Category Archives: Viva!

Imagine having so much money you can spend it on Instagram “influencers”

Systemic Disorder

That so much money concentrates at the top that capitalists can’t find useful outlets for it, and that capitalism produces huge amounts of junk we don’t need or want, was reinforced for me upon reading a New York Times article on what apparently has become a war against Instagram bots.

You can’t make this up, can you? So much capital is thrown into marketing that huge sums of money are thrown at Internet “influencers” who apparently are “influencers” because they have large numbers of followers on Instagram. The problem here, from the marketers’ perspective, is that large numbers of those followers are fake. They’re bots created to inflate the size of followings.

Although I couldn’t read this business-section article without laughing at the absurdity of this, it did also nicely illustrate the tremendous amount of waste in capitalist production. You’ve got to have a lot of capital lying around to…

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Using new law, Israel moves to strip 12 Palestinians of East Jerusalem residency

Where else in history have governments declared citizens to not be citizens because of ethnic or racial bias?


Israeli authorities are considering stripping 12 Palestinians of their permanent residency status in occupied East Jerusalem, in what would reportedly be the first use of recently adopted legislation.

According to Haaretz, Interior Minister Arye Dery is weighing up the move, in light of the law passed two weeks ago, which grants him the authority to strip any permanent resident of his residency rights, for ‘terrorism’ or ‘disloyalty’ to the State of Israel.

The 12 Palestinians in question include four Hamas-affiliated parliamentarians from the Palestinian Legislative Council, whose cases were the subject of a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a previous government decision to revoke their residency.

It was in response to that ruling that the Knesset subsequently adopted the new legislation.

The other eight Palestinians who may have their residency revoked have all been convicted by Israeli courts of involvement in “terror attacks”, Haaretz reported.

“Murdering Israelis and involvement in attacks against civilians is the gravest possible breach of faith between a resident and his country,” Dery said.

“The same goes for active, significant involvement in terrorist organizations. Residents and citizens who endanger the Israeli public and constitute a threat to its safety should know that their status is in danger, on top of the other penalties laid down by law. I will work with all my might and all the means at my disposal to fight terrorists and anyone who’s involved in or abets terror”.

Attorney Osama Saadi, who represents the four Hamas parliamentarians, said: “The amendment in question is unconstitutional, and even the attorney general opposed it. Moreover, the law states that in any case, it’s not possible to revoke the residency of East Jerusalem residents, who have a special status, and leave them without any residency”.

“We will petition the High Court on behalf of these four, who, as you’ll recall, have been waging a legal battle against the revocation of their residency since 2006 and won their petition a few months ago,” he added. “This amendment violates international law, and wholesale revocations, such as are happening today, show that this is a political law by a crazy government.”

Peru president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigns amid corruption scandal


  • Secret videos recordings link government to vote buying
  • Congress about to hold second impeachment vote on 79-year-old

Peru’s president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has offered his resignation after secret video recordings entangled him in a new corruption scandal on the eve of an impeachment vote, plunging one of Latin America’s steadiest economies into a political crisis.

It was unclear if the opposition-controlled Congress would accept his resignation or proceed with a vote on Thursday to force him from office.

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To Save the Earth, We Should Just Leave It Alone

Since humans started to think about the impacts of their industry on the planet, they tried to repair some of the worst damages they caused, restoring ecosystems or reintroducing species that may otherwise have gone extinct.

Now, a new study suggests that while many ecosystems do make progress toward recovery thanks to human intervention, few are restored to their pristine state. This, the authors suggest, indicates that the best solution to protect biodiversity is to concentrate on keeping existing ecosystems intact.

For the report, which was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B., the international team looked at 400 studies on environmental recovery, observing ecosystems’ response to disturbances such as oil spills, agriculture and logging.

“Passive recovery should be considered as a first option,” reads the paper’s abstract. “If recovery is slow, then active restoration actions should be better tailored to overcome specific obstacles to recovery and achieve restoration goals.”

In their meta analysis, they found that simply removing the disturbances affecting a natural environment, for example halting deforestation, did have very similar effects to active restoration. However, they acknowledge that their findings should be taken with caution, because only few studies compare active and passive restoration measures in the same place, as a response to the same negative impacts.

This isn’t the first time that a passive approach has been pitched as our best bet to repair ecological damage. Biologist E. O. Wilson – also known as the “father of biodiversity” – has argued for the lofty goal of ringfencing half of the planet as a nature reserve, as reported by The Guardian.

The authors of this study don’t set targets that are as ambitious as Wilson’s, but they do stress the importance of making sure that our limited restoration resources are used to their full potential. If our efforts don’t help ecosystems recover any quicker than they would naturally, perhaps we should focus on other situations where our actions can make a difference.

The post To Save the Earth, We Should Just Leave It Alone appeared first on Futurism.

‘Utterly horrifying’: ex-Facebook insider says covert data harvesting was routine


Sandy Parakilas says numerous companies deployed these techniques – likely affecting hundreds of millions of users – and that Facebook looked the other way

Hundreds of millions of Facebook users are likely to have had their private information harvested by companies that exploited the same terms as the firm that collected data and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica, according to a new whistleblower.

Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach.

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Yemen war: Senate rejects ending US support of Saudi-led campaign

Majority of Senate in favor of genocide!


The 55-44 vote came after a rare attempt by Congress to claw back its war powers from the executive branch

The US Senate has rejected an effort to end support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and driven the country to the brink of famine, after a rare attempt by Congress to claw back its war powers from the executive branch.

The Senate voted 55-44 on Tuesday against taking up the war powers resolution, which had been opposed by the Trump administration.

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