Sunday, April 29, 2012

Whores, Firebombs, and Euros (Link Round-Up 4/29/12)

"Whore's Glory" - a frank look at sex work worldwide
Indeed, if there’s an ideological point (and a smidgen of hopefulness) to be found in “Whores’ Glory,” it lies in the film’s insistence that the women Glawogger meets in Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico remain defiantly individual, even in the face of a system of sexual and economic exploitation they cannot (or at least do not) resist. Indeed, “Whores’ Glory” has a surprising double focus on the women’s economic lives and on their spiritual and religious pursuits.
Egyptians protest Saudi Arabia's detainment of an activist
Egyptian activists say he was held after lodging a complaint against Saudi Arabia for its treatment of Egyptians in its prisons. 
His family says he had gone to perform a minor pilgrimage - a detail which has angered many Egyptians who feel resentment at the kingdom's treatment of Egyptians. 
But Saudi authorities say Mr Gizawi was found by airport officials to be carrying drugs - allegedly more than 20,000 anti-anxiety pills - in his luggage.
Could democracy derail the euro? Yes.
The “legitimacy question” has been quieter than the rampaging debt farrago. Yet plenty reckon it poses the real danger to the eurozone – and is most likely to trigger its collapse. Over the next few weeks its pent-up energy will be unleashed in full – via a raft of ballot boxes across Europe.

Last week was just a warm-up. May 6 is a day of reckoning for Europe’s leaders as France votes for a new president, Greece for a new parliament, and Italy goes to the polls for local elections. German state elections follow. On May 31, Ireland is holding a referendum on Europe’s fiscal pact. In June, France has parliamentary elections. Then, on September 12, the Netherlands will go to the polls.
Dogs, polygamy, and talking points
Axelrod is right. Obama’s appetite for dogs isn’t as critical as his appetite for spending and statism. But it was part of his cool. “Mitt Romney isn’t cool,” declared Brian Montopoli of CBS News this week in a story headlined “Can Mitt Romney Make Boring Sexy”? For economically beleaguered Americans, the more pertinent question is: “Can Barack Obama Make Cool Affordable”? It’s not just that Obama ate the dog, but that he’s screwing the pooch.
Man fire-bombs Taco Bell for not giving him extra Chalupa meat 
When manager Cynthia Thompson told the customer she would be unable to accommodate his request because the restaurant was closing, she said he replied: “That’s alright, I’ll just come and redecorate the place.”

Shortly after, a gasoline odor was traced to just outside the drive-through window, where Thompson found a fire and a melting plastic bottle filled with liquid, which the Albany Fire Department identified as a Molotov cocktail.
Egyptian films himself getting shot (NSFW)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Herbicide-Flavored Corn (Link Round-Up 4/28/12)

[via GQ]

  Anonymous Analytics: Sniffing out the international corporate fraud, 4chan-style
AA: Our members grew up within the Internet subculture and cesspool that is 4chan. We have been active in the Anon community over the last several years in some capacity. Some of us eventually grew up and got jobs in industry and government but we retained the dark humor that is Anonymous. More importantly, we retained the skill to source information and social-engineering capabilities that we honed through our work with Anonymous. This ability has proved useful in our more high-brow work with Anon Analytics.
New star system with 9 planets found 
"Scientifically this would not be of much significance because it has been suspected for a long time that such populous planetary systems exist in the universe," Tuomi said. "Philosophically, though, it shows that our very own solar system is not special in this respect either — systems with great numbers of planets are very likely common throughout the universe and it is only a matter of time when we find even richer systems."
UK media distorts neuroscience news to push ideologies
The paper describes how the Telegraph used research to wrongly “assert that productive female participation in both the labor market and family life is neurobiologically impossible”, while the Daily Mail miscellaneously linked “women to irrationality” (amongst countless other crimes) and the Times absurdly squealed “are gays dopamine junkies?”
Outdoor advertising agency busted for poisoning trees that blocked their billboards
According to FairWarning, Lamar has been in trouble before for illegal actions against trees: 
  • In 2008, the state of Connecticut sued Lamar for removing trees along Interstate 84 when its permit only allowed trimming. 
  • In 2009, an Ohio couple sued Lamar for cutting down 34 trees on their property that obscured views of a Lamar sign.
Two reasons to hate your diet: 1. Pesticides and herbicides used in corn are hurting honeybees 2. Companies are genetically-modifying food to resist pesticides and herbicides that they made to help grow these foods to begin with
The corn is just the first of a new wave of herbicide-tolerant crops. Dow is also developing soybeans and cotton immune to 2,4-D. Close behind, Monsanto is developing soybeans, cotton and corn that can tolerate dicamba, another old herbicide in the same family as 2,4-D. 
Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont are developing crops resistant to other herbicides. too. Of the 20 genetically engineered crops awaiting approval, 13 are intended to be resistant to one or more herbicides.
Your logical fallacy is...

Most likely everything.

*half of these links were found on the fantastic Not Exactly Rocket Science blog.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kanye, Jay-Z...Hollande?

In completely weird globalization news, French Presidential candidate Fran├žois Hollande just used "Niggas In Paris" in a campaign video.
The "Niggas in Paris"-scored video shows Hollande campaigning in the outer regions of the Paris metro area, as French voters of various races hold up their electoral cards. It should be noted that Sarkozy has a long history of poor relations with the impoverished Parisian suburbs, where a high percentage of racial minority and immigrant populations live. Hollande is possibly trying to underscore that relationship.
Also, Slate points out that "Creil"-- one of the suburbs Hollande campaigns in during the ad-- is pronounced "cray" as in, "That shit Creil."
Hollande's campaign strategy ? Don't let Nicolas Sarkozy get in his zone. (See also)

At least Barack Obama slow-jamming the news makes sense.

