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When he heard the song of the chickadees, he could finally relax

GQ: The Strange and Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit. "For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend - or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Aug 20, 2014 - 38 comments

social inequality breeds game

Cockblocked by Redistribution: A Pick-up Artist in Denmark [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 31, 2014 - 30 comments

FREEDOM vs #DONTTALK

Greg Abbott is running for governor of Texas. He's campaigning in Regal Cinemas as a pre-movie ad. Alamo Drafthouse, a competing chain, has a long history of making PSAs asking patrons not to talk or text during a movie (previously). They felt they had to respond. [more inside]
posted by Lemurrhea on Jul 24, 2014 - 55 comments

The *first* revelation this week, at least

This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jul 16, 2014 - 54 comments

Native Americans and Independence Day

In the spirit of this post, about Frederick Douglass's classic speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?", what is Independence Day for the Native American? Some folks have powwows on this day and/or march in parades, proudly wearing the uniforms of the US Military. NPR's 2008 story on the topic is worthwhile.
posted by GrammarMoses on Jul 4, 2014 - 4 comments

Free from Choice

The psychology of Soylent and the prison of first-world food choices
People are born with neither the ability to cook nor compile; both are taught, and chastising even an adult for not knowing how to cook a healthy meal makes about as much sense as chastising an adult for not knowing how to code or how to compile an application from source. Each of those two different ridicules demonstrates an identical lack of empathy and an accompanying equally stunning sense of privilege that you should probably check immediately.

posted by the man of twists and turns on May 29, 2014 - 395 comments

Unveiled

Over the past two weeks, Iranian women have been publishing pictures of themselves without hijab, as a protest to the 35-year long encroachment on their right to choose how to dress. [Guardian] [HuffPo] [Vocativ] [more inside]
posted by turnips on May 16, 2014 - 12 comments

Surveillance state reverse

Reuters: EU court rules against requirement to keep data of telecom users [different news sources: BBC, The Register] Considerably more detail is available in the ECJ press release (pdf) and the full judgement but the Court has invalidated Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC and struck a very clear blow against metadata storage in national law as the authority of the directive will soon cease to exist. This has a particular impact for UK MeFites, as UK law was based on the Directive and crucially passed through Parliament via the European Communities Act and thus skipped some review steps but is founded on the validity of the directive being implemented. Remaining national law would of course also be open to challenge on the same grounds. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan on Apr 8, 2014 - 5 comments

Saudi Arabia declares atheists and political activists “terrorists”

The Sunni Islamic monarchy/theocracy's restrictive laws on political expression have become even stricter this year. This is in response to potentially dangerous dissidents returning to Saudi Arabia from the Syrian civil war. But the categories of offenses are so broad as to define virtually any non-Muslim as a terrorist, and to ban all independent political expression. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 2, 2014 - 48 comments

Contraception is my business

This morning, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, two cases where private corporations have challenged the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage mandate. Previously, and previously [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 25, 2014 - 161 comments

Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chainstores.

Consumerism's petty liberties have made us inhumanly passive. We've forgotten what freedom is, and how easily it is lost.
posted by lalochezia on Jan 21, 2014 - 71 comments

The question was whether the mast was now just a broadcast antenna

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat ruled today that its Height Committee has determined that One World Trade Center’s height to its architectural top is 1,776 feet (541.3 meters), which will eclipse Chicago's Sears "Willis Tower" as the tallest building in the western hemisphere. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 12, 2013 - 64 comments

America's New Masters

This shift in how companies are governed and raise money is bringing with it a structural change in American capitalism. That should be a matter of great debate. Are these new businesses, with their ability to circumvent rules that apply to conventional public companies, merely adroit exploiters of loopholes for the benefit of a plutocratic few? Or do they reflect the adaptability on which America’s vitality has always been based? - Rise of the distorporation - how changes in the way companies are financed and managed is changing the wealth distribution of America.
posted by Artw on Nov 2, 2013 - 23 comments

NSA BANGERS

DJ Hennessy Youngman follows up CVS BANGERS [prev.] with his new Soundcloud mix, NSA BANGERS. NSA BANGERS is an audio landscape full of paranoia, espionage, epic snooping, unhealthy obsession, and the stress of being a contemporary type human being. Basically, NSA BANGERS is the soundtrack of Freedom! And Freedom is expensive y'all! Apparently, it like, costs your Freedom!
posted by porn in the woods on Sep 2, 2013 - 13 comments

Life, liberty and the pursuit of fuck-you money

The Quality of Life: As Macaulay once noted: “If men are to wait for liberty till they become good and wise in slavery, they may indeed wait forever.”
posted by Gyan on Aug 2, 2013 - 18 comments

Free Nelson Mandela

The point being, an angry song about a political prisoner in South Africa, held captive for 21 years (at the time of writing), and written and performed by a bunch of chippy former pop stars who appeared hellbent on throwing their success back in the faces of their fans, has no business being this happy, this celebratory, and this powerful.
posted by nickyskye on Jun 27, 2013 - 47 comments

DOMA Unconstitutional, Yippie-Ki-Yay!

