21
Oct
10

Roundup – THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH!

Line O’ the Day:

“Let’s get into the real reason why breast cancer has the best Q rating of all cancers: BOOBS. Boobs are crucial to men and women alike. What woman wants to live without boobs? What man wants to live with a woman without boobs? Boobs are the key to EVERYTHING. A prostate is just a walnut God jammed inside your taint. Boobs, on the other hand, are majestic. They nurture. They protect. They look AWESOME in v-neck sweaters. They must be sheltered and protected. They must be allowed to grow, and thrive, and be nuzzled against. Even old lady boobs. Even a 61-year-old gal’s wrinkled, hairy, distressed leather coin pouches deserve your generous support. Don’t hate on Susan Komen and the gang just because they have better marketing savvy than Uncle Barney’s Olde Tyme Prostate Fund.”

– Big Daddy Drew,Does Breast Cancer Unfairly Hog The Cancer Spotlight? [Deadspin]

Best of the Best:

The Moon affects rainfall here on Earth…and we have no idea why [ScienceNow via io9]

There’s an old wives’ tale that says rain follows both the full and new Moon. Scientists found some proof of this back in the 1960s, and now a new study reveals that the Moon could be responsible for as much as one to two percent of rain and steam runoff. But, as you can read over at ScienceNow, the actual cause of this phenomenon is still anyone’s guess.

Allen Iverson Recognizes The Sad Truth About Allen Iverson [Barry Petchesky on Deadspin]

Yahoo Sports is reporting that Iverson is thisclose to signing with Turkish side Beşiktaş, but the fact that negotiations have been so drawn out should be an indicator that he’s not doing it for the love of the game. You’d think that after so many years and so many millions, he wouldn’t need the money, but certain NBA stars have a way of needing the money.

Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite [The Nation]

But with his relentless diatribes against “illegals” and their employers, Dobbs is casting stones from a house—make that an estate—of glass. Based on a yearlong investigation, including interviews with five immigrants who worked without papers on his properties, The Nation and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute have found that Dobbs has relied for years on undocumented labor for the upkeep of his multimillion-dollar estates and the horses he keeps for his 22-year-old daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper.

A Detailed Look At Global Wealth Distribution [Credit Suisse via Zero Hedge]

Per CS, Figure 1 shows “The global wealth pyramid” in striking detail. It is made up of a solid base of low wealth holders with upper tiers occupied by fewer and fewer people. We estimate that 3 billion individuals – more than two thirds of the global adult population – have wealth below USD 10,000. A further billion adults (24% of the world population) are placed in the USD 10,000–100,000 range, leaving 358 million adults (8% of the world population) with  assets above USD 100,000. Figures for mid-2010 indicate that 24.2 million adults are above the threshold for dollar millionaires. While they make up less than 1% of the global adult population, they own more than a third of global household wealth. More specifically, individuals with wealth above USD 50 million are estimated to number 81,000 worldwide.

Stories That Don’t Suck: The Epic Tale Of America’s Greatest Ping-Pong Hustler [“Smash” by Howard Jacobson via Table Tennis News via Tablet via Deadspin]

Not everyone recognized him immediately. You’re not looking at other people much when you’re battling arthritis and want nothing else on earth but to take a ping-pong trophy home to Vilnius to show your grandchildren’s grandchildren. But when he began to play, competitors around him stopped to watch, first one table, then another, until finally all 100 tables were quiet, and even the most sponge-committed of the veterans—oldsters with sprung sponge mattresses in their hands, who could stamp-serve and twist themselves around the ball in the requisite Quasimodo manner of the young—had to admit that table tennis played by a master of the old game was a beautiful sight to behold. And more than that, brought back to us why players and non-players alike had once been excited by it, and no longer were.

China’s Pipelineistan ‘War’ [Pepe Escobar via Tom Englehardt via LRC]

For the moment, Beijing’s strategic priority has been to carefully develop a remarkably diverse set of energy-suppliers – a flow of energy that covers Russia, the South China Sea, Central Asia, the East China Sea, the Middle East, Africa, and South America. If China has so far proven masterly in the way it has played its cards in its Pipelineistan “war,” the U.S. hand – bypass Russia, elbow out China, isolate Iran – may soon be called for what it is: a bluff.

