This is an excerpt from a lecture called “Science and Story: The Instinct for Curiosity”, hosted by the World Science Festival (great youtube channel!) where a physicist and author is talking about how science should be considered part of culture rather than being categorized as ‘education’ or something. She also says that scientists, like artists, may sometimes feel a need to share their discoveries with the public.
I feel more and more convinced that science is a natural part of culture
And yet, we haven’t fully accepted that yet
It’s as though we haven’t culturally realized that that’s true quite yet
so we still think of science is falling under ‘education’ and you know
when I write books my colleagues will say, “You’re doing outreach”
It is really strange
like, there’s, there’s a sense that science is still other, and
and I think that that places like Pioneer Works are showing that it’s not other
that it’s, it’s no stranger for scientists to want to be in the world, and share the remarkable discoveries that they’ve made than it is for an artist to want to present their work in a gallery
you don’t ask an artist, like “Why do you want to put your work in a gallery?? Why aren’t you alone in your studio?!?”
You know and we are often quite isolated as scientists and some scientists don’t ever want to come out of the lab and that’s perfectly fine
I don’t think it’s something that should be required of every scientist at all it’s perfectly fine for someone to be totally single-mindedly in the lab, 20 hours a day and
but many people reach some moment their lives where they want to share what they just saw
You know, it’s like the people who climbed to the top of Mount Everest
and, and (not everyone is going to make that climb)
and they can come back and tell the rest of us with the view is like and and that’s just the natural thing human beings want to do
I don’t own the rights to this video. This speaker is talking about how some big technology companies are now more like financial companies because they’re mostly buying and selling other companies (because of the need to show ‘growth’ on their balance sheets) rather than producing, selling and making a profit from goods and services.
Douglas Rushkoff: The Digital Economy Should Be about Capital Creation, Not Extraction
13th Centry Economics Will Fail the Digital Economy
Part 1 INTRODUCTION
2 For 75 years now, corporate profit, over their total value, has been decreasing
3 That means corporations are really good at accumulating money but increasingly worse at deploying that money, at making money with money
4 This is really serious
5 [:26]Pharmaceutical companies don’t know how to make drugs, they only know how to acquire companies that do
Part 2 GOOGLE BECOMES ALPHABET
7 [:33] Google, even, is no longer a technology company — Google became Alphabet — it’s a holding company
8 Google’s new business is buying and selling technology companies
9 They bought a robot company, now they sold the robot company so they might as well be Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch or somebody
10 They are a meta company now
11 Because they don’t know how to create value
12 That’s because they’re using a bankrupt method
13 They’re using a 13th century, corporate operating system to run digitally-enabled businesses but I’m arguing is that thirteen century model is obsolete
14 It was based on going to South America and enslaving people and taking their precious metals
15 It doesn’t work for a digital economy
16 It doesn’t work for an economy where people are buying and selling and trading and making videos and exchanging value
Part 3 CREATE CIRCULATING VALUE
18 [1:29] And if you want to do well, if you wanna actually make money, you have a better shot of it by creating circulating value
19 Think eBay, not Amazon
20 Think Bitcoin, not Uber
21 And you’re slightly on the path
22 It’s a peer-to-peer networked economy that we’re moving into it
23 [1:52] If you can conceive of that, if you can get yourself out of the frame of mind where you want to get to ring the bell of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange
24 You’re not gonna get to do that, I promise you, you’re not
25 That’s not the way to go, you don’t want to sell your business
26 You want to run your business and make money doing your business and you have such a better chance of becoming a true millionaire and doing it in a way that’s not taking value from other people but is actually promoting business activity on a, on a wider scale, and on a more distributed scale than was possible back in the Middle Ages
Part 4 – SHORT-TERM FOCUS ON GROWTH
28 [2:30] Right now most CEOs are selling off their best businesses
29 They are cannibalizing their most productive enterprises in order to show short-term growth to shareholders
30 That’s actually bad for the long-term success of the business because without successful revenue-generating industries, it’s hard for the business to keep going
31 They actually need revenue, you need to be selling something, you need to make money in an ongoing way
32 I know that’s … heresy. I know that’s … I know! I get it! I realized that’s … bizarre to say it
33 but their way to communicate that to shareholders is to say, “Look you’re gonna start making dividends”
34 Dividends are okay. You’re gonna make money for owning my shares of stock
35 Now what we have to do is start looking at the tax code to stop punishing revenue-generating businesses and instead, start punishing ones that don’t generate revenue but just try to grow the business at the expense of the economy — that’s not hard to do
36 It’s …, we have to increase the tax on capital gains, and decrease the tax on dividends
37 This will encourage businesses to make money rather than to just eat themselves in order to show growth
Part 5 – HOW BANKS CAN HELP CREATE REAL VALUE
39 [3:50] How do we help people create value rather than suck it out?
