Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kanye West's Nigerian Auto-Tune, Japanese Xenophobia, and the Indian Villaged Named After a Groupon Clone (Link Round-Up 6/17-18/11)



Hot Deals You Didn't Want
Coupons in your bank statements based on your buying habits
The bank deals may appear intrusive to some users who are wary of aggressive marketing techniques, but users will be able to opt out of the service. Jack Gillis, the director of public affairs at the Consumer Federation of America, said the deals were indicative of a larger trend — the prevalence of advertising in our lives.

“Is there an advertising-free space we can live in?” Mr. Gillis asked. But given the ubiquitous nature of advertising, consumers have become increasingly accustomed to highly tailored ads. “If in fact you are purchasing things from a retail establishment, you are probably going to appreciate a discount,” Mr. Gillis said.
Meanwhile, Back In India...
Holy Man Dies After Four-Month Fast Against Polluters is Ignored
Three years ago, Swami Nigmananda fasted on behalf of the river, and he got the attention of those in power. In April 2008, the mining was banned, but this cessation would be short lived. A few months later, the polluting industry resumed, as did the protests. Over the next several years, the activist's fasts would halt the mining, only to have it return over and over again.

Throughout, Nigmananda never wavered in his commitment to protect the Ganges from polluting profiteers who continued to pollute the holy river. So, on February 19, the Swami again declared a fast. By April 27, his health began to seriously deteriorate. On Monday, after 115 of peaceful defiance, Nigmananda died as the Ganges flowed, clouded by industrial waste.
Poor village renames itself "snapdeal.com"
Snapdeal has adopted a remote village in India and enabled clean drinking water facilities for its people by installing manual pumps. To show their gratitude, the village’s residents have decided to rename their village to Snapdeal.com Nagar, actually taking the company by surprise.

Snapdeal.com CEO Kunal Bahl tells me the goal has always been to build a socially responsible organization, and that the decision to provide clean drinking water for the village came from a conversation with one of its 500 employees in the hallways.
Emerging Markets (for Auto-Tune Dance Rap)
Kanye West signs Nigerian superstars Don Jazzy and D’banj
Hope Don Jazzy and D’banj are ready to be the most famous Nigerian musicians in America without the last name Kuti. In their home country, they’re apparently already superstars. The pair, who often work together, signed with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Records, which makes them automatically as popular as Mr. Hudson. A few select tracks from the two, happy numbers with Auto-Tune and chipper guitar work, are above and below.


Imperial Overstretch
The United States has too many military bases worldwide
“It makes as much sense for the Pentagon to hold onto 227 military bases in Germany as it would for the post office to maintain a fleet of horses and buggies,” writes Gusterson.
Oils Well That Ends Well
Gaddafi and US oil interests: the lead-up
U.S. oil producers nonetheless rallied on behalf of Qaddafi, according to formerly secret State Department cables published this year by WikiLeaks and lobbying records. The six U.S. oil companies, including Occidental, and two U.S. units of foreign companies doing business in Libya, boosted lobbying expenditures 63 percent to $75.8 million in 2008, when they were pursuing the waiver for Libya, filings show.
Lose Control
What the world is witnessing in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya is simply what happens when highly constrained systems explode.
Women's Rights
Tunsian women remain vigilant to ensure future role in society
In Tunisia, women have campaigned alongside men for political emancipation, yet they are paradoxically also in a defensive position. Many feel the need to defend the rights they enjoyed before the revolution while simultaneously building on them and pushing for greater overall political participation. It is a challenging position to be in, but the proliferation of newly created political parties since the revolution reveals that at least the options are no longer hopelessly polarized between dictatorship and Islamism.
Google Sun
Google funds solar panel development
Google also expects to make plenty of money. Needham won't disclose particulars, but he will say that SolarCity is "attractive enough for us to invest given the risks of the project." We do know that the company will reap a 30% federal tax investment credit for installed systems."
Public Discrimination
Profiling of local Muslim group highlights overall xenophobia in Japanese society
Another thing that Diène's report doesn’t touch upon are cultural manifestations of discrimination. For example, the recurring use of blackface iconography in TV and other media, or the fascination with Chibikuro Sambo, orLittle Black Sambo, (actually an unauthorized copy of The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman) which also employs blackface to portray the eponymous African-American child Sambo (South Indian in Bannerman's original version). There’s no inherent maliciousness in the story or in Sambo as a character. Nevertheless, incidents like this illustrate how dangerously easy it for the book to end up perpetuating discriminatory attitudes by reinforcing negative stereotypes.

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