Battle in Belgrade [James Kirchick on Foreign Policy]

About an hour before the rally began, small disturbances began between anti-gay protesters and police just a half-mile or so from the rally. Running toward the noise (which alternated between chants of “Kill, kill, kill the gays” and other crude slogans), I was passed by two police officers, one visibly injured. Moments later, as I tried to take a picture of the ensuing chaos, a screaming hooligan ran up to me, smashing my camera hard into my face. I ran from the scene before I could see what, if anything, the police did to him in response.

Dispatch From the Knife’s Edge [James Kirchick on The New Republic]

For more than four days in early June, the southern part of Kyrgyzstan—a poor, landlocked country of 5.4 million people located west of China’s Xinjiang Province—was wracked by ethnic riots. The violence pitted ethnic Kyrgyz, who make up a majority of the country’s population, against ethnic Uzbeks, a substantial minority. Crimes were committed by both sides. But it was the Kyrgyz who controlled the levers of power, and who, motivated by rumors of Uzbek atrocities and perhaps by videos like the ones I saw, were responsible for most of the violence.

High court won’t review Utah tax on nude bars [Utah News]

That court upheld a 2004 decision by the Utah Legislature to enact a 10 percent tax on sexually explicit businesses in an effort to pay for sex offender treatment. The tax covered everything a sexually explicitly business sold — admission, T-shirts and hamburgers included.

5 times we almost nuked ourselves by accident [Ed Grabianowski on io9]

In the waters off Tybee Island, Georgia, right at the Georgia/South Carolina border and not far from Savannah, buried in about 10 feet of silt is a hydrogen bomb. It’s been there for more than 50 years.

How heat can cross a vacuum [Hyperphysics, Physics World, and Science Alert via io9]

Quantum tunneling has long been studied with photons. Because they are both particles and clouds of probability, they can ‘tunnel’ through barriers. As a particle, a photon can move up to a barrier – close enough that its ‘cloud of probability’ falls on the other side. Since walls can’t limit abstract ideas such as probability functions, the photon just is at the other side of the barrier. This is quantum tunneling. It’s one of the reasons our sun shines. It’s been calculated that the heat at the center of the sun is not enough to induce fusion. Quantum tunneling is responsible for the hydrogen atoms in the sun moving through the barriers which separate them and fusing.

In the forests of Siberia, Yetis are fighting bears [The Voice of Russia via io9]

If this “war” between yetis and bears continues, there is a risk that bears will not sleep this winter because of a shortage of food, instead going to villages in search of something to eat. To prevent this, the region’s authorities plan to organize bear feeding.

Crazy Josh McDaniels Gets An Unwelcome Oklahoma Telegram [Big Daddy Drew on KSK]

“Men, this is fucking WAR. This is what you were built for. I want you to take a look at that sign over there on the wall. (Sign: “BEFORE MAN WAS, WAR WAITED FOR HIM. THE ULTIMATE TRADE AWAITING ITS ULTIMATE PRACTITIONER.”) That’s from a Cormac McCarthy book. I read that shit at night specifically to find sentences that will send your fucking dick to the moon. YOU WERE BORN FOR WAR. GOD MADE YOU SO THAT YOU COULD KILL AND WIN AND FUCKING TAKE WHAT’S YOURS.”

It’s the Occupation, Stupid [Foreign Policy]

More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks are in response to foreign occupation, according to extensive research that we conducted at the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, where we examined every one of the over 2,200 suicide attacks across the world from 1980 to the present day. As the United States has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, which have a combined population of about 60 million, total suicide attacks worldwide have risen dramatically — from about 300 from 1980 to 2003, to 1,800 from 2004 to 2009. Further, over 90 percent of suicide attacks worldwide are now anti-American. The vast majority of suicide terrorists hail from the local region threatened by foreign troops, which is why 90 percent of suicide attackers in Afghanistan are Afghans.  Israelis have their own narrative about terrorism, which holds that Arab fanatics seek to destroy the Jewish state because of what it is, not what it does. But since Israel withdrew its army from Lebanon in May 2000, there has not been a single Lebanese suicide attack. Similarly, since Israel withdrew from Gaza and large parts of the West Bank, Palestinian suicide attacks are down over 90 percent.

