Techno-Feudalism Is Taking Over by Yanis Varoufakis – Project Syndicate

The claim that capitalism is being toppled by a new economic model comes on the heels of many premature forecasts of capitalism’s demise, especially from the left. But this time it may well be true, and the signs that it is have been visible for a while.
— Read on


I don’t drop people I disagree with from my life – but for many liberals, differences of opinion have become unacceptable
— Read on

In my experience, conservatives say this right up until the day they stop talking to you because you thought they were joking when they insisted they were more important and deserving of a White House visit than Beyoncé.

Come back! Oh, come back!

Like many contemporary philosophers, Xunzi assumed that the dead are just that – gone, from us, from life, from existence.  But Xunzi did not imagine that this stone cold fact signified much.  Fact pales before desire and desire wants translating into action, into doing. In early China, one form of doing was the soul-summoning ritual.  Upon the death of a beloved, the bereaved would take to the rooftop to beg their dead to return – ritually pleading, “Come back!” – no matter how impossible one knew this to be.  Because, Xunzi might say, the longing is the thing.  What matters most is not that our dead cannot come back to us but the helpless, hopeless, and most important desire that they could.  The wish too is a fact and it is one of the more exquisite human facts, the felt power of our longings to go on a little longer with those we love.  If we are not to be false to this more important fact, we need somewhere to go with it, to give it its due, and the rooftop seems as good a place as any.  As does the graveyard, digging through layers of rock to make a place that is not a hole.

from Amy Olberding

Hot glass looks like cold glass

Some lessons are hard for me to learn. In my first chemistry class we watched a safety video that repeatedly proclaimed “hot glass looks like cold glass.” 20 years and 8 chemistry classes later and I’m still regularly burning my fingers on pyrex in the kitchen.

show hot pyrex dishes

Yesterday, I worked several hours while the intensity of a migraine gradually increased. I was trying to be ready for an important meeting I couldn’t reschedule and trying to make up for previous days lost to migraine. I ended up missing the meeting and leaving myself unfit for work today.

When a migraine attack begins, a patient is advised to take a triptan as soon as possible. Delaying reduces or eliminates effectiveness. But! Taking more than 1-2 per week leads to medication overuse headache – where the migraine always comes back as soon as the drug wears off. Even a one-off use increases the likelihood of another migraine shortly afterwards, so I have to rest for a full 2 days after taking a triptan or I induce another attack.

Any day I have a migraine is lost time. Even when the pain is mild and I don’t take a triptan, I’m quite limited in what I can do, both because of the symptoms of the migraine and because not resting almost always makes the migraine much worse or longer.

The calculus of when to take a triptan is hard, especially when you get many migraines.

If a migraine is going to be short and the pain relatively mild, I shouldn’t take a triptan. But I don’t know either of those things when a migraine starts. I don’t know if I’m going to have level 4 pain or level 8 pain, if it’s going to last 5 hours or 3 days. I know I’ll have at least 2 migraines in a week; I know I might have 7. I can’t take a triptan for every migraine. I can’t risk the agony (and potential ER visit) of not having a triptan option for a bad migraine. I know that the longer I wait to take a triptan, the less it helps, but that breaking even a days-long migraine enough to rest deeply can interrupt could become a weeks-long attack.

So, if I take a triptan for a migraine, I lose at least the migraine day and the day after. If I don’t rest both days, I will then lose at least an additional day. If I don’t take a triptan for a migraine, then I might lose one day, or I might lose weeks.

I made bad decisions this week about triptans, and I made bad decisions about resting this week.

On Wednesday, I woke up in the middle of the night with a migraine, bearable. I laid awake for a few hours until the worst passed, then slept til morning. I didn’t realize it then, but I should have taken a triptan right away.

I woke feeling better, but not well. I got to work even though I was foggy and stupid and struggling to accomplish anything. I should have spent the morning resting.

I was quickly overwhelmed with fatigue and spent much of the afternoon in mild pain and unable to do much but nap. I should have taken a triptan that afternoon.

Thursday, I woke at my normal time in manageable pain, but slow and foggy again. I started working and the pain escalated quickly. I had a meeting that day I didn’t want to cancel and I had work to do to prepare, so I continued on, slowly. And then it was too bad to stay upright and I’d had a migraine for 2 days. I should have taken a triptan.

I rested for several hours while the pain escalated and finally, finally, took a triptan. The pain decreased and I slept for much of the afternoon and all night.

And now it is Friday and I am still in a fair amount of pain and I cannot do much at all today without causing things to be worse.

So, I will put aside my frustration at the slow pace of my PhD and finding answers to the questions I’ve dedicated myself to. I will put aside the disappointed expectations of my advisor and colleagues. I will put aside my fears of never being able to hold a job or support my partner financially. And I will rest.