40 How do we help businesses and neighborhoods circulate value rather than take money off the table?
41 So you look at a bank:
42 See all the bank has to do, and they … just called an experiment. It’s not a new banking system. Don’t worry just a little experiment in a couple of towns…
43 So, normally, a pizzeria wants to do an expansion
44 They come to the bank and they say look we want to expand put in a ladies restroom, separate from the men, we need $1, to do that, the bank will give them a hundred thousand dollars, 8% percent interest and in one year you pay back your loan
45 [4:3] But the bank should do instead is say look, “Luigi, we love your idea for an expanded restaurant”
46 We will give you fifty thousand dollars toward that expansion if you can raise $5, from your community, through crowdsourcing
47 So what we’re gonna do it’s put this $5, aside for you, and we’re gonna give you this tool, this app that we’ve developed, which will allow you to raise money from your community.
48 What you do is — you ask your patron for $1 now and then they can get $12 of pizza at the expanded restaurant
49 So the customer now is making twenty percent back on their money, which is better than they’re going to do in the stock market, or anywhere else
50 They get $2 back
51 You get to pay back half your loan in interest, but half your loan in pizza, which is cheaper to you than capital
52 We get, as a bank, we get your proof of concept
53 We can see that, okay, your community really what does want to support this
54 and the community now gets to invest not just in the S&P fund, not just in some mining company in the Philippines but they get to invest in their own Main Street, they see their restaurant expand, they see the property values go up, they see their tax base get better, they see their public schools get better
55 and they see a business … they relate to a business now as community members
56 So now the bank is seen less as the pure extractor of value from this town and the exclusive purveyor of capital, and instead as the facilitator of local economic activity
Part 6 – ROLE OF BANKS
58 [6:07] And why is that important?
59 Because it’s Rushkoff is right, if Piketty is right, and capitalism is itself about to crumble under its own weight
6 What is the role of the bank going to be, on the ground?
61 Can the bank establish itself as something other than the pot of money?
62 Can the bank reposition itself as an expert in how to facilitate local commerce?
63 If they can do that, then there’s a place for them in the digital economy as well as the current one
Part 7 – SUPERMARKETS
65 [6:42] Another simple idea:
66 Say you have a supermarket chain
67 and we all know that supermarkets are being looked at now is the extension of big Agra and unsustainable long distribution chain of food
68 Everybody wants to go to the local, local and the community supported agriculture and grow their own stuff
69 How can the supermarket chain look like something better than Walmart, just this big industrial wasteland?
70 Well, what if they open their parking lot on weekends to a farmers market?
71 You can charge for spaces if you really want
72 But more importantly, you just allow that activity to happen — you’re seen as a partner in that activity, rather than as a competitor to that activity
73 Yes, people might start to favor buying produce and agricultural products from that farmers market
74 Okay, but maybe the farmers market does that better?
75 And what do you do better?
76 you do packaged goods
77 you do long distance stuff, you do cans, you do frozen
78 you do what is super market does best
79 This way, you’ve shown yourself, really, as able to specialize in what you do and at the end of the day when that farmers market is done, you take all the groceries you take all the produce that wasn’t sold, buy it at discount from the local farmers and sell it on your shelves Monday Tuesday and Wednesday
80 so again it’s a simple way for a supermarket to see its competitors not as competitors at all, but as partners in food and then you will become the hub, the locus of this activity, of this value creation
81 You know, it’s a matter of seeing this other activity less as a leak, less as a drain on your revenue and more as a source of exchange, as a source of value creation
82 Because if your town is bankrupt, if your town has no way to create value they’re not going to be good customers anyway
Part 8 – THE SCORCHED EARTH APPROACH TO BUSINESS
84 Walmart, Walmart is right now closing stores because after twenty or thirty years of operation, it’s bankrupted its communities
85 It doesn’t let anyone else create value, and that doesn’t work in the long run
86 It only works when you have a ‘scorched earth’, ‘flip this house’ approach to your business
87 But if you’re not gonna sell your business, if you want to stay in your business you’ve gotta find ways for your customers to create and retain some value, otherwise they go away
88 But I get it, this sounds like it sounds like communism
89 I know that, but the thing is that the other one that communism!
90 it’s the other one that’s communism!
91 Make money for a living! Work for a living!
92 This is cool. Work for a living!
93 It’s actually fun, and you have customers, and they want what you have and you sell it to them, for a profit!
94 So you take how much it cost you to make the thing, you add something to that and then sell the thing to someone else and you end up with more than you started with, it’s just genius.
Note: I don’t own the rights to this video. This video comes from the School of Life’s youtube channel, which is a great library of clips for C1 and above listeners / readers who enjoy contemporary cultural topics and want to take in more complex language at the same time. The speaker has a UK accent and the pace of delivery is quite brisk.
