Joker is a 2019 supervillain origin story film directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. Though based on the DC comic book character, this film takes many liberties with the story material by creating a background for the Joker that has hitherto been kept deliberately mysterious.
The notion of him starting out as a failed comedian comes from Batman: The Killing Joke, but other elements come from two Martin Scorsese films starring Robert De Niro—Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. This origin story nonetheless can be reconciled with the comic book canon somewhat in that, given how the story is told from the Joker’s point of view, and given his psychotic penchant for mixing fantasy with reality, he is an unreliable narrator; so it hardly matters if events in the movie contradict those of the comic books.
Phoenix’s performance deservedly won him the Best Actor Oscar. For her plaintive, brooding cello soundtrack, Hildur Guðnadóttir won the Best Original Score. The film itself has also been praised (with nominations for such Oscar categories as Best Picture and Best Director), in spite of such controversies as the baseless fear that its sympathetic portrayal of a mentally-ill loner, who shoots people, would inspire incel murders. Actually, the film–despite Phillips’s denial of having intended any political message–is clearly presenting a drama of class war.
Whilst debates around Climate Change still rage on US TV, the US Military has been quietly preparing for the now inevitable. Planners are now acutely aware of just how quick Climate Change is coming down upon us, and how dramatically it will change the geopolitics of the planet. What wargames are the military running in preparation for this? Which theatres do they project to be the most impacted? and is the US ready for a worst-case scenario? We ask our panel of experts. On the panel this week: – Sharon Burke (Ecospherics/Fmr White House) – John Conger (Center for Climate and Security/Fmr White House) – Larry Wilkerson (Fmr Chief of Staff to Colin Powell) This is Part 1 of our special 5-Part Series focusing on The Geopolitics of Climate Change This Production was Brought to you by The Red Line and Mission Climate Project
Figures likely to be an underestimate, says Global Witness, as land defenders are killed by hitmen, crime groups and governments
More than 1,700 murders of environmental activists were recorded over the past decade, an average of a killing nearly every two days, according to a new report.
Killed by hitmen, organised crime groups and their own governments, at least 1,733 land and environmental defenders were murdered between 2012 and 2021, figures from Global Witness show, with Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines, Mexico and Honduras the deadliest countries.
The NGO has published its report on the killings of land and environmental defenders around the world every year since 2012, after the murder of Chut Wutty, a Cambodian environmentalist who worked with the Global Witness CEO Mike Davis investigating illegal logging. Killings hit a record of 227 in 2020 despite the pandemic.
In this episode, I interview political commentator, former congressional candidate, and now regenerative farmer Haven Scott McVarish, author of LAST CHANCE TO SAVE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. Haven talks about his favorite novel, STARK by Ben Elton, a dystopian comedy thriller about how corporations and the wealthy cause a global ecological collapse. Haven also discusses the novel’s themes in relation to his own book about the current, ongoing collapse of U.S. democracy. We talk about how to save our imperiled democracy as well as what ordinary people can start doing now to prepare for collapse via local community building and restorative agriculture.
Last Chance to Save American Democracy by Haven Scott McVarish https://amzn.to/3eqPxxB
Stark by Ben Elton https://amzn.to/3wY6dD2
5 Journeys (Haven Scott McVarish’s non-profit organization) https://www.5journeys.org/
Prudent risk management requires consideration of bad-to-worst-case scenarios. Yet, for climate change, such potential futures are poorly understood. Could anthropogenic climate change result in worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction? At present, this is a dangerously underexplored topic. Yet there are ample reasons to suspect that climate change could result in a global catastrophe. Analyzing the mechanisms for these extreme consequences could help galvanize action, improve resilience, and inform policy, including emergency responses. We outline current knowledge about the likelihood of extreme climate change, discuss why understanding bad-to-worst cases is vital, articulate reasons for concern about catastrophic outcomes, define key terms, and put forward a research agenda. The proposed agenda covers four main questions: 1) What is the potential for climate change to drive mass extinction events? 2) What are the mechanisms that could result in human mass mortality and morbidity? 3) What are human societies’ vulnerabilities to climate-triggered risk cascades, such as from conflict, political instability, and systemic financial risk? 4) How can these multiple strands of evidence—together with other global dangers—be usefully synthesized into an “integrated catastrophe assessment”? It is time for the scientific community to grapple with the challenge of better understanding catastrophic climate change.
The world is now enduring greater stress than any time in recent decades, according to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. And while humanity has so far avoided “the suicidal mistake of nuclear conflict,” he said, tensions are hitting new highs at a time when many lessons of the past seem forgotten.
“Today, humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” the world’s top diplomat said at a U.N. conference on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in New York City.
It’s not the first time such a dire warning has been issued about the catastrophic risks posed by nuclear weapons. Here’s a brief look at why Guterres and others are raising the alarm now: LINK
Modafinil is an eugeroic drug that has been examined to maintain or recover wakefulness, alertness, and cognitive performance when sleep deprived. In a nonmilitary context, the use of modafinil as a nootropic or smart drug, i.e., to improve cognitive performance without being sleep deprived, increases. Although cognitive performance is receiving more explicit attention in a military context, research into the impact of modafinil as a smart drug in function of operationality is lacking. Therefore, the current review aimed at presenting a current state-of-the-art and research agenda on modafinil as a smart drug. Beside the question whether modafinil has an effect or not on cognitive performance, we examined four research questions based on the knowledge on modafinil in sleep-deprived subjects: (1) Is there a difference between the effect of modafinil as a smart drug when administered in repeated doses versus one single dose?; (2) Is the effect of modafinil as a smart drug dose-dependent?; (3) Are there individual-related and/or task-related impact factors?; and (4) What are the reported mental and/or somatic side effects of modafinil as a smart drug?
We conducted a systematic search of the literature in the databases PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus, using the search terms “Modafinil” and “Cognitive enhance*” in combination with specific terms related to the research questions. The inclusion criteria were studies on healthy human subjects with quantifiable cognitive outcome based on cognitive tasks.
We found no literature on the impact of a repeated intake of modafinil as a smart drug, although, in users, intake occurs on a regular basis. Moreover, although modafinil was initially said to comprise no risk for abuse, there are now indications that modafinil works on the same neurobiological mechanisms as other addictive stimulants. There is also no thorough research into a potential risk for overconfidence, whereas this risk was identified in sleep-deprived subjects. Furthermore, eventual enhancing effects were beneficial only in persons with an initial lower performance level and/or performing more difficult tasks and modafinil has an adverse effect when used under time pressure and may negatively impact physical performance. Finally, time-on-task may interact with the dose taken.
The use of modafinil as a smart drug should be examined in function of different military profiles considering their individual performance level and the task characteristics in terms of cognitive demands, physical demands, and sleep availability. It is not yet clear to what extent an improvement in one component (e.g., cognitive performance) may negatively affect another component (e.g., physical performance). Moreover, potential risks for abuse and overconfidence in both regular and occasional intake should be thoroughly investigated to depict the trade-off between user benefits and unwanted side effects. We identified that there is a current risk to the field, as this trade-off has been deemed acceptable for sleep-deprived subjects (considering the risk of sleep deprivation to performance) but this reasoning cannot and should not be readily transposed to non-sleep-deprived individuals. We thus conclude against the use of modafinil as a cognitive enhancer in military contexts that do not involve sleep deprivation.