It’s still Thursday for another 12 hours in my current time zone, but I’m calling it for this week:
An elected judge in Lubbock County, Texas has announced that the United States risks descending into civil war if President Obama is reelected. An armed insurrection will become necessary, Judge Head believes, in order to battle the UN troops that will pour into US territory when Obama surrenders sovereignty of the country to the United Nations. Because the UN would DEFINITELY want to take that on.
I don’t think there’s anything I can add to make this funnier than it already is, so I’ll just echo Lubbock County Commissioner Gilbert Flores’s advice to Judge Head: “I think you better plan to go fishing pretty soon.”
I know it’s technically Saturday, but here’s a little bit of “WTF” for your weekend: A new study finds that stress is “associated with a preference among men for heavier female body sizes.”
The investigators interpret their findings as support for the hypothesis that in difficult times, males prefer a mate with “mature physical traits” who looks better able to survive environmental stresses. I suppose heavier females are more able to withstand food shortages, high winds, etc., but I suggest an alternate analysis: Stressed out men want their mommies.
The 11 hour New York -> Phnom Penh time difference produces pretty crippling jet lag, so I decided that a fun way to pass the time while waiting for my brain to reboot would be to go through the Cambodia Wikileaks cables. (Sounds like a blast, right?)
Yes, that’s right, it’s the Reefer Madness of State Department cables: a 2010 communique decrying the allegedly skyrocketing use of meth among Cambodia’s youth. Drug addiction may indeed be a growing problem here (and there are serious issues with the government’s approach to addicts), but it’s hard to tell from this cable, which bases its conclusions on:
The inclusion of frightening crime statistics that have no apparent causal relationship to the phenomenon under discussion.
“Although there is currently no empirical evidence linking it to drug use in Cambodia, local NGO Licadho reports the number of rape cases has been steadily increasing over the past few years, with approximately 60% of last year’s cases involving victims who were minors.”
“Middle class teens regularly buy easily available drugs and are known to rent rooms in guest houses with friends to hold ‘drug parties.’”
Reliance on the “if one guy said it, it must be true” school of evidence-gathering.
“A Muslim student from Kampong Cham University told Poloff that approximately ’65% of students take meth regularly. It is cheap, cool, easy to access, and then they can’t stop.’”
And the kicker: blaming society’s problems on women entering the workforce.
“Besides availability, experts believe that the rise in drug use among the middle class youth can be attributed to a change in the culture where both parents now work and have less control over the daily activities of their children.”
tl;dr of this NATO press release about aerial drones aerial surveillance planes patrolling European skies: ”Nice Euro 2012 Championship you have there. Sure would be a shame if anything were to happen to it… *cracks knuckles menacingly*”
“Not many people would immediately associate NATO with the Euro 2012 Football Championship. But NATO’s “Eye in the Sky”, the AWACS (Airborne Warning & Control System) will be playing an important role in the security of the European teams’ competition over the next three weeks.
As a consequence of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, NATO governments have been able to request the air surveillance and control capability of NATO AWACS to assist with security for major public events. Poland, as co-host of the competition along with Ukraine, is the latest NATO member to make such a request. [...]
So as football fans prepare to watch their national teams battle against each other in the Euro 2012 tournament, they can be reassured that some of their fellow citizens are united in ensuring the security of the competition.
In related news, a pioneering Dutch technologist has created the “Orvillecopter,” believed to be the world’s first feline-based drone.
Reports that the Taliban have begun stockpiling cans of tuna remain unconfirmed.
(h/t for the NATO story goes to Ania Zolkiewska, whose football-watching humanitarian friends passed on the article.)
Update: Peter Doerrie informs us via Twitter that “an AWACS is NOT a drone. It is a plane with a pretty big crew and a giant radar on top.” After following his exhortation to “check Wikipedia,” I have concluded that he is correct, and updated this post accordingly.
I’m about a month late to this party, but have you guys seen Kickstriker.com?
Inspired by Kickstarter, the site purports to “cut out the middleman in online activism, allowing funders to directly support the causes they care about.” Potential funders can contribute to a Mobile Black Site (tagline: “discrete tactical vehicle for interrogators on the go”), DIY drones, or my personal favorite: the hunt for Joseph Kony. A contribution of $50,000 will net you one of Kony’s teeth, while $100,000 will get you his skull (less any teeth that have already been disbursed).
Kickstriker is the work of three graduate students in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, Josh Begley, Mehan Jayasuriya, and James Borda, who came up with the idea during a classroom discussion on Kony 2012. Intended as a commentary on the fine line between this type of activism and crowd-sourced warfare, the site has triggered reactions that suggest said line may actually be nonexistent. As Spencer Ackerman reports, the satirical nature of the project is not obvious to all viewers, and Kickstriker has gotten a number of press inquiries that take it at face value.
Josh, Mehan, James, well played, sirs. We owe you a drink. Well, three drinks. You don’t have to share.
Apparently operating on the theory that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, the spokesman of Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, Ilias Kasidiaris, assaulted two female politicians on live television yesterday.
Kasidiaris then broke out of a locked room in the television studio and is currently on the run from the police. His party, whose 7% vote share in last month’s elections brought it to Parliament for the first time ever, has declared an embargo on all media contact.
That up there on the right in this BBC story on UN action in Syria is the United Nations Space Command logo from the video game Halo.
The BBC apologized, but offered no explanation of the error. Also no word on whether the United Nations Security Council will be adopting the obviously much cooler Halo logo. (Currently they share the globe and wreath emblem with the rest of the UN system.)
This is kind of the perfect set-up. Nick Cage hasn’t done a prison movie since 1997, and I think we all know how well that went.
“An exhibition of guns as art now in Mexico is making its way from Mexico to the United States, where many of the weapons presumably originated.” I think the ATF just set those guns free because they loved them so much, hoping that they would come back one day, thus reciprocating the love.
I kind of feel like I’m gonna jinx this if I talk about it.
“Sirleaf came under fire after the Guardian published a video interview in which she is asked about decriminalising homosexuality and replies: ‘We like ourselves the way we are.’” I assume I’m not the only one who sees the irony of this statement.
After years of American rappers doing it or resisting it metaphorically, Swazilanders are literally throwing rocks at the throne.
“The Taylor aide believes that his boss is not on trial for crimes in Liberia but rather in Sierra Leone and, therefore, he deserves his pension benefits as former head of state here.” Honestly I think it’s messed up that he had to export his war crimes just so he could get his pension. The game is rigged.
This is just about the antithesis of Kate and Amanda’s article at The Atlantic (shameless plug). Giving “why not” as a justification? Check. Hyperbole about the power of social media and “awareness?” Check. Totally predictable opinion (from a teenager) about whether Kony is chill or unchill? Check. (Spoiler: hes goes with “terrible”). Baselessly optimistic prediction? I think we have a winner.