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Everything posted by Sukhov

  1. I think we’ve seen a series of first waves, starting from the epicenter in New York. However, “back to school” is more or less simultaneous — is it not? — so there may indeed be a synchronized, second wave.
  2. The Hills Have Eyes (1977) Next: Topaz (1969)
  3. New York, New York from On the Town Next: a song from a German language operetta
  4. Burt Reynolds in a 1930s style musical. Not something I would think of but it does sound interesting.
  5. https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/08/hows-your-economy-small-businesses-death-watch-edition.html How’s Your Economy, Small Businesses Death Watch Edition Posted on August 4, 2020 by Yves Smith It’s depressing, but not exactly surprising, to see a major New York Times story about one-third of the small businesses in the city have died or expected to shutter. Needless to say, it’s not just restaurants. The piece showcased Busy Bodies, a playspace for children in Brooklyn, and Bank Street Bookstore, a children’s bookstore, as among the casualties. From the article: An expanding universe of distinctive small businesses — from coffee shops to dry cleaners to hardware stores — that give New York’s neighborhoods their unique personalities and are key to the city’s economy are starting to topple…. While New York is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters than any city in the country, small businesses are the city’s backbone. They represent roughly 98 percent of the employers in the city and provide jobs to more than 3 million people, which is about half of its work force, according to the city… The first to fall were businesses, especially retail shops, that depended on New York City’s massive flow of commuters. And months into the crisis, established businesses that once seemed invincible, including some that had ambitious expansion plans, are cratering under a sustained collapse in consumer spending. It was an easy call, sadly, to predict the demise of shops that depended on commuter traffic. In my short visits to NYC (where I am doing nothing except medical stuff, but that does mean a few cab rides), it’s spooky how underpopulated Midtown and the Flatiron district on weekdays. Another testament was how few restaurants near my hotel, which was on the edge of Midtown, were open; I wound up ordering from the same place repeatedly because it was open, adequate, and would deliver. I began to suspect it was in the money laundering business since that would explain its survival. It had no menu online, not even a website. When I asked to drop off one with one of my meals, they said, “We don’t really have one.” We’d forecast a hollowed-out New York City, but seeing it happen, and quickly, is still disheartening, even before you get to the human trauma of job loss. Running errands on foot, being friendly with local shop staff, and the entertainment value of active street life, the charm of cities, will be diminished.
  6. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tiktok-navarro/trump-u-s-should-get-substantial-portion-of-tiktok-operations-sale-price-idUSKBN24Z1SM White House adviser Navarro suggests Microsoft divest China holdings “So the question is, is Microsoft going to be compromised?” Navarro said in an interview with CNN. “Maybe Microsoft could divest its Chinese holdings?” President Donald Trump has agreed to give China’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of popular short-video app TikTok to Microsoft, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday. U.S. officials have said TikTok, under its Chinese parent, poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. Trump said on Friday he was planning to ban TikTok in the United States after dismissing the idea of a sale to Microsoft. In an earlier interview with Fox News Channel, Navarro said any potential buyer of TikTok that has operations in China could be a problem. Navarro cited Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Skype platform, saying they “effectively are enablers of Chinese censorship, surveillance and monitoring.” Microsoft has over 6,000 employees in China and offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou. While the company has been there for decades, business from China accounts for just over 1% of the company’s revenue, Bloomberg reported Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith stating at a conference in January. Widespread piracy of Windows and Office once prevented the company’s cash cow from bringing in money. The company is now pushing its Azure cloud service to customers in China, via a partnership with local data service provider 21Vianet.
  7. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53638645 Beyond TikTok: Who else might President Trump ban? By Chris Baraniuk & Leo Kelion TikTok's time in the US may be running out, with President Trump and other senior officials talking of an imminent ban. But other Chinese-owned apps and software-based services could also be targeted. On Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleged that some of the Asian nation's technology companies were “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party". So who else is at risk? The most obvious target is Tencent's WeChat, which was the only product that Mr Pompeo called out by name in addition to TikTok. WeChat is sometimes described as being a social network, but it's really so much more - offering ways to make payments, run additional mini-programs, find dates and get the news, in addition to messaging and other social activities. It's perhaps best thought of as being a kind of secondary operating system that sits on top of iOS or Android. It's also viewed as being a key instrument in China's internal surveillance apparatus - requiring local users who have been accused of spreading malicious rumours to register a facial scan and voice print. But in addition, it is allegedly commonly used by the Chinese Communist Party to pump propaganda to the Chinese diaspora. A seminar held earlier this year by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank discussed how groups within the app would be used to recommend holiday destinations, restaurants and the like on a day-to-day basis, but then switch to spreading political messages in line with Beijing's thinking at critical times.
