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The Ayn Rand Institute Takes a Loan from Paycheck Protection Program

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ayn-rand-social-security

Image via YouTube, 1959 interview with Mike Wallace

Finally bowing to public pressure, the Trump administration, has revealed which companies received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created to support small businesses during COVID-19. To no one's surprise, the published list apparently includes a host of privileged entities: the shipping business owned by Mitch McConnell's wife Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; businesses associated with members of Congress (from both parties); the law firm of David Boies; elite private schools like Sidwell Friends and Saint Ann's; Grover Norquist’s Anti-Tax Group; the law firm run by Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz; billionaire Kanye West’s company, Yeezy; a venture that raises money for Trump’s campaign and the RNC, etc.

Add to the list the Ayn Rand Institute--an organization named after Ayn Rand, the Russian writer who exalted the self-reliant individual and criticized social welfare programs that support the vulnerable. As she wrote in The Virtue of Selfishness, “The right to life means that a man has the right to support his life by his own work (on any economic level, as high as his ability will carry him); it does not mean that others must provide him with the necessities of life.” In short, if you can't make it, you're on your own.

Rand's political theory collapses when it confronts everyday reality. At the end of her own life, Rand, suffering from lung cancer, had to grudgingly rely on social security and medicare to make ends meet. Now, reports Reuters, the institute bearing her name has requested (and apparently received) "a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of up to $1 million." All while showing no gratitude to the American taxpayer. The Ayn Rand Institute deemed the loan "partial restitution for government-inflicted losses." Some will consider that spin--a way to justify accepting government largesse.

Watching the video below, it seems like a principled Randian would have gone, hat in hand, to a private charity instead.

via Lithub

Related Content:

When Ayn Rand Collected Social Security & Medicare, After Years of Opposing Benefit Programs

Christopher Hitchens Dismisses the Cult of Ayn Rand: There’s No “Need to Have Essays Advocating Selfishness Among Human Beings; It Requires No Reinforcement”

The Simpsons Take on Ayn Rand: See the Show’s Satire of The Fountainhead and Objectivist Philosophy

The Ayn Rand Institute Takes a Loan from Paycheck Protection Program is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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chrisrosa
1 day ago
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Can't make this stuff up.
San Francisco, CA
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Apple's UI Design Aesthetic Moving Towards Neumorphism

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Neumorphism (from neo-skeuomorphism) is the latest style of designing digital interfaces. Shortly after it emerged last year--Designer Zero was Alexander Plyuto with his design for a mobile banking interface below, according to UX Collective--some claimed it would become a 2020 design trend, while others insisted "Neumorphism will NOT be a huge trend in 2020."

Alexander Plyuto

If a company as influential as Apple were to adopt neumorphism, the argument would be settled. And after they introduced their upcoming Big Sur OS update at WWDC, revealing changes to the icons that viewers quickly picked up on…

...it seems the trend will stick around, at least for a few years.

So what exactly is neumorphism? Think of it as a course correction, the design version of steering into the skid in an endlessly fishtailing car that still somehow manages to move forwards. I look at neumorphism as the fourth phase/movement/trend in the representative elements of graphic user interface design. To explain, when Apple came out with the first Macintosh in 1984, the icons looked like this:

Original Macintosh icons

Designer Susan Kare's task was to convey pictographic information with a minimal supply of pixels. She did this brilliantly.

By the time Apple came out with the first iPhone in 2007, the home screen looked like this:

iPhone OS 1

Those icons were all skeuomorphic, i.e. tiny renderings of things rather than icons, even if they kept the name "icon." Advances in digital design are partly about growing bored with the last style and partly about showing off the technology. These skeuomorphic icons say "Look at the resolution we can achieve with this handheld screen!"

After six years of this, Jony Ive apparently felt the car starting to slide, and steered into the skid to get it to slide the other way. In 2013 Apple revealed that they were going with the "flat" aesthetic for iOS 7:

iOS 7

Gradations were allowed, but no discrete highlights or shading. Everything was simplified or, as the name suggests, flattened. A dash of showing off, here and there: Look at the absurdly fine teeth on the gears for the "Settings" icon, the thinness of the numbers on the clock and calendar, the fineness of the reticle on the compass. These could only be achieved with the improved resolution of the evolving iPhone.

Which brings us to neumorphism. As the Input Mag article "Apple, Big Sur, and the rise of Neumorphism" explains,

"When you boil it down, neumorphism is a focus on how light moves in three-dimensional space…. What sets neumorphism apart from its progenitor is that the focus is on the light itself and how it interacts with a variety of objects in a purely digital space."

This style has been wielded and named by designers of speculative interfaces, often using very few to no colors at all. Some examples:

Filip Legierski

Voicu Apostol

Elena Zelova

Alexander Plyuto

At the risk of oversimplifying it, the aesthetic is very Kenya Hara. It's something between skeuomorphism and flat, but way closer to the (f)latter. It's clean, minimal, and the current examples stick rigidly to basic geometry, with the most advanced form being a squircle. And particularly with the inclusion of the Braun logo in the example above, you can see at least one source of inspiration.

