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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Beware of Valentine's Day!

Beware of Valentine's Day!

Instead of ending this GR with a video, as is my habit, I thought I should begin with one because of the danger that awaits couples this day! As in, “Scientists have found that Valentine's Day can have a negative impact on relationships and the holiday-related obligation to be lovey-dovey may have something to do with it.” Beware!
Big Other Is Watching You
Don’t let the title of this week’s long read scare you: “Part One of Surveillance Capitalism at the Limits to Economic Growth – social controls through digital infrastructures have bio-physical limits.” Yikes! It’s actually accessible and interesting. And troubling. Most GR readers are aware of this phenomenon already, but I thought some insights in this piece well worth reflecting on. Some snippets:
… a flood of computer and smart phone apps and social media platforms are there, free for our use, courtesy of Google, Facebook, Amazon and other Surveillance Capitalists, but [we] do not realise how it comes about that we can get all these things for free. What are these companies selling that is bringing these companies billions?
The answer is that it is a mass of information about us that is on sale – information about our experiences, our lives and those of our friends, colleagues, associates and communities. We imagine we are searching with Google but do not see the extent to which Google is researching us – constructive models of our lives as “life patterns” for targeted marketing….
All of this private human experience transformed into data is then simply declared to be the property of the covert observers. The business mode of the surveillance capitalists like Google and Facebook is thus based on stealing the rights of those whose private experience has been appropriated to decide for themselves what can be done with information that they thought was private to them. The aim for the surveillance capitalists is to share this theft of information about private lives with third parties for money.
The Future of Church Budgets
I suspect many GR readers are leaders in their local churches. If so, you may be especially interested in this CT piece that prognosticates about the near-future American economy and what it might do to church budgets. As the title puts it: “Here Come the Skinny Cows: Four reasons tithes and offerings are about to drop dramatically.
‘The Book Murderer’
I can’t tell if this piece is fiction or if it’s about fiction. It’s entertaining and thought provoking in any event. In this short piece, “I am the 'book murderer', but I tear them apart out of love,” the author explains why he literally tears up long paperback novels into more manageable sections.
Wonders Below
Okay, I’m weak when it comes to tradition. And it’s a tradition to end the GR with something visual or light. Or in this case, no light (in the other sense of the word). “How Deep Is the Ocean” goes so deep, sunlight will not penetrate its depths. One is tempted to paraphrase Psalm 19:
The oceans declare the glory of God;
the depths proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Such mysteries were hidden for ages, but modern technology has helped us hear their “voice.”
Grace and peace,

Mark GalliMark Galli

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