nets are starting to wake up. These pickup lines, generated by a neural net maintained by research scientist Janelle Shane are much more interesting than standard pickup lines.
Are you a 4loce? Because you’re so hot!
I want to get my heart with you.
You are so beautiful that you know what I mean.
I have a cenver? Because I just stowe must your worms.
Hey baby, I’m swirked to gave ever to say it for drive.
If I were to ask you out?
You must be a tringle? Cause you’re the only thing here.
I’m not on your wears, but I want to see your start.
You are so beautiful that you make me feel better to see you.
Hey baby, you’re to be a key? Because I can bear your toot?
I don’t know you.
I have to give you a book, because you’re the only thing in your eyes.
Are you a candle? Because you’re so hot of the looks with you.
I want to see you to my heart.
If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I have a price tighting.
I have a really falling for you.
Your beauty have a fine to me.
Are you a camera? Because I want to see the most beautiful than you.
I had a come to got your heart.
You’re so beautiful that you say a bat on me and baby.
You look like a thing and I love you.
I'm fairly convinced that hummus is some of the best stuff on earth. It might look beige and boring in the bowl, but this blend of chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic creates a dip that is so much more than the sum of its parts.
Skip the store-bought stuff — making it yourself is so easy and will be far tastier than just about anything from the deli section.
A "bad trip" on psychedelic mushrooms may lead to "enduring increases in well-being," according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Neuroscientist Roland Griffiths and colleagues surveyed nearly 2,000 adults about their psilocybin experiences. Those who experienced bad trips had taken, on average, a powerful dose of 4 grams. From Psypost:
A majority of the participants — 62 percent — said their bad trip was among the top 10 most psychologically difficult situations of their lives. Eleven percent said it was their number one most difficult experience.
But 34 percent of participants said the bad trip was among the top five most personally meaningful experiences of their life and 31 percent said it was the among the top five most spiritually significant. And 76 percent said the bad trip had resulted in an improved sense of personal well-being or life satisfaction. Forty-six percent said they would be willing to experience the bad trip all over again.
"Survey study of challenging experiences after ingesting psilocybin mushrooms: Acute and enduring positive and negative consequences" (Journal of Psychopharmacology)
It just wouldn't be fall without apples. Once the first crop arrives, we just can't get enough of them, whether eaten as is, sliced as a snack, baked into warm treats, or even added to savory dishes. Here are 21 of our best apple recipes for the season.<p><a href='http://www.thekitchn.com/21-essential-apple-recipes-for-fall-234619'><strong>READ MORE »</strong></a></p>
You’ve heard of firewalls, but what are they really for? Do they stop viruses? Can you manage without one? Actually, there’s a good chance that you are using a firewall right now — if your computer is running a modern operating system, there will be one built in, or else your security suite features a firewall. But what is it for? And can you get by without it? Keep reading for reasons why you do, in fact, need it. What Is a Firewall? First of all, let’s look at what a firewall actually is. You need to understand that there are...
Read the full article: 5 Reasons Why You Should Use a Firewall