  8. https://thephilosophicalsalon.com/the-simple-things-that-are-hard-to-do/ THE SIMPLE THINGS THAT ARE HARD TO DO BY SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK Traditional Marxists distinguished between Communism proper and Socialism as its first lower stage (where money and the state still exists and workers are paid wages, etc.). In the Soviet Union there was a debate in the 1960s about where they were in this regard, and the solution was that, although they were not yet in full Communism, they were also no longer in the lower stage (Socialism). So, they introduced a further distinction between lower and higher stage of Socialism… Is not something similar going on with the Covid pandemic? Until about a month ago, our media were full of warnings about the second, much stronger, wave in the Fall and Winter. With new spikes everywhere and numbers of infections growing again, the word is that this is not yet the second wave but just a strengthening of the first wave, which continues. This classificatory confusion just confirms that the situation with Covid is getting serious, with cases exploding all around the world again. The time has come to take seriously simple truths like the one recently announced by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself. Rather, it’s the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels. We cannot defeat this pandemic as a divided world. The Covid-19 pandemic is a test of global solidarity and global leadership. The virus thrives on division, but is thwarted when we unite.” To take this truth seriously means that one should take into account not only international divisions but also class divisions within each country: “The coronavirus has merely lifted the lid off the pre-existing pandemic of poverty. Covid-19 arrived in a world where poverty, extreme inequality and disregard for human life are thriving, and in which legal and economic policies are designed to create and sustain wealth for the powerful, but not end poverty.” Conclusion: we cannot contain the viral pandemic without also attacking the pandemic of poverty. How to do this is, in principle, easy: we have enough means to reorganize healthcare adequately and so forth. However, to quote the last line of Brecht’s “In Praise of Communism” from his play Mother: “Er ist das Einfache, das schwer zu machen ist. / It is the simple thing, that is so hard to do.” There are many obstacles that make it so hard to do and, above all, the global capitalist order. But I want to focus here on the ideological obstacle, ideological in the sense of half-conscious, even unconscious, stances, prejudices, and fantasies that regulate our lives also (and especially) in the times of crisis. In short, I suggest that what is needed is a psychoanalytic theory of ideology.
  9. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/visa-and-immigration/donald-trump-bans-h-1b-visa-technology-workers-on-federal-government-contracts/articleshow/77336287.cms Donald Trump bans H-1B tech workers from federal government contracts US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday that bans technology workers on H-1B visas from replacing American citizens in federal government contracts. The order will ensure that Federal agencies prioritise hiring American workers and not people on an H-1B visa.“We believe jobs must be offered to American workers first,” Donald Trump said in a statement. -The order mandated all federal agencies to carry out an internal audit to assess whether they are in compliance with the requirement of appointing only US citizens and nationals to competitive service. The Department of Labor will also finalise a guidance to prevent H-1B employers from moving H-1B workers to other employer’s job sites to displace American workers. Read more at:https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/visa-and-immigration/donald-trump-bans-h-1b-visa-technology-workers-on-federal-government-contracts/articleshow/77336287.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
  10. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/510349-democrats-want-biden-to-debate-trump-despite-risks Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks Democratic senators say Joe Biden shouldn’t be afraid to debate President Trump in the fall, countering other party figures floating the idea that he should skip the debates given his polling advantage and not risk giving Trump a lifeline. “We’ve had presidential debates for a long time now, and it’s been a way for a lot of people around the nation to be able to see the candidates in action,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is thought to be on Biden’s shortlist of potential running mates. “I know that Joe Biden will show who he is, a man of both empathy and competence, and I’d like the American people to have a chance to see that,” she added. Opinion pieces in recent days have criticized the tradition of presidential debates, some of them generally questioning their usefulness. But Joe Lockhart, a prominent Democratic strategist and former White House spokesman for the Clinton administration, wrote in a CNN op-ed that “whatever you do, don’t debate Trump” and was more specific and pointed in his advice to the Biden campaign.
  11. https://abc3340.com/news/nation-world/debate-begins-for-whos-first-in-line-for-covid-19-vaccine-08-02-2020 Debate begins for who's first in line for COVID-19 vaccine (AP) — Who gets to be first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine? U.S. health authorities hope by late next month to have some draft guidance on how to ration initial doses, but it’s a vexing decision. “Not everybody’s going to like the answer,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, recently told one of the advisory groups the government asked to help decide. “There will be many people who feel that they should have been at the top of the list.” Traditionally, first in line for a scarce vaccine are health workers and the people most vulnerable to the targeted infection. But Collins tossed new ideas into the mix: Consider geography and give priority to people where an outbreak is hitting hardest.
  12. https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/03/atomic-bombings-at-75-john-pilger-another-hiroshima-is-coming-unless-we-stop-it-now/ ATOMIC BOMBINGS AT 75: John Pilger — Another Hiroshima is Coming — Unless We Stop It Now Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acts of premeditated mass murder unleashing a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of 21st century U.S. war propaganda, casting a new enemy, and target – China. By John Pilger in Sydney, Australia When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties. I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped. He described a huge flash over the city, “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell. “I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet, and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.” Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukemia. “No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin” said a New York Times headline on September 13, 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. “General Farrell,” reported William H. Lawrence, “denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity.” Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the “press pack”. “I write this as a warning to the world,” reported Burchett in the London Daily Express of September 5,1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called “an atomic plague”. For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven.
  13. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53638033 Bill English: Computer mouse co-creator dies at 91 The co-creator of the computer mouse, William English, has died aged 91. The engineer and inventor was born in 1929 in Kentucky and studied electrical engineering at university before joining the US Navy. He built the first mouse in 1963, using an idea put forward by his colleague Doug Engelbart while the pair were working on early computing. It would only become commonplace two decades later, when personal home computers became popular. Mr English's death was confirmed to US media outlets by his wife. A brown box Bill English became the first person to use a mouse when he built the prototype at Mr Engelbart's research project at the Stanford Research Institute. The idea was Mr Engelbart's, which he described as only being "brief notes" - but the creation was down to Bill English.
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