Augustine was a Christian philosopher who lived in the 4th and 5th century A.D., on the fringes of the rapidly declining Roman Empire in the North African town of Hippo
He served as bishop for 35 years, proving (to be) popular and inspirational to his largely uneducated and poor congregation
[0:23] In his last days, a Germanic tribe known as ‘the Vandals’ burnt Hippo to the ground, destroyed the legions, made off with the town’s young women but left Augustine’s cathedral and library entirely untouched out of respect for the elderly philosopher’s achievements
He matters to us non-Christians today because of what he criticized about Rome; its values and its outlook and because Rome has so many things in common with the modern West, especially the United States
PART 1 – ROMANS AND AMERICAN BELIEVE IN EARLTHY HAPPINESS
[0:55] The Romans believed in two things in particular; one: Earthly happiness
They were on the whole an optimistic lot
The builders of the Pont du Gard and the Coliseum had faith in technology, in the power of humans to master themselves and in their ability to control nature and plot for their own happiness and satisfaction
[1:12] Writers like Cicero and Plutarch had a degree of pride, ambition and confidence in the future which, with some revisions, wouldn’t be out of place in modern-day Palo Alto or the pages of Wired
The Romans were keen practitioners of what we would nowadays call ‘self-help’; training their audiences to greater success and effectiveness
In their eyes, the human animal was something eminently open to being perfected
PART 2 – THEY BELIEVE IN A JUST SOCIETY
[1:36] Two: a just social order
For long periods, the Romans trusted that their society was marked by justice; ‘Justitia’
People of ambition and intelligence could make it to the top
The army was trusted to be meritocratic
The capacity to make money was held to reflect both practical ability and also a degree of inner virtue
Therefore showing off one’s wealth was deemed honorable and a point of pride
Fame was considered a wholly respectable ideal
Augustine disagreed furiously with both of these assumptions
PART 3 – THE CITY OF GOD
[2:10] In his masterpiece, The City of God, he dissented each of these two points; that human life could be perfected and that societies were just — in ways that continue to prove relevant to us today
It was Augustine who came up with the idea of original sin
He proposed that all humans not really this or that unfortunate example were crooked, because all of us are unwitting heirs to the sins of Adam
Our sinful nature gives rise to what Augustine called a libido dominandi; a desire to dominate, which is evident in a brutal, blinkered, merciless way we treat others in the world around us
We cannot properly love, for we are constantly undermined by our egoism and our pride
Our powers of reasoning and understanding are fragile in the extreme
Lust haunts our days and nights
We fail to understand ourselves
We chase phantoms
We are beset by anxieties
[3:00] Augustine concluded his assault by chiding all those philosophers who, in his words, have wished with amazing folly to be happy here on Earth, and to achieve bliss by their own efforts
PART 4 – THE UPSIDE OF AUGUSTINE’S DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN
[3:14] It might sound depressing but it may turn out to be a curious relief to be told that our lives are awry, not by coincidence, but by definition simply because we’re human and because nothing human can ever be made entirely straight
We are creatures fated to intuit virtue and love but never quite being able to secure them for ourselves
Our relationships, careers and countries are necessarily not as we want them to be
It isn’t anything specific we have done; the odds are simply stacked against us from the start
[3:43] Augustinian pessimism takes off some of the pressure we might feel when we slowly come to terms with the imperfect nature of pretty much everything we do and are
We shouldn’t rage or feel that we’ve been persecuted or singled out for undue punishment
It’s simply the human condition; the legacy of what we might as well, even if we don’t believe in August in theology, call ‘original sin’
[4:06] Romans had, in their most ambitious moments, thought themselves to be running a meritocracy; a society where those who got to the top were deemed to have done so on the back of their own virtues
After the Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity the philosopher Usivius even proposed that earthly power was God’s instrument for establishing Christianity on Earth, so that the powerful in Rome were now not just privileged but also blessed and righteous in God’s eyes
What arrogant boastful and cruel claims, responded Augustine
There never was, not ever could be, justice in Rome or indeed anywhere else on Earth
God didn’t give good people wealth and power and nor did he necessarily condemn those who lacked them
Augustine distinguished between what he called two cities; the City of Men and the City of God
[4:59] The latter was an ideal of the future; a heavenly paradise where the good would finally dominate
Where power would be properly allied to justice and where virtue would reign
But men could never build such a city alone and should never believe themselves capable of doing so
They were condemned to dwell only in the City of Men, which was a pervasive flawed society, where money could never accurately track virtue
[5:23] In Augustíne’s formulation, true justice has no existence, save in that Republic whose founder and ruler is Christ
Again it may sound bleak but it makes Augustine’s philosophy extremely generous towards failure, poverty and defeat; our own and that of others
It’s not for humans to judge each other by outward markers of success
From this analysis flows a lack of moralism and snobbery
It’s our duty to be skeptical about power and generous towards failure
We don’t need to be Christians to be comforted by both these points
They are the religions’ universal gifts to political philosophy and human psychology
[6:02]They stand as permanent reminders of some of the dangers and cruelties of believing that life can be made perfect for the poverty and obscurity are reliable indicators of vice in a City of Men
This video is full of irony; usually yoga practitioners are trying to achieve inner calm but this instructor is upset about a few things. Note: I do not own the rights for this video. This video comes from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Organization), which has Canada’s best news and radio programming in English and French (Radio-Canada).
