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Torture Spreading as Its Use Is ‘Normalized’ by TV Shows like ’24’

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24 Logo

Travis Gettys writes at Raw Story:

Torture is rampant across the world and has become almost normalized by the “war on terror” and its glamorous portrayal in shows such as “24″ and “Homeland,” Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

The London-based human rights group is launching a new campaign aimed at ending torture, which it says remains widespread even 30 years after a blanket prohibition was agreed by the United Nations.

In the past five years, Amnesty says it has recorded incidents in 141 countries, including 79 of the 155 signatories to the 1984 UN Convention against Torture.

The global survey of 21,000 people in 21 countries also revealed a widespread dread of the practice, with 44 percent saying they feared being abused if they were taken into custody.

Yet over a third percent of the respondents said they believed torture was sometimes necessary and acceptable to gain information that may protect the public.

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“Nobody’s Story” by Charles Dickens

Hartwig HKD (CC by-nd 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC by-nd 2.0)

“Nobody’s Story”

by Charles Dickens

He lived on the bank of a mighty river, broad and deep, which was always silently rolling on to a vast undiscovered ocean. It had rolled on, ever since the world began. It had changed its course sometimes, and turned into new channels, leaving its old ways dry and barren; but it had ever been upon the flow, and ever was to flow until Time should be no more. Against its strong, unfathomable stream, nothing made head. No living creature, no flower, no leaf, no particle of animate or inanimate existence, ever strayed back from the undiscovered ocean. The tide of the river set resistlessly towards it; and the tide never stopped, any more than the earth stops in its circling round the sun.

He lived in a busy place, and he worked very hard to live. He had no hope of ever being rich enough to live a month without hard work, but he was quite content, GOD knows, to labour with a cheerful will.… Read the rest

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13 real technologies Woody Allen (of all people) predicted in the ’70s

ecodallaluna (CC BY-SA 2.0)

ecodallaluna (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via DVice:

Back in 1973, eternally eccentric filmmaker Woody Allen made Sleeper. Set in the year 2173, Sleeper is, to date, Allen’s sole venture into overt sci-fi. A slapstick comedy, Sleeper pokes fun at other sci-fi classics, notable amongst them Fahrenheit 451 and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The political and social aspects of the film are thinly veiled 1970s sentiment, set in a dystopic inept police state.

What is truly interesting is Sleeper’s perspective on the progress of technology, 200 years from its production. While Woody Allen did not predict technological miniaturization, he did get a lot of things right. Was Woody Allen a tech prophet? Here’s a list of technologies predicted in Sleeper that already exist, 161 years ahead of schedule.

1. Sleeping Pods Not once, but twice in Sleeper are we given glimpses of long-term sleeping devices. I guess that’s appropriate, given the title.

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25 Days Of Creepy Christmas, Day 17: Horror Movies That Are Also About Christmas

desktop-1417806976via Viral Nova:

Most of us know the Christmas movie classics like Home Alone, A Christmas Story, and many more. But if you’re not in the mood for that sentimental and gooey Christmas specials, you can add a little bit of grit to your Christmas cheer with some alternative movies. These creepy Christmas flicks will hit you like a heavily spiked egg nog.

1. Gremlins

A kid receives a very mysterious pet for Christmas, and carelessly disregards the three important rules in caring for the pet. This will turn out to be his greatest mistake.

2. Black Christmas

A murderous psycho invades a house of sorority girls who should have went home for Christmas break.

Read More: http://www.viralnova.com/scary-christmas-movies/

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The insane history of how American paranoia ruined and censored comic books

secretlondon123 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

secretlondon123 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Vox:

One of the most hurtful things you can say to a comic book reader is that comic books are for kids.

It’s a chilling insult that the stuff they read — the stuff they love — never advanced beyond its funny-page beginnings. But it’s also — often unknown to comics fans — a blunt reminder of one of the worst things to ever happen to comic books.

