What Evo Morales did for Bolivia

When I was a kid, and nobody knew what an asshole Scott Adams is, I loved reading Dilbert. I think part of it was that I spent a fair amount of time hanging out at the office where my dad worked, so office humor clicked with me. I’m bringing this up because as far as I know, a Dilbert strip was the first time I was made aware of the existence of Bolivia. Basically, Dogbert gets extremely rich, goes a little power-crazy, and “buys Bolivia”. In context, Bolivia was cast as poor and possibly backwards, like the fictional nation of Elbonia. Bolivia was a poor country, and that’s all there was to it.

I learned more as life went on, but it wasn’t until I heard Michael Brooks talking about Evo Morales on The Majority Report that I actually started learning anything about the country of Bolivia, rather than the comic strip stereotype. As with most South American countries, Bolivia has a large Native American population that has largely been kept out of power by the Europeans who made up the country’s government. It’s a story of colonialism, oppression, and genocide, and as with all such stories, the idea that Bolivia is “poor” was always a lie. The poverty experienced by the Bolivian people was in service to the enrichment of their rulers, and of capitalists on a global scale. Most recently, Bolivia has gained attention for its rich supply of lithium, and those watching events were quick to point at that the coup that removed Evo Morales from power in 2019 was likely tied to the decision to nationalize Bolivia’s lithium industry, and to focus on Bolivian manufacturing. That meant that rather than selling raw lithium on the international market, and then buying it back in products at a markup to enrich other people, Bolivia would make products in Bolivia, and sell those, thus keeping the profits from that industry within Bolivia. This would definitely cut into the profits of those people currently relying on cheap lithium to get rich off things like electric cars and house batteries, and so it wasn’t a stretch to assume that this coup, like many others around the world, was about preserving the wealth and power of the capitalist class. I think that this case is strengthened by evidence of ongoing efforts to prevent Morales’ MAS party from returning to power, following the bloody failure that was the brief Añez regime.

Edit: As was pointed out in the comments, it IS worth mentioning that Morales seeking a third term came after he had served two terms, and had championed a constitution limiting presidents to two terms.

I’m writing all of this as an introduction to a twitter thread I came across that I thought was worth sharing. Morales served as president of Bolivia from 2006 until the 2019 coup. At the time, I heard people saying that him being president for that long was “dictator behavior”, and evidence that the coup might be the sort of uprising we ought to support. I did not hear any clear answer as to why that wouldn’t also justify an uprising against Angela Merkel, who was Chancellor of Germany from 2005 to 2021. When there’s controversy surrounding a politician, people find things to hate, and find excuses to justify their hatred. That can make it difficult to figure out what’s actually going on. At times like that, I find it useful to look not at the rhetoric and claims being made, but at the material circumstances. What effect did the governance of Morales and the MAS party have on the people of Bolivia?

The answer to such a question is always going to be complicated, but I think this is one of those times where it’s safe to say that Morales’ government did good things for his country. This thread is a decent look at why people support him, and the MAS party more broadly:

There’s this weird phenomenon, where if people have a bad feeling about a particular politician, any bad things at all will be justification enough to condemn them wholly. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this myself, and I think it’s a destructive shortcut we take to avoid the work of learning more about the actual material situation in question. The system that the MAS party has started creating is not a utopia, but it seems to be a lot better than the hell-world capitalism has been creating.

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It’s not your imagination. The system really was designed to keep you down.

I think that education should be treated as a public good. It should be free at the point of service, like healthcare, and it should be available in some capacity throughout a person’s life. I also think that we should stop viewing childhood education as job preparation. The current system seems designed to train us all to be happy working for the wealth and power of someone else, and to be accustomed to having no control over our lives. Some schools push back against this, to some degree, but it’s not nearly enough.

The current system also presents student loan debt – the only debt that cannot be discharged through bankruptcy (thanks Biden) – as a regrettable necessity for getting higher education. If you don’t go to college, your poverty is your own fault, and if you do, you debt is also your own fault. Looking at it from the outside, it might almost look as if the system was designed to either keep poor people from education, or to trap those who do get educated in debt bondage, forced to work for a member of the capitalist class until the debt is paid off.

It might look that way, because apparently it is that way. Remember how it came out that the U.S. War on Drugs was a political project to use the government to repress black and left-wing people? That was not an aberration.

