Daily Archives: January 9, 2020
An independent Christian safeguarding charity, Thirtyone:eight, has been asked by Emmanuel Church to undertake the review into the allegations, which emerged in June last year, while Mr Fletcher was Minister of Emmanuel Ridgway Proprietary Chapel from 1982 to 2012, and an influential figure among Evangelicals in the Church of England (News, 5 July).
The allegations involve physical beatings, reminiscent of the beatings administered by John Smyth (News, 13 April 2017; 1 March). Mr Fletcher has admitted that the beatings took place. Last year, he described them as “light-hearted forfeits” in a “system of mutual encouragement”.
In September, a group of clerics condemned the public response of Mr Fletcher to allegations made against him as an attempt “to minimise them, and to feign astonishment that anyone should find his blatantly bizarre and abusive behaviour inappropriate” (News, 27 September).
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
The cancer death rate in the U.S. dropped 2.2% from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop ever recorded, according to the latest report from the American Cancer Society, continuing a longstanding decline that began a quarter-century ago.
The drop is largely driven by progress against lung cancer, though the most rapid declines in the report occurred in melanoma. Advances in treatment are helping improve survival rates in the two cancers, experts say.
Falling smoking rates have played a big role in the decline in lung-cancer deaths, cancer doctors say, as well as improvements in detection and treatment. For melanoma, the report singles out the emergence of drugs like Roche Holding AG ’s Zelboraf that target the molecular roots of tumors and therapies like Yervoy from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., which enlist a patient’s own immune system in the cancer fight.
The U.S. cancer death rate recorded its biggest-ever yearly fall, the American Cancer Society reported, driven by progress against lung cancer https://t.co/yqpC8CLTMO
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 8, 2020
As we enter a new decade, we are also entering a new era of political economy. Over the centuries, capitalism has evolved through a number of stages, from industrial to managerial to financial capitalism. Now we are entering the age of “surveillance capitalism.”
Under surveillance capitalism, people’s lived experiences are unilaterally claimed by private companies and translated into proprietary data flows. Some of these data are used to improve products and services. The rest are considered a “behavioral surplus” and valued for their rich predictive signals.
These predictive data are shipped to new-age factories of machine intelligence where they are computed into highly profitable prediction products that anticipate your current and future choices. Prediction products are then traded in what I call “behavioral futures markets,” where surveillance capitalists sell certainty to their business customers.
Google’s “clickthrough rate” was the first globally successful prediction product, and its ad markets were the first to trade in human futures. Already, surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, and ever more companies across nearly every economic sector have shown an eagerness to lay bets on our future behavior.
The competitive dynamics of these new markets reveal surveillance capitalism’s economic imperatives.
First, machine intelligence demands a lot of data: economies of scale.
Second, the best predictions also require varieties of data: economies of scope. This drove the extension of surplus capture beyond likes and clicks into the offline world: your jogging gait and pace; your breakfast conversation; your hunt for a parking space; your face, voice, personality, and emotions.
In a third phase of competitive intensity, surveillance capitalists discovered that the most predictive data come from intervening in human action to coax, tune, herd, and modify behavior in the direction of guaranteed outcomes.
From the article: “Whereas the Internet and digital technologies once promised to liberate humanity through disintermediation and shared connections, now they have been turned into tools for behavioral manipulation and exploitation.” https://t.co/uvnEkkId1e
— James Colbert (@HODPublishing) January 9, 2020
“The Graduate,” based on Charles Webb’s 1963 novella, remained their most enduring project. The film made a star of Dustin Hoffman, who played Benjamin Braddock, a college graduate who has an affair with his parents’ friend Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Mixing wry comedy, sexual drama and a soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel, the film captured the alienation and rebelliousness of the era and was later ranked No. 7 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American movies.
Much to his frustration, Henry shared his Oscar nomination for “The Graduate” with Calder Willingham, who had worked on previous attempts to adapt the novel and sued to receive partial credit for the screenplay.
The book provided much of the film’s dialogue — including the oft-quoted line “Mrs. Robinson, you are trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?” — but it was Henry who devised the “plastics” exchange, in which a business associate of Benjamin’s parents offers career advice to the lost young man.
“I just want to say one word to you, just one word,” the businessman declares. “Plastics. … There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?”
The suggestion neatly encapsulated what some viewers saw as the artificiality and materialism of older generations.
“I was trying to find a word that summed up a kind of stultifying, silly, conversation-closing effort of one generation to talk to another. Plastics was the obvious one,” Henry told the Orlando Sentinel in 1992. “I was embarrassed some years later. I got to know some people in the plastics business, and they were really nice.”
Buck Henry, ‘Graduate’ screenwriter who co-created ‘Get Smart,’ dies at 89 https://t.co/zn8tO4PQH8
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (@PittsburghPG) January 9, 2020
[Katherine] Sonderegger’s key theological commitment is to what she calls divine “compatibilism.” God and creatures do not compete over shared space. God can be present fully without displacing material creation. God can work in history without overriding human freedom. The key example for her is the burning bush of Horeb. Divine fire does not annihilate or destroy. It is modest, lowly, hidden to most eyes, appearing in a mere desert shrub. God is humble enough to be unseen.
Divine compatibilism is a common theme in other theologians, such as Coakley and Kathryn Tanner. It declares a noncompetitive relation between a genuinely transcendent God and creatures. The new note I detect in Sonderegger is the emphasis on God’s joy in all this. The One God is pleased to be hidden, this is his “particular and glorious epiphany—to be the Unseen, Utterly Unique, Invisible One, hidden in the midst of his people.”
Omnipotence would seem a harder divine attribute to sell. Theopassionism, the notion that God suffers, is “almost modern day dogma,” she notes, acknowledging the influence of German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, best known for his book The Crucified God. But Moltmann must be wrong, Sonderegger argues—Christology cannot be the sole measure of divine omnipotence.
Sonderegger prefers the vision of onetime archbishop of Canterbury William Temple, who pictures divine self-emptying on the cross not as an abdication of power but as a different version of power, a “condescension inconceivably tender.” Sonderegger is blistering in her rejection of modernist objections to divine intervention in the world: there must be some divine agency at work in defeating Pharaoh and in Jesus on the cross, she says, or else there is nothing for human beings to bow down to.
— Cam Clausing (@cam_clausing) June 15, 2018
God of all creation, who dost call us to make disciples of all nations and to proclaim thy mercy and love: Grant that we, after the example of thy servant Julia Chester Emery, might have vision and courage in proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ, our light and our salvation, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
— Anglican Church SPb (@anglicanspb) January 9, 2020
O God, who by a star didst guide the wise men to the worship of thy Son: Lead, we pray thee, to thyself the wise and the great in every land, that unto thee every knee may bow, and every thought be brought into captivity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.