An emotional mix of myth and realism, set in Phillipines president Duterte’s vicious war on drugs: strangehorizons.com/fiction/as

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At the Moomin Cafe in Tokyo, if you go by yourself, they sit a moomin with you, so you won't be lonely.

Jill Lepore: “The academy is largely itself responsible for its own peril. The retreat of humanists from public life has had enormous consequences for the prestige of humanistic ways of knowing and understanding the world.” chronicle.com/article/The-Acad

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For your viewing pleasure, capibaras hiding from the rain. :blobcatheart:

“I think that the biggest problem that Reddit had and continues to have, and that all of the platforms, Facebook and Twitter, and Discord now continue to have is that they’re not making decisions, is that there is absolutely no active thought going into their problems — problems that are going to exist in coming months or years — and what they can do to combat them.” nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/0

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Hey folks remember to cw your ascii art/emoji spam posts so people with screen readers can be Not Annoyed

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“The mp3 seemed like the final stage in format history, allowing listeners to enjoy and share music in common, without having to buy a physical object. All it did was pave the way for the latest innovation, streaming.” reallifemag.com/the-last-forma

Scott draws a distinction between two groups described from the POV of agriculturalist states…

Barbarians: hostile pastoralists who could threaten the state militarily

and

Savages: hunter-gatherer bands not amenable to the civilizing influence of the state.

“When Aristotle wrote of skates as tools, one imagines that he had in mind ‘savages’ and not all barbarians (for example, Persians).” (221)

I’m not so sure about that.

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Reminder that if you're looking for a new instance to call home, you should check out the hand-curated list at instances.noct.zone/ #MastoHelp

“Why deplore ‘collapse,’ when the situation it depicts is most often the disaggregation of a complex, fragile, and typically oppressive state into smaller, decentralized fragments?” (209) Scholars deplore it, Scott suggests, because states leave more records and archaeological traces. There’s often little to study left by dispersed populations.

Scott argues that “collapse” may be too dramatic a term for the ultimate fate of most early states. It suggests a traumatic upheaval. The reality may have been more gradual and benign to the population itself: the dissolution of institutional control, followed by the dispersal of residents away from the urban core. The latter may have even improved average health.

The latest arc on Questionable Content is now constitutionally prohibited in Florida.

Seems more likely that they’re built on one another. Slavery required a power base sufficient to coerce the enslaved population, and the basis for that power was taxation. Taxation also required some base, but (at least early on) that base was mutual benefit. The accumulation of surplus from taxation facilitates the construction of power, which in turn facilitates institutional slavery.

To my mind, the issue of slavery raises more questions about Scott’s position on taxation and coercion. If early agriculturists would tolerate neither slavery nor taxation without coercion, then why bother with taxation? Why extort a proxy for labor if you could just extort the labor directly?

Getting into the development of slavery now. Seems like there’s a fair amount of evidence based on primary sources for ancient Mesopotamian slavery, but it’s spread out over multiple societies (Uruk, Ur III, Babylonia) spanning more than 2,000 years, so it’s not always clear which practices arose when or how broadly they applied.

I don’t know how many Georgia voters are on Mastodon, but if you’re at polling stations in Gwinnett or Fulton, hang tight, replacement machines are on their way: twitter.com/LeftStandingUp/sta

Seems to me that supposing a coercive, appropriator origin to the state creates a chicken-or-egg problem. If taxation is the source of state power (e.g. in that it pays for armies and the tools of control) then how do the elites amass enough power to impose taxes in the first place? A cooperative model of state formation avoids that paradox.

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