O’Donnell’s Constitution Question Floors Audience [Surge Desk on AOL News]

After scolding Coons for his lack of knowledge of constitutional law for stating that intelligent design should not be taught in public schools (a matter decided in a scathing decision in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District), O’Donnell challenged her rival on his assertion that the U.S. Constitution creates a distinct separation between church and state.  “Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked. Upon hearing her words, the audience in the room burst into laughter.

Reform must, and will, come to Russia [Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky via The Los Angeles Times]

Russia is approaching the very same point that the USSR found itself in back in the second half of the 1980s. Then there arose a crisis of the communist ideology as the planned economy of “real socialism” revealed its strategic inefficiency. For Russia, the second decade of the 21st century will become a period of crisis for a system built on corruption and hands-on control. Insightful Russians with initiative, knowing how to look to the future, understand this already.  In my youth, the leaders of the USSR had no desire whatsoever to leave power. But history obliged them to do so just the same. Today’s Russian theoreticians and practitioners of “vertically corrupt management” have no intention of going anywhere.  But they will have to. I know. I’ve seen it before.

The Man Who Tamed the Cocaine Capital [Constantino Diaz-Duran on The Daily Beast]

To end the scourge of drug trafficking, Fajardo believes it is important to consider legalizing drugs as one of the first steps…Look at what’s happening in Mexico…”It is so painful, that violence that drug trafficking generates. I think we need to understand this problem and view it from a different perspective. It makes no sense to jail people for using or selling drugs.” Like Gaviria, Fajardo believes that “eventually all drugs should be legalized,” but he emphasized that “this must be a global discussion. This is not something that Latin American countries can do unilaterally.”

China Hides Rampant Inflation in Money Binge [Patrick Chovanec via Bloomberg]

In reality, there is rampant inflation in China. It’s just showing up in asset prices. The new money that was created entered the economy as loans, mainly to fund investment in fixed assets. When it finally reached consumers, they bought tangibles, like property, instead of spending on consumer goods.  Asset-price inflation is tricky because it doesn’t feel like inflation. When the price of bread doubles, it feels like it’s getting harder to make ends meet. When condo prices double, it looks like smart investors are getting rich. But it’s only a matter of time before asset inflation starts working its way through the rest of the economy as broader price inflation — and puts China’s policy makers in a serious bind.

Why I Got Fired From Teaching American History [Thaddeus Russell via The Huffington Post]

I gave my students a history that was structured around the oldest issue in political philosophy but which professional historians often neglect – the conflict between the individual and community, or what Freud called the eternal struggle between civilization and its discontents. College students are normally taught a history that is the story of struggles between capitalists and workers, whites and blacks, men and women. But history is also driven by clashes between those interested in preserving social order and those more interested in pursuing their own desires — the “respectable” versus the “degenerate,” the moral versus the immoral, “good citizens” versus the “bad.” I wanted to show that the more that “bad” people existed, resisted, and won, the greater was what I called “the margin of freedom” for all of us. My students were most troubled by the evidence that the “good” enemies of “bad” freedoms were not just traditional icons like presidents and business leaders, but that many of the most revered abolitionists, progressives, and leaders of the feminist, labor, civil rights, and gay rights movements worked to suppress the cultures of working-class women, immigrants, African Americans, and the flamboyant gays who brought homosexuality out of the closet.
A handless model in Belgium who posed topless for as part of a campaign to raise awareness of disability issues has become an overnight celebrity after being inundated with interview requests from all over Europe. Smiling directly at the camera, glamorous 35-year old Tanja Kiewitz, posed for the shoot in a plunging black bra which adorned an advert which read: ‘look me in the eyes… I said the eyes’.

Whimsical Remains:

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