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Facebook Distorts Our World-view and Narrows Our Perspective

Those who have been raising alarms about Facebook are right: Almost every minute that we spend on our smartphones and tablets and laptops, thumbing through favorite websites and scrolling through personalized feeds, we’re pointed toward foregone conclusions. We’re pressured to conform. But unseen puppet masters on Mark Zuckerberg’s payroll aren’t to blame. We’re the real culprits. When it comes to elevating one perspective above all others and herding people into culturally and ideologically inflexible tribes, nothing that Facebook does to us comes close to what we do to ourselves.

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HOW THE WEST BECAME RICH

A statue of Adam Smith in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Great Enrichment of the past two centuries has one primary source: the liberation of ordinary people to pursue their dreams of economic betterment.

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Is this the end of sex? A baby grown from a flake of skin or from the genes of three parents – the future of reproduction is mind-boggling.

An illustration showing a syringe and petri dish in bed together.

Is it time to give up sex? Oh, it has plenty to recommend it; but as a way of making babies it leaves an awful lot to chance. I mean, you might have some pretty good genes, but – let’s face it – some of them aren’t so great. Male pattern baldness, phenylketonuria, enhanced risk of breast cancer: I’m not sure you really want those genetic conditions passed on in the haphazard shuffling of chromosomes after sperm meets egg.
In The End of Sex, Henry Greely, a law professor and bioethicist at Stanford University, argues that this will change.

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Beijing’s Angry Ghosts: The Cultural Revolution Still Haunts China’s Communist Party

A statue of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong is seen in front of smoking chimneys at Wuhan Iron And Steel Corp in Wuhan, Hubei province, March 6, 2013.

The CCP is no longer a revolutionary party, but a ruling one. China's political elite hope to harness the party-state’s red heritage to make the bureaucracy more efficient, accountable, and service-oriented — responsive enough to avoid popular discontent, but not to the point where the people might actually govern themselves through open elections. (The party elite’s monopoly on power is non-negotiable.)

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Anti-EU forces surging. Euro doomed.

Richer European countries managed to recover from the Great Recession. But many of the poorer countries slid further into their already-dark hole. This megatrend is similar to the divisive, strife-generating, income-inequality stories I’ve described for the United States and China. But in the European Union, in addition to generating resentment and disdain between social classes …
It fomented envy and anger among member nations …
It drove migration from poorer to richer member nations.
And it set the stage for the future political disintegration of the European Union.

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The electric car and when the wheels of progress become stuck

1917 Ford and Telsa electric car

For now, a 100 percent electric car is incredibly expensive and, if distributed in great numbers, would result in substantial pollution from coal generators. And many more coal generating plants would need to be constructed to meet the vast electricity needs of the 10 million electric cars that make up the dreams of the Greens.

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Facebook vs. India: The social network had a grand plan to connect millions of Indians to the internet...here’s how it all went wrong.

Zuckerberg saw the endless promise of a digital future, Indians came to see something more sinister. Seventeen months later, Facebook’s grand plans to bring India online had been halted by overwhelming local opposition – the biggest stumbling block the company had hit in its 12-year-history. In the end, it seemed, Facebook had acted as if it was giving India a gift. But it was not a gift Indians wanted.

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Venezuela Is Falling Apart: Scenes from daily life in the failing state

The news coming from Venezuela—including shortages as well as, most recently, riots over blackouts; the imposition of a two-day workweekfor government employees, supposedly aimed at saving electricity; and an accelerating drive torecall the president—is dire, but also easy to dismiss as representing just one more of these recurrent episodes. That would be a mistake. What our country is going through is monstrously unique: It’s nothing less than the collapse of a large, wealthy, seemingly modern, seemingly democratic nation just a few hours’ flight from the United States.

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Anti-Semitism and Terrorism: How the West Must Fight Both

References to the “Zionist crusaders’ war on Islam” permeate jihadist narratives and headlined Osama bin Laden’s famous fatwa from 1996. But bin Laden showed little interest in attacking Israel or Jews per se. This has changed in recent years.

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The Middle East Disaster: Don't blame Sykes-Picot, blame the culture, rulers, and citizens.

Don’t Blame Sykes-Picot for the Middle East’s Mess

The weaknesses and contradictions of authoritarian regimes are at the heart of the Middle East’s ongoing tribulations. Even the rampant ethnic and religious sectarianism is a result of this authoritarianism, which has come to define the Middle East’s state system far more than the Sykes-Picot agreement ever did. The region’s “unnatural” borders did not lead to the Middle East’s ethnic and religious divisions. The ones to blame are the cynical political leaders who foster those divisions in hopes of maintaining their rule.