In 1970, Ronald Reagan was running for reelection as governor of California. He had first won in 1966 with confrontational rhetoric toward the University of California public college system and executed confrontational policies when in office. In May 1970, Reagan had shut down all 28 UC and Cal State campuses in the midst of student protests against the Vietnam War and the U.S. bombing of Cambodia. On October 29, less than a week before the election, his education adviser Roger A. Freeman spoke at a press conference to defend him.

Freeman’s remarks were reported the next day in the San Francisco Chronicle under the headline “Professor Sees Peril in Education.” According to the Chronicle article, Freeman said, “We are in danger of producing an educated proletariat. … That’s dynamite! We have to be selective on who we allow [to go to college].”

“If not,” Freeman continued, “we will have a large number of highly trained and unemployed people.” Freeman also said — taking a highly idiosyncratic perspective on the cause of fascism —“that’s what happened in Germany. I saw it happen.”

That last claim is depressingly familiar. It makes me think of the various right-wing pundits who insist that the Nazis were left wing, while those same pundits work tirelessly to build fascism in the United States. It also makes me think of all those who have spend the last few years insisting that U.S. fascists are being FORCED to become violent bigots, because the left is just going too far with their evil demands for things like universal healthcare or food for children. In the end, it feels like it always come back to literal class warfare waged by the rich.

“For a strong and healthy working class is the thing that I most fear”

In terms of the health of the working class, a combination of predatory capitalism, a sadistic healthcare system, and corporate pollution make sure that nobody can be sure of their future. In terms of strength? Well, they say knowledge is power, so they had to either block access (the traditional way), or find some other way to guarantee obedience.

The success of Reagan’s attacks on California public colleges inspired conservative politicians across the U.S. Nixon decried “campus revolt.” Spiro Agnew, his vice president, proclaimed that thanks to open admissions policies, “unqualified students are being swept into college on the wave of the new socialism.”

Prominent conservative intellectuals also took up the charge. Privately one worried that free education “may be producing a positively dangerous class situation” by raising the expectations of working-class students. Another referred to college students as “a parasite feeding on the rest of society” who exhibited a “failure to understand and to appreciate the crucial role played [by] the reward-punishment structure of the market.” The answer was “to close off the parasitic option.”

In practice, this meant to the National Review, a “system of full tuition charges supplemented by loans which students must pay out of their future income.”

In retrospect, this period was the clear turning point in America’s policies toward higher education. For decades, there had been enthusiastic bipartisan agreement that states should fund high-quality public colleges so that their youth could receive higher education for free or nearly so. That has now vanished. In 1968, California residents paid a $300 yearly fee to attend Berkeley, the equivalent of about $2,000 now. Now tuition at Berkeley is $15,000, with total yearly student costs reaching almost $40,000.

Student debt, which had played a minor role in American life through the 1960s, increased during the Reagan administration and then shot up after the 2007-2009 Great Recession as states made huge cuts to funding for their college systems.

Of course, if you want to avoid debt peonage, you can always sign up for the U.S. war machine. Maintaining the global capitalist order requires a lot of bloodshed, and since the draft became politically radioactive, our ruling class has found other ways to find new cannon fodder.

It really seems as though the election of Donald Trump was a signal to all of these people that they no longer needed to wear those uncomfortable masks. No, not the COVID masks, the ones they wear to pretend they value life, freedom, democracy, or any of those other hippie fantasies. That said, COVID really did seem to be the last straw for these people. It was breathtaking to watch them openly tell the world that they wanted to sacrifice the poor so they could keep getting richer.

Biden’s small debt relief will help a lot of people, and the changes made to interest rates will help many more; but as ever, we must use our celebration to underscore the simple fact that this is not enough. It can never be enough until we long longer live in a system designed to prevent freedom and democracy from ever becoming a reality.

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Not all in your head: New answers on the chemistry of mental fatigue

I’ve always found it irritating that mental effort can be so exhausting. As someone whose work has revolved around reading, thinking, and writing for over a decade now, it never ceases to annoy me the way my brain will sometimes just shut down when I try to do work. I’ve found it to be a major obstacle k for as long as I can remember. I’ll try to re-focus on something that I want to get done, and my I’ll suddenly have a hard time even staying awake. It’s not every time, of course, but it’s often enough to be annoying, and it does tend to happen more when I’ve been working hard for a few days.

