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May 12, 2017

What to read this weekend: recommendations from the bunker

What we're reading: whether the gig economy is working, hackers and the French election, the business of securing death sentences, war of the cosmologists, and tolerance as an ideological category.

Crikey long reads

Charlie Lewis, journalist

Is the gig economy working?” by Nathan Heller in The New Yorker

“The American workplace is both a seat of national identity and a site of chronic upheaval and shame. The industry that drove America’s rise in the nineteenth century was often inhumane. The twentieth-century corrective — a corporate workplace of rules, hierarchies, collective bargaining, triplicate forms — brought its own unfairnesses. Gigging reflects the endlessly personalizable values of our own era, but its social effects, untried by time, remain uncertain.”

Josh Taylor, journalist

Hackers came, but the French were prepared” by Adam Nossiter, David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in The New York Times

“The National Security Agency in Washington picked up the signs. So did Emmanuel Macron’s bare-bones technology team. And mindful of what happened in the American presidential campaign, the team created dozens of false email accounts, complete with phony documents, to confuse the attackers.”

Emily Watkins, media reporter

The business of securing death sentences: 40 years and 28 men” in by Ed Pilkington in The Guardian

“For the past 40 years, Donnie Myers has been oiling the wheels of that machine in his corner of the American south, achieving capital convictions on a scale almost unparalleled in the modern era. He was determined, laser-like and fearsomely effective. Securing death sentences was his job, and he had to carry it out.”

Cass Knowlton, editor

A cold war among cosmologists turns hot” by Joshua Sokol in The Atlantic

“In the slimmest fractions of the very first second, the universe grew, and grew, and grew. By the time it slowed down, what had been a tiny, quivering quantum realm was stretched out until it looked smooth and flat, save for speckles of denser matter that later became galaxies, stars, and planets. This is the origin story of cosmic inflation, a school of thought developed in the 1980s that has itself grown into the dominant way cosmologists think about the beginning of time.”

Helen Razer, contributor

Tolerance as an ideological category” by Slavoj Zizek in Critical Inquiry

Why are today so many problems perceived as problems of intolerance, not as problems of inequality, exploitation, injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, not emancipation, political struggle, even armed struggle? The immediate answer is the liberal multiculturalist’s basic ideological operation: the ‘culturalization of politics’ …”

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