11/30/2011 12:09:44 PM
GQ compiled a list of the windbags who qualify as the 25 least influential people alive. Among the useless: Hosni Mubarak, Harrison Ford, Amy Chua, and Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus. (Oh, and the guy pictured above.)
The coolest artists’ retreats in the world: the Fogo Island Studios.
Some schools say computers don’t belong in classrooms.
Bisexuality isn’t a lie.
Environmental journalism doesn’t always have to be tragic—or does it?
Local-food smackdown: Anna Lappé takes on economist Steve Sexton, a.k.a. the Freakonomics guy, after he crunches the numbers and determines that Big Ag should feed the world.
Some people step on ants and vacuum up spiders. Others build overwintering structures for insects.
Would mauve roses convince you to accept biotechnology?
Race to the bottom: India’s maiden Grand Prix, reports Caravan, arrives in the middle of a simmering controversy over land and development.
There’s a certain sort of sardonic humor in the visual history of the airline safety card.
Created by the founder of PayPal and a philosopher who wears purple pants to work, Palantir is the CIA’s secret weapon against global terrorism.
Pointlessly gendered products. Who knew women sleep better with pink earplugs?
Science nerds, rejoice! Scientific American is offering its complete archive of magazines from 1845 to 1909 online for a limited time. Included in the issues are lists of new inventions: the December 18, 1909 edition includes an antiseptic toothbrush holder and adjustable candelabra, with an artificial foot and baby gate on the list of patents pending.
Are scribbled drawings by the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten as important as ancient hieroglyphics and cave paintings?
Image by the Office of Governor Tim Pawlenty, licensed under Creative Commons.
11/23/2011 1:21:47 PM
Perhaps, like me, you’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this year with a full heart. Likely you know someone who has lost their job, someone who is battling disease, someone whose plate of worries has been heaped full. Perhaps that person is a friend of a friend, a close loved one, or yourself. At the same time, you probably have a lot to be grateful for. Maybe you are blessed with a loving partner or supportive family or true friends—or all three. Likely someone you don’t know has touched your life in a positive way. That’s what nonprofits do every day: work for people in need who they don’t know personally. With this in mind, Nonprofit Tech 2.0 has published a list of 50 nonprofits to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. You’ll be familiar with some of the organizations; others will be new names. I’ve highlighted five here that you might not know about and that are doing exceptional work:
Communities in Schools: Because America ranks 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math.
Darkness to Light: Because 1 of every 4 girls and 1 every 6 boys in the U.S. will be sexually abused by the age of 18.
Moms Rising: Because the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world without paid maternity leave.
Polaris Project: Because at this very moment 100,000 minors are being trafficked for sex in the United States.
Southern Poverty Law Center: Because hate, bigotry, and intolerance continue to thwart and undermine the American Dream.
Source: Nonprofit Tech 2.0
Image by WishUponACupcake, licensed under Creative Commons.
11/23/2011 9:32:55 AM
Michelle Obama champions youth poet ambassador program.
What they expect when you’re expecting: tube tops silk-screened with the names of heavy metal bands and Daisy Duke jean shorts.
100 CEOs refuse to give any more campaign donations until lawmakers end partisan gridlock.
11 Sounds that your kids have probably never heard.
In a quest to create the world’s largest work of art, Jim Denevan and a team of helpers inscribed circles on the frozen surface of the world’s largest lake. Unfortunately for them, that lake happened to be in Siberia.
Do you live in the “Twilight Belt” of America?
If you’re not much of a thrill seeker, perhaps you’d find this ambulatory roller coaster a little more fun.
Newsflash: College students not studying 20 hours a day, wondering why economy doesn’t want them.
Pick a number: The history of stigmata is controversial, inconsistent, and well-documented.
Monogamy is killing your sperm.
Be sure to check this out before your next international trip: A new handbook teaches rude hand gestures from around the world, from “flipping the bird” to “having the balls.”
The MIT Mood Meter tells you how you’re feeling as you walk by.
Lawrence Lessig tells Boston Review how we the people can get our lost republic back.
Image by Official U.S. Navy Imagery, licensed under Creative Commons.
11/16/2011 12:21:08 PM
Some of the best stuff from the Twitter feeds we follow...
The Nation (@
Robert Reich eviscerates the Supercommittee's skewed priorities, draws a cartoon.
See more at The Nation
Mother Jones (@
Chart of the Day: How Not to Create Jobs mojo.ly/vy6C5e
Chuck Marr of CBPP notes that the CBO recently studied a laundry list of job creation proposals and concluded that higher unemployment benefits had the biggest bang for the buck. "That’s not surprising," he says, "given that jobless people are severely cash constrained and would quickly spend most of any incremental increase in cash and that, in turn, would lead to higher demand and job creation."
