WAR

So very slowly, so very, very slowly, notable numbers of H. Sapiens realize that war is horrifically expensive in every measurable way. War kills people and makes hard core enemies that can last for many generations.

War destroys commerce. Commerce means the way people live, put food on the table, grow families and sustain community scruples; commerce identifies what is fair and expected in daily life and allows people to fall asleep with dependable, secure expectations.

War destroys history. Not only cultures and ingrained identities but also the physical evidence – the identity and presence of nations, edifices, faiths and myths.

War is expensive. One instrument of war can cost more than a billion dollars. War requires armies that consume immense budgets to house, train and transport.

The problem is that war is easy. One person in a position of relative power can launch a war – an act that is personally gratifying and in victory “justifies” self-worth. Avoiding war is complex and difficult. Avoiding war requires compassion and other sophisticated feelings. The old saying ‘might is right’ isn’t right.

This will be an interesting age as humans struggle with a future that will not have room for war. The cost of war will be too high for the resources at hand. Nations will choose other solutions to preserve resources and global-scale economics – to say nothing about saving lives.

Still, this is no guarantee that lives will matter. The right to life is more than a cultish battle about birth control. It is a great mountain to climb in our species. Do we as Harari[1] suggests, ignore people we don’t need? Let two billion displaced and starving humans die because they aren’t needed?

Or does our species take into account the sanctity of life, of the right to breathe and grow and carry out the life we were intended?

Today, we turn our heads away in disinterest as small armies similar to Boko Haram that wreaks devastation and death on small towns in Nigeria. Are Nigerians not necessary in our future?

Eliminating War will be difficult. Saving lives will be more difficult.

REFERENCE SECTION

Mariner hasn’t referenced Nate Silver’s website, fivethirtyeight.com, in a while. Nate offers a weekly email report for free. The latest is copied below:

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

By Walt Hickey

39 states

According to investigators who spoke to Bloomberg, Russian intrusions into U.S. voter databases and software systems occurred in 39 states. [Bloomberg]

69

Three astronomers spotted two additional moons of Jupiter in images they took looking beyond the planet into the Kuiper Belt. This would bring the number of moons of the gas giant to 69. [Scientific American]

196

Number of congressional plaintiffs — all Democrats — who have joined a lawsuit against President Trump accusing him of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which requires the president to get the OK from Congress before accepting foreign gifts. The suit claims that the president’s financial involvement in his businesses violates the clause. [The Washington Post]

436 percent

Urban areas have tried to cut down on the number of people incarcerated before their trials to reduce the population behind bars, but rural jails haven’t followed suit. The pre-trial detention rate in urban centers has dropped over the past several years, but the rate grew 436 percent from 1970 to 2013 in counties with fewer than 250,000 residents. [Wired]

$4.48 billion

Verizon has completed its purchase of aging internet giant Yahoo for $4.48 billion. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer scored $23 million in severance on the way out. [Business Insider]

If you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey.

The Morning Story

Donald Trump Is Making Europe Liberal Again

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Ancient Mariner

[1] Yuval Noah Harari, a renowned futurist who has provided books, articles, lectures and opinions about how to interpret today’s reality and project the interpretations into mankind’s future. Citing current human behavior, which ignores unneeded people, he believes useless classes of workers will be set adrift in the future.

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