Archive | April 7, 2013

The Modern Day Hobos

Sargeant Matron writes at media underground:

Having been interested in the old-time American hobo lifestyle for some time, it has come as a great surprise and pleasure to find a thriving subculture of modern hobos still riding freight trains across the US. PBS has a superbly evocative film about hobos here.

Indeed, some old-timers are still out there migrating by freight-train to find work but there is a new wave of hobo riding simultaneously. It would appear that the new younger generation of ‘bos’ brings a decidedly ‘punk-attitude’ that simply rides the rails just for the sake of riding the rails – wonderful stuff. This creates an amazing mixture of young punks and old hobos doing the same thing, just for different reasons.

Continue Reading

‘Outside-Insourcing’: Royal Bank of Canada Employees Replaced with Lower Paid Foreign Workers

image courtesy physis3141

Outsourcing jobs to lower-paid workers in lesser developed countries (LDCs) has been a standard practice of big business for some time. Now, the Royal Bank of Canada is beginning the process of “outside-insourcing.”

At the end of April, 45 tenured employees of the Royal Bank of Canada will be terminated and replaced with immigrants from India who have arrived in Canada since the start of the year. The to-be fired employees are currently training their lower-paid replacements in how to do their jobs, one of their last official duties before being let go. RBC currently outsources some call center responsibilities to India, however, the jobs in question cannot be performed remotely, which is why the bank has used Canada’s liberal immigration laws to import non-Canadians to work on-site.

The new workers were recruited by IGATE, which specializes in importing workers from LDCs to developed countries so companies can replace their higher-paid workers with employees who have lower salary expectations.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Orwell, Dali and “Degenerate Art”

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/9/90/DaliGreatMasturbator.jpg/320px-DaliGreatMasturbator.jpg

Via orwellwasright:

When the Nazis mounted the exhibition Degenerate Art in Munich in 1937, it could be said that modern art was ironically validated in the eyes of cultural history. After all, a black mark from fascism – which promoted “art” that exalted blood and toil, racial purity and obedience – implies that modern art at that time stood for everything the Nazis opposed. This is, of course, simplistic reasoning – “modern art” at the time stood for many things, sometimes attempting to deliberately eschew ideology altogether, often apolitical and frequently controversial.

But the Nazis weren’t the only ones to see modern art as something controversial, or worse, a threat to the very values that underpin society. George Orwell – who sat about as far away from the political ideology of the Nazis as one can get – also perceived a moral degradation in the output of one of the most notoriously subversive artists of the time, Salvador Dali.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Hands-on Tikal

Embraer 110 Bainderante small twin-turboprop

The Embraer 110 Bainderante doesn’t look exactly brand-new. Later on I’ll read that this small twin-turboprop was last produced in 1990, which means that the one we were flying on was at least 23 years old, though I’d say a few more. The din inside is deafening, so even if I wanted to say some (famous) last words to my wife, she wouldn’t hear them. It’s strange how we shy away from risk at home, wear seatbelts religiously, pay insurance on this and that, but throw all caution to the wind when traveling to exotic places. The thing is, Tikal remains a difficult place to reach, and even when flying in, the airport of Santa Elena is about seventy minutes away by bus from the archeological marvel.

Once inside the minibus a guide tells us that the Petén, the vast region that makes up Northern Guatemala, used to be all jungle, but then was deforested only to find out, after what must have been a herculean task, that the soil was not suitable for farming: too thin, sitting on top of limestone ridges.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Dozens Of 20-Inch-Tall, Dreadlocked People Spotted In Indonesian Forest

Perhaps heightening the mystery is the mind-bending possibility that Indonesia many thousands of years ago may have been home to a species of little people distinct from humans. Have they been hiding? Via the Jakarta Post:

Rangers patrolling the Way Kambas National Park (TNWK) in Lampung claim to have sighted dozens of pygmies in a number of areas across the park. Allegedly the pygmies sport dreadlocks, measure no more than 50 centimeters tall and do not wear clothing.

“The first sighting was on March 17…When the rangers were about to approach them, they immediately hid behind trees and vanished. They ran very fast” said TNWK spokesman Sukatmoko.

He added that several rangers patrolling the park claimed the pygmies were seen moving to the PT Nusantara Tropical Fruit (NTF) plantation. “Apparently, many fruit trees are grown in the NTF plantation area. The pygmies might have entered the plantation for food,” said Sukatmoko.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Amazon Patents Strange New Lightweight, Transparent Kindle

Picture: Leonard Low (CC) (For illustration purposes only)

Amazon’s just filed a patent describing a new form of lightweight, transparent Kindle technology that can be embedded in your eyeglasses or your car windshield and never needs to be recharged.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is listed on the patent as a co-inventor of the technology, which converts the handheld Kindle devices into simplified display mechanisms receiving data and electricity from a larger, more powerful central station. This would allow Amazon to create much lighter and cheaper devices, notes one Kindle blog, speculating that Kindles could become not just lighter than paper, but disappear altogether into other devices, “leaving nothing behind but the words from your ebooks.”

 

 … Read the rest

Continue Reading

Meet the ‘Muslim Anarchist’ Whose Cartoons Are Driving Fundamentalists in Egypt Crazy

Medea Benjamin writes at Alternet (title from Infoshop News):

One of the women who spoke at the Women’s Assembly during the World Social Forum in Tunisia was not a political activist, but a cartoonist. Dooa Eladl is 34-year-old Egyptian woman who calls herself a Muslim anarchist.  Her work appears in the prominent newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm—Egyptians Today. She has become one of Egypt’s best-known political cartoonists, in a field completely dominated by men. (One of her humorous drawings is a portrait of herself marching to work, her hair tied to the mustaches of four of her male colleagues.)

During the Egyptian uprising, Eladl and her colleagues supported the revolution by printing up some of their fiercest political satire, the kind that would not have been published, and handing them out in Tahrir Square. “I don’t think artists like myself should be members of political parties or organizers, but we should certainly use our art to speak out against injustice and oppression.”

Eladl’s blistering caricatures have landed her in hot water with some of Egypt’s powerful fundamentalists.

Read the rest

Continue Reading