On that note, the Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) version probably would've been a more lyrically-appropriate campaign slogan for the French Socialist Party platform.

Regardless, that shit cray.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mitt Romney: The Vladimir Putin of Private Equity? (Link Round-Up 4/23/12)

Half of young adults are jobless or underemployed
About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields. 
Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year.
US to sanction authoritarian regimes that censor internet for protesters
Obama signed an executive order authorizing the new category of sanctions on Sunday. The tougher penalties are aimed in particular at those who facilitate human rights abuses in Syria and Iran, said the official, who requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the order publicly.
Scientists want no-fishing zone in the Arctic (in area that has yet to be over-fished)
Recent Arctic sea ice retreat during the summer months have opened up some of the waters that fall outside of the exclusive economic zones of the nations that circle the polar ocean. In all, more than 2.8 million square kilometres make up these international waters, which some scientists say could be ice free during summer months within 10 to 15 years. Although industrial fishing hasn’t yet occurred in the northernmost part of the Arctic, the lack of regulation may make it an appealing target for international commercial fishing vessels.
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorbilia to open April 26 
He told us that a lot of professional middle-class blacks in those days always traveled with a chauffer's hat. The reason: If they were driving a nice new car through a small southern town, they didn't want police officers, or any other whites, to know the car belonged to them. 
I remember that story so vividly. No object has any meaning other than what we assign to it. But that was an incredible meaning to assign to an object that, on the surface, had little to do with racism.
The hard fight for human rights and free speech in Saudi Arabia
Making use of social-media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, religious hard-liners have launched an online inquisition against those who dare to think freely. In a frightening development, a judge and some clerics demanded in February that I be given the death penalty for allowing guests at my salon to speak freely. For the time being, I remain free. 
But many young Saudis insist on freedom of expression and belief, and they are proud of their values of justice, tolerance and human rights. They give me hope. Our resolve is unshakable, whatever difficulties lie ahead.
Mitt "Parasite" Romney's Bain Capital track record: making millions, regardless of performance
So in January, The Wall Street Journal did its best to piece together Romney's track record, reviewing 77 investments made under his direction. It turned out that nearly one in three of the companies experienced severe financial trouble. One in five wound up in bankruptcy. 
The more telling figure: Of Romney's 10 biggest moneymakers, he ultimately destroyed four of them, leaving bankruptcy judges to clean up the mess. 
As Foster sees it, Romney was an early pioneer of gaming the system. It would take another decade before large banks used many of the same principles to detonate the mortgage industry.
Are Facebook Friends Really Your Friends?

*Not unless you're a professional photographer. But don't forget to "like" Culture Bore on Facebook!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Indefinite Hiatus" is for Suckers (Link Round-Up 4/22/12)

I'm back.

 The "Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act" was made for tech industry fraud
When I first read this, I asked myself: how does a law exempting a Silicon Valley startup from independent accounting actually encourage investment? If American companies have to have their internal processes independently verified before and after they go public, doesn't that give investors all around the world a big reason to put their money here, instead of investing in, say, Mobbed-Up Siberian Aluminum LLC, or Bangalore Sweatshop Inc.? 
In other words, how does letting go to market (and stay on the market for five years!) without publishing real numbers actually help the industry attract more financing in general, when the whole point of all of these controls is to make investment a less risky experience for the investor?
The vast Mexican bribery scandal Wal-Mart tried to cover up
Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.” 
The lead investigator recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation. 
Instead, an examination by The New York Times found, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut it down.
Kopimism, The Swedish copying-and-pasting data "religion"
An American branch of the religion was recently registered with Illinois and is in the process of gaining federal recognition, according to Christopher Carmean, a 25-year-old student at the University of Chicago and head of the U.S. branch. 
"Data is what we are made of, data is what defines our life, and data is how we express ourselves," says Carmean. "Forms of copying, remixing, and sharing enhance the quality of life for all who have access to them. Attempts to hinder sharing are antithetical to our data-driven existence."
Egypt terminates gas deal with Israel
The 2005 Egypt-Israel gas deal has come under strident criticism from leaders of the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the longtime Egyptian president, last year.

Critics charge that Israel got bargain prices, and Mubarak cronies skimmed millions of dollars off the proceeds.
877 dead dolphins wash up in Peru
Earlier last week, the Peruvian government put together a panel from different ministries to analyze a report by the Peruvian Sea Institute (IMARPE). Officials have been able to conclude that the dolphins' deaths were not due to lack of food, interaction with fisheries, poisoning with pesticides, biotoxin poisoning or contamination by heavy metals.
Universities finally realize that academic publishing is an absurdly-overpriced racket
But it's not just the exorbitant subscriptions that stink; it's the intrinsic absurdity of what's involved in the academic publishing racket. Most publishers, after all, have at least to pay for the content they publish. But not Elsevier, Springer et al. Their content is provided free by researchers, most of whose salaries are paid by you and me. 
The peer reviewing that ensures quality in these publications is likewise provided gratis by you and me, because the researchers who do it are paid from public money. (One estimate puts the value of UK unpaid peer reviewing at a staggering £165m.) And then the publishers not only assert copyright claims on the content they have acquired for nothing, but charge publicly funded universities monopoly prices to get access to it.

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