I’ve never really thought much to the brain chemistry behind this problem, but now that I’ve seen this research, it makes sense that there would be chemical reactions going on there that are causing the mental fatigue:

“Influential theories suggested that fatigue is a sort of illusion cooked up by the brain to make us stop whatever we are doing and turn to a more gratifying activity,” says Mathias Pessiglione of Pitié-Salpêtrière University in Paris, France. “But our findings show that cognitive work results in a true functional alteration — accumulation of noxious substances — so fatigue would indeed be a signal that makes us stop working but for a different purpose: to preserve the integrity of brain functioning.”

Pessiglione and colleagues including first author of the study Antonius Wiehler wanted to understand what mental fatigue really is. While machines can compute continuously, the brain can’t. They wanted to find out why. They suspected the reason had to do with the need to recycle potentially toxic substances that arise from neural activity.

To look for evidence of this, they used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to monitor brain chemistry over the course of a workday. They looked at two groups of people: those who needed to think hard and those who had relatively easier cognitive tasks.

They saw signs of fatigue, including reduced pupil dilation, only in the group doing hard work. Those in that group also showed in their choices a shift toward options proposing rewards at short delay with little effort. Critically, they also had higher levels of glutamate in synapses of the brain’s prefrontal cortex. Together with earlier evidence, the authors say it supports the notion that glutamate accumulation makes further activation of the prefrontal cortex more costly, such that cognitive control is more difficult after a mentally tough workday.

So, is there some way around this limitation of our brain’s ability to think hard?

“Not really, I’m afraid,” Pessiglione said. “I would employ good old recipes: rest and sleep! There is good evidence that glutamate is eliminated from synapses during sleep.”

There may be other practical implications. For example, the researchers say, monitoring of prefrontal metabolites could help to detect severe mental fatigue. Such an ability may help adjust work agendas to avoid burnout. He also advises people to avoid making important decisions when they’re tired.

Since I’ve come to accept that my brain is “disordered”, I’ve had a much easier time turning a desire to act into actual action. It helps to be able to recognize what my brain is doing, and then shift to working out how to dismantle that mental block, rather than trying to just push my way through it.

But knowing that I can do that doesn’t mean the mental blocks aren’t there anymore. The problem is that my primary tool for detecting those mental blocks is the same lump of meat that’s experiencing them. When I’m in the middle of a problem, I often don’t notice what’s happening – all I have is the experience of my brain resisting me. I’ve also had to accept that that’s going to keep being an issue, at least until I can afford diagnosis and treatment. At the root of it, there are times when my brain has a “knot” like you might get in your neck or back. You can’t brain your way out of a brain problem.

From what I can tell, this research shows that that’s true for everyone some degree, but I’d guess that it’s more so for certain people under certain conditions. I think that the panoply of neurotypes and mental problems is largely due to the complexity and plasticity of the brain. Muscles can be trained, and there’s a great deal of flexibility and diversity when it comes to what you can train them to do. Brains seem to go way, way beyond that, so it’s frankly not shocking that they can turn out so many different ways of processing, interpreting, and interacting with the world.

My worst period of mental burnout was a few years back, and I did not notice it coming. I’d been working hard, but I was feeling good about working hard. I was getting good feedback, and respect from people, and I was feeling good about my life.

And then I started sleeping through all my alarms. I just couldn’t wake up when I wanted to. I wasn’t just late for work, I’d sleep through half the day, and wake up to realize I’d missed a meeting, even if I’d gone to sleep at a reasonable hour. My brain just stopped cooperating. It didn’t matter how many alarms I had, or where I put them – I could either shut them off without ever gaining full consciousness, or sleep through them.

I was lucky to be in a forgiving work environment when that happened. I know a lot of other jobs would have just fired me, even though it wasn’t under my control. As a rule, people only matter in our society for the work they can do for someone up the ladder. I think it’s very telling that despite that rule, so many put so much of their time and energy into making life better for other people.

This also underscores the degree to which our current political and economic system is both unjust, and unsustainable. It turns out that the culture of pushing people to work past their limit never went away. The kinds of jobs changed (in the U.S.) as manufacturing and resource extraction was increasingly done overseas, but the same fundamental demand – that you work as hard as you possibly can – has never gone anywhere. Ever hear the phrase “mind over matter”? Ever hear someone be told they’re just lazy, or they just don’t want the job badly enough?

We’ve created a world in which it’s expected for everyone to push at least some part of their body to the limit on a daily basis, and if we don’t – or if our limit manifests in the wrong way – we deserve all the bad that comes to us. There is no way that this system is ever going to lead to a society that values human life or flourishing. There is no way that this is the best that we can do as a species.

