Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy

Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy
If you wanted to build a machine that would distribute propaganda to millions of people, distract them from important issues, energize hatred and bigotry, erode social trust, undermine respectable journalism, foster doubts about science, and engage in massive surveillance all at once, you would make something a lot like Facebook. Of course, none of that was part of the plan. In Antisocial Media, Siva Vaidhyanathan explains how Facebook devolved from an innocent social site hacked together by Harvard students into a force that, while it may make personal life just a little more pleasurable, makes democracy a lot more challenging. It’s an account of the hubris of good intentions, a missionary spirit, and an ideology that sees computer code as the universal solvent for all human problems. And it’s an indictment of how “social media” has fostered the deterioration of democratic culture around the world, from facilitating Russian meddling in support of Trump’s election to the exploitation of the platform by murderous authoritarians in Burma and the Philippines. Facebook grew out of an ideological commitment to data-driven decision making and logical thinking. Its culture is explicitly tolerant of difference and dissent. Both its market orientation and its labour force are global. It preaches the power of connectivity to change lives for the better. Indeed, no company better represents the dream of a fully connected planet “sharing” words, ideas, and images, and no company has better leveraged those ideas into wealth and influence. Yet no company has contributed more to the global collapse of basic tenets of deliberation and democracy. Both authoritative and trenchant, Antisocial Media shows how Facebook’s mission went so wrong.
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Invisible Countries – Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood

Invisible Countries – Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood
A thoughtful analysis of how our world’s borders came to be and why we may be emerging from a lengthy period of “cartographical stasis” What is a country? While certain basic criteria-borders, a government, and recognition from other countries-seem obvious, journalist Joshua Keating’s book explores exceptions to these rules, including self-proclaimed countries such as Abkhazia, Kurdistan, and Somaliland, a Mohawk reservation straddling the U.S.-Canada border, and an island nation whose very existence is threatened by climate change. Through stories about these would-be countries’ efforts at self-determination, as well as their respective challenges, Keating shows that there is no universal legal authority determining what a country is. He argues that although our current world map appears fairly static, economic, cultural, and environmental forces in the places he describes may spark change. Keating ably ties history to incisive and sympathetic observations drawn from his travels and personal interviews with residents, political leaders, and scholars in each of these “invisible countries.”
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The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire

The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire
The Habsburg Empire’s grand strategy for outmaneuvering and outlasting stronger rivals in a complicated geopolitical world The Empire of Habsburg Austria faced more enemies than any other European great power. Flanked on four sides by rivals, it possessed few of the advantages that explain successful empires. Its army was not renowned for offensive prowess, its finances were often shaky, and its populace was fragmented into more than a dozen ethnicities. Yet somehow Austria endured, outlasting Ottoman sieges, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon. The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire tells the story of how this cash-strapped, polyglot empire survived for centuries in Europe’s most dangerous neighborhood without succumbing to the pressures of multisided warfare. Taking readers from the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s to the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, A. Wess Mitchell argues that the Habsburgs succeeded not through offensive military power or great wealth but by developing strategies that manipulated the element of time in geopolitical competition. Unable to fight all their enemies at once, the Habsburgs learned to use the limited tools at their disposal–terrain, technology, and treaty allies–to sequence and stagger their conflicts, drive down the costs of empire, and concentrate scarce resources against the greatest threat of the moment. Rarely holding a grudge after war, they played the “long game” in geopolitics, corralling friend and foe alike into voluntarily managing the empire’s lengthy frontiers and extending a benign hegemony across the turbulent lands of middle Europe. A study in adaptive statecraft, The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire offers lessons on how to navigate a messy geopolitical map, stand firm without the advantage of military predominance, and prevail against multiple rivals.
Buy the book The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire from Ideakart.com.

Invisible Countries – Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood

Invisible Countries – Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood
A thoughtful analysis of how our world’s borders came to be and why we may be emerging from a lengthy period of “cartographical stasis” What is a country? While certain basic criteria-borders, a government, and recognition from other countries-seem obvious, journalist Joshua Keating’s book explores exceptions to these rules, including self-proclaimed countries such as Abkhazia, Kurdistan, and Somaliland, a Mohawk reservation straddling the U.S.-Canada border, and an island nation whose very existence is threatened by climate change. Through stories about these would-be countries’ efforts at self-determination, as well as their respective challenges, Keating shows that there is no universal legal authority determining what a country is. He argues that although our current world map appears fairly static, economic, cultural, and environmental forces in the places he describes may spark change. Keating ably ties history to incisive and sympathetic observations drawn from his travels and personal interviews with residents, political leaders, and scholars in each of these “invisible countries.”
Buy the book Invisible Countries – Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood from Ideakart.com.

The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire

The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire
The Habsburg Empire’s grand strategy for outmaneuvering and outlasting stronger rivals in a complicated geopolitical world The Empire of Habsburg Austria faced more enemies than any other European great power. Flanked on four sides by rivals, it possessed few of the advantages that explain successful empires. Its army was not renowned for offensive prowess, its finances were often shaky, and its populace was fragmented into more than a dozen ethnicities. Yet somehow Austria endured, outlasting Ottoman sieges, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon. The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire tells the story of how this cash-strapped, polyglot empire survived for centuries in Europe’s most dangerous neighborhood without succumbing to the pressures of multisided warfare. Taking readers from the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s to the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, A. Wess Mitchell argues that the Habsburgs succeeded not through offensive military power or great wealth but by developing strategies that manipulated the element of time in geopolitical competition. Unable to fight all their enemies at once, the Habsburgs learned to use the limited tools at their disposal–terrain, technology, and treaty allies–to sequence and stagger their conflicts, drive down the costs of empire, and concentrate scarce resources against the greatest threat of the moment. Rarely holding a grudge after war, they played the “long game” in geopolitics, corralling friend and foe alike into voluntarily managing the empire’s lengthy frontiers and extending a benign hegemony across the turbulent lands of middle Europe. A study in adaptive statecraft, The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire offers lessons on how to navigate a messy geopolitical map, stand firm without the advantage of military predominance, and prevail against multiple rivals.
Buy the book The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire from Ideakart.com.

Of Saffron Flags and Skull Caps: Hindutva, Muslim Identity and the Idea of India

Of Saffron Flags and Skull Caps: Hindutva, Muslim Identity and the Idea of India

We live in an age when most Muslims take pride in singing Saare Jahan Se Achcha, penned by Muhammad Iqbal. Many though have forgotten that the same poet-philosopher called Ram as Imam-e-Hind. The Hindutva forces, meanwhile, have forgotten the unifying Saare Jahan Se Achcha in their pursuit of divisive nationalism. Their exclusionary politics stems from a mindset of self-limiting segregation: a world of ‘we’ and ‘they’, a world where a Muslim man is lynched for refusing to say ‘Vande Mataram’.

Of Saffron Flags and Skullcaps attempts to trace the growth of the Hindutva ideology from the time of V.D. Savarkar and M.S. Golwalkar to the contemporary age, and how it precedes any talk of Muslim appeasement. Faced with these existential challenges, the Muslim community is involved in simultaneous churning within where the words of Islamic scholar and teacher Farhat Hashmi are bringing about a silent change at the grassroots level. Amidst all the challenges, the idea of India, often challenged, continues to show the way to a nation looking for direction.

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Korean Peninsula: A Pawn On The Geopolitical Chessboard

Korean Peninsula: A Pawn On The Geopolitical Chessboard
Korean Peninsula, A Pawn on the Geopolitical Chessboard is Asian Warrior’s second book after gaining critical acclaim for The New Global Order. The book authored by Naveen Tomar, Navroop Singh and Himja Parekh focuses on the Korean Peninsula which is divided between North and South Korea. World history has been testament to the fact that all major conflicts have been driven by trade & the hegemonic quest for natural resources. By exploring the Neo-Confucianism ideology the book shows its impact on the peninsula’s past, present and future. Tracing events from the time of unified Korea under the Goryeo/Joseon Dynasty to the Japanese occupation, World War 2 and current scenarios, the book elucidates how global powers have used the Korean Peninsula as a geopolitical platform to carve out spheres of influence to remain relevant. The book expounds on South Korea’s journey as a tech giant along with tracing the mindset and evolution of North Korea’s founding principles which have made it a part of the “Axis of Evil” that threatens global security. It also reveals the roles of different countries and blocs on the Korean Peninsula in their quest for global supremacy showing the reader how tangled the peninsula really is! The discovery of North Korea’s abundant mineral resources has further made it a coveted prize in the global chess being played by powerful nations and their military industrial complexes vying for their share of the bounty; and is radically altering the current dynamics. Subsequently, the book examines the possible hypothesis that could emerge from this global churn. The peninsula’s two nation states of contrasting ideologies are influenced by different powers and their proxies who would never want it to rediscover its independent united grandeur. Will the Korean Peninsula reclaim its rightful place on the map or is it forever doomed to remain “A Pawn on the Geopolitical Chessboard?”
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