The Union Of Hypocrites

Light In the North

DSC_1610

Take a long, deep breath and imagine how this general election would have played out were the independence referendum never to have happened.

Can you feel that? The overwhelming sense of hopelessness, monotony and misery as rich white men in suits argue constantly over the microscopic changes to policy their party would make if only you would vote for them. They keep droning away while the majority of the country look on and think ‘f**k the lot of you, you utterly useless w**kers’, before eventually, reluctantly, voting for the lesser of the evils on the menu. All the while Scotland sits in the corner, quiet as a mouse, doing what it has always done and is basically ignored by just about everyone. Ah, British democracy. That’s how it should be, right?

Unfortunately- and much to the disgust of ‘proud and patriotic Scots and Brits’ everywhere – the independence referendum…

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Three days in Beijing with three of the world’s most famous dissidents

Fusion

It’s a Thursday morning in Beijing, and the world’s most famous living artist, Ai Weiwei, is sitting with one of the world’s most controversial technologists, Jacob Appelbaum, in the second-floor lobby of the East Hotel. Appelbaum is drinking a latte and eating a cherry danish with a fork. Ai is watching him.

Appelbaum, a Wikileaks collaborator who helped develop the anonymous web browser Tor, is wearing dark, thick-framed glasses and a black shirt that reads “Fuck the NSA.” Ai takes out his iPhone, places it under the table for a better angle, snaps a photo of Appelbaum’s shirt, and uploads it to Instagram. Within a few minutes, the photo has garnered 500 likes from Ai’s 100,000 followers.

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For the first time in three days, Ai and Appelbaum are together without the presence of documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Poitras, who just won an Oscar for her government surveillance opus, Citizenfour, came to Beijing to create a short film about Appelbaum and Ai…

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When it Stops Raining We Sleep Beneath the Stars

I Could Drive Forever

In the morning, I pack my things as the sun rises, eat pop tarts and drink cold instant coffee while I shove everything into my pack. The boys are still asleep in their tents when I set out on the trail.

It’s cold, but not raining, so I hike in short sleeves because I know I’ll be sweating soon. Pop my headphones in and zone out. This is my favorite time to hike. When the day is burgeouning and my body feels strong. When my thoughts are new and everything is exquisite. When I fall in love with thru-hiking all over again.

It stays sunny all day, and the air is so thick and warm that I’m sweating even on the downhills. Which there is no shortage of. The shooting pain in my knee is back, so I take tiny ballerina steps which helps with the hurt but frustrates me…

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1915: Thoughts on Armenian Identity from a 4th-Generation Outsider

Contemporary Contempt

The following post is about ambivalence and remembrance. It is comprised of unstructured vignettes, loosely tied with my thoughts on identity, family, and cultural legacy. These thoughts were inspired by the fact that today is April 24, and we are 100 years removed from the beginnings of the Armenian Genocide.

I am not an authority on the Armenian Genocide. I can only speak from my perspective as a fourth-generation descendant of someone who lived through it. There are numerous scholarly, pop, and fiction texts on the subject, as well as recent media coverage of the history and current issues surrounding remembrance. I encourage you to read widely. 


Here we are.

A century removed from the dawn of a genocide that massacred individuals, stolen family legacies, and endangered an entire culture.

Here we are. Here. Now.

We are.

We are, still.

The nation-state of Turkey does not publicly refer to the atrocities…

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F**K BEAUTY

chanyado

When you can’t write what you need to write, you write what you can. I want to write about…

That new Dove ad is absurdly symbolic. Women in five cities around the world are made to choose one of two doors in order to enter a space. The entries are labelled ‘Beautiful’ or ‘Average’. There seems to be no other way to gain access to the building. Your physical appearance is your only admission. Choose beautiful Dove says. F**K that.

My sister looked radiant tonight. I don’t know if I have ever seen her glow like this. When she made her entrance into the hall, mischief captured her and she threw her hennaed hands up in the air, her intricately brown laced hands swirling through the air as she danced. Little dried flecks sprinkled off her hands like black confetti. Later my father, handsome in his turquoise blue sherwani interrupted…

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How to Kill a Designer

Peter Lloyd

In a past post I wrote about the mysterious design genius of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and on BBC television recently was a documentary about another internet shaper – Aaron Swartz, who played major parts in developing RSS feed technology, Creative Commons implementation, and the social news website Reddit. The documentary is called The Internet’s Own Boy and is available (courtesy of Creative Commons) through The Documentary Network.

I urge you to watch this to gain an account of how global politics is lumberingly, awkwardly, waking up to the democratic power of the web and how that, paradoxically, is threatening democracy, or at least what passes for democracy in the western world, post Wikileaks and Edward Snowden. It is a hopeful, then utterly heartbreaking, account of how someone with technical genius and political skill, someone devoted to democratic ideals of openness, and with the energy, creativity, and organisation to really…

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A study in how not to talk about sexism in science

Galileo's Pendulum

[Credit: Futurama] [Credit: Futurama] Anyone who has applied for academic positions, whether teaching or research-focused, knows how bad the job market is right now, and it shows no signs of getting better.[1] While I love writing, a major reason I chose to do it full-time is because I was tired of applying for jobs constantly in hopes of landing even a position that would last a year or two before needing to apply — and move — again. So anything that looks like a bright spot in the academic market is a positive thing, such as last week’s paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

This paper, by Cornell University psychologists Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci, concluded there is a 2-to-1 bias in favor of hiring women in academic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) positions. Now that raised my eyebrows for two reasons:…

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