 Okay, good, now hinge at the hips but don’t flip the tailbone
And feel that stretch, right from the heels to the tips of the fingers
And discover the present moment, come into dog stretch
And don’t think about this town
If I see one more man with a bun, not a ponytail – a bun, with an honest-to-God scrunchie, and those Birkenstocks, like some kind of homeless samurai
And he’s the one turning me down!
Come on up
To hell with him!
• To hinge = to bend
• A door hinge (google image)
• Do men wear buns / ponytails?
• A scrunchie / Birkenstocks (google image)
• To turn someone down = to refuse an invitation
 And reach up, reach up into the sky like you’re at the airport, getting a pat down because they discovered 150mL of apple butter in your bag
And they think you’re going to blow up the plane like some kind of apple butter vegan terrorist
And just let that go
And come on up into tree pose, if you can remember a tree standing up, and not burnt to the ground or clear cut
And gather your energy like those 35,000 walrus who gathered together on that beach in Alaska, because the ice is melting, and the Earth is dying!
and just feel the weight of the world on your back, and it’s crushing you but stay in the present because there is no future
because the government sold it to the highest bidder
• to sell something to the highest bidder = whoever will pay the most money
• Do you know someone who has the weight of the world on their back? (=worries about everything, all the time)
• To get pat-down = when police or security pats your body to feel for guns or weapons
• To stay in the present (moment) = Don’t worry about the past or the future
 (just breathe)
Your life means nothing!
And your children’s lives are worth nothing
And the only thing that matters is the almighty dollar
And just feel the head, drop your head down
Just, just bang your head a little bit, you know, sure, you’re just a tiny little bit angry
Sometimes yoga doesn’t cut it. Ask your doctor is marijuana is right for you.
–A message from Canada’s medicinal pot growers
• The almighty dollar = nothing is more important that the dollar
• e.g. She only cares about ‘the almighty dollar’ (i.e. money)
Every year over 20,000 Medicins Sans Frontiers staff provide emergency medical care and relief supplies to millions of people in distress
We strive to provide our patients with the best possible care, adapting advances in medical knowledge and research for patients living in the most difficult crises
I appeal here today to his Excellency, the Ambassador of Russia, and through him, to President Yeltsin, to stop the bombing of defenseless civilians in Chechnya
This Nobel Peace Prize is an acknowledgement of independent humanitarianism, free all political and military influence
We work in 65 countries around the world including Kygystan, Cameroon, Burundi, Armenia, South Africa, Liberia, Syria, China, Niger, Uganda, Djibouti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, India, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Pakistan
Our patients are people excluded from society and without access to health care
They work alongside people struggling to survive
violence or neglect,
widespread disease or epidemics,
war and political instability,
malaria, aids and tuberculosis,
victims of violence, most often have a sexual nature,
violence in urban settings,
This is only possible thanks to the financial support from more than three million donors worldwide.
