Ancient Artifact I Learned About This Week – The Phaistos Disc. I was surprised to learn about this artifact (a picture is below). It was found on the island of Crete, where the Minoan civilization flourished. The Minoans are often thought of as the ancestors of the Ancient Greeks, and are perhaps most famous for the story of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. They provided the Greeks with important cultural elements, such as their first form of writing, Linear A (still undeciphered) and with most of the Gods that the Greeks worshiped.
As we know, the great empires and civilizing forces first existed in the Middle East and in North Africa during Antiquity, and the emergence of Europe’s dominant cultures and civilizations was influenced by the outpouring of Eastern cultures into the coastlines of the Mediterranean. In this way, at the time of the Minoans, (approximately 3000B.C. until 1100B.C.), they were among the furthest outpost of Eastern civilization in the Mediterranean Sea.
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Song on my Mind – I Say a Little Prayer, by Aretha Franklin. I’ve known the song for a while now but it has been getting a lot more airtime in my eyes recently. There is so much I like about this song. It manages to be energetic, encouraging, and huge fun, all while hinting at a certain sadness, or at least, uncertainty. I love listening to the piano in this piece, and of course, to Aretha’s incredible singing. Her backup singers have some great moments too. I hope it brightens your day! Listen on Youtube, Spotify.
Reportage that really hit me – South Korea’s Universal Basic Income Experiment to Boost the Economy, by the Wall Street Journal. This very short reportage is about the potential repercussions of the UBI experiment taking place in the South Korean province of Gyeonggi. Every citizen in the province currently receives about 220$ USD every month, no questions asked. The only catch is that the recipients are not able to spend this money anywhere outside of their neighborhoods. The goal was to directly stimulate the flailing local markets in one of Korea’s most industrial provinces. This experiment appears to have been a great success on all fronts according to the data analysts who have been tracking the experiment on behalf of the local government. These results are now being used as a political tool within Korea by the governor of the Gyeonggi province, Lee Jae Myung, who has been leading in the race to become South Korea’s new president. If he wins, he means to bring UBI to the rest of Korea.
Increasingly, jobs in the Gyeonggi province have become automated, and this is a big problem for Korea. The country faces one of the highest rates of job automation in the world, and projects that 15% of today’s jobs will have become automated by 2024.
Read the rest of this story Here.
Work of Art I Appreciated this Week – The Ancient of Days, by William Blake. This painting was made by William Blake in 1794, and to me, it shows a style of art well ahead of it’s time. It seems like something you could put on the album cover of a Metal Band, and it has been! Blake was a poet, a painter, a printmaker, and to many, a philosopher. Frankly, I have not sufficiently investigated the man to tell you any more about him, but I can tell you that this painting does not show the Christian God, as many have claimed, but rather, it shows Urizen, a deity in Blake’s invented mythology. Urizen symbolized conventional wisdom and law, and he was usually depicted with an architects too, which he used to create and constrain the world. I hope you find Blake interesting enough to learn more about him, as I will be!