Tag Archives | Human Rights

“You Can’t Stop the Signal” — An Analysis of Social Media Activism

Essam Sharaf  (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

Essam Sharaf (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

Via World Policy Blog

Welcome back to the World Policy “Best of” list. Today we pull back the curtain on the Egyptian revolution and reveal its somewhat dark underbelly. Political activist Mahmoud Salem, who tweets under the name “sandmonkey,” shares how the introduction of social media into Egyptian culture sparked the Egyptian revolution where he played a seminal social media role. At the same time, these same tools now jeopardize the creation of any political infrastructure capable of governing effectively. 

By Mahmoud Salem

CAIRO, Egypt—As a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching science fiction television shows and movies—all set in the “not-so-distant future.” Holographic communication, teleportation, and flying cars were central tenets of that universe. And while I marveled at the prospect of these technologies, I was most fascinated by the “magical technological device”—that could be used to complete any task, from basic communication to dissemination of news to national security.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Kentucky wants drugmaker to pay for OxyContin abuse

Häggström, Mikael. "Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 20018762.

Häggström, Mikael. “Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014“. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 20018762.

via Courier Journal:

A common refrain in Kentucky’s hardscrabble hills is that an entire generation has been lost to pain-pill abuse. Addiction has spawned crime, filled county jails and overburdened the too-few treatment centers. Overdoses have torn children from parents and parents from children.

State officials trace the roots of the problem to one potent drug: OxyContin. And for seven years, they’ve been forging ahead with a civil lawsuit that seeks to make drugmaker Purdue Pharma pay. As early as next year, it could bring the first-ever jury trial pitting Purdue against an addiction-plagued state over the painkiller.

“This is about holding them accountable,” Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said. “They played a pre-eminent role in the state’s drug problem. This started to explode in the mid-1990s when Purdue Pharma was marketing OxyContin.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Mining the Hive Mind: Implications Of Facebook Indexing 1 Trillion Posts

Mike Beauchamp (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Mike Beauchamp (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via TechCrunch:

A whole wing of the Internet just got added to our collective conscience, like websites by Google or knowledge by Wikipedia before it.

 Yet the news cruised by with analysis focused simply on what Facebook’s new keyword post search does today. Yes, any post by you or any of your friends can now be dug up with a quick search from mobile. But I don’t think people realize how big a deal it is for tomorrow. Facebook just went from data rich to Scrooge-McDuck-swimming-in-a-tower-full-of data rich.

The ramifications for advertising, developers, and Facebook itself are tough to fathom. Our most vivid doppelgänger, our digital echoes can now be tracked. They don’t just say who we were, but where we’re headed, and what we’ll want next.

First, the trillion post index gives us group memory.Each person can only search stories from their friends and surrounding network, but Mark Zuckerberg recently said those all add up to over 1 trillion posts.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Future of love and sex: monogamy no longer the default, say experts

By LightvsRight via Deviant Art (CC BY 3.0)

By LightvsRight via Deviant Art (CC BY 3.0)

via IEET:

There’s a pervasive notion that monogamous relationships are the end-all-be-all – the default pact in human couplings that keep the fabric of society from being torn apart. But growing numbers of scientists believe monogamy is not our biological default; and may not even represent the best road to happiness.

Nearly all mammalian species demonstrate sexual promiscuity. Even mate-for-life prairie voles, the animal kingdom’s poster child of monogamous relationships produce pups from different fathers twenty percent of the time. Moreover, say historians, for humans, promiscuous behavior is not new at all.

    Anthropologists have uncovered clues to how our Paleolithic ancestors lived. Before the advent of agriculture, humans faced a short, brutal lifespan. Some survived to age 50, but most died young or at birth with average life expectancy in the 30-to-40 range.

With such a short lifespan, ancestral children were likely to experiment with sex by age six.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Tragedy of the American Military

via The Atlantic:

In mid-September, while President Obama was fending off complaints that he should have done more, done less, or done something different about the overlapping crises in Iraq and Syria, he traveled to Central Command headquarters, at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. There he addressed some of the men and women who would implement whatever the U.S. military strategy turned out to be.

