Entries from May 2009

» Film Club Contest!
» Film Club Contest!
» Bird is the Word: Ghost Bird
» How to tell imperfect stories: Reporter
» Since when did we divorce the right answer from an honest answer?
» Queerly Canadian #11: Have I become a professional lesbian?
» Eco chamber #4: Fighting for the Fry
» Jackpot! An interview with Filmmaker Alan Black
» Hot Docs launches with docs in crisis

Entries from April 2009

» ThisAbility #25: Love Connection
» Film Club Contest!
» Eco Chamber #3 - Earth Day Special: A movement, not a day
» ThisAbility #24: Domesticity with a Disability
» In the age of Facebook, campaigns need to grow up already
» Eco Chamber #2: Countdown to Copenhagen
» Queerly Canadian #10: Teach them well, let them lead the way
» Eco Chamber #1: Past and future at the far end of the world
» ThisAbility #23: House Call
» Queerly Canadian #9: House-proud?
» ThisAbility #22 Are We There Yet?

Entries from March 2009

» ThisAbility #21: Faking it
» 20 years on, the ocean still runs black
» My so called life without tv
» How to fix your favourite drink
» Intern with This: deadline is April 1!
» Queerly Canadian #8: Sick of talking about gay marriage
» Star puts the heat on nanny business profiteers
» Reflections on Christian Lander one year later
» ThisAbility #20 Cash that Really is Cold and Hard
» What's in your fridge?
» ICC indictment of al-Bashir provokes aid worker kidnappings
» Cory Doctorow reminds the internet that labour matters
» Thank yous and photos from our redesign launch party
» ThisAbility #19 Buyer Beware
» I'm From Away
» TV Free #1: I Want My MTV or any TV. Please!
» International Women's Day 2009
» Party update: Cross-Canada Cupcake Craze
» Queerly Canadian #7: LGBT Blog Roundup
» Bring it on, Spring! Seedy saturday events gaining ground
» ThisAbility # 18: Breaking Bad and Breaking Barriers

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Previous Entries

» From the frying pan into the fire
» Torture and hypocrisy
» International Women's Day: Afghanistan
» The TED conference, can a billionaire be 'exploited,' Cambodian oldies

March 30, 2008

Poor Mexican emos, news on a shirt, one angry author, what's the Eiffel Tower wearing?

Posted by ron at 11:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mexican emos are being targeted for attacks. We're not talking about light-hearted jabs or mockery but full-on assault. There's even a dark homophobic element underneath the whole thing. From the article:

Most of all, however, the assailants target the emos for dressing effeminately, still a provocative act for many in a macho Mexico. "At the core of this is the homophobic issue. The other arguments are just window dressing for that," said Victor Mendoza, a youth worker in Mexico City. "This is not a battle between music styles at all. It is the conservative side of Mexican society fighting against something different."

Author James Howard Kunstler, noted urbanist and environmentalist, has a blog that includes a podcast and other missives. This week's podcast is apparently a doozy.

A couple of NYC design students are putting news on t-shirts.

The Shirt Project provides 5 diagrammatic tees [a year] detailing a story that’s making news – for example, one charts the correlation between the declining US dollar and sunspot activity, while another points to just how little of the sun’s energy we’re actually utilizing.

If sex sells should vegans and veganism use it to sell the lifestyle? Discuss...

The Eiffel Tower is getting a hat for its 120th anniversary, sadly it's not a beret. Nonetheless, it is jaunty and tres chic.

More entries on: Weekend Links

March 25, 2008

High heat on Iran

Posted by derek at 12:08 PM ET | Comments (19)

Two interesting, perhaps ominous developments on the "will they bomb Iran" front:

On March 11, Admiral William Fallon resigned as head of the U.S. Central Command. Fallon opposed a military strike on Iran and the word in the halls of power is that his exit may indicate an intention on behalf of Bush and Co. to attack Iran sooner than later.

Just yesterday, General David Petraeus, head of U.S. forces in Iraq, blamed a deadly rocket attack in the Green Zone in Baghdad on Iran, saying the rockets were provided by Iran and those that fired them were trained by Iran.

True or not (and likely not, considering the recent track record of people like him) Petraeus's accusation may be an attempt to build justification for a strike on Iran, making an irreversible "fact on the ground" prior to the election of a new president in November.


