Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dancing Robots, Lady Gaga, and Radioactive Tuna (Link Round-Up 6/3/12)

[via Buzzfeed]

Good News Club: the Fundamentalist Christian group promoting genocide to children
The CEF's new emphasis on the genocide of nonbelievers makes a bad situation worse. Exterminist rhetoric has been on the rise among some segments of the far right, including some religious groups. At what point do we start taking talk of genocide seriously? How would we feel about a nonreligious group that instructs its students that if they should ever receive an order to commit genocide, they should fulfill it to the letter? When does a religious group qualify as a “hate group"? Should schools be involved in choosing which passages of scripture are appropriate in the public school context? But wouldn’t that involve the state in regulating religion? And isn’t that precisely why we used to keep religion out of the public schools in the first place?"
The Fundamentalist Muslim group in Indonesia using Lady Gaga to attack gender equality
Even if they were repelled by the utilisation of threats and violence of the radicals, dutiful Muslims were at least as repelled by the US singer's soft-porn imagery and brash LGBT proselytising. 
This has made the likes of Habib Rizieq Syihab's Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI), usually portrayed by the Jakarta media as white-garbed, wild-eyed hooligans, as popular with the mainstream as they have ever been.
Rio closes its large garbage dump by the bay
Long a symbol of ill-conceived urban planning and environmental negligence, Rio de Janeiro's Jardim Gramacho dump is being transformed into a vast facility that will harness the greenhouse gases generated by the rotting rubbish and turn them into fuel capable of heating homes and powering cars. Environmentalists had blamed Gramacho for the high levels of pollution in Rio's once pristine Guanabara Bay, where tons of run-off from the garbage had leaked.
"Seasteaders" gather in San Francisco to plan libertarian sea colonies
Dario Mutabdzija, president of Blueseed, which bills itself as "Silicon Valley's visa free offshore startup community," said more than 200 startup companies have expressed interest in his "visa-free" seastead off the Bay Area coast. The group is looking for a ship and believes it can go to sea as early as the end of next year.
Blueseed expects its offshore seastead will bypass U.S. immigration and business restrictions to draw entrepreneurs from around the world to work near Silicon Valley.
The open mp3/USB drive market in Mauritania
This is no amateur operation. Every computer trails a variety inputs: USB multipliers, memory card receivers, and microSD adapters. A virus scan is initiated on each new connection. Each PC is running some version of a copy utility to facilitate the process. The price is a standard 40 ougiya per song, about $0.14; like every market, discounts are available for bulk purchases. The music on the computers is dictated by the owners. Hassaniya music is most often carried by young Maurs, Senegalese Mbalax and folk by Pulaar and Wolof kids. While I’m searching for Hausa film music, I’m directed to the sole Hausa man in the market, a vendor from Niamey. I sit with the vendors, scrolling through the songs on VLC, selecting with a nod or a pass, the files copied to a folder, tallied, and transferred to my USB.
Radioactive tuna from Fukushima disaster found in California
"We were frankly kind of startled," said Nicholas Fisher, an expert at Stony Brook University in New York, who took part in the study. "That's a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing."  
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Tokyo Electric Power, estimates that 18,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials flowed into the Pacific after the accident, either in the form of fallout or through mixing with water that leaked from the facility. A terabecquerel is equal to 1 trillion becquerels.
What exactly is the global middle class? People with cars.
The untapped potential of the middle class in developing countries is clearly evident when comparing car ownership levels there with those in advanced economies. The number of passenger vehicles per 1,000 people in India and China is just 10 and 27, respectively, compared with 502 in Germany and 451 in the United States. Even if the number of cars in circulation in China and India continues to grow rapidly -- near the 10 percent average annual growth rate recently projected by the International Energy Agency for these two countries -- it would take about 25 years for China and more than 40 years for India to reach the current penetration rates in advanced countries.

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