Monday, 9 February 2015

The lost art of rhetoric

Among all this sloganising, I find myself thinking back to the Greek philosopher Socrates - or at least as Plato presented him. He was about getting to the bottom of an argument. About not giving up on it. About facing his own ignorance and confronting his own prejudices. Most of all, he was about having a real conversation.
Among all this sloganising, I find myself thinking back to the Greek philosopher Socrates – or at least as Plato presented him. He was about getting to the bottom of an argument. About not giving up on it. About facing his own ignorance and confronting his own prejudices. Most of all, he was about having a real conversation.
  • Have modern politicians lost the art of rhetoric? – “When we listen to politicians, we often complain that their words don’t seem to mean anything. And that’s because they don’t … There’s a mismatch between political ideas and politicians’ words. It’s not that the poor things don’t have ideas – they’re just not usually allowed to utter them. The party machine is too risk-averse to countenance real speech. In ancient Greece and Rome, on the other hand, the art of rhetoric was at the heart of political life. Rhetoric can have a bad name, as if it means tricksy or deceptive speech. But the bottom line is it’s a skill of using reasoned argument to persuade. Recapturing some of that lost art might be a good idea, and might get us beyond pretty much indistinguishable soundbites.”
  • No one in control: The algorithms that run our lives – “Software is deciding who gets a loan, who counts as a citizen and what prices you pay online. Who will step in when the machines get out of hand?”
  • California Moves to Ban All Vaccination Exemptions
  • Putin’s Peninsula Is a Lonely Island - No tourists, frightened tatars, and Russians have taken all the jobs. Welcome to Crimea in winter.
  • Don’t forget health when you talk about human rights – “Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released World Report 2015, their 25th annual global review documenting human rights practices in more than 90 countries and territories in 2014. … when one delves deeper, there is a hidden story that often does not make the headlines. That story is the health dimension of human rights. Viewed through the lens of health, the report contains several compelling and disturbing themes.
  • Keep daffodils away from food, supermarkets warned. “Supermarkets have been urged to keep daffodils away from fruit and vegetable aisles this spring – in case they are mistaken for food. In a letter to major stores, Public Health England warned the flowers could be confused with onions or Chinese vegetables, and consumption of them was an “emerging risk”. Daffodils contain toxic alkaloids that can cause severe vomiting, it said.”
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