But which proposal came in last?
See Kevin Drum’s Chart of the Day at MoJo
The American Prospect (@
Despite what you've heard from many pundits, Mitt Romney isn't the kid who gets picked last in gym class. ampro.me/u6m2We
Mitt Romney is just as popular as Herman Cain or Newt Gingrich, his problem—in part—is that he has too many competitors, and Republican voters are indulging the extent to which they have a fair amount of choice. When the field begins to winnow in January, odds are very good that Romney will pick up a lot more support from Republican voters.
Read more about a Gallup poll about the Republican presidential candidates at The American Prospect
In These Times (@
Library in the slammer, roughed up. Librarians surveying the damage. bit.ly/sxUK22 @melissagira livetweeting from the garage.
OWS librarians attempted to reclaim their collection and found it decimated, according to the Maddow Blog. The librarians told Maddow that they only found 25 boxes of books in storage, many of which were damaged or desroyed. Laptop computers were recovered, damanged beyond repair.
Read more at In These Times
Bill McKibben (@billmckibben)
If you want to see someone looking nervous on Colbert, tonite is your big chance
Oxford American (@
Musician Chris Isaak likes Oxford American
“I was reading the ‘Oxford American,’ a great, great music magazine,” he said. “It’s like getting four years of ‘Rolling Stone’ all in the same magazine.”
Read the rest of the article about Chris Isaak in The Kansas City Star
11/15/2011 3:29:04 PM
“The ocean’s power is so big,” writes The Smart Set’s Stefany Anne Goldberg, “that it not only generates our worst disasters, it recycles our tragedies for later consideration, just when the whole fuss finally starts to die down.”
What is more expensive: to send a criminal to prison or to send a student to Princeton?
When Pleasanton mom Siah Fried and her co-author wrote Tales from Swankville, a book about hyper-competitive parenting in suburbia, they didn’t expect their neighbors to take it so personally.
See the 30-year history of the AIDS epidemic as portrayed through public health campaign posters.
Funny Honey: “More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce,” according to Food Safety News. Pollen is frequently filtered out, which would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.
Here’s a helpful guide for what to say when people ask why you’re still single. One solution: “Tell them how terrible your personality is, you even use the word ‘irregardless’ and have no idea the difference between ‘then’ and ‘than.’”
What states let you take a gun to happy hour? What about Saturday evening mass? A map from Mother Jones lays it out.
As belts get tighter, philanthropy gets tougher. Now you can donate to charity without even trying.
For the love of Suess, what have they done to the Lorax?
Learn why old books smell so good.
A spectacular sight in the sky over the River Shannon: a murmuration of starlings.
If you care about the environment, writes federal prisoner and Utne Reader visionary Tim DeChristopher, it’s time to play dirty.
Donating a lifetime of comic books.
A blog about bystander intervention in cases of sexual assault, all the more relevant given the Penn State Sandusky scandal.
Smuggling pecans and canned pumpkin into Italy for an expat Thanksgiving.
Americans are packing more heat than ever thanks to a nationwide parade of looser gun laws.
Image by Yashna M, licensed under Creative Commons.
11/10/2011 10:12:33 AM
When you start up an opinion blog, you voluntarily expose yourself to the world. If you also happen to be a woman, writes Helen Lewis-Hasteley at New Statesman (Nov. 3, 2011), you “open the front door to a chorus of commenters howling at you about your opinions, your name, your appearance, your sexuality.” To learn a little more about the state of internet misogyny and incivility, she asked several women bloggers to describe the comments they’ve received from online trolls. (For those of you fortunate enough to have escaped contact with a troll, it’s a person who posts intentionally inflammatory personal attacks in an attempt to get a rise out of their target.) Here are some enlightening highlights:
Dawn Foster, blogger at F For Philistine:
The worst instance of online abuse I’ve encountered happened when I blogged about the Julian Assange extradition case. As more people shared it on Twitter with positive comments, a growing trickle of abusive comments appeared. Rather than simply being negative, it was clear the commenters hadn’t read the post: just clocked the title, my gender and started punching the keyboard furiously.
The emails rarely mentioned the topic at hand: instead they focused on my age, used phrases like “little girl”, described rape fantasies involving me and called me “ugly” and “disgusting”. Initially it was shocking: in the space of a week, I received a rabid email that included my home address, phone number and workplace address, included as a kind of threat.
