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Showing posts from January, 2017


Soviet propagandists during the cold war were trained in a tactic that their western interlocutors nicknamed whataboutism. Any criticism of the Soviet Union (Afghanistan, martial law in Poland, imprisonment of dissidents, censorship) was met with a “What about…” (apartheid South Africa, jailed trade-unionists, and so forth). It is not a bad tactic. Every criticism needs to be put in a historical and geographical context. -

By Design

The Sirens enticed sailors to their destruction with their irresistibly beautiful singing. They had beautiful singing voices and were gifted lyre players, so wonderful was their musical talent that it was said they could even calm the winds. It starts with a trigger, a prod that propels users into a four-step loop. Think of the e-mail notification you get when a friend tags you in a photo on Facebook. The trigger prompts you to take an action—say, to log in to Facebook. That leads to a reward: viewing the photo and reading the comments left by others. In the fourth step, you inject a personal stake by making an investment: say, leaving your own comment in the thread. This pattern kicks off a cycle that lodges behaviours in the basal ganglia, the part of the brain where automatic behaviours are stored and where, according to neuroscientists, they last a lifetime . Technologists like Tristan Harris, a design ethicist who is also a product philosopher at Google, warn that growth ha

Orgulho na Raça

António Costa  definiu-se este domingo como "meio vizinho da China", numa alusão às origens indianas do seu pai e num discurso em que salientou os carateres pluricontinental do português, enquanto respondia a questões formuladas por estudantes da Universidade de Tsinghua, uma das mais prestigiadas da China. "Posso aliás dar o meu exemplo, porque sou o primeiro primeiro-ministro de um país da União Europeia que tem origem extra europeia , visto que o meu pai era de origem indiana, um país vizinho da China", declarou António Costa. António Costa tinha acabado de dar por terminado o programa oficial de sábado, em Nova Deli, quando recebeu a notícia da morte de Mário Soares. Era o primeiro dia da visita à Índia. O primeiro-ministro tinha chegado a Nova Deli menos de 24 horas antes e tinha pela frente um programa intenso, preparado há meses com o Governo indiano, que quis dar a esta visita o carácter de visita de Estado, estatuto que, por exemplo, em Portugal só