More entries on: American Politricks | From the intern desk | Global politics | War and peace

March 23, 2008

The world's most powerful blogs, Starbucks gets caught stealing from the tip jar, Look out! Cyclists!

Posted by ron at 12:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Guardian gives a list of the 50 most powerful blogs in the world. These blogs are SO powerful they can overthrow nations (probably not), change the economy (highly unlikely) and uhm, kill lots of your free time (yep).

40 years ago Robert Kennedy gave a speech which outlined flaws with the idea of the gross national product, the measuring stick for economic growth. The GNP (nowadays we use GDP as the measure, but it's not any better) is flawed. But things might be changing.

Starbucks outlets in California got caught pinching tips and giving it to shift supervisors! The company will have to pay around $100-million . Some poor baristas will actually be getting thousands of dollars in tips!

Now that spring is here and the weather is getting warmer, and the ice and snow is slowly (very slowly) melting remember, watch out for cyclists!

Video via Transport for London's website.

More entries on: Weekend Links

March 16, 2008

Shopping cart races, that's a lot of home-grown terror, turning urine into fertilizer

Posted by ron at 01:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Every year a gaggle of Chicagoans run the Chiditarod, a shopping cart race around downtown Chicago geared at raising money and collecting goods for the food bank.

The ACLU reports that there are almost a million names on the U.S. terror watch list. That's one terrorist for every 300 Americans. The group also points some of the SNAFUs on that list, people like Senator Ted Kennedy, a couple of other political representatives, prominent authors and anyone named Gary Smith.

A couple of designers show off a machine that turns urine into fertilizer. Untreated urine being dumped into oceans and other bodies of water is a huge cause of algae blooms that unfortunately kill marine life.

Finally, forget mangling that Bon Jovi song. Try PowerPoint Karaoke instead.

From the article:

"In the hands of the wrong person [PowerPoint] and any presentation software becomes a dangerous weapon, a means of torture and incredible torments," says Holm Friebe, who invented PowerPoint Karaoke as part of the German artists' group Zentrale Intelligenz Agentur.

But in a bar, with a beer, PowerPoint becomes more Monty Python, less "Catch-22." Instead of being victimized by someone who insists on reading aloud Every Single Bullet Point in a grim death march to the final corporate-logo slide, you have a presenter who is just as lost as you are, if not more so. The playing field is leveled; the inmates are running the asylum.

More entries on: Weekend Links

March 14, 2008

The Dalai Lama on Tibet protests

Posted by derek at 12:04 PM ET | Comments (10)


The Dalai Lama - I am sooo sick of this guy. Commenting on the recent protests in Tibet, the Dalai Lama criticized the Chinese government for, among other things, the "politicization of religious issues." Really?! This, coming from a man who is revered as a God-King, who once technically legally owned everything and every person in Tibet, and whose religious position allowed him to stand at the top of a brutal and oppressive serf-based society...now he says we should keep politics out of religion?

The Dalai Lama has urged his followers (in a statement primarily geared towards international media, mind you) not to resort to violence. This is an interesting irony since the protests in Tibet are commemorating the armed uprising launched against China in 1959, which was initiated by "his holiness" with funds and training provided by the CIA.

The only reason the western media pays any attention to this parasitic clown is because his fantasy of returning to power in Tibet often conveniently dovetails with western attempts to encircle and put political pressure on China.

To quote another famous figure in Chinese history, the Tibetan people may very well have "a right to rebel." It's unfortunate that their just struggles against real greivances are either hijacked and diverted by cynical political operators like the Dalai Lama or are distorted by naive new-agers who romanticize what was one of the most brutal societies on earth.


More entries on: From the intern desk | Global politics | Religion

From the frying pan into the fire

Posted by tania at 11:50 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack


To continue with Derek's theme of Afghanistan this week, here is a statement by Malalai Joya, an Afghan MP currently appealing her suspension from parliament.

"After 9/11, unfortunately the United States and its allies like Canada pushed us from the frying pan into the fire," she states, calling on Canada to act independently from the US, and find an alternative policy to the current one.

This current policy, which she calls, "the wrong policy" is Canadian and US support of "the Northern Alliance criminals and warlords," in the name of democracy.

