Tuesday, November 29, 2022

29: Russia

China Protests Break Out as Covid Cases Surge and Lockdowns Persist After a weekend of confrontations between officials and demonstrators, video from two sites in Shanghai and Beijing showed a heavy security presence......... Over the weekend, protests against China’s strict Covid restrictions ricocheted across the country in a rare case of nationwide civil unrest. ....... In the eastern city of Hangzhou, a crowd of people gathered at a shopping mall but were closely watched by an even larger group of uniformed police officers. ........ Outside China, the rest of the world has adapted to the virus and is near normalcy. Take soccer’s premier event, the World Cup. Thousands of people from across the globe have assembled in Qatar and are cheering on their teams, shoulder-to-shoulder, without masks, in packed stadiums. ....... Almost three years after the coronavirus emerged, the contrast between China and the rest of the world couldn’t be starker. ....... The news spread fast on the Chinese internet. Ten people died on Thursday after a fire in an apartment building in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang ....... Soon after, the man, nicknamed “Shanghai Flower Boy” on social media, was taken away by police, the video showed. ...... The daily number of reported cases is at its highest point of the pandemic. Most Chinese have never been exposed to the virus, and a vaccination drive has largely stalled. ....... By mid-November, a third of China’s population and areas that generate two-fifths of its economic output were back under partial or complete lockdowns .

For Putin’s Opponents, Exile From Russia Proves a Boon The political network of Aleksei A. Navalny, the imprisoned opposition leader, had seemingly been crushed. But working from abroad, the Navalny team is using YouTube to spearhead antiwar efforts. ...... In the months since Mr. Navalny was sent to a penal colony in 2021, his political network across Russia was crushed and the country’s opposition movement seemed dead. Many liberals fled into exile........ In Vilnius, the unofficial capital of Russian opposition abroad, the Navalny team is using YouTube to spearhead antiwar efforts in a way that is unthinkable at home. ....... “We threw away all our plans and reinvented ourselves as a media organization” ..... “This is the information front.” ........ Mr. Navalny used to stream videos a couple of hours each week. But at the start of the war, his team launched a new channel, Popular Politics, and it now broadcasts about 30 hours a week, producing more than 50 segments that are posted online as individual clips. The number of employees rose to 130 from about 70 back in the Moscow days, and the team just doubled its production space. ....... Popular Politics has grown to 1.64 million subscribers. That’s a fraction of the viewership for two channels originally created by Mr. Navalny himself, however, which are still running and have attracted around 9.5 million subscribers. ...... the organization had built a network of 45 regional offices in Russia working to unseat Putin supporters in local elections. ....... Although Russia has banned Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, YouTube is still operating, not least because the Kremlin is desperate to reach the younger audience that shuns state television. Legions of Russian political figures, activists and journalists now host their own YouTube channels. .......... Crowd funding brings in tens of thousands of dollars monthly, as does revenue generated from YouTube viewings ....... Videos detailing the anti-corruption investigations pull in millions of viewers; one from last year alleging that a $1.3 billion palace was built for Mr. Putin on the Black Sea has garnered 125 million views. YouTube called it the most-watched Russian-language video in 2021, and the Kremlin, which usually ignores corruption allegations, issued a denial. .......... Wider sanctions would help create rifts in the ruling hierarchy .

This Is Your Brain on ‘Deep Reading.’ It’s Pretty Magnificent. The literacy scholar Maryanne Wolf maps out the ways “deep reading” nourishes our capacity for attention, empathy and insight. ....... how reading works in and — even more importantly — how it works on the brain, how it changes the brain ........ My whole career, my whole life is built on digital text. ...... “Reader Come Home” that reading is a, quote, “unnatural process.” ....... We were never meant to read. But what is amazing is that the brain does have this almost semi-miraculous capacity to make new circuits within itself using the processes that are genetically there but in new ways. So what the brain has is the capacity to make novel circuits. And the invention, the human invention of reading, required a new circuit. So the brain very gradually learned how to connect parts that were there for other reasons and made a new circuit that became the first underlying network for reading very simple symbols 6,000 years ago. But it was never the case that we were meant to read, which has real implications. ........ reading is not one thing at all, it’s many things ....... there are different levels in which we can participate in the text. We can use our ability to take on another perspective to read in a whole different way. We are entering almost like the theory of mind of another and also their feelings. This is a totally different form of reading than the one that we are talking about when we are saying we read for information. .

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