Living in the Age of Permawar by Mohsin Hamid [The Guardian]
You see from your nook that humanity is afflicted by a great mass murderer about whom we are encouraged not to speak. The name of that murderer is Death. Death comes for everyone. Sometimes Death will pick out a newborn still wet from her aquatic life in her mother’s womb. Sometime Death will pick out a man with the muscles of a superhero, pick him out in repose, perhaps, or in his moment of maximum exertion, when his thighs and shoulders are trembling and he feels most alive. Sometimes Death will pick singly. Sometimes Death will pick by the planeload. Sometimes Death picks the young, sometimes the old, and sometimes Death has an appetite for the in-between. You feel it is strange that humanity does not come together to face this killer, like a silver-flashing baitball of 7 billion fish aware of being hunted by a titanic and ravenous shark. Instead, humanity scatters. We face our killer alone, or in families, or in towns or cities or tribes or countries. But never all together.
“I love you so much, I want to carry you around all day in my pocket”. Emily Bernard writes about being the mother of brown-skinned daughters after Ferguson. [more inside]
You Just Got Out of Prison. Now What? [New York Times] Carlos and Roby are two ex-convicts with a simple mission: picking up inmates on the day they’re released from prison and guiding them through a changed world. [more inside]
All these grown-up monsters for my grown-up mind, they are there in the nights I wake up terrified and taunted by death. When I feel so small and broken, when despair and terror take me, I have a secret tool, a talisman against the night. I don’t use it too often so that it doesn’t lose its power.[more inside]
Toni Tennille informed an audience that she and the Captain performed Muskrat Love at the dinner in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (PDF) as part of the Bicentennial celebrations at the White House, much to the intrigue and/or confusion of Henry Kissinger. Though there doesn't seem to be any video of the performance, there is some photographic evidence (description of photos (PDF)). The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum tumblr has a post on the event, with a higher quality image of Captain and Tennillee in action. For better or worse, there aren't any people in muskrat-type costumes to be seen.
The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals "The left has no particular place it wants to go. And, to rehash an old quip, if you have no destination, any direction can seem as good as any other." (Originally in Harpers)
Whenever I look around me, I wonder what old things are about to bear fruit, what seemingly solid institutions might soon rupture, and what seeds we might now be planting whose harvest will come at some unpredictable moment in the future. The most magnificent person I met in 2013 quoted a line from Michel Foucault to me: "People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does." Someone saves a life or educates a person or tells her a story that upends everything she assumed. The transformation may be subtle or crucial or world changing, next year or in 100 years, or maybe in a millennium. You can’t always trace it but everything, everyone has a genealogy. Rebecca Solnit in TomDispatch: The Arc of Justice and the Long Run: Hope, History, and Unpredictability [more inside]
Australia has just had an election and the new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has pledged himself to be the first Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs. But has he properly consulted?
'The Other Election', run by the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), features over 600 Indigenous kids from around Australia in years 10-12 putting themselves into the hypothetical role of delivering a speech as Australia's first Indigenous prime minister.Ten finalists were announced today. Voting for the top 3 closes 29 January, 2013. The three best are then headed to Canberra to deliver their speeches in parliament. [more inside]
Mazzy Star are best known for their hazy, shoegazer album So Tonight I Might See (Grooveshark stream), which contained the single Fade Into You (YouTube). That album was released in 1993, and went platinum in 1995, providing an odd counter-point to the popular grunge sounds of the day. As a band, they made three albums in the 1990s, though neither hit the peak of their sophomore album. They disbanded (as far as the public was concerned*) in 1997, though there were a series of reunion tours in 2000. Eleven years later, they released a new single, Common Burn b/w Lay Myself Down, and the group toured in 2012. This week, they release their fourth album, Seasons of Your Day, and they aren't any cheerier (in responding to interview questions). [more inside]
The thrill and rush of possibly winning started to wear off after about the twentieth losing ticket. Each card had a couple of “Life” symbols on them, and every time you got a second you just dreamed of seeing the third one under the remaining graphite. However it never appeared and never will and it just kind of turned depressing. How could people put themselves through this humiliation and teasing every day of their lives?
The classic criticism of the lottery is that the people who play are the ones who can least afford to lose; that the lottery is a sink of money, draining wealth from those who most need it. Some lottery advocates . . . have tried to defend lottery-ticket buying as a rational purchase of fantasy—paying a dollar for a day's worth of pleasant anticipation, imagining yourself as a millionaire. But consider exactly what this implies. It would mean that you're occupying your valuable brain with a fantasy whose real probability is nearly zero—a tiny line of likelihood which you, yourself, can do nothing to realize. . . . Which makes the lottery another kind of sink: a sink of emotional energy. [via]
DJ Focus couldn't wait to get back to Sierra Leone. AKA Kelvin Doe, this young man makes beautiful, functional and very useful electronic devices out of trash found in his native Sierra Leone. It's not clear whether he or M.I.T. was more impressed after his visit there.
