Don’t Connect to a Public Wi-Fi Network Anywhere You Wouldn’t Go Barefoot

You can’t see the gross stuff on the airport floor, but you wouldn’t walk there barefoot. (Would you? Please don’t.) Similarly, you can’t always see the icky things on public Wi-Fi, but often, they’re there.

I'll be using this analogy. I spend my time warning people about public wifi networks, but it's mostly ignored.

Don't ignore the warnings, please.

JG Ballard's daughter on her father's prescience

"Reality is now a kind of huge advertising campaign, selling television’s image of what life is about." That could be a response to recent events, but JG Ballard said those words in 1988. As readers of my father will know, he was fascinated by the way advances in technology and the mass media revolutionised our lives.

How my father, JG Ballard, foresaw our strange present.

The death of reason

It’s the game of turning raw rage into political currency, the unscrupulous whorebaggery of the troll gone pro. These are people who cashed in their limited principles to cheat at poker. Milo is the best player here. Like Trump, and like a lot of successful politicians in this postmodern circus, they channel their own narcissism to give voice to the wordless, formless rage of the people neoliberalism left behind. They offer new win conditions for the humiliated masses. Welcome to the scream room. There’s a cheese plate.

Surreal and spine-chilling account of the Republican national convention by Laurie Penny.

Human Lives Are Not More Important Than Animal Lives

Excellent piece by Captain Paul Watson of Sea Sheperd on the pretentious view we humans have of our place in the world.

Humans have created a fantasy world called anthropocentrism, the idea that all of reality, all of nature exists only for humanity, that we are the only species that matters and human rights take priority over the rights of all other species.

This anthropocentric view of the world has made us selfish, self-centred and extremely destructive to all other forms of life on the planet including our own. Our fantasies have allowed us to destroy the very life support systems that sustain us, to poison the waters we drink and the food we eat, to amuse ourselves with blood sports and to eradicate anything and everything we do not like, be it animal, plant or other human beings. We demonize each other and we demonize the entire living world.

If humans disappeared tomorrow, the planet would be better off. If, to take a single example, bees went extinct, the whole system would collapse. We would do well to step off this self-created podium and re-evalute our position.

Read the full article at The Outdoor Journal

The fast fashion problem

There's a serious overconsumption problem in fashion these days. Cheap, so-called "fast fashion" is pushing people to buy more clothes, a good percentage of which is never even worn. It's all about the constant lust for something new which, as we all know, is never satisfied.

When there's a substantial cost to an item, we pause and ask ourselves questions like "Will I actually wear this?", "Is it comfortable?", "Will it last?". This is rarely the case when a t-shirt costs little more than a cup of coffee.

Obviously, there are reasons these items are so cheap, not many of them good:

As UNICEF reported on child labour, recruiters convince parents in impoverished rural areas to send their daughters to apparel manufacturing jobs with promises of a well-paid job, comfortable accommodation, three nutritious meals a day and opportunities for training and school, as well as a lump sum payment at the end of a defined period. In reality, these children are working in appalling conditions that amount to what has been called modern day slavery.

There is hope though, from this same article:

If Google searches or Marie Kondo’s best seller on decluterring is any indication, interest in tidying all this up is at an all time high. Consumers are reaching their limit. While the pleasure of cheap fashion is neurologically very real, consumers are equally experiencing the mental exhaustion from the accumulation of all of this cheap clothing. They are magically tidying up and wanting to spend more of their dollars on experiences and values over stuff.

In the meantime, we're donating so much clothing to charities, much of it too cheap and flimsy to be re-used, that whole industries have grown from this. Not always a positive either:

the flow of Western clothing to developing countries negatively affects them by disrupting local economies and putting textile workers out of jobs. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the constant flood of used clothing is so pervasive that it's even part of the language. In his book, Brooks translates the colloquial Ghanaian phrase "obroni wawu" to "clothes of the dead white man."

The quotes above are from these two articles: Our love of cheap clothing has a hidden cost – it’s time for a fashion revolution and The Truth About Your Clothing Donations