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Flooding in Pakistan highlights the need for global solidarity.

In this Age of Endless Recovery, we’re being treated to a rolling barrage of escalating climate disasters. The increasing frequency of extreme events is already making it clear that having a global society like ours comes with unique vulnerabilities. Our just-in-time system has no room or redundancy for the kinds of disruption that we’re just starting to see. Those people in the United States who’ve been under the misapprehension that their nation and lives are somehow removed from the rest of the world, are going to be increasingly confronted by the economic effects of climate change, even if they somehow manage to tune out the human effects.

And while climate activists and “communicators” try frame the issue in terms of how it will directly affect some of the most insulated people in the world, other people are fighting to survive.

Pakistan declared a national emergency on Friday as catastrophic monsoon rains, exacerbated by the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis, continued to pummel the country for the third consecutive month.

Since mid-June, flash floods and landslides across the South Asian nation have killed least at 937 people, injured more than 1,300, and destroyed well over half a million homes, according to the National Disaster Management Authority. In addition, nearly 800,000 livestock have died and at least 1,900 miles of roads and 145 bridges have been wiped out, disrupting the supply of food and further driving up prices.

This is a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions,” Sherry Rehman, the nation’s climate change minister, told reporters on Thursday.

“Pakistan is going through its eighth cycle of monsoon while normally the country has only three to four cycles of rain,” said Rehman. “The percentages of super flood torrents are shocking.”

More than 100 districts across Pakistan’s four provinces have been hit by flooding since the start of the monsoon season. The impacts have been especially devastating in the southern provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, which have received 784% and 496% more rain this month compared with the August average, according to the minister.

The two provinces have lost at least 306 and 234 people, respectively, and tens of thousands more have been forced to live in makeshift camps far away from their inundated cities and towns.

“Thirty-three million have been affected in different ways,” said Rehman. “The final homeless figure is being assessed.”


Countries like the US should be helping Pakistan because they have the resources to do so (assuming they ever decide they stand for more than enabling the ultra-rich), but also out of self-interest. It’s hard to predict who’s going to get hit next, or when the next major supply chain disruption will come. We’re entering a period of time in which trying to maintain “business as usual” will be increasingly destructive and dangerous. The longer the warming continues, the more we’re all going to need help, and the less we’ll be able to afford to support a useless and negligent ruling class.

Now is the time for those nations with the means to reach out to people and nations in need of help, both to improve the resilience of those who are currently struggling, and to build up more solidarity and trust between people, groups, and nations. It’s something that the aforementioned useless ruling class ought to be doing. It’s also something that they will not do.

The good news is that with the internet, we can network internationally, and hopefully start building connections between the working classes of various countries. That could be a good tool for generating empathy in the imperial core, and for breaking through people’s personal bubbles.

I don’t know if there’s much any of us can do about the death and suffering in Pakistan right now, at least directly. Keep an eye out for ways to help, of course, but in many ways the best thing an average resident of the U.S. can do is work to change how the U.S. government conducts itself. This is not only key to actually doing good for humanity with the riches of “the richest nation on the planet”, but also to ending a pattern of military and political interference.

In light of what’s happening to the climate, we really don’t have time for the petty and destructive games of a spoiled and callous aristocracy.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

Man the tredges! We must protect children from air pollution!

Every once in a while, I like to talk about the benefits of incorporating plant life in and our buildings and cities. In addition to the mental health benefits, which I think are reason enough, there’s ample evidence that more plant life can reduce the harmful effects of air pollution. This is another one of those times when it’s so obvious something’s a good idea, I find it perplexing that more cities aren’t investing more heavily in urban vegetation. I know a great many cities around the world have been doing just that, but as ever, it’s not enough to satisfy me.

So, here’s some more evidence that we should have more plants around us:

A team of researchers led by Barbara Maher, Emeritus Professor at Lancaster University, and supported by Groundwork Greater Manchester, installed ‘tredges’ (trees managed as a head-high hedge) at three Manchester primary schools during the summer school holidays of 2019.

One school had an ivy screen installed, another had western red cedar and the third school had a mixture of western red cedar, Swedish birch and an inner juniper hedge. A fourth school, with no planting, was used as a control.

The school with the ivy screen saw a substantial reduction in playground particulate matter concentrations, but an increase in black carbon. The playground with the mixture of planting saw lower reductions in air pollution to that of the western red cedar.

