Trump bursts into Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Trump bursts into Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Photo illustration, source: Foto Rabe/Pixabay

Trump’s reigning ideology will have lasting consequences to ripple out across American politics. Unfortunately, for many years to come.

“With Joe and Kamala, you’re not going to have to think about the crazy things they say every day,” he exclaimed in front of the silent assembly of hundreds.

“You’re not going to have to argue about them every day. It just won’t be so exhausting. You might be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner without having an argument,” he continued, followed by an exhilarating response from the crowd.

The above-stated words were part of former President Barack Obama’s speech at a drive-in rally in Philadelphia last October 21st. …


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Photo courtesy of: Steve Knutson

Even though the virus is of equal treatment, the working conditions are not.

Isabel Garcia has recently been given the option of working remotely. However, for the 32-year-old second-generation Guatemalan, the task is proving to be more challenging than she previously imagined. Quarantined in a 2-bedroom apartment with her two children, aged 18 months and four years, enduring a cut of her salary of 35%, her experience has been far from ideal. Her husband Manuel doesn’t even have such ‘luxury,’ since he’s been commissioned to deliver food essentials across the country to a series of supermarket chains. Isabel’s situation is similar to that of millions of Americans: she can’t afford to stay home.

Although COVID-19 is a virus of equal treatment, it does not affect everyone equally. Working conditions fissures in our society are — once again — vulnerable amid this public health crisis. As the world is grappling with the worst pandemic in recent history, privilege is a crucial factor determining who gets to be confined and protected and who doesn’t. The virus is already disrupting the lives of many Americans, especially those who are disabled, homeless, unemployed, underemployed, without healthcare access, lacking child care or without paid sick leave. …


Empty shelves in the toilet paper aisle of an Atlantic Superstore supermarket of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 12 March 20
Empty shelves in the toilet paper aisle of an Atlantic Superstore supermarket of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 12 March 20
Empty shelves in the toilet paper aisle of an Atlantic Superstore supermarket of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 12 March 2020. Photo: Wikimedia

As the COVID-19 outbreak spurs mass buying, people are flocking stores for toilet paper, but why?

Last Saturday afternoon, Lucia, a 27-year-old marketing consultant, decided to head to her nearest shop in Madrid, Spain, to pick up some routine food supplies. What started as a quick errand turned into a four-hour nightmare, wandering several stores, seeing people fighting over toilet paper and canned tomatoes and navigating checkout lanes filled with hundreds of shoppers amid a state of emergency declaration over the COVID-19 pandemic.

This apocalyptic scene of people desperately panic buying toilet paper has become one of the most repeated images seeping through social media. From Wuhan and Hong Kong to Milan and California shoppers have been clearing grocery store shelves in response to coronavirus outbreak. …


With climate crisis looming, white supremacists are using the environment as grounds for a racist nationalism ideology

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Photo: O. Castellano

On June 8, an anonymous manifesto was posted to 8chan, the online message board that’s become known as a haven for extremism. The post, though long gone (but preserved thanks to Google’s cache feature), expresses a deep fear of population growth:

“Today, as a result of this industrial society, mass-consumption […] there just being too many people overall, the environment and the creatures and plants within it are threatened with extermination and destruction,” the post reads. “The Industrial Revolution laid the seeds for globalization, streamlined mass-immigration, pollution, unsustainability and the soulless consumer culture of today. …


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Photo: istockphoto.com

A new A.I. text generator has ability to write convincing prose. Can an algorithm imitate one of the most complex of human abilities?

What if I tell you there’s a program that has the ability to write convincing texts? So much so, that one will only have to give it a prompt and the system will come up with the desired text effortlessly. A text so well-written it could masquerade as a piece created by a human. Sounds quite superb, doesn’t it?

Developed by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based research institute — co-founded by none other than the Silicon Valley entrepreneur himself, Mr. Elon Musk — a new AI text generator is the latest example of how great machine learning software is getting at human-esque activities. Yet, when it comes to a skill so human like writing, can an algorithm truly imitate one of the most complex of human abilities? …


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Illustration courtesy of: A. Tatone

As more people fall deep into conspiratorial thinking. Is Silicon Valley doing enough to stop this threatening trend?

