Weekend Assorted Links

1. Robots aren’t just stealing human jobs.

2. What it’s like to go from Southern California to Washington state, 1,377 miles, as slowly as possible.

3. How going for a run changes your brain.

4. A semi-submerged restaurant on the coast of southern Norway offers diners a sustainable menu and a window onto the seabed.

5. The Swedish rapper who has become a symbol of resistance against right-wing populism.

6. How scary is Jordan Peele’s Us?

Hate Is Metastasizing

Asne’s Seierstad’s “One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway” is a devastating read.

When I heard the New Zealand killer posted a 17,000 word manifesto that cited European white supremacists as his inspiration, I knew Breivik had to have loomed large.

Today in the New York Times Seierstad confirms that hunch in her essay “The Anatomy of White Terror“.

She writes:

“Before he allegedly killed 50 Muslims praying at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, reportedly posted a 74-page manifesto titled “The Great Replacement” online. In his tract, Mr. Tarrant wrote that he had only one true inspiration: the Norwegian political terrorist, Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011.”

With almost universal access to the internet, mental illness wrapped in hate is tragically metastasizing.

Seierstad again:

“Mr. Breivik wanted fame. He wanted his 1,500-page cut-and-paste manifesto to be read widely, and he wanted a stage — his trial in Oslo. He called the bomb he set off outside the prime minister’s office in Oslo, and the massacre he carried out on the island of Utoya, his “book launch.” He told the Norwegian court he had estimated how many people he needed to kill to be read. He had figured a dozen, but ended up killing 77.

Eight years after the massacre in Norway, the Norwegian political terrorist continues to be read by his desired audience: On far right forums on the internet the term “going Breivik” means a full commitment to the cause.”

On far right forums, Breivik is a household name. That is the worst possible legacy.

Seierstad adds:

“Christopher Hasson, a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard and a self-described white nationalist who wanted to trigger a race war, was inspired by the Norwegian.”

Despite being imprisoned, Breivik, as co-conspirator of sorts, continues to kill. In large part, because his hate-filled ideology is so easily accessible.

Extremely violent white supremacists seek community. And they’re finding it online.

Is Seierstad making matters worse by bringing Breivik and the NZ killer added attention? She doesn’t think so:

“Are we complicit in spreading the ideas of these fascists by writing about them? The answer is no. Radicalization happens first and foremost on the internet, where violent extremists meet and incite each other, and where they should be tracked down and monitored.

We can’t allow ourselves to be ignorant. To fight terrorism, we need to research how individuals become terrorists. We need to analyze and expose fascist thoughts and violence.

People like Mr. Breivik and Mr. Tarrant spread myths and conspiracies dressed up as facts. They use guns to be read. Their thoughts thrive in the darkness, tailored to an underground community. We need to expose the ideas and the lives of these white supremacists. Only then can we dissect them properly.”

I agree in part. The NZ killer wants to represent himself in court to, it’s safe to assume, use it as a platform for his hate-filled ideology. New Zealand’s judicial system should make sure the media doesn’t play into his hands. I concur with Seierstad about exposing “myths and conspiracies dressed up as facts”, but I can’t think of any good coming from additional exposure.

We can’t undo the internet, but as Seierstad argues, we have to do a better job of monitoring and tracking down white supremacists hiding behind their keyboards. We also have to denounce “immigrant invasion” rhetoric at least as vociferously as Donald Trump promulgates it. And we can stand in solidarity with Muslim and Jewish acquaintances and friends in our communities in the ongoing battle against individuals who, emboldened by one another and overcome by illness and violence, continue to target them.

 

Weekend Assorted Links

1. Tour du Rwanda? Click on the “continue reading” link to be transported to Central Africa.

2. My mom, who died four years ago today, liked to say, “Variety is the spice of life.” Apparently, not everyone agrees. Related, dad was a serious PB&J guy.

3. As Students Struggle With Stress and Depression, Colleges Act as Counselors. One reason tuition continues to rise much faster than inflation.

4. Is this the answer to my terrible, no good, awful commute?

5. I know some Specific Northwest Pressing Pausers who make regular trips to the Swamp. Instead of exacerbating climate change, maybe they should consider this.

6. Why some parents pay bribes to get their kids into more selective colleges.

Trump’s Calculus

I know, I know, I should be writing about the vulnerability of the Golden State Warriors, or competitive parenting nonsense, but I just can’t quit the politics.

Trump’s calculus is that you are quite dumb and he can control what you think if he continually repeats simple and clear messages long enough. The most obvious example being “WITCH HUNT”. If we had a national drinking game based upon those two words, all of us would be continually sloshed.

Today, on Twitter, where else, he displayed his talent for simple messaging by using the phrases “Open Border Democrats” and “Border Deniers”. One problem, it turns out there are some “Open Border Republicans” who then of course are also “Border Deniers”. I wonder, what happens when some of your team stops drinking the kool-aide?

If you’re saner than me, meaning you don’t pay any attention to Trump on Twitter, you may not be aware of his most insidious phrasing of late. It’s not concise, but way more outlandish than WITCH HUNT and everything else that has preceded it.

….a man who is considered by many to be the President with the most successful first two years in history

Now that you’re conscious of this worst Trumpism of all, you will hear it repeatedly.

If you count yourself among the “many”, you won’t mind at all. If you are not, you will understandably curse me. In which case, please consider that I can’t help it if I’m a man who is considered by many to be the blogger with the most successful record in history of calling the President on his bullshit.

It’s a public service I will continue to provide from time to time.

Double Your Money—Guaranteed

The worst of the Humble Blog’s 1,504 titles fo sho, but stick with me.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I was listening to National Public Radio’s Marketplace show. They were telling the story of a 20 year old dude who discovered that his Legos, collecting dust in plastic bins in his parent’s house, were worth a lot of money. Why? Because (mostly) men in their 30s and 40s are nostalgic for their childhoods. Thus began a small online business with his mother who cleaned the Legos and readied them for sale. The two of them thus began buying discarded Legos on Ebay and then cleaning and reselling them for twice what they paid.

Which got me thinking. About alternatives to stock and bond index funds and certificates of deposit. What about investing in nostalgia.

My question for you is buy and hold WHAT for decades? I forgive you if you’re thinking I may not have decades, because life is fragile, so suggest something my daughters wouldn’t dread inheriting. Which of course complicates things because they may not be as enamored as me with men’s watches, air cooled Porsches, Ping putters, or late 80s Toyota Landcruisers. The car references raise another issue—storage and ease of transport considerations. Let’s assume my heirs may not have a detached garage like me and that they’re going to move from time to time.

With those parameters I turn to you loyal readers. I rarely ask anything of you, but what say you on investing in nostalgia? Where should I put my spare change to work? The only thing I ask is that we at least double my money*.

*goes without saying, adjusted for inflation