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Co-founder of Elgg and Known; former investor at Matter;
CTO at The 19th.

benwerd

benwerd

benwerd

19thnews.org

 

Capitalism and extreme poverty: A global analysis of real wages, human height, and mortality since the long 16th century

“The rise of capitalism from the long 16th century onward is associated with a decline in wages to below subsistence, a deterioration in human stature, and an upturn in premature mortality. […] Where progress has occurred, significant improvements in human welfare began only around the 20th century. These gains coincide with the rise of anti-colonial and socialist political movements.”

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California's dead will have a new burial option: Human composting

“This new law will provide California’s 39 million residents with a meaningful funeral option that offers significant savings in carbon emissions, water and land usage over conventional burial or cremation.”

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More US Employers Are Trapping Workers in a New Form of Indentured Servitude

“Bosses in industries such as retail, health care and logistics are reverting to an old tactic and trapping people in miserable jobs by threatening to saddle them with debt if they quit. Workers across the United States in fields ranging from nursing to trucking have been discouraged from leaving jobs they hate or can’t afford to keep because employers vow to charge them for training costs if they quit before an arbitrary deadline.”

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‘Reverse Freedom Rides’ echo DeSantis Martha’s Vineyard migrant flights

Fascinating piece about the racist history of "reverse freedom rides" to Cape Cod that are now echoed by Ron DeSantis's policies in Florida. I've been going to the Cape my entire life and I'm ashamed to say I had no idea.

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Britain and the US are poor societies with some very rich people

“The rich in the US are exceptionally rich — the top 10 per cent have the highest top-decile disposable incomes in the world, 50 per cent above their British counterparts. But the bottom decile struggle by with a standard of living that is worse than the poorest in 14 European countries including Slovenia.”

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Lindsey Graham's national abortion ban has exceptions that won't work, experts say

“But exceptions for the life of the pregnant person are notoriously difficult to receive; physicians have said the requirement of providing abortions only in an emergency can force them to wait until a patient is in dire condition before providing them needed care. And the rape and incest exceptions written into the bill — much like the ones that exist in a handful of state abortion bans — are nominal at best, sexual violence and abortion policy experts said. They require reporting and paperwork that does not occur in the majority of sexual assault cases.”

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U.S. Approval of Labor Unions at Highest Point Since 1965

This feels like a sign of progress to me (and also a sign that ordinary workers need help).

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Netherlands Plans to Launch Slavery Apology Fund for Awareness Projects

“The fund will be announced after the nation officially apologizes for its role in slavery by the end of this year or the beginning of next year, according to people familiar with the matter. It may be as big as 200 million euros ($204 million), the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”

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Capitalism Gives Me the Freedom to Pursue as Many Side Gigs as I Want to Pay Off My Increasing Bills And Loans

“I like to think of myself as an independent contractor who threw out his nine-to-five job for about five to nine different jobs over the course of a year, a contractor with significantly less of the legal protections established in the past hundred years or so by Congress and the Supreme Court.”

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Ask Damon: I want to redistribute my slave-owning ancestor's wealth

“Anyway, if you’re sincere in your desire to attempt to right your family’s wrongs, find those descendants, show them the money and then hand it to them.”

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Happiness Is Two Scales

“Instead, happiness and unhappiness are two separate, independent scales. A good life requires tackling each one separately.”

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Period poverty: Scotland first in world to make period products free

“It will be for the country's 32 councils to decide what practical arrangements are put in place, but they must give "anyone who needs them" access to different types of period products "reasonably easily" and with "reasonable dignity".”

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Why a Life-Threatening Pregnancy Complication Is on the Rise

“For African American women, simply the stress of living in America increases the risk of preeclampsia.”

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Lionsgate Will Mandate Abortion Safety Protocols, CEO Says in Memo

“Thank you, Lionsgate, for being the only studio who treated this issue with the respect and urgency it deserves. There’s still work to be done, but this is a step in the right direction.”

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Races are finally making room for nonbinary runners

“More races across the United States are creating divisions for nonbinary runners to compete, and in some cases, to win awards. The New York City Marathon introduced a nonbinary category last year. The Chicago Marathon also quietly added a nonbinary registration category this year, one runner said. The Boston Marathon will include a nonbinary category in 2023, though athletes say the race needs to flesh out its policy before nonbinary runners can be fully included.”

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NJ police used baby DNA to investigate crimes, lawsuit claims

“The blood samples are not directly shared with law enforcement agencies. But if police are able to reliably obtain the samples through subpoena, then effectively, the disease screening process is entering all babies born in the state into a DNA database with no ability to opt out.”

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Economic consequences of major tax cuts for the rich

“We find tax cuts for the rich lead to higher income inequality in both the short- and medium-term. In contrast, such reforms do not have any significant effect on economic growth or unemployment.”

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The Dangerous Ideas of “Longtermism” and “Existential Risk”

“By reducing morality to an abstract numbers game, and by declaring that what’s most important is fulfilling “our potential” by becoming simulated posthumans among the stars, longtermists not only trivialize past atrocities like WWII (and the Holocaust) but give themselves a “moral excuse” to dismiss or minimize comparable atrocities in the future. This is one reason that I’ve come to see longtermism as an immensely dangerous ideology. It is, indeed, akin to a secular religion built around the worship of “future value,” complete with its own “secularised doctrine of salvation.””

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Facial recognition smartwatches to be used to monitor foreign offenders in UK

“Through their opaque technologies and algorithms, they facilitate government discrimination and human rights abuses without any accountability. No other country in Europe has deployed this dehumanising and invasive technology against migrants.”

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Federal Judge Places County Jail Into Receivership After County Fails To Comply With Consent Decree

Mind-blowing: “A-Pod is one of four “pods” the prison is divided into. […] Because the inmates have free run of the pod, they can access the roof and escape. For whatever reason, they rarely actually escape. Instead, they leave the prison and return with contraband. No one is assigned to work A-pod because it cannot be controlled in its current state.”

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Vast New Study Shows a Key to Reducing Poverty: More Friendships Between Rich and Poor

“The findings show the limitations of many attempts to increase diversity — like school busing, multifamily zoning and affirmative action. Bringing people together is not enough on its own to increase opportunity, the study suggests. Whether they form relationships matters just as much.”

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Vice President Kamala Harris was criticized for using visual descriptors. Why?

“The ongoing dustup over Vice President Kamala Harris describing herself during a meeting with disability rights leaders this week is much ado about an increasingly common practice and a distraction from the substance of the gathering, advocates say.”

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