At their recent Worldwide Developer's Conference, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, pulled the sheet off of their forthcoming Big Sur OS update, hailing it as "our biggest update to design in more than a decade." The Big Sur icons revealed in the presentation look like this:

With the exception of the Calendar icon, all of them have shading and highlights from a consistent 12 o'clock light source. They're no longer flat, and are certainly not skeuomorphic, but they're moving back towards three-dimensionality, as seen in the word bubble of Messages, the Calculator, the Mac icon.

If we look at a side-by-side comparison of the Big Sur icons with the current ones, we can see even more clearly what Apple's doing:

They're doing away with irregular icon shapes, constraining them all within squircles. I suppose this is in an effort to reduce visual chaos, but to my eye, it will make the icons more difficult to distinguish from each other. This move isn't surprising; Apple has always prized aesthetics over UX.

In any case, with Apple tacitly endorsing neumorphism, we can expect to see the style popping up (no pun intended) all over the place.



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chrisrosa
12 days ago
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Still trying to decide if I like this...
San Francisco, CA
freeAgent
6 days ago
I like some of it, but not all. The 3D-ness seems overdone in places.
chrisrosa
6 days ago
same! hopefully they reel it in a bit.
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Comic Book Creator Reappropriates the Punisher Symbol, Uses It to Raise Funds for Black Lives Matter

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Comic book writer Gerry Conway created the Punisher, a new bad guy for Spider-Man to fight, way back in 1974. The character was a Vietnam veteran whose family was murdered, and he subsequently goes insane and turns into a crazed vigilante. He kills all lawbreakers regardless of what law they break; if I remember correctly (I collected comics as a kid), this is illustrated by him shooting someone for driving through a red light.

By Source, Fair use

Sadly, the Punisher's symbol has been appropriated by a handful of America's police officers:

This has been going on for a while, and last year Conway told Syfy Wire what he thought of the practice:

"It's disturbing whenever I see authority figures embracing Punisher iconography because the Punisher represents a failure of the Justice system. He's supposed to indict the collapse of social moral authority and the reality [that] some people can't depend on institutions like the police or the military to act in a just and capable way.
The vigilante anti-hero is fundamentally a critique of the justice system, an example of social failure, so when cops put Punisher skulls on their cars or members of the military wear Punisher skull patches, they're basically sides with an enemy of the system. They are embracing an outlaw mentality. Whether you think the Punisher is justified or not, whether you admire his code of ethics, he is an outlaw. He is a criminal. Police should not be embracing a criminal as their symbol.

Following the recent social unrest, Conway resolved to do something about it:

Responses came in almost immediately, and just days later, Conway had set up BLM - Skulls for Justice.


Each T-shirt design is its own mini-fundraising campaign that runs until June 30th, and 100% of the proceeds go to Black Lives Matter.




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chrisrosa
22 days ago
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San Francisco, CA
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Cyber volunteers release blocklists for 26,000 COVID-19 threats

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Coronavirus

The COVID-19 Cyber Threat Coalition has released a block list of known URLs and domain names associated with Coronavirus-themed scams, phishing attacks, and malware threats.

The coalition is a volunteer organization created towards the end of March 2020 to disseminate information about new threats trying to take advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic.

This COVID-19 Cyber Threat Coalition consists of members from the cybersecurity community, large companies, cyber intelligence firms, and antivirus vendors who use the collected information to protect businesses, consumers, government, and healthcare organizations from online attacks.

As part of this project, the group has created two blocklists containing URLs or domain names that are known to be associated with attacks on healthcare, government, and enterprise organizations or are related to Coronavirus "themed" scams, phishing attacks, and malware.

The URL blocklist currently consists of 13,863 malicious URLs that have been seen in attacks, and the domain blocklist now contains 12,258 malicious domains and hostnames.

Both consumers and the enterprise can use these blocklists in locally run DNS sinkhole solutions such as Pi-Hole, by feeding them into firewalls or secure gateways, or using them in other security solutions.

Local users who want to use the domain blocklist to protect a single machine can also convert it into a HOSTS file by simply adding 127.0.0.1 in front of each hostname, as shown below.

With the current list of domains, this would generate a 452KB file, which may cause performance issues in Windows 10.

If you do create a HOSTS file from these blocklists, let us know how it goes and if you see any performance issues.

As both of these blocklists are refreshed every ten minutes if you use them to increase your security, be sure to update them at least twice a day.

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chrisrosa
63 days ago
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San Francisco, CA
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Travis Scott's Wild Fortnite Performance Set A Record

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The first of five widely praised, surreal performances broke a Fortnite record with over 12.3 million concurrent players in attendance.

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chrisrosa
72 days ago
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wanted to be a hater, but have to say...this is about the coolest online event I've seen ever.
San Francisco, CA
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Suzuki Omni Battle Van

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When human ingenuity and automotive econoboxes come together, awesome things can happen. Case in point, India-based Holy Shift Garage took a rather conventional and dilapidated Suzuki Omni van and made a small, meaty monster. The…
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chrisrosa
90 days ago
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squeee!
San Francisco, CA
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