In 2008 the late Robert Fitch, author of "The Assassination of New York", was asked to foretell an Obama presidency before the Harlem Tenants Association:
If we examine more carefully the interests that Obama represents; if we look at his core financial supporters; as well as his inmost circle of advisors, we’ll see that they represent the primary activists in the demolition movement and the primary real estate beneficiaries of this transformation of public housing projects into condos and townhouses: the profitable creep of the Central Business District and elite residential neighborhoods southward; and the shifting of the pile of human misery about three miles further into the South Side and the south suburbs... Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins.
Ernest Callenbach, author of the classic environmental novel Ecotopia among other works, died of cancer at 83 on April 16th, leaving behind this document on his computer.
"SPARX is an effective resource for adolescents with depressive symptoms. It is at least as good as treatment as usual, would be cheaper and easier to disseminate, and could be used to increase access to therapy. It could provide access to treatment for young people who may be reluctant to have more conventional therapy."
It's a video game that teaches cognitive behavior theraputic techniques.
It's a video game that teaches cognitive behavior theraputic techniques.
Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. "Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change," from Kim Stanley Robinson. Previously.
Seattle mourns the passing of Electron Boy, otherwise known as Erik Martin. Erik died at home on Friday, from a rare form of cancer called paraganglioma. He was 14. Previously on Metafilter.
...after enrolling in public school and moving to Montana — a predominantly white state, albeit one with a decidedly hippie-ish vibe — Lamb and Lynx decided they simply no longer believed what they’d been taught. Prussian Blue, five years later. Previously, previously.
I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. Barack Obama speaks in Tucson, Arizona.
She agreed to be filmed for 90 days. A woman with AIDS is filmed briefly, every day, for 90 days, and the changes she undergoes are dramatic. The very end may make you weep, but perhaps not for the reasons you expect... [Link is a single video hosted on Vimeo.]
Among American Jews today, there are a great many Zionists, especially in the Orthodox world, people deeply devoted to the State of Israel. And there are a great many liberals, especially in the secular Jewish world, people deeply devoted to human rights for all people, Palestinians included. But the two groups are increasingly distinct. Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal. One reason is that the leading institutions of American Jewry have refused to foster—indeed, have actively opposed—a Zionism that challenges Israel’s behavior in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and toward its own Arab citizens.The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment
Shepard Fairey's Fight for Appropriation, Fair Use and Free Culture Evelyn McDonnell ponders his career and quotes Fairey's reasoning about the Obama "Hope" poster that got AP angry.
Anthony Falzone and the Fair Use Project have dropped Shepard Fairey's case after he admitted he lied and submitted false evidence in his suit against the Associated Press. (Previously).
GivesMeHope (RSS), a site for those "completely exhausted by the negativity of the mainstream media." Modeled after their polar opposite, Fuck My Life, the site serves as a source for sometimes glurgy, but much more often touching, 350-character stories that can serve to remind that "the world is a fine place and worth fighting for." The Top 10, as voted by readers, are enough to melt hearts of stone. Oh, and The Office's Dwight thinks it's "awesome". [more inside]
"Ah, the mythical $100 home. We hear about these low-priced “opportunities” in down-on-their-luck cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland, but we never meet anyone who has taken the plunge. Understandable really, for if they were actually worth anything then they would cost real money, right? Who would do such a preposterous thing?" Amongst others, artists who have hope for the future and money to invest. [more inside]
What if you were one of the Rohingya people, and you faced death in trying to escape, or were expelled from your Homeland. Would you wait for others to help, or would you try and do it yourself...
Speaking in Tongues is a terrific piece of writing by Zadie Smith. It's a little bit about Barack Obama. Mostly, though, it's about "world"-traveling and polyvocality. (pdf)
The first stage in the evolution is contingent and cannot be contrived. In this first stage, the voice, by no fault of its own, finds itself trapped between two poles, two competing belief systems. And so this first stage necessitates the second: the voice learns to be flexible between these two fixed points, even to the point of equivocation. Then the third stage: this native flexibility leads to a sense of being able to "see a thing from both sides." And then the final stage, which I think of as the mark of a certain kind of genius: the voice relinquishes ownership of itself, develops a creative sense of disassociation in which the claims that are particular to it seem no stronger than anyone else's. There it is, my little theory—I'd rather call it a story. It is a story about a wonderful voice, occasionally used by citizens, rarely by men of power.
