The Synthetic Killers of Tomorrow’s Tyranny

The Synthetic Killers of Tomorrow’s Tyranny

When Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was deposed in 1989, it is claimed that he pleaded for Jack Ramsay, a character Tom Selleck played in the 1984 Michael Crichton film, Runaway. The dictator was a fan of the film and in his desperation during the show trial may have been convinced that the film,s protagonist, a police officer who tracks down rogue robots and protected the innocent from out of control technology, would rescue him. Jack Ramsay (or Tom Selleck, for that matter) did not rescue the dictator and his wife. Instead they were both executed by the very soldiers who had...

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They Smile and Shrug Their Shoulders at the Murder of a Man

They Smile and Shrug Their Shoulders at the Murder of a Man

Recently, many of us digitally witnessed five armed police officers beat Tyre Nichols to death. Oftentimes it’s easy for us to be voyeurs to violence and then conjure up a context or make an excuse for what it is that we are seeing. It’s the privilege of distance and an inhuman disconnect from what we are seeing. When five men beat another to death, the common revulsion of what we are seeing usually ignites a moral understanding of right and wrong, a sense of fair play, empathy for the victim and a rejection of any context where five men can brutally beat another to death. When you introduce...

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Our Naked Society

Our Naked Society

In his 1964 book The Naked Society, Vance Packard challenged the ever increasing loss of privacy as technology and large institutions began wide spread surveillance that today has become acceptable. At the time, computer power, hidden cameras, and concealed microphones were crude gadgets compared to the technology currently in use. The intrusion into a person's life then was nothing compared to what is acceptable today. With each generation we become comfortable and more obliging to the fact that we no longer are allowed privacy. We have all been stripped naked. A subcommittee in the U.S....

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Some Aussie Songs Against the Wars

Some Aussie Songs Against the Wars

Music can be powerful, possessing the ability to conjure emotion in a few minutes what an essay never could. Australia has a rich history of talented singers, writers, and performers creating music that is unique to the sunburned continent. Australia also has a rebel culture, hidden in plain sight. Founded by reluctant prisoners, enthusiastic adventurers, and those escaping their birth land to call Aboriginal land their home, with a history of empire and defiance, the music can reflect this combination, none more than in the songs against war. Few songs express the sorrow felt by soldiers...

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All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)

The latest adaption of All Quiet on the Western Front is a German production available on Netflix that gives a grim and gruesome depiction of World War I. Based on the 1929 book by Erich Maria Remarque, and differing in parts from both the book and previous film adaptations, it stands on its own and respects the source material. A sobering account of war and the tragedy of state violence, the film's perspective is very much anti-war as human characters are treated as inhuman elements in the harsh setting of the Western Front. Set in 1917, the film focuses on two German soldiers, Paul and...

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Liberty Beyond Borders

Liberty Beyond Borders

Awareness and conversation about liberty is flourishing, some of it a little more focused on particular messaging than others. Most are fixated on the United States, whether as a criticism of the empire and its wars or a romantic aspiration of converting the nation into a republic of virtue. All nations hold dear a certain mythology that generates pride and loyalty. The natural bias towards the local and familiar that can stir pride and inspiration. Such a bias is also a crucial ingredient for imperialism or any other of the nasty “isms." With the current change of power inside the U.S....

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‘Fletch’ Lives in the Courageous Pen of Reporters

‘Fletch’ Lives in the Courageous Pen of Reporters

“I must follow the journalistic instinct of being skeptical of everything until I personally have proved it true.”- Irwin Fletcher In the post-Watergate world, fiction was full of lone wolf reporters, the courageous typewriter and camera that pointed where it was unwelcome. When author Gregory McDonald wrote his first “Fletch” novel in 1974 about reporter and former marine Iriwn M. Fletcher (AKA "Fletch" or "Jane Doe"), it would develop into a series of books, two movies starring Chevy Chase, and a remake to be released this year. In the first book and movie, a world of police corruption is...

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We Have Just One Planet, Let’s Not Nuke It

We Have Just One Planet, Let’s Not Nuke It

“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.”- President John F Kennedy There was a time when a lot of people feared nuclear war. The Cold War was a delicate dance of destruction between two super powers, each armed with enough weapons that could obliterate the planet. Protest groups were active outside military bases and test sites, and anti-establishment energies were often focused on opposing the arms race and nuclear weapons. Even at the height of the Cold War, when the empires...

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