2021/01/11

Right-Wing Brazilians Are Up in Arms Over This ‘Obscene’ Sculpture

The sculptor, Juliana Notari wrote that the artwork, titled Diva, “questions the relationship between nature and culture in our western phallocentric and anthropocentric society,” and invites discussion about the “problematization of gender.”

74% Of Voters Say Democracy In The U.S. Is Under Threat

Following last week's mob attack on the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress to formally certify Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of voters say democracy in the United States is under threat, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University national poll of registered voters released today. Just 21 percent of voters say that democracy in the United States is alive and well

2021/01/09

Ian the chicken nugget: alive and well

Watch this video to see people eating Ian while he sits right next them. So what’s Ian doing now? It’s all good. After the video shoot, he was taken to an animal sanctuary in Northern California where he still lives.

2021/01/08

The US Capitol has been stormed before – when British troops burned Washington in 1814

August 1814 when British troops led by General Robert Ross occupied Washington DC for two days and set about methodically destroying the city’s public buildings, including the Capitol and the White House.

Radio telescopes could give us a new view of gravitational waves

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is a rich source of information about the early universe, and now physicists in Switzerland and Germany reckon it could also serve as a detector of high-frequency gravitational waves, which are ripples in space–time. 

"These platforms"

these platforms have served as core organizing infrastructure for violent, far right groups and militia movements for several years now – helping them to recruit, organize, coordinate and in many cases (particularly with respect to YouTube) generate profits from their violent, extremist content."

Belarus Directors of prisons make life of political prisoners awful

no packages allowed, no walks, not enough beds. These banners read: When you are jailed, there will be food and tea, and bathrooms, and more. "Because we are humans." There's so much symbolism, justice and fairness

Viral images compare handling of Black Lives Matter protests and Capitol riot

The appearance of the troops in the summer came as Black Lives Matter activists led demonstrations across the nation over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died when a police officer held a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Capitol rioters are being identified, arrested

Two days after a mob incited by The Donald breached the U.S. Capitol in a violent attack that resulted in the death of police officer Brian Sicknick, rioters who left the scene are facing consequences

“They are a bunch of thugs, insurrectionists, white supremacists, anti-Semites,” Biden said. “They are terrorists 

2021/01/07

Biden: Black Lives protesters treated very differently

Trump's former chief of staff, John Kelly, has said he would vote to remove the president from office if he were still part of the cabinet.

2021/01/06

Trump unleashed the mobs that attacked the U.S. Capitol

The attackers are legally responsible. But every congressional Republican who looked the other way while Trump sowed hatred is morally responsible

American Aberrations

(Portuguese descendent) senator Ted Cruz is leading a group of Republicans legislators in demanding Biden’s win be put on hold until an audit of the election results is held.

Trump’s final days, he has presented similar honors to California (Portuguese descendent) Rep. Devin Nunes, one of his most vocal supporters 

Biden said Cruz and other acolytes of Trump are as responsible as Trump for corrosive relations in politics and distrust in government.

2020/12/28

Barbara Rose, Impassioned Critic Who Reshaped Art History, Has Died at 84

“The only thing anybody knows about me is that I wrote that article with the title I didn’t give it, which was ‘ABC Art,’ and then everybody insisted that I invented Minimal art,” Rose told Artforum in 2016. “Well, that is seriously wrong. I don’t invent art movements. I just notice coincidences, and those coincidences began to make sense to me as a worldview, which the Germans call weltanschauung.”

A Comparison between Natives and Second-generation Immigrants in Switzerland (2013)

for the children of Portuguese, former-Yugoslav, Albanian, and Turkish immigrants, the socio-economic background plays a minor role in explaining the transitions into NEET. In this case, a disadvantage persists even after socio-economic background is taken into account in the model.

2020/12/24

The Caspian Sea is set to fall by 9 metres or more this century

It means the lake will lose at least 25% of its former size, uncovering 93,000 sq km of dry land. If that new land were a country, it would be the size of Portugal.

The Dumbest Moments of the Trump Presidency

The president told the nation to inject bleach during a pandemic; his team altered the projected path of a hurricane on an official document, with a Sharpie, to help the president save face after an erroneous tweet

2020/12/22

What happened after an explosion at a Russian disease research lab called VECTOR?