Everyone and his or her uncle has griped about the mediocre official inaugural poems heralding recent new U.S. presidencies. Meanwhile, poets Arielle Greenberg & Rachel Zucker have put together a blog, STARTING TODAY, commissioning a poem a day from many of those they consider the best contemporary poets writing today, documenting in verse life under the new ruling paradigm.
"You got bailed out. We got sold out." Chicago workers respond to a factory closing by occupying the factory. A flickr set of photos from the site.
In 1972, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were convicted of murdering a prison guard in Louisiana's notorious maximum-security prison, Angola. The warden sentenced them to solitary confinement, where they remained for the next 36 years. Until March 2008, the men had spent at least 23 hours per day in cells that measured only 6 x 9 feet. Woodfox's conviction was recently overturned, evidently through a federal habeus proceeding, and he is awaiting a new trial. NPR did an outstanding job of tracking down people involved and telling a riveting story: Part I, Part II, Part III. No doubt that much of the attention brought to the case is due to the efforts of Jackie Sumell and her Herman's House project. [more inside]
Privacy is dead - get over it [part 2] is a talk by private investigator Steve Rambam. It's a talk he has been giving for a number of years where he shows how privacy is being taken away, not by sinister plots but because people are giving it away. With people putting up everything and nothing on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and so on, as well as a growing quantity of data held in private databases, he shows how easy it is to find out enormous amounts of data on just about anyone. [more inside]
Adam Savage's talk at The Last HOPE: Fascination with the Dodo Bird
parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C
(YouTubeFilter with a great audience Q&A session) [more inside]
parts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C
(YouTubeFilter with a great audience Q&A session) [more inside]
Meet Lonesome George. George is the last known remaining Pinta Island Tortoise. That's pretty lonely. He's also, according to some, the most famous reptile in the world. via. But there's good news: George might be a dad!
Obama votes to grant telecom companies immunity for illegal wiretapping and "refines" his stance against Iraq to consider indefinite, undefined or vaguely defined occupation. One remarks about Obama's recent move to the right with a new campaign logo. Obama denies any change in policy.
Dear God is a global project for people around the world to share their innermost hopes - and fears - through prayer. Some photos NSFW.
New York artist Ashley Hope's Ripeness is All exhibit at the Tilton Gallery recreates crime scene photographs of murdered women from the 1910s through the 1990s as oil paintings on huge 4' x 6' canvasses. [some nsfw art] [more inside]
First cloning of monkey embryo raises hope of a great leap in medical science. A team at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (itself no stranger to controversy) cloned embryos from Semos — a nine-year-old rhesus macaque named after the ape overlord in Planet of the Apes — then extracted stem cells from the embryos. We've heard similar claims before and they turned out to be a hoax. But this time it looks like the real deal. [more inside]
At rivertrout.com, the goal is to bring together people who nurture a passion for an old, and yet exquisite, form of literature: The writing of letters.
The most popular blog on Myspace isn't about sex, drugs, or white girl gang signs. It is the tale of 5-month old Kaleb Schwabe, who suffered serious injuries believed to be caused by abuse at the hands of a caregiver. 21-year-old mom Kristy details Kaleb's recovery with doses of faith, sadness, and hope, and MySpace users have rallied in a big way.
"Molecular scientists . . . have developed a new procedure for the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells, with which they have created the first transplantable source of lung epithelial cells."
Salt: Not just a condiment, salt is a major force shaping our world. In Australia, what do you get when you combine ancient salt-pans with European farming practices? In one state alone, we're losing a football field an hour to the salinity crisis. What do you farm when all you have is salt?
The Ballad of Big Mike. “Where are you going?” he asked. “To basketball practice,” Michael said. “Michael, you don’t have basketball practice,” Sean said. “I know,” the boy said. “But they got heat there.” Sean didn’t understand that one. “It’s nice and warm in that gym,” the boy said. As they drove off, Sean looked over and saw tears streaming down Leigh Anne’s face. And he thought, Uh-oh, my wife’s about to take over. ... “One night it wasn’t going so well, and I got frustrated,” Mitchell says, “and he said to me, ‘Miss Sue, you have to remember I’ve only been going to school for two years.”’
On February 7th, 2006, Haiti had its first (nearly) bloodless, democratic election Two years since Aristide fled to South Africa (with the "help" of the US), and twenty since Baby Doc Duvalier was overthrown, and the bloody reign of the Duvaliers and the Tonton Macoute were ended.[more inside]
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