Archive | February, 2013

The Forgotten History Of A Canadian Town’s Experiment With Guaranteed Income

A town in Canada tried the simplest method to end the ills associated with poverty: give everyone a minimum sum of money. Via the Dominion:

Try to imagine a town where the government paid each of the residents a living income, regardless of who they were and what they did. For a four-year period in the ’70s, the poorest families in Dauphin, Manitoba, were granted a guaranteed minimum income by the federal and provincial governments.

Until now little has been known about what unfolded over those years in the small rural town, since the government locked away the data that had been collected and prevented it from being analyzed.

But after a five year struggle, Evelyn Forget, a professor of health sciences at the University of Manitoba, secured access to those boxes in 2009. Forget has begun to piece together the story by using the census, health records, and the testimony of the program’s participants.

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Bill Wyman on David Bowie’s Golden Years: Assessing a Radical Career

I don’t know who at New York Magazine managed to persuade former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman (or is it the other Bill Wyman?) to write an essay on David Bowie, but you have my thanks. Over to Mr. Wyman:

I very rarely have felt like a rock artist,” David Bowie used to say. “I’ve got nothing to do with music.” More than 40 years on, we see now he was dissembling on both counts. But as with any great act of self-creation, there was an element of truth in the obfuscation, and the roles he was playing in addition—some species of musical-­theater provocateur, a high-art celebrity indulging in a low-art mechanism, a transgressive social poet manipulating a pop-cultural moment—seem plain. He was the first rocker to deliberately separate himself from the personae of his songs and onstage characters in a way that challenged his audience. The stardom that resulted was unlikely—he was, let us remember, a self-described gay mime.

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400-Year-Old Masonic Secret Chamber Uncovered In Historic British Manor

Do the rituals of freemasonry go back further than anyone has realized? The BBC reports:

A secret chamber, hidden for 400 years and with possible links to early freemasonry, has been discovered.

The entrance to the room, which has plastered walls, was found inside a cupboard at the National Trust-owned house Canons Ashby, near Daventry. It is a paneled room with walls showing crests of local families and enigmatic symbols.

Laura Malpas, community manager of the trust, said there was “speculation” the room had been an early masonic lodge. Ms. Malpas said it was “a fascinating and puzzling space” with walls that include “frankly odd Latin texts.” She added: “There has been speculation that this room was used as an early form of Masonic lodge before Freemasonry was established in England some 130 years later in 1717.”

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The Law of the Tongue

Humans have trouble honoring treaties with each other, what are the chances they’d respect a contract signed with another species?

Pretty good … at least in one case.

The Orca king, Old Tom, directs an Australian harpoon boat toward a captured pod of whales.

Killers of Eden” is an in-development indie feature film that tells the story of the whales of Twofold Bay, Australia. From the early 1800s through to 1930, Australian whalers had an agreement with a local pod of Orcas known as “The Law of the Tongue.” The Orcas would herd baleen whales close to the shore of the Port of Eden, blocking their escape routes, at which point harpoon boats would set upon – and kill – the whales. The tongues of the baleen whales would be cut off by the whalers and delivered to the orcas as a food tribute.

The humans and orcas would cooperate in other ways as well.… Read the rest

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Can We Stop The Next Meteor Strike?

Given the history of planetary destruction from meteor strikes in the past, trying to stop them from impacting our now vastly more populated planet seems like a good idea, but one wonders if it’s realistic. NASA is working on it, regardless, reports The Christian Science Monitor:

This month’s meteor detonation above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and Earth’s close shave with asteroid 2012 DA14 have kick-started conversations on lessons learned and what steps can be taken to prevent space rock impacts in the future.

One positive action item was actually in place prior to the dual asteroid events of Feb. 15: a new Memorandum of Agreement between the Air, Space, and Cyberspace Operations Directorate of the Air Force Space Command and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

That document, which was signed on Jan. 18 of this year, spells out specifics for the public release of meteor data from sources such as high-flying, hush-hush U.S.

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DisinfoCast 47: Ninja Myths and Facts with Antony Cummins

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The Secret Traditions of the Shinobi and In Search of the Ninja author Antony Cummins is here to clear the air regarding the mysterious assassins known as the ninjas. Were there ninja clans? Did they actually use those masks and funny shoes? Are there any practitioners of real ninjutsu today? Learn all this and more on this episode of the DisinfoCast.
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Green Fatigue: Who Cares About Global Warming?

Dry river bed in CaliforniaApparently people are fed up with the challenges of stopping or at least slowing the global warming trend. Sam Masters reports that worldwide concerns about climate change have dropped dramatically since 2009, in the Independent:

Public concern about environmental issues including climate change has slumped to a 20-year low since the financial crisis, a global study reveals.

Fewer people now consider issues such as CO2 emissions, air and water pollution, animal species loss, and water shortages to be “very serious” than at any time in the last two decades, according to the poll of 22,812 people in 22 countries including Britain and the US.

Despite years of studies showing the impact of global warming on the planet, only 49 per cent of people now consider climate change a very serious issue – far fewer than at the beginning of the worldwide financial crisis in 2009.

Worries about climate change first dropped in industrialised nations but they have now also fallen in developing economies including Brazil and China, according to the survey by GlobeScan Radar.

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Rioting Video Game Allows You To Fight The Police

Atlantic Cities describes the 8-bit-style smartphone game RIOT, a thought-provoking attempt to capture the liminal state which occurs during uprisings when order breaks down. I'd rather have my kids playing this than a game which makes them Navy SEALs:
"Riot" is a developing project in Italy that's led by film-and-game director Leonard Menchiari, who previously did cinematography for "Half-Life" creator Valve Corporation. The atmospheric little simulator of bedlam, which runs on iOS or Android phones, is inspired by real-life political turmoil from around the globe. There's a hefty element of strategy involved, with the player taking on either the role of the agitators or the truncheoned legions of police trying to maintain order. The developers have received modest funding so far on their Indiegogo page. If they collect enough cash, they hope to enrich the simulator by traveling to the sites of recent uprisings in Greece, Egypt and Italy to interview people involved in the conflicts.
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MRAs rebrand as ‘Men’s Human Rights Activists’


MHRM?
Last Spring, the Southern Poverty Law Center (splcenter.org) profiled a group of websites as “woman-hating.”

Among these were some popular spaces for “the men’s rights movement,” including avoiceformen.comthe-spearhead.commensactivism.org and the men’s rights subreddit.

On January 21st 2013 (MLK Day), A Voice for Men used the words, “privileged white bitches in our dust” to boast outranking Feministing.com via Alexa’s traffic data. AVfM’s tagline is “compassion for boys and men.”

Another url, Manboobz.com positions itself as a watchdog for this community. For example, a recent post exposed a commenter at The Spearhead who suggested something like prison “whorehouses” for women.

In the past few weeks, some MRAs have started to promote new acronyms: MHRA and MHRM, for Men’s Human Rights Activism and Men’s Human Rights Movement.

If you do a search for feminism on Youtube, the first result ironically is an anti-feminist video with more than 500,000 views from MRA (MHRA), Girl Writes What. Last week, this user posted a video discussing the name change, which she says encourages inclusiveness.… Read the rest

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