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Saudia Arabia and Iran: The Cold War of Islam

On January 1, Saudi Arabia executed the cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a leading figure...

The Middle East as we have long known it is changing dramatically. And no matter where one looks, Tehran and Riyadh are standing behind at least one of the parties involved in the conflict. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, host and protector of the holy sites in Mecca and Medina, sees itself as the home of Sunni Islam, to which the majority of the world's Muslims belong. The Islamic Republic of Iran, a Shiite theocracy, claims leadership of the Shiites, which make up roughly 13 percent of Muslims worldwide. For both regimes, religion is an important tool of power. Iran, following decades of isolation, would like to revert to its former position of regional importance. The more Middle Eastern countries there are under the control of Shiites, the stronger Iran feels -- and the more hard-pressed Saudi Arabia feels, a country whose rulers once rose to power by way of a pact with Sunni fundamentalists, the Wahhabis. This new Cold War affects the entire world, making it vital to search out its causes and to scrutinize what is pushing Saudi Arabia and Iran to continue on the path of escalation.

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How The Liberal Welfare State Destroyed Black America: What left-wing American voters and political leaders refuse to believe.

Modern liberalism's vicious and unrelenting assault on black Americans started in 1964. Dressed up as “compassion” and “social justice,” this assault took the form of an unprecedented commitment of federal funds to a wide range of measures aimed at redistributing wealth in the United States. The most devastating by-product of the mushrooming welfare state was the corrosive effect it had on American family life, particularly in the black community. The calamitous breakdown of the black family is a comparatively recent phenomenon, coinciding precisely with the rise of the welfare state. The devastating societal consequences of this family breakdown cannot be overstated.

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Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News

Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News

Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. Facebook employees routinely prevented stories about conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.

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China on the Verge of Volcanic Financial Eruption

The likely scenario: A recession in China triggers political and labor unrest, followed by an even deeper economic decline. Beijing responds with a combination of economic stimulus and brutal crackdowns. But it’s too little, too late. China’s ascendant middle classes and entrenched elites tolerated the central government’s tough-fisted controls and corruption only as long as they could continue to reap the material benefits of a growing economy. As those benefits disappear, tolerance turns to turmoil.

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The smug style in American liberalism

American liberalism

There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what's good for them. The smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.

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Trump mystifies U.S. Elites: None of the normal rules apply to him

Donald Trump: No Way Carly Fiorina Can Become GOP Nominee or Beat ...

Trump is a post-modern creation, for whom traditional and time-tested rules do not apply. He is neither brilliant nor unhinged, neither ecumenical nor just a polarizer, not a wrecker and not a saviour of the Republican party, but something else altogether. He does not defy conventional wisdom. There simply is no convention and no wisdom applicable to Donald J. Trump.

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Xi Jinping Takes Command of the People’s Liberation Army

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced that he will take command of all of China’s armed forces, including the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). He is already chairman of the Central Military Commission that oversees the army. He is now assuming a more direct role as head of the new Joint Operations Command Center, ostensibly putting him in operational command of the PLA in time of war. The new title means little has tremendous political significance. The roots of this change lie in China’s economic crisis, but the official reasons given are not trivial, and we need to start with those to understand what is happening.

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When Europe Loved Islam

When Europe Loved Islam

Before the continent started banning hijab, European aristocrats used to change their names to Abdullah and Muhammad, and going to the local mosque was the latest trend.

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A collapse in poor regions places the West in great danger

South America collapse

You have a large network of fiscally interdependent nations struggling to maintain a sense of principled identity and heritage while participating in the delusion of multiculturalism. You have a system in which these nations are admonished or even punished for attempting to become self-reliant. You have a system which encourages a Cloward-Piven-style forced integration of incompatible cultures. You have unmanageable debt. You have a welfare addicted populace plagued by assumptions of entitlement. And on top of it all, you have a political structure dominated by cultural Marxists.

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Fear This Man: To spies, David Vincenzetti is a salesman. To tyrants, he is a savior. How the Italian mogul built a hacking empire.

Google Play Store account of satellite broadcaster breached.

The Blackwater of surveillance, the Hacking Team is among the world’s few dozen private contractors feeding a clandestine, multibillion-dollar industry that arms the world’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies with spyware. Comprised of around 40 engineers and salespeople who peddle its goods to more than 40 nations, the Hacking Team epitomizes what Reporters Without Borders, the international anti-censorship group, dubs the “era of digital mercenaries.”

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