The biggest overall reductions in particulate matter and black carbon were shown at the school with western red cedar planted. The results showed almost half (49%) of black carbon and around 46% and 26% of the fine particulates, PM2.5 and PM1 emitted by passing traffic were captured by the western red cedar tredges.

The tredges also significantly reduced the magnitude and frequency of acute ‘spikes’ in air pollution reaching the playgrounds.

Professor Maher said: “Our findings show that we can protect school playgrounds, with carefully chosen and managed tredges, which capture air pollution particulates on their leaves. This helps to prevent at least some of the health hazards imposed on young children at schools next to busy roads where the localised air quality is damagingly poor, and it can be done quickly and cost-effectively.”

I could never have predicted that becoming a writer would one day lead me to learning the word, “tredges”. That said, I’m not surprised that I’m learning about this from researchers in England.

It seems pretty clear that this is a good investment. It also seems like the kind of thing that parents interested in direct action could band together to demand, or even just do. I’m not speaking from experience, but I expect this would be hard for local politicians to oppose, and easy to unite parents around, regardless of ideology. There may be parents out there who wouldn’t support better health for their children, but I doubt there are many.

There are a lot of small things that most communities are capable of doing for themselves, but that don’t get done. I think at least some of that is people just not realizing that they have the resources they need, but a lot of it is the likelihood that any good will be undone by the system that’s supposed to be working for us. Where that system is working against us, it may be worth doing something like – in this case – putting up a hedge, without waiting for permission. If one were to do that, I imagine it would be best to have signs attached to it, explaining what it’s for, and encouraging people to fight to keep it. Even if one lost such a fight in the short term – if the hedge (or tredge) is destroyed because the right paperwork wasn’t filled out, then that would become something around which you could rally support.

There are a lot of problems in the United States caused by activist parents making noise at school board meetings and other such local political events. This seems like a way to activate people in a more constructive direction by using similar tactics (assuming that getting your tredges isn’t as easy as I think it ought to be). Getting a hedge put between a play area and a road is a small enough change that I think most people will believe that it’s within reach, which will make them more likely to put in the effort to make it happen. I also believe it that the conversation about the benefits of greenery for children could fairly easily be turned to conversations about air pollution and greenery in general, waging a campaign like that could well make people think about what other things they could accomplish by working together. I don’t know whether good fences really make good neighbors, but good tredges definitely make better neighborhoods.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

Video: What Siberia’s sinkholes mean for the climate

This week has been hectic and exhausting for a number of largely unrelated reasons. I’ll have something more substantial up tomorrow, but in the meantime, this video is a good look at something worrisome that’s been happening in the Arctic. Some of you may remember hearing about a number of larger, bizarre craters appearing in Siberia. As I followed the story, it became pretty clear that the culprit was the explosive release of a gas buildup under the permafrost. I had assumed that the gas buildup was from microbial activity in newly thawed organic matter, but it turns out they’re actually from a different scary problem.

Apparently, the permafrost has been acting as a lid on oil and gas deposits for the last few hundred thousands years, and now that it’s thawing, the methane from those deposits is finding its way to the surface. This isn’t methane from rotting permafrost, it’s climate change just releasing natural gas into the atmosphere. It’s currently not certain that these are a new phenomenon. It seems likely that they are, but all we can currently say is that this is new to science. The best-case scenario is that this has been happening all along. Given how rapidly these craters turn into lakes that look the same as other permafrost lakes, it is possible that even prior to the recent warming, this is just one way in which the permafrost has always “bubbled”.

Personally, I’m inclined to believe that these are either a new thing, or an old thing that is becoming much more common. As ever, bad news doesn’t much change what needs to be done. Do what you can to build collective power, and community resilience. Do what you can to move politics and political discourse leftwards, and in keeping with those ideals, do what you can to take care of yourselves.

Video: Former cop, police abolitionist?!

The concept of police and prison abolition is scary for a lot of people. We’re taught that police are what keep society together, by upholding order and solving crimes. The reality is that the order they uphold tends to mean chaos for those at the bottom, and if we think that social harmony is a goal worth fighting for, the current law enforcement system is counter-productive. We can do better. This video is an approachable intro the topic, from someone who worked as a cop.