Eleanor O’Hagan, freelance blogger:
On the whole, I’ve managed to avoid the worst threats and misogyny that other women writers endure but I don’t think that’s luck or because my opinions are more well-argued. I think it’s because, very early on, I became conscious of how my opinions would be received and began watering them down, or not expressing them at all. I noticed that making feminist arguments led to more abuse and, as a result, I rarely wrote about feminism at all.
Natalie Dzerins, Forty Shades of Grey blogger:
Last night, I was informed that if all women looked like me, there would be no more rape in the world…. If there is one thing I have learned about being a woman with vocal opinions, it is that everything I ever do or say is wrong because of my physical appearance….
I do sometimes wish that I were a man though, so that if I were to get abuse, it would be for my ideas, not for having the gall to have them in the first place.
Source: New Statesman
Image by Anonymous Account, licensed under Creative Commons.
11/9/2011 12:13:10 PM
Some of the best stuff from the Twitter feeds we follow...
Talking Points Memo (@TPM): Kyle Leighton weighs in on the rejection of far-right Republican ideas shown in last night’s referendum votes around the country:
[V]oters in some key states where Republicans had made gains rejected those ideas through statewide referendums, striking not only at the party but at the very reason for electing them — their ideas. If election day 2011 tells us anything, it’s not just that overreaching in this political environment is a bad move, but it’s a spectacularly bad one.
None of last night’s roundup of referendum votes were close…
Read all of “The Hangover: One Year After Electing GOP, Voters Reject Their Ideas”
Kickstarter’s (@kickstarter) Project of the Day:
The documentary “Tomorrow We Disappear”:
For hundreds of years roaming artists traveled the Indian countryside, creating the stories, the mythological backbone that would unite a country. Before radio, film, and television, these artists helped form what we now call the Web of India.
In the 1950s the artists ended their itinerant routes and moved into vacant land beside a jungle in West Delhi. They called their new home the Kathputli Colony. The colony is now a tinsel slum, providing home to some of the world's greatest street magicians, acrobats, and puppeteers. But last year the government sold the Kathputli land to real estate developers; the slum is to be bulldozed and cleared for development.
Our film, "Tomorrow We Disappear," will take you into the world of the Kathputli Colony, to experience the last remnants of its unique culture before it's too late.
Read more about “Tomorrow We Disappear”
): Derek Thompson, senior editor at The Atlantic, on how Steve Case and his firm, Revolution, are driving the sharing economy:
A luxury-home network. A car-sharing company. An explosive deal site. Maybe you see three random ideas. Case and his team saw three bets that paid off thanks to a new Web economy that promotes power in numbers and access over ownership. The so-called sharing economy has taken off in the Great Recession, as companies like Netflix and Zipcar have allowed the exchange of DVDs, cars, clothes, couches, and even kitchen utensils. The promise of a post-ownership society is that we can do more, own less, and rent the rest with Web-enabled companies. That's a huge break for cash-strapped families in a weak recovery. Whether it's good news for companies who rely on customers to buy new thing, rather than share old purchases, is much more complicated.
Read all of “How Steve Case and Revolution Are Driving the Sharing Economy”
Etsy’s (@Etsy) Online Lab: Get Unstuck with Noah Scalin:
Stuck in a rut? I hope you’ll join us on Friday, November 18 for an Online Lab with king of creativity, Noah Scalin. You might know his Skull-a-Day project or his last book,
365: A Daily Creativity Journal.
Well, he’s at it again with his newest book called
Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing at Home, at Work, and in Your Studio
.He’ll be joining us in the Online Labs to share tips for getting unstuck creatively. So, if you need a jolt of inspiration, tune in! You’re not going to want to miss out on this one.
Find out more about the Etsy Online Lab, “Get Unstuck with Noah Scalin”
Image from the documentary "Tomorrow We Disappear"
11/8/2011 11:30:55 AM
Why did Congress reaffirm our bland, meaningless national motto?
If you’re having trouble finding the right words to say something colossally stupid, you can always lean on The Week’s “Bad Opinion Generator.”
Forget China: the $10 trillion global black market is the world’s fastest growing economy—and its future.
Amos Oz, the author of “Fanatics Attack” (Nov-Dec issue of Utne Reader) talks to The New Republic about the commingling of politics and literature.
What would New York—or, rather, Neu York—look like if Germany had won World War II?
The nighttime light of cities could be a new target in the search for extra-terrestrial life.
The literature of Occupy Wall Street includes visiting writers and a People’s Library.
On election day, Mississippians will vote on whether “personhood” starts at the moment of fertilization. If passed, the amendment will outlaw abortion as well as IUDs and other forms of birth control.
The 10 best illustrated children’s books of 2011.