By 1980, no Indian people anywhere in the West lived freely on their own land —
And even the reservations on which they struggled to survive were being broken up under the Dawes Act
Congress had cut appropriations
Rations were drastically reduced
There were deadly epidemics of measles, influenza, whooping cough
On the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, the Lakota medicine man Sitting Bull was living quietly in his cabin
He was still regarded with respect by those Lakotas who remembered the eerie accuracy of his visions during the days when they had fought Custer
But the Lakota were divided now as they struggled to come to terms with the white man’s world
And Sitting Bull had had another more disturbing vision
This one told him that the worst fate that could befall a Lakota awaited him; to die at the hands Of his own people
That fall, Sitting Bull had a visitor a Miniconjou Lakota named Kicking Bear Just back from a train trip to the far west and bearing remarkable news
A ceremony called the Ghost Dance was sweeping through many tribes of the west
It was part of a message of hope for all Indian peoples, being preached by a Paiute medicine man and prophet named Wovoka
My brothers, I bring you word from your fathers, the ghosts, that they are marching now to join you
Led by the messiah who came once to live on Earth with the white man but was killed by them
I bring to you the promise of a day when there will be no white man to lay his hand on the bridle of the Indian’s horse,
when the red men of the prairie will rule the world
Wovoka’s gospel of salvation was filled with Christian as well as Indian elements
Men and women were first to purify themselves and foreswear alcohol and violence
Then they were to dance in a large circle, chanting and appealing to the spirits of their ancestors
When they did, Wovoka promised, the whites would vanish, the buffalo would cover the Earth again
The ghost dance was, I think, was a desperate prayer
They thought that, “Well it may be possible that all of this has been a bad dream or all of this is passing,
and there will be a restoration of the world we knew and loved”
Like most Indians, Sitting Bull remained skeptical of the ceremony’s promised powers
But he agreed to let the ghost dance be taught to those people at Standing Rock who wanted to learn it
In the Lakota version of the ceremony, the dancers wore special shirts said to be stronger than the white man’s bullets
The people wearing the sacred shirts and feathers now formed a ring
We boys were in it
All joined hands
Everyone was respectful and quiet, expecting something wonderful to happen
The leaders beat time and sang as the people danced, going round to the left in a sidewise step
Occasionally someone fell unconscious into the center
As each one came to, she or he slowly sat up and looked about, bewildered and then began wailing inconsolably
[drum beats and chanting]
Pine Ridge Agency, November 12th, 1890
We need protection and and we need it now
Indians are dancing in the snow and are wild and crazy
The leaders should be arrested and confined at some military post until the matter is quieted and this should be done at once
— Daniel F. Royer
Responding to the pleas of a frightened Indian agent, Washington dispatched General Nelson A. Miles with 5000 troops including the seventh cavalry, Custer’s old command.
At Pine Ridge and Rosebud in South Dakota
The ghost dancers feared that the soldiers had come to attack them and fled to a remote plateau surrounded by cliffs, which nervous whites soon began calling “the stronghold.”
Meanwhile at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Ddakota
Indian police charged with keeping peace among their own people, heard a rumor that Sitting Bull was about to join the ghost dancers
Forty-three Lakota policemen were dispatched to bring Sitting Bull in, two troops of U.S. cavalry followed at a distance
Before dawn on December 15th, 1890, the police burst into Sitting Bull’s house, ordered him to his feet, and pushed him toward the door
Outside Sitting Bull’s followers began to gather taunting the Lakota police, vowing to keep them from taking their leader
Sitting Bull hesitated, unsure of what to do
Then one of his supporters raised his rifle and shot one of the policemen
Both sides began firing
A Lakota policeman put a bullet through sitting bull’s head
The last of his great visions had come to pass — Sitting Bull had been killed by his own people
Black Elk: My grandfather’s mother was one of the people who was from Sitting Bull’s camp
And my grandfather would tell me that when sitting bull was killed, they had very few horses so the few horses they had, they put the young children
on and they walked to Big Foot’s camp, and that she wept as she walked, and she wept not only or Sitting Bull being killed the way he was, but
also wept because she feared that she would not live to have children, and if she did have children, would they be Lakota?
Sitting Bull’s grieving followers fled toward the Cheyenne River Reservation where they joined Miniconjou band led by a chief named Big Foot.
He had once been an enthusiastic ghost dancer but he was no longer certain that the world would be transformed
Big Foot decided to take his band into Pine Ridge and see if there wasn’t some way to reconcile things
But General Miles misunderstood what big foot was doing and ordered the seventh cavalry under Colonel John Forsyth to intercept him
They caught up with Big Foot three days after Christmas
The chief was riding in a wagon too ill with pneumonia even to sit up but he flew a white flag, to show his peaceful intentions
The soldiers transferred Big foot to an army ambulance and then led his band down to a little creek for the night
It was called Wounded Knee.
There were men and women and children
The soldiers distributed rations
An army doctor did what he could for Big Foot
But the soldiers also posted four cannon on the top of a rise overlooking the camp
The following morning there was a bugle call
Then I saw the soldiers mounting their horses and surrounding us
It was announced that all men should come to the center for a talk
Big Foot was brought out of his tent and sat, and the older men were gathered around him
— Dewey Beard.
Charles Allen, a reporter for a Nebraska newspaper watched from the hilltop:
At the southeast edge of the group of standing Indians there was a fair-sized plot of grass where, in all the exuberance of early youth, were eight or ten Indian boys dressed in the gray school uniforms of that period and … the fun they were having as they played Bucking Horse, Leap Frog and similar games carried the mind or a fleeting moment back to the days of boyhood
Troops began moving from tepee to tepee, confiscating knives and axes from the women, sometimes seizing a rifle
A medicine man began to dance
“Do not fear,” he told the warriors, “but let your hearts be strong. Many soldiers are about us and have many bullets but I am assured the bullets cannot penetrate us.”