On September 16th, 2019, an explosion occurred at the State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology building (Vector) in the city of Koltsovo, in the Novosiberisk region of Siberia, Russia. The affected building was a BSL 4 virology research centre, and one of only two known sites housing variola virus, the cause of smallpox. The facility has one of the largest collections of dangerous pathogens in the world. Whilst laboratory safety breaches are common and do not usually result in epidemics, explosions are rare. Unlike a needlestick injury or an accidental shipping of live anthrax, an explosion of this magnitude is likely to lead to a physical breach of the integrity of the laboratory, possibly affecting multiple parts of the structure and equipment within. An explosion is sudden, uncontrolled and unpredictable, and involves force which may result in pathogen release into the surrounding environment. An epidemic which arises in close proximity to the explosion could spread beyond the affected region or even globally, which makes this event a concern for global public health.

US Congress passes bill to support Tibet

US lawmakers have approved legislation that may lead to sanctioning China if it interferes in the Tibetan people's process of choosing a successor to their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

Over 500 animals slaughtered

Over 500 animals have been slaughtered in a walled estate in Azambuja purportedly making way for a massive solar energy park. Uproar began over social media last weekend after photographs of ‘the massacre’ were uploaded by some of the Spanish hunters who had taken part.

Great Conjunction 2020 (December 21)

The last closest Great Conjunction we could see occurred in 1226

2020/12/18

Stop fake green!

The burning of trees and crops for energy, factory animal farming, polluting cargo and cruise liners significantly damage our planet and people’s health, and should not be featured in the list of ‘green’ activities to receive EU money.

2020/12/15

Sanam Khatibi’s Paintings Envision a Fantastical World of Skulls, Poisons, and More

Sanam Khatibi’s painstakingly detailed paintings come in many forms, from small-scale still lifes that reflect Dutch Golden Age styles to larger canvases with nude figures in forestial settings. Binding them all is an interest in rituals and mysteries of the natural world.

2020/12/14

"People have an easier time blaming the victim"

So-called revenge pornography, which is a type of image-based sexual abuse, has been a criminal offence in England and Wales since 2015. The law defines it as "the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person, without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress". It is punishable by up to two years' imprisonment. However platforms that share this content have not been held accountable so far.

Clean meat

Singapore has given regulatory approval for the world’s first “clean meat” that does not come from slaughtered animals.

2020/12/11

Ukrainian citizen was victim of torture at Lisbon airport

The national director ... admitted that the Ukrainian citizen killed at Lisbon airport, Ihor Homenyuk, was a victim of torture.

2020/12/10

“Say Our Names”

Among the most striking and widely shared murals was one painted in Minneapolis by artists Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, and Greta McLain, along with a crew of collaborators drawn from the community. In the painting, Floyd is framed by names of Black Americans, including Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and Breonna Taylor, who have been killed by police over the last decade. Above Floyd’s head is a simple phrase eponymous with the movement: “Say Our Names.”

#HumanRightsDay 2020

There were many bright spots, from the caretakers and essential workers globally persevering during this pandemic, to the protesters who were inspired to march by the murder of George Floyd. From the people in Lebanon who came together to help each other after a horrible, preventable explosion, to the brave peaceful protesters in Belarus demanding free and fair elections. But not every heartening story made the headlines, and many heroes are unsung.

2020/12/07

Michigan secretary of state says armed protesters gathered outside her home

Dozens of armed people gathered outside Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's home over the weekend "shouting obscenities" and threatening violence in an effort to overturn the presidential election results in the state, she said Sunday.

2020/12/06

Agnes Chow: Hong Kong’s 'real Mulan' fighting for democracy

Ms Chow has not been charged yet. For now, she is in custody awaiting sentencing this week on separate charges of unauthorised assembly related to last year's protests, to which she has pleaded guilty. And although she is no stranger to being arrested, she says things have become much more ominous in recent times. She describes how her house was surrounded for an entire day by plainclothes police in August, before they banged on her door many hours later. An infrared camera had also been installed on a nearby hill.

2020/12/05

Who knew that ancient Amazonians bungee jumped?

Archaeologists recently discovered eight miles of painted rock face in the Colombian Amazon, sited along the Guayabero River. The Colombian and English researchers studying the works suspect that there could be upward of 100,000 individual paintings on 17 walls, dating from the time when humans first arrived in South America and then traveled through Central America. The thousands of paintings, made by people who lived there 12,500 years ago, have captivated viewers the world over. Now, Artnet News has obtained more photographs of the giant sloths, armadillos the size of a car, and countless other animals, as well as humans dancing, engaging in ceremonies, and even bungee jumping.

2020/12/03

Trump backers, including Flynn, edge toward a call to 'suspend' Constitution

Even as prominent Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, began to grudgingly acknowledge that Joe Biden will be the next president, a noisy grassroots movement devoted to keeping Donald Trump in office seemed to be edging closer to advocating seizing power in what would amount to a coup d’état.

