Cathy don’t go to the supermarket today! There’s a very strange man at the checkout stand and there’s a laser scanner where you place your hand…
Archive | May, 2013
Okay, now it should be stated that I love the website Vice. I do. The fact that a pop culture youth media site does better overseas journalism regarding things like the American war machine than actual media outlets these days is beyond mind blowing and creepy. Unfortunately, it is exactly because of their influence on the youth media market that their recent turn as PR men for aging, culturally irrelevant millionaire rock stars is so unbelievably disappointing. The gripe about so called hipster music coverage is that they only cover the bands that their writers or friends are fucking (usually pretty accurate), but you know, at least back in the day they were apparently fucking creative people with talent.
Not anymore, in the last month they’ve just started reporting on richie rich bands solely because of money. As mentioned, what’s even skeezier about this turn is that they’re doing it in an obviously calculated attempt to rebrand successful musicians perceived by the public as tragically uncool, and it makes perfect sense.… Read the rest
Robert Jensen writes at YES! Magazine:
… Read the rest
Feeling anxious about life in a broken-down society on a stressed-out planet? That’s hardly surprising: Life as we know it is almost over. While the dominant culture encourages dysfunctional denial—pop a pill, go shopping, find your bliss—there’s a more sensible approach: Accept the anxiety, embrace the deeper anguish—and then get apocalyptic.
We are staring down multiple cascading ecological crises, struggling with political and economic institutions that are unable even to acknowledge, let alone cope with, the threats to the human family and the larger living world. We are intensifying an assault on the ecosystems in which we live, undermining the ability of that living world to sustain a large-scale human presence into the future. When all the world darkens, looking on the bright side is not a virtue but a sign of irrationality.
In these circumstances, anxiety is rational and anguish is healthy, signs not of weakness but of courage.
Science, American style, from Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post:
The following fourth grade science quiz for a unit called “Dinosaurs: Genesis and the Gospel” has been making the rounds on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet, and it turns out it is real. The quiz was given at a private religious school [Blue Ridge Christian Academy] in South Carolina.
Here’s one question and correct answer:
Q) The next time someone says the earth is billions (or millions) of years old, what can you say?
A) were you there
There are religious schools around the country that teach this, including some that take students who have publicly funded vouchers. Some of these schools take students on field trips to the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which has exhibits and shows that promote creationist theory.
Kristin Moe writes at YES! Magazine:
… Read the rest
There’s a remote part of northern Alberta where the Lubicon Cree have lived, it is said, since time immemorial. The Cree called the vast, pine-covered region niyanan askiy, “our land.” When white settlers first carved up this country, they made treaties with most of its original inhabitants—but for reasons unclear, the Lubicon Cree were left out. Two hundred years later, the Lubicon’s right to their traditional territory is still unrecognized. In the last four decades, industry has tapped the vast resource wealth that lies deep beneath the pines; today, 2,600 oil and gas wells stretch to the horizon. This is tar sands country.
In 2012 testimony before the U.S. Congress, Lubicon Cree organizer Melina Laboucan-Massimo, then 30, described witnessing the devastation of her family’s ancestral land caused by one of the largest oil spills in Alberta’s history. “What I saw was a landscape forever changed by oil that had consumed a vast stretch of the traditional territory where my family had hunted, trapped, and picked berries and medicines for generations.”
“When we’re at home, we feel really isolated,” says Laboucan-Massimo, who has spent her adult life defending her people’s land from an industry that has rendered it increasingly polluted and impoverished.
… Read the rest
Today [May 28, 2013] I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline.
During the past 15 months I have been relatively quiet about the specifics of my case as I worked with my lawyers to review the discovery and figure out the best legal strategy. There were numerous problems with the government’s case, including the credibility of FBI informant Hector Monsegur. However, because prosecutors stacked the charges with inflated damages figures, I was looking at a sentencing guideline range of over 30 years if I lost at trial.
With 100 detainees on hunger strike, some near organ failure or death, the President and media have renewed talk of closing Guantanamo. This is not the first time detainees have struck to protest their abuse and indefinite detention. Some, like Ahmed Zuhair (detained without charge 2002-2008), spent years on hunger strike. In 2005 officials used force and isolation to break the solidarity of the hunger strikers. Then and now, the reactions of Guantanamo officials have been predictable. What is different today is the resolve of the hungers strikers and the greater number of Americans sadder and wiser about administration spin on who the detainees are, how they are being treated, and what they deserve.
You wouldn’t know from media coverage of the 2005 hunger strike that there was a crisis in Guantanamo. Judging from official comments just a few “bad apples” were causing the trouble, and the Command had everything under humane control.… Read the rest
Komorusan offers his Christian perspective on the Ashtar Command, Pleiadians, and channeling.
Via the American Political Science Review, Harvard researchers pinpoint the surprising heart of authoritarian state censorship — anti-government criticism is in fact allowed, but not references to collective action of any sort:
… Read the rest
We have devised a system to locate, download, and analyze the content of millions of posts from nearly 1,400 different social media services all over China before the Chinese government is able to ﬁnd, evaluate, and censor (i.e., remove from the Internet) the subset they deem objectionable. We compare posts censored to those not censored.
Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not likely to be censored. Instead the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content. Censorship is oriented toward attempting to forestall collective activities that are occurring now or may occur in the future—and, as such, seem to clearly expose government intent.
This “Near Earth Object” is so big it has its own moon, and it’s visiting Earth today. Let’s hope the scientists didn’t get the estimated distance wrong! Via NPR:
… Read the rest
An asteroid nine times the size of a cruise ship is dropping by Earth Friday, and it’s not coming alone. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will be about 3.6 million miles from our planet at its closest approach. But the new proximity has already given scientists a surprise: The asteroid has its own moon, measured at about 2,000 feet wide.
Today will mark the closest the asteroid comes to Earth for at least the next 200 years, say researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who led the radar observations spotting the asteroid’s moon. The point of maximum proximity will come at 4:59 p.m. ET, or 20:59 UTC, Friday, according to the space agency.
“In the near-Earth population, about 16 percent of asteroids that are about 655 feet (200 meters) or larger are binary or triple systems,” according to NASA.