Suddenly scooping up a handful of dirt he tossed it scattering in the air and with eyes turned toward heaven implored the Great Spirit to scatter the soldiers likewise
Almost simultaneously, with him throwing a handful of dirt into the air, soldiers tried to disarm a man who was deaf and he hung on to his rifle and they kind of struggled over it and it went off
These two things happened at the same time and — bang, I mean it just blew everything up
[ gunshots ]
The soldiers opened fire —
And finally, the cannon that hurled exploding shells into the tepees
The Lakotas did their best to fight back
When the shooting finally, stopped some 250 men women and children were dead
I walked around viewing the sad spectacle
On reaching the corner of the green where the schoolboys had been so happy in their sports but a short time before, there was spread before me,
the saddest picture i had seen or was to see thereafter
For on that spot of their playful choice were scattered the prostrate bodies of all those fine little Indian boys cold in death
The gunfire had blazed across their playground in a way that permitted no escape
They must have fallen like grass before the sickle
Dead, too, were 25 soldiers
Wounded Lakotas and wounded soldiers alike were taken to the Holy Cross Episcopal Church at Pine Ridge
Its walls were still hung with Christmas decorations
Pews were torn from their fastenings, and armfuls of hay fetched by Indian helpers
Upon a layer of this, we spread quilts and blankets taken from our own beds
The victims were lifted as gently as possible and laid in two long rows on the floor — a pathetic array of young girls and women and babes in arms, little children and a few men, all pierced with bullets
A young girl who had a ghost shirt on underneath her clothes said, “They told me if I put this on, the bullets would not go through and I believed them. Now see where we are.”
For several days, the dead Lakotas were left where they had fallen while the army contended with sporadic fighting that broke out on the reservation
Finally after a heavy snowfall a burial party arrived at Wounded Knee, dug a pit and dumped in the frozen bodies
In the shine of photographs are the slain frozen and black on a simple field of snow
They image ceremony
Women and children dancing, old men prancing, making fun
In autumn there were songs long since muted in the blizzard
In summer the wild buckwheat shone like foxfur and quillwork
And dust guttered on the creek.
Now in serene attitudes of dance
The dead in glossy death are drawn in ancient light
On January 15, 1891, the 4000 remaining ghost dancers finally surrendered to General Miles
Armed Indian resistance in the West had ended
Wounded Knee happened yesterday
For Lakota people, Wounded Knee is today
Wounded knee represents all the frustrations of those years and years and years on the reservation
Even though it happened in 1890, it’s fresh in Lakota people’s minds and in their hearts
That tragedy, that destruction, that devastating thing that happened to them
It exists today, it exists in our hearts and our minds — the way we think, when we see about when we talk about Indian/white relations —
That’s the first thing that comes to mind
How many times does the chorus repeat in your favorite song?
and take a moment to think,
How many times have you listened to it?
Chances are, you’ve heard that chorus repeated dozens, if not hundreds, of times
And it’s not just popular songs in the West that repeat a lot
Repetition is a feature that music from cultures around the world tends to share
So why does music rely so heavily on repetition?
[:35] One part of the answer depends comes from what psychologist call “the Mere Exposure Effect”
In short, people tend to prefer things they’ve been exposed to before
For example, a song comes on the radio that we don’t particularly like
But then we hear the song at the grocery store, at the movie theatre and again, on the street corner
Soon, we are tapping to the beat, singing the words, even downloading the track
This mere exposure effect doesn’t just work for songs, it also works for everything from shapes to Superbowl ads
[1:09] So what makes repetition so uniquely prevalent in music?
To investigate, psychologists asked people to listen to musical compositions that avoided exact repetition
They heard excerpts from these pieces in either their original form or in a version that had been digitally altered to include repetition
Although the original versions had been composed by some of the most respected 20th century composers, and the repetitive versions had been assembled by brute force audio editing, people rated the repetitive versions as more enjoyable, more interesting and more likely to have been composed by a human artist.
