Linked: “Is liberal democracy in trouble? “Warning signs are flashing red.””

via Kottke:

Something I think about often is cultural memory and how it shifts, seen most notably on kottke.org in my mild obsession with The Great Span. Back in July, writer John Scalzi tweeted:

“Sometimes feels like a strong correlation between WWII passing from living memory, and autocracy seemingly getting more popular.”

Scalzi is on to something here, I think. Those who fought in or lived through World War II are either dead or dying. Their children, the Baby Boomers, had a very different experience in hunky dory Leave It to Beaver postwar America. Anyone under 50 probably doesn’t remember anything significant about the Vietnam War and anyone under 35 didn’t really experience the Cold War. Couple that with an increasingly poor educational experience in many areas of the country and it seems as though Americans have forgotten how bad it was (Stalin, Hitler, the Holocaust, Vietnam, the Cold War) and take for granted the rights and protections that liberal democracy, despite its faults, offers its citizens. Shame on us if we throw all of that hard-fought progress away in exchange for — how did Franklin put it? — “a little temporary safety”

History repeats itself. Scholars who studied the world before WWII should be waving their hands in the air on how important it is that we don’t regress but all signs point to a very autocratic future.

Linked: “A President’s Economic Decisions Matter … Eventually”

via FiveThirtyEight:

But while presidents can’t control how fast the economy grows, they have more influence over how that growth is divided. Presidents probably can’t do much, for example, to bring back lost manufacturing jobs, but they can try to help the workers who lost those jobs. At this week’s convention in Philadelphia, Democrats promised to raise the minimum wage, guarantee paid leave to new parents and hike taxes on the rich; those policies might have long-term effects on the size of the economy, but they would have the far more immediate effect of redistributing income from wealthier Americans to poorer ones. Republicans, of course, propose a different set of policies — lower taxes, reduced regulation — that would affect distribution in different ways. (Donald Trump also proposes various policies — bringing back manufacturing jobs, reducing immigration — that most economists consider either unrealistic or dangerous.)

The government’s role in our nation is to act like a boardroom with a CEO. The corporation that is our federal government stimulates spending & growth by investing in education, infrastructure, defense and sciences.

While Congress sets our national budget, the president must sign off and the president can take some steps to influence a bit in how we spend our money and the effects ripple for decades.

Linked: “An Ode to the iPod Classic”

via The Ringer (a medium blog):

Sure, our phones might hold some of this sentimental junk, but unless we’ve sprung for one with a massive amount of storage space, we’re constantly having to clear them out to make room for the new. And in a larger sense, we’re now fully immersed in the Snapchat era, in which our digital footprints are becoming more and more ephemeral — if only to make room for the humongous amount of data we all generate in any given day. At the risk of sounding like a total geezer, I can’t help but feel that we’ve long since crossed the threshold of that magic number, into the realm where there’s simply too much music, too many tweets, too much stuff out there to feel anything but overloaded and paralyzed almost all of the time.

The entire article was great but this one really stood out to me.

I have a 256GB iPhone 7, a 3 terabyte iMac and a now 98% full NAS with 30 terabytes of storage. There will never be a single device that can hold everything I’ve created. Even 50 years from now if a hard drive is 50 terabytes, I’d have created 100 terabytes more of data that is worth storing.

Does the iPhone need to be 256GB? Mine is full, I know that but for most people, they see a piece of content and forget about it a minute later after liking it.