Tegan Tuesday: Another day, another dollar stolen from creatives

HBO Max’s decision last week to scrub 36 titles from the internet has sent shockwaves throughout a lot of people either involved with, or emotionally invested in the arts. It’s not surprising, per se, when considering the merge with Discovery+, the discussion of how the streaming service had already lost the streaming wars before it started, or of course the shock from earlier this month how the new Batgirl movie would not be released, ever. There are rumors that 70% of the development staff for the media conglomerate will be laid off.

Media companies closing doors is hardly news. Media companies cancelling beloved shows is hardly news – remember Firefly? But what is new is the way that Warner Bros Discovery (the media conglomerate with more assets than I can shake a stick at) has handled the cancellations: silently removing the media without even telling the creators. An article from before the quarterly reports came out stated the issue quite plainly:

Like other streaming services, HBO Max issues monthly updates about titles being added and removed — for example, it announced that all eight original “Harry Potter” films will be exiting HBO Max at the end of August, while it’s also adding a big bucket of content including 28 films from A24 such as “Room” and “Ex Machina.” But none of the Warner Bros. original films purged from HBO Max were included in recent updates.

And, ok. Sure. Don’t announce to the general public that you’re doing shady business. That’s standard operating procedure for every corporation. But not even telling the artists? The creators of the most recent wave of cancelled shows mostly found out via twitter.

There are more tweets – from more creatives – as most of animation twitter was in mourning last week, but I feel these give enough of a flavor without dwelling in abject misery. Adding insult to injury, none of these creators even have copies of their work. If they want to watch their own creations, their own artwork, they now have to pirate the media. The art director of cancelled show Tig N’ Seek, Levon Jihanian tweeted as much last week.

This seemingly-bizarre disconnect between artist creation and the artist actually viewing their work, led many to wondering how, why, and what caused this situation. In response to such questions, an anonymous industry animator described the draconian working conditions of animation on tumblr:


And these are only the shows that are completely scrubbed from the web, aside from piracy. Shows which remain on the streaming site might still lose more than 200 episodes, like Sesame Street had happen. Sesame Street — ah yes, what a useless show that no one ever watches. I’m sure that no parent or child noticed those missing episodes.

A media conglomerate pulling titles after a merger feels familiar, however. Where have I seen companies putting newly acquired media into vaults before… Ah yes — good ol’ Papa Walt, the champion of ridiculous copyright law and the vigilante against evil daycare centers. The primary difference that I can see between the Disney/20th Century Fox merger in 2019 and the HBO/Warner Bros Discovery merger of this year is that Disney was vaulting older, repertory titles. Warner cancelled existing shows that had already created their new episodes. Keep in mind, I hate both actions. But at least when The Name of the Rose (1986) or Cocoon (1985) were pulled from US markets in 2020, all creatives involved had already been paid. (Although the Vulture article linked above discusses the negative impact on small, local, repertory theatres.) I wonder if animation is likely to be the next media industry to see massive amounts of people leaving the industry for good. Digital effects artists have already started that process and I could easily see animation being next. Apparently it was industry practice to show examples of your work on streaming sites as part of your portfolio — how can you do that when all references to the media have been pulled?

At this point, many people from within and without the industry have begun speaking louder and louder about the value of owning physical media and pirating digital media. The more copies of any given item, the more likely that it will exist in the long run. There are many examples of lost films being found in attics or buried in archives, and media conservation is a serious issue. In a discussion on the value of media preservation via piracy, conservation policies were brought up:


Please – let’s try and keep modern media and culture available. Buy physical media, pirate digital media; don’t let corporations and streaming services decide what’s important. If art is important to you, it’s worth saving.

If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

Video: Carbon offsets

Since the environmental movement gained popularity, corporations have been finding ways to profit off of people’s reasonable desire to safeguard the ecosystems around us. These greenwashing tactics tend to be actively counterproductive. They encourage people to believe that the problem is being solved, often by the very people who are causing it. This absorption of movements for systemic change has been extremely effective in preventing that change from actually occurring, and the same has been true of climate action. Carbon offsets are a part of this. The idea makes sense in a vacuum. If you assume that society is making a good-faith effort to deal with climate change, there will still be some fossil fuel use for at least another few decades, and one way to reduce that harm is to actually work to capture carbon, to balance it out.

Works in theory, but unfortunately, everything is still run by capitalists, who have a powerful motivation to make sure nothing changes in any meaningful way. As always, John Oliver does an excellent job breaking down exactly why carbon offsets are a scam.