SCOTUS declares DOMA Unconstitutional, 5 - 4. The gay rights movement saw a significant victory at the Supreme Court Wednesday, where the justices struck down part of a law barring federal benefits to married same-sex couples. In a 5-4 ruling, the court struck down a provision of the 17-year-old Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal benefits -- like Social Security benefits or the ability to file joint tax returns - to same-sex couples legally married. The impact of the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor, is clear for the nation's approximately 130,000 married same-sex couples. Section 3 of the law, the provision that was struck down, denies same-sex couples federal benefits. That provision impacts around 1,100 federal laws, including veterans' benefits, family medical leave and tax laws.
posted by theora55 on Jun 26, 2013 - 761 comments

In global politics, playing by the rules doesn’t always help.

Western Sahara: Why Africa’s last colony can’t break free
posted by infini on Jun 19, 2013 - 20 comments

And the home of the

The NFL announced a change to its bag policy Thursday and beginning with the 2013 season, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags will be permitted inside NFL stadiums. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 16, 2013 - 121 comments

I do not expect to see home again.

I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
posted by bitmage on Jun 9, 2013 - 1038 comments

When Richie Havens Sings

Richie Havens has died. Havens, who first roared onto the national stage at Woodstock with the brilliantly improvised "Freedom," has died. [more inside]
posted by NedKoppel on Apr 22, 2013 - 76 comments

Lawsuit(s) in Washington anti-discrimination case

The state of Washington has filed suit against Arlene's Flowers, whose owner, Barronelle Stutzman, refused to provide flowers for the wedding of regular customers Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 11, 2013 - 232 comments

You should read this review. It's good for you.

Justifying Coercive Paternalism - autonomy is "not valuable enough to offset what we lose by leaving people to their own autonomous choices"
posted by Gyan on Feb 24, 2013 - 196 comments

Masters of the Internet, Le Monde Diplomatique

To understand what is at stake we need to make our way through the rhetorical smog. For months prior to the WCIT, the Euro-American press trumpeted warnings that this was to be an epochal clash between upholders of an open Internet and would-be government usurpers, led by authoritarian states like Russia, Iran and China. The terms of reference were set so rigidly that one European telecom company executive called it a campaign of “propaganda warfare” (2). ~ Masters of the Internet, Le Monde Diplomatique
posted by infini on Feb 12, 2013 - 22 comments

We'd never change the definition of 'bad guy', honest!

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
posted by Malor on Feb 4, 2013 - 148 comments

Academic freedom under attack in NYC

The Political Science Department at Brooklyn College is co-sponsoring a panel discussion about the BDS Movement (boycott, divestment, sanctions) against Israel this Thursday Feburary 7th. The event features Omar Barghouti, BDS co-founder and Judith Butler, prominent philosopher. The college has come under widespread attack for its hosting of the event, with a coalition of New York City councillors threatening to defund the school. [more inside]
posted by mek on Feb 3, 2013 - 142 comments

Not My Department

Jacob Appelbaum speaks about resistance in his keynote address at 29c3 (previously : 28c3, 24c3) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 7, 2013 - 43 comments

A photographic essay on modern day Slavery

Lisa Kristine, a photographer, gives a thoughtful and very moving talk on the extent of modern day slavery in this TEDx talk. The photos she shows are absolutely beautiful and the bare-bones stories behind them are exceptionally hard to hear at times. The group she is working with, Free the Slaves, seems to be doing a lot of good work and working on real solutions for the people involved (such as the one example she gives where the slaves that were freed carried on doing the same work, the only work they had ever known, but rent the quarry themselves and are now the recipients of the profits etc). She has published a book with these photos as well and it's available on her website.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop on Aug 15, 2012 - 4 comments

Posting from work

Let it Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace from Crooked Timber.
posted by klangklangston on Jul 2, 2012 - 184 comments

when woz cries

Apple's Crystal Prison and the Future of Open Platforms (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 29, 2012 - 121 comments

ESC Azerbaijan Human Rights

Look at Azerbaijan! But look beyond the shiny Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) which will be held tomorrow in Baku. Look at the “Dirty Secrets” [SLYT, BBC Panorama, 30 min., English] and at independent film maker Liz Mermin’s film “Glanz und Schatten in Azerbaidschan” [SLYT, 30 min. German but more informative IMHO]. Locals that voted in the music contest for a country that was not in favor of the ruling family were investigated by the police. And then there is the story of two expensive donkeys (€42,000 each) and a comedic video that landed a young man in jail. Let’s not forget the story of a journalist who was blackmailed with secretly shot sex tapes. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch often report of restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Azerbaijan. Shortly before the ESC young musician Jamal Ali fled the country. While US peace corps volunteers don’t feel like criticizing much and sing a song of their own [SLYT], we see more arrests in Baku today.
posted by travelwithcats on May 25, 2012 - 13 comments