Plastic bottles dumped in rivers can travel thousands of kilometres

The team released the bottles along the Ganges river in India and Bangladesh, which is the second largest contributing river to ocean plastic pollution. They found that the average bottle travelled at speeds of about 1 kilometre a day. Some ended up in the Bay of Bengal and travelled an average of 6 kilometres a day at sea.

France: 76 mosques face closure, 66 migrants deported

The Grand Mosque of Pantin, in a low-income suburb on the capital’s northeastern outskirts, had shared a video on its Facebook page before the attack that vented hatred against Paty, who was beheaded in broad daylight near his school.

2020/11/30

Brazil's Amazon: Deforestation 'surges to 12-year high'

The rainforest lost 11,088km2 of its vegetation between August 2019 and July 2020, marking an increase of 9.5% from previous 12 months, Inpe's data shows.

2020/11/22

Belarus: a terrorist State

The experts also received reports of violence against women and children, including sexual abuse and rape with rubber batons, and said: “The State must do everything in its power to prevent, investigate and punish any form of abuse, including violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by other actors.” Among some 6,700 people detained in recent weeks while exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly are journalists and passers-by who were arbitrarily arrested and hastily sentenced.

The Belarusian protests: feminized, but feminist?

The overt violence seen today was being committed before, but behind closed doors. Now that the violence is out in the open it will be harder to ignore; the hope is that this will inspire a national conversation about domestic violence. Dzesiatava draws parallels between an abusive domestic relationship and that of the regime and the Belarusian people. Bias noted the same thing, adding that “the most dangerous moment for someone in an abusive relationship is when they decide to leave

Belarus’s protests are fueled by an unprecedented civil society movement

People have united in the face of blatant injustice. But why was it this particular election that proved to be the tipping point? “Now it’s different. Belarusians made a sharp leap thanks to the generational change,” says Minsk-based sociologist Alena Artsiomenka. “People who grew up in the post-Perestroika era are more inclined to contribute to the society’s well-being. Those who were brought up in more stable and safe conditions are more interested in post-materialistic values.”

More than 200 arrested in renewed Belarus protests

Thousands of people took to the streets on Friday for the funeral of 31-year-old anti-government protester Roman Bondarenko, who died in hospital earlier this month following what demonstrators said was a severe beating by security forces.

2020/11/21

Marriage Disproportionally Benefits Men

Marriage benefits men more than it does women. Married men are happier and healthier than their unmarried counterparts, their careers also benefit, and married men are more likely than unmarried men to be in the top 1% of earners. On the other hand, women’s health doesn’t improve significally with marriage. In fact, women’s health is much more tied to the quality of the marriage. While even bad marriages seem to benefit men, women’s health suffers a bigger impact than men’s if the marriage is bad.

The total number of living languages in the world cannot be known precisely

That number changes as knowledge of the world’s languages improves. This edition lists a total of 7,117 living languages worldwide—a net increase of 6 living languages since the 22nd edition of Ethnologue was published 

Music has the capacity to elicit strong positive feelings in humans by activating the brain’s reward system

we identified two specific patterns of chills: a decreased theta activity in the right central region, which could reflect supplementary motor area activation during chills and may be related to rhythmic anticipation processing, and a decreased theta activity in the right temporal region, which may be related to musical appreciation and could reflect the right superior temporal gyrus activity. The alpha frontal/prefrontal asymmetry did not reflect the felt emotional pleasure, but the increased frontal beta to alpha ratio (measure of arousal) corresponded to increased emotional ratings. 

One end-of-life study suggests the brain still registers the last sounds a person will ever hear

Traveling into the ear, the vibrations we hear get converted into electrical signals. Then it’s off to the brain, where scientists are still unraveling what happens next.

2020/11/20

One of the biggest thefts of public funds in Russia: a $230 million tax fraud revealed by Magnitsky, a Moscow accountant

In 2012, OCCRP, Novaya Gazeta, and Barron’s identified Prevezon Holdings as a beneficiary of money originating from one of the biggest thefts of public funds in Russia: a $230 million tax fraud revealed by Magnitsky, a Moscow accountant. Russian authorities turned the tables, accusing Magnitsky of the fraud he had exposed. He died in prison from suspected abuse and lack of medical treatment.

Berman was fired by Trump in June. He is the second high-profile prosecutor dealing with the Prevezon case to be removed by the Trump administration, following the 2017 firing of Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney who filed the money laundering case against Prevezon.