Some 60 years ago, during the era of McCarthyism, comic books became a threat. The panic culminated in a Senate hearing in 1954. This, of course, isn’t to say that McCarthyism and the comic book panic were comparable in their human toll. But they share the same symptoms of American fear and a harsh, reactive response to it.

The reaction to the suspected scourge was the Comics Code — a set of rules that spelled out what comics could and couldn’t do.

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3D Printed Male Chastity Device Prototype: Personal toy for men

hhaasa

via 3D Print:

For those couples seeking to spice up their personal lives with a bit of power play, leaving the woman in charge of the action (as it were), some inventive makers are hard at work prototyping new devices. We’ve looked recently at Dame Products’ 3D printed prototype for the female-use Eva product; now it seems to be the men’s turn for their own toy.

One of the latest prototypes out there, comes from Shapeways user pedro69, and has been tested out by a friend of his who runs the Become Her Slave blog, which focuses on men who want their female partners to dominate them. This new prototype — the Keyholder Dream (KHD) X3 Espresso Short — is a “male chastity device” that keeps a man’s bits securely in place and puts him at the (playful) mercy of his partner, who quite literally holds the key.… Read the rest

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Animated Film of Bukowski’s “Bluebird” Poem

This is one of my favorite poems, rivaling “A Man Young and Old” by Yeats.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he’s
in there.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.… Read the rest

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A Day in the Life of an Uber/Lyft Driver in San Francisco

rideshare_driver-2

Most days, I wake up around noon. Usually hung-over. My first thought is always the same: probably should’ve skipped that last drink. At the time, though, it felt absolutely necessary. Vodka has a way of alleviating some of the physical stress from driving a car all night. At least temporarily.

After several months of driving for Lyft and Uber, my neck is like an open wound. The muscles that run from my shoulder to my jaw are steel rods. I have very little radius when I turn my head left or right. The tension never goes away. It makes my teeth ache. There is a real possibility that I have some dislocated vertebrae. My joints hurt. My right ankle has a creak in it. And I have a chronic case of hemorrhoids. No matter how much ointment I apply, they remain perpetually enflamed. Old age has not only crept up on me, it has run past me and turned around to taunt me.… Read the rest

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The Futuro Houses of 1960

via Atlas Obscura:

The Futuro House was designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in the late 1960s. Made of new materials like plastic and manufactured to be portable and adaptable to diverse terrain with its raised legs, the capsule house was imagined as a ski chalet with a quick heating system. You entered through a hatch to an elliptical space with a bedroom, bathroom, fireplace, and living room. Suuronen soon saw its potential beyond the slopes, and through the Futuro Corporation built the lightweight houses as a prefabricated, compact housing solution adaptable for any corner of the globe.

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Steve Rainwater (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Futuro House in Rockwall, TX as it appeared in April, 2003.
Steve Rainwater (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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The Hermit Caves of Romania

noridamar (CC BY-SA 2.0)

noridamar (CC BY-SA 2.0)

These are awesome. Be sure to head over to Mysterious Universe to see more photos.

via Mysterious Universe:

Romania consists of 41 counties, and situated in the southern interior is one called Buzău.  This county is home to some 400,000 people and it hosts the southern end of the Eastern Carpathian Mountain range.  It also hosts, in those mountains, a wonderful gem of culture and architecture.  Several, in fact.

There’s a commune, known as Colţi, nestled into the curvature of the Carpathian Mountains (yes, the mountain range that loaned its name to the evil Vigo the Carpathian of Ghostbusters II, among other characters) which consists of a number of small villages.  These villages, such as Aluniş and Nucu, are the surviving remnants of an ancient troglodyte community.

Now, lest you take that in the wrong direction, the people who lived there circa 1050-1280 AD were anything but ignorant.  The word troglodyte applies because they dwelled in caves carved into the mountain.  There are a number of cave complexes through the region of Colţi, consisting of dwellings, storage spaces, and churches.  In fact, the oldest surviving Eastern Orthodox Church is a cave in Aluniş, dedicated to the Decollation of Saint John the Baptist.

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