[1:43] Musical repetition is deeply compelling
Think about the Muppets’ classic; mana mana
If you’ve heard it before, it’s almost impossible after I sing mana mana not to respond do do do do
Repetition connects each bit of music irresistibly to the next bit of music that follows it
So when you hear a few notes, you’re already imagining what’s coming next
Your mind is unconsciously singing along and without noticing, you might start humming out loud
[2:12] Recent studies have shown that when people hear a segment of music repeated they are more likely to move or tap along to it
Repetition invites us into music as imagined participants rather than as passive listeners
[2:26] Research has also shown listeners shift their attention across musical repetitions, focusing on different aspects of the sound on each new listen
You might notice the melody of the phrase the first time but when it’s repeated your attention shifts to how the guitarist bends a pitch
[2:43] This also occurs in language, in something called Semantic Satiation
Repeating a word like atlas ad nauseam can you make stop thinking about what the word means and instead focus on the sounds
The odd way the l follows the t
In this way, repetition can open up new worlds of sound not accessible on first hearing
The l following the t might not be aesthetically relevant to atlas
but the guitarist’s pitch-bending might be of critical expressive importance
The speech-to-song illusion captures how simply repeating a sentence a number of times shifts listener’s attention to the pitch and the temporal aspects of the sound
so that the repeated spoken language actually begins to sound like it is being sung
[3:25] A similar effect happens with random sequences of sound
People will rate random sequences they’ve heard on a repeated loop as more musical than a random sequence they have only heard once
Repetition gives rise to a kind of orientation to sound that we think of as distinctively musical, where we’re listening along with the sound, engaging imaginatively with the note about to happen
This mode of listening ties in with our susceptibility to musical earworms, where segments of music burrow into our head, and play again and again as if stuck on repeat
Critics are often embarrassed by music’s repetitiveness, finding it childish or regressive
But repetition, far from an embarrassment, is actually a key feature that gives rise to the kind of experience we think of as musical
i. Notice this sentence pattern:
This mere exposure effect doesn’t just work for songs, it also works for everything from shapes to Super Bowl ads
ii. Notice where intonation rises and falls over this long sentence:
Although the original versions had been composed by some of the most respected 20th century composers, and the repetitive versions had been assembled by brute force audio editing, people rated the repetitive versions as more enjoyable, more interesting and more likely to have been composed by a human artist.
iii. Notice how the speaker sets up this statement / refutation:
Statement: Critics are often embarrassed by music’s repetitiveness, finding it childish or regressive
Refutation: But repetition, far from (being) an embarrassment, is actually a key feature that gives rise to the kind of experience we think of as musical
A city in the UK has decided to create an open wife network as a sandbox for development of new technologies and products. This video has interviews with a city planner, a local entrepreneur and a former hacker who speak about the threats and opportunities of this initiative.
Post-viewing Dictation and True / False Questions:
Step 1 — Listen and write what you hear.
Step 2 — Check what you wrote for accuracy. Transcripts for these questions are in the notes.
Step 2 — Then, decide if the statement is true or false.
Step 3 — Find the part in the video that backs up (=supports) your opinion about whether it’s true or not.
True / False #1
True / False #2
True False #3
Transcript (to have on screen while you listen)
Monetary Policy: A Quick and Dirty Explainer 2:49min
Hi, I’m Derek Thompson. This is Economics in Plain English, where I answer your questions about business and money.
You asked – what is the difference between fiscal policy and monetary policy?
Now, I know, I know – this sounds like a super boring question but it’s an important question and there is a cool way to think about it.
So, when Washington wants to save the economy, it has two big toolboxes at its disposal; fiscal policy and monetary policy. Let’s start with fiscal policy – this is basically the government’s ability to tax and spend and when the economy stinks, Washington tends to lower taxes and spend more money to fill the holes in state budgets.
Tool number two is monetary policy. Now, if you ask an economist to explain monetary policy he’ll say something like “Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and rate of growth of the money supply” but there is an easier way to think about this.
Y’know, capitalism is sort of a game of chance so let’s imagine the US economy is a casino, and Washington is the floor manager. (and) Since the economy has been kind of crummy recently, let’s pretend it’s an awful casino where none of the gamblers want to sit down and actually place any bets. Families don’t want to buy big new houses, businesses don’t want to open up new offices, banks don’t want to lend money to the businesses and the families. People don’t want to gamble their money.
There’s two ways that Washington, the floor manager, can intervene in a situation like this. First, he could stand at the door and hand out twenty dollar bills and say “Hi, welcome to Uncle Sam’s casino, here is some money, go have fun”
That would be kind of (kinda) like fiscal policy.
Another way to get people to place more bets would be to announce over their intercom that you were doubling the number of chips in every pot, on every table. It wouldn’t necessarily make anybody automatically richer – it would make people more likely to take risks. This is kind of like monetary policy.
Fiscal policy and monetary policy work best when they’re working together. Giving gamblers better odds doesn’t matter if they don’t have any money in the first place.
Since the Great Recession, Washington has been a pretty active floor manager. It has handed out money at the door in the form of tax cuts and direct stimulus to the states, and – it’s bought gunky assets off the banks’ balance sheets, and cut interest rates and this has raised the chip supply.
It’s all been done in the hopes that families and businesses would take more risk, if the hand they had was worth playing.
A muggy monsoon dawn in Mumbai
It’s the brief quiet before the daily storm of activity sweeps across Indian’s commercial capital
This city of 17 million is infamous for its crowds and chaos
But Mumbai is also renowned for its meals on wheels
Whatever the weather, Bikaji religiously does his morning rounds
While many people are barely finishing breakfast, he is collecting lunches for desk-bound workers
[1:00] He is the nexus between home and office, husband and housewife, mother and son
Curry and rice … I cooked: chicken, curry and rice … and salad
Mrs. Lalipuria puts the notion of ‘a cut lunch’ to shame
She’s been making long distance lunches for nearly half a century
First for her now-retired husband, and then for her son Manoosh
(unclear – don’t let my son eat outside) … outside food is no good … dirty … the food is not so healthy
And no, Manoosh is not a school boy, he’s 43 and married
but his working wife certainly won’t make Manoosh lunch and don’t even suggest that he might step into the kitchen
No way! I’m not a good cook. I don’t know cooking.