There’s never been a better time to become a conspiracy theorist. From the moon landing, staged in a TV studio, to global warming, a hoax invented by scientists, and even vaccinations being evil and causing autism, conspiracy theories are more alive, more pervasive and widespread than they have ever been before in history.

Conspiracy theorists are thriving in the current political climate, and they might be shaping it too. We are at a pivotal moment in democracy since post-truth reality is gaining ground and penetrating every corner of the political and social spectrum. …


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Photo: Alamy Stock Photo

The photo app is making us depressed, lonely and miserable. Why can’t we stop scrolling through the illusion?

Who would’ve thought that the simple use of photography could again revolutionize the world? After all, it was a long time ago since Kodak — once a very powerful company — branded our ‘moments’ with the introduction of the compact camera. Instagram has revived and re-awakened the phenomenon radically changing the landscape of digital-sharing photography embedding it in our collective consciousness. But, how does the app affect the way we see ourselves? And, what negative consequences will the promotion of a perfect lifestyle bring to our mental health?

Undoubtedly, photography has seen a new light on Instagram, its use has been democratized and modernized. Nowadays, anyone with a smartphone can access and enjoy the antics of taking a picture and putting it online for the world to see, consume, and judge. It’s difficult not to encounter someone who hasn’t given in yet to the temptation. Since its creation, the platform has amassed over 1 billion users with 100 million photos pictures and videos being shared daily — as of this writing. …


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Illustration courtesy of: Аngelica А.

From taxes to travel and milk cartons in bulk: If you’re single, you’re being penalized for it

Singledom is appallingly expensive. Period. You pay more if you fly, sleep or eat by yourself. Not to mention if you’re carrying the full burden of a mortgage and insurance premiums, then it all adds up for us singletons. But why the penalties? Well, they are the high price one has to pay if one is not part of a couple.

Societies are purposely designed for married people. Around the world, a lot of people suffer from institutionalized singlism. The discrimination of individuals based on marital status seems to be the rule. Still today, in the western world, being married is considered a social good. …


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Illustration courtesy of: Jое M.

As computers learn how to mimic us, are we starting to be more like them?

Silicon Valley is predicting more and more how we are going to respond to an email, react on someone’s Instagram picture, determine which government services are we eligible for, and soon a forthcoming Google Assistant will be able to call our hairdresser for us in real-time.

We have invited algorithms practically everywhere, from hospitals and schools to courtrooms. We are surrounded by autonomous automation. Lines of code can tell us what to watch, whom to date, and even whom should the justice system send to jail.

Are we making a mistake by handing over so much decision-making authority and control to lines of code? …


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Illustration courtesy of: Michael Waraksa

Imagine a world without cash. That world is coming — and sooner than you think.

Cash has been a key element in the evolution of civilization for more than 3000 years. However, in the last decade it has been losing predominance in favor of electronic money. As online commerce progressively expands and becomes widely adopted and as prepaid credit cards and electronic services such as PayPal, Pioneer and Google and Amazon Pay are increasingly used for low-value cash transactions, money, as we know it, is on its way to becoming obsolete.

But, as cash dies out, quickly becoming a thing from the past, who will profit and who will lose?

The shift to a cashless society is on the horizon. In countries like Sweden, paying with cash has become a hassle and a hard reality for some citizens who have reluctantly been forced to change their consumption habits. Sweden has banned notes and coins almost everywhere, from shops to public transport — after unions protested over the drivers’ safety — even church and homeless people accept electronic money now. Last year barely 1% of all transactions were made using coins or notes, compared to around 7% in EU and in the US. Sweden predicts that just half a percent of its transactions will be in cash by 2020. …

About

Orge Castellano

Journalist and multilingual researcher at your service. More stories on https://itsorge.com

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