John Berger, a world-famous polymath — critic, artist, screenwriter, novelist, poet, dramatist, artist, commentator, and storyteller — died January 2, 2017, in the Paris suburb of Antony at the age of 90. His 1972 book Ways of Seeing was a watershed work for those interested in art and other matters such as sexism, advertising, materialism, and the image-saturation of the modern world; it was made into a four-part BBC series.
Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on January 23, 2017
There is a dark spirit alive in the consciousness and conversations of the American people. Although many participated in the women's marches and were elated by the turnout and the solidarity of those who were proclaiming the ideals of peace, justice, and economic equality, the challenges of the New Year seem plentiful and whatever the Trump administration may do sounds onerous. Trump's inaugural address was full of dismal images.
Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on January 9, 2017
These past weeks we have been shelving in our library the books we reviewed in 2016 and organizing the ones that have come in for review in 2017. So the subject of how reading helps us find meaning and purpose in our lives is on our minds. In an elegantly written essay for The Wall Street Journal online, Will Schwalbe pays tribute to the art of reading.
Posted by Frederic Brussat on December 16, 2016
Wes Clark Jr., the son of retired U.S. Army general and former supreme commander at NATO Wesley Clark Sr., was part of a group of veterans who went to the Sioux reservation in Standing Rock, North Dakota, in early December 2016. They were there to stand with the Native tribes acting as Water Protectors protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The veterans joined in the celebration when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement for construction of the pipeline under the Missouri River.
Posted by Frederic Brussat on December 8, 2016
In an article on NewScientist.com, Aviva Rutkin writes about hitchBOT, a robot put out on the road as a hitchhiker. Then one day, it was found on the ground, with no head and its arms ripped out. The media picked up the story of hitchBOT's demise. The response was an "outpouring of affection" for the robot.
Posted by Frederic Brussat on November 30, 2016
Oxford Dictionaries has chosen "post-truth" as its international word of 2016. It is an adjective "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." The spike in its usage is "in the context of the European Union referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States."
Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on November 10, 2016
Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on November 1, 2016
Bob Dylan has always impressed us with the lyrics to his songs. From his beginnings as a folk singer in 1961, he mixed folk songs with protest ballads. Critics have been amazed by the different styles in Dylan's repertoire. In 1965, he adapted a rock style, followed by a turn to songs with Christian imagery, and most recently savored the pop style associated with Frank Sinatra.
Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on September 13, 2016
On June 14, 2016, NATO announced that it was designating cyberspace as an "operational domain" for war alongside land, sea, and air. Jens Stoltenberg told a press conference: "It means that we will coordinate and organize our efforts to protect against cyberattacks in a better and more efficient way."
Aviva Rutkin in an article on newscientist.com notes that in cyberwar the targets include not only government systems but also water supply, power, or telecommunications companies. Nations around the world are now gearing up for this opportunity to hack into the data systems of enemies and bring chaos to them.
Posted by Frederic Brussat on August 11, 2016
We are entering a brave new era as robots are getting very good at handling a wide range of tasks that have historically been the domain of paid workers. Some experts have figured out that half of current jobs are in danger of being replaced. As a larger supply of workers competes for fewer jobs, wages will diminish and even dry up completely. "With less need for human labor and judgment," venture capitalist Vinod Khosla predicts, "labor will be devalued relative to capital and even more so relative to ideas and machine learning technology."
About This Blog
Spiritual literacy is the ability to read the signs written in the texts of our own experiences. It is recommended and practiced in all the world's religions. Whether viewed as a gift from God or a skill to be cultivated, this facility enables us to discern and decipher a world full of meaning. More