The Canadian mission was to expire in February 2009 but will be extended to December 2011, after a confidence motion passed in the House of Commons on Thursday.

More entries on: From the intern desk

March 12, 2008

Torture and hypocrisy

Posted by derek at 03:00 PM ET | Comments (1)


On December 5, 2002, Dilawar, a young Afghan taxi driver, was arrested, handed over to US troops and taken to Bagram Air Force Base for interrogation. 5 days later he was dead. In his five days in that dungeon, he was hooded, chained to the ceiling of his cell, and beaten repeatedly. His legs were so badly injured that they were described as "pulpified" - like they had been crushed by a truck. Dilawar's story is an example of what can happen to people in places like Afghanistan who are simply judged to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

What happened to Dilawar is unique only in the sense that we know about it - the story of his torture and murder was made into a film, Taxi to the Dark Side, which recently won the Academy Award for best feature documentary. But as numerous horror stories from Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo show, these crimes have become routine.

I was inspired to post this today because of the US State department's release of a worldwide report on human rights, in which they criticize other countries over violations like violence, humiliating treatment, and yes, torture. It is galling hypocrisy, hypocrisy without limit.


More entries on: Film | From the intern desk | Global politics | Human rights

March 10, 2008

International Women's Day: Afghanistan

Posted by derek at 03:51 PM ET | Comments (3)

Nadia Anjuman Poet Picture Portrait.jpg
I am caged in this corner
full of melancholy and sorrow ...
my wings are closed and I cannot fly ...
I am an Afghan woman and so must wail.

- Nadia Anjuman, Afghan poet, murdered by her husband in 2005.

One hundred and sixty-five. That's how many Afghan women set themselves on fire in 2007. It's a desperate act that reflects the desperate lives of women in Afghanistan, whose plight is getting worse.

The outrages make for a long list: Child-selling for marriages is rampant, and many of the new brides haven't even reached their 10th birthday. In prisons and "shelters" women are raped by guards and government officials. Afghan women suffer from one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates: 1 in 9 women die during childbirth. Afghanistan is the only country in the world where the suicide rate is higher for women than for men...and on and on.

Those who speak out, or even raise questions, face harsh punishment. Sayad Kambaksh, 23-year-old journalism student, was recently sentenced to death after a trial that lasted just four minutes. His crime? Downloading an article about women's rights that was deemed blasphemous to Islam by the judges.

All of this is upheld by a government that is defended, funded, and propped up by NATO countries, Canada included.

More entries on: Feminism | From the intern desk | Global politics | Religion

March 02, 2008

The TED conference, can a billionaire be 'exploited,' Cambodian oldies

Posted by ron at 01:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

I'm extremely jealous at anyone who got to attend the TED conference in California this week. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a conference started in the 1980s that brings some heavy-hitting thinkers into the same building and lets them chat. Think the Nobel prize with fewer Swedes (not that there's anything wrong with Swedes).

This year's speakers include human rights expert Samantha Power, mycologist Paul Stamets (cooler than it sounds!), and undersea explorer Robert Ballard.

Boing Boing has been liveblogging the event but videos and podcasts are available.

J.K. Rowling has said that she feels exploited by an author's efforts to create an unofficial encyclopedia based on the Harry Potter universe. We agree with Nathan Whitlock on the Quillblog, and we're pretty sure that unofficial primers and encyclopaedias existed well before Harry Potter. There's a whole cottage industry of Star Trek inspired books for example. Also, it's odd to see a billionaire claim that she's being exploited.

Dengue Fever, an LA-based band, is rediscovering Cambodian oldies. From NPR:

During the Vietnam War, American and British pop music was broadcast in Vietnam on the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network. Those broadcasts reached neighboring Cambodia, as well. And there, the sounds of Western radio inspired a hybrid of American pop and traditional Cambodian styles.

Sadly, the Khmer Rouge banned most Cambodian rock during its brutal regime. But Dengue Fever is trying to bring this music back to life.

Finally, for all of those who had a hard time with gendered nouns in French - pretty much anyone who studied French - native French speakers have problems with them too.

Weekend Links will be on vacation, see you in two weeks.

More entries on: Weekend Links

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