The Naked Rambler now in prison for 6 years for nudity

The Naked Rambler now in prison for 6 years for nudity Six years ago, Naked Rambler Stephen Gough's hike from Land's End to John O'Groats brought him media fame – and a prison sentence. Then another, and another, and… why has he been locked up ever since?
posted by novenator on Mar 25, 2012 - 127 comments

Slavery's Last Stronghold

Although officially abolished in 1981, slavery still exists in Mauritania. CNN Special Report includes a twenty-two minute video and offers a look inside a country where an estimated 10 - 20% are still enslaved.
posted by gman on Mar 19, 2012 - 59 comments

"My body is not obscene; veiling it is."

[All links NSFW] In solidarity with Egyptian women's rights activist Aliaa Magda Elmahdy (previously), 14 women have posed for the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar [pdf] for release on International Women's Day. #NudePhotoRevolutionary
posted by troll on Mar 7, 2012 - 44 comments

"I'd like to file a complaint."

"I'd like to file a complaint." [more inside]
posted by Meatbomb on Feb 28, 2012 - 82 comments

Licence fee, not license fee

In the UK, people pay a yearly licence fee to watch live television, with revenues funding the BBC. TV Licensing is the group that collects fees, and they use a number of methods — some real, some imaginary, some in between — to gain compliance. But one Briton remains determined not to play that game.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 12, 2012 - 175 comments

"Because we don't know how to make a wheel that is still generally useful for legitimate wheel applications but useless to bad guys."

Cory Doctorow's 28C3 talk The Coming War on General Purpose Computation (abstract, transcript) warns that "the coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race." [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 4, 2012 - 138 comments

Land of the free?

Two days ago, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), "with reservations about key provisions in the law — including a controversial component that would allow the military to indefinitely detain terror suspects, including American citizens arrested in the United States, without charge". [more inside]
posted by stinkycheese on Jan 2, 2012 - 341 comments

The Year Secrecy Jumped the Shark

The EFF's Year End Review   The ACLU's This Year in Civil Liberties   Amnesty International's Anual Report (video) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 25, 2011 - 11 comments

We need some angry nerds.

"The PC is dead. Rising numbers of mobile, lightweight, cloud-centric devices [represent] an unprecedented shift of power from end users and software developers on the one hand, to operating system vendors on the other ... This is a little for the better, and much for the worse." - Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law Professor (via battellemedia.com) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 4, 2011 - 153 comments

Aliaa Magda Elmahdy

Nudity in Islamic countries; the case of the Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy (nsfw). #NudePhotoRevolutionary
posted by - on Nov 18, 2011 - 34 comments

"Cities really are mental conditions. Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare."

When Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was released from government custody it was with several conditions. Ai was slapped with a travel ban, was not to speak to the media about his detention and was banned from using social media. Since his release he has returned to Twitter, joined Google+, given an interview to a Party-run newspaper and on August 28 he published a piece in Newsweek that calls Beijing "a constant nightmare". [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 30, 2011 - 17 comments

UK London Met police proposed undemocratic refusal of bail to all arrested in London riots.

London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
posted by maiamaia on Aug 22, 2011 - 30 comments

Deindividuation and Polarization through Online Anonymity

The Guardian: Online commenting: How the internet created an age of rage
posted by zarq on Jul 25, 2011 - 93 comments

"It is better to live for one day as a tiger, than to live for a thousand years as a sheep."

Amnesty International, 50 Years: Standing Up For Freedom (Vimeo. YouTube.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 18, 2011 - 18 comments

Architectural marvel or eyesore?

Stonehenge West, a monumental art project and home outside Los Angeles, may be torn down for building code violations.
posted by xowie on Jun 4, 2011 - 24 comments

Full veil banned for Muslim women in France.

A law has come into force in France which makes it an offence for a Muslim woman to conceal her face behind a veil when in public. [more inside]
posted by dubold on Apr 11, 2011 - 444 comments

Sweet Scent of Freedom Sold Seperately

Some people have claimed that Barbie is really about giving girls the image of an empowered woman. There can be little doubt of empowerment when it comes to Black Moses Barbie - she fights for freedom and has all the coolest playsets and accessories.
posted by yeloson on Apr 3, 2011 - 9 comments

Have a stroke of its mane, it turns into a plane

Amazing Horse: The Musical. [more inside]
posted by SomeTrickPony on Mar 28, 2011 - 13 comments

Twenty-eight years and eight months

The Someone You're Not: "Our packed prisons are starting to disgorge hundreds of mostly African-American men who, over the last few decades, we wrongly convicted of violent crimes. This is what it's like to spend nearly thirty years in prison for something you didn't do. This is what it's like to spend nearly thirty years as someone you aren't. And for Ray Towler, this is what it's like to be free." Via. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 25, 2011 - 18 comments

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