Wednesday Night #1805

Written by  //  October 4, 2016  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Although lacking in the high drama and clash of personalities of the first Clinton-Trump debate, Tuesday’s debate between the vice-presidential nominees might provide an important comparison of policy visions – something we certainly saw little of last week.
It is worth remembering that 14 vice presidents ended up in the White House, so we should pay attention to what Tim Kaine and Mike Pence have to say. And the role of vice president has changed greatly over the year. Gail Collins and Arthur Brooks share some (mostly amusing) tidbits of vice-presidential lore that you may want to tuck away for future reference.
There has been a deluge of news related to Donald Trump’s financial antics summarized in  The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet , none of which seems to affect his voter base. We will not elaborate as you have already read/seen it all. We will draw your attention, however, to his inability to pronounce “fiduciary” (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/clinton-campaign-pounces-trump-controversies/ at 1:59)  and wonder if perhaps that has something to do with his reckless interpretation of fiduciary responsibility? No wonder  US therapists are seeing a rise in Trump-related anxiety. They’re prescribing yoga to calm patients who fear the Republican candidate may win the election.

While everyone agonizes over how ill-equipped The Donald is to be president, how Hillary Clinton learned to govern published by The Atlantic  offers a fascinating look at her qualifications.
“Hillary Clinton was “there” for eight years as first lady—meaning that if elected, she would take the oath of office with an unprecedented familiarity with the arcane and sometimes thorny levers of presidential power. This prior experience—described in confidential oral-history interviews recorded by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center—is as revealing as anything she might say in this year’s presidential debates about how she would function if elected.”

Although the world is fretting over the U.S. campaign, there are a number of other topics of interest and/or concern.

Since the collapse of the ceasefire, the situation in Aleppo becomes worse by the hour. NBC details the devastation and the dilemma of the U.S. administration faced by brutal Russian bombardments in support of the Assad regime.
In Iraq, coalition forces, united only by their desire to rid the country of their enemy,  are preparing to drive ISIS from Mosul  While there is good chance of success in this short-term objective, the outlook for any kind of subsequent harmony among the diverse interests is not good. But, one thing at a time. And at least one author suggests that Foreign Fighters Have Become a Liability for ISIS ( The Downfall of ISIS )
If you missed the original Frontline broadcast las May, you may want to catch up with  The Secret History of ISIS  that was shown on The Passionate Eye last week.

The results of two referenda during the weekend were not good. The vote in Hungary on migrant quotas was not unexpected although the low turnout was certainly  a disappointment to Mr. Orban, but the domino effect is worrisome.
News that the  Colombia referendum rejects peace deal with Farc guerrillas was both surprising and dismaying, given that President Santos had previously announced that there was no Plan B. On the bright side, the government and FARC representatives –and even the leaders of the No camp- are behaving like adults (so far) and promise to continue their efforts.

As the announcements of 2016  Nobel Prizes appear daily [Nobel Prize 2016: Here Are the Winners (and What They Achieved) ], science and environmental writer Gabriel Popkin  writes in the New York Times that the Nobel Prizes should be updated to reflect  that much of today’s most exciting and important science resides at the borders of traditional disciplines or in ones that don’t have a dedicated prize. Reminding us of the powerful boost that a Nobel Prize gives to a discovery, he argues that the world’s most important scientific honor society has largely ignored seismic shifts in science [which] could harm not just Nobel-ineligible scientists, but science’s overall standing in broader society. Stagnating or declining funding and increasing political attacks on science suggest that in many countries, it already has.

These items regarding social media have attracted our interest (and in at least one case, dismay) this week:
Quartz tells us that we really don’t have to respond to every email we receive, even though to not do so goes against the rule of reciprocity in social interactions. That goes for other things like requests to ‘friend’ an unknown on Facebook, or connection on LinkedIn.
To take control of your email inbox, think about it like your IRL mailbox
A really, really, unfortunate anti-social development in the world of emails
Can an App Make Staying in Touch Too Easy?
A new tool lets you tell your friends you’re thinking about them with just a tap, “no words needed.” It’s An app called Thoughts
Reflections on last week’s Think Tank Summit
In an angry, tech-savvy world, where do think tanks fit in?
As pockets of discontent flourish around the world and information is shared at a rapid pace, what is the role of think tanks today?

And Cleo sent along this from the Wall Street Journal:
Attackers used an army of hijacked security cameras and video recorders to launch several massive internet attacks last week, prompting fresh concern about the vulnerability of millions of “smart” devicesÐin homes and businesses connected to the internet.
The proliferation of internet-connected devices from televisions to thermostats provide attackers a bigger arsenal of weapons to infiltrate. Many are intended to be plugged in and forgotten. These devices are “designed to be remote controlled over the internet,” said Andy Ellis, security chief at network operator Akamai Technologies Inc., some of whose clients were affected. “They’re also never going to be updated.”
“It’s going to be very difficult to convince consumers to patch their refrigerator,” said Matthew Prince, chief executive of security provider CloudFlare Inc.

Happy news
David Mitchell OWN advises (with great and justifiable pride) that this Wednesday, Parker Mitchell and George Roter are receiving the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division)  from the Governor General for their work with Engineers Without Borders. The ceremony is being held at The Citadelle.

Something fun for your calendar
Vertige en 4 temps is back on stage at Le Balcon Cabaret Music-Hall, in the heart of Quartier des Spectacles, on Friday October 21st at 8:30 PM !
An odyssey danced, sung, and told by Irem Bekter in four languages with humour and gravity, with charm and with passion. 
TICKETS AND RESERVATIONS
514 528.9766 post 0 or Toll-free 1 888 528.9766
Tickets also available on  ADMISSION NETWORK
Opening of Le Balcon : 5:30 PM
Dinner show rate: 68$ (plus tax and service)
Show only rate: 30$ (plus tax)

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