But the problem for domestically-challenged Manoosh is that he leaves for work long before the onions even start frying so somehow, mother and son need to be united
Enter the mighty tiffin or dabba; the great Indian lunch box
But a dabba is not much use without a walla
Together they make one of Mumbai’s most remarkable institutions; the dabbawalla
[3:07] Since 1890 a closed community has been providing a low tech lunch delivery service
Bikaji picks up about a dozen dabbas and brings them to the local station
Here they are sorted according to an intricate system of codes, colours and numbers … and passed on to the next stage of the network
Thanks to trust and cooperation, dabbas are passed from one team to the next, zigzagging across the city
[4:03] The system is all the more ingenious when we consider Mumbai’s 5000 dubbawallas can barely read or write
and they must contend with one of the world’s most congested civic infrastructures yet their success ratio is astounding
dubbawallas get more 99.99 (ninety-nine point nine nine) per cent of their deliveries right
but, despite a strike rate even the don would have admired, their days might be numbered
[4:49] What began as a service for British administrators, too pretentious to be seen carrying their lunch, peaked in the 1950s
And is today slowly petering out
Still – 150,000 workers in this concrete jungle will today get their home-cooked meal on time
Forbes magazine rates the dubbawallas productivity on a par with the biggest global corporations
And for a monthly fee of just six dollars the likes of Manoosh think they’re a legend in his lunch time
If they’re not there for a day, I find it difficult; I have to go to a restaurant, stand in a long queue and God knows what I am eating there
It’s risky, yeah
Yes, it is … it is risky, you can’t be 100% sure, I would say
[5: 49] In a city with as many food rules as there are religions, matching the dabba to the desk is about much more than just pleasing fussy eaters
If a Muslim’s beef biriyani got mixed up with a Jain’s strictly vegetarian dahl and rice, it wouldn’t be pretty
[6:10] But reliability is not the dubbawallas downfall
As more Mumbai women work, fewer are cooking
The likes of Manoosh know that his mum’s lunches can’t last forever
I’ll try my luck with my wife, and if she says no, then I don’t know what I’ll do
Yes, I think that is an important reason why perhaps the dubbawallas jobs have, are now … going …bit by bit
It’s because the woman has started working, and she’s got a job and therefore she is not at home to pack this tiffin and send for her loving husband
The demise of the housewife is only part of the story
The opening up of the Indian economy over the last decade has also changed the face of Mumbai
[6:58] With more money to spend, India’s expanding middle class is venturing out, they’re generating a new brand of food consumer
We have nice restaurants opening up but, um, … most of them are not really good
They are laying a lot more emphasis on ambiance and things like that, on very fancy-sounding names
But I’ve had the experience of, um, eating a really lousy dinner at a very posh restaurant recently and I was quite aghast because we ended up paying 12,000 rupees
and the only thing good that day was the Californian wine that we drank
[7:38] The ubiquitous global food chains are grabbing some of that market
but so, too are a new flavour of savvy local eateries
You won’t find the average clerk or regular office worker perhaps going to McDonald’s too often
Sure, he’ll try it out once or twice but he is going to come back to basics
Dosa Diner is a new chain selling funky Indian food, which is not too adventurous
We don’t really see ourselves competing traditionally against another restaurant, um, we are trying to get people out of their houses and, to that extent, we’re really competing with, with home food
And that means the dabbawallas?
And sadly, that is the dabbawallas
[8:27] For Mumbai’s Hindu nationalist leaders, self-appointed cultural custodians, at stake is much more than just the fate of the dabbawallas
They fear the very fabric of Indian society is unravelling
That the sacred bond between husband and wife may soon be broken
I think the very alarming thing got our housewives, according to me, because whatever dialogue we have between me and my wife is always about the food which she cooks, you know
If she stops cooking then the dialogue will stop, and that is my fear
Because you know, otherwise, for lifetime, I would never talk to my wife
[9:03] Yet the humble dabbawallas seem the most at ease
They’re convinced they’ll keep earning their $200 (two hundred dollars) a month, for some time to come
After all, they have the union to look after them; the honourable company of tiffin box carriers
[9:40] After lunch, as the dabbwallas reverse the morning’s journey, returning the empty tiffins, it’s hard to imagine Mumbai without them
Their city might be changing, and demand for this extraordinary cooperative may be diminishing, the dabbawallas believe their courier service will survive, or else the mighty Indian family might not