The part of the speech intended to get coverage was Obama’s rationale for reengaging the United States in Iraq, more than a decade after it first invaded and following the long and painful effort to extricate itself. This was big enough news that many cable channels covered the speech live. I watched it on an overhead TV while I sat waiting for a flight at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. When Obama got to the section of his speech announcing whether he planned to commit U.S.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Origins of the Police

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

Via Works in Theory

In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades—roughly from 1825 to 1855.

The new institution was not a response to an increase in crime, and it really didn’t lead to new methods for dealing with crime. The most common way for authorities to solve a crime, before and since the invention of police, has been for someone to tell them who did it.

Besides, crime has to do with the acts of individuals, and the ruling elites who invented the police were responding to challenges posed by collective action.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

It’s Not Rape if He’s a God–Or Thinks He Is

tarico20141223c

Via IEET:

Stories like the Virgin Birth lack freely given female consent. Why don’t they bother us more? Powerful gods and demi-gods impregnating human women—it’s a common theme in the history of religion, and it’s more than a little rapey.

Zeus comes to Danae in the form of a golden shower, cutting “the knot of intact virginity” and leaving her pregnant with the Greek hero, Perseus.

Jupiter forcibly overcomes Europa by transforming himself into a white bull and abducting her. He imprisons her on the Isle of Crete, over time fathering three children.

Pan copulates with a shepherdess to produce Hermes.

The legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus are conceived when the Roman god Mars impregnates Rea Silvia, a vestal virgin.

Helen of Troy, the rare female offspring of a god-human mating, is produced when Zeus takes the form of a swan to get access to Leda.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Let’s leave behind the age of fossil fuel. Welcome to Year One of the climate revolution

Mohamed Malik (CC BY 2.0)

Mohamed Malik (CC BY 2.0)

Via The Guardian

It was the most thrilling bureaucratic document I’ve ever seen for just one reason: it was dated the 21st day of the month of Thermidor in the Year Six. Written in sepia ink on heavy paper, it recorded an ordinary land auction in France in what we would call the late summer of 1798. But the extraordinary date signaled that it was created when the French Revolution was still the overarching reality of everyday life and such fundamentals as the distribution of power and the nature of government had been reborn in astonishing ways. The new calendar that renamed 1792 as Year One had, after all, been created to start society all over again.

In that little junk shop on a quiet street in San Francisco, I held a relic from one of the great upheavals of the last millennium. It made me think of a remarkable statement the great feminist fantasy writer Ursula K Le Guin had made only a few weeks earlier.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The World Is Not Falling Apart

141209_Charts-Homicide-Rates-US-England.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

Via Slate

Never mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.

It’s a good time to be a pessimist. ISIS, Crimea, Donetsk, Gaza, Burma, Ebola, school shootings, campus rapes, wife-beating athletes, lethal cops—who can avoid the feeling that things fall apart, the center cannot hold? Last year Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” This past fall,Michael Ignatieff wrote of “the tectonic plates of a world order that are being pushed apart by the volcanic upward pressure of violence and hatred.” Two months ago, the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen lamented, “Many people I talk to, and not only over dinner, have never previously felt so uneasy about the state of the world. … The search is on for someone to dispel foreboding and embody, again, the hope of the world.”

As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Plaque to mark Luddite uprising

Via Dewsbury Reporter

A plaque commemorating the Luddite uprisings two centuries ago was unveiled in Roberttown last week.

The plaque, installed outside the Star Inn pub, is one of three to be placed in the area by the Spen Valley Civic Society as part of its Luddite project.

The group secured £2,390 from Kirklees Council for the project, to fund plaques and information boards at sites in Roberttown, Liversedge and Hartshead.

Civic Society member Gordon North said: “We have been planning this project for around three years and this is the culmination of all the hard work.

“It’s all about trying to give people a better understanding of how important the valley has been throughout history.”

Continue reading.

Read the rest

Continue Reading