Can’t wait for your next box of Thin Mints? “Girls Scouts Release Lip Balms to Torture Cookie Fans,” reports
Linger on, your pale, laser-enhanced blue eyes. A new medical treatment can permanently turn brown eyes to blue.
A bicycle with records on its wheels lets you spin your favorite vinyl while you pedal.
Earl “Fatha” Hines—perhaps the greatest jazz pianist of all time—gives 11 priceless piano lessons in this video gem.
Image by janoma.cl, licensed under Creative Commons.
11/4/2011 1:49:38 PM
“Whats 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? my knife.”
“You know she’s playing hard to get when she trys to break out of your van.”
These sayings exist as fan pages on Facebook, with 60 people liking the former and 921 liking the latter. They’re just two among many rape jokes on the social networking site. When asked to remove the offensive content, reports Ms. Magazine, Mark Zuckerberg maintained that the pages will stay put on Facebook and issued this statement:
It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining, just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.
Apparently freedom of speech reigns supreme on Facebook…except that the site has an explicit statement of user responsibilities that dictates: “(3.7) You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” And “(5.2) We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement.”
If Facebook were an unpoliced free-for-all, I would shrug my shoulders defeatedly at the stupid rape joke and move on. But it’s a policed community. Facebook regularly monitors and removes content it deems inappropriate to a public forum, including anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and even I hate my teacher pages. The site is particularly vigilant in removing any promotion of cutting, eating disorders, or drug use. Facebook even yanks photos of breastfeeding mothers.
Furthermore, on its safety center help page, Facebook says: “If you see something that is inappropriate or makes you uncomfortable, speak up and let us know. We take reports from our community very seriously, and work hard to respond quickly.” Yet more than 180,000 people have signed a Change.org petition demanding Facebook remove pages that promote sexual violence—and Zuckerberg has done nothing.
I’m trying hard to wrap my mind around the inconsistencies here. A photo of a baby feeding from an exposed nipple gets pulled as quasi-pornographic, but a page that lets you “like” an illegal crime against women is okay? Thousands of upset users have spoken up against the rape joke pages, exactly as the site says to in its safety center, but Facebook does nothing? Racist material is regularly removed, but misogynistic material is seen as harmlessly "entertaining," nothing but a "rude joke"? Why is violence against women getting a free pass?
How to put this clearly: The images evoked here—of a woman being raped at knifepoint or struggling to get out of a rapist’s van—are hateful and threatening. They make me—and all the people who signed the petition—uncomfortable, to say the very least. So much more uncomfortable than nursing photos ever could, they aren’t even on the same planet. Please sign the petition to have them removed.
: After 186,000 signatures on the Change.org petition and a furious Twitter campaign, Facebook finally began removing some of its rape joke pages, reports ZDNet, including Whats 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? my knife. Kudos to Change.org and Ms. for uncompromisingly pursuing the issue. However, other rape pages remain on the social media site, including, You know she’s playing hard to get when she trys to break out of your van and a whole host of variants on the hard to get theme: when she resists the chloroform (114 likes), when you have run out of rope (134 likes), when you use another roll of tape (339 likes), when she gets a restraining order (81,435 likes). Message to Mark Zuckerberg: It’s time to start self-policing the sexual violence pages just as you do racist or pornographic pages.
Source: Ms., ZDNet
Image by Guillaume Paumier, licensed under Creative Commons.
11/1/2011 11:42:50 AM
Is our response to climate change a moral or an economic issue? Kathleen Dean Moore urges us to do the right thing regardless of the bottom line.
Clogs, boils, and death: 10 plagues for the new millennium.
Distinguish yourself—as exactly what, we’re not sure—with a wooden necktie.
Propublica questions Politico’s decision to publish a story on Herman Cain’s possible sexual harassment, writing that it “may be the biggest investigative scoop of the campaign season. But it would be hard to deduce that from the facts as published.”
Guernica puts together its first Iranian-American issue, and in light of guest editor Porochista Khakpour’s statement, “I wish no one had the concept Iranian-American,” the editors wonder, “could this magazine have made a worse choice?”
NaNoWriMo kicks off! Get writing….
Before you dust off your copy of A Christmas Carol for the annual read, check out the secret life of Charles Dickens.
Where in the world can you get an abortion, and for what reason?
Sometimes we need a nudge to change our behavior for the better—but it’s got to be just the right kind of nudge.
How to feed 7 billion people without destroying the planet.
In an illustrated edition of Food Rules, available November 1, Michael Pollan introduces the new food commandments. #7: Enjoy drinks that have been caffeinated by nature, not food science.
Image by The Value Web Photo Gallery, licensed under Creative Commons.
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