In Pursuit of Child Rights in Tanzania

Helen Veitch/Children Unite

Helen Veitch/Children Unite

Simon Hooper writes at Al Jazeera English:

“I was supposed to be the first one awake to get the children up and send them to school, and then take care of the household chores. And then I was the last one to bed at night.”

Angel Benedicto’s account of her daily routine as a household servant in Tanzania echoes the bleak experiences of exploited domestic workers in many parts of the world, but with one further dismal detail: Even as she was expected to care for the children of the family for whom she worked, Angel was still only a child herself.

Angel was brought up by her mother along with her eight younger brothers and sisters in a village in the northern Mara region. But when she was orphaned at the age of 16 she went to the city of Mwanza on the edge of Lake Victoria in search of a job to support her siblings and soon found work in a family home.

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The Mystery of Lewis Carroll

The author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which sees its 150th anniversary this year, remains to this day an enigmatic figure. Jenny Woolf explores the joys and struggles of this brilliant, secretive, and complex man, creator of one of the world’s best-loved stories, at Public Domain Review:

When Charles L. Dodgson was born in January 1832, his paternal aunt wrote a letter to his parents, welcoming the “dear little stranger” and begging them to kiss him on her behalf. His clergyman father, already “overdone with delight” whenever he looked at his family, put a notice in The Times to announce the arrival of his much-wanted first son.

Lewis Carroll Self Portrait 1856 circa.jpg

Lewis Carroll Self Portrait, circa 1856.

 

The baby would grow up to become Lewis Carroll, author of two of the most famous children’s books in the world. Mystery, and even controversy, would surround him in later life, but one thing that never changed was his deep attachment to the members of his family, or theirs to him.

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Blowing in the wind? The mystery of Kawasaki disease

Beth  (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Beth (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Hard to diagnose, with an unknown cause, Kawasaki disease has been puzzling doctors for 150 years. Jeremy Hsu explores what we know, and still don’t know, about this troubling childhood heart condition.


A child’s death from scarlet fever wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows during the devastating epidemics that swept Europe and North America in the 1800s. But Samuel Gee, a highly regarded physician in England, found something very strange while cutting open the corpse of a seven-year-old boy in London in 1870. Gee’s autopsy findings, preserved in a single paragraph written in 1871, recorded signs of damage called aneurysms in the coronary arteries running across the surface of the boy’s heart. In the affected regions, the main blood vessels that supply blood to the heart had expanded like modelling balloons because of weakened vessel walls.

Gee described the case as follows:

“The peculiarity of the following case lies in the age of the patient.

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Tech Time Warp of the Week: Before WIRED, There Was the Eccentric Mondo 2000

mondologo

One friend of disinformation, Klint “Klintron” Finley who writes for a legendary tech mag (Wired) writes about another, Ken “RU Sirius” Goffman, the editor of its precursor, Mondo 2000:

When WIRED launched in 1993, few people had seen anything like it. Unlike other computer magazines, it focused on people instead of machines. It was colorful—psychedelic even—at a time when computers were beige boxes made by and for the sort of people that Dilbert was about. But WIRED wasn’t totally alone.

Before WIRED, there was Mondo 2000, a magazine that fused counterculture and technology together into a surreal glossy magazine that first appeared on newsstands in 1989. A typical issue would cover everything from DIY micro-satellites to smart drugs to weird bands like The Residents.

“Mondo 2000 is here to cover the leading edge in hyperculture,” an introduction by editor Ken “R.U. Sirius” Goffman and publisher Allison “Queen Mu” Kennedy announced in the first issue.

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Shoe Made From Recycled Ocean Trash

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I’m currently posting this from the beach, and it makes my blood boil when people litter. So, it seemed fitting.

Laura Feinstein via GOOD:

As a rule I’m skeptical of big brands “going green,” but it seems adidas might just be on to something. Recently the sporty retail giant teamed up with Parley for the Oceans—an idealistic group of “creators, thinkers and leaders” attempting to re-purpose the ocean’s overwhelming amount of trash into reusable material—for a mystery project. Monday at the United Nations the brand unveiled their collaboration: the world’s first ever shoe upper made solely from harvested ocean plastic and illegal deep-sea gillnets. The nets were retrieved after a 110-day expedition by Parley partner organization Sea Shepherd, where they tracked an illegal poaching vessel off the coast of West Africa.

The prototype is just the first in a yet-to-be-released line of consumer-ready ocean-plastic products the brand will launch later this year.

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The Force Which Shapes The World

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Linda and Morris Tannehill via Not Being Governed:

But a discussion of how government could be dismantled and how free men could then build a laissez-faire society out of the pieces still doesn’t answer the question, “How do we get there?” Politicians are politicians because they enjoy wielding power over others and being honored for their “high positions.” Power and plaudits are the politician’s life, and a true politician will fight to the death (your death) if he thinks it will help him hold on to them. Even the gray, faceless bureaucrats cling to their little bits of power with the desperate tenacity of a multitude of leaches, each squirming and fighting to hold and increase his area of domination. How can we successfully oppose this vast, cancerous power structure? Where can we find a force strong enough to attack, undermine, and finally destroy its power?

Some people, gazing up at the fearsome might of the American Leviathan, have decided that our only hope lies in an eventual armed revolution.

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Anti-Braker Speaks Out Against NTSB and Big Automotive

woodlawn14

Alternative braking techniques might save countless lives, but will Big Government allow the debate?

Robert Moore Jr. describes the push-back he received when he made a personal decision to remove the brakes from his car:

Guys, I wanted to let you know about a personal decision I recently made. I don’t really feel like discussing it, but I want to put my position out there. Please be respectful. This is a really long post, but please read the whole thing.

I’m taking the brakes off my car. This isn’t a rash decision, so please listen up.

A few weeks ago I saw a car accident – two people went through an intersection at the same time. Both slammed on their brakes at the same time and collided. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

But then it occurred to me – if they had just gone through the intersection, they wouldn’t have collided.… Read the rest

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Family violence victims need support, not mandatory reporting

Andreas Levers (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Andreas Levers (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Kelsey Hegarty, University of Melbourne and Kirsty Forsdike, University of Melbourne

At first glance, Victoria Police’s suggestion this week that health professionals report domestic violence to authorities, as they do for child abuse, sounds like a great idea.

The suggestion was made in its submission to the state’s Royal Commission into Family Violence. Such a move might connect women with support services quicker. Police could take out intervention orders on women’s behalf, and men who use violence could be prosecuted if an assault occurs.

With mandatory reporting, health professionals may then see domestic violence as a serious health issue in which they play an intrinsically important role, rather than a private social matter on the periphery of their clinical work. Doctors, in particular, may become increasingly familiar with the existing Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) guidelines and World Health Organization advice on how to identify and respond to domestic and family violence – a potential positive outcome in itself.… Read the rest

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Calcio Storico: The Most Dangerous Game

There’s a sudden rush of interest in a game that’s been played for centuries in Florence, Italy: calcio storico. Sam Borden makes it a photo-filled splash story for the New York Times:

FLORENCE, Italy — Last Tuesday, about 24 hours before he jammed his fingers into another man’s nose, dropped his elbow across another man’s neck and put another man’s feet where one’s ears are supposed to be, Rodrigue Nana considered, just for a moment, the basic notion of fear.

Calcio Storico. Photo: Lorenzo Noccioli (CC)

Calcio Storico. Photo: Lorenzo Noccioli (CC)

“Do you want to know what I am afraid of?” he said, his fingers tracing the meaty scar above his left eyebrow. Nana, a Cameroon-born transplant to Italy, leaned forward, as if to share a secret. “I am afraid of showering.”

He did not laugh. Neither did any of his teammates sitting nearby. This was not a time for joking; Nana and the rest of his team were about to begin their last training session before last Wednesday’s final match of calcio storico, a centuries-old competition that features very few rules and